“...Amazing. You can use this level of melee combat,” Leslie said while raising one corner of his mouth in a smile.
However, I was the one who was surprised. I thought he could only shoot from a distance, but the melee fighting skills he hid were better than expected.
“I want to see more of your skills.”
Blue magic power swirled around Leslie. The blue magic power left an afterimage and started spinning at a faster rate. Additionally, the Ether Blade in Leslie’s hand became sharper. The stones and pebbles in Leslie’s surroundings were slowly sucked to him. The force became stronger as if the N and S poles of a magnet were meeting and pulling with a tremendous attraction.
“I’m going to show you the true power of the Maschenny-Style Melee Combat.”
It was only then that I realized the black hole-like phenomenon was occurring due to Leslie’s blue magic power. I realized this was the true face of the Maschenny-Style Melee Combat. My body gradually moved toward Leslie like I was being sucked into a black hole. I held on with my legs, but dust rose as I was dragged forward.
...Amazing. I wouldn’t fall at this level, but I could only engage in close-range combat. The Maschenny-Style Melee Combat was like this. It was to force an enemy to fight in close combat. It was a type of taunting skill. If this was taught to Lim Changyong, Kim Cheol, and Park Jangsoo, then we would be able to achieve great results in the last event of the competition, PvP.
I told Leslie, “I will also do my best.”
I quickly canceled Rising Sun and wind appeared around my legs. My hand pulled the wind around me and created a vacuum. It was only then that I felt the pulling sensation on my body stop.
There was a funny expression on Leslie’s face. The great wind and blue magic power caused a frenzy. It was as if two typhoons were colliding.
There were cries from the group around us, but Leslie and I just smiled at each other. We would rush forward the moment one of us showed the slightest gap. It was at this time...
Leslie turned around at a sudden attack. The wild gusts of wind stopped and the thick dust subsided. At the same time, someone’s footsteps were heard through the dust. I used the wind to remove all the dust.
The one who attacked was Park Muyeol. “It is time to rest. Let’s smoke a cigarette.”
Leslie and I smiled as we made eye contact with each other. It was so ridiculous that we laughed. We shrugged at the same time.
* * *
Park Muyeol, Leslie, and I entered the small lounge of the training ground.
The three of us dragged out chairs and sat at the table.
It was Park Muyeol who broke the silence first.
He took out a cigarette and gave it to me.
Where did he get this?
I received the cigarette without saying a word.
Park Muyeol encouraged Leslie to smoke and Leslie nodded in thanks.
It was up to me to light them.
It could be ignited with a lighter, but the cigarettes burning with the sun energy was delicious.
I raised my index finger, let out a spark of the sun, and lit the two people’s cigarettes in turn.
Smoke rose from the two cigarettes while I finally lit my cigarette and took in a deep breath.
Silence once again descended.
The three of us didn’t talk as we smoked the cigarettes.
Leslie spoke first, “Based on your fighting method, you aren’t from the Parta Principality. Where did you learn that combat style?”
“I learned it when I was a kid. I don’t know exactly where I learned it. It is an old memory.”
“Hmm. I see.”
Once again, it was silent.
Park Muyeol alternated looking between me and Leslie.
This time, I opened my mouth first, “Can you teach the Maschenny-style to my friends outside?”
“Where are you going to use it?”
“Let’s just say it is a showdown of national pride.”
Leslie looked at the burning end of his cigarette with deep eyes.
The smoke from his mouth and nose remained in the air, unable to escape.
“I was once a soldier fighting in the Frontier Border Guards of the Parta Principality. At that time, the Parta Principality experienced many wars. Inside and outside, it was a battleground.”
I looked into Leslie’s eyes.
Now he was showing his inner self.
“It happened one day. At the time, the Orca Kingdom invaded and captured all my colleagues in the Frontier Border Guards. However, the Parta Principality couldn’t afford to go to war so they turned away from my colleagues.”
Leslie stared into the air and continued speaking as he recalled that time, “I decided to leave the Parta Principality. I attacked the border guards of the Orca Kingdom and rescued my captured companions. I fled with them and came here. Of course, our families were also with us.”
The story behind it was probably as I guessed.
“In the process, my wife and daughter died.”
“Aidan treated us as spies from the Parta Principality, and set up my wife and daughter as targets for target practice, killing the both of them.”
I stared into Leslie’s eyes while Park Muyeol slowly closed his eyes and listened.
“The moment when my life was in danger, Aren’s wife, Sarah, led the resistance and saved me. Thus, I became one of the resistance. Then I came all the way here.”
Leslie paused for a moment before stepping on the cigarette to put it out.
“However, I also failed to protect Sarah.”
I was still silent, wondering what exactly he wanted to say.
“It is important to protect the pride of your nation. However, I think it is more important to protect your loved ones. I want to use my Maschenny-style Melee Combat skill to protect loved ones, not the nation.”
I smiled happily.
He was a good person, just as I expected.
Somehow, there were many similarities with me so I felt a deep sense of kinship.
It was probably the same for Leslie.
Come to think of it, we were speaking casually without honorifics.
“...This is why my blood is boiling. It has been a long time since I’ve seen the eyes of a man who has loved their loved ones.”
Leslie looked at me and then Park Muyeol.
After that, he stood up. “I will start the training right away. It doesn’t matter if I take command, right?”
Park Muyeol gave a small nod.
He went out like this and Park Muyeol scoffed.
“Bah. You have strange friends.”
