“Wow, it even sounds different”
With Diana commenting from the side, Logan also opened his lips as though to reply.
“I heard that the Madam entrusted this request to the most reputable bladesmith she knew because it was difficult making a unique sword.”
At Logan’s response, Cassion asked back.
However, Logan looked towards me instead of answering.
He was giving me the opportunity to answer.
So, following Logan’s gesture, Cassion faced me as well.
“What does that mean Is this a unique sword”
I reached forward and pointed at the flat side of the whip sword’s blade.
In turn, Cassion extended his own arms to bring the sword closer to me so I could point more easily.
Thanks to his thoughtfulness, I was able to point out the lines on the blade precisely.
“These here, do you see the fine lines”
With his gaze following my finger, he nodded.
“I see them, it’s not just a couple.”
“There are exactly fifty-five of them.”
As I mentioned the exact number, Cassion tilted his head to the side.
“Fifty-five But what are these lines for”
Outwardly, the lines looked like a simple, engraved pattern.
Indeed, I’m sure he wouldn’t be able to imagine that this was actually a whip sword.
“What do you think they’re for”
Instead of answering, I went around behind him.
Now standing a short distance away, Cassion watched what I was doing.
When I stepped behind him, he turned his head as his eyes followed me.
Standing behind him, I immediately reached out to put my arms around him.
What met my arms was a wooden body that had become frozen.
Even so, this small Rosetta couldn’t embrace him fully.
He was too bulky for that.
At the sudden back hug position, Cassion stopped breathing right then.
Even through his clothes, his muscles one by one grew so obviously stiff, making me laugh.
“It could be dangerous, so you two should move elsewhere.
Ah, you can go sit over there.”
Gesturing with my chin, I pointed out the tea table and chairs beneath a tree’s shade.
That’s where I spent most of the time whenever I came here, just sitting.
Although I sometimes helped Cassion train, I usually left the matter to these three people and just watched.
But those two would be just spectators today.
They’re both seeing a whip sword for the first time ever, so for today’s training, I was completely in charge.
After confirming that the two were seated, I focused on Cassion again.
“You remember all your training, right”
“Do you mean the mage knight fighting style”
Using this sword will make that fighting style show its true worth.”
“What do you mean…”
“Shh, quiet now.
Just leave it to me and see.”
I cut off Cassion’s question and grinned.
He was visibly perplexed as he looked back at me, but he soon averted his gaze without another word.
Contrary to that seemingly nonchalant action, the back of his neck and his ears were red.
I held back my laughter this time and began explaining.
“Whenever you use your body’s energy, your efficiency depends on how well you’re able to circulate it.
The best way to do this is to emulate the flow of water.”
While I said this, I placed my right arm close to Cassion’s own right arm.
After pulling our shoulders, arms and wrists as close as possible, I wrapped my hand over the man’s hand that was holding the sword.
The frozen man’s fingertips flinched for a moment.
With my other hand, I rummaged through my pocket and pulled out a small piece of cloth.
This small piece of cloth was thin to the point that it was almost see-through, and I placed it between our shoulders.
“What are you doing”
“I can feel your mana, but you can’t feel the energy circulating in my body.
That’s why this one way of letting you sense it.”
I can sense Cassion’s mana, but Cassion can’t sense my qi.
So, I needed a medium that would allow him to sense it, at least by touch.
And that medium was this.
A small piece of cloth.
“Now then, try observing the cloth’s movement.
Shoulder to arm.
And from arm to wrist.”
The small cloth moved according to the slow recitation of its direction.
Every time these body parts were mentioned, the cloth gently slid down over my arm.
“Wrist to palm.
Palm to fingers.”
And then, the sword.
At the same time these last words were murmured, the cloth moved over to the sword and was split into two as it fell upon the sharp blade.
Like a withering flower petal, it fluttered downward.
“What do you think Do you understand”
At the energetic questions, Cassion turned his head.
Both confusion and enlightenment could be seen reasonably mixed in that nearby gaze.
Anyhow, this method seemed effective.
With my empty hand, I pushed Cassion’s check.
He faced forward again without any resistance.
“Try it once.
So we can see.”
“While staying like this”
I need to see if your mana is flowing properly.”
“…Well, I guess.”
While Cassion agreed indifferently, he let out a somewhat breathless exhale.
It sounded a bit rough, as though his breath got hitched.
Glancing up to see his side profile, I saw him close his eyes.
With his features unmoving, he looked like he was concentrating.
Then, he slowly opened his eyes.
Soon, a unique energy could be felt around his chest.
Mana began to flow out of Cassion’s heart.
Starting from his heart, his mana slowly flowed towards his shoulder.
“It’s a bit stiff.
Try to shape it more like a fish swimming in water.”
The focused Cassion couldn’t answer and instead let out a gruff breath.
He seemed to be trying to relax his frozen body, even if it was by force.
Soon, the energy hovering around his shoulder began to flow down his arm.
It was softer now compared to how it was just a second ago.
