TLN: Hey guys, Reigokai here!
4 pretty lengthy chapters at once this time around! Quite the hard time thinking how to release them, and decided to just throw them all in!
What was waiting for us outside the tent after finishing arming ourselves was a wind so strong it could blow us away.
Zephyr, who had piled up snow on him, shook the snow off with a shake, and Byakuya stands by the side of Loroka. Thanks to them covering us from the wind, Mia was finally able to maintain her posture.
Good grief, a battle in a snowy field is problematic. The snow coils around my feet, and because of this field of vision and wind, Riel’s effective range decreases.
The lightness of Mia’s body must make it hard for her to even stand properly. Well, the two must have prepared one or two countermeasures for those kind of times…but you can’t call it a good condition.
Riel chants and creates several ‘torches’ of magic here and there. The triangular rune drawn on the ground shone red and it calls raging fire. Fire that contains her mana that doesn’t go out even within this snowstorm. If they were rational animals, they wouldn’t approach us with this.
With this, we have enough vision.
We have to secure at least that much in this unsure situation.
“Captain, this environment is disadvantageous for us.” (Loroka)
“Yeah. And so, are you familiar with the presence of the enemy?” (Solje)
Loroka-sensei’s Diaros blood originates from here after all, so I would like to rely on that knowledge. But she shakes her head.
“…No, there was no such ominous mana like this in the time when I was in Barrow Gawick. Or more like, this is like the ones lately.” (Loroka)
“Right. This certainly does resemble the presence of undead.” (Solje)
“I-I think so as well. These guys are skeletons or…like the presence of big white clouds!” (Jean)
“I see… If it is an Agarm, then I would understand this pressure.” (Solje)
There’s a crazy strong monster bringing along whole lots of weaklings and approaching us. This puts our guard up.
What kind of plan shall we take in these kind of times?
There’s a lot of ways.
We are gonna be facing an unknown enemy, so first it would be to scout them. Maybe strengthen the defense and counter once the enemy attacks once.
…Or, since we noticed the approach of the enemy, we should take the first strike?
All sound good. Especially the third one.
But we are the Banjar Mercenaries. Even if we are in such terrible conditions…there’s no need to use such monotonous methods against a strong opponent.
Scout, defense, attack?
If all are attractive, we can just do them all at the same time, right? We gotta get greedy, since we are getting a strong opponent!!
“Formation, Lonely Center!!” (Solje)
I unsheathe my dragon longsword and declare this.
My mercenaries go ‘alright!’ and take formation. I am at the frontmost; Zephyr at the right-wing; left-wing there’s Loroka-sensei and Byakuya; center Jean; back there’s Mia and Riel.
Now then, this Lonely Center, just what’s the strongest point of it? The fact that it is only me. What does that mean? …I will show you.
“Let’s go!!” (Solje)
Being guided by the singing of Zephyr, I charged to the enemy alone. Kicking about the snow and solely advancing forward!!
I am the scout and also the attacker. I charge into the enemy crowd alone and invite the reaction of the other side. If they react in a hostile way, my comrades at the back will take the appropriate response.
We are going against an unknown enemy after all. Testing what kind of attack comes can be done alone, right? ‘Poison testing’ the attack of the enemy, doesn’t that sound just like a knight?!
“I will secure vision!!” (Riel)
Riel imbues magic to her arrow and shoots it. Cutting through the snowstorm, it flies away and explodes. The magic became a light ball that shines brightly in the air.
Thanks to that, I finally managed to confirm the enemy by sight.
The many weaklings are wolves. Looking like Jean, so be careful… Well, they are skeleton hounds, so they are easy to differentiate. Skeleton Wolves, huh.
And so, the owner of those undead hounds is…
Is shouldering a giant sword that doesn’t lose in size to my dragon longsword. Is he a horned knight? It is a giant warrior wearing a red cloak. I say horn, but it is not like the horns of the Diaros that are located over the ear and grow backwards slightly. Those are horns that are big like that of a moose.
It is his helmet? Rather than calling it a helmet, it is more like it is one with his bones, so yeah, I think it is his horns. This guy is indeed an undead. He is all bones after all, just like his wolves.
