Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
“Watch out for his attack!” Wya’s voice sounded beside his ears. “Just hold him back!”
The blade fleeted past the top of Kohen’s head, emitting a searing sensation.
When he thought of the weapon’s ability, Kohen did not even dare parry the attack, or make a counterattack.
He could only frown before he bent his back, turned to his side, and rolled on the floor to evade the Rising Sun Saber.
It was the third time he had to dodge the attack in an ungainly fashion.
His nose detected a burning smell from his hair.
Frustrated, Kohen clutched the Load-Bearer in his hand. He felt that he had never been in such a humiliating fight.
Even when he was up against the gray bastards in the desert, who were more than two meters tall, the police officer, with his huge build and excellent arm strength, could risk getting injured from a few blows to create opportunities for his comrades to launch attacks.
While he was facing that weapon which was capable of destroying anything
As Kohen was still deep in thought, the Fire Knight of Black Sand Region, one of the Five Generals of Eckstedtthe brawny Romel Tolja lunged forward!
The police officer’s pupils contracted. He then dodged the saber’s slash once again in a disheveled manner.
‘How is he so quick?’
The blade slashed the wall over his head and a horrid sizzle sounded.
But this time, after the slash, the Fire Knight delivered a firm punch, striking Kohen’s sword handle as the latter lifted it!
The latter’s chest ached due to the tremors running through his body as a result of the blow. He lost his balance and his feet slipped!
Before he could process his shock over his opponent’s crazed attacks, which only focused on the offense and not defense, the heat wave from the Rising Sun Saber washed over Kohen’s cheeks.
Nevertheless, Kohen was currently in a predicament where he had just regained his balance. He could not readjust his position in time, let alone defend himself!
The battle-seasoned Kohen immediately realized what was going on.
“Remember, the battle is not a game in which you take turns attacking, and it is definitely not a boxing match in which men compete to see who can receive more blows than the other.” It was advice from his teacher. “Every time you give up on the chance to further an attack, counterattack, or defend, and choose instead to retreat or evade, it is akin to turning yourself into a wooden dummy.
“It also means that your opponent is given a chance to attack without the risk of being interfered. He can control his pace, adjust his position, launch a move readily, double his attacks, and deliver more destructive blowseach step back you take results in two advancing strides by you enemy. The outcome of the fight will mostly be determined in that instant.”
Kohen gritted his teeth. ‘True, no turn-taking is allowed in a combat.’
He was too aware of the advantage that the opponent’s weapon held. As such, he could only keep evading the attacks. Defending himself or counterattacking was out of the question. Hence, Tolja experienced no obstructions to his attacks, and each slash from him was more vicious than the last.
In the end, the police officer completely lost his upper hand. He could not fight back, and could only wait to be sliced by his enemy.
Unlike a game of chess, in a battle, turn-taking could mean death!
Kohen was overwhelmed with regret. He could only watch as the Rising Sun Saber drew closer and closer to him.
Seeing Kohen in grave danger, Wya roared and raised his single-edged sword. Only two-thirds of the blade remained, and it was aimed at Tolja’s back!
The Edge of No Return filled his right arm, releasing the purest bloodlust amid sharp stabs of pain.
Wya was determined to force Tolja into a defensive stance.
In that critical moment, a shocked Kohen noticed that Tolja’s torso, which was leaning forward, experienced a slight jolt. The Rising Sun Saber did not advance further.
A fierce look flashed in the Fire Knight’s eyes.
The police officer felt a chill in his chest.
“Watch out!” Kohen instantly realized the most important aspect in the situation. He could no longer care about his well-being and could only shout at Wya in exasperation, “His target is”
Before Kohen finished, Tolja turned around swiftly.
Everything happened in the blink of an eye.
Wya’s broken sword was hacked again. A third of the blade dropped to the ground.
Wya widened his eyes, watching the Fire Knight hack off his sword blade, stretch out his left hand, and grasp Wya by the neck!
He lifted him and gave him a shove.
Wya felt a sharp pain at the back of his headhe was slammed against the wall by Tolja.
Overwhelmed by immense pain, his single-edged sword, snapped into half, and fell to the ground.
Astounded, Kohen watched Tolja subdue Wya in an instant.
“Getting into a fight means risking your life, Young Master…” Tolja lifted his bloody left arm. He stared coldly at the prince’s attendant, who was being seized by the neck and was struggling in vain.
