Chapter 247: A Chance Encounter
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
This was the second corridor from the lounge to the Hall of Heroes. It was narrow but people could still pass through.
Throughout his decades-long career from a White Blade Guard to an imperial administrator, he was able to familiarize himself with the palace.
However, for Byrne Mirk, from the time King Nuven’s screamed for his exile, to when he carried his daughter’s body, to the moment he walked away from the Hall of Heroes, the palace was now a pain that he could barely face.
As a sinner who could not be forgiven and whose crimes could not be rectified, his return to Heroic Spirit Palace was like a long dream, something that was out of his reach.
So after a few hours, when Mirk stood here again, he felt as though everything was like a dream. But how was this relevant?
Mirk buckled the hilt at his waist and told himself that his heart died twelve years ago. Today, twelve years later, another part died too.
What he did now was nothing but habit and responsibility. That was what he convinced himself of when he received the call from Nicholas.
Even though he prepared for this a long time and believed that he could accept whatever the situation was… However, when the figure of the enemy emerged from the shadows, Mirk could not help but feel shock.
Until that very second, Mirk realized that his heart was not completely dead yet. There was still a part of it that was still alive. But now, it seemed that this part was going to die as well.
Mirk sighed as he stared at the familiar yet unfamiliar enemy before him. He heard a faint sound of people fighting. Mirk knew that on other parts of the palace, the men that he sent out had already encountered the enemy.
Surely enough, it was just what the vice diplomat of Constellation had predicted. Mirk told himself, ‘The enemy will not attack the public places, but would send the elite squad to every corner of the court to intercept the intruders. This is not to annihilate the enemy, but to block them; to wear out their energy, trap them and diminish their possible courses of action.
‘So…’ Mirk raised his head to look at the silent figure in front of him.
The former administrator revealed a bitter smile. He hoped the Constellatiates’ strategy would work. Mirk took a step forward.
Mirk pursed his dry lips together. There was a hint of pain and sorrow in his voice. “You know… When the White Blade Guards relayed that Chapman Lampard from Black Sand Region had staged a coup d’etat, I keep trying to convince myself that this had nothing to do with you, that you would not be involved, that it could not be you…”
Mirk gazed at the motionless enemy sadly, his eyes showed signs of disbelief, as if he was pleading. “Why…?”
On the other side of the corridor, the silent enemy took a step forward as he walked towards his own enemy without saying a word.
It was as if Bryne Mirk was just a stranger to her
In that moment, Mirk’s suffering was even more prominent in his eyes.
The enemy raised her gaze and stared at him coldly when they were only a few steps away. Mirk could only stare at her quietly, as if he looked forward to something happening, as if he was hesitant to do something.
Finally, the enemy opened her mouth. “So, you became the king’s administrator.” The words of the enemy sounded derisive and sarcastic, and there was a somewhat imperceptible hatred and loathing. “Congratulations. From a normal citizen to being part of the White Blade Guards, then promoted to be the king’s close vassal… Lord Byrne Mirk. How glorious, how dazzling.”
Mirk felt as though he was struck by lightning, he was completely stunned. He lowered his head and slowly closed his eyes.
His ears heard another faint battle sound, and it grew more intense.
“I sent someone to look for you at Black Sand Region before this.” Mirk’s voice was full of complex emotions, his tone sounded as if he was trembling. “That year, they told me that you did not what to come back.”
The enemy laughed coldly. “But I’m back… Along with my sword!”
As soon as the words were spoken, the enemy’s weapon was unsheathed without warning.
The sword cut the air. There was a nip of wind as the other sword swung against it!
Sharp metallic sounds rang in both their ears.
Lord Mirk held his blade, his grip on the hilt and the back of the blade to block the enemy’s hands with an upwards swing. He said with a pained expression,?“Yes, you came back.”
The enemy’s weapon was instantly drawn away, as if to retreat. But when Mirk tried to perform a counter-swing, a sword cut towards his wrist.