This guy…I could tell as he approached more and more. His bones and armor seem to be one. It is not that he is wearing armor, there’s no distinction between bones and armor.
There’s parts of his bones that have a different shape and are pointy like that of armor…and it felt like he ended up growing an armor that can be moved.
A skeleton knight? A monster that has grown an armor from his bones? Whatever the case, he seems to be the big boss of the skeletons…
This guy, even though he is so hollow you can even see through the other side of his body, his body wasn’t staggering even in this snowstorm.
An existence that makes you feel like it is contradicting. Even though he looks like he should be light, he is heavy. In my experience, those kind of warriors that can create those kind of contradictions are -without exception- fearsomely strong.
He raised his greatsword into the sky.
“I am the Wind of Death, Mistral!”
To think the other side would introduce themselves. There’s monsters who can talk, but…obviously, those kind of guys mostly possess monstrous levels of strength.
Even so, what a mannered guy for a monster. Then, I should also answer in kind.
“We are the Banjar Mercenaries!! I am the captain, Solje Strauss!! You are the one who picked a fight with us, Mistral! If you have a reason, say it!!” (Solje)
“I don’t know the reason. I was simply ordered by my master to kill you.” (Mistral)
“I don’t remember having done anything against a skeleton feudal lord though.” (Solje)
“I see, then that must mean there’s no good or bad in the reason to be hated. Let’s see what you are made of. Hounds.” (Mistral)
The bone wolves run towards me. Two at once? Fools. As if you can gauge the strength of the captain of the Banjar Mercenaries with just two mere dogs!!
The fangs of wolves came from both sides. I swing down my longsword at the wolf jumping at me from the right. The slash crushes that completely bone body of his. Wait, it is hard? …I see, they are covered in ice. They are heavy and hard, so that’s why they can endure this blizzard, huh.
And the ice wolf that jumped at me from the opposite side, I intercepted it with a burst of fire that I casted from my left hand. A scatter fireball blows open the head of the ice wolf. Fumu, looks like magic is decently effective.
Inform my comrades!!
“Everyone! These guys are not only bones!! There’s ice around them!! They are harder than expected! But magic is effective, as well as blows!! Mia, instead of your knife, use your slingshot and wind palms!!” (Solje)
A voice filled with energy resonated. Nice. That energy reached all the way here! That’s why I can cut, destroy with magic, and kick them dead as the ice wolves come one after the other!!
“…Hoh, no wonder I was called as well. Hounds wouldn’t even be considered opponents.” (Mistral)
“That’s right. So you come at me, Mistral. 1 vs 1, many vs 1; I don’t mind.” (Solje)
“Interesting. Fine. Hounds, don’t aim at him!! Devour the meat of the other weaklings!! This strong one will be my prey!!” (Mistral)
The ice wolves howl in unison, separate from me, and run to my back. I let them pass. I trust my comrades after all.
“The others are weaklings, you say? Ignorance is bliss.” (Solje)
“They are weaker than you right, Strong One.” (Mistral)
“…Well, I am the strongest in my crew…but there’s not a single weakling among them.” (Solje)
“A pack of only strong, huh. Interesting. I will have a taste of them later.” (Mistral)
Mistral and I face each other.
This guy…in his thorax, there’s something strange. In the place where people normally have their heart in, there’s several blue glittering fireballs floating. I can feel overwhelming mana leaking out from there.
Is that his energy source?
I don’t think it is just a plain accessory. But if that’s the case, it is kinda cool. Though looking at it makes my heart ache.
“Hoh, did my blue flame catch your interest? …You have good instincts.” (Mistral)
“Fumu…what do you mean by that?” (Solje)
“You will eventually become this.” (Mistral)
“These are the souls of the strong ones I have defeated. Being imprisoned by me, they are crossing swords with me in the nightmare I am showing them.” (Mistral)
“You bastard…you are playing with the souls of the warriors you killed?!” (Solje)
“Playing? That’s not it. I am honoring them.” (Mistral)
“The philosophy of a monster, huh. That’s warped.” (Solje)
“Really? I believe that you will be happy of my treatment eventually.” (Mistral)
“As if I will be happy about being embraced by your damn chest. Say that after you reincarnate into a peerless beauty. Big boobs, rect conduct, beautiful, and uses formal speech in bed. That’s when you can say those words.” (Solje)
“Hahaha! What an interesting man!!” (Mistral)
He burst out in laughter. My conversational skills have finally reached the level where it can make monsters laugh, huh. I will brag about this to Sharon later.