“Alright, slower now.
And more carefully.
You have to be careful with a whip sword while getting used to it.”
Otherwise, it wouldn’t listen to you.
It must have been strange to hear that, but his concentration did not break.
This time again, Cassion moved his mana instead of opening his lips.
The slender flow of mana moved from his arm, down his wrist, towards his palm and then his fingers.
And finally, it flowed down to the sword.
At the same time, the whip sword revealed its true form.
It wasn’t a very noticeable sound, but as soon as this was heard, the sword’s form changed at once.
From a longsword, it stretched outward.
Half of it was still in the form of a longsword, while the other half from the tip was in the form of a whip.
“Oh my goodness.”
“What a truly marvelous invention.”
In the distance, Diana and Logan couldn’t help but react in this way.
And it wasn’t just the two of them who were shocked.
As he suddenly found himself in this situation, his concentration broke.
When his focus unraveled like that, some of his mana returned to his heart.
At the same time, the sword returned to its original form with a loud sound.
The drooping half turned back into the end of a longsword.
The sword’s screech was so loud that both Diana and Logan got surprised and jumped up from their seats.
Cassion groaned because the rebound was as loud as that screech.
He looked back towards me with his brows wrinkled in distress.
“Are you alright”
Who’s asking who here
Hearing my question be taken away from me, I shrugged.
I feel no pain.
It was thanks to the fact that I had prepared for this earlier.
I already knew that it might turn out like this.
Besides that, do you understand now This is what happens when your concentration breaks.”
When I replied calmly, Cassion smirked.
“…If I had known in advance that this sword would change like that, I wouldn’t have gotten distracted.”
His voice was tinged with an empty laugh as he said something very reasonable.
But then, what to do Telling you about it would ruin the fun of it.
“A surprise gift should remain a surprise until it’s revealed, don’t you think”
This time, there was no more empty laughter.
After the small hiccup at the start, his training continued without a hitch.
He was successful in turning a regular sword into a mana sword in this way, but this was of course not like any other sword.
Since it’s a new one, he’d need to learn how to use it accordingly.
Just as a head would need to bear the weight of a crown that it might wear, a person who would wield a weapon as unique as this would have to go through certain hardships to master it.
His training started around noon, but it did not stop until the sun went past the center of the sky and started to paint the sky red.
It would take up too much time to stop for a full meal, so Diana brought over some sandwiches for us to eat here.
After the short dinner, training resumed once again.
Though they were just watching at the sidelines, Logan and Diana were also part of this training session.
The two of them were mainly in charge of Cassion’s training as a whole, so they needed to be here to observe how the whip sword is wielded so that they could supplement their lessons later.
I won’t be able to help him train every day.
The two of them watched us seriously the entire time, and they also often exchanged a few words in between.
When I focused my senses on trying to listen, I heard that they were discussing how they could help further reinforce Cassion’s swordsmanship and magic.
The long training session ended just before Cassion collapsed to the ground, fully soaked in sweat.
Cassion kept muttering that he couldn’t go on anymore, but I lightly dismissed those earlier.
Still, I’m just training him—I don’t mean to make him lie bedridden again.
Along with that distinct sound, the whip sword in his hand returned to the form of a longsword.
As soon as the sword was sheathed, his legs barely held on but soon staggered, and his body started falling to the ground.
I supported the falling man and carefully laid him down.
I asked Diana to bring some water, then I asked Logan to get the first aid kit.
When they left at the same time, only the two of us were left in this spacious clearing.
Grasshoppers cried out in the distance.
Right now, the late summer night felt like it was that of the early autumn.
The days were still of the summer, while the nights were already the autumn’s.
Today was a very tiring day.
I crouched down next to the collapsed Cassion.
With my chin resting on my knees, I stared at him as he tried to catch his breath.
His chest moved up and down, moving to the beat of his gasping breaths.
“How was it Seems like you can do it now, right”
At the quietly murmured questions, Cassion struggled to open his eyes.
He stared back at me for a long time, though he closed his eyes as though they were very heavy.
While closing his eyes now, the corners of his lips slowly tugged up to form an arc.
“Haa… Ha… Yeah.
It kind of feels— like I’m worthy now.
He uttered his reply while panting, and I chuckled.
Cassion’s response exuded double the usual enthusiasm.
He was worthy now.
Even when it came to wielding the whip sword.
And, he was a worthy rival to Leo now.
This minor villain, who was once not worthy enough to dare stand as an opponent against the male lead, gritted his teeth and clawed his way to this position.
This man, who was once being chased by death itself, could now proudly aim to become the head of a duchy.
In the past, people would have derided him for coveting the duke’s seat, but now…
Now, those people would mutter under their breaths, ‘Cassion could actually become the duke.’
Now, he was one step higher in terms of being a ‘rival’.
With a smile on my lips, I raised my head.
The bright red sun had since set, and the moon had taken its place in the night sky.
There, the full, golden moon showcased its splendid illumination across the dark expanse.