Chapter 126

Fwoosh!

Argos arrived in front of Louis in the blink of an eye, then his body suddenly disappeared.

“Hmf!”

Slynne raised his sheath in the direction of the black flash to block the oncoming attack.

Bang!

A loud blast originated from the point of contact, and Louis stepped back, feeling a strong impact on his arm. The sheath slowly broke apart, and the glimmering blade revealed itself under the sunlight. Argos straightened his posture after destroying the sheath with a single kick as if nothing had happened. 

“Wooow!”

“Did you see it? Did you? That was the first time he kicked, right?”

“Whoaaa!”

The audience roared once more at the first clash. The old man, who had always fought using only his fists, had kicked for the first time. The kick was so powerful that several ribs would have been broken if Slynne had received it directly. 

Louis pulled one foot back, then dropped his sword below his knee. He spoke after getting into his battle stance. 

“Now…”

But he wasn’t given a chance to finish.

Whoosh!

Argos’ body shot forward without any preparation and narrowed the distance in a single instant. At the same time, his wide sleeves cut through the air several times, setting off several shockwaves.

Boom!

Louis became greatly surprised and wielded his sword. The black knuckles and the sword made contact, sounding a sharp metallic clang.

“Keuk!”

Louis was forced back once again as he felt the resonating pain climbing up his wrists. But as an experienced knight, his stance was not disturbed, and he managed to swing his sword while stepping back. A rather fierce light penetrated between the fists and aimed for the right chest of Argos. However, the attack wasn’t very fierce, as it was meant to create some distance between the two to allow Slynne to ready himself once more. 

Argos was wearing a loose shirt with no protection, so he would have no choice but to avoid the attack.

‘I’ll create a bit of a distance, then…’

Then, he would pour out a barrage of attacks, the very same attack that earned him the reputation of being one of Alice’s strongest knights. Louis prepared his next moves in his mind, convinced that he could take down the bare-handed, old man within ten bouts. But Louis’ plans went awry before they even started.

Woosh!

“What?”

Argos moved his body in a strange manner and moved closer to Slynne. Blood sprayed as the blade cut Argos’ shoulder instead of stabbing through his heart.

“Gah!”

Louis instinctively drew his blade horizontally after cutting across his opponent’s shoulder. Then, Argos moved as if he had expected Slynne’s action. 

Tang!

Argos parried the blade by punching with his metal glove. Louis realized that his attacks had been neutralized, and hurriedly attempted to retrieve his sword. But the black beast had ignored the damage to his shoulders and refused to stop moving forward. He didn’t let Louis move as he wished.

“Ugh!”

Louis became frightened as the bloodshot eyes appeared right in front of his face. Then, the two large black fists moved through the air relentlessly. The wind shrieked and condensed air burst with every strike. But the sound of the impacts turned out to be even louder. 

Thud! Thud!

The metal on Louis’ leather armor quickly deformed. 

“…..!”

Louis couldn’t even manage a scream. He was breathless from the shock on his abdomen and chest. But the pain was only beginning. Argos drew a sharp breath after delivering eight blows, then dug into Louis’ side. His movements were as flexible and agile as a snake.

Craaack!

Kuaagh!”

Louis’ left arm filled with burning pain. Nevertheless, he endured the pain and attempted to move his right arm which was holding his sword. However, Argos tripped Louis’ feet, and the two men fell to the ground, tangled with one another. No, to be exact, Argos had climbed onto Louis’ body and knocked him to the ground.

Boom!

“Keuk!”

The eyes of Louis bulged out. Even though he had fallen backward, he felt a sharp pain, not in the back, but in the abdomen. It felt as if a dagger had pierced deeply through the stomach all the way towards the spine. But it wasn’t a dagger that lay on Louis’ abdomen, but rather Argos’ elbow. With his elbow pressing on Louis’ abdomen, Argos drew a large circle and moved to the other side of Louis.

“Guh….”

Louis was floundering in heavy pain, feeling like a ball of iron was weighing down on his stomach. Even through the pain, Louis managed to hold onto his sword with his right hand, as expected from a trained knight. But Argos pressed Louis’ right arm between his legs, then threw himself backward on the floor. He proceeded to twist his body with all of his strength.

Craaaack!

“Gaaah!”

Louis screamed. His elbows were twisted into a grotesque shape. Argos rolled on the floor, then leaped up.

“Gaaaah…. Ughh!”

Louis struggled, tears gushing out of his eyes. His left shoulder was dislocated and his right elbow was completely torn. As a knight, Louis Slynne’s life ended today.

“…….!”

The audience was made speechless by the unbelievable sight. After the initial clash, they heard some whizzing and sounds of impact. Then, the proud knight of Alice and the old man became tangled and fell to the floor. Thereafter, a terrible scream resounded, then the black-clothed old man stood back up. It was hard for the audience to accept the series of events that transpired in that short period of time. 

The old fighter looked down at Louis, who was struggling pitifully on the floor. He lifted his leg up high, to where his shoulder was.

“S, stop! Stop!” The general came to his senses and shouted.

The results of the fight were already decided. The match needed to be stopped.

But Argos did not stop. To everyone else, this was a simple match. But for Argos, the fight was sacred revenge. The foot crashed down, the loose pants following along like a black waterfall.

Bang!

A loud, dull sound echoed. At the same time, the shrieking shouts rang out across the stadium in a louder volume than before.

“Arrrggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

Louis screamed, his right knee completely shattered. He squirmed with white foam dripping down his mouth, then his eyes flipped over.

“Ahhhh!”

The women screamed and turned their heads away at the brutal sight.

“Uh…”

Even the men frowned and let out groans. But the shock they received was nothing compared to the shock of the people sitting in the distinguished seats.

A proud young knight of the Alice territory. One of the future pillars of the great territory had been completely shattered.

Count Louvre’s fist clenched tightly and trembled. He was filled with shock and anger. The count’s anger was quickly conveyed to his surroundings. Everyone looked towards Count Louvre with nervous anticipation.

“Bring that man over here.”

“Ye, yes!”

The general nodded quickly at the enraged voice of the high lord, then screamed at the soldiers.

“What are you all doing? Go get that old man right now! Drag him here and make him kneel!”

The soldiers rushed at Argos and surrounded him. Then, the old fighter finally lifted his head from the ground.

“Hick!”

The soldiers stepped back unconsciously. The sight that the soldiers saw was entirely terrifying. The black tiger was smiling, his eyes red from the bursting of a blood vessel.

“You…!”

Count Louvre’s expression distorted even further at the soldier’s response, and the general tried to shout once more in urgency.

Argos started to move slowly, and the soldiers moved with him, surrounding him in a circle. After voluntarily walking to the distinguished seats, Argos raised his head.

Even the nobles were frightened by his bloodthirsty gaze and avoided his gaze. However, Count Louvre had his fair share of experience and had been a renowned knight in his youth. He started speaking without being affected by Argos’ gaze.

“You…”

“The results?”

Argos cut off Count Louvre’s words and spoke while looking at the general. 

“Hmm!”

Count Louvre’s forehead creased in anger, having been ignored by the old fighter. But the dueling competition was a glorious event that marked the end of the festival, and countless spectators were watching. He had to keep his dignity as the High Lord.

The general fumbled as Count Louvre gestured angrily with his eyes. He shouted, “T, the winner is Argos, of unknown origins!”

No cheers could be heard even after the announcement, and the few that started clapping senselessly slowly lowered their hands. But there was an exception.

Clap! Clap! Clap! Clap!

A light, rhythmical clap rang out in the still stadium. Thousands of eyes turned to the source of the noise. A young man with a pretty face and disheveled hair was clapping with a placid expression. 

“W, what is he thinking..!”

The spectators’ gazes started turning into appalment, but some people who were surrounding the young man began to clap as well. It was a young man and two ladies with faces covered in mesh.

Clap Clap Clap Clap!

The four people continued clapping in the silence as the thousands of spectators looked towards them with astonishment. The young man who initiated the claps shouted in a loud voice.

“To defeat a knight with his bare hands! Is he not a valiant hero deserving of the highest praise!?”

A deep, manly voice unbefitting his face. Then, voices of sympathy began to emerge from all over the stands.

“Isn’t this the first time a fighter won the dueling competition?”

“That’s right! I have never seen such a strong fighter in my life!”

“He is a brave hero who defeated the guardian sword of Alice!”

“The brave fighter deserves appropriate applause!”

Energetic applause simultaneously erupted from all over the stadium. The audience finally began to applaud at ease, instead of looking around in silence. The applause quickly spread among the common people, who were more sympathetic to the old man. After all, he was a commoner just like them.

“Wow, wow!”

“Fighter Argos!”

“The black tiger is the strongest!”

“Winner, Argos!”

Cheers and applause rang out through the stadium for the final victor of the dueling competition, the old underdog who took the victory by storm. However, the nobles’ seats were dominated by an eerie silence, contrasting with the loud commoners.

“……”

Listening to the annoyingly loud cheers, Count Louvre’s gaze headed towards a specific place. He looked at the young man, who had been the first one to applaud and caused the phenomenon. 

“Hmm?”

Count Louvre’s eyes twitched. The young man had come down from the stands and started walking towards the direction of the distinguished seats. 

“Oh, shit…!”

Morgan’s face was horribly distorted as he watched all of this unfold. He had been absolutely confident in Louis’ victory, but Louis had failed. He failed to swing his sword properly even once, and also became crippled.

Louis had no experience facing a bare-handed fighter, so Morgan had given him a stern warning. This was how it ended for someone who looked down on his opponent. 

“Gah..!”

Morgan gnawed his teeth. It wasn’t just because Louis had lost. It was because of the arrogant young brat who led the entire stadium into a frenzy.

“How dare you…”

The saucy little boy was looking towards him, clapping his hands in a mocking manner. And now, he was walking here as if he had been waiting.

“Dammit…”

Muttering quietly, Morgan turned his head and observed his father. Count Louvre’s eyes were filled with subtle anger, but he was keeping his cool to maintain his dignity as High Lord of Alice. His father didn’t know of the duel that was to take place. Of course, he wouldn’t blame Morgan even if he knew, but there was a high possibility that he would get into trouble, due to the unforeseen circumstances.

“Fine…”

Morgan smirked after switching his gaze between the cocky young brat and the stone-like Argos.

“Father, I need to tell you something.”

Then he whispered in the ears of Count Louvre, who was still keeping his gaze glued to the young man.

The old fighter wouldn’t accept the proxy request. There was nothing in the world that couldn’t be solved by money, status, and power.

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