The remaining members of house Slesinger's team yelled as they witnessed Koloman's flight. Before he could crash onto the ground, the two first step Arch Knights among them rushed to catch him mid-air, managing to prevent further damage.
A deathly silence imposed itself on the scene as the gathered nobles fell to stupor.
Although despicable, Koloman ranked among the most outstanding of the Holy Flame Empire's nobility beneath the age of fifty. Even when taking the sovereign prince houses and the imperial family into account, he was still in the top one hundred.
To see such a character sent flying with one punch by a nobody was incomprehensible.
Koloman's body trembled, not from pain, but from humiliation as he pressed his hand against his broken nose and wiped off the blood trickling from it.
"It appears I underestimated you."
His eyes now ignored Iliana and focused solely on Konrad who stared at him with naked condescendence.
"You are not worthy of estimating me."
Konrad's conceited words caused Koloman's lips to curl into a bone-chilling smile.
"Really? Let's see about that."
He freed himself from his teammates' grasp and slowly stood up. As he did, the wind surrounding him seemed to blow faster, swirling around his body at soaring speed.
He stretched out his palm, summoning a long silver energy spear which he clasped within his two hands and brought into a fighting sense.
"I officially challenge you to a duel. This is your last chance to kneel and beg for mercy. Past this point, regardless of how much you wail, I will cripple you."
The wind seemed to echo his words and coiled around his spear in hissing sounds.
Worry flashed within Iliana's eyes, while Daphne was mortified.
Although she had seen Konrad crush higher level enemies at more than one occasion, and defeat her father within the same level, she couldn't help but feel some apprehension when the opponent was Koloman whose mastery over spiritual energy and battle skills had long been proven.
As for Daphne, having never seen Konrad fight before, she was overwhelmed by anxiety.
"Relax. There is nothing to worry about."
Konrad reassured, smelling the fear oozing from their bodies.
Light purple orbs burst from his form and swirled around him as he took a leisurely step forward and cracked his knuckles.
"Duel accepted. Don't worry, I'm too kindhearted to let you beg for mercy. I will settle for crippling you."
Koloman said nothing else and shot toward Konrad with his spear raised and thrust toward his glabella. Konrad spun to let the blow pass him by and grabbed the pole with his left hand while throwing a purple light charged fist straight toward Koloman's cheek.
The wind currents swirling around the spear repelled Konrad's left hand, Koloman crouched to evade the blow and drove the back-end of his spear toward Konrad's lower abdomen.
He tore through Konrad's abdomen, only to realize that what he'd struck was nothing more than an afterimage. The real Konrad had already reappeared behind him with a kick toward his skull.
*Bam* *Bam* *Bam*
Like that, they exchanged dozens of blows in the split of a second, causing ripples to spread through the air and crackle the ground.
But none could take advantage.
The wind force swirling around Koloman turned into sharp blades, Konrad's double punch met the pole, and the two recoiled from the impact, respectively taking five steps backward.
"What is his body made of?"
Koloman had expected his wind blades to cut through Konrad's fist like a knife through butter. However, from start to now, he had yet to put a dent within that steel like physique.
In fact, he had the uncomfortable sensation that Konrad was only dodging his blows to not reveal the full extent of his resilience. That even if his spear thrusts did connect, he couldn't harm him.
However, from that exchange of blows, he learned something valuable.
"You are a green-horn. I don't know how long you've been cultivating and who taught you your skills, but something is clear."
"As far as controlling power, spiritual energy, and martial skills are concerned, you are nothing more than a toddler still learning how to walk. Like a low-level demonic beast, you move solely on instinct."
Koloman confidently declared, seeking to strike at Konrad's self-confidence.
However, he was disappointed to see Konrad's lips curl into a radiant smile.
"As for you, you are a weakling."
The calm statement caused annoyance to flash within Koloman's eyes. Due to the Transformation Skill, he was unable to accurately judge Konrad's cultivation level; however, he had a hunch it was lower than his by more than one level.
If that was true, he was currently struggling against an inferior. The thought was sickening.
Worse, while he'd summoned his energy weapon from the get-go, Konrad was fighting him barehanded!
