Translator:EndlessFantasy TranslationEditor:EndlessFantasy Translation
Without ado, the two began their bout the moment they left the Imperial Capital.
In ancient times, this pair of warriors would have been worshipped as demigods. Within seconds, they broke through the defensive barriers of the Imperial Capital and Triplet Mountain Fortress, arriving five thousand meters above the Mycroft Continent.
At present, Israel’s body was covered in materialized life energies. The condensation of his aura shaped into a black-gold armor as he arrived earlier to the spot they’ve both picked. However, the Emperor did not make a move, merely folding his chest and stared conceitedly at the other warrior with a look that said ‘do what you want’.
A majestic pressure that seemed to break heaven and earth crashed down upon Joshua as if a crumbling summit. Still, the warrior was not movedif the sheer presence of Legendary fighters were apocalyptic, he was now a steel stone that had gone through the forge a thousand times.
The sky around them was filled with thick gray rainclouds.
Joshua closed his eyes slightly, shifted his entire body, and mustered his strength. Suddenly, he took a step forward in the very next second and charged forward at an incredible speed.
Charging was the most basic of basics, a move that could be used with finesse even by ordinary combatants. But with Joshua’s strength, this simple move punched through air, and the tower-shaped rainclouds were utterly dispersed from his backwash, just like a sandcastle being blown away by a stormy gale.
In the blink of an eye, the warrior had covered hundreds of meters and arrived in front of Israel, where a concentrated aura that scorches was raised up to the distance of a pace and shrouded the Emperor’s body.
Without any hesitation, Joshua swung at his opponent with his divine armament, the greatsword.
For this revenge, Joshua only summoned Ying since Ling still had some public duty to see to. Nonetheless, Joshua had no qualms about using weapons against a Legendary fightereven if he was unarmed.
Even to Israel, the thing charging at him looked to be not human, but a meteor that tore across the horizon. While the greatsword that was bigger than a human appeared to be waved around in a rough and disorderly manner, there were in fact choreographed moves such as precise downward slashes, parries, thrusts and diagonal cleaves that cut through the air.
With each blow, the silver blade drew straight or curve lines through the air, the strength behind it adjusting the course and force with such pinpoint accuracy that the metal almost appeared soft.
Through Joshua’s power and the sword’s excellence, every cut was ten times the speed of sound and carried tons of impact force. This kind of attacks would cleave both creatures of flesh or deep-sea behemoths into ribbons, while weapons too would not be able to take the load and shatter instantlyonly augmented divine armaments would sustain against it.
Against Joshua’s ferocious attack akin to a meteor shower, Israel should not simply catch it. His eyes flashing as he gazed at the sword glinting in black-red flames with the intention to consume himself, he materialized Combat Aura that soon engulfed his hand before leaping into the fray.
As the heated Combat Aura was blown off, the clashing between steels rang. The divine armamentthe greatsword that should have been able to cut through all thingswas stopped forcefully. Israel displayed an inconceivably superb technique to block each of the warrior’s blow head on. Thunderous rumbling reverberated through the elevated plane, making the Imperial Capital citizens below suspect if there were real thunder.
Despite that, the Legendary champion did not attack. All he did was use the steel knuckles formed from aura and deflect Joshua’s every move, but his tremendous parrying force was even sending shocks through the giant sword and into the warrior’s hands.
This time, Israel did not hold backnor did he adjust so that his power output was only at Supreme-threshold. Therefore, even if Joshua had delivered thousands of consecutive blows in no time at all, his efforts were fruitless. His hands were starting to feel numb, and soon his movements paused just for a split second.
“That’s already good enough.”
Israel apparently still had the strength to talk and throw a praise. He naturally sensed the warrior’s opening, and with a slight dash ahead he slammed a fist right on to the center of the warrior’s chest.
Faster than lightning, golden aura rippled over the Emperor’s knuckles like the sun, filling the sky thousands of meters above ground with dusky rays. As the air pressure scattered the cloud layers, torrential rains began to fall upon the Imperial Capital. Israel did not suppress much of his strength; he merely ensured that it was not a killing strike.
Furthermore, even Joshua himself would lose his combat ability if his punch did strike true.