“But rather than lust…you are more fitted for the putrid smell of flesh and blood.” (Mistral)
“Hoh, it’s true that I have killed way more warriors than I have embraced women.” (Solje)
“Then, you will definitely one day accept me with supreme bliss. Just like the strong ones I have fought in the past.” (Mistral)
This guy is a battle junkie. I don’t hate those types. But have you not been raised by your mother to not do too much evil or karma will get you?
“Aah, Strong One! Accept my embrace!! And then, come to the Infinite Battlefield that was created by my mana. I will invite you to that paradise for warriors!!” (Mistral)
“…Fighting eternally even after death…with you?” (Solje)
“With me and the souls of the brave warriors I have killed!!” (Mistral)
“I see, an eternal battlefield, huh. Fumu, if it is after death, it doesn’t sound bad.” (Solje)
“I knew you would say that.” (Mistral)
Mistral thought I had empathized with him and looks happy. A warped love of brethren that share the same maniac hobby. Just because I slightly agreed with him, he easily thought I was a comrade of his.
But that paradise of yours has a big defect.
“It is a pretty interesting place indeed, but…that’s simply after I die. Also, can I give you my opinion?” (Solje)
“Yeah. In order to better the paradise, I am always willing to hear out opinions.” (Mistral)
“Then, here I go. This is out of the good of my heart. Even if we were to fight for eternity…by the third day, I will end up undefeated. A damn arena like that would be fucking boring.” (Solje)
“Hooh, then, I will win, kill you, and convince you.” (Mistral)
Mistral and I glare at each other. Eh, he doesn’t have eyeballs, you say? Yeah, that’s true, but the hollow eyes of his have burning blue spheres inside. Those are probably eyes.
They must be similar to the eye given to me by Ares.
Right, if I had to put it into words, I would have to say this is a strong opponent I haven’t had in a while.
- Chapter 70
Kicking the snow, we both began running at almost the same time. We are glaring at each other’s face, but the corner of my vision is watching his whole body.
If you are a swordsman, you should know this, right? We can grasp a variety of parts of the body while fighting.
And so, we can both throw attacks aiming to destroy the other at the same time.
I place strength in my arms, and with the dragon longsword and greatsword raised overhead, we release a slash flowing with killing intent!!
Steel clashes, and the metal cries in a cold and intense voice. Quite the weight. Nice, Mistral. I could feel the strength of this guy as well as the massive amount of time he has poured into training.
Even within this competition of strength that has sparks flying, we are trying to destroy the balance of the other and overwhelming the other with brute strength.
While investigating one another, we are also proclaiming. ‘How’s my blade, you bastard?’. My pride as a swordsman and instinct were controlling my actions.
“You are good! It has been a while since my dragon longsword has been completely received!!” (Solje)
“Same here!! To think you would be able to match the strength of my sword…!!” (Mistral)
I was smiling. How about you, Mistral? I can’t read your expression in that meatless face. It would be easy to tell, but you don’t have the leisure to do that. Honestly speaking, me neither.
In terms of plain weight in an attack…I admit it, we are equally matched!!
We both pull back our blades with a breath, and in the next instant, we clashed once again with our full strength. We are equal in strength! Then, the next contest will be speed!!
*Clank! Gan! Gin!!*
A sword dance of three consecutive attacks. But it looks like Mistral is also worthy of being called wind!! He is fast!!
The slashes aimed at each other’s head, arms, and chest, but they all clashed in the middle!!
“Damn it, your speed and the sharpness of your technique is also…!!” (Solje)
“Equally matched?!” (Mistral)
“…No, I can use other things aside from wind, Mistral!!” (Solje)
I cast a fireball from my swordless left hand and immediately shoot it —no, I can’t. With this guy’s sword technique, he would easily deflect a fireball.
That’s why I clear away the snow with my footwork first, and rain slashes at him while dancing!!
