140 James vs. Peerage

Land of Shadows, Dun Scaith.

The time spent training with Scathach has flown by. There are nowonly five days remaining before the Meeting of Young Devils. And yesterday was the last day of sparring for Sona and her peerage. The schedule for the next five days will be as follows.

Day 1: James vs. His peerage. (Cu Chulainn will not participate)

Day 2: Cu Chulainn vs. Scathach.

Day 3: Rest Day.

Day 4: James vs. Scathach.

Day 5: Return home.

Just as the schedule would suggest, everyone currently staying in Dun Scaith is at the training ground. Sona, her peerage, Cu Chulainn, and Scathach are standing off to the side waiting for the match to begin. Meanwhile, James is standing on one side of the training field while the rest of his peerage is on the other side.

"You may begin." Scathach said in a sonorous voice, signaling the beginning of this sparring match.

With Scathach's words, Moka, Flora, and Shion rushed forward. At the same time, Mizore, Dante, Lady, and Shuna began attacking from long range while Ayame entered her stealth mode. Meanwhile, James stood calmly with his right hand resting on the hilt of Mangetsu no Shita De. As the projectiles neared, James, with dance-like elegance, avoided each incoming projectile. A moment later, the first of the melee combatants reached James' position.

Throwing a jab, Moka was the first to arrive. Having reached ultimate-rank during the Kokabiel incident, there was a lot of power packed into that small fist. However, James was quite proficient in martial arts as well. Using his left hand, James redirected Moka's punch to his right. This parry also served the purpose of blocking the incoming kick from Flora, as Moka's momentum pushed her into Flora's path. Then, James partially unsheathed his sword and blocked the horizontal slash from Shion. Using the reaction force from the swing, James allowed his body to spin freely. Then, pivoting on his left foot, James lashed out with a back heel kick aimed at Shion's head.

Pulling her Odachi back quickly, Shion was able to block the incoming kick with the flat of the blade. Because of the power behind it, however, she was thrown off into the distance. At the same time, James kicked off the sword and flew toward Moka and Flora who have righted their stances. James then struck at Moka with a flying knee strike.

While Moka side stepped the knee, Flora threw a right straight at the airborne James. Although using his wings to fly would enable James to dodge the incoming attack, James chose a different option. At high-speed, James unsheathed his sword and slashed toward Flora. Unable to dodge, Flora felt a cold sensation against her neck and saw that James direction had changed.

"Flora, out!" Scathach shouted from the side.

"Damn it!" Flora exclaimed as she made her way off the training ground. "How did I lose so quickly?"

At the same time, everyone in Sona's peerage was amazed at the ability James showed in the first moments of the spar.

"How did he do that?" Tsubasa asked with her eyes lighting up. "Is it really possible to swing your sword hard enough while in mid-air to change your momentum."

"Yes, you just saw it, right?" Momo asked while looking helplessly at the sword fanatic standing next to her.

"I'm actually surprised he took out Flora first." Tsubaki said. "Taking her out will put the others on alert and she's not the highest priority target on the team, right?"

"It was more for convenience." Cu Chulainn replied while he watched James engage Moka and Shion in melee combat while avoiding projectiles. "She was there, and he wasn't ready to take any damage that early in the battle. Sure, he could have tanked her punch, but even little bits of damage can add up over time. It's better to avoid getting hurt when you can."

"I see." Tsubaki said while nodding in understanding.

Meanwhile, James was exchanging sword strikes with Shion while blocking and parrying Muay Thai strikes from Moka. At the same time, Mizore and Shuna were launching ice and blood flames at him from the distance.

"Damn, this would be so much easier if I were allowed to use [Senbonzakura]." James complained.

"[With your spatial awareness, ranged attacks would be completely invalidated.]" Ddraig replied. "[And that would defeat the purpose of this spar.]"

"I know, I know." James said without losing concentration.

Then, James threw a low kick, hitting Moka in the calf. Staggering from the kick, Moka was unable to avoid the elbow that whipped across her left jaw. Once again staggered from the strike, Moka was knocked off her feet when James caught her with a leg sweep. Then, she felt a cold sensation across her throat as James rolled over her body to avoid Shion's overhead slash.

"[Hado number 31: Shakkaho]" James said while extending his left palm toward the ranged combatants.

As James finished, an orb of high temperature red flames was fired from his palm. Then at high-speed, the orb was fired toward Dante, who was standing in front of the other ranged combatants.

"Damn it, I forgot he can fire those without the incantations!" Dante shouted as he rolled out of the way of James' attack.

Unfortunately, the one standing behind him, Shuna, was not fast enough to evade. Usually there would have been no issue for Shuna to evade an attack like that. This time, however, James, Moka, and Shion were moving around too much, and Dante ended up in her line of sight. On top of that, James was not even aiming at her.

"Damn. I missed." James said with disappointment. "Ayame's really fast. Oh well, at least the healer is down."

And like James said, just before Shuna was hit by the [Hado Spell], a barrier made from Scathach's runes appeared between the spell and Shuna.

"Moka, Shuna, out!" Scathach shouted.

"*Sigh* What the hell?" Moka said as she picked herself up from the ground.

"*Sigh* I'm not fast enough." Shuna said disappointed in herself.

As Moka and Shuna left the battlefield, Dante rushed forward to fill in the gap in the melee attackers. At the same time, the spectators observed and chatted about the battle.

"It's only been, like, seven minutes, right?" Tomoe asked while trying to keep up with the battle. "How did he take out three of them alone, so quickly?"

"Well, Flor a was taken out because of a surprise attack. Then, Moka was overwhelmed by skill." Cu Chulainn explained, not taking his eyes off the ongoing battle.

"And what about Shuna-Senpai?" Ruruko asked.

"She was just unlucky." Cu Chulainn replied as he glanced at the helpless Shuna.

"What do you mean?' Genshirou asked with confusion in his tone.

"James was not aiming at Shuna." Scathach replied. "Ayame was hidden in the location James aimed at. Unfortunately, she moved away at the last moment. James still needs practice in hiding his killing intent. But for someone who is not looking to be an assassin his skill is spectacular."

"So, you mean Shuna was just coincidentally in the line of fire?" Sona asked incredulously.

"No, she probably would have been able to react if Dante hadn't been in front of her when the [Kido Spell] was cast." Cu Chulainn said, taking over the explanation. "But that split second was enough to seal the deal."

At the same time, James was now exchanging sword strikes with Dante and Shion. Eventually, Mizore decided to join the melee. Now facing three, four if you count Ayame, skilled melee fighters again, James pushed himself.

Deflecting a slash from Shion and using Shion's odachi to block an overhead slash from Dante, James used the butt of his left palm to strike down a claw strike from Mizore. An instant later, James struck Mizore's chin with the back of his wrist. Then, he threw a high kick and struck Dante in his jaw, throwing him up into the air. After that, James stabbed backward.


"Damn it! Her reactions are fast." James complained yet again as he missed taking out Ayame for the second time.

After that, Ayame jumped away from James. Then, from above, James heard the sound of several gunshots.

"[Bakudo Number 81: Danku]."

James raised his left hand above his head and a translucent wall appeared between himself and Dante. Just as the wall solidified, the sounds of Dante's bullets hitting the barrier could be heard. At the same time, James sheathed Mangetsu no Shita de. Then, as Mizore and Shion recovered from the earlier attacks and parries, they rushed in to take advantage of James being preoccupied by the mid-air Dante.

Unfortunately, as they were both too focused on James, they did not notice that Dante had holstered his pistols as he was beginning to fall. Using this oversight, James dropped into an iaido stance. Then, when they were in range, James drew his sword and slashed in a full circle. As he did, Mizore and Shuna both felt a cold sensation across their throats and shivered. Then, James took another step forward and with a reverse grip he drew Ochiru Sakura and sliced across Dante's throat as he landed.


"Shit!" James cursed. "I thought I got her this time for sure."

"Mizore, Shion, Dante, out!" Scathach's voice rang out once again across the training grounds.

"Damn, I thought I'd be the last one to go down." Mizore said as she stomped her foot.

"Aww man, I wanted to fight some more." Shion said as she slumped her shoulders.

Dante, on the other hand, did not say anything as he just stood there in disbelief. Then, he started walking toward the spectators with Mizore and Shion.

"Ayame was indirectly responsible for two of our five eliminations." Dante muttered.

"Damn, this time Dante was unlucky." Cu Chulainn said with a smirk.

"Are you saying he just happened to have his throat in the way of James blade?" Sona asked incredulously.

"Yeah." Cu Chulainn said. Because James killing intent wasn't aimed at him, he was late to react." Cu Chulainn explained.

Everyone who heard Cu Chulainn's explanation could only sigh. Then, in unison they all looked at Dante with pity in their gazes.

"Why the hell are you all looking at me like that?" Dante questioned angrily.

"Silence, Son of Sparda." Scathach said without taking her eyes off the battle. "And the rest of you should be paying attention to the battle and not to a loser."

Called a loser, Dante was angered even further. Reaching for the hilt of Rebellion on his back, Dante came to an abrupt stop when he felt the tip of Scathach's spear pressed against his chest, over his heart.

"Calm down child." Scathach said, still not looking at Dante. "As long as you are alive, there is no shame in losing."

Huffing in response, Dante released his sword and walked away. Sitting against a wall, he watched the battle like everyone else.

At the same time, James was seemingly standing alone while using his sword to defend against the gunfire from Lady. At the same time, he was moving slowly in her direction. At the same time, he was thinking about a way to take out the annoying ninja who has been attacking silently and sneakily from stealth.

'I know she's reading my killing intent.' James thought to himself as he swung Mangetsu no Shita de around at blinding speeds to defend against Lady's bullets. 'But what do I do to get around that?'

Then, after another minute or so, James' eyes lit up. He had finally had an idea about dealing with Ayame. Instead of thinking about attacking, James only thought of restraining. Without the thought to cause harm, he should be able to stop himself from generating killing intent. Then, without too much movement on his part, James pointed the index and middle fingers of his left hand in the direction he knew Ayame to be.

"Bakudo Number 61: Rikujokoro]."

Out of nowhere, six thin, yet wide plates of light appeared around where James' fingers pointed. Then, they all came together. When they did, Ayame was pulled from her stealth with a helpless expression on her face. Then, James pointed the same fingers of the same hand in her direction and attacked once again.

"Hado Number 4: Byakurai]." James said as a bolt of white lightning was fired from his fingertips.

Then, James used the [Flash Step] to disappear from his spot. When he next appeared, he was already standing behind Lady with his blade placed at the side of her neck.

"And that makes checkmate." James said with a smile.

"Ayame, Lady, out!" Scathach shouted, bringing an end to this spar. "Setanta, you will stay here with Sona and her peerage to train. James you can take the rest of your peerage to rest."

"Yes, Master." James and Cu Chulainn said in reply to Scathach's orders.

"Yes, Master Scathach." Everyone else replied as they also followed Scathach's orders.

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