Still, the warrior did not lose his wits. With a quick turn of his mind, he narrowed his eyes and threw his sword at Israel’s hip. Then, crossing his own arms in the pattern of a rolling mill, he prepared to break his opponent’s incoming fist.
He had already expected this scenario; he was clearly aware how powerful Legendary champions were. Clearly, it was reasonable for his attack to be blocked even he used his weapons at an opportune moment.
Against the Emperor’s fist, he naturally used every fiber of his strength. Boiling lifeforce streamed into every little corner of his body, resonating and speedily forming into a complete body. Right then, Joshua was no longer a multicellular human but an extraordinary existence formed entirely from lifeforce as he mustered strength over limbs harder than steel while his body’s energies moved rhythmically.
As Israel’s attack lashed out and fist struck limb, an explosive air current accompanied by shockwaves completely blew away any cloud within a thousand meters, buffeting the Imperial Capital billowing winds. As the citizens woke up to dusk as well as the outrageous weather change with the ensuing rains and gales, there was a slight panic.
While Joshua’s strength showed great attention to detail, Israel’s own did too. Anyone else would have been flustered as Joshua threw his huge sword out towards their hip just as both his arms prepared to repel their fist, but such methods would not stop the Emperor.
Without pulling back, Israel sidestepped in the fraction of a step, evaded the sword. He then switched fist for elbow to break through Joshua’s crossed-arm defense, his attack viciously streaking towards the warrior.
This hit was imbued with focused aura so powerful it quivered; it could break out a huge cavity even if it were mountaintops formed entirely from diamonds.
Bodies of flesh would have been easily blown into minced meat.
Sheets of flowing lifeforce repelled all elemental magic in the vicinity. The dimensions were locked down temporarily, while the magic circles of the fortresses within the Triplet Mountains went out of control for a while.
To dodge or to parry.
Joshua naturally would not be so foolish and deflect a blow that would punch dragon into pieces. Crisply releasing the strength on his hands, he slipped away from the brunt of Israel’s attack by following the energy flow stirred by the Emperor’s aura, slipping to his opponent’s flank and moving into the swell while catching the sword that struck air. However, even if it was just a swell, the force still easily ruptured the outer layer of the warrior’s defenses and struck strips of white marks over his body.
Clenching his sword with both hands, Joshua stepped up once and charged again, striking towards His Majesty.
This blow, however, was different from his quick strikes. Against the endless armies of Chaos and the ranks of frenzied dragons, it was better if he struck more with a balanced weight behind each slash. However, against a powerful man stronger than himself, it would only work if he uses every ounce of power in his bodyor use a strength above it.
Exhaling a scalding breath of vapor, Joshua’s body had seemed to become a fusion core operating at tremendous speed, with his aura and muscle strength harmonizing and resonating before bursting out at once. Black-red air seeped into the silver sword and dyed it into a red-crystal color, the tiniest of swell of one swing of this sword raised twister storms despite the incredible altitude.
Joshua had used countless skills and buffing techniques at this instant; his lifeforce churned as if a tide, tearing apart the empty space.
Even Israel himself felt a stabbing pain in his skin that was covered by aura armor. The odor of burning steel from his nose, meaning that he would be injured if Joshua’s strike does make contact. Surprised by the precision handling of energy and horrendous aura condensation shown by the warrior, the Emperor could not help but laugh as he realized that Joshua did not lose out to legendary champions.
With a golden glint in his eyes, the Emperor started to face the incoming assault seriously.
The Emperor could not afford to hold back in order to keep the citizens from being caught in the aftermath of the bout. If Joshua’s attack slit through the air and hits the Imperial Capital, the entire northwestern urban zone would be cut in two. The heat stronger than the sun would then raise a huge fire that would burn through the entire cityif it were anywhere else, summits would be lacerated, rivers broken.
Holding his knuckles, Israel solemnly summoned his power.
Aura, the power of life, flows within the steel force of all things.
To be legendary meant to step above the very nature of life as well as the boundaries of the world’s origins. The essence of aura was not limited to the power of life but could be freely switched. This was the golden state that presented the essence of self, something Supreme bodies could not achieve.
