Up to this point, Kim Seon-Hyeok had fought numerous battles against people who were much stronger than himself. And he had won most of those battles.
His winning tactic was to first engage in reconnaissance to understand the overall battle situation, then make an erratic first move at once to secure victory during the first clash before eventually emerging victorious.
It was a reckless method, however, he couldn’t give up the advantage of attacking first, that if everything worked out, would help him deal with a strong opponent with minimal effort.
But, this theory of winning if he attacked first only worked if his opponent was an average person.
However, even if Kim Seon-Hyeok made up his mind to attack Marek first, visions of himself being hacked into pieces floated through his mind. The feeling he got from the image was too strong for him to dismiss it as a mere byproduct of the atmosphere. It was so strong that he couldn’t point the spear he was clutching in his hand.
Am I afraid?
After a brief moment, he wiped his sweaty palms and gripped his spear again.
His neck felt sore. His neck muscles were too tight and already aching. That's how overwhelming Marek’s presence felt.
“I’m ready but…”
Marek spoke drily as he watched Seon-Hyeok trying to loosen his muscles with small movements.
His words were an outright provocation and mockery.
Instead of stepping forward in a fit of rage, Kim Seon-Hyeok breathed out slowly.
His heavy head felt emptier after exhaling.
It’s been a while.
It had been a long time so many thoughts filled his head as he faced an opponent. It had also been a long time since he felt like hesitating.
However, that didn’t mean it was an unpleasant feeling. He himself felt he had been too relaxed since he returned to Adenburg. But now, he could feel himself tensing again.
“Good, I was just about to start as well.”
He flew into the air with Devon before he finished talking.
And so, the battle began.
The bitter winds of the wasteland instantly turned into a chilly gale that soon turned into a typhoon as it flew towards Marek. The wind was so ferocious that it looked like it would tear the frail-looking old knight into shreds in no time.
However, the roaring Wind Bite that was flying towards Marek soon disappeared.
Just one stroke.
With a faint shimmer of light, the gale became a breeze and soon scattered.
“You really are too much.”
Although Kim Seon-Hyeok hadn’t thought he would gain a huge advantage with his first attack, he never thought it would fail so spectacularly like this.
Not to mention, Marek hadn’t moved a single inch from his initial position.
“Do your best. That’s the only way you won’t have any regrets.”
Kim Seon-Hyeok responded bluntly to that without expressing his inner thoughts.
“I haven’t started yet.”
“I hope you don’t let me down.”
Seon-Hyeok summoned Wind Bite again.
Marek frowned as he looked at the Wind Bite that was even more ferocious than before. He seemed a bit disappointed that Seon-Hyeok would attempt it again when it hadn’t worked before.
Once again, a line appeared in the air and the wind’s momentum broke. However, before the first gale could dissipate, another appeared at the tip of Seon-Hyeok’s spear.
“Wind Bite. Wind Bite. Wind Bite. Wind Bite.”
When one gale disappeared, he summoned two, and when two gales were scattered, he brought forth four.
And Marek blew apart each Wind Bite as it appeared without moving from his spot.
“Seems like you didn’t hear me properly.”
Marek warned dryly when Kim Seon-Hyeok continued to spend out meaningless attacks even after the duel had been going on for some time.
“I’m sure I told you to make sure you don’t have any regrets.”
Despite Marek’s warning, Seon-Hyeok summoned another gale.
Even though his ears were deafened by the sound of the wind, Kim Seon-Hyeok heard Marek’s exceptionally clear voice. He grabbed Devon’s reins as he reflexively pulled out his spear.
Out of nowhere, a gigantic sword appeared and attacked him. It broke as it clashed against the spear.
Unlike his rider, Devon wasn’t able to withstand the tremendous force of the attack from above and began to plummet, screeching.
If the wind hadn’t suddenly appeared to support him, Devon would have crashed into the ground and become a bloody mess.
Devon barely came to his senses before the wind gently supporting him disappeared. He flapped his wings to regain his balance.
However, he mustn’t have gotten completely over his shock because he was flapping his wings with difficulty.
“As I thought, it was too much.”
With that single collision, Devon looked like he had completely lost his spirit for combat. Kim Seon-Hyeok stared at him for a moment before sighing and jumping down.
“Aren’t you too strong for an old man?”