The bystanders who failed to see the subtleties of the exchange could only stare dazed. As for those who perfectly followed the confrontation, their thoughts were similar to Koloman's.
"When did house Kracht breed such a talent? How come we've never heard of him before? Could he be a weapon trained by Count Wolfgang?"
The woman within Lars' arms asked him in stupor.
"Possibly. However, if that's all he can offer, he will still get the short end of the stick."
Koloman and Lars had been rivals for decades. Therefore, he knew him better than most.
And indeed, he was about to kick things up a notch.
The invisible winds swirling around Koloman expanded and morphed into a clear white whirlwind from the base of his feet all the way to his head. Carried by the whirlwind, he floated above the ground, but it didn't just serve as decoration.
Koloman merged with the whirlwind and barreled into Konrad at breakneck. Vast white-purple light erupted from Konrad's form, he turned into a violet beam and once again clashed with Koloman.
This time, he didn't seek to evade, meeting blow with blows, and power with power. All the while, he studied Koloman's movements and fighting skills with his Origin Sight.
Origin Sight's worth wasn't just in analyzing a person's body or spying from a distance. Its true utility was to establish patterns. By observing the behavior of an individual for a prolonged amount of time, the user could determine all their habits, from how they rose from sleep to how they ate when they knew no one was watching.
Of course, that included all their fighting stances and skills.
Unbeknown to Koloman, Konrad was drawing a clear map of his fighting style and using it to perfect his own.
In the blink of an eye, they exchanged a hundred blows, but while it seemed like the stalemate perdured. Apprehension was rising within Koloman's heart.
The map was complete.
Konrad soared into the sky and descended onto Koloman's face with a knee blow.
The collision dispersed Koloman's whirlwind. Konrad's knee crashed into his face and further mangled his already broken nose.
Koloman flew into the ground and cratered with blood gushing from his nose and mouth. But before he could return to his feet, Konrad appeared by his side and threw a vicious kick onto his chest!
Koloman didn't want to summon his energy armor when Konrad had yet to bring out his weapon, but right now, he could no longer care about any of that.
A jet-black scale armor covered his body and reduced most of the damage received from Konrad's kick.
With a somersault, he returned onto his feet.
"Oh? Are you that desperate about becoming my punching bag? Alright, I will help you."
Instantly, Konrad vanished from Koloman's sight, causing confusion to spread within his eyes.
"Where…is he? How come I can no longer keep track of him?"
Unlike the space attribute, the light attribute couldn't be used for teleportation. No matter how fast and instantaneous it looked, it was still speed. Therefore, Koloman had full confidence he could follow Konrad's trails.
However, now he couldn't.
A punch came from Koloman's left, dislocated his jaw, and sent him rolling onto the ground.
A kick struck him from the back of his head and propelled him forward.
Konrad's voice echoed within the air with dozens of afterimages as he beat Koloman black and blue.
Thanks to the energy armor, Koloman avoided severe injuries, but his dignity had been crushed into nothingness.
He howled as Konrad's foot stomped his head and nailed him onto the ground in a humiliating position.
Konrad flipped Koloman onto his back with another kick and smashed his foot into his teeth.
More than one tooth broke, the disgraced nobleman's blood now covering Konrad's heels.
Silence once again reigned within the crowd.
"How could this be? Why did the table turn so suddenly…and so brutally?"
Lars wondered as he witnessed his long-time rival crushed beneath the newcomer's heel.
Berserk force burst from Koloman's body and pushed Konrad away from him.
Koloman's eyes shone with killing intent, a gigantic illusory winged serpent appeared at his back and lifted him onto his feet.
He was about to use his race's innate ability to end Konrad's life. But before, he could make use of it…
A voice thundered, carrying with it boundless might that suppressed both Konrad and Koloman.
All switched attention toward its origin, which turned out to be a middle-aged man dressed in a spacious yellow cassock, and seeing the white flame emblem embroidered on its chest, the gathered nobles bowed in reverence.
"Greetings your Excellency!"
The man was a bishop of the Holy Flame Church and therefore, a Semi-Saint. Be it in status or in cultivation, he was leagues above any of them.