Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Under the morning rays of dawn, the densely packed army stood among one of the ruins and encircled the trio at the center so tightly that not even a single drop of water would be able to escape
Kohen stared at the unexpected girl before him, gaze filled with shock and disbelief. “Kroesch, why?”
The short-haired girl only stared apathetically at him without uttering a word.
Kohen suddenly felt that a part of that girl had died a long time ago. She was no longer that cheerful, tough and happy-go-lucky girl who liked to play tricks on him together with Miranda. At that moment, Kohen felt a pang in his heart.
“Stop asking, Kohen.” Beside the police officer, Miranda watched the soldiers who inched towards them and exhaled. “Remember the Disaster Sword we met?”
While he stared at Kroesch, Kohen froze momentarily when he heard what Miranda said.
“Even though they’re the Tower of Eradication’s archenemy, they still uphold the dignity and pride of a swordsman,” Miranda said flatly. Holding the sword hilt in her gloved hands, she slowly raised her sword.
“But Kroesch said that a group of masked Disaster Swords ambushed her one night and ruined her right hand.
Kohen frowned. “Gu said that he had no clue that there was such a battle in Armor District.”
Miranda nodded and stared at Kroesch. Stood among the crowd, Kroesch did not move, letting the warriors pass her by on both sides.
“Besides, even though they’re hiding here, the Disaster Swords don’t give a damn about politics. They also look down on Mystic Guns,” the daughter of the Arunde Family said calmly. “Why would they use them to assassinate the prince?”
Kohen inhaled deeply. “So that means—”
Miranda finished his sentence without a break. “Yes, the Disaster Swords neither conspired with an archduke, nor tried to assassinate the prince—they were framed.
“The so-called Disaster Sword was only a guise. A trap set by Black Sand Region in the name of the Tower of Eradication to lure us from Constellation to Eckstedt!
Miranda narrowed her eyes and glared at Kroesch—whose expression was still apathetic—and said in a loud voice,
“And the source of everything… was your lie, Kroesch!”
Amid the crowd, Kroesch sneered a little. The expression in her eyes was indecipherable. “Last chance, I will spare all of you from death if you surrender!”
Without realizing it, Wya had formed a triangle with the two seeds of the Tower of Eradication. He faced Kroesch with Kohen on his left, and Miranda on his right.
Staring at the soldiers who were slowly moving in, Wya very anxiously said. “Erm, perhaps I shouldn’t interrupt you both, but… perhaps we should first solve the problem at hand?”
The soldiers clad in the patrols’ uniforms closed in around them, their eyes were fierce.
“Throw down your weapons!” a veteran at the front said fiercely, “Or we will be the ones disarming you.”
“Have you ever fought in wars, Disaster Sword boy?” As he leaned against Wya’s back, Kohen’s gaze was extremely solemn. He said in a low voice, “I am talking about those battles where the opponents number in the thousands, not silly sword fights.”
“Yes, once,” said a pale-faced Wya. He then realized something. “And I’m not a Disaster Sword!”
“Once is enough. We’ll be paving a path later.” Kohen quickly surveyed the one hundred-something opponents before him, ignoring Wya’s second statement. “Guard the rear and keep up with our steps.”
Wya glanced at the unconscious Ralf who lay within the ruins and sighed.
“How do we guard? They’re everywhere—”
“Use your brain,” Miranda cut him off coldly. “Use your sword flexibly. Aim for their legs, reduce them into burdens on the battlefield—”
Before the swordswoman could finish her words, Kroesch roared, loud and clear,
Hurried footsteps echoed and rapidly closed in on them.
Countless afterimages of swords and light from the blades sparkled in the ruins. Soldiers pounced on the trio fiercely. The tips of their swords were pointed forward, and they attacked them in rows.
They imitated the formation used by cavalier units and used the standard charge that would enable them to bring down their enemies. At that moment, Miranda recognized their movements.
They were not the patrols of Dragon Clouds City. Instead, they were the opponents she had faced almost every day at the border for the past three years. The only difference was that they did not carry weapons like spiked maces and triangle spears. Of course, perhaps it was to make their act seem more convincing.
On the right, Kohen relied on his height to make a chopping motion with his sword, deflecting two incoming swords and forcing the third one to retreat.