“I think you’re even stranger?”
“You aren’t easy as well.”
Park Muyeol and I chuckled at the same time.
* * *
Time passed quickly.
Three days passed because the game had a different time scale than reality.
During this time, the Korean national team, including myself, focused on practicing large-scale matches and Park Muyeol worked hard shaving their heads.
Leslie handed out melee combat skills to Lim Changyong, Kim Cheol, and Park Jangsoo, and the three men gritted their teeth to practice it.
The observers clicked their tongues and said these three were truly dedicated.
I also fought with Park Muyeol, while Mido fought with Park Seongchan.
For the rest of the national team, the Mukjeba Brothers, the Bald Brothers, and the Sylphid Knights helped.
It might be only a short time, but there was no training apart from this to boost the sense of actual combat.
Above all, it was good to have a variety of sparring opponents.
Now we gathered in the Korean team’s waiting room at the stadium.
“Are all of you nervous?”
Lim Changyong looked over at the team members gathered in a circle and reached out his hand to the center.
The team members laughed and put their hands together. Park Muyeol and I joined in as well.
It was a bit childish, but it was the last day, so it wasn’t bad.
“Coincidentally, it is a Korean-Japanese match.”
Everyone’s eyes turned to Lim Changyong.
“Everyone would’ve seen the first match. It was a game between Brazil and the Netherlands. Brazil won.”
Lim Changyong gritted his teeth.
His expression was quite admirable.
“I still can’t forget the humiliation that the Brazilians gave us. We will win this match against Japan and then get revenge for them in the top 8. Does anyone have any objections?”
No one made any complaints.
Everyone’s eyes were filled with passion.
They were like bloodthirsty soldiers right before going to war.
“One, two, three.”
Everyone’s hands soared into the sky and scattered like cherry blossoms.
* * *
At Union Square’s Japanese waiting room...
“Hai! Hai! I understand! We will win by all means! Work hard!”
Miura, the captain of the Japanese national team, hung up the phone with a straight back. It was because the person who called him had a very high position. Who would’ve expected Japan’s prime minister to directly call him?
‘Sigh.’ Miura sighed.
Roughly speaking, the attention of the Japanese people was gathered on this duel. Since ancient times, the showdown between Japan and South Korea involved the two countries’ pride. It was natural for the prime minister to care with all the attention gathered on this event. It would be broadcasted live all over the world.
“Miura-san, what did the prime minister say?” the vice-captain Takeshi asked with bright eyes, and Miura gave a small nod.
“He asked me to show the world the spirit of a samurai. I will choose the main force. Takeshi!”
Miura called the names of the main players one by one. The 10 people started their preparations. After all of the main force was chosen, a Union official came in and told them it was time to enter. Miura spoke to the players before leaving, “The great Japanese Empire won’t be defeated by the Joseonjin!” (A term that came from the period when Japan occupied Korea. It is considered a racist slur)
“Today we will show South Korea how good we are!”
“Remind everyone of the samurai spirit!”
“Yosh! Everyone, go out.”
Miura took to the stage with a satisfied smile. He and the other Japanese players were all warriors who used swords. It incorporated the traditional swordsmanship used by Japanese samurai and based on this, the style of the national team was completed. However, the downsides were also clear.
‘Huhu. The last fight with China helped.’
Japan lost to China in the flag battle on the first day. They repeatedly analyzed it and the shortcomings were finally made up. The disadvantage was the light armor. So today, all the Japanese players decided to wear high defense armor. They usually wore leather, but today, they all wore heavy armor. Perhaps the Koreans would be very flustered.
‘We just need to avoid Choi Chuntaek and Park Muyeol. We can win against the rest.’
Choi Mido, who recently became a Star Fruit eater, was also someone to be avoided. However, the rule was that only six out of the 10 matches had to be won. They could lose two or three times and win the rest. Thus, the Japanese team appeared on the stage.
He raised his hand at the shouts of the audience members and responded lightly. Then he connected to the game.
[Welcome to Arkstar.]
He opened his eyes and saw a circular arena just downstairs. He was currently located on the second floor. The other Japanese players also took their positions. The South Korean players were invisible due to security.
[Starting the PvP showdown.]
[Please specify the player who will go out first.]
“Um. I will go first.”
Miura took the lead in protecting the pride of the great Japanese Empire. No one protested.
[The user ‘Miura’ will appear in the first match.]
His body was engulfed in a bright light and he appeared in the middle of the circle arena. A gauge bar appeared above his head to indicate his health. Miura looked at the opponent on the other side.
[The user ‘Sky-Dragon’ will appear in the first match.]
“Hoh. It is unintentionally a captain battle, Joseonjin.”
Miura held the handle of his long sword while giving a slight provocation in a relaxed manner. He had a number of skills that used the sword at a medium range. Of course, the length of the sword was slightly disadvantageous if it was close combat, but this could be solved with armor. He also had the skill to push away the enemy with a sword wind so he didn’t have to worry.
He had completed training against magic bullets yesterday. He trained to cut bullets with his sword. Therefore, the gun fired by Lim Changyong in front of him wasn’t scary.
[The match is starting. 3, 2, 1...]
Miura rushed forward the moment the buzzer sounded. However, Lim Changyong stood still.
It happened the moment the running Miura stopped and tried to use a quick draw from a medium range...
Suddenly, Miura’s body started to be dragged forward.
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If there are Korean honorifics you don't understand, please check out my Glossary of Common Korean Terms