Chapter 133 - Duel Bid (3)
There was a large shock wave. If the destructive power from the two swords had been pushed to one-side, the audience sitting in that direction would be crushed like a frog hit by a stone. The the body of the lightning-fast swordsman, Randolph, bounced back.
This was evidence that the Black Knight had the advantage in power.
'No, it can't be helped.'
Theodore watched the duel with sober eyes. It was different if it were a low ranked undead, however, the Black Knight that Randolph was facing now was a senior undead, the death knight.
The body had several times the physical ability of a living person, and it didn't feel any pain. In a simple struggle of strength, it could compete against a cyclops. It was also possible for the Black Knight to destroy a wall with his bare hands.
Randolph realized this as well after directly experiencing it with his body.
Confronting the opponent in a competition of strength was pure suicide. Randolph had to accept that his opponent had the advantage in power.
In the first place, dual swordsmanship wasn't a technique designed to compete with strength. The advantages of having two swords was the ability to use multiple combinations of sword techniques freely.
Randolph took a deep breath and his appearance distorted.
No, Randolph hadn't disappeared. It just meant that the speed of Randolph's movements surpassed the eyesight of the audience. The speed of acceleration was so extreme that it made Theodore's eyes hurt!
The aura overflowing from Randolph's blades drew blue lines in the air, like comet trails. Then Randolph's swords once again turned into lightning bolts which smashed the Black Knight from all sides.
As sparks flew, Randolph's falchions scratched the Black Knight's arm and peeled off the surface of the Black Knight's shoulder like it was potato skin.
Randolph attacked again. His next stab scratched the edge of the Black Knight's kneecap. Even the solid armour couldn't endure the sharp aura, causing metal fragments to burst out. However, it didn't end with just one or two. 10 times, 20 times, 100 times, 1000 times...
The Black Knight was tough too. He swung his sword around him and endured Randolph's encirclement. One hit of his would kill Randolph. Randolph was a swordsman who only focused on speed. His body danced gloriously like it was on the edge of a reaper's scythe. A single mistake would send Randolph to hell.
"It is really amazing...!"
The audience let out low sounds of admiration. They had expected it to be a casual entertainment, a one-sided slaughter, but the fight surpassed their imagination. Confrontations between swordsmen were usually dry. Iron and iron would collide steadily with one another until one side found a crack in the other's defense. It was rare to see a proper fight between aura users.
No, rather than rare, it was more accurate to say it couldn't be done.
'Fools. If I hadn't been here, don't you know that you would've died five times over already?' Theodore sighed as he looked around while fending off the shock waves.
He could tell because he had encountered master level people many times. Right now, both existences in front of him were almost at the level of a master. Neither was a complete master, but they were still dangerous to ordinary people.
Shock waves continued to occur as the high-density auras collided with each other. They were strong enough to turn rocks to dust. This wasn't a phenomenon which the weak could watch. Theo wanted to release the protective shield and just focus on watching the duel bid, but a catastrophe would happen if he did that.
In such circumstances, Theodore was forced to endure patiently.
"Hah, such a great ability...! Employer, where did you find that swordsman?"
On the other hand, Gibra was stunned by the abilities of the shabby mercenary. He'd thought his employer had just hired someone who was his acquaintance, but the mercenary was actually on par with the Black Knight!
Gibra was a powerhouse in Sipoto, but he could never win against the Black Knight or Randolph. The even more shocking thing was that he had failed to identify Randolph, despite seeing such a powerful figure.
Theodore answered in an evasive manner, "I won't tell you."
"Just keep watching."
Theodore turned away from Gibra's bitter expression and continued watching the duel. A death knight was something only high-level necromancers could create with black magic. Randolph's expression was grim as he faced the disadvantageous odds.
Like a lie, the flow of the match headed in Randolph's favor. Therefore, it wasn't difficult for Theodore to see that... 'He isn't at the master level yet. If Randolph had awakened Aura Ability, this fight would already be over.'
Aura Ability was a miracle exclusive to sword masters which could even transcend magic. Somebody could cut through space, another could control gravity, and somebody else could remove one's spirit. If there were 1,000 sword masters, there were 1,000 types of abilities. A person would be judged as a sword master based on whether they awakened this ability or not.
If Randolph was a complete sword master, this fight wouldn't have dragged out for so long. The Black Knight would've lost his head and collapsed onto the floor 10 minutes ago. However, the death knight wasn't in optimum condition either.
'If I didn't see it, then I might be eager to run out and interfere... but I don't think this bastard will be a help to Isaac.' Theodore laughed as he looked at the Black Knight.
The Orcus Company would become the target of the entire continent if it were known they were mixed up with black magic. It was why three of the death knight's advantages were sealed: the undead's immortal resistance; the white aura which symbolized death; and the black magic which was naturally added to senior undead.
Now, with such a huge penalty, Randolph's incomplete power was enough to win the battle!
"...Please, Captain Randolph."
Randolph had the advantage, but it would be best to win this duel in the cleanest way possible.
