Chapter 261: The Reason for Battle (Two)
Translator:?EndlessFantasy Translation??Editor:?EndlessFantasy Translation
In Heroic Spirit Palace, the armory near the corridor.
The Severing Souls Blade and Soul Slayer Pike were about ten meters away from each other. One of them was nailed firmly to the wall, and the other lay quietly on the ground.
The Soul Slayer Pike made indistinct yet ominous tremors from time to time.
The two people who should have noticed this had neither the time nor energy to even glance at the weapon.
Their battlefield had already shifted from the corridor to other places.
A large wooden door was smashed open with a loud noise!
In the dark, the two figures threw themselves into the room.
This was an armory, the wide storage racks were covered with layers of thick cloth, and it held a huge variety of equipment in the darkness: long swords, nail hammers, shields and armor… There were all sorts of weapons there. Different, and all the types of weapons could be found.
It was a special store the White Blade Guards set up in the Heroic Spirit Palace, and it was used to provide the standard weapons training for the guards in Heroic Spirit Palace, though they would never use so many variants of weapons with such distinctive characteristics.
In the dark, Nicholas moved calmly, going by memory, until he reached the nearest storage rack. Nicholas heard the voice behind him. He knew his enemy would not hesitate… Just like how he, too, did not hesitate.
Nicholas emerged from the dim light, he brandished the weapon in his hand swiftly.
As expected, Nicholas felt his hand stop for a moment; his weapon had encountered a man-made obstacle.
With this sudden collision, the enemy and him became somewhat unstable. Both of them tried to balance themselves by using the opponent’s strength and shifted backwards in the dark.
Nicholas retreated to the wall and found the position with his memory. He turned the weapon in his hand in an ingenious manner, causing a spark on the iron frame. The Eternal Oil on the shelf was swiftly ignited, setting the firewood in the brazier ablaze.
Across from him, the enemy also grabbed the flint next to him, and with a light sound, set the brazier in the corner burning.
The dim armory suddenly became illuminated.
Kaslan watched the hilt of Nicholas’ single-bladed battle axe.
“Looks like you and I are the same,” Kaslan said as he turned the blade’s hilt. “We both search for the closest weapon during a battle.”
Nicholas pouted his lips, not saying a word.
‘Of course… This was one of the guidelines for the White Blade Guards. Back in the days, the person who taught me this was…’
Nicholas did not utter a word as he narrowed his eyes. He gripped the hilt, the axe swayed back and forth in front of him. With practiced skill, he hacked out a cross-shaped slash.
Kaslan put on a smile.
Based on tradition, when an Archduke of Eckstedt was newly crowned the common-elected king, he had the right to take over the iconic ‘Legend of the White Blade Guards’ and set up a unique group of guards that Northlanders are proud of—the White Blade Guards, who had a long history and a noble status. The king will use the guards to show the glory and importance of the king.
The White Blade Guards were elites whom would be selected from the regular troops who went through the regular three periods of training held each year, and would then be retrained. In the process, they would become elites who could personally pinpoint the situation in battle and act as commanders of a battle. They could also personally go through life and death experiences in battle. They were not only the king’s guards, but also his blade.
Every White Blade Guard must have all the traits of a commander, such as the ‘Ground-Shaker’ Kaslan Lampard who, according to his own example, required the White Blade Guards to master the use of almost every weapon on the battlefield.
Hence, this armory where every weapon from almost every era was kept was formed.
“Your ability to perceive and assess the battlefield has regressed.” Kaslan’s gaze rose from the opponent’s weapon, “You know this: its attacks are monotonous, its slash is slow, and I’m not in heavy armor either, the axe isn’t really a good choice.”
His answer was a merciless swing from Nicholas’ axe.
‘Well, duh. I couldn’t see anything. The only solution for me is to use whatever I just grabbed.’
Kaslan parried his attack with his broadsword in a reverse grip. He slashed back but was once again blocked by Nicholas. Nicholas angrily took two steps back.
‘No. The broadsword is double-edged. Its attacks are agile and swift. If he countered with a backhand, I would have to spend a little more Power of Eradication to defend against it.’
At the thought of this, Nicholas swung both his hands without hesitation, letting the axe fly towards the enemy.
Kaslan avoided the axe, but the moment he lifted his head again, a one-hand Panzerstecher—a weapon with lightness and nimbleness reaching a perfect balance—near the weapons rack was already on Nicholas’ hand.
Kaslan only had time to say these two words. Nicholas, with his Power of the Eradication, slashed forward without pauses in between maneuvers!
In several clashes, the Panzerstecher nimbly attacked the openings provided by either side of the broadsword. He combined both slashes and thrusts, attacking in a manner that put Kaslan in an incredibly pathetic situation.
During the last round, Kaslan struggled to avoid Nicholas’ attacks but he was attacked again. He was forced to a point where he had no way to get out of this situation, and with no other choice, he had to fall to the ground and roll. At the same time, a row of weapon racks were knocked down and blocked Nicholas’s next move.
Countless weapons fell on the ground with a loud clattering. Nicholas was forced to stop and adjust his breathing.
“You must have been hurt,” Nicolas said affirmatively. He kicked off a row of shelves that were in his way and shook his Panzerstecher, “You can’t even receive slightly more agile attacks?”
Kaslan laughed softly. He rubbed his aching chest as he thought of the elven instructor for the Royal Guards of Constellation.
“Not bad.” Kaslan spat dust from his mouth and threw his broadsword. “Only… it seems that there is also an injury on your leg.” His right hand grabbed the hilt of a new weapon from the ground as he said faintly, “I guess, it’s probably not easy to dodge?”
After he saw the new weapon Kaslan was holding, Nicholas’ expression changed drastically.
As the weapons rack rumbled, the three chains attached to the handle Kaslan held slowly straightened, pulling out three spike-covered metal balls attached to the end of the chains in the process.
Nicholas did not hesitate, he instantly threw the sword in his hand and turned to run!
Sure enough, in the next moment, Kaslan’s flailing caused three terrifying cangues to fly in arcs in the air and crash onto the spot where Nicholas originally was.
Debris scattered everywhere. Nicholas knew that Kaslan had found his weakness: A flail.
A weapon with spiked weights connected to a long hilt. A murderous weapon on the battlefield, worthy of its name. Not only did it possess great power that could shatter bones and tear tendons when it grazed over a body, it had also caused plenty of deaths to its wielders’ comrades and enemies both when brandished.
Usually, it would have been easy to avoid it. But right now…
Nicholas gritted his teeth and endured the pain of the wound on his leg caused by the arrow. He kept his feet running and heard the sound of the rushing wind behind him.
The Star Killer rolled on the ground without thinking twice. A rock scattered by the flail hit the back of Nicholas’ head. Nicholas scrambled to his feet hastily and continued running.
Kaslan flung the flail sideways with immense proficiency as the flail hit the weapons rack beside Nicholas, smashing it into three pieces. Broken weapons scattered in the air.
Nicholas ducked to avoid dagger hilts, several broken blades, and the wooden rack itself. But he knew he could not stop.
‘No! Not until…’[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
As he ran from Kaslan’s attack, Nicholas turned to a stone pillar. His eyes lit up; he finally found what he wanted.
Then, Kaslan flung the flail once more.
Nicholas’ pupils shrank and he threw himself onto the ground. When he finally got up, his hand clutched a long weapon.
The Star Killer turned back around and charged at Kaslan.
The chain in the air wrapped around an iron bar that had appeared unexpectedly. Nicholas yanked back the long hilt in his hand.
With a metallic sound, a chain looped around the iron bar twice and stopped moving. The flail was bound tightly on the blade connected to the top of the iron bar.
In Nicholas’ hands was a halberd with a complicated design. Protruding on top of the bar was a sharp spike, and it had a blade the shape of a halberd. It had a hook made especially for this weapon, and all of these things were made especially to tackle cavalry. As long as the power was sufficient and the user’s movement was skilled, even infantry could use this long weapon to easily hook cavaliers from their horses.
Now, it trapped the flail perfectly.
Nicholas panted and felt fatigued. Even with his strength, he had gone through a few hours of intense fighting and was too tired.
Luckily his opponent also felt the same.