Mirk was shocked. With his years of experience, he turned his wrist and moved back.
Then he heard the unpleasant sound of metal chafing, his blade hilt blocked the sword, avoiding the loss of his wrist.
“And you have changed.” Mirk’s face was solemn as he glanced at his hand, which he almost lost, and looked at the murderous enemy. His gaze was complex and subtle. “As is expected of the Tower of Eradication.”
“Not bad for yourself.” The enemy swung her sword. With a cold visage, she said, “It’s rare that someone is able to interrupt my move.”
Mirk frowned. He felt bitterness in his heart.
‘Is this… My fate?’
As His Majesty had said, is this the eternal atonement for the mistake he made…?
“Are you the only one? Where are the others?” the enemy asked coldly.
Mirk exhaled and shook his head. “They are where they’re supposed to be.”
The enemy did not reply, but instead she snorted. She took a step forward and swung her sword once more.
Mirk clenched his teeth. He relied on his experience and battle instinct—he did not retreat.
The swords collided. This time, Mirk struck her sword when she was about to change her attack’s trajectory, thus interrupting her movements and momentum.
While the enemy was still in shock, Mirk did not stop his footsteps swung his blade at the enemy. Hurt, he asked, “Why? Why are you…?”
The enemy could not help but was forced to retreat as Mirk lashed at her. But after six paces, she got onto her feet. With a final surge of energy from her body, the enemy held the sword with both hands and instantly slashed onto to the center of Mirk’s blade.
The sword collided with the blade and both opponents were caught in a stalemate.
“It has been about ten years… Now you ask me why…?” At that moment, the enemy clenched her teeth as she glared at Lord Byrne Mirk. Her face was full of anger and disdain. “Don’t you think it’s too late?”
The former administrator’s opponent, the swordswoman Kroesch Mirk, gripped her sword hilt tightly. Her eyes were red and she spat out the strange yet delicate word,
At the same time, Raphael, who was near the armory, also heard the faint sounds of fighting all around him. In this rugged palace, sound traveled quickly. However, he did not plan to stop for countermeasures or rush to help with the fight…
… Because at the moment, Raphael could only feel chills and fear. No matter how he suppressed it, his arms continued to tremble. Even the bones under his skin were making strange, cracking sounds… as if he detected a dangerous animal.
Raphael closed his eyes as he focused on one corner in front. He heard footsteps approach gradually.
His arms trembled more and more, and his skin temperature increased. His reactions became faster swiftly, similar to a volcano eruption, the travel of information of his surroundings to his mind before channeling to his reactions moved back and forth like a tidal wave.
Since he reformed his arm in endless agony and torment, Raphael had seldom encountered such a situation.
‘Oh, only once…’
At that time, he stood behind the Black Prophet respectfully and waited for His Majesty’s call.
A short, murderous man walked out of His Majesty’s room, and when he passed Raphael, he glanced at him—intentionally or otherwise.
At that time, his arm had begun to tremble for the first time. Later, Raphael knew who the man with the ferocious look was: Baron Arracca.
Since then, Raphael knew that this is his arms’ instinct and it was urging him to flee. To escape from the danger that could not be stopped, even with both of them combined.
However, he could not leave.
Raphael furrowed his eyebrows. Putray’s strategy was a simple one. They had an advantage over the enemy, the only advantage: they knew what the enemy planned to do, but the enemy did not know their objectives.
So, they had to maintain this advantage until they succeeded.
Raphael sighed with complex emotions as he thought of the prince, and then looked at the corner in front. His arm trembled so much that he started to lose control, forcing his increasingly fractious arm down with all his might.
Finally, the enemy emerged from the corner. Raphael’s gaze concentrated.
He recognised the person, his portrait was placed at the Secret Intelligence Department’s ‘Eckstedt Intelligence Room’, on the wall for the most important people and among the top twenty.
Raphael exhaled. ‘Looks like I am the unluckiest one. And…’
Raphael frowned deeply as he saw his opponent’s weapon.
