Chapter 49 – Sword Arte
Since Brendel did not intentionally try to be stealthy, he was discovered at the courtyard in the first level by a patrolling team. The seven guards tried to flank him, but Brendel killed three of them easily and the remaining four scattered, alerting the fortress of an invader.
There was a total of thirty two guards within the fortress, and the majority of them were mercenaries. The leader of the guards was mercenary captain from Randner, with the capability of a mid level Iron-ranked swordsman with commanding abilities.
Thus, when Brendel entered the second level, he was ambushed at the dining hall with eleven guards waiting for him. The first moment he pushed open the door, the central lamp in the hall was lit up, with the archers in the floor above immediately raining their arrows down below.
With such a close distance, the arrows were already at his face once they left the bows, and he was only able to guard his face, chest and abdomen. His gauntles flashed a faint blue and some of lethal arrows were deflected, while several of the arrows brushed across his arms and thighs.
Brendel gritted his teeth and cursed. With 4 OZ worth in his physique stats, he was able to automatically turn the lethal damage into normal damage. The wounds that were supposedly inflicted became nothing more than bruises. Even so, the pain he received did not lessen.
If this was a normal situation, Brendel would have chosen another path as he knew that there were going to be guards ambushing him from the floor above. There might have been guards at the stairs at the side sections, but the situation would not be as treacherous as this location.
But this was a different situation.
He swung his sword at diagonally, and a transparent rippling wave came from his blade. A huge crash echoed in the hall as half of it was struck by his sword. The candle-holders, plates and utensils on the long dining table were propelled forward from the wave, while the ceiling’s chandelier exploded into shards. The railings on the corridor cracked and shattered into pieces.
The guards were cut open by the wave and they fell back lifelessly.
‘The White Raven Sword Rave’, Aouine’s Royal Court’s sword arte. This secret technique was a rare ranged ability that a warrior profession could learn in the early period. At level 0, the sword arte was able to reach approximately five meters away, with a even bigger cross-section impact. At level 25, it was able to strike at the enemies hundred of meters away, and it was comparable to a swordsman who had awakened the Elements within him.
The expenditure of this arte merely used 3 points of stamina, a mere fraction when compared to unleashing the Elemental Powers. It was the reason as to why so many people pursued these techniques.
This unworldly attack made the remaining guards in the living room fall into a deathly silence. It was only when a piece of broken wood fell from the second floor onto the ground, that woke everyone from the stupor—
“A paladin!” (TL: Literally ‘Holy Cathedral knight’, but as people have suggested, it’s paladin.)
“Mother Marsha above! Ser Arnon, let’s retreat!” The guards yelled out as they lost their morale and retreated.
A sword aura was the basic technique of a warrior who had awakened his Elements. According to tradition, the Cathedral of Flames would grant them the official title of a knight, and to differentiate them from the various kingdoms’ conferred title of ‘knights’, they were called Paladins.
Even a tier three ranked swordsman could not fight against the Knights, not to mention ordinary people like them. Unless there were enough people to drain their stamina, there was no use in fighting them.
“It’s not a fucking paladin!” The team leader Arnon pulled his closest aide back as he swore loudly.
[That was a royal swordsman, are we embroiled in some shitty political battle?] (TL: Literally “palace swordsman”)
He lived up as their leader as he was much more experienced than them and guessed otherwise. He even knew the noble lord upstairs was a close courtier to the king. Even though this was not the first time he got involved in a political war, this was the first time he saw a royal swordsman.
[He used the highest grade Royal Arte, and that was one of the powers only the Crown would have. A low Iron-ranked swordsman possessing such power…]
For a single moment, Arnon was envious of him, but he quickly remembered his responsibilities. He raised his head up to check his surroundings. Brendel killed four people with that single strike, and the remaining guards either ran away or were too scared to move.
Arnon did not have any time to feel the loss, and he stood up with a hand gesture as he shouted: “Retreat! Retreat! Find the people of the spiraling staircase and get them to fall back. That place can’t be held anymore, we’re going up to the next floor.”
The remaining guards finally cleared their minds and immediately ran to the doors. Some of them threw away their bow and arrows. Arnon felt demoralized when he saw this scene.
“Fucking hell, these nobles are just made out of trouble!” He cursed as he turned back and slapped the aide who he just pulled back. He screamed at him as the latter shook off the fright: “Inform the Fortress’s camp and sound the alarm, do you understand!”
“Sounding the alarm, but the earl said that was used to warn the entire city right?” The aide was confused.
“Shut the fuck up! If this ‘guest’ dies, we’re all dead, do you hear me?!”