The police officer let out an enraged roar, straining to get on his feet, only to find it was too late.
Wya watched resentfully as the Rising Sun Saber in the Fire Knight’s right hand radiated extreme heat, stabbing him in the chest!
At that very moment, a hand appeared before Tolja abruptly.
The Fire Knight’s weapon was seized by this hand.
The Rising Sun Saber sliced through the hand as the palm touched the sword handle.
The point of contact between the blade and the palm emitted terrifying sizzles. The flesh was charred and even let out sparks.
“I’ve caught you, Fire Knight,” a young and calm voice, accompanied by faint panting sounds, rang.
Kohen and Wya turned their heads in bewilderment.
Raphael Lindbergh stood before Tolja with an emotionless expression. His charred right hand was outstretched, ignoring the threat of the fiery blade. His fingers were wrapped around the sword handle tightly.
He did not seem to care about the flame in his palm.
Tolja was slightly astounded.
He did not even sense him
‘Is it because the opponent’s good at sneaking around, or he just had great timing?’
With his left hand, Raphael clung onto Tolja’s saber-wielding wrist. His hands, one position at the front while another at the back, forcefully positioned the Rising Sun Saber at his side. He then said softly, “When you lose the Rising Sun Blade, Romel Tolja, will you still be the Fire Knight?”
Tolja’s pupil contracted, peering at Raphael’s severely burnt right hand, which was still holding on to the sword handle and blade tightly.
Staring at Raphael’s torn and charred but intact hand, no one was more astonished than Tolja.
Although it appeared to be in a very wretched state the extreme heat of the Rising Sun Saber could melt metal and even gold!
Tolja was shocked. ‘This fellow’s hand. There’s something wrong with it
‘Who is this person No, what is this thing?’
Raphael, who made his sudden appearance, took a peek at Kohen, then said to Tolja coldly, “In a game where you bet with your lives, the lives of those in the supreme class, or the lives of ordinary folks are no different than the other!”
At the next second, Kohen bellowed with rage and channelled his power! After all, Kohen had formed a great rapport with Raphael for many years.
The Glory of the Stars shone a cluster of starry light on his skin and sword. Seizing the opportunity created by Raphael, he drew closer to Tolja!
Tolja’s left hand still held on to the struggling Wya. He tried to forcefully withdraw his right arm, only to realize it was still in Raphael’s graspthe young man’s arms emitted a strange scuffling sound and was trembling nonstop in an eerie manner.
The knight furrowed his eyebrows.
His right arm only managed to move a few inches, but it was then suppressed by the young man as he applied pressure on certain spots from a strategic angle. Due to that, he was completely overpowered!
The Fire Knight could not hold back his shock. ‘This degree of strength is impossibleit doesn’t fit his build!’
The second he took his next breath, a vicious expression appeared on Tolja’s face. His turned his right wrist, attempting to force Raphael to retreat with the Rising Sun Saber.
As he twisted his wrist, the blade came swinging!
However, Raphael, who was clutching the enemy’s arm, merely adjusted his posture and slipped to the outer side of the enemy’s forearm, the blind spot of the Rising Sun Saber.
A piece of cloth was sliced off by the blade and burnt into ashes.
Tolja felt a chill in his chest.
Both his left and right hands were restrained. The Rising Sun Saber could not be wielded.
He could not move. He could not evade.
His weapon was constrained, could not be used to parry off attacks.
‘Did this young man set up such a strategy?’
As he was thinking, the Fire Knight felt a chill at the center of his backbehind him, Kohen raised his saber, the Load-Bearer. With a merciless and firm expression, the Power of Eradication filled his arms.
Aiming the back of Tolja’s neck, the police officer roared with fury and delivered a shocking, vicious slash!
The blade sliced Tolja’s neck open.
Fresh blood squirted out.
“Although this girl is of Walton’s blood,” Lampard said coldly, “She is merely a woman. She has no right to inherit the seat of Archduchess of Dragon Clouds City, let alone stand here and interrogate us!”
The Archduke of Black Sand Region shot Saroma a fearsome glare. The girl shuddered slightly and touched the Triumph on her finger instinctively.
“Keep your unnecessary sympathy and habitual formalities, my fellow archdukes,” Lampard said flatly with an authoritative voice. “She is not us. This girl has no right to decide for the future of Eckstedt.”
Archduke Trentida gave a slight shrug, seeming to agree with him.
