Chapter 287: Without Front or Back (3)

Teaser: Black helmet with red eyes showing underneath

The Empire's Third Knights Brigade rushed toward the only path between the fire.

“Get off your horses!”

Duke Huten jumped off his horse as he shouted.
The horses were getting scared while looking at the red fire. Anybody who was scared was useless in battle.

‘They are more of a hindrance in that small opening.’

Duke Huten rushed quickly toward the opening in the fire after quickly making that judgment.

Clang-!
His sword, no, his aura shot up toward the sky.

His silver-grey colored aura that resembled the color of his sword shot up to the sky.

The Sword of the Empire. Duke Huten had been given that title because he was a sword master and because the color of his aura was the color of a sword.

“Follow the Duke-nim!”

The captain of the Third Knights Brigade gave the order and the knights who had gotten off their horses wrapped around the Duke as they headed toward the castle gate.

“Ahahahaha! You came down to the ground in the end! It's only fun when we are on the same level! Kahahahahah!”

Duke Huten could see Toonka charging toward him.
Once Toonka and the warriors moved forward, the soldiers behind them put up long spears and bows to cover the gap.

“You cocky bastard.”

Duke Huten grumbled as he kicked off the ground with the aura-covered sword in his hand.
Toonka and Huten.
The two of them were only looking at each other as they ran toward each other.

‘You're just a damn arrogant barbarian! I'm going to kill you!’

Huten’s pride had been hurt.
They kept getting toyed with by the Whipper Kingdom and even the flow of battle had changed when he was the one to come with the overwhelming numbers.

He had rushed forward to change the flow of battle once again.
It was also to buy some time.

And finally.

“I will kill you!”

It was to kill Toonka.

Toonka was now within Duke Huten's range. Duke Huten could now attack Toonka at a range that a stupid barbarian without aura could not reach him.
He could do so because of his aura.
Just like how mages and regular citizens had different values, people with aura and people without aura had different values on the battlefield as well.

Ooooooong-
The silver-grey aura shot up toward the sky. It then shot down at a quick speed.

‘Kill Toonka.’

Duke Huten’s first attack that had the desire to kill Toonka had started.

“I will step all over your-”

It was at that moment.
He suddenly got the chills.
Duke Huten could feel it.

‘An attack is coming.
A sharp blade is heading my way.’

Huten turned his head to the right.
He could see a black helmet.
This helmet even covered the eyes area so that he could not see anything about the person behind it.

‘…When?
When did that, when did that person get here?
I didn’t sense him at all.
A sword master like me couldn’t sense him?’

However, he could not question it any longer.
The helmeted swordsman was running like an average person toward him with an average sword in his hand. Duke Huten quickly moved his arm that was covered in goosebumps.
However, the black helmeted swordsman was faster.

“Ugh!”

Huten’s body staggered. His eyes opened wide.
He could see the person quickly moving toward his right side with a sudden burst of speed.

‘How is this kind of speed possible……?!
Is he a regular swordsman?
Is he an assassin?
Or…
Is he a sword master?’

The silver-grey aura started to come out of Huten’s sword again. He tried his best to look at the person’s eyes through the completely covered helmet.
It was because he knew that the Whipper Kingdom didn’t have a swordsman like this.

He could barely make out the eyes underneath.

They were red.
He could see the red pupils through the gap in the helmet.

These eyes reminded him of a snake that had crawled up from the fires of hell. Huten subconsciously thought that he could see those fires of hell behind the black helmet.
He then urgently swung his arm.

The silver-grey aura headed toward the black helmet.
The black helmeted swordsman, Choi Han, jumped back as soon as he saw the aura.

Slash.
However, a bit of his clothing ended up getting cut.

‘As expected.’

Choi Han started to frown while looking at his cut clothes. He then tightened his grip around his sword.
He observed Duke Huten with his red pupils that had been colored this way with magic.

‘Raon, change Choi Han's eye color. We don't want him to get caught.’
‘I understand, human! Choi Han! I will make it a color I like. I will make it whatever color I want!’

Although Raon had just changed it to a color he liked, it unintentionally had the effect of leaving a deep red image on Duke Huten’s mind. However, Huten was an experienced sword master.

“Who are you?”

Choi Han answered Huten's question by pointing his sword again.

Huten stared at the crude black helmet.
This person was wearing a regular outfit instead of armor.
Furthermore, he was using a regular sword without any aura.

“Duke-nim, I will handle him!”
“Commanding officer-nim! I will deal with that pest!”

Two of the knights who moved away from the larger battle approached the Duke. However, the Duke did not give any kind of response to them.
His body just shot forward.

Baaaaang!

Another loud noise that sounded like an explosion rang on the battlefield.
Duke Huten’s eyes were full of mockery.
The swords did not hit against each other.
The regular sword dodged the silver-grey aura.
It then slid down Duke Huten’s sword. The hilts of the two swords slammed hard against each other.

