Chapter 145

Windur danced around the intruders. The smooth way Zich’s weird-looking sword moved around gave onlookers an odd feeling. However, Zich’s opponents didn’t have the luxury to think about such matters.

Clang! Clang!

Even if it was weird-looking, Windur’s tips were pointy while the mana inside it was strong. Moreover, its swinging noise was almost sharp enough to slice a body in two. However, the intruders were also resisting very well.

‘They are of pretty high levels.’

They weren’t even that many of them: six in total. But each of them was strong enough to be the leader of a group of robed figures. One of them was especially strong—comparable to the leader who used a string sword in the tourist city, Violuwin. No, actually, the figure in front of him seemed to be on a higher level, and unlike last time, Zich couldn’t use all of his mana.

Claang!

“Tch!” Zich grabbed his numb hand and took a couple of steps back.

‘He is definitely above me in terms of skills.’

Their difference in levels became more apparent after they clashed swords a few more times. On top of that, Zich was handling the ‘especially strong one’ with two other intruders while Hans and Snoc were blocking three opponents by themselves.

‘If this was a normal situation, I would be risking my life and preparing to die in pieces.’

However, there was no need for Zich to go to that extent since the intruders weren’t aiming for his life and were just trying to escape. Furthermore, Zich and his companions weren’t the only ones fighting the intruders. Other soldiers were fighting with them, and reinforcements were looking at them from the giant hole that had formed in the wall of the ballroom. Thus, their enemies had their hands full. In all aspects, this was definitely a more advantageous situation for Zich and his companions. Moreover, Zich wasn’t the type to let a situation like this go to waste.

‘Ah, really.’ Zich smiled widely. ‘I can’t even lose even if I want to right now.’

Zich jumped towards the intruders again.

*    *    * 

Amazing.” Weig was impressed as he watched the battle between Zich and the intruders from the ballroom. “They have become stronger again in the short time we didn’t see him.”

Lubella asked, Sir Weig, are you talking about Mr. Zich?” 

Mr. Zich also became stronger, but Mr. Hans and Mr. Snoc have become much stronger too. I don’t know the identities of these intruders, but the strongest one among them is at a level to contest for the top spots in powerful countriesFurthermore, the other intruders are strong enough to be the top soldiers at a large estate. So, it’s unbelievable that Mr. Zich and his companions are able to fight people like that so well…”

“It’s also my first time seeing the weapons that Mr. Zich and Mr. Hans have. It seems as if those weapons are playing a critical factor as well.”

“Certainly. I’m sure they are incredibly special weapons—especially the sword that Mr. Hans is wielding.”

Hans’ sword was particularly noticeable as it shone bright light around the garden.

“Doesn’t it look like a holy sword?”

“Yes, it seems so.”

The crowd murmured amongst themselves. The existence and appearance of a holy sword were extremely special.

Mr. Zich’s sword also looks considerably good. Of course, Mr. Zich’s skills are outstanding as well. Swords like the ones that Mr. Zich and Mr. Hans have can easily dominate their masters, but it seems like their swords have met their rightful match.”

“How could those two have gotten so much stronger in such a short amount of time?”

“Since Mr. Zich seems to be training Mr. Hans and Mr. Snoc, it seems as if Mr. Zich’s training methods are extremely effectiveThey all clearly have natural talent too.”

Didn’t they say that Mr. Zich didn’t show much potential when he was with his family?” Lubella stole furtive glances at the Steelwall family who were standing far away from them. They were all watching the ongoing battle with stiff expressions.

“He probably had a problem with his mana. No matter how outstanding a person’s skills are, there’s a limit to their strength without mana. I heard that Mr. Zich wasn’t able to use his mana at all when he was at Steelwall. Normally, people continuously train and awaken their mana at a young age, and if that’s not the case, there are two possible reasons: first, they possess too little mana to manifest it, or second, they possess such an immense amount of mana that it takes an incredibly long time and effort to awaken it.” Weig scratched his chin and said, “Most people are the former.”

“Mr. Zich is the latter?”

“The amount of mana that Mr. Zich has is probably unimaginable. He is continuously training to be able to use more of his mana, but that’s not his only strength. Mr. Zich’s skills were already polished by the time we met him. It was very shocking, especially considering his age.”

“In short, you are saying that the amount of mana he has is abnormally high, and his sword fighting skills are at a genius level, right?”

“On top of that, he has a good head and sharp senses.” After saying all this, Weig shook his head. “It’s truly fortunate that Mr. Zich is obsessed with doing kind acts. I can’t even imagine how much damage he would cause if he fell to the dark side.”

Lubella asked, “How is he in comparison to you, Sir Weig?” 

They heard somebody gulp their saliva down at Lubella’s shocking question. Words about the Karuwiman’s greatest Holy Knight, Belri Weig, and his fame had shaken up the whole empire for decades. It was a huge deal to compare someone so young as Zich to a hero like Weig. However, Weig’s response shocked them further.

“I am still stronger than him, but I don’t think that will last for long.”

“I see.” Lubella also calmly accepted Weig’s words.

“…Did you hear that?”

“Yes.” The Crown Prince nodded, and the King asked a follow-up question.

“What do you think?”

The Crown Prince contemplated for a bit and said, “Don’t you think the gentlemen named Hans and Snoc are fitting for the position of a count? Since Zich’s status has already been made clear.”

“What about giving them estates to tie them down?”

“We have to pull out something from the royal estates somehow. Or we could make them inherit land from a family without heirs and raise their statuses that way.”

“Is that all we can do?”

“Yes, for now. No matter how great they are, we can’t give them a position more than a count for now. If they become even more valuable in the future, then we can think about this more.”