When Kim Seon-Hyeok muttered at him while looking at Devon, Marek replied.
“I think I’ve been patient enough.”
He didn’t seem very happy.
“If you’re planning on doing the same thing again, I will cut off the griffin’s wings right here, right now.”
“Don’t take your anger out on a pitiful beast.”
With that retort, Kim Seon-Hyeok pushed Devon away.
“Go away for a bit.”
Devon, too scared to look at Marek properly, gave a small cry.
“I’ll be alright, so stay away until I call for you.”
Seon-Hyeok gently stroked the white-feathered head as he softly spoke to Devon. Only after that did the griffin fly high into the sky.
“Are you done now?
Marek spoke when Devon completely disappeared from their sight.
“It sure is difficult to have a duel.”
Kim Seon-Hyeok shrugged as he cleared his throat.
Although the Wind Bite wasn’t a particularly difficult skill, it consumed enough energy that it wasn’t easy to use one after another.
Even if it was only for a moment, he needed to catch his breath.
“Tsk. You spent your energy on useless things.”
When Marek clicked his tongue in disapproval, Kim Seon-Hyeok turned to look at him.
He thought that as much energy as he had consumed, Marek would have consumed an equal amount counter-attacking his Wind Bite.
However, contrary to his expectations, Marek didn’t seem to be out of breath.
Huh? Was my information wrong?
Kim Seon-Hyeok recalled his talk with Ophelia as he stared at Marek who didn’t look any different from the beginning.
“Although father highly valued Duke Roachim’s ability, he was always worrying that Duke Roachim would be powerful enough to overthrow the country on his own. That was why he wanted to prepare something in advance. However, after thinking for a long time, he came to the conclusion that a once-in-a-lifetime superhuman like Marek would not have any weakness.”
“Then is there no way to stop the Sword Star?”
She had said that even the Imperial House of Adenstein, who knew Marek’s class and level, hadn’t been able to find this monstrous superhuman’s weakness. But, just because they didn’t know his weakness didn’t mean there was no strategy. The wise House of Adenstein succeeded in finding a weaker ability in the midst of all his other remarkable abilities.
“While all of Duke Roachim’s abilities exceed 160, his endurance is at 110. Of course, even this is extraordinary. It’s far beyond what Marquis Reinhardt had even in his heyday.”
It was stamina.
“So, Father came to the conclusion that the only way to deal with Duke Roachim was to shatter any plans he might’ve had for the battle and make it impossible for him to carry out those plans. Father’s strategy was to attack Duke Roachim with soldiers who were much stronger than they seemed until he eventually crumbled from it.”
Ultimately, there weren’t any of the strategies or big weaknesses that Kim Seon-Hyeok had been expecting. The secret trick that Ophelia told him wasn’t a way for him to win. It was simply a way for him not to lose.
“If it’s the Knight of the Spear that made countless knights of Noctein tremble, it’ll be possible.”
Of course, it wasn’t perfect.
Ophelia expected that, at the very least, he wouldn’t lose if he tried to have his opponent use up his strength as Seon-Hyeok himself attacked from a distance. However, that plan went astray. Unlike the Noctein’s knights who were defenseless against ranged attacks, Marek was a monster who could cut through opponents from a distance without his sword. Before Seon-Hyeok could make Marek consume his stamina, Devon had lost his will to fight.
However, he still had a chance.
Although his initial plan of wearing out his opponent from a relatively safe distance was ruined, it wasn’t like he was completely out of plans.
Seon-Hyeok had something that Marek didn’t - a spear made of wood left behind by the Spirit King of the Earth.
As long as both his feet were on the ground, he would be continuously revitalized by his spear. As long as he had that, level would mean nothing.
The question was, could he withstand the attacks until Marek was exhausted?
If he was hit even once by a sword that could cut through a gale with a single stroke, his fragile body would be torn to shreds.
Thankfully, he had another plan.
The scales of the war dragon were hard and strong, incomparable to the vulnerable human’s skin. That was the only shield that could block Marek’s invisible attacks.
Marke had thought Kim Seon-Hyeok could be a better Adjuster than anyone else. However, Seon-Hyeok’s pointless attacks disappointed him in many ways.
It was to the point where he was thinking that perhaps because of his grand skills and spear, Seon-Hyeok’s war achievements and victories were obtained without hard work.