The wielder was an irresistible force with powerful lethality, the enemy’s willpower and reaction were both top-notch. He seemed proficient in most weapons, possessed a rarely seen ability to make judgements in battle, and most terrifying of all… almost unparalleled experience.
‘This kind of opponent…’
The enemy’s footstep stopped. His tall body possessed extremely oppressive power.
“How strange.” The person who had approached looked at him as he spoke with a strong northern accent. “In this situation, you dare to wander from your troop. What are you trying to hide?”
Raphael was momentarily startled. He immediately spread his arms.
‘This being the case… There’s no any other way.’
“Yes, we are planning on…” Raphael smiled and shrugged. “Why don’t you take a guess?”
The enemy was a little shocked, not quite used to Raphael’s attitude. The enemy opened his mouth and muttered, “I would advise you to—”
Before he could finish his sentence, Raphael unexpectedly turned around and fled.
The sound of footsteps echoed urgently.
The enemy was somewhat dazed, but his battle instinct immediately took him over.
He grabbed his weapon, and with heavy yet careful pace, chased the fleeing Raphael.
Raphael’s heart clenched in fear when he heard the footsteps behind him.
‘With this speed, he’ll catch up—’
But before he could even finish his thought, he felt a chill on the back of his head.
There was a gush of wind. Raphael instinctively tilted his head.
A sharp, black blade swept over the side of his left ear!
The moment the young man from the Secret Intelligence Department turned around, his enemy nodded at him.
‘Good response to crisis. There is potential…’
But before the enemy could take the moment to react, Raphael, who had been avoiding his attacks in a disheveled manner, suddenly stopped.
The young man’s legs hit the floor, his right hand took the enemy’s long weapon, and he turned around to face the enemy!
The enemy, still rushing forward, saw it clearly in Raphael’s eyes—a look filled with killing intent. The enemy then instantly understood that he was the targeted prey.
‘I underestimated him… I thought he was just a young man with decent potential. But now…’ The enemy silently thought, ‘It’s been so long since I was on the battlefield that I’ve made the most fatal mistake—arrogance.’
However, he did not have time for self-reflections.
In the next moment, Raphael’s expression became so terrifying that he looked like he was suffering from pain and madness.
His right arm let out a piercing and terrifying screech, his sleeves were torn, his bare skin began to swell, and a boundless red light exuded from along the blood vessels.
Like the color of lava.
Raphael’s right hand clutched the enemy’s weapon, following the enemy’s momentum, then abruptly jerked. The enemy held his own weapon with both hands, prepared to wrestle with the other party. But the moment he used his strength, the enemy’s face paled.
‘No way. This kind of strength… Coming from a normal person is just not possible…’
In the wake of a grating sound, the enemy could no longer hold on to his weapon, and it was yanked away by Raphael’s strange right hand. The enemy was now left empty-handed without a weapon.
He lost his balance, momentarily terrified of Raphael. The latter grimly stomped on the floor and rushed towards his opponent.
The bones in his left hand were making strange, cracking sounds as well. As if there were millions of tiny worms biting him continuously.
In the next second, Raphael calmly attacked with his elbow and his Power of Eradication erupted with a bang, slamming into the enemy’s chest.
Little did the enemy know, things were far from well. For a moment, he could not evade in time and could only push his palms together, holding the other side of the opponent’s elbow.
There was a heavy, muffled sound.
Using the direction of his enemy’s fall and his own strength, Raphael roared and the continuous surge of power in his arm became stronger, like a tidal wave.
The enemy was slammed onto the floor after getting elbowed. While he was feeling the pain and numbness in his arms and back,?the enemy also gasped in surprise.
‘This Power of Eradication is…’
However, it was not over yet. The enemy saw Raphael’s right hand in the air as it swung in a circle… with the enemy’s hilt turned upside-down and pointed straight at him.
The enemy’s gaze focused as his pupils contracted.