At that very second, while facing the five archdukes’ gazes, Thales let go of Saroma and strode forward in a slow but determined manner.
“So you’ve finally said it, Your Grace.”
Thales said softly, “For Eckstedt?”
Lampard’s expression changed a little.
Meanwhile, Thales secretly tightened his fist.
Saroma used her position to create an opening for the dialogue. She had to seize the opportunity and advance closely, step by step.
With the only bargaining chip in his hand, he had to destroy them!
Thales took a deep breath, his eyes brimming with resolution. “As the Archdukes of Eckstedt, facing the huge threat of Constellation Kingdom, you have to stand together, don’t you?”
After he said that, the mood in the hall changed sharply.
Everyone’s breathing began to flutter.
The way the archdukes looked at him changed.
Archduke Roknee frowned slightly. “What?”
“Look”Lampard snorted coldly”he knows that better than we do.”
Archduke Lecco recovered from his daze and coughed faintly. “I cannot deny that our countries are adversaries”
Unexpectedly, in that moment, Thales interrupted Lecco with a strange response.
“I cannot agree more with your view on this subject, Your Grace,” said the Prince of Constellation coolly. “To prevent the annihilation of Eckstedt by Constellation in the future, you are supposed to unite against me and my countryeven if it violates the Joint Ruling Pledge, or your conscience.”
“Your choice is right,” Thales said firmly.
Once he finished speaking, Archduke Roknee frowned a bit, while Archduke Lampard’s gaze froze in the air.
The archdukes exchanged glances. Their eyes were filled with a mixture of confusion and surprise. They appeared to be astounded by what Thales had said.
Saroma shuddered behind him and tugged at his sleeve.
Thales ignored her. Instead, he stared at the only person in the room with no expression on his faceArchduke Lecco of Defense City.
A calm but conflicting emotion glinted in the old archduke’s eyes. It was a sharp contrast to the absolute coldness in Archduke Lampard’s eyes.
“But have you thought about it?”
Thales slowly adjusted the speed of his utterance, his breathing rate, and heartbeat. “Have you all thought about it?”
He knew his next sentences were the key.
“What benefits from your current actions is not your Eckstedt, Archduke Lecco,” Thales said softly, turning to face Roknee, Trentida, and Olsius. “Neither is it your Eckstedt, your Eckstedt, or your Eckstedt, Your Excellencies.”
Archduke Lecco narrowed his eyes slightly.
Facing the four archdukes’ complicated gazes, Thales continued to speak.
“All of you are standing here, making compromises, and fighting for his Eckstedt.”
In the hall, the boorish Archduke of Black Sand Region, who had a look of someone worn out by the vicissitudes of life, widened his eyes abruptly!
He cast a death glare upon Thales!
It was as if he wanted to tear Thales’ entire body apart.
However, Thales was unaware of it.
Thales took a step forward, gazing at the Archduke of Black Sand Region with a placid expression.
“It is the Eckstedt that belongs to Chapman Lampard, to him and him only.”
Lampard clenched his fist and returned Thales’ gaze. Infinite fury was surging within him.
‘He is the biggest accident in this!’
The Prince of Constellation’s gaze was calm. He softly said, “Archduke Lampard understood with the greatest clarity that he would sacrifice anything for his own Eckstedt.”
He turned his head sharply and looked at the four archdukes. His voice was firm.
“From the beginning, he was ready to sacrifice those who once swore to form an alliance with him
“…but were oblivious to his scheme. For instance
The archdukes’ gazes froze momentarily.
Archduke Lampard’s sheath was slammed onto the ground with great force!
It immediately caught the others’ attention.
“I’ve had enough,” Lampard’s voice contained a barely noticeable anger. “Don’t you find this absurd?
“We have been standing here watching his performance like a bunch of fools from a moment ago.”
The other archdukes glanced at the Archduke of Black Sand Region.
Thales pursed his lipshe knew that the other archdukes’ stance would determine the development of this psychological warfare.
“Do not forget about the responsibility we bear, and the solemn future we still have to face.”
Lampard impatiently reminded the four archdukes with a warning tone, “Please remember that he is our enemy. Besides, judging from his performance, he may be our most fearsome enemy.”
The archdukes did not speak.
Thales felt Saroma’s grip on him tighten due to her nervousness.
Lampard leered at the silent archdukes and nodded.
He turned around. “Guards”
Thales felt his chest tighten!