“Why aren’t you using your aura?”

Duke Huten stared at the helmeted Choi Han and asked. It could not be helped.
He could not completely tell his opponent’s level, however, he could make a guess after exchanging blows one time.

‘That person is at my level, which means that they are a sword master.’

Huten let out a chuckle.

“You’re not going to use your aura in a battle between sword masters? I guess you want to lose.”

A sword master was not using their aura?
That was like fighting with their eyes closed.

Shaaaaaaaaaaaa-
The silver grey aura cut through the wind.
Choi Han took a step back. He looked down at his sword.

“I guess you don't want to lose.”

Duke Huten looked arrogant as he activated his aura and approached Choi Han. He looked at Choi Han and spoke with certainty.

“Looks like you want to die.”

Fighting against a sword master without using aura.

That was the truth.
That was the same as saying you wanted to die.

Choi Han clenched the hilt of his sword. His red pupils focused on Duke Huten’s stance.

He was observing Duke Huten’s movements.
He was like a snake waiting in the grass for prey as he carefully observed each and every one of Duke Huten’s movements.

He returned to the Choi Han of the past when he couldn’t use aura.

Duke Huten was said to be someone who followed the typical course of an elite. He was born in the greatest Duke household of the Empire and learned from the Empire’s greatest swordsman as soon as he showed a talent for the sword, with his results being that he became a sword master.
That was why his style was elegant and full of formality.

However, Choi Han’s style was on the opposite end of the spectrum because he had learned to survive.
He did not know of any sword arts until he developed his Dark Destruction Sword Art. He had just done whatever he needed to do to survive.

Choi Han's body shot forward.
Duke Huten and Choi Han clashed once more.

Choi Han thoroughly dodged the aura again, however, he was not able to land any attacks on Duke Huten.
Those useless clashes continued.

“You studied a refined sword art.”

Duke Huten was leisurely commenting on Choi Han’s attacks.
He had become calm once again, as if he had never had the goosebumps earlier.

“Huu.”

He then heard a sneer.
The helmeted swordsman was sneering at him.

Choi Han was laughing at Huten calling his sword art refined. He then stretched his helmeted neck.

“Now I'm getting the feel for it.”

His senses had finally returned.
Choi Han started to smile.

The Forest of Darkness.
His senses from back then had returned.

Choi Han had decided to fight in order to help Toonka and the Whipper Kingdom. However, there were other reasons as well.
He had a sudden thought after he saw Duke Huten on the battlefield.

‘What if I fought without using my aura?’

Choi Han wanted to get control of the complete darkness. In order to do that, he needed to return to when he had created this incomplete darkness.
When had that been?

It was when he was living in the Forest of Darkness.
Choi Han was a weakling until he became a sword master. He was always living in despair and fear. However, those emotions had settled down once he became stronger.

That was why he needed a situation like this.
He needed to go back to when he had a weakness.
Wouldn’t that help him see past this wall in front of him?

Choi Han charged toward Duke Huten again.

“Ugh!”
“Ugh, block them! Shoot the arrows!”
“Warriors, do not stop!”

He could hear the voices of the soldiers and knights fighting in front of the entrance.

The Empire's soldiers and knights were rushing in like flowing water with the Third Knights Brigade in the front.
The soldiers were pushing forward and aiming for the gate as Huten and the Knights Brigades fought against Toonka and the other strong warriors.

“Do not allow the enemies to get to the gate! Feet! Tie their feet up!”

He could hear the Whipper side’s crazed voices. They were crazy, but just from the urgency of the situation.

“Point the spears! Block the swords aiming for the warriors!”

Choi Han decided to go crazy from the urgency of the situation as well.
He could see Duke Huten. He could see the swordsman who, unlike himself, gave off elegance and class with every step.

His senses had returned.

His aura was tied down, but he still needed to kill this bastard.
Choi Han started to smile.
He could not see the answer, however, he could clearly see the problem.

“Shoot the areas!”
“Don't let them cross over to the Whipper Kingdom territory!”
“Cut the knights’ necks!”

Chaos.
He could hear the Whipper Kingdom's soldiers through the chaos.

Choi Han believed they were in this state of urgency for similar reasons.

“Defend our land!”
“The Whipper Kingdom is done for if we give up!”

Protect.
Others will get hurt if I go down.

Choi Han had not felt this sense of urgency ever since he came out of the Forest of Darkness as he had become too strong.
However, he now had a home and a new family; he once again had something to protect.
That was why he believed he was in this state of urgency.

‘No. I don't feel any sense of urgency at all.’

He figured out the identity of this wall.
Choi Han realized why his progress had stalled.

It was because of these voices.