An unexpected rippling flowed over the Emperor’s right fist. The world shards began to appear and flow around his arm. A presence akin to a perilous storm or a tide that reaches the heavens spread in the company of Combat Aura like a second blazing sun, before all those energies gathered into a single point.
Thus, the fist swung out.
Israel’s punch headed straight for Joshua’s swinging sword without a shred of doubt. It resembled a dragon-slaying lance that carried an intentioned that penetrated all things. While that was a phantasm was given form by aura, it allowed the warrior to see without question that His Majesty was indeed holding his signature lance that came piercing towards him.
Fist and sword collided, the air rippled and trembled.
Even the path of light was refracted chaotically with the tremors in the air as well as the bloody vapor. A silhouette flew out afterward, and the entire crowd in the Imperial Capital saw it clearly. Without any obstacle in the air, he flew several kilometers before stopping.
After holding his own body aloft, Joshua spat out a deep breath that carried the iron smell of blood. He kept clenching upon his sword, but the muscle and veins in his arms had been busted open with the colossal repel, and blood dripped down.
Still, in between breaths, blood flow, and squirming muscles, the veins folded and shut. Soon, his nerves, some of his slightly dislocated joints and his hazily bloody hands followed suit and returned to their original form.
Israel on the hand remained where he was, gazing at his steel-fist formed thorough aura that had been split open. The white bone underneath was visible and there were clear signs of fracture.
The Emperor smiled.
Israel mumbled in awe. “I’ve even believed that enduring the Longsword of the Ashland was thanks to the red dragon’s poor control that missed its mark. But now it seems that everything was achieved by his own strength.”
The Emperor did not move and stayed at his own position. He dispersed his aura armor and the clothes beneath soon came into view. In seconds, a streak of light flashed as Joshua returned to him.
“What, do you want more?” Israel asked as he flexed his already-recovered knuckles while glancing sideways at the warrior. He then nodded in a complimentary manner. “You were, in fact, a little stronger than I thought. I was confident that this strike could maim you and put you out of commission for months.
“Almost,” Joshua replied, ‘sheathing’ his sword. After a sparkle of mana, he carried Ying’s human form and went before the Emperor, saying with a shade of regret “I’ve believed that I had a little strength to resist, but still got blown away by Your Majesty.”
Israel made a curious expression in return. In this fight he did not wear any armor or bring any weaponhe was basically unarmed, but that one fist was swung out in all seriousness. It was an attack that even the Legendary dragons of the Pentashade did not dare to face head-on.
However, Joshua’s sword strike with condensed aura had shredded ninety-percent of the momentum behind that punch, breaking through the Emperor’s aura armor and the defenses of his Legendary-tier muscle. The warrior had also borrowed the sheer thrust from that fist to fall back, evading the recoil that could flatten hills.
Such a technique is already comparable to Legendary fighters. If that’s not resisting, what was? A counter-kill?
Nevertheless, there was no need to keep sparring. Joshua knew that as long as he did not reach Legendary he would never win against one who wasthe few exchanges they shared had been a one-sided affair. After all, the gap between Legendary and Supreme was bigger than that between Gold and Supreme. This world ultimately does not allow individuals to challenge others of other tiers, and it was better to raise your own ability rather than dreaming about it.
And in Joshua’s arms, Ying appeared dazedthere was no telling if she was feeling faint from the recoil or some other reason.
Israel adjusted his pajamas. He had run straight out of the palace where he slept the instance he sensed Joshua’s power flaring-up.
Then, looking below at the ruins of the Feltham family residence, he sighed.
“Feud between noble families basically happen between their representatives, and vengeance is never abandoned because it concerns the house’s blood. It might seem heartless, but after bearing those life-threatening risks, the groomed representatives would also get what they desire. Gold, authority, position, and the chance to become a noblethose alone make this a fair trade.”
“I understand your rage,” the Emperor said calmly as he turned to Joshua. “But there are rules in this world. You’re stronger than the Sewards and the Felthams so you could kill them indiscriminately, but you’re not weaker than I am right now, and must thus be punished.”
