Chapter 291 - Volume 3
Chapter 70 – King of the Underworld (21)
Kodan looked at the youth with complicated feelings.
He entered the Gold-ranked status thirty years ago, yet the youth seemed to be blessed by the gods and had reached the same level of control over his Element Power as him.
Even if the person was blessed with talent, they would never attain such mastery at such a young age. A possibility was being favored by the Gods themselves, but they would be disabled in some form, so he thought of something else.
“Young man, who’s your Guardian Spirit?” Kodan called out to him.
“What?” Brendel turned around and said puzzledly.
“Stop pretending, you clearly know what I’m talking about!” The old man was angry enough to shout: “This is important, tell me quickly—”
“What are you talking about, what am I supposed to know?”
Brendel was truly confused. He thought that the grandmaster swordsman might ask if he was going to save the youths up there, yet it was a strange question with unfamiliar terms. He watched the old man walk up to the stage in annoyance, but an invisible barrier blocked him.
The thunderous voice once again reverberated throughout the coliseum and interrupted them:
“Mortal, do you wish to continue challenging your destiny?”
“Yes,” Brendel said.
“Brat, answer me!” Kodan slammed on the barrier with his fist.
Brendel glanced at him and put a palm up to tell him to wait. The coliseum suddenly turned darker.
“The next match will be the Duel of Ordeals!” A voice announced over their heads.
Brendel’s expression immediately changed.
“Do you have any idea what the match is, my lord?” Medissa asked curiously when she saw his reaction.
“…… It’s a type of extreme challenge. No matter how much strength you acquire, you will be turned into an ordinary person. In this stage, you must use pure skill to defeat your enemies.”
“Skill? What’s the exact definition?” Medissa arched her eyebrow slightly.
Brendel tapped a finger on his blade: “Combat techniques.”
Medissa reflected on his words for a moment. It sounded like it was advantageous to them, but her lord did not seem happy about it in the slightest. Considering the challenges earlier, it could not be something simple.
“Do you know anything about the Duel of Ordeals, Cohen?” Maher asked gingerly.
“No.” Came the simple reply.
“What are they arguing about?” Jocah’s attention was on Kodan. He was worried whether all of them could leave the place.
“I don’t know.”
“Why does he keep on challenging the duels without freeing us or his remaining companion?” Someone asked.
“Maybe there are some rules we don’t know about? How is it possible to construct a place like this in the mines? To build it only as a game to catch and release people?” Another youth said.
The other youths looked at the blurred faces of the audience and a few found his words somewhat agreeable.
“Hmph. It’s not as if you don’t know how sick these nobles’ hobbies are. Perhaps they just want to have perverse fun!”
“But look at this place! It’s a mine! Why would they set up their entertainment in this place? No matter how much I think about it, this incident is because of the odd thing that we dug out earlier.”
“I agree as well! Besides, that was a dragon! How much money do they have to throw in to get ordinary people like us to fight it? To be honest, I feel like this is a dream or something. Maybe this place isn’t real.” One of them touched a steel bar from a cage and felt the heat in his fingers dissipate.
They were momentarily silent.
“His goal is that sword.” Cohen’s voice was not loud.
The sickly young man had waited till the youths quieted down before he spoke, making his words feel weighted. He had seen Brendel glance at the black broadsword several times and made a conclusion.
The others felt it was a logical deduction once he spoke.
“Does he not intend to save us?” One of the youths said.
“Why should he?” Came Cohen’s reply.
“Cohen?” Jocah looked at him.
In his mind, Cohen was someone who did not like speaking much, but he had a better idea of the world and provided the best answers.
“Well, I can try persuading him.” Cohen’s voice was small, as though he was trying to convince himself.
“With what?” Maher asked with incomprehension.
Maher’s eyes turned wide: “Are you thinking of using your worthless things to trade with him? Angering him won’t do us any good!”
Cohen did not answer and merely looked back at him. However, his attention was drawn elsewhere very quickly.
Sudden lines of golden words appeared in the air. Dwarven, Elven, Dragon, Ancient Kirrlutz and many other languages. But what shocked Brendel was the existences of multiple familiar languages that should never have appeared in this world.
[It…… can’t be! It can’t fucking be true! How can there be languages from Earth!]
The youth’s body trembled greatly and he gulped in utter confusion. Multiple possibilities exploded in his mind.