  • Choi Han, raise your hand if you think you are about to get hurt! I will create a shield for you!
  • Choi Han, the human says don’t overdo it!

“Activate the shields! Put a shield around Pelia-nim!”
“Rosalyn-nim! Round two of the electricity magic is going!”
“Fire, don't let them put out the wall of fire! Continue to use fire magic!”

“Point the spears!”
“Soldiers in the rear support the soldiers up front! We’ll all be stomped to death if we are pushed back!”
“Move to the back if you are injured! The rest of you, keep firing the arrows without stopping!”

It was because he was the only one who was not in a state of urgency.
Choi Han could see Duke Huten’s sword. He seemed to have prepared properly as the aura around the sword aimed for Choi Han’s openings.
It was an attack that was filled with elegance. Choi Han rolled on the ground in front of that sword.

He would do anything he needed to do in order to survive in front of a strong enemy.
Choi Han was covered in dirt.

“You-!”

Huten was glaring at Choi Han as if he could not believe that Choi Han just rolled on the ground to escape.
His gaze seemed to be asking how a swordsman who had trained in such a refined sword art could use such dirty tactics to dodge.

“How pathetic.”

He also did not miss the opening that appeared from Choi Han rolling on the ground.
Huten’s sword once again aimed for Choi Han’s heart.

Huten looked toward the black helmeted swordsman with ridicule.
Choi Han’s stance was broken because he rolled on the ground in order to dodge the aura. It was easy to catch someone like this.

It was at that moment.

“This is why I couldn't get past the wall.”

‘What?’

It was the moment he heard the odd statement from the helmeted swordsman.

“Kehehehe-”

He could hear laughter.

‘Crap!’

Toonka.

‘It’s Toonka!’

He had forgotten about Toonka. Duke Huten’s sword flinched.

In front of him was the helmeted swordsman.
Behind him was Toonka.

There was a slight hesitation at the tip of the Duke's sword. However, he decided to swing the sword as he had originally planned.

‘This bastard comes first.’

He would start with the helmeted swordsman.
Duke Huten made eye contact with those red eyes behind the helmet at that moment.
Those eyes were smiling.

The Duke flinched again.

Choi Han was smiling. He could see Toonka charging toward the Duke’s back.
Toonka was bloodied from the knights chasing behind him, but he still charged toward the Duke while laughing. He could see the sense of urgency to kill the Duke in Toonka’s eyes.

This was the problem.
The problem was that he was the only one who didn’t feel this sense of urgency.

It was because he saw many paths to win even without doing things on his own.

He could see this path when he was fighting with Cale and the others. He could see a path where it was okay even if he wasn’t that strong.

Toonka kicked off the ground.
The iron club that was sliced in half was aiming for Duke Huten’s head.

“Damn it!”

In that slight instant that he flinched, Duke Huten decided to turn away from the helmeted swordsman and turned his body around.
He needed to get rid of Toonka first. The silver grey aura moved toward Toonka's neck.
It was at that moment.

Duke Huten heard a chilling voice.

"Where are you looking?”

Slash.
Duke Huten’s body stiffened up. His eyes started to move. He could see the helmeted swordsman standing there as if his stance had not been ruined earlier.

He could also see the regular sword stabbed into the side of his body.
Snakes bite down on their prey without making any noises. They then release their venom.

“Ugh!”

Black aura started to come out from the tip of the sword that was inside the Duke's body.
However, nobody could see the black aura because it was being released inside the Duke's body.

‘He was able to use aura this whole time……!’

The Duke could not say that out loud and the only thing he could see were those cold red eyes.
It was at that moment.

Beeeeeep- Beeeeeeep-

He heard the sound of a flute coming from on top of the castle wall.
The wall of fire around the castle prevented the enemies from attacking, however, it also locked the Maple Castle’s forces inside the castle.

Screeeech-

It was the white bird that had disappeared above Rosalyn and Raon's black clouds. That white skeleton bird had returned.

Screech, screech.

The white bird cut through the black clouds and looked down at the ground.
The Whipper Kingdom's forces on the ground had locked themselves in, however, the Whipper Kingdom's forces in the air were the freest.

Cale calmly started to speak after seeing Duke Huten managing to stare at him even with Choi Han's sword stabbed into his body.

“Destroy the black towers.”

His voice was delivered to the Dwarves on top of the white skeleton birds via the video communication device.

The first battle would end soon.
It didn't matter if the Empire didn't want it to be that way. Cale and the Whipper Kingdom wanted a prolonged war.
This was just the first step in dragging Imperial Prince Adin out here. There was no reason to extend the first taste.

But once the Imperial Prince comes down to the edge of the pit of fire… A true fire devil will gobble him up.

  • You'll use my power properly later, right?

Cale responded back to the cheapskate fiery thunderbolt with silence.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter