"…The bell from the central tower will ring thirteen times to signal the beginning of the duel. May the blessings of the gods be with all the cavaliers participating in the battle.”
After speaking, Teyo turned away with a long sigh.
“D, does this make any sense?”
“They said only for the clans who want to. They have their pride. Do you really think they would all fight him at once?”
“You never know!”
The front of the Herreran Manor was in a wild frenzy.
Everyone had the highest of expectations. After more than a hundred years, a great event was unfolding before their eyes. Perhaps the legend of the Seven Great Days of the King was about to be recreated again.
It would be an astonishing feat to fight with the representatives of the Seven Clans one at a time, but Isla was willing to fight them all at once.
Who in the world would dare to do something like that?
Even Mara Valencia, the great Knight King, had not performed such a feat either.
“Uh, hey, hey! Over there!”
Someone shouted in an urgent voice. Then, all the eyes of the crowd turned.
“Here he is!”
“It’s Isla, the knight of Pendragon!”
The crowd began to roar and move about, as if a real storm had descended upon them. Hundreds of people flocked to see the man who might become a legend.
The troops of the Herreran County rushed to push the people away. However, the riled crowd was not easily controlled.
“I look forward to it!”
The men were unable to hide their excitement. They patted him on the shoulder or grabbed his hand to lift it high into the air. It was quite a candid sight.
The cavaliers from the Seven Clans watched silently as the crowd frantically welcomed Isla. To think that the people of Valvas would be giving an outsider with such a fervent welcome… Even though he was born in Valvas, it was a difficult situation for the cavaliers to accept. However, the cavaliers were also men of Valvas. They knew that this was a land where the strong were recognized.
Moreover, the warrior was attempting to challenge the impossible in his quest to prove himself as the only descendant of the Knight King.
The crowd in front of the manor began to chant Isla’s name.
Ortiz murmured after a sudden thought struck head.
“Was he… the challenger…?”
The cavaliers near him recoiled at his words, including his two colleagues. Then, they watched as Isla climbed up the finished arena while receiving the cheer of the crowd. He was an arrogant man who wanted to compete with all the Seven Clan cavaliers at the same time.
However, his expression and eyes were not arrogant. They could see the glimmer contained in Isla’s eyes, and they were able to recognize the light. They themselves also had such expressions many times in the past.
At first glance, his eyes seemed to reflect coldness, but it glimmered every time he looked towards them. It was a determined gaze of the challenger.
“I see. It wasn’t us, but him who was the challenger…”
The head of the Ades Clan, Samora Ades, murmured with a sigh. Then, the other cavaliers nodded with heavy expressions. The burning anger from earlier started to subside and awe took its place. The challenger was trying to re-establish the impossible legend from the past.
“Our land… Valvas… This is the kind of place it is.”
Ortiz noticed the thoughts contained in the faces of the cavalier and spoke on their behalf. But as some of the sympathizers started nodding, Ortiz continued in a cold voice.
“However, the impossible remains impossible. Pendragon’s knight will come to that realization today.”
Spirit started to rise above Ortiz’ shoulders. The momentum was quickly transmitted to the other cavaliers.
The six cavaliers moved towards the arena amid the first of the signalling strikes from the central tower’s bell.
Isla looked down at the vast crowd that was spread out like waves. He could not hear the cheers and shouts of the crowd. He could only feel the regular beating of the heart, as if he was submerged in deep water.
Then, a person’s face came to mind – the only man who ever defeated him, the strongest man he knew, and the object of Isla’s eternal loyalty.
Isla had been defeated by a strange sword technique, then the lord had stretched out his hand towards Isla. He could not forget the words that followed.
“I will make your dream come true.”
Isla shivered unknowingly as he remembered the words.
He had not laughed mockingly after defeating Isla. Defeating a Valvas Cavalier could be considered a huge accomplishment, but he had never boasted. Nor did he force Isla to become a knight of the Pendragon Duchy.
However, he kept the promise he made as he held out his hand.
Isla had considered it an impossible dream, but he had made it come true.
Moreover, he left everything regarding the matter to Isla’s hands. Isla was solely responsible for selecting and training riders, and that was the most crucial thing.
The reason why he became truly loyal to the man named Alan Pendragon was not because of the man’s overwhelming power nor his high position as an imperial duke. It was because his lord trusted him with all his heart. Alan Pendragon was the most idealistic lord for a cavalier.
At that time, the bell started to resound. Isla was forced to collect his thoughts.
He could see six cavaliers climbing up to the arena against the backdrop of a large crowd. The spirits blooming around their bodies were like six colorful flowers. However, the flowers were like a poisonous plant. If they were touched mistakenly, one would be forced to cross the river of death.
Soon, the majestic bell rang for the last time. A heavy silence descended throughout the area.
In the silence, Count Herreran and Teyo walked to the middle of the arena. The count started to speak while receiving countless gazes.
“Let’s get started.”
His words were simple.
However, everyone standing around the arena felt their bodies tremble.