He looked at the other archdukes as anxiety brewed within him.
At that moment…
An old and muffled voiceto Thales it was practically the voice of an angelinterrupted Lampard just in time.
Archduke Lecco rubbed his bald head, closed his eyes, and exhaled slowly.
“Chapman, Chapman, as a suzerain of a Northland territory, your courage, wit, and ability are rare among your peers. I am very impressed and I respect you for that,” Archduke Lecco said slowly. “I believe even Shawlon the Third, ‘The Whisperer’ could not have done better than you.”
Lampard did not speak. He had a feeling that something bad was about to happen.
The next second, Archduke Lecco opened his eyes, which were initially murky, but bright and clear now. He looked at Thales. “But, why are you so afraid of him?
“Is it because of Constellation backing him, or his inborn intelligence?”
Lampard was slightly startled.
“We are not blind, Chapman,” the old archduke sighed and said.
“Since this boy arrived in this place, everything you have said, regardless of your stance, aims to silence him.”
Lampard turned to look at the old archduke in disbelief, then shifted his gaze to the others.
But they were all gazing at Lampard coldly and silently.
In that instant, Thales’ pounding heart, which felt as though it was about to hop out of his chest, calmed down and returned to its original position.
“Is the presence of this child really that horrifying?” Archduke Lecco’s voice was faint, but loud enough to echo throughout the hall.
“Can he squash all five of us to death with just one sentence?”
Thales raised an eyebrow.
Thales took a deep breath, recalling the options given to him by Asda, and internally said, ‘As a matter of fact, you’re indeed right about that.’
“Or…” Like a wise elderly man in a village, Archduke Lecco’s lips curved up. A smile resembling a grimace emerged on his wrinkly face. What he said next was shocking.
“Will he really say something that will spark our interest?”
Lampard’s face darkened.
Never had he felt so strongly about how the other archdukes before him were morons.
“If you want to hear him out, you may take your time interrogating him when he is in prison,” the Archduke of Black Sand Region replied coldly. “We however, have an urgent matter to attend to. Do not forget that Dragon Clouds City is still in turmoil! Do not forget about Prime Minister Lisban”
Archduke Lecco interrupted him loudly. “Prime Minister Lisban will understand!”
The old archduke’s gaze was stern and sharp. “The question is, Chapman, as our ally, why can’t you understand our concern?”
Lampard gritted his teeth. He glanced at Thales who appeared composed, then back at Lecco.
“What about you?” The Archduke of Black Sand Region turned his head to face the others. “Do you wish to allow this madness to continue as well?”
The person who replied was Olsius.
“For the past six hundred years, the Olsius Family has been warning its descendants to never underestimate a Jadestar, despite how pitiable, meek, or weak he is.” The Archduke of Prestige Orchid peered at Thales with a strange gaze.
Thales gave him a helpless, innocent expression.
“So”Olsius changed the topic of the conversation”I would rather listen to what he has to say before hanging him.”
“I am very supportive of you, Chapman.” Standing behind Olsius, Trentida sighed. “But, instead of having disagreement, I believe we need to be united and agree on the same thing at this time.”
In that moment, the expressionless Lampard tightened his grip on his saber.
He turned his head, noticing that Archduke Roknee was eyeing him closely and flashing him a malicious smile.
“Keep talking, child…” Archduke Lecco ignored Lampard’s reaction, and decided on the next subject of their discussion in an authoritative manner. “Particularly the part about sacrificing allies.”
He knew from that moment onwards, the person in charge of the game had changed.
The balance tilted once again.
As he softly patted the back of Saroma’s hand to comfort her, Thales turned around and nodded slightly at Archduke Lecco.
“First of all, we need to know a fact.
“The assassin hired by Chapman Lampard, Bannette Charleton, has been hiding on the Cliff of the Sky.” Thales took a deep breath, recalling the conversation he overheard on the carriage, and describing it, word by word.
“He planned to infiltrate Heroic Spirit Palace to assassinate King Nuven while the White Blade Guards were sent away.”
Lampard closed his eyes.
For first three seconds, the archdukes did not react.
But soon enough, the four archdukes looked at each other.
They exchanged astonished glances.
“Yes, in Lampard’s original plan, King Nuven would mysteriously die here, in this heavily guarded Heroic Spirit Palace,” Thales’ voice was calm but filled with solemnity and grief.
“He would have died by your sides.”