He did not stop. He extended his right hand behind him, the halberd dragged the flail along with it, and he swung at Kaslan with a skillful strike.
Kaslan loosened his hold on the flail in a dishevelled manner. This time, it was his turn to struggle and escape Nicholas’ erratic attacks—his halberd kept changing directions.
The halberd landed on a bow rack beside Kaslan. The unstrung longbows fell on the ground.
Kaslan did not stop. With a serious expression, he continued rolling and avoided Nicholas’ long weapon which came slashing from the side.
Nicholas clutched the weapon in his hand, then with a reversed grip, he struck without hesitation.
Kaslan avoided the attack with a slide and at the same time he kicked down a weapon rack, all the weapons scattered across the floor.
The old man took out three or four weapons and tucked them under his left armpit, he then ran for seven or eight more steps before turning around to face him.
Seeing the weapon in Kaslan’s hands, Nicholas became alarmed. He saw the old man reach out his right hand and pulled an outdated weapon from his left arm. A weapon that had disappeared from the battlefield—a javelin.
Kaslan raised the javelin sternly and straightened his right arm.
The javelin slipped from his hand.
In that moment, Nicholas could care less about the halberd in his hand, he lowered his head and ducked!
The javelin flew like a whistle in the air. It grazed past Nicholas’ head and slammed into the stone brick behind him. But in the next second, two more ‘whistled’ by as well.
Nicholas tried his best to avoid the two javelins aimed at his torso and head, but the previous injury from the arrow in his leg began to hurt again.
Right after the Star Killer hid behind a stone pillar, a javelin flew from a distance and landed on the spot he was at just now.
Nicholas panted against the stone pillar and looked around anxiously for new weapons as he cursed mentally.
As a White Blade Guard brought up by Kaslan, no one knew more about Kalsan’s fearsomeness than he did. Kaslan’s strength and reflexes were terrifying, which had earned him the title of ‘Ground-Shaker’.
But the old commander’s best skill remained in his mastery of practically every single weapon and knowledge their characteristics. Any weapon he grabbed on the battlefield became unparalleled tools for murder.
Like now with the broadsword, flail, and javelin. Every time he changed his weapon, he would increase his pressure on Nicholas, and the Star Killer could only passively fend against them.
After a noise rose from the stone pillar, Kaslan picked up another bundle of javelins and tore the rope binding them.
“You let a lot of skills fall into disuse, Spiky.” Kaslan’s voice traveled to the stone pillar. “I can see it from the weapons you pick. Have you forgotten what I taught you? As a White Blade Guard, to understand the properties of each weapon is—”
While leaning against the stone pillar, Nicholas clenched his teeth. Resentment and pain rose from his chest. “Why?” he screamed with all his might, interrupting his opponent.
“What is it?” said Kaslan.
Nicholas panted and clenched his fists. “Why… so much nonsense…?”
Kaslan stopped what he was doing.
“You damned bastard! From earlier to now, you’ve been yammering on about this and that…” The Star Killer gritted his teeth as the pain in his heart began to build. “F*ck… Why do you still bring up the past?”
He raised his head and roared, “You think we can still practice on the training grounds like we used to? Traitor!”
The old man on the other side of the stone pillar was quiet. For a moment, Nicholas’ panting was the only sound that could be heard.
“Iceberg… Do you remember this title? Big Mouth Monty gave it to you. It’s you,” Nicholas said hurtfully. “You brought us into the White Blade Guards. It was you who drilled us around the clock and beat us.
“The recruits who fought only for food and clothing, for money, for reputation, for honor and for glory… We became the glorious, iron-blooded White Blade Guards!”
Kaslan did not say a word.
Nicholas closed his eyes tightly and felt his blood rush through every blood vessel. “That year, the words that you said to me while you were cracking the whip… The words you said to me while you carried me and broke out of a tight encirclement on the battlefield…”
The next second, the Star Killer gripped the edge of the javelin next to his feet and abruptly appeared from behind the stone pillar.
“Was it all an act?!”
Nicholas yelled in front of Kaslan as both men held up their javelins and stretched their bodies.
The two javelins were thrown at each other!
The javelins dropped on the ground, but Kaslan’s javelin went through Nicholas’ armor and grazed the leather armor covering his calf, causing his calf to bleed.