Perhaps he was somehow lying unconscious on some hospital bed and was dreaming of this world? Or perhaps this world was somehow connected to Earth in some strange ways? Or perhaps because of how Earth created the game, another world would somehow be created?
Crazy theories spun in his mind and for a moment, the thought of possibly returning back to his original world surfaced, causing his emotions to explode within him.
“My lord?” But Medissa’s concerned voice brought him back to his senses.
“Yes……? Yes.” Brendel’s chaotic thoughts were quickly shut down by a greater desire.
He had stolen someone else’s identity, resolved to live as him, and swore to save the kingdom. His past life had nothing to do with his current one any longer. He raised his head to look at the instructions again as he wiped the corners of his eyes furiously with the back of his hand.
It was not the time to be affected by emotions, perhaps when everything was over he could reflect on it.
He read the familiar words in the air:
1) Limitation in Strength. (The duelists are limited to 10 OZ in strength.)
2) Limitation in techniques. (All techniques unrelated to weapons will be disabled.)
3) The challenger shall be given worthy opponents.
Jana drew in a cold breath as she read in the ancient Kirrlutz language which was not too different from the modern version. Even though Brendel’s power astounded her, it was clearly different from training with a weapon for years.
No matter how talented one might be, even if they became a Gold-ranker at a young age, they required time to match someone who had talent and years to go along with it.
The people who were widely recognized were old white-haired duelists who had reached their eighties or nineties. (TL: The humans in this world live over a hundred easily.)
“There’s no need to worry, Jana,” Scarlett’s voice came from behind. She seemed to see through the worry in the mercenary commander’s heart and appeared confident, but in truth had placed her concern deeply into her heart: “Lord Brendel’s swordsmanship is excellent—”
“I know he’s very skilled, but if the previous challenge was a dragon, then this opponent of his would be even harder. Even if it’s just Aouine alone, there are many Sword Saints.”
Scarlett’s confident expression froze and she started to worry too.
Brendel’s thoughts were the same as Jana. He wondered what opponents he was going to face. Suddenly, a new power washed over the stage, and he felt something in him got severed.
Medissa, the Wind Spirit Spiders, and the Silver Colt under him disappeared, and he landed on the ground with both his feet.
[The Planeswalker’s energy has been cut off? Not only that, I feel like I’m being drained. It looks like my stats are going down.]
Brendel felt a numbing sensation on his scalp. He had originally hoped that this cheat-like ability was able to bypass the rules, but it seemed like the Planeswalker profession was still considered part of the Laws of this world.
But he did not rely too much on his Planeswalker identity, and was not truly affected inside. He took in a light breath and adjusted his thoughts before staring at his surroundings cautiously.
Darkness washed over the coliseum next, and a second later, he found that he was on a dueling stage made out of granite blocks cut to perfection.
His eyes searched the area, and discovered a familiar dark figure coming out from the shadows.
“The Cross Sword, Buga.”
Kodan and Jana were able to recognize him. He had considerable fame with a unique stance and swordsmanship, easily allowing both of them to identify him.
Kodan frowned deeply. He had met Buga when he was younger and knew of his potential in the sword, but he was slightly relieved as Torbus’s lineage was surely as good as Buga if not better. The young man was of his blood after all.
Jana sighed with relief as well. She had seen Buga on her way to Lantonrand and heard rumors of his skill in the sword, but she believed that he was much easier to deal with when compared to famous grandmaster swordsmen.
Before the two people had the chance to gauge who the winner would be, another shadow came forward.
Brendel cursed loudly in his mind.
[Damn it, Tirste? There’s one more. Shit, this time it’s Ebdon…… Who’s this last person?]
There was a fourth shadow that came out, but his face was still shrouded in darkness.
Brendel’s body reacted on its own by trembling a little without its owner noticing.
“That’s!” Kodan’s expression completely turned to one of shock.
“T-t-the Dragon of H-H-Hararth…….” Jana’s expression had also changed, and she felt like her throat had been stuck with something when she saw the fourth person’s attire and longsword.
“Who’s that?” Scarlett’s brows furrowed together and asked in confusion.
Jana turned her head and looked back with an expression of defeat and panic, but words refused to come out.
But Brendel did not have the time to worry about who the fourth person was. He suddenly realized he was in deep trouble.
It was one against four.