Instead of retreating, the police officer charged forward, and with great strength, landed a kick on an opponent’s kneecap. While the sound of bones breaking echoed, he turned his body sideways and elbowed another opponent’s stomach.
The opponent grunted in pain. Kohen was prepared to take advantage of the opponent moving back to slash him one more time. However, the groaning opponent did not budge nor care. Instead, as if his legs were rooted to the ground, he raised his longsword and swung it again.
A deep, dull metal sound echoed as Kohen defended against the enemy’s attacks.
While he deflected the opponent’s blade, the police officer felt his blood run cold. ‘Shit, this strength and fighting standard… He is, at the very least, a heavy infantry man! I wonder if he’s a heavy swordsman, or a heavy-armor axeman.
‘Fortunately, they only have the swords of patrol units as weapons, and are unaccustomed to them. Otherwise…’
Behind him, Wya activated the Edge of No Return, and in the blink of an eye, cut off the wrists of two enemies behind him. It was followed by the sound of two swords falling onto the ground.
“Damn it, save your strength!” Kohen carefully deflected the longsword that was brandished at him again. He scolded Wya brusquely, “Using your Power of Eradication like this will only cause you to die of exhaustion!”
On the other side, Miranda faced two opponents. One of them was wielding a pair of twin swords, but Miranda fought with even more skill and ease compared to her comrade.
The blade of her sword miraculously struck an opponent’s wrist. The opponent’s sword immediately trembled and pierced his comrade’s arm in a downward, diagonal motion.
The other opponent who wielded the twin swords stared at his comrade’s sword in shock. He had no choice but to wave the sword in his right hand to defend himself from his comrade’s attack. But before he could react, Miranda took the opportunity to thrust her sword and pierce his left palm. Then, she turned around swiftly.
While the enemy screamed, Kohen charged towards the right, ignoring the blade that slashed at his back, and switched places with Miranda. Utilizing inertia, his tall figure crashed into the dual-wielding opponent. The opponent staggered back for a meter before he fell into his comrade’s bosom.
Meanwhile, Miranda hunched and lowered her body calmly, grazing past Kohen’s chest and switching to the left.
The tip of the opponent’s sword lost aim for a moment because of the changing targets. Miranda took the opportunity to thrust her sword and stabbed a deep wound in the opponent’s stomach.
Miranda watched as her opponent bled, clenching his teeth in pain, but she did not take his life. Instead, she allowed the enemy to drag him back into their formation.
Miranda and Kohen took advantage of the situation and moved two meters forward. Wya followed after he parried a cutting strike with some effort. As if they were able to read each other’s minds, the two Seeds of the Tower of Eradication worked tacitly together. The attendant was stunned as he watched them.
Miranda leaned against Kohen’s back and said in a low voice, “Heavy swordsman, stable but not agile.”
Kohen deflected a longsword and gave feedback from his side. “Cavalry scout. Reacts quickly, but his physique is nothing special.”
“Black Sand Region’s regular border troops.” Miranda summarized.
“There’s no way for us to break through this directly.” Kohen gritted his teeth and swung his sword horizontally with great strength, forcing two opponents to retreat. “There are too many of them, and every single one is a veteran.”
“Find Kroesch.” Utilizing her Power of Eradication that enabled her to master the rhythm of situations, Miranda squeezed between two enemies. She chopped an opponent’s neck with the side of her palm while the latter slashed at her armor. The opponent immediately retreated while he braced his neck.
The swordswoman thrust her sword towards the right and forced another opponent to lower his head and evade. “Take turns to attack with me and distract her with words. Find a chance!”
Right after Miranda finished speaking, Kohen activated his Power of Eradication. The Glory of the Stars filled his entire body in growing waves, enabling the police officer to continuously strike with his sword at full power for more than ten times.
The sound of metal clashing rang continuously.
In the blink of an eye, Kohen forced the soldiers of Black Sand Region to take a few steps back.
Kohen attacked at full strength. His offence did not waver, and he was strangely confident. He roared angrily at the commander in the crowd, “For Lampard’s coup, you betrayed us and the Tower of Eradication?”
Wya followed closely behind Kohen. Even though there were already two injuries on his body, he stubbornly waved his single-edged sword and deflected two swords that were aimed for Kohen’s back.