That’s how disappointed Marek was by what Seon-Hyeok was showing him.
But nevertheless, he still believed Kim Seon-Hyeok was the best candidate to be the Adjuster’s successor.
The combat style that relied excessively on skills was a common problem not only for Kim Seon-Hyeok, but for all foreigners.
Marek himself had the same problem before he had to deal with countless enemies as an Adjuster.
He believed that it would be enough to correct Kim Seon-Hyeok’s battle tactics that were like a child. And that thought became more firmly established after Kim Seon-Hyeok transformed into a golden dragon.
Aggressive but not hasty, reckless but with the strength to back it up.
With this, even a little bit of teaching would be enough to have Kim Seon-Hyeok take his place immediately.
Marek thought it was really fortunate that he found Seon-Hyeok. His level had been quickly going down because of the Great Summoning, so it had been necessary for him to find the next Adjusters as soon as possible.
But all of this could only happen after the duel, after he forced this fierce dragon to sleep and Seon-Hyeok to return to his human form. And so, Marek summoned a sword into the air.
Then, the sword began to dance on its own in the air.
The Drakanade screamed out when he was attacked a dozen times in the timespan of a blink of an eye. In an instant, the brightly shining scales were mangled and became a mess.
However, even though he was covered in blood, Drakanade's aggression didn’t lessen.
Marek narrowed his eyes. It seemed like he was going to have to give up his plan of having his opponent kneel in defeat without major injuries.
He summoned another sword.
“Don’t resent me later. This is all because you were much stronger than I expected.”
Before he finished his brief request, Marke’s body disappeared without leaving a trace.
The only thing left behind after Marek’s disappearance was the shadow of two swords. The enchanting sword dance began.
One sword moved on its own while scattering colorful light while another sword was held in Marek’s hand. The two swords circulated the Drakanade, shedding blood.
Even though he suffered terrible wounds all over his body that it wouldn’t be odd if he collapsed immediately, the Drakanade didn’t fall.
It was truly a remarkable show of strength and resilience.
However, Kim Seon-Hyeok couldn’t influence the outcome of the duel by simply holding on. All he could influence was how quickly the duel ended.
Marek summoned another sword.
It was the third sword that he, as the Sword Star, hadn’t been able to obtain, but had been able to once he became an Adjuster.
The Sword Dance began again.
It was around the time Marek summoned the fourth sword that he began to feel something was wrong.
The Drakanade was cut and stabbed countless times, but it felt like he was getting more vigorous as time passed.
No, it wasn’t just a feeling. In fact, his sword was slicing into him a bit shallower each time.
Now, of the four swords, the only one that could pierce through the Drakandae’s scales and actually wound his flesh was the one that Marek was personally wielding.
What was more surprising was that the Drakanade’s wounds were gradually healing.
New scales that were much harder than the original ones were sprouting on top of the broken and cut scales.
“Seems like I’m too sloppy.”
It wasn’t just his opponent who hadn’t fought with all his might in the duel. Marek himself hadn’t fully committed himself so, if it were possible, they could end this duel without much injuries.
However, his opponent wasn’t so easy that he could defeat him with such a lackadaisical attitude.
He had to acknowledge it now. If he was in his prime, it may have been different, but his current self had repeatedly leveled down and couldn’t afford to relax.
“Although your stamina is incredible, it’s time to wrap things up.”
After smacking the Drakanade’s head to make him retreat, Marek summoned another sword into the air. This was the fifth sword.
The fifth sword swallowed up the other four swords that had been summoned first.
“Why don’t you rest now.”
Feeling an ominous force, the Drakanade opened his vicious snout and spewed out flames of sulfur.
However, Marek’s sword was faster than the flames could fully appear.
A sword large enough to cut through the Drakanade’s body chopped down.
It was a very simple and unsightly movement, but this was the strongest skill that Adjuster Marek had. There was nothing in the world that this extreme skill couldn’t cut through.
The earth cracked and the sky distorted. The world in front of the sword split into two. The same applied to the lick of flame that the Drakanade spat out.
In a world where everything was split into two, the Drakanade was the only one who managed to remain the same.
Marek, who had consumed a lot of energy with the previous attack, shouted with a pale and tired face.
“Are you going to break the very law that you have set?”
It was a voice filled with anger like never before.
“Answer me, Dragon!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter