“Reed Pollack, knight of Evandel. I’ve been wandering the world for five years in search of a worthy master to serve.”
“Barrio Lutton. I was part of the Grey Mercenaries for a while. I go wherever there is a worthy opponent.”
The two knights looked down at Killian and spoke in an arrogant tone while tapping their weapons. Killian nodded while maintaining his smile.
“Sir Pollack and Sir Lutton… I see. How about you sir…?”
Killian’s eyes turned to the dark-haired young man. The young man briefly gazed at Killian before opening his lips.
“I am a Cavalier of Valvas. I do not allow those except the ones I slay, the one who will take my life, and the one I will serve and his lady to know my name.”
His accent was as distinctive as his appearance.
“A knight of Valvas…!”
Killian was a little surprised. The young man did have a peculiar appearance, and it seemed he came from the far south. Furthermore, he stemmed from Valvas, which was in constant turmoil due to its shared borders with countless territories.
Killian nodded his head at the young man’s appearance. Unlike the knights of the central and northern regions, he wore a vest-type light armor which was made from thin sheets of metal on top of the leather. A rather thin long sword and two daggers hung from his waist on each side.
At first glance, one might presume the young man to be an inexperienced warrior who only cared about his looks, but a mace, shield, and a crossbow hung from his saddle which showed that he was an experienced warrior who was capable of adapting to many situations.
“Okay. Well, anyway, what is the purpose of this visit?”
“We heard rumors that His Grace Pendragon succeeded in entering a pact with the White Dragon, but I hear that there aren’t many proper knights… I am confident that I can become the sword that pierces through the duchy’s enemies.”
“Same with me. My axes are ready to rip off whatever enemy may come. I will become a part of the family’s knight order and fulfill the duchy’s need for powerful knights.”
Killian and the soldiers all frowned at the two knights’ haughty words.
But Killian didn’t look down on the two knights.
Their weapons were worn from numerous battles and scars, both large and small, decorated their chest plates. The fact that they were able to wander around the world for several years as free knights already proved their capabilities.
“Wow, your confidence is shooting through the skies.”
A cold voice suddenly rang from behind and caused everyone’s gaze to turn. A slender young man dressed in a loose linen shirt with a strangely bent sword on his waist was standing there with a smile.
“What did you say?”
The faces of the two knights crumpled. However, the brown-haired young man’s eyes narrowed at the sight of the scimitar that was hanging from the man’s waist.
“We greet Your Grace Pendragon!”
“Glory to Pendragon!”
Raven raised his hand to greet the soldiers while leisurely walking towards the knights. The knights stopped their words short and shared a look.
‘That brat seems to be the son of the duke, Alan Pendragon?’
‘I’m very lucky.’
It was a good start to meet the master of the land at the gate. Moreover, he was a brat who looked to be less than twenty. They were confident that they could snatch a good spot in the duchy.
Killian took a step backward and bowed towards Raven before speaking to the two knights.
“This is the master of the Pendragon Duchy. Dismount your horses and give your formal greetings.”
Killian confirmed their suspicions, and they awkwardly dismounted their horses.
“The knight of Evandel, Reed Pollack greets…”
“Forget the formalities. You want to be a knight in my family?”
Raven cut short Pollack’s greetings.
Pollack held back his expression from contorting. In any case, his opponent was the heir to the duchy, who would soon become his master.
Pollack bowed his head in courtesy.
“That is so. It’s been five years since I roamed without a master. I’ve proved my ability by defeating the blades of countless warriors, and now I search for a worthy master. If you can see the true value of my sword, I will serve you until my last breath.”
“If you give me the proper treatment, I will split open anything you want me to with my axes.”
Lutton added on and grinned to display his yellow teeth.
Raven stared at the two knights with his arms folded. Others might think poorly of their attitude, but he was different.
Free knights made their living off their swords. If they had the skills, then their attitude wasn’t an issue. But the important thing was ‘skill’.
Raven’s gaze turned from the two men to the young knight.
‘A rapier and a dagger..’
During his days in the demonic army, he had seen similarly armed warriors in the southern expedition. All of them were born in the south called “Valvas” and were practiced in unique swordsmanship involving a rapier and a dagger in each hand. But that was the case when the opponents were monsters with weak defenses or other Valvas Knights. When they fought against forces armed with heavy armor, they used a mace or a spear, and they were proficient with the said weapons as well.
“Good. So why don’t we find out the true values of your swords?”
Raven cracked his neck.
“Why are you so surprised? You said if I could recognize the value of your sword then you would serve me with your life, didn’t you? It’s time to see the value.”
Raven took out his scimitar and put it on his shoulder with a big smile. The soldiers moved back at the signal and created a large circle.
Impolitely, the two knights gazed at each other and gave a short laugh as if dumbfounded. Killian’s gaze turned strange at the sight of the two knights.
Suddenly, one side of his groin ached.
It was already healed, but the memory of it being cracked open was still vivid in his mind. At that time, he had the same kind of laughter as the two knights.
Killian strode forward.
“I would like to test their true values myself. Please allow me, Your Grace.”