Amid the crowd, Kroesch’s gaze was complicated. Calm and composed, she replied loudly, “Kohen, what are you trying to say? Are you accusing me of using the name of the Tower of Eradication to involve all of you in ill-intentioned political affairs?”
Kohen gritted his teeth. He shone with a blue light as the Glory of the Stars in his body kept growing. He continued to charge forward despite his injuries. Chop, slice, and stab. The police officer hurt three of the opponents by making three continuous attacks without defending himself.
Because Miranda protected his back, and she would always attack with her longsword at the crucial moment, turning it into the most fatal strikes.
“Keep disturbing her!” Miranda said in a soft voice, “Force her into coming forward to duel with you!”
Gritting his teeth, Kohen shoved away an opponent. However, his arm was injured. “How? I have never won an argument against that tomboy…”
But Miranda suddenly shouted, “Give up, Kohen! Your secret crush, Kroesch, has betrayed you without hesitation! You and her were never meant to be!”
Kohen was stupefied for a moment even while he fought among the enemy ranks.
‘What? That tomboy?! When have I ever been secretly in love with her…?’
Two meters away from them, Kroesch’s face twisted when she heard Miranda’s words. She gritted her teeth hard and glared at Kohen, there was only one emotion in her eyes: Hatred.
Kohen suddenly felt a chill run down his spine.
The next moment, Kroesch suddenly charged forward to attack. She stormed past her subordinates, thrust her longsword forward… and struck Kohen’s blade.
Kohen’s entire body trembled. He felt as though he could not wave his sword anymore.
“Lay down your arms and surrender now! For old times’ sake…” Kroesch seemed to be in an abnormal mood as she stood in front of Kohen. She gritted her teeth and said with agony, “I won’t hurt all of you!”
Stupefied, Kohen parried a sword that attacked him from the right.
“For old times’ sake? You still remember the past?” A thought came to Kohen. He growled in a low voice, “No matter who you side with or what benefits you seek, you should not have brought the Tower of Eradication into this—”
The momentum of Kohen’s attack was immediately disrupted; Kroesch struck the side of Kohen’s blade again.
“Stop being na?ve, future Count Karabeyan!” said Kroesch, her tone filled with hatred. Her sword seemed to exude a strange aura. With just one swing of her sword, she halted the momentum of Kohen’s attack in an instant.
‘Damn. When it comes to swordsmanship, Kroesch was one of the top four out of the eight seeds. She was only below Miranda, Ecklyn, and that Nedanese from the Eastern Peninsula!’
Kohen gritted his teeth, sheathed his sword, and turned to deflect another attack, but his right shoulder was injured at the same time. Kroesch’s longsword followed him like a shadow, striking him the moment his momentum was broken.
Kohen defended with his longsword, parrying that slash with strenuous effort.
“‘The Tower of Eradication transcends politics?'” The short-haired swordswoman gritted her teeth hard and waved her longsword continuously. She moved with Kohen’s blade, the rhythm of her attacks was like a raging storm. “You should have abandoned this na?ve fantasy the first day you left the tower!”
Kohen freed himself from Kroesch’s blade with all his might. His attacking momentum was totally destroyed.
“Shouldn’t the memories of us fighting side by side in the tower be something we all treasure? Shouldn’t it be something noble and unsullied?” Kohen waved his left hand and blocked off a soldier’s sword with his thick robe. “But you…”
Kroesch’s gaze turned cold and she suddenly activated her Power of Eradication, performing three strikes with her sword in the blink of an eye.
“Something we all treasure? Hahaha!” Kroesch’s words seemed to be filled with endless grief and madness.
The first attack was a piercing strike that took Kohen by surprise. Kohen leaned to the right to dodge the attack.
“I can’t believe that I once liked you… The adorable, pathetic and na?ve Kohen!”
Kohen froze momentarily. The second slash came.
Kroesch sliced her blade horizontally without stopping. Kohen had no choice but to parry it with his longsword.
The short-haired Northlander said shrilly, “From the moment we were born, we were already branded by our countries and their politics, marked by our birth and our bloodlines, and we can never escape! We never had a choice!”
The third slash was an incredibly fast attack
“You won’t become pure and untouchable just because you entered some tower that claims to be noble and untainted! You won’t become a free person!” Kroesch’s tone was cold and threatening.