Joshua nodded curtly without any qualms. He knew very well how serious it was to murder people in the Imperial Capitaland nobles at that, for it was equivalent to slapping Israel and therefore raising questions about his sovereignty as Emperor. Still, since he was prepared to act, he was prepared to be punished too.
Israel turned his head again, shaking it when he saw that the magic circles on the Triplet Mountains were broken.
“From this day forth, you’re to stay in seclusion in the Northern Realms for one year. You’re not permitted to travel without special circumstances until the matter with the Felthams and the Sewards are resolved.
After waiting for a while longer, Joshua raised his brow.
“Just that?” he asked.
Not hitting me to an inch from death or some more realistic sanction?
Israel was the one who was baffled instead. “You want something more serious? Please understandyou’re a Supreme warrior, the head of the Radcliffe family. Your father was my most loyal supporter as much as he was of the Royal family.”
“I would not punish you for slaying several rivaling nobles in revenge, but I have to teach you a lesson for not obeying my orders. If the deed was done at some isolated location, what does the grudge between nobles have to do with the Imperial Family?”
Such preferential treatment was somewhat ridiculous. Joshua honestly revealed his thoughtseven he thought that it was inconceivable. The warrior has prepared his heart to be sent back to the North in a mangled body before he came to the Imperial City.
But Israel did not think so.
“Severely penalizing a Supreme fighter who could challenge Legendaries already?” he replied ironically. “For such a trifle? It would be better if I found an excuse such as the intention of rebellion You should know that you did swing a sword at me.”
Before Joshua could retort, the Emperor shook his head.
“I thought I was going die a few months ago,” Israel looked to the surface again, at the Morlaix Palace in the middle of the Imperial Capital. “Ten years or twenty years would be too generous. I even believed that there would be just five or six yearseither way, in more than ten years where my life kept draining, I could see death coming.”
“There weren’t many I could trust in the entire Empire, too. Nostradamus is an old man and might even die before me. That old fart doesn’t even have the desire to break past Legendaryall he wants was to teach more fine students to become the pillar of the Empire, so I can’t count on him.”
Joshua listened quietly as the Emperor kept speaking expressionlessly.
“But he didn’t understand, it wasn’t enough for this world to have pillars. You need one single pillar that could support the throne by itself so that the Empire would not fall. Without the power of Legendary, even the most united and largest nations would be simple duckweeds that would split anytime.”
“You believe I qualify?” Joshua’s expression changed. He understood the meaning behind Israel’s words and thought it was unthinkable. “To be frank, Your Majesty, we’ve not met much and yet here you are, planning for the future Aren’t you afraid of my ambition?”
“Ambition?” Israel scoffed as if hearing a joke. “What ambition does a naive and hungry wolf crave? More meat? There are so many powerful individuals waiting to challenge you and you’re concerned about a nation?”
The point struck home. Joshua shut his mouth, knowing that he never minded such mattersif someone really wanted him to run a country, he would simply throw it all aside and simply run around, traveling across the world.
“I certainly don’t have ambition,” Joshua replied seriously after some thought. “However, others may not be the same, and it’s impossible to have a Legendary individual within the Imperial Family all the time. How did your family do it before this?”
“A question that dives into the heart of the matter.” Israel nodded. He appeared to have anticipated this question from Joshua, and had the answer prepared. “Then why do you think the Imperial Family could rule this nation with so many outstanding elites for almost a thousand years?”
The warrior indicated that he did not know, and the Emperor did not directly answer the question either.
“To watch over the sealed lands, the Radcliffes were sent to the North. No one else could do this apart from your familyjust as the House of Diamond rules these lands. So, even if there were Legendary champions who outshines the Royal Family they would never replace even with the Royal House weakens for a hundred years.”
He did not continue, but the message revealed made Joshua frown. Israel, however, did not give him time to think.
“That’s about it. Now, return to the North. Make the proper preparations to welcome the nature magister who would be leading a team herself in a few weeks. Pope Igor would also be looking for youalthough I’m not sure why, it would still definitely be something important.”
“In this year of travel ban, you should develop your territories with the relevant countermeasures against the waves of beasts from the Dark Forest.”
After a brief delay, Israel shook his head.
“Since the Mana Tide looms,” he finished, his voice carrying the hint of a bitter smile.