Raven was delighted at the chance to stretch his body after a long time and frowned at Killian, but soon nodded. Killian’s skills were considerable. In the past, Killian had lost bitterly because he underestimated Raven’s skills.
Since then, Killian had desperately trained his body and technique and took a step further as a knight. The expedition had helped with his experience as well.
“Well, do as you wish. Then I…”
Raven relaxed his arms and turned his head. Dark blue eyes that were as deep as a lake were headed in his direction.
“What do you say? It seems you’re here because you want to become a knight in my family as well?”
“…I don’t have any intentions to fight.”
The dark-haired young man shook his head. The two other free knights snorted at him.
“Hah! There’s no use. We asked about several times, but he avoided every single one of them. Well, we’re pretty tough so it makes sense, but to think he would be a young… Ehem!”
Realizing his slip of the tongue, Pollack blurted out his words with an awkward cough. His pride was hurt, and he had retaliated unknowingly to the young man, who might just become his future master. But Raven just smiled and spoke to the two knights.
“Of course he didn’t fight with you.”
Raven slowly moved his gaze from the two knights to the young man and raised his scimitar directly at him.
“The Knights of Valvas always see it through to the end when they pull out their weapons. They don’t mess around with their swords in childish play… Especially more so if their opponents are some silly little young masters. Don’t you think?”
The dark blue eyes which were calm until now shone with a small glimmer. Killian and the two knights gazed at the young knight. The young knight slowly moved his hand towards his waist.
Two swords, one long and one short appeared with a shrill sound of iron. The two knights finally realized the truth and their faces turned ugly.
“So until now he…”
“Let’s stop talking about useless things and see if we can get to know each other.”
Killian cut off the knight’s words and stepped forward.
“Huh? So are you trying to deal with both of us at the same time?”
Killian grinned and nodded his head.
“Well, I realized some time ago that I like things in pairs. Everything seems better in twos.”
Several soldiers that made up the circle burst into uncontrollable laughter.
But the two knights didn’t understand Killian’s reference and their gazes turned fierce. They held their weapons and spread out.
“Another weak knight from the Pendragon family will disappear today.”
“Well, that’s not bad either. As I already said, two is better than one!”
Killian rushed in like an angry beast.
The ripples in the young man’s eyes had already disappeared, and he once again regained his calm eyes. He crossed the two swords into a rosero, which was the symbol of the goddess of light.
“I am Alan Pendragon.”
“The Cavalier of Valvas…”
“Doesn’t tell anyone his name except the ones he kills, one he is killed by, and the lord he will serve?”
The young man gave a slight nod.
Raven smiled and continued.
“Then I will hear your name later. Whatever the case, I will fall into one of the three categories.”
Once again, the young man’s calm eyes rippled with shock. It was surprising that the young Alan Pendragon knew of the customs of Cavaliers of Valvas. He knew that the act of pointing one’s weapon directly at the opponent’s head established a life-or-death duel.
Also, the strangely shaped weapon.
The young man who was the heir to a duchy, which numbered only five in the entire empire, used a weapon which was native to the warriors of Aslan, the desert land. Moreover, the young man wasn’t using a scimitar just for the looks.
He could tell by the way the opponent held his weapon and in how he approached without hesitation. But the opponent was young, barely old enough to be counted as an adult by Valvas standards.
“You can have the first mo..”
“Well, thanks for that!”
Before the knight finished speaking, Raven jumped up and slashed down with the scimitar at his opponent.
The young knight moved his swords which were still held in a cross formation, to his shoulders at the sound of cutting the air.
A clear metallic sound. The young knight used the guard of his rapier to push the scimitar away and stabbed straight with his dagger.
Something tore, and the opponent’s body became blurred. The young knight instinctively moved back and swung his weapons mercilessly.
Several metallic clangs rang out. Then Raven suddenly sidestepped before swinging his blade at the young knight’s sides.
The two men fell apart.
The young knight’s gaze headed downwards. The side of his leather armor had ripped about a finger’s width. It was the identity of the sound he heard before. If he was a little late, his sides would have been cut open. The young man fixated his eyes on the opponent again.
The identity of his opponent didn’t matter anymore. His cold smile, beautiful face, it had no meaning. Alan Pendragon, the man was a ‘warrior’ before he was a noble.
And a warrior needed to be treated as such. That was the way and the honor of the Valvas Cavaliers.
Raven realized the opponent’s atmosphere changed and grinned.
“You as well…”
Raven didn’t care for the lack of formalities. The Knights of Valvas never bowed their heads to anyone except their masters. Even the emperor could not force their heads down.
“You’ve killed a lot of people.”
“You as well…”
“But I don’t think you killed just anyone. Did you fight to survive?”
For the first time, the young knight’s eyes showed visible shock. Raven recognized that his guess was right, and spoke in a voice that was audible to only two of them.
“How did I know? I was the same.”
“You… as… well…”
He repeated the same words, but they had a different meaning. A faint smile appeared on the young knight’s face. Raven smiled as well.
“Good. If you want to survive once more, do your best.”
With a thunderous roar, the two blades clashed in the air.Previous Chapter Next Chapter