She held her sword in both hands and moved the entire sword in an arc with the spot Kohen had blocked as the pivot, then as she swung her blade, she directed the tip of the sword away from Kohen’s block and towards his face.
“Kohen Karabeyan, you are a damned idiot!” she roared, furious and bitter.
Her sword and Kohen’s sword produced a loud, scraping sound from the friction.
She thrust her sword at the police officer’s face.
Kohen’s position was already unstable to begin with since he was swaying towards the left. He could not exert any force with his longsword and had difficulty breathing.
Kroesch’s third strike was like an impassioned symphony complete with an opening, a twist, and an ending. It had Kohen trapped in its fatal rhythm… unable to free himself.
This was a Pegasus’ Music exclusive to Kroesch, completely different from Miranda’s.
At this moment, Miranda’s longsword forced itself into the fight like a grave accent.
She parried Kroesch’s fatal strike.
Unable to withstand her attacks, Kohen switched places with Miranda using the momentum of his movements, and he moved to help Wya, who was struggling.
Miranda’s black glove rubbed against the hilt of her sword. She interrogated her former comrade with a cold voice, “Kroesch, I used to treat you like my own sister. Teacher Chartier taught you for nothing!”
The next moment, the daughter of the Arunde Family drew back her vibrating longsword and thrust it towards Kroesch’s sword hilt.
“The Pegasus’ Music,” she said coldly, “Pegasus’ Music places emphasis on reaching a resonance with the rhythm of the world and the enemies around the user. It’s not a solo performance like what you are doing.”
Miranda’s sword tip slid down and, while scraping against Kroesch’s blade, she thrust towards Kroesch’s wrist.
She chose the perfect moment and the craftiest angle. No matter how Kroesch reacted, defended, or dodged, she found herself instantly in a disadvantageous position.
Before Miranda could react, Kroesch moved her longsword in the opposite direction. She neither parried nor dodged, but instead moved towards the tip of Miranda’s sword, pointing her sword at Miranda’s wrist.
“Solo performance?” said, Kroesch hatefully. “You must not have watched enough plays, Miranda Arunde!”
The two swords met in the air and moved in an arc, their friction produced a shrill sound. The two swordswomen, both masters of the Pegasus’ Music and shared the same teacher, listened to each other’s force and tempo along with the frictional sound.
They were prepared to snatch an opportunity to impede the other’s rhythm and deliver a fatal strike. Kohen then had an idea.
‘When it comes to a battle between masters of the Pegasus’ Music, it is better for outsiders not to meddle. Due to the ever-changing situation that follows opportune timing and rhythm, you never know who your actions would benefit.
Kohen felt the momentum of attack in front of him weaken and saw that the enemies were moving closer to Kroesch. He made up his mind.
He gave Wya a hint, then the tall figure charged forth to attack again.
Glittering blue light sparkled on his sword and skin. He had activated the Glory of the Stars, and with the fastest sword speed and strength, he launched a flurry of continuous attacks. Blood splattered everywhere, his blood and the enemy’s blood. Kohen shot past three people in the blink of an eye.
He had even cast Miranda and Wya behind him, and just as he was about to open up a gap in the encirclement—
‘I just need to create a rift, and then—’
With clenched teeth, Kohen charged forward with all his might.
An enormous fist appeared suddenly from within the crowd at that moment. Kohen subconsciously waved his sword in a chopping motion. But the fist was different; It changed directions midway and hit the side of Kohen’s blade.
Even though Kohen was filled with the Glory of the Stars, he found it difficult to dodge the punch. His longsword stopped midway.
Like how an axe that was chopping firewood without obstruction suddenly hits an iron board; a great force came from the impact.
Struck by the hard punch, the blade of Kohen’s sword bent backwards with a shrill sound, hitting Kohen’s left cheek together with the enormous fist.
Kohen’s ears rang and his entire world shook.
Blood splashed from his face and his vision was dyed red. He fell back in a daze, but he had no more time to think.
‘That punch… That was… No… No!’
Kohen fell to the ground, feeling extremely despaired. He raised the sword in his right hand subconsciously, but an arm pressed forcefully on his hand. The enemy then pressed Kohen’s shoulder with his other hand and gave it a twist.
“Ah!” Kohen grunted from pain, his right shoulder had been dislocated.
Kohen’s sword, a family heirloom, fell on the ground.
