Chapter 148 - Great Duel (2)

Chapter 148 - Great Duel (2)


They arrived at Alaste after two days. Outer walls surrounded the white city.

“This is Alaste. Isn’t it beautiful?”

The walls were gray while Alaste shone white like marble. 

Crockta nodded. "Beautiful."

"It is something Alaste has long been proud of. It is said that the white dragon Ariadne built it with magic. A legend.”

Thanks to Knight Vigo, they were smoothly granted access. The guards saluted Vigo. Vigo shook his head and pointed to Crockta. “Not this way! This brother will save Alaste so salute him!”

"He will help Alaste?”

"He is an incredible, strong orc warrior. I will recommend him for the kingdom duel!”

“Ohh! It is nice to meet you! Alaste!”

"Alaste!”

Their eyes lit up and they saluted Crockta. Normally people were afraid of orcs, but they actually felt admiration as they looked at Crockta’s scary face.

"Crockta Brother will scold Adandator!”

“Crockta! We believe in you!”

"That Adandator will be overthrown just looking at Crockta’s face!”

He didn’t know if it was praise or gossip but Crockta nodded. Vigo exchanged more well wishes with the guards before entering Alaste with Crockta.

Then the landscape of Alaste was revealed.

Anor responded first, “Whoa!”

Tiyo, who rarely admired the culture of other species, cried out in a small voice. “This is quite good dot.”

Crockta smiled and remarked, "How great.”

The inside of Alaste was a beautiful white. Although Arnin, the city of elves was white, Alaste was a pleasing blend of white and blue colors. It was just like a Mediterranean city.

Vigo puffed out his chest and proudly proclaimed, "We designed Alaste to be aesthetically pleasing. Hahaha. The urban landscape department and the citizens cooperated to avoid harming the beauty of this city. I’ve never seen a person who hasn’t admired it.”

He was filled with pride for the city’s appearance. As Vigo appeared with three people of varied species, the citizens stared in wonder. However, unlike other cities, Crockta couldn’t feel any fear towards orcs. Crockta realized it was because of Vigo being next to him.

“Hello, Mister Knight! Who is the orc uncle next to you?”

"He has come to help Alaste!”

“Wow! Thank you!”

The children smiled brightly and greeted Vigo.  Everywhere Vigo went, citizens would greet and thank Vigo.  Some citizens, who had never seen anyone from another species, even asked for a handshake from Crockta. Alaste was filled with respect for their knights. There might be an unfamiliar orc but they thought there was no harm because a knight was beside him.

Anor smiled and said, "This is a good place.”

"That’s right.”

The streets of Alaste was filled with vigor. The back alleys didn’t seem visible as they walked through the city.

"The lord of Alaste doesn’t charge a high tax. Alaste has quality marble and big silver mines, so there is plenty of money around. It is a gift from the gods."

As they looked around the surroundings, they eventually arrived at the lord's residence in the center of the city. Knights were guarding it, but they knew Vigo and welcomed his return.

“Vigo!” They looked between Vigo and Crockta’s group. “Who are they? Where is Morenson?”

Vigo explained the whole story. First of all, he announced the death of his colleague who went to scout with him. The faces of the knights changed. He explained Crockta’s actions and his suggestion to have Crockta do the duel instead, causing the guards to stare strangely.

Crockta understood the look in their eyes. A competitive spirit! They wanted to directly verify if he had the skills. Crockta grinned. He didn’t hate that attitude. A knight needed such a mindset.

"Let’s go inside first. Speak to the lord.”

They opened the way. 

***

A woman who seemed to be a staff member guided them upstairs. The lord was more frugal than he thought. The distinct architectural style of Alaste was reflected but there were no luxurious decorations.

They climbed the stairs and entered a room. The employee who guided them knocked on the door.

“Lord. Knight Vigo is here.”

“Come in.”

The voice of the lord was heard. Crockta’s group and Vigo thanked the employee before entering the room. The lord was a sturdy middle-aged man with red hair and beard. He was talking with someone and his eyes widened as he saw the orc that appeared.

“Hmm?”

“I greet the lord.”

"Hey Vigo. Who is your orc friend standing there?”

As Vigo communicated with the lord, Crockta gazed at the man sitting with him. He was an elderly man who was going bald. The weight of the years showed on his face, but his posture was straight without any signs of weakness. He wore a sword alone with his comfortable clothes.

Crockta instinctively knew who he was. This man was the old grandmaster that Vigo had mentioned.

Once they reached a certain level, they could see many things just by looking at each other. An image was drawn. Crockta wielded his sword at the man. In a world where speed converged, the man didn’t dodge but moved forward.

He narrowly avoided the greatsword and swung his sword at Crockta’s abdomen. Crockta twisted his body and the two swords met. Sword, sword, a blow. Evasion and changing of offense and defense.

Their internal struggle continued for a while before a remark ended it.

“Isn't that right?"

Crockta didn’t know what the question was. The white haired knight smiled. He also woke up from his fight against Crockta.

“What did you say?”

"Is Crockta Brother the Northern Conqueror Crockta?” Vigo asked again. "At first, I wasn’t sure but now I am quite confident.”

Vigo also knew Crockta’s identity. His reputation had spread widely.

Crockta nodded. "That is what they sometimes call me.”

"Indeed!”

