Chapter 132 - Duel Bid (2)
Most of the guests who visited for the specialty of Kargas, Sipoto's underground auctions, often left at the same time.
This was one of the reasons why the auctions were located in a border city; it was so they could take illegal routes to quickly return home. No matter how superior the border guards were, they couldn't chase foreigners from other countries across the border, giving Kargas justification for closing their eyes.
However, this year, there was an extra three days added to their schedule. It was because the agent of the Orcus Company and the unknown young man had caused a stir with the 'duel bid.' The distinguished guests and famous people from various countries expressed an interest in it.
"A duel bid? How many years has it been?"
"It was probably five years ago, when Duke Soldon took on the king of mercenaries and won the elixir."
"Ahh, this is the first time since then."
"This is an agent from the Orcus Company. It will be fun."
The small uproar which had occurred in the auction house spread all over Sipoto.
Some laughed at the recklessness and foolishness of the young man, while others bet on the duel bid in hopes of reversing their lives. The result was decided from the beginning. Everybody thought this, and some expected wouldn't gain much money.
Then after three days, the day of the duel bid arrived. The place where the duel bid would take place was the location of the central auction house. The number of audience members had decreased considerably from the day of the auction, but still, many had arrived and were seated.
Those with money had drinks and women at their disposal. What they were lacking was thrill, so they came to enjoy the sight of another person bleeding. Some of them raised their voices.
"Ohh...! The black armored man standing next to Agent Isaac is the famous Black Knight!"
It was as they said. The Black Knight's body was covered entirely in black armor so that not one piece of skin could be seen. It was so creepy that some found it burdensome to even look at him. The Black Knight stood proudly beside Isaac, who was sitting on a colourful chair. If the Black Knight were standing in a corner of a palace or mansion, he might be considered an elaborate decoration.
The crowd gulped and drooled over the Black Knight.
"Indeed, I feel a great dignity exuding from him."
"I don't see any gaps at all."
"...It might be my imagination, but he doesn't feel alive."
While some people were evaluating his capabilities and atmosphere, others said...
"I would like to see him without his armour. There is no doubt that his face will be handsome to match his dignity."
"Countess Dale, there is no guarantee the Black Knight is a man. Maybe it could be a woman."
"A woman over 190cm?"
"Among the barbarians in the south, it is said that such women are common."
"Oh, my! Really?"
They discussed his appearance, body, and origin. Although it might seem uncomfortable, the Black Knight just stayed silently by Isaac's side. The silence made him feel like an executioner waiting to deal the fatal blow.
It was said that he'd killed two ogres with one slice of the sword. It was said that he was the owner of a fist with enough power to break a rock. It was said that he was a slaughterer who had killed hundreds of enemies alone.
All those rumors were true. Isaac smiled inwardly as he looked sideways at his Black Knight. The knight was strong enough to kill an ogre in one strike, to break a rock with his bare hands, and to annihilate hundreds of enemies alone. The list of terrible things he'd done was extensive. For whomever came out to fight him, it would be a public execution.
Then someone's cry entered Isaac's ears, "He's coming! That guy!"
'It seems like he found a warrior,' Isaac scoffed inwardly and looked in the direction of the voice.
This was the confidence of the Orcus agent who believed in the Black Knight and wanted to see the bidder die. Of course, he couldn't kill the bidder here, but it was possible once they went outside the city. Isaac's eyes darkened at the thought and turned to face Theodore.
Theodore confronted the Orcus agent without any hesitation, "It has been three days. Agent Isaac."
"...You didn't run away. I suppose you have the talent for surprising me more than just once."
"I don't think this is the end of the surprises."
"No, it ends here." Isaac's voice was indifferent. It was a voice which didn't care what the other person was talking about. To him, Theodore and his companions were already dead. The Orcus agent would cut off the head of the idiot who had accepted this proposal and then send the rest on their way.
The notary felt the atmosphere and stepped back. "T-Then we will start in two minutes. Agent Isaac, your warrior is the Black Knight? Is that correct?"
"I understand. Then who is Theo's warrior?"
Theodore stepped back and called out for him, "It is your turn from here, Captain Randolph."
"...Ah, I have to suffer under you again. You aren't planning to decrease the price by half this time?"
The man with golden hair had scars all over his face and body, proving that he didn't live an easy life. The two falchions at his waist swung smoothly in their leather sheaths. They were the items he'd obtained during his adventure with Theodore at the Miller Barony. His two brown eyes, wild like a wolf's, gazed sharply at the Black Knight.
