“It’s Celso Ortiz! The Guardian Spear of the Valencia Clan!”
Someone shouted after recognizing Ortiz’ identity. The crowd immediately turned their attention towards him.
He was perhaps the most famous cavalier here.
Since several years ago, he was considered one of the most powerful cavaliers in Valvas. He could definitely be counted as one of the ten strongest cavaliers. No one knew how much stronger he had become in the meantime. He had continuously trained and dueled, working as a mercenary outside of Valvas.
At last, Ortiz had stepped up.
“But isn’t he being a little cowardly?”
“Right. Cavalier Isla already fought against five people…”
Quite a few people started to murmur.
The two Valencia Cavaliers had been looking at Ortiz’ back with proud expressions. When they heard the whispers of the crowd, their expressions immediately changed.
Some members of the crowd flinched and turned their eyes after meeting the gaze of the two men. Ortiz spoke with a smile.
“What do you say? If you are tired, I do not mind postponing the battle to tomorrow, or even a few days later.”
“Just as I thought!”
“As expected of the Guardian Spear of Valencia!”
The crowd praised Ortiz.
However, Isla did not answer immediately. In fact, he was quite exhausted. Fighting against several first-tier Valvas Cavaliers had been extremely taxing. He had never felt this drained before – neither in Sisak nor in the battle in the inland sea.
Most importantly, Isla felt that the smiling cavalier in front of him was far stronger than the cavaliers he had faced thus far. His instincts were warning him that the cavalier, who was twirling his spear with a smile, was a truly frightening foe. Even if his condition was normal, Isla would have to fight with all of his strength to defeat the enemy in front of him.
“You must win!”
Isla shook his head inwardly as the crowd cheered for him. He had already planned everything since the day he returned to Valvas. He had to achieve victory in front of the public rather than a private arena where only clan members were allowed. That way, no one would be able to refute the duels and their results, including the Seven Clans.
And now, he was on the verge of achieving that very goal.
Isla took a light breath, then spoke while standing tall.
“It is a shame.”
“Hmm? What do you mean?”
Ortiz responded with a curious gaze.
“I wanted to have a good match with you using the spear, but that will no longer be possible.”
Ortiz pursed his lips with regret.
He admitted that Isla’s skill with the spear was amazing. Deep down, Ortiz considered his spearmanship to be the best in Valvas, or rather, the best in the South. However, Isla’s prowess with the spear was no less than his own.
In addition, Isla had displayed an exquisite control over spirit, utilizing it to its maximum potential and efficiency according to the techniques he used…
Ortiz did not easily acknowledge others, but he was thoroughly impressed. If Isla had been on the battlefield, he would have been considered a cavalier at the apex, a warrior capable of rivalling a hundred men with a single spear.
“Give me my sword.”
A swordsman ran up to Isla and presented him with a sword.
“Make sure you win, Sir Isla.”
He spoke with a low, but powerful voice.
A glimmer appeared in Isla’s eyes. After recognizing the swordsman, he gave a small nod. The cavalier who was showing courtesy in the ways of the Valvas Cavlier was Johnny Medell, the one who first brought Isla to Count Herreran’s manor from the pub.
‘I’m afraid this is going to be a little difficult.’
Isla grabbed the handle with a bitter expression. It wasn’t that he lacked confidence in his swordsmanship. In fact, no one had ever defeated him in a battle of swords except for his lord, Duke Pendragon. Also, Isla had used the sword to fight against the lord on purpose. He had forgone the use of his spear after gauging his opponent to be a young man. If he had chosen to fight with the spear, the battle might have gone differently.
However, Celso Ortiz was exuding a frightening aura. Isla’s instincts had been honed by countless battles, and they were warning him that the opponent would be difficult to defeat without a spear.
However, he had no spear to use. He had become accustomed to his black spear, which had been specially forged for him in the Pendragon Duchy. He could not just pick a random spear and expect to display his full power. Ortiz was not an opponent to be taken lightly.
‘I have no other choice…’
Isla made up his mind to rely on his swords to get him through the battle. Suddenly, someone’s voice called out to him.
Isla and Ortiz both turned their gazes at the same time.
The owner of the voice was someone unexpected. Count Herreran, who had remained quiet until now, had suddenly spoken.
“If you need a spear… There is one.”
The two narrowed their eyes at his words.
Count Herreran was also quite famous when he was young. He would definitely know how important it was to cavaliers to use a weapon familiar to them. Nevertheless, he had made a suggestion, which meant…
A young man jumped up in response. He was hiding between the swordsmen located behind the arena. Hundreds of ridiculing eyes instantly turned towards him, looking at the young man with a pathetic expression.
“Y, y, you called, f, father.”
Kyle Herreran. He was the only son of Count Herreran and the greatest coward of Valvas. Count Herreran stared at his son with cold, but slightly regretful eyes. He replied while tossing something towards his son.
“Go to the basement safe and retrieve it.”
“R, retrieve what?”
Kyle asked in a hesitant voice, looking over the large key he received.
“You will find out when you open it. You must bring it personally.”
Kyle asked no more questions and frantically ran back to the manor. His father’s expression and voice were much colder and scarier than usual.
“What is he doing?”
“I’m not sure either. I think Count Herreran ordered Kyle to bring something back?”
“Why don’t they just get on with the duel…”
The people of Valvas possessed fiery, straightforward personalities. They did not hesitate to speak their thoughts even though they were in the presence of dozens of cavaliers and swordsmen. Murmurs began to arise from here and there, and soon, some even burst into swears at the unexpected delay.