The lord’s eyes grew bigger at Crockta’s reply. He exchanged looks with the knight he was sitting with. The lord rose from his seat and approached Crockta. His body was conditioned from steady training.

“Thank you for the difficult decision. Alaste will never forget the help of Northern Conqueror Crockta.”

It seemed like Vigo had spoken like Crockta already agreed to do the proxy duel. Vigo was frowning from behind the lord.

Crockta just laughed. “No. I was impressed by Vigo’s sincerity when he said that he would dedicate three months of his own salary.”

“Ohh Vigo, really?”

“Huh, yes?

"How impressive."

“Ah, that...”

Crockta noticed that the lord was also joking, but Vigo mumbled hesitantly. 

At that moment, "Don’t make fun of the young knight.”

A hoarse voice was heard. It was a low, rough, yet resonate voice. It was an unusual tone that was attractive. The knight got up from his spot. He had a lean body and was a similar height to Crockta.

“Truly a great warrior.”

The knight reached Crockta and looked him up and down. The grandmaster’s instinct was warning him about Crockta. The orc’s solid body meant they usually fought with strength, but this orc warrior seemed more sophisticated than a human or elf. He had fast and accurate greatsword skills.

"You are stronger than me.” He admitted it.

The lord and Vigo were shocked as soon as Alaste’s living legend recognized his opponent’s superiority.

"To that extent?"

“Yes, it seems like he can overthrow Adandator. It is clear at first glance.”

“Ohh...”

"I can now understand how you conquered the north alone.”

“Ohh...”

“The gods are taking care of Alaste." He smiled and reached out to Crockta, who held his hand. "Crockta. I am an old knight of Alaste, Galadin.”

“I am the orc warrior from Orcrox, Crockta.”

It was the meeting of grandmaster Galadin, the guardian of Alaste, and Crockta, the conqueror of the north. 

Vigo and the lord laughed heartily at the sight. 

“Lord, Alaste’s future is bright.”

"Galadin is old and Crockta is an outsider. Alaste’s future relies on young knights like you.”

“Umm...”

"Is it still bright?”

"It is a little cloudy.”

"That’s why I’m so old.”

“I’m sorry...”

***

The knights arranged to retrieve the corpse of the knight killed by the Mountain King. Galadin looked at the knights arranged in a polite manner. His words were short.

"Our friend has come. The funeral will be held later.”

“Yes!” The leader of the knights raised a hand to his chest and bowed. "I will start now.” 

“I’ll allow it.”

"To battle!"

The knights turned around. Then they headed outside Alaste. The voices of the citizens cheering for the knights could be heard.

Tiyo watched them and asked. "You will be fighting the kingdom soon. Can you really send the knights away dot?”

"There is no chance of victory if we fight properly. The other side proposed the duel first so they will stick to it. They have to fear the eyes of the gods and the citizens.”

Crockta touched his chin. He pondered on something before asking Vigo.

“Vigo.”

“Yes, Brother.”

"Alaste...”

He remembered why the name Alaste was familiar.  In the early days, he searched for tips on Elder Lord and saw a user advertising that Alaste was a good place to live. The person who posted the message was called Alastepara. At the time, the user had aspirations to become a senior official in Alaste and to develop it.

"Do you have anybody who is cursed by the stars?”

"We do. There are a lot of them in the city.”

"What about a person in a high position?”

"Ah, are you talking about Yellow?”

"Yellow?"

“Yes. You would’ve met her before.” Vigo pointed to a young lady. "The woman who guided us.”

“Ah, her...”

Crockta nodded. When they entered the lord’s residence, a woman had guided them. She had bangs so he hadn’t seen her forehead, but she was also a user.

Over time, as the level of users rose and strategies came into play, there were those who took an active role in different walks of life. In the past, there was the militia member Kim Dalkwang, but other users had built their own domains in Elder Lord.

"She has a quick mind and her work is good, so the lord trusts her. Why are you asking about those cursed by the stars?”

"I am asking because there are those cursed by the stars on the side of the kingdom.”

"Haha, there are those guys. The person called Rommel is famous. He is favored by the king, so you might see him at the duel.”

Rommel was the name for Choi Hansung.

The duel was in a week. The entire south knew that this was a fight between Adandator and Galadin, despite the names of the knights being concealed. They were the most famous knights on both sides.

It was also agreed that the kingdom would win. Adandator was a young and powerful supernova, while Galadin was too old.  Unfortunately, the one who would duel for Alaste was Crockta, not Galadin.

It was a variable that no one expected.

“Crockta.”

Galadin’s distinctive low voice called out to him. Crockta turned his head. Galadin was dressed in a knight’s equipment, making him seem young again. Previously he looked like an old man, but now he was a thriving warrior.

Crockta smiled and pulled out Ogre Slayer.

"Galadin.”

The two of them walked towards the knights’ training ground. Both of them wanted to test the other. Their spar would be calm and at the same time, very dangerous.

"The atmosphere around you is good but I have to see it directly. As I grow older, I become more suspicious,” Galadin said.

Crockta realized something. Due to the wrinkles on his face, Crockta hadn’t seen his true expression. Galadin wasn’t a gentlemanly knight.

"I will do it softly.”

Crockta shrugged and said, "I don’t want to hear the sound of an old man’s bones breaking.”

"Kukuku.” Galadin was an aggressive fighter. "It is good to be young!”

Before Crockta could take a stance, his strike hit Crockta’s body.


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