“Hmmm, that’s all I need to know.” The King nodded. “Of course, we won’t be able to tie them down with just that.”

“…Your Majesty, I also agree.” The Crown Prince also had the same thoughts as the King. 

“That Zich person doesn’t seem to have much interest in status or power. If he did, he wouldn’t have stormed out of the Steelwall family with his abilities. He also seems like a free spirit.”

“Yes, it seems so. Then what do you think about the other two individuals, Your Majesty?”

“I don’t know. We have to find out more about them, but I’m sure there’s a low possibility of getting them on our side.”

The Crown Prince nodded at the King’s words and glanced to his side, towards the direction of Count Steelwall.

‘He let a guy like that go. For a while, Count Steelwall’s reputation will be dragged to the ground.’ The Crown Prince knew that trained knights basically had supernatural hearing, so he didn’t make the mistake of saying his thoughts out loud.

Watching the battle from afar, Lubella said to Weig, “Won’t it be better for us to help them?” 

Even though Zich and his companions were holding the intruders at bay and were showing an impressive fight, the overall abilities of the intruders were very high. Even in Lubella’s eyes, it looked as if Zich and his companions were getting slightly pushed back. Weig tapped the sword that a servant brought to him a few times.

“Hmmm, yes, it seems like it’s time for me to help them.” Weig thought it was still too early for Zich and his companions to fight opponents of this level. The Kingdom’s knights were slowly getting ready to intervene. However, at that moment, a person stepped forward. It was Lyla, who had been quietly watching the battle in front of her. All the people’s attention shifted towards her.

Weig said, “She’s Mr. Zich’s new traveling companion.”

Lyla raised both of her hands. “El. Tin. Oun. Ra. Putz.”

Crackle!

A huge mana current began to flow between her hands. A roaring sound and a flash of light rang throughout the surrounding area. People’s eyes widened.

“…She’s a magician?” Lubella murmured in surprise. 

Lubella simply thought that Lyla was an extremely beautiful person. Yet, Lyla paid no attention to all the people staring at her and finished her spells. She stretched out her hands in front of her. The intruders’ movements became frantic. They desperately tried to move closer to Zich and his companions because they expected Lyla to not attack the areas where Zich and his companions were, but their expectations were completely wrong.

Crasssssssh!

The electric currents from her hand split into several branches and rushed towards the intruders. The robed figures didn’t expect Lyla to shoot her magic without considering Zich and his companions at all, so they were extremely shocked. The people in the ballroom were also shocked, but they were even more shocked by how effective her magic was.

“Aghhhhhhh!”

“Ughhhhhh!”

Two of the intruders were not able to react in time and were swept by the lightning. The rest of the intruders quickly infused mana into their swords and tried to defend against Lyla’s magic. 

“Ugh!”

“Arghhh!”

Thanks to their defense, they were able to avoid the lightning strike, but a huge gap appeared in their formation. There was no way Zich and his companions would miss this opportunity.

Slice!

Zich’s sword cut off one of the intruder’s necks, and a head flew up in the air.

Pierce!

Hans’ light pierced through one of the intruder’s hearts.

Crunch!

Snoc’s earth crushed down one of the intruder’s bodies.

Five intruders died instantly, and the only one left was the leader. With just a single magic attack from Lyla, the flow of the battle had completely changed, and this was the terrifying part about magic.

“…Amongst this chaos, did she just accurately only hit the intruders?” It was already surprising that she was a magician, which was a very rare position, but her skills were even more shocking. Even Weig could not hide his shock. 

Yet Lyla looked at the result of her magic without much emotion, as if she didn’t do anything special. Lubella and Weig continued their conversation with clear surprise in their voices.

“Mr. Zich’s companions are all really impressive.”

Weig replied, “Out of parties around that size, his party is probably one of the best in this world.”

*   *   *

“T-this is…”

Now by himself, the leader surveyed his surroundings. All of his underlings were dead and rolling on the ground.

“What do you think of our magician? Isn’t she great?” Zich mocked the leader and gave a thumbs up towards Lyla’s direction. 

Lyla raised one corner of her mouth and gave a thumbs-up back.

“Damn, she’s even good at responding to me now!” Zich was very satisfied by Lyla’s reaction. “Then why don’t we start finishing this up? But before that, I’m curious about your identity.”

The intruders had suddenly appeared at the ballroom. If it hadn’t been for Lyla, Zich would have completely missed them.

“Are you working with the assassin organization? Why did you come to save Albus? He doesn’t seem to be worth it.”

As expected, the intruder did not reply.

“Yeah. I didn’t even expect you guys to reply.”

Under ordinary circumstances, Zich would have tried to stir the conversation somehow and gain more information from his opponents. Then Zich would have killed them because torture probably didn’t work on the robed figures. However, today was different.

“Why did you infiltrate the palace out of all places? If you made your attack anywhere else, I would have mercifully killed you.”

The royal family would most definitely want Zich to capture the leader alive. The palace forces would probably torture him in all kinds of ways to get information out of him. The intruder would probably not open his mouth till the very end and die after intense suffering.

‘It can’t be helped. Since I did commit some crimes, I should prepare a gift to be on the King’s good side.’

Zich had successfully protected the Kingdom today and had Karuwiman’s support, so it was unlikely that he would be punished. However, he thought he should be prepared as much as possible.

“Let’s end this.” Zich dashed towards the leader. 

Now full of injuries and paralyzed from Lyla’s lightning magic, the leader of the intruders faced Zich. However, it was impossible for the leader to win in his current state, and in the end, the battle ended with him getting beaten up and captured by Zich.

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