After a while, Kyle came running back with a pale complexion. He was struggling with an object in his arms.
Ortiz was standing in place with his spear over his shoulder. At Kyle’s appearance, a glimmer appeared in his eyes. The object that Kyle was struggling to carry definitely had the shape of a long spear.
“Come this way.”
Kyle reluctantly walked towards the blood-splattered arena.
The object was wrapped in a dusty cloth. After gazing at the object with a sentimental gaze, Count Herreran turned his gaze towards Isla.
“It is yours.”
Isla hesitated at the words of Count Herreran, the only lord of Valvas and his maternal uncle. Then, he slowly shook his head.
“I cannot just use any weapon.”
“Hoohoo… It’s not just any weapon.”
Count Herreran’s wrinkles deepened as he gave a bitter smile. He gestured toward Kyle.
Kyle handed over the object with trembling hands, and Isla accepted it without a word.
A light appeared in his eyes when he saw the object protruding at one end of the cloth. It had a silver bordered embossment of a griffon with its wings spread open…
Isla hurriedly unpacked the cloth and dust flew away. Judging from the amount of grey scattering into the air, it was obvious that dust had accumulated for quite a long time. Soon, a faint light began to pierce through the gray air.
Everyone focused their attention on the object, and Ortiz became shocked after catching a glimpse of the object.
As the dust settled down under the sun, a deep, blue spear scattered the light. Isla lifted his head while holding the spear in his hand. It was evident at a glance that the spear was no ordinary object.
Surprisingly, the blue spear felt familiar to Isla, as if he had wielded it for more than a decade. It felt much more familiar than the broken spear he had been using thus far.
“That is... something brought by your father, Matthias Ariane Valencia.”
Isla’s eyes always maintained their tranquility and calm, but they quivered slightly at Count Herreran’s words. Count Herreran continued in a shaky voice.
“Thorca. It is the spear of Mara Valencia. The Azure Thunderstorm of the Knight King.”
Isla’s shoulders trembled like a ship in front of a storm. The same held true for Ortiz.
Ortiz spoke aloud without realizing it, then quickly looked around with concern.
“That’s… T, Thorca!?”
Shouts of disbelief rang out throughout the area around the arena, then murmurs transmitted throughout the crowd like a giant wave.
Ortiz belatedly regretted speaking out aloud, but he knew it was already too late.
The Azure Thunderstorm.
Anyone who did not know of the name Thorca could not be called a Valvasian. Along with his sword Ponceka, Thorca was a weapon that symbolized the Knight King Mara Valencia. Moreover, while Poneceka was a sword that the Knight King rarely used in battle, Thorca was one of his favorite weapons. It had always accompanied him on the battlefield like his shadow.
However, Thorca was known to have been buried together in the king’s coffin. For it to appear like this…
“There is no proof that this is the real Thor…”
The roar of the crowd engulfed Ortiz’ words.
“Knight King! He is the true Knight King!”
Cavalier Isla was following the legendary path of the Knight King, and now, he even held Thorca in his hands, the weapon of his predecessor. The legendary object had made its appearance in more than a hundred years.
The Valvasians had already accepted Elkin Isla as the new Knight King of their land.
Ortiz clicked his tongue while frowning.
His plan had been led astray.
They were in an open, public place. Hundreds of eyes were observing their every move, and the atmosphere and recognition of the crowd was as important as winning or losing the battle. Anyone could see that Isla was exhausted and without a proper weapon. Therefore, Ortiz had planned to give him some time to rest.
Naturally, Isla’s strong pride and the atmosphere of the crowd would prevent him from accepting the suggestion. In the end, the two would have no choice but to have a final duet before sunset today.
Then, he would win by a narrow margin.
The legend of the Knight King would drift away with the wind once again, and the Valencia Clan would join the Pendragon Duchy and the United Southern Army as the leader of Valvas.
As a result,
‘It was an opportunity to create a new dynasty in Valvas…’
Ortiz and the Valencia Clan’s ambition was to establish themselves as the new king of the land. A united Valvas. Each clan would become their subordinate lords and knights, and Valencia would stand at the apex.
Naturally, the next crown prince would be himself, the hidden son of the current clan head, Viseto Valencia.
‘How unlucky. However…’
Ortiz slowly lowered his spear from his shoulder while gazing at Isla. The crowd was still in a frenzy, cheering for their new king.
In an instant, a burst of spirit scattered in the air following a slash. The cheers of the crowd were instantly dampened.
“The king of knights…’
Ortiz took a stance while murmuring. His voice was no longer relaxed, but rather cold and sharp like a blade.
“The Knight King was great, but he already died a hundred years ago. Valvas must forget the glory of the past and move on to a new era. It does not matter to me if you really are the descendant of the Knight King. In the new Valvas, the Valencia Clan will be standing at the forefront.”
Like a pair of wings, spirit soared from behind his back and rose 10 feet into the air.
Isla held Thorca with both hands and twisted his body without saying a word.
Just as the legends had described, a resonant sound similar to a rattlesnake cackled with Thorca’s every movement. The two cavaliers gazed at each other, then spoke simultaneously.
“As the victor’s will.”
Along with a loud explosion, the two cavaliers began a fight to determine the strongest spearman of Valvas. The one who would lead Valvas into a new era would be decided in a single duel.