He could still feel the numbness in his arms; he could not defend himself or react.
As for the weapon…
‘So deadly… Why are youngsters nowadays so scary?’ The enemy felt dejected as he thought about it.
In that split second, Raphael looked at the enemy with an ice-cold gaze. He directed the tip of the blade and thrust it downwards!
In that life-or-death moment, the enemy activated the energy in his legs and abdomen, and jumped up from the floor! He turned his body during the maneuver and avoided that deadly weapon.
The sharp tip of the blade stabbed into the ground, stirring up numerous shattered stones
The enemy brought his head down and headbutted Raphael. This was clearly a headbutt from below when he jumped up from the ground, but with this much strength and at such an angle, it still felt as if it can shake the earth.
In that split second, Raphael felt dizzy and his vision was a blur. Trepidation spread through his body and he could not help but take a step back.
He clenched the weapon in his hand so that he would not fall down. But the next moment, the enemy stood firmly on the ground.
The enemy’s right fist hit the side of Raphael’s face. The latter clenched his teeth, the muscles in his arms tightened up as he tried to grab the enemy’s hand.
But the enemy’s left hand was faster than his right fist, and for a split second, when Raphael tried to block the other hand, the enemy bypassed his unusual two-handed block and slammed into Raphael’s chest like a knife.
Raphael felt a chill in his heart, and then, an intense pain shot up his chest.
He could no longer hold on to the weapon as his body flew and crashed on the floor.
As quickly as it had begun, the battle ended in a flash, thus revealing the winner and the loser.
“Yeesh… I was almost a goner,” the enemy said after finishing his combination attack. He gasped in a deep breath before he picked up his long weapon from the ground. “Each of you is more dangerous than the last.”
The enemy looked at Raphael on the ground and muttered,
“Such a young supreme class, so rare. Your only weakness is that you need more practice and experience.
After a few seconds, Raphael twitched as he turned over and painfully spat out some blood.?The sharp pain in his arms made them tremble continuously. With Raphael’s movements came the painful, unpleasant sounds of his fragile muscles and bones grinding against each other, like a pair of rusting bellows.
But Raphael did not take notice of it. Instead, he looked at the person in front of him in a daze.
‘This can’t be real. This killing technique… didn’t even work?’
“You’re creative, and not just desperate.”
The enemy thumped his own chest and exhaled a breath with some difficulty, apparently tired. “Your observations are quite accurate. Your timing is pretty good as well. The most difficult part is that, in a split second, you exceeded your limits and had all your strength burst out of your body, and you showed determination and resolution.
“Even though you knew that, probably after this strike, you would have no strength to fight back.”
Raphael sighed. He felt another sharp pain in his chest as he coughed out more blood.
“Kroesch said that this time, there will be a few classmates from the Tower of Eradication—all of them are Seeds,” said the enemy plainly with a sad tone.
‘I really miss it.’ The enemy sighed.
Raphael could not help but feel stunned.
After the enemy exhaled, he raised his head and gave Raphael an affirmative and resolute glance. “I recognize this style. This is the kind of extreme fighting style that seeks vitality in a desperate situation. It is cruel and decisive.
“Also, your Sword of Baptism’s Death is one of the Disaster Swords’ style.”
Before Raphael stood the legendary commander; ‘Ground-Shaker’ Kaslan Lampard. He released a breath with a desolate gaze.
“You are Shao’s student, a Seed from the tower’s Death of Crime department.” His tone was completely certain. Raphael stared at the old man, unsure about how to react.
Kaslan held the Soul Slayer Pike tightly and looked at Raphael with a sad and regretful gaze as he sighed quietly. After following the Sin of Hell’s River, that sorrowful yet cruel fellow has his eyes on this?”
Kaslan laughed bitterly, which was both ridiculing yet pitying.
He looked at Raphael’s trembling hands and said something that struck him pale,
“Those underground demons… the strange beings of flesh who can regenerate endlessly?”