“Have you decided on the order?”
Count Herreran turned to the six cavaliers.
One person stepped out.
“As decided earlier, I will go first.”
It was Remy Ades.
A light disturbance occurred among the crowd.
“I thought all six of them were going to fight him at once?”
“Ah, my brother. I told you earlier, didn’t I? They have their pride. Did you really think they would fight against him all at once?”
“Well, I guess…”
“Still, Remy Ades is one of the strongest cavaliers of the Ades Clan, right?”
“He’s a sword ghost…”
As the crowd murmured with regret, Count Herreran nodded slightly towards Remy Ades.
Then he shifted his gaze to the other side.
Isla was standing without any expression, standing in the wind without giving any hints as to what he was thinking.
Count Herreran bit his lips as he observed his nephew. He could see that Isla shared the same color of eyes as his younger sister. Perhaps this would be the last time he would get to see his nephew.
He wanted to say something out of regret but Count Herreran wasn’t able to speak a word. But then, Isla shifted his gaze towards Count Herreran and nodded ever so slightly. The hand of the old count, which was holding his stick, trembled.
He quickly recovered his solemnity as a high lord, then spoke up.
“Then let the duels start! May the gods bless the brave cavaliers!”
Fervent shouts rang out, and Isla and Remy Ades began to slowly move towards their opponent. Soon, the two men stopped after narrowing the distance.
“I do not think we are due for another introduction.”
Remy Ades spoke with a smirk, then pulled out a sword from his back.
A blue spirit began to climb the blade. But soon, the spirit disappeared like a lie. No, to be exact, the transparent blade had taken a blue hue as if it had absorbed the spirit.
Knights and swordsmen capable of handling spirit were fierce. Weapons containing spirit were stronger and faster, and the wounds inflicted by such weapons were slow to heal. However, only very few humans were born with the ability to sense spirit, and even fewer chose to walk down the path of a knight or a warrior.
If they were not trained by an outstanding knight from a young age, they would only remain a person with better senses and strength than others. However, from a long time ago, many Valvas-born men possessed the ability to sense spirit. In addition, due to its geographical characteristics, disputes and battles were frequent in Valvas. As such, training methods for utilizing spirits had been systematically established for hundreds of years.
Of course, the same could be said for the knightly families of the South or the mainland. However, the imperial knights were considered as the best in the mainland, and as such, swordsmanship was developed in a linear manner. The imperial knights were considered to be the culmination of knightsmanship. However, the situation was different in Valvas. Techniques were passed down within families and clans, and individuals combined their own skills with the succeeded techniques, giving rise to varying branches of swordsmanship.
Due to such reasons, the Valvas Cavaliers, who were part of groups called clans, were able to gain fame throughout the empire.
Now, Remy Ades prepared for his showdown with Isla. The Ades Clan was famous for its ingenious technique of coating their weapons with spirit to multiply its durability and strength.
It may not be comparable to those called the Swordmasters from the past, but Ades Cavaliers were able to cut apart giant boulders with effortless slashes.
Isla observed Remy Ades with cold eyes. His spear started to shake and resonate, and soon, his spirit wound around the black spear like a snake.
Remy Ades’ eyes filled with admiration when he saw the sight.
“A good spirit…!”
With a shout, Remy Ades shot forward like a spring.
The light-filled sword stretched out towards Isla like the claws of a hawk, creating dozens of blue flashes in the air. Remy Ades was sure that his opponent would dodge the attacks. All the other clans’ cavaliers tried to avoid direct clashes with the Ades Cavaliers for the fear of having their weapons broken.
However, the black spear moved in circles like a whirlwind, blocking the way.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
Sparks flew through the air along with an intense metallic sound. In the blazing dance of metal, the two cavaliers began to perform a dance of life and death.
After letting loose a bombardment of attacks, Remy Ades jumped back and gauged his opponent.
His sword was without a scratch. And surprisingly, the opponent’s spear was also in perfect condition.
Remy Ades was taken aback by the situation.
‘Is it because of the quality of the weapon?’
But he shook his head inwardly.
No matter how good the quality of the spear was, it could not be unscathed after enduring all of his attacks. In the end, it meant…
‘His skills in handling spirit and techniques are much higher than mine?’
It was hard to believe, but Remy was forced to admit it. He wasn’t sure which clan’s cavalier Isla had studied under, but the man clearly held the upper hand.
A cluster of bright lights began to climb over the shoulders of Remy Ades. Then, it climbed down his arm, being absorbed into the sword in his hands.
‘For my entire life, I have learned, and practiced the path of the Ades Clan!
Remy Ades concentrated all of the spirit in his body on the sword with a desperate determination, wetting his lips with his tongue.
Isla observed his opponent with sinking, cold eyes. As soon as a glimmer appeared in his eyes, he charged towards his opponent with his spear, which emitted a brilliant light like the auroras of the north.
A blue flash of lightning blinded everyone’s sight.Previous Chapter Next Chapter