“You can use both sword and magic within this fast space?!” (Mistral)
“I see!! You plan on crumbling my posture and bombing me with that fireball!!” (Mistral)
Mistral caught onto my plan through my movements. Pretty good.
This level of sword dance won’t make you crumble!! We are practically equally matched after all. But, how is it? My body is superior to yours, right?
Even within this high paced battle of consecutive attacks, I am maintaining my balance. That’s the reason for having a free hand. There were not only humans within my masters. I have been fighting the tail of an elderly dragon that doesn’t know how to hold back in my childhood.
Strength alone is no good. You have to accompany it with movement.
Slashing while moving moving around; with my size, my strength, and this dragon longsword which was made by melting the horn of Ares!! The power is plenty enough!! It has a whole lot of killing power!!
“Guooooh!! How can you bring out so much strength with such erratic stance?! N-No…” (Mistral)
“That’s right, Mistral. Your own hesitation is dulling your own swordsmanship slightly!!” (Solje)
You are a calm and composed knight. You are being careful as to when this fireball will be shot as well. That’s why your movements are running slower to mine.
The intelligent ones lose to the idiots a lot of times!!
In the time the intelligent ones are thinking, the idiots move twice as much after all!
“D-Damn it!!” (Mistral)
You may not have crumbled completely, but Mistral, your sword is beginning to lag behind mine. Mistral noticed this, and he was groaning in anger.
But being intelligent is a part of what you are, so it is something you can’t do anything about.
If you come at me in a battle of solely reflex, it will obviously be my complete victory!!
“Guh! That beast-like footwork! What’s with you?! You are not a knight!!” (Mistral)
“Yeah, I am a dragon knight!!” (Solje)
Bringing down my sword from overhead, I baited his sword. That’s right, I made him block it. My real intention is here!!
“What?! T-That’s madness!! At this distance, you will also—!” (Mistral)
“Hahaha! Don’t underestimate us Strauss!!” (Solje)
Self-destruct, you say? As if I can bother with that. If I were to worry about those kind of small things against a strong opponent like this, it would be rude to them, right?
I activate the fireball. It explodes in between Mistral and I, and we were both burned by the scorching wind. It is hot, but what about it?!!
*Gan!! Gin!! Claaank!!*
Even when burned by the fire, I let out a roar and swing my sword!!
Mistral desperately tried to receive my slashes even when burning.
But because he was caught off guard, his reaction was slightly delayed.
The sword that was trying to receive my attacks finally dulled, and I was pushing him now. Being taken the upperhand, Mistral was overwhelmed by the weight and power of my dragon longsword, and falls to one knee in place.
“Gugh!! Are you saying this is the strength of humans?! M-Moreover, with only one hand!!” (Mistral)
My battle spirit became sound and comes out from my body. I who love battles to death didn’t slacken my attacking hand; there was no mercy. Against the enemy and me as well!
My escalating battle spirit became magic, and I once again called a fireball on my left palm!!
“Or you seriously going to shoot again in this timing?!” (Mistral)
“I don’t hate the heat, you know!!” (Solje)
I push the fireball close to his face and shout!!
“You idiot!!” (Mistral)
A big explosion.
His and my body were being burned once again by the burning wind. Or more like, we both were sent flying. I flew off several metres and roll on the snow. Aah, my hair is burned, my skin is hurting, the armor is heated up, and the metal is letting out a burned smell!!
But even with that…there’s no way I would stop!!
I kick the snow, put my nails to the snow, and hit the ground with the dragon longsword to stand up!! And then, I obviously run towards the enemy that can still move!!
I will have my enemy taste the Strauss storm when his stance is still crumbled. Right, left, left, right, right, left slashes hit, and for a finisher, he had staggered to the back by those attacks, and I grab my sword with both hands, and swing it down on his head!!
Even with all that, Mistral desperately stopped my finisher. He lowered his greatsword horizontally, and not only did he have a hand on the handle but also the blade in order to block my attack.
“Haah, haaah!! I don’t know a person like you who cares for his life so little!!” (Mistral)
“Ain’t that the best encounter you’ve had then, Mistral!! Remember it, my name is Solje Straaaaaauss!!” (Solje)
There’s no need for petty tactics anymore.
Leave it solely to strength!!