Wya stared in shock at the scene before him. Kohen was totally defeated by the newcomer in an instant.
The police officer activated his Power of Eradication, trying to fight back one last time. But his enemy’s elbow was like the most terrifying weapon that struck the left part of his back viciously.
A dull sound echoed. The hit dispersed the Glory of the Stars.
Kohen’s face froze, his entire body trembled, and he painfully spat out a mouthful of blood.
“Don’t move, lad,” the newcomer said coldly in a heavy accent. “The Glory of the Stars originates from the chest… I don’t want to smash your heart next.”
Wya watched in shock, then he was pounced by enemies who came surging from both sides
Dizzy, Kohen felt lighter—the enemy had hoisted him up onto his shoulder.
‘No.’ His vision swayed. ‘No.’
The figure stalked onto the battlefield… to where Miranda and Kroesch were having their duel.
“Miranda…” An agonized Kohen coughed up blood, there was no more energy in his body. “Run…”
In his daze, Kohen struggled and groaned out, “Run away… Such an opponent… We… Can’t…”
In the next moment, Kohen’s vision darkened, and he lost consciousness. Miranda glanced at Kohen from the corner of her eyes and saw him being hoisted on someone’s shoulder. She even saw the figure… and her entire body trembled.
Kroesch seized the chance and suddenly thrust her longsword out.
A sharp, metallic sound echoed. The equilibrium between the two masters of the Pegasus’ Music ended there; both had struck in the blink of an eye.
Miranda’s expression changed. She seized the chance to jab her longsword into Kroesch’s left wrist as the latter attacked and became unable to dodge.
On the other hand, Kroesch spun the hilt of her sword to strike at Miranda’s stomach.
Kroesch clenched her teeth. Miranda staggered slightly and was about to strike back, but then a sword came into view without a sound, and without anything blocking its path. The blade of the sword pressed onto Miranda’s shoulder. It was Kohen’s longsword, held in an enormous hand.
Miranda felt a surge of massive, unparalleled power from the sword.
‘This is an inescapable stranglehold.’ Miranda thought.
In the next moment, the swordswoman was pressed to the ground by that massive force. The Power of Eradication in her body was in chaos; the Pegasus’ Music had been disrupted.
Kroesch came forward with a cold countenance. She kicked away Miranda’s longsword.
Miranda’s longsword clattered onto the ground.
“Why?” Miranda could not endure the massive force anymore. She lay pinned down on the ground and spat a mouthful of blood. Still, she raised her head stubbornly to glare at the newcomer.
“Why are you here?” She glared at the robust and tall, white-haired figure and roared in fury and indignation,
Before Miranda stood the pride of the Tower of Eradication, the legendary commander of the White Blade Guards who was also the owner of the Hero Tavern, and nicknamed as the ‘Ground-Shaker’.
The old man did not say anything. Stone-faced, he continued to press down on the long sword while still carrying Kohen on his shoulder.
It continued until the soldiers of Black Sand Region came to take the furious Miranda and the unconscious Kohen away. Wya’s angry yells echoed from afar.
Kroesch sheathed her sword with a poker face.
“The archduke just sent an order,” the swordswoman said coldly, “He needs help at his location.”
The old man turned and looked at Kroesch.
“There was an agile woman who broke into the battlefield and rescued that boy.” She calmed her breathing. “A supreme class.”
Flustered from the battle, Kroesch adjusted her outfit. The old man’s gaze was filled with sorrow as he watched Miranda and Kohen get taken away.
A few seconds later, a serene-faced Kaslan said slowly, “Don’t hurt them.”
His gaze was filled with a deathly stillness. Kroesch raised her head and stared into Kaslan’s eyes.
She said slowly, “Of course, Uncle Kaslan… Of course.”
Kaslan turned and disappeared into dawn’s fog. Kroesch, too, turned and gathered her subordinates. Soon, the soldiers of Black Sand Region left the ruins. It was as if nothing happened.
The was a sound of rubble falling onto the ground. The sound became increasingly louder.
Finally, a hand shot out of the wreckage.
A silver-masked man covered in wounds dusted off the rubble that covered his body.
He held his fractured arm, and still in great shock, climbed out.
Eyes wide open, Ralf the Phantom Wind Follower panted heavily and looked towards where the people from Black Sand Region had left. He looked as if he could not believe what had just happened.