- Full Scale War (5)
“On whose commission, have you come?”
Oliver slowly approached Helene. He appeared to be serene, but inside the gloves, his hands were already moist with sweat.
“I know that you are not someone that will act on own volition.”
Finally, the two stood at a handshake length apart from each other.
The differences in their sizes were striking.
However, what about the difference in their powers?
“What will a mere knight, such as you, do?”
It was the same Helene’s voice of the old days. There were no longer any dark spots around the eyes. The personality has also returned to normalcy. The only difference was the absolute, blind loyalty to the tower lord, as a result of the much advanced black magic’s influence.
“Have you been hit in the head with an arrow?”
“What an impossible woman to be talking to.”
Oliver’s questioning ended there. From this moment on, everything that he does will go down the ‘history for the first time’. The first prose of the story will be ‘Oliver dared to launch the initial attack against a high ranking sorcerer’.
Of course, battling wasn’t an easy path. Her staff was stronger than steel, her physical strength and reactive speed, in countering the sudden sword attack, were much more advanced than that of a skilled knight. The power has certainly come from the innate talent, supported by sorcery and mana.
Keeanng! Kkang! Keeaanng!
Helene retreated from Oliver’s continuous, changing attacks. Instantly distancing herself from Oliver, she summoned magic immediately.
Six huge, fiery balls of bullets came, flying into Oliver’s direction. For an ordinary knight, it would have been impossible to dodge such a high level of multi-shooting magic, as Helene showed an aura of confidence in her face.
“Time to die.”
However, her wishful thinking wasn’t to be. Who was Oliver? He was, after all, the ‘swordsman with the skill to cut through fire’, which even Ian, often used to tell in his earnest astonishments that that was a skill that only existed in mythical stories.
A gigantic fireball was sliced into two halves and diagonally broke apart. It was like as if a passage has been opened through the walls of fire that was surrounding Oliver. Oliver dashed out of the fire through the opening and fiercely reengaged.
“Cut, cut through fire?”
It was the sword skill that even Ian was astonished about. Forgetting what’s happening, Helene murmured. But, she could not remain in shock for very long. Strengthened by mana, Oliver’s every bit of muscles, veins and joints created movements that are faster and stronger than many ferocious beasts.
Sorcerer must maintain distance at all times. Of course it wasn’t an easy task. Applying a few spells could create the needed distance even when a knight encroaches with all his might. That was the biggest difference between a sorcerer and a knight. However, this advantage did not work on Oliver at all.
Sheekang! Kiang! Kang!
It was fast.
It was very, very fast.
He was even more agile than when he had sparred with Ian last. No matter how a sorcerer tried to create the distance, he was already anticipating, be it ten or hundred paces, at every turn.
Oliver has never, even once, neglected his training. It was such that the resulting product of god given talent and god given efforts could only be dared to be called ‘Oliver Raywood’.
Seeing her-self being pushed back, Helene grew unrest. A sorcerer’s ego could not take, being pushed back by a knight, with a stride. Irrespective of being dominated by black magic, her innate ego remained as when she was first born.
“How dare a Halfling!”
‘Halfling’ is a derogatory name that refers to those who were born with one of either mana heart or mana brain. Although it was quite an insulting name calling, Oliver did not even blink an eye. Rather, he replied calmly.
Helene, on the other hand, became angry over a simple remark. Her two fists were engulfed in fire. Then two, gigantic ‘fire fists’ appeared over her shoulders. It was a familiar magic to Oliver.
‘It was the same magic as Ian’s, the burning punch.’
It was the same frequently encountered ‘burning punch’ magic over the 5 years of sparring with Ian. Although they were smaller in sizes and in numbers compared to Ian’s, the format itself was the same. Perhaps, the method of attacking would be the same as well.
‘Of course, even the short, effective duration time would be the same.’
An ordinary knight would have been taken aback. Maybe, the Oliver of 5 years ago would have been flustered as well. He faced a pair of overwhelming, blazing fists. In fact, they were even fast and accurate.
‘Dodging is all that’s needed.’
But, Oliver did not have any problems. All that he had to do was, dodge. As the effective duration of the magic will be short lived and it will fade away. If he doesn’t become overwhelmed by the gigantic fist sizes, it would be surprisingly an easy task.
“You, you shall not die a peaceful death.”
“Is that right? But, I will take you alive for sure.”
“I have to interrogate you to find out who is behind you.”
Grinding her teeth, Helene wildly swung her blazing fists. With