This way, Theodore could obtain Charlotte's Necklace and block the Orcus Company. Theodore, who didn't like his burden being carried by another person, formed a fist as responsibility and impatience intertwined together.
10 minutes after that, the winner of the duel bid was decided.
* * *
Randolph's tactic was extremely simple. He moved continuously at a super fast speed, accumulating a small amount of damage, while his constant attacks weren't fatal enough to cause death. However, if he focused on attacking and defending himself as his two swords and the Black Knight's greatsword clashed, he wouldn't be able catch the massive greatsword with his falchions.
Meanwhile, the Black Knight's plate mail had turned into a rag. However, when asked if the offensive was effective against the Black Knight...
"Stupid, you are the one wearing yourself out," Isaac muttered with a smile as he read Randolph's intent.
Unlike a human, the Black Knight didn't have the concept of fatigue. No, the accumulated damage was of no use because the Black Knight didn't bleed. The only places where the regenerative power was restrained were the parts which couldn't be hidden, like the arms and legs. However, the skeletal muscle covered in armour could always regenerate.
So, it wasn't unreasonable that Isaac would have a ridiculing expression on his face.
However, Isaac's relaxed face distorted when he noticed an unexpected situation.
Once again, Randolph's swords struck, and the Black Knight's breastplate broke off in big pieces. It was effective. The plate mail had been struck continuously and reached its limit. Of course, the Black Knight's flesh was fine, but that wasn't the problem.
"N-No. This can't continue...!" Isaac turned pale as he noticed the situation one step late.
Obviously, the death knight was an undead. The body with white skin like a corpse lay underneath the armour, and anybody could recognize the colour. What if Randolph's sword stripped off all the armour? No, what if the helm broke? Rumours that the Orcus Company was associated with a warlock would spread everywhere.
It was a situation which he needed to stop no matter what.
[God of Death, knight who serves Thanatos!] Isaac hurriedly sent a message to the Black Knight. He wanted to entrust it with autonomous action as much as possible, but the death knight couldn't be revealed to the public.
[Kill him as soon as possible!]
Randolph was a swordsman who had no talent except for running away, so Isaac believed the death knight could cut him down without difficulty if all his power was used.
However, Isaac overlooked one thing. The tactics of a death knight, a first-rate swordsman when he had been alive, weren't something a warlock should be meddling in. If the death knight's ego was still intact, he would've snarled at the foolish command.
Unfortunately, the death knight was an undead who followed commands, and Isaac was a warlock giving the command. According to the command, the Black Knight raised his greatsword above his head. The pressure of the sword, which had been defending intently, suddenly reversed its direction. The air became heavier as pressure was emitted from the death knight's head and shoulders. The pressure became a few times more terrible than before.
"...Indeed, just a tin can." Randolph laughed at the foolish judgment.
Kakiing. Randolph's arms moved at an eerie rate and chopped out.
This was a skill which couldn't be used if the Black Knight had continued the defense from a while ago. Randolph took advantage of the mistake that Isaac, not the Black Knight, had committed. The perfect defense was disrupted, creating a fatal gap.
Any swordsman would accept that gap pleasantly.
It was the name of the pair of swords Randolph had obtained from the elder lich's dungeon, which had originally belonged to his ancestor, Adolf of the Clovis family. Randolph now reproduced the technique which had been lost in the void for two centuries.
He used Thunder Stroke, in other words, triple lightning strikes. The first one was a straight thrust.
Randolph's left sword turned into a lightning strike. It was aimed at the fatal points like the brain and heart, even if the fatal points were blurred for a death knight.
The Black Knight responded by reflexively lowering the greatsword, but he was a beat too late. The falchion had arrived before the claymore and retreated.
The second strike was a diagonal split.
Since ancient times, the most powerful technique had been a diagonal slash. The drawback was that it was a simple trajectory, and there was a big gap after it was completed. So, it was hard to use unless you were sure that you could hit the target.
The blue lightning strikes aimed in succession at the Black Knight's neck.
Even so, the Black Knight blocked the strikes. The greatsword in his right hand blocked the left sword, while his left hand blocked the sword aiming at his neck.
Of course, the price of doing that was disastrous. The death knight's index finger was cut off, and Randolph's blade went right into the death knight's wrist, tearing it from the forearm. After shattering the arm with aura, the falchion smashed against the Black Knight's elbow.
Randolph grinned at the horrific defense and said, "There is still one remaining."
It was a possible technique for a dual wield swordsman. Blocking the enemy's weapon with one sword while striking at the weak point with the other... A third attack didn't exist in normal swordsmanship.
The third strike was a horizontal slash.
With rapid acceleration from a stopped state, the left sword, which had stopped after finishing its role of blocking the greatsword, suddenly moved. The big sword, which had been thrown far out, had yet to return. This meant there was no way for the Black Knight, who lost his right arm, to stop the incoming attack.
Indeed, without any resistance, Randolph's aura blades bit into the defenseless sides of the Black Knight, cutting from both ends!
Randolph's blow, which couldn't be blocked or avoided, eventually split the body of the Black Knight into two pieces.