The aide paused and then nodded urgently. He was scared of the enemy having accomplices, so he did not use the staircase, but climbed down using a rope quietly. Even though it took a little more time, it was definitely safer.
He knew which camp Arnon was referring to. There was a group of White-Mane infantry dedicated to the defense of the inner fortress. Even though they usually looked down on each other, he still hoped to see them as quickly as possible.
But before he even saw them, he discovered to his shock that there were two guards wearing deep blue uniform lying dead on the ground. He immediately realized the enemy had allies.
But he was still late, a beam of white light shot from the camp’s second floor, piercing through the aide’s chest. The magic arrow threw the body meters away and struck against a pine tree before it collapsed into a heap.
Ciel stared at the window’s hole for a long time, before confirming that he was completely dead and he had no other allies with him. He took out his watch and looked at the time, then looked back at the rope leading to the watchtower nearby.
Arnon did not know that his aide was killed, or even the team of White-mane infantry was wiped out completely. He still clung on to the hope of his men resisting a little longer until there were reinforcements.
They were currently defending on the staircase which led to the third floor. Behind them was the guest room, and they were cornered with no place to escape to. Even though he looked down on the servants, he envied them as they were able to hide in some random place, while he had to stay behind and defend as he was the leader of the guards.
If the earl was killed under his watch, he would have to change his name and become a bandit.
The young swordsman quickly appeared in front of him.
[A few more minutes left. But it is strange that these people are so weak. I thought I would have a lot of trouble fighting my way through. The leader at at least a mid Iron-ranked swordsman, and he should be the one holding the advantage…]
Brendel estimated the time. There were a few minutes left.
[……. Maybe I’m thinking about this wrongly. I naturally received the techniques that came along with the profession, and I thought that the others would have the same thing. The guards that are stationed here, most of them are comprised of militia members, learned some terrible swordsmanship, and the remaining techniques they have come about from practical battles.]
[No matter what, I can’t be merciful here. These guards understand what it means to protect the earl, and there is no other choice left for us here.]
The archers readied their bows and fired their arrows, and he casually flicked away the arrows. In truth, he only needed to fend off Arnon’s arrow, as the rest of them were no threat to him.
“First squadron, advance!” After seeing that the arrows were of no effect and Brendel was coming closer, Arnon could only steel him and lead his men onwards.
The seven men who were in the first squadron cursed Arnon for being shameless. Why was he not the first one to go up first? Even though they thought they were going to die, a shadow streaked past them.
They turned back subconsciously, only to find that the Death God had bypassed them to their captain—
Arnon came from a military background, and learn Aouine’s formal military swordsmanship but other than that he had not learned any techniques. Despite this, he had crossed blades with a Sun Knight, and know that there was a technique called ‘Charge’, which allowed one to increase his acceleration many times in an instant. He felt the hair on his skin stand up, and he raised his sword up and blocked in front of him. The experience from his countless battles saved him, as two swords clashed together–
“As expected of a mid level Iron-ranked.”
Brendel gauged the opponent in front of him. There was almost no signs of the opponent raising his sword to defend himself, and this was definitely an experienced fighter. A NPC like this in the game caused great trouble to him when he was around level twenty back then.
But he was no longer that novice from before.
Brendel reacted quickly and did not allow his opponent to have a chance to rest. He brought his sword over his head and swung it down.
[Power Break?! Who is this crazy bastard! First he used a Royal Arte, then a knight’s technique, now it was a warrior’s Power Break, has the world gone crazy?!]
Arnon’s heart nearly stopped and the blood in his veins grew cold. If it was someone else, that person would have died without understanding what had happened.
As soon as he saw Brendel’s technique, he did not have the notion to counter-attack anymore, and immediately went into the most defensive stance he knew. When the two swords crossed again, both of their swords bent into an exaggerated form along with a ear-splitting metallic scream. Brendel stood firmly at where he was, while the leader stumbled back seven steps, and nearly fell onto the floor.
Arnon had 9 OZ worth of strength and logically he should be able to tie Brendel down till the reinforcements come, but the situation was different due to the power of the techniques.
With Arnon’s retreat, the guards at both sides finally took action and tried to flank him, but with Brendel’s casual flick, a wind slash struck them and cut many of them down.
He continued to move forward, and Arnon threw the sword in his hand onto the ground without any hesitation and shouted: “I surrender!”
Just as he finished his sentence, the alarm outside rang loudly.
“If you surrender then throw down your weapons and get lost!”
The guards felt as if they were saved, and they threw the weapons in their hands down and ran away. Their hands were already trembling from the fear, and their last shred of morale was gone when their leader agreed to surrender.