Nicholas rolled again and hid behind another stone pillar. He rubbed his calf, it was drenched, but he did not have time to tend to it.
“With the look on you just now, I thought all you wanted to do was kill me.” On the other end of the stone pillar, Kaslan, who was mournful, looked at the javelin still quivering beside his body, and wiped the wound on his arm. “I thought you would never ask.”
Nicholas could not hold it back anymore, either. “As a commander, I had to constantly think ahead more and take a step back less than the subordinates on the battlefield. Weren’t you the one who told me this?”
Nicholas tore off a piece of cloth and tied up the injured leg tightly.
“You told me how to be a qualified commander, a strong shield, an iron wall, and a reliable shelter for your comrades—a war flag.
The Star Killer’s face was contorted by his emotions. “What about the Oath of Blades you swore? To ward off the enemies and win countless battles until we bleed out,” Nicholas said, shuddering. “To leave a legacy of hope, cast the light of glory, until the world falls into eternal slumber. Where’s your blood? Where’s your glory? Boss!”
Nicholas’ yell stunned Kaslan.
There was a long silence in the armoury. The only two people there were panting. One was fierce and the other unsteady.
Finally, the old man said slowly, “Spiky, being a commander was really tiring, right?”
Kaslan sighed softly. His voice sounded really tired, helpless, and pained, as if he was being tortured.
“We have to protect our fellow brats. We must also give our loyalty to our leader without holding any of it back.”
Nicholas was startled.
Kaslan closed his eyes and whispered,
“Spiky, for nearly two decades, how much darkness had King Nuven let you endure, how many secrets have you kept?
“Among those, how many have filled your heart with guilt? How many sleepless nights have you had? How many burdened your shoulders yet you could not speak of it?”
The Star Killer clenched his teeth, he did not respond. There was nevertheless unspeakable sorrow and grief in his heart.
Kaslan said quietly, “Yet you could only keep an upright and stern face as you taught the subordinates to be loyal, glorious, upstanding, and heroic White Blade Guards on the next day of those sleepless nights you suffered while you stand on the training ground.”
Nicholas closed his eyes and gasped some air from the gaps between his teeth.
“That’s right, I knew. I knew from my heart,” Kaslan stated bitterly. “As some of the most trusted people under His Majesty, his most capable guard captain, and the Commander of the White Blade Guards; the world will always only remember your heroics on the battlefield and mightiness beside the king.
“But behind the glamorous exterior, there will always be things you can’t avoid.”
Behind the stone pillar, Nicholas frowned and his hands trembled somewhat.
“Nuven and I grew up together like brothers, much closer than Holt and myself.” Kaslan sighed a little, pulled out the javelin with one hand and arranged them for easier access.
The old man opened his mouth and said, “I still remember that day forty years ago when I accepted King Kahn’s designation to go to Dragon Clouds City. Nuven Walton was still only a prince, he had snowflakes all over him when he brought me to stand on the Cliff of the Sky.
“Both of us stood under the statue of Raikaru that overlooked Dragon Clouds City. I still remember the person he was at that time, the kindness and resoluteness on his face.
“King Nuven then said, ‘Kaslan, Eckstedt is sick, very sick,'” Kaslan said in anguish.
The Star Killer furled his fists.
Kaslan gasped with a hurt expression. “He said, ‘My old assistant, if I want to completely change Eckstedt, change this country… I want this country, which is as great as before, but also much older than it was in the past… I want to change this country which has not improved in the slightest since the past six hundred something years…
“‘If I want to create a brand new Eckstedt, free of shackles and burdens like never before, will you help me?'”
Nicholas was shocked.
“I was surprised… But I did not hesitate.” Kaslan sighed deeply. “Because at the time, I never realized… what this choice meant…”
 Panzerstecher: The sword described here is an estoc. These swords were usually made with only a sharpened point but no edges for slashing or cutting attacks. Since slashing attacks were mentioned, we went with the German estoc instead which does have a sharpened edge for slashing.
 cangue: a board made to lock around the neck. There are versions of the cangue that were made to lock both the hands and neck together, sort of like a pillory, but without the stand.