Two spirits clashed violently in the air. One was a deep shade of purple, a shade much darker than blood. The other was a blue spirit as cold as a winter ice storm.
As the two spirits collided, strong winds were sucked into the area between Isla and Ortiz, creating a large whirlwind of vacuum. The spirits wound around the spears of the two men like snakes, emitting a burst of energy so intense that it was visible to the naked eye.
All Valvas men were familiar with fights involving life and death. However, even they could not overcome the extraordinary spirits and groaned as they stepped back. However, the two cavaliers stood in their place without moving a muscle. They looked to be the incarnations of the storm as they stared at each other, their clothes swelling up and fluttering in the strong winds.
They calmly observed their opponent with still eyes. However, those who had some skill and good observation skills were able to notice. As soon as the undisturbed gazes moved, an unprecedented fight would take place.
At that moment, a dull noise rang out, and everyone assumed that a full-fledged duel would begin. However, the situation flowed in a direction beyond people’s expectations.
“Brave cavaliers, stop your fighting.”
It was a lame remark, but the voice belonged to Count Herreran. Everyone’s eyes, including the two cavaliers, turned towards the old count.
“Your Excellency Herreran, don’t you know that it is the principle to not interrupt a duel between cavaliers, no matter what?”
Ortiz’ eyebrows were raised, and his spirit unknowingly turned towards Count Herreran. Even though he was the only lord of Valvas, it was unacceptable for anyone to intervene in a duel between cavaliers.
Count Herreran’s shoulders trembled under the pressure. It felt as if a mountain was weighing down on him. As a young man, Count Herreran had been one of the best griffon knights in Valvas and a well-known swordsman. However, it was burdensome for him to receive the spirit of a swordsman at the height of their power in his old age.
But he managed to take a heavy step as he spoke.
“I am well aware of that. I am not asking you to withdraw your duel. However, this is not the proper place for the duel, nor the occasion. It is only right for you to reschedule the duel at a later date.”
“At a later date?”
“That is right.”
Count Herreran nodded as he looked towards Urso of the Medien Clan. The injured cavalier was unconscious and undergoing emergency treatment.
“The Medien Clan’s cavalier had a reason to resolve a matter through the sword. However, Ortiz, you do not.”
As Ortiz narrowed his eyes, Count Herreran calmly continued.
“This man is my nephew and a cavalier continuing the name of the Knight King. He stated that his purpose of coming to this place was to persuade the Six Clans and myself. In the end, it is only right to resolve the matter in a place with all Seven Clans present, not just Valencia.”
The storm of spirit raging around Ortiz subsided little by little. Then, Isla followed suit. However, the two did not withdraw their spears, as if their duel could be reignited at a moment’s notice.
“I will ask everyone here!”
Count Herreran cleared his voice before looking around at the men in the hall.
“If anyone thinks my proposal is unfair in any way, please step up! In our own way!”
Our way, or the way of Valvas, referred to throwing a dagger or a hat when expressing opposition to someone’s proposal. Most men in Valvas were equipped with daggers, and if they did not possess any weapons, it was customary to throw their hats.
“I think he may be right…”
“It seems like a problem that all the Clans need to gather together in order to resolve, right?”
The men began to think or talk amongst themselves after hearing Count Herreran’s words. Then, the count spoke once more.
“Most importantly, remember how Mara Valencia, the great Knight King, was crowned the true king of Valvas.”
All the murmuring men nodded in agreement. Mara Valencia had been recognized by everyone and became king, but it was not because he had many cavaliers under his command nor because he possessed a powerful army.
Although he would have become king of Valvas naturally by letting things flow their way, he had devised another method. He invited the seven strongest Valvas Clans of the time and fought against the cavaliers representing each clan for seven days, achieving victory.
The people of Valvas called the duel “the Seven Great Days of the King.”
The king defeated one cavalier each day, then sat down on his throne after putting a crown over his head, his body riddled with large and small scars. After proving himself with overwhelming force, spirit, courage, and proficiency with spears and swords, all kneeled before the king.
Now, Count Herreran was proposing a recreation of the Seven Great Days.
“This will be interesting!”
“If he is the real descendant of the Knight King, it is only natural that he follows the path of the king!”
Once again, the atmosphere of the hall heated up as the men raised their voices. A man claiming to be the descendant of the Knight King would recreate the legendary scene of the Knight King. He would fight with the strongest warriors of the Seven Clans!
There was nothing more blood-boiling and exciting for Valvas Men.
Someone started stomping on the floor vigorously. Soon, everyone joined in.
“Speak with your sword and spear!”
“That is the spirit of Valvas!”
Boom! Boom! Boom!!!
As everyone joined in on the stomping, the roar quickly enveloped the entire hall.
‘Tsk, I can’t help it then.’
Ortiz shrugged before retracting his spear.
Now that the will of the crowd had been made, raising an objection would be a disgrace to the Valencia Clan. The other two cavaliers also nodded while licking their lips. They were nothing like the third-rate mercenaries of the city. They were the Valencia Clan, the strongest warriors of Valvas. Valencia had been able to raise their dignity and honor over the past 100 years because of the support of the general public, even more so than the power it possessed.
Soon, the sounds of shouts and stomps died down. Everyone’s eyes naturally turned towards Ortiz.
After strapping his spear over his back, Ortiz spoke towards Count Herreran with calm eyes.
“I will follow the will of Valvas, not your suggestion.”
People clenched their fists and burst into shouts at Ortiz’ words.
“Thank you. Then the date and location…”
The situation did not only involve Count Herreran and Ortiz. Thus, Count Herreran turned to the other party, perhaps the most important variable. Isla nodded slightly as he dismantled his spear.
“As the other side wants.”
A smile appeared on Ortiz’ lips.
The location of the battle was very important in a duel. Moreover, Isla would have to not only deal with himself, but also take turns fighting against the cavaliers of the other Clans. Even so, the knight Isla, who claimed to be the descendant of the Knight King, renounced his input to something that could have been used to his advantage.
“Sir Ortiz, wouldn’t you say that our Clan’s arena would be perfect for the duels?”
“That’s right. The other Clans will not mind it.”
As if they had been waiting, the two cavaliers spoke to Ortiz in quiet voices.
After smiling softly, Ortiz spoke.
“For the time, it will be the day after all the warriors sent by the six clans arrive. The place will be…”
Ortiz stared at Count Herreran and Isla while pointing downwards.
“Right here. Let us do it in the Herreran Manor.”
The two cavaliers displayed shock, but the men gathered in the hall started to cheer.
“Whoooo! As expected of the Valencia Clan!”
“The Guardian Spear of the Valencia Clan!”
Ortiz raised his hand towards the crowd, then lightly saluted towards Count Herreran.
“I will be in your care for a little while, Your Excellency.”
Count Herreran’s eyes quivered ever so slightly, but he nodded.
Count Herreran gestured, and the servants rushed to guide Ortiz and the two cavaliers.
The two cavaliers followed behind the servants. Ortiz gazed at Isla for a moment before following behind, a mysterious smile appearing on his face.
“This is great!”
“A true cavalier!”
The men stepped out of the way while praising Ortiz. He was truly a proud cavalier of Valvas.
Amidst the loud roar and applause, Isla stood in place without a word as his gaze remained on Ortiz’ back.
“Phew…! Anyways, we were able to buy some time.”
As soon as the door closed, Teyo spoke with a sigh. However, his gaze still contained worry as he looked towards the two men.
“I did not expect Ortiz to come out like that… He must be plotting something, wouldn’t you say?”
Teyo spoke with a suspicious tone. He could not easily forget about the matters of the past. However, Count Herreran shook his head.
“I do not think so. Ortiz must have chosen this place because he was confident.”
Teyo’s thick eyebrows wiggled in thought. Just recalling the fierce spirit emitted by Ortiz caused goosebumps to rise on his skin. He also considered himself a skilled cavalier of Valvas, but the exhibition of power by Valencia Clan’s Guardian Spear had been too overwhelming.
‘I would have to face him personally to compare our skills, but his spirit was definitely stronger than mine…’
How on earth had he reached such standards when he was still only in his 20s…? Even though a chill ran down his back, Teyo felt his fighting spirit blazing. He was also a cavalier who devoted his entire life to the blade, hence he was eager to have a conversation of swords with a rare, strong opponent.
Teyo forced his hand to stay away from the handle of his sword, turning his gaze around. A young cavalier was standing near the window while staring outside. Elkin Isla, the descendant of the Knight King and the nephew of Teyo’s lord – his spirit had been tremendous as well. When the two spirits had collided, Teyo had been closer to Isla. Isla’s spirit had erupted so fiercely that it had made his skin sting.
‘The tide of time is like a river. When the seasons change a few times, the back waves will replace the front waves… Hoho.’
He was still in his prime as a warrior in his mid-30s. Perhaps he was even at the peak of his strength and skill. However, Teyo still felt futile in front of the passing time. He would not know unless he crossed swords, but it was entirely possible that the proficiency and mastery of his techniques were superior to the two cavaliers. However, Ortiz and Isla possessed something he did not have.
They carried a wild instinct of struggle gained over numerous battles. Naturally, Teyo also suffered through many life-or-death duels and battles. However, he had not entered into a proper confrontation in the past few years. Unlike him, the two had been consistently dancing along the river of life and death.
Even without needing to hear their stories, he could guess from the two men’s appearance. Anyone who reached a similar level to him would also feel the same way.
Count Herreran’s hoarse voice broke the silence.
Isla turned around without saying a word, and Count Herreran continued with quivering eyes.
“I know I am not qualified, but... would you understand that I had no choice but to call you my nephew in that situation?”
His voice was as shaky as his gaze. Isla gazed at Count Herreran for a moment, then replied.
“I am the blood heir to the Knight King and a knight of the Pendragon Duchy.”
The eyes of Count Herreran and Teyo quivered at the cold voice.
Isla paused. A timely wind ruffled his hair, and Isla spoke while shifting the hair out of his eyes.
“I have not forgotten that the one who gave birth to me stemmed from the Herreran family.”
The old count’s blood-stained eyes grew large with shock.Previous Chapter Next Chapter