Chapter 2875: Clashing Swords
A taller and thicker sword collided against a saber.
The larger blade bounced back but quickly swung in only to be blocked yet again!
Despite the lack of success, Ketis fully immersed herself in the duel.
She constantly shifted her position, trying her best not to let her protective equipment hinder her sharp movements.
Around her, a modest crowd of a couple of thousand spectators became engrossed in the spectacle!
Ever since she and her fellow Swordmaidens fought their way through the virtual preliminaries, she was finally able to flex her muscles for real!
Although she enjoyed pitting her battle instincts in all-out matches to the death, none of the virtual blood she spilled warmed her up in any way.
The tactile feedback, no matter how realistic, posed no threat to her at all.
It didn\'t matter if she gained the opportunity to compare herself against hundreds of other hopefuls who each brought a different sword style to the table.
The Greater Omanderie Festival was a massive draw for foreign swordsmen and swordswomen.
The Heavensword Association was the only state in the star cluster that dedicated itself to the way of the sword.
Just like how the Life Research Association became the holy land of biotech research, the Heavensword Association invested much in order to become the foremost authority of swordsmanship.
Just the first week alone had been enough to open up the eyes of the Swordmaidens!
Every single Swordmaiden that was a part of the delegation to the festival became exposed to radically different approaches to wielding blades.
Fortunately, people like Ketis and Commander Sendra were too accustomed to the Swordmaiden approach to sword combat to adopt a different style.
Their techniques and repertoire of moves may not be as extensive as that of other styles, but they were all combat tested against deadly opponents.
Simple! Calculated! Brutal!
That was what the Heavensworders thought about the Swordmaiden fighting style.
Unlike most other competitors, the Swordmaidens stood out for their emphasis on power.
Their sword style, which was geared towards defeating both exobeasts and armored mechs, intimidated many opponents who had to face the brunt of the former pirates!
Ketis\' greatsword was blocked yet again, but she already anticipated this reaction.
After exchanging blows for quite some time, she already figured out her opponent\'s strategy.
Since Ketis wielded a larger and more cumbersome weapon, her stamina took a substantial hit with each attack.
While there was an inherent risk in allowing an opponent to go on the offensive, the man who wielded a thick saber evidently felt confident enough in his defense to forgo attacking.
As long as the male competitor concentrated on nothing else but blocking, he would eventually be able to turn the tables once the aggressive woman lost her steam.
Ketis huffed behind her transparent helmet.
She couldn\'t count how many opponents she overcame who tried to rely on the exact same strategy.
Crack his turtle shell, Ketis!
Beat him up, girl!
A smile briefly appeared on her face even as she tried to sweep her opponent\'s abdomen, only for the alert man to swing his saber down and block her attack in time.
She lashed out with a snap kick, only to get stopped by a counter-kick.
Her experienced opponent had already kept a close eye on her lower limbs, correctly predicting that the athletic and muscular woman was proficient with using her entire body.
Though none of her attacks went through the man\'s excellent guard, Ketis felt less and less pressured against her opponent.
A true swordsman wouldn\'t have adopted such a passive approach.
It might be a fine strategy in the dueling arena, but it only introduced more variables on the battlefield.
Ketis already smelled an absence of blood from her opponent.
How could someone who never put his life on the line in an actual battle ever be able to best her in personal combat
An eager impulse nudged in her mind.
I know, Sharpie.
I shouldn\'t play with my food.
She had been taking it easy since this was her first real sword duel.
She wanted to shake off all of the bad habits she acquired during her virtual duels and get used to reacclimating herself with using her actual body to fight.
Now that she finished her \'calibrations\', there was no point in letting her human practice target keep up the illusion that he had a chance.
When she was about to wind up for an obvious chop, her opponent reflexively adopted a blocking stance.
He should have tried to evade.
Her greatsword swung down with great force as she put nearly all of her strength and weight in the blow!
While Ketis still remained on guard for any abrupt changes, her opponent had become so accustomed to blocking and guarding that he didn\'t make any other mental preparations.
He could only commit to blocking the incoming blow!
Seeing how much force Ketis was putting into the chop, the male competitor quickly raised his swords while putting his free arm on the flat of the upper end of his saber.
When the heavy blow finally came, the man bent his knees and folded his body inwards.
The soles of his boots skidded backwards against the floor from the force pushing him backwards.
He succeeded in blocking the attack!
Not only that, he recognized a golden opportunity.
After launching such a heavy attack, the woman he faced should be taking longer than usual to pull herself back and recover her stance.
In contrast, the man was bent and coiled like a spring.
If he took the opportunity to push himself forward, he could launch a vicious counterattack!
However, he suspected that this was a trap.
The woman he faced had already displayed enough skill and physical prowess to be a formidable swordswoman.
There was no way she would be unaware of such an obvious opening!
Let\'s play it safe.
In the end, he decided to uncoil himself while standing his ground.
Rather than make a risky move, he preferred to stick to a more steady strategy that entailed fewer uncertainties.
Once the woman tired herself out, he could easily outmaneuver her and her oversized sword.
Ketis smiled contemptuously at her opponent.
Wrong choice, buddy!
Her augmented body strained a little bit more as she forced herself to recover a lot faster than she was supposed to.
Her boots dug into the hard arena ground as she performed a quick and hasty swipe that her opponent managed to block with ease.
Unlike last time, the greatsword did not bounce back from the saber.
Instead, Ketis kept pressing on it while she continued to pivot her body forward.
The helmet of her protective suit bashed against the helmet of her opponent!
Ahh! He cried out from the unexpected attack.
Although his head remained unharmed, his head and upper body briefly tilted backwards from the force.
At the same time, Ketis released the grip on her weapon and used her freed-up hand to grasp the saber of her opponent.
Due to her grasp, her opponent temporarily couldn\'t move his weapon.
Even though he would definitely be able to free his weapon if he exerted his strength, all of this took time!
The tip of Ketis\' greatsword easily pushed against the flexible chest padding of her opponent.
The protective suit automatically registered the strike while at the same time firming up to prevent the blade from sinking deeper.
At the same time, the remote shield generators built underneath the arena reacted in an instant.
Several layers of energy shield covered the male competitor\'s entire body, preventing Ketis from launching any further blows that might threaten his life!
[The duel has ended! The winner is Ketis Larkinson of the Swordmaidens!]
Once the match was over, Ketis no longer regarded her opponent as an obstacle.
She lowered her blade while the man did the same.
They both shook hands.
Good bout. The older man said.
I didn\'t expect the headbutt.
You taught me a valuable lesson.
This trick won\'t fool me twice.
I have more tricks in my arsenal.
If you stick to a passive approach, you will just leave yourself open to another attack vector.
You would have stood a better chance if you went on the attack.
At least then I wouldn\'t have as many opportunities to break your guard.
I\'ll stick to my training.
My failure just then is a sign that I still need to work on making my defenses more airtight.
Every tournament participant was a true swordsman.
The virtual preliminaries already eliminated every amateur and dabbler in the sword arts.
Only true specialists in swordfighting were qualified to fight under the public eye.
Once Ketis left the arena ground, she returned to the Swordmaidens that had come to cheer her up.
Many of them were distinctly shorter and younger than her.
The teenagers swarmed up against her suited form.
I knew you would win!
Everyone could tell that her opponent was just asking to get beat.
Why are there so many timid swordsmen here
They\'re not timid. Another woman spoke as she approached.
The Swordmaiden trainees moved back in order to give the Heavensworder enough room.
The real issue is that you women are too aggressive.
The caliber of opponents that your contestants have met so far is still low.
Wait until Ketis and your other sisters square off against seeded participants.
Your Swordmaidens will only squander their stamina in vain.
Ketis smirked but refrained from rebutting the other woman.
She and the rest of her fellow Swordmaiden contestants had yet to show their full might during the duelist and group swordsmanship competitions.
The Unending greatswords that Ves had issued to them were too strong and eye-catching to employ in the early phases of the main tournaments.
In order to sharpen their battle instincts and give them all a proper workout, Venerable Dise temporarily deprived them of their Unending greatswords and issued regular weapons to them instead.
The Swordmaiden expert pilot also told them to hold back their physical strength.
Each of you has received a boon from the patriarch.
I know it is tempting to utilize your new strength against the cannon fodder we\'ll be up against, but you\'ll be wasting valuable training opportunities if you overpower your opponents.
I suggest you take it easier and match the strength and speed of your foes.
Rely on your skill and wits to win a bout.
If you can\'t even do that, then you won\'t stand a chance against the top contestants.
Though Ketis and the other augmented Swordmaidens didn\'t like it, they recognized the value of doing so, if only reluctantly.
Sometimes, she yearned to unleash her true strength!
If Ketis held her main weapon, then her opponent would never have been able to last such a long time!
In fact, even with an ordinary weapon, her superior physical attributes were more than enough to overpower most weaker opponents!
When is my next match She asked.
According to the schedule, you\'re due to perform in half an hour.
I won\'t be able to visit the other arenas to watch my sisters.
If your battle sisters are at least as skilled as you, the outcome won\'t be in suspense.
It will take at least a few days before you climb high enough to encounter actual challengers.
Angelique Harcourt may look down on the brutish fighting style of the Swordmaidens, but she never underestimated the women she took under her wing.
The Journeyman Mech Designer from the Heavensword Association initially thought that these uncouth women with irregular backgrounds would not even make it past the preliminaries.
She was wrong.
The performance of the Swordmaidens, whether they fought in person or with mechs, exceeded her expectations.
Angelique initially accepted this chore in order to obtain a valuable collaboration opportunity with the famed Devil Tongue, but as she spent more time with her guest, she became more interested with the Swordmaidens themselves.
She already had a hunch that they would be able to go far in the tournaments.
After all, a group of swordswomen who enjoyed the tutelage of an expert pilot should never be pushovers!
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