Just how much do you think I have trained? I have quite the masters history, you know. My father, brothers, Ares, and Garf Cortez!! I had many masters, but there’s one trait of mine they all have praised me for!!
I will tell you what it was!!
“Wa, the s-sword…my sword that is clad in mana…is being warped?! What unbelievable strength! Is this really human strength?!” (Mistral)
Kukuku!! That’s right, everyone praised my ridiculous strength. That’s why, taste it plenty!!
“Ugh!! There’s no way my sword will break—!!” (Mistral)
“You fool! My dragon longsword has Ares dwelling in it!!” (Solje)
Mistral’s greatsword raised a cry as it began to break. The dragon longsword attacks the owner of the greatsword without lowering in power or momentum!!
Mistral’s head, chest, abdomen…were being cut by the violent power of a dragon. That’s Ares for you. Even in death, your horn can cut even the toughest of enemies!!
“Hahahaha!! Nice, Ares!!” (Solje)
I laughed and sang praises to my beloved dragon longsword in front of my cut enemy.
But…this splendid feeling was quickly interrupted.
Many bone hands stretched towards me.
The moment those white shadows entered my sight, I felt an intense anger and unhindered killing intent.
Because of both of those, I managed to notice. Knights have so much pride that they are ill-suited for assassinations.
I deflect those bone hands with my dragon longsword, take a step, and jump back to create distance.
The bone hands that were cut crumbled to pieces.
“…Is this your hidden hand?” (Solje)
It sounded like a joke, but it wasn’t funny. He and I were desperate here.
Mistral who was supposed to have been cut from head to chest slowly stood up from the ground. I thought it was a fatal wound, but…as expected of someone with a strong presence.
“…I didn’t expect to be caught off guard by a human swordsman.” (Mistral)
“You can talk even when cut.” (Solje)
Yeah, his voice is still coming out even when he had been cut in two.
Now that I think about it, this guy doesn’t have organs or a throat, and yet he can still talk, so no matter what shape he is in, as long as he isn’t completely defeated, his voice and movements won’t stop?
“I am surprised. To think I would be overwhelmed to this extent. It has been 50 years since something like this has happened.” (Mistral)
“Not your first time? That makes me a bit jealous.” (Solje)
“No, your combat capabilities are worthy of being shocking.” (Mistral)
“…You really praise me a lot.” (Solje)
“It is praise towards the man I am going to be killing now.” (Mistral)
“Was that a joke?” (Solje)
You are not the type to.
Even when I knew that, I still had to ask that. Answering with an ‘I see’ would lack too much charm.
“No, I am as serious as I can be…and sane, Berserker-dono.” (Mistral)
The cut parts of Mistral had some sort of ‘darkness thread’ sewing those areas.
“It healed.” (Solje)
“Convenient, right? If you die, you can also do this.” (Mistral)
“I have never admired becoming an undead. ‘Live each second of your life properly’, is what I learned from my mother.” (Solje)
“…But, is that mother of yours still alive?” (Mistral)
Mistral was trying to see through my heart with those blue fire eyes of his. What is it he wants to hear?
“…She lived doing her best and died doing her best.” (Solje)
“…I see, so your mother died as well. Don’t you think that’s a shame?” (Mistral)
“If she were undead, she would have been able to enjoy this world more, don’t you think?” (Mistral)
“I wonder. I don’t think mother had so many regrets in her life to the point that she would clink to it even if she had to take such a wicked shape.” (Solje)
“It irritates me more and more as we speak. Even though I can enjoy myself so much when you and I speak with our swords.” (Mistral)
Mistral throws away his broken sword while saying that.
“And so, what will you do? A wicked monster like you won’t be dying from something like that, right?” (Solje)
“Yeah, that’s right, Solje Strauss-dono. I admit my defeat by sword. You are the superior swordsman.” (Mistral)
“You have nice technique and battle spirit. You have my gratitude. I got to taste the of a warrior that has mastered the sword. This is a token of my gratitude… I will show you my true strength…” (Mistral)
Doesn’t sound like a joke.
That makes me happy.
A strong opponent like this, I haven’t had one since the time I fought Zephyr!! My blood is boiling!
Now, come, Mistral!! You still haven’t used your everything, right?