However, the Black Knight didn't respond to his killing intent.
"This piece of tin is my opponent? What a strange guy."
"Ah, warrior? What is your name...?" The notary asked.
"Oh, excuse me. My name is Randolph Clovis. I am a warrior hired by Young Master over here."
"Ah, thank you."
After confirming the designation of both warriors, the notary began to explain the rules of the duel bid.
The warriors hired by the bidders would participate in the duel bid, and the warrior who collapsed first would lose. If both warriors couldn't fight, the right to abstain would be given to the two bidders. The warriors were literally the swords of the bidders.
With each believing that their warrior was stronger, the two bidders settled into the audience to watch the duel bid.
The stage had a radius of 30m from the center, so it had a diameter of 60m. The footsteps of a peak swordsman would be able to travel from one end to another in two or three steps. In other words, it was a stage with no room to breathe.
"Ha, this is my favourite place. It is cheap compared to the Colosseum in Andras, but it is nice to have no place to run away."
Unlike Randolph, who revealed his teeth like a beast, the Black Knight remained silent and pulled out his sword.
There was no liveliness in the Black Knight. Randolph's eyebrows twitched as he felt something strange from the figure. Randolph had never seen the Black Knight before, but his movements seemed familiar. It wasn't the swordsmanship or footwork, but Randolph couldn't help feeling uncomfortable.
Additionally, it was true that the opponent was unresponsive to Randolph's killing intent. Any swordsman who had reached this stage would be sensitive. Randolph's killing intent was enough to make even a sword master gather power at their fingertips.
A living person couldn't suppress a response-
...No, wait a minute.
Randolph had a suspicion and raised his senses. If he focused the distribution of aura properly, his sense of hearing could temporarily hear even a needle dropping onto sand. His hearing was so sensitive, but he didn't hear the Black Knight breathe at all. There was no inhalation or exhalation, or signs that the Black Knight was holding his breath.
Randolph became sure of the Black Knight's true identity.
[Young Master, is it because of 'that'?]
Randolph communicated with Theo by using Hidden Voice, a technique which secretly transmitted sound by silently vibrating mana. Theodore's face hardened as soon as he heard the words, after which he sent back a reply with message magic.
During the clash against the elder lich, Randolph had taken down the undead made from his ancestor. It wasn't the senior undead, the 'death knight,' but it wasn't much different. This meant that Randolph's intuition was reliable.
Then Theo had two choices. Theodore could storm into the fight and reveal the identity of the death knight facing Randolph. If successful, it might be able to trace the relationship and prove that the Orcus Company was dabbling in black magic.
However, that method was too risky. If they failed to defeat the Black Knight, it was likely the Orcus agent and the Black Knight would escape from Kargas, and the Orcus Company would then use their power to hide.
'What should I do? What is the best choice in this situation?' Theodore started thinking frantically.
There were only dozens of seconds left until the duel began. There was no room to think too deeply, so he should rely on his intuition. Should he believe in Randolph's victory and wait, or defeat the death knight together and expose Agent Isaac?
It was Randolph's voice which ended Theo's troubles. [Hah, I'm caught again. It is a problem that I accepted the moment you told me about my sister.]
[Well, it's okay. I owe Young Master, and this way, I can repay the humiliation of the past.]
Randolph's falchions emerged from the sheaths at his waist. A blue aura flowed around the edge of the blade, like a beast's fangs aiming for the neck of the opponent. This terrible aura was incomparable to that of a year ago! Despite the considerable distance between them, Theodore's neck was tingling.
It was a warning given by his sixth sense!
'Don't tell me, Randolph has already...!'
Before Theodore's speculation could be completed, the flag in the notary's hand descended toward the ground, signifying the start of the duel bid. This was a dance of death which wouldn't stop for a moment until one person was defeated.
Once the duel began, Randolph's swords moved like lightning bolts.
Space was severed, with the two streaks of blue slashing through the air like it was butter and arriving before the Black Knight at a terrific speed.
Randolph's movements were awfully fast. Even Theodore's enhanced vision, which was superior to aura users, couldn't keep track of it. During the past year, Randolph's strength had increased, and the speed of his lightning sword was already close to the speed of light.
However, the Black Knight didn't panic and swung his greatsword.
A colorless aura covered the sword, causing the atmosphere to distort from the slight pressure flowing from it. The important thing wasn't speed but the endless destructive power coming from the sword.
If Randolph's swords seemed like lightning, then the Black Knight's was like a landslide. The strong sword versus the fast sword...
Once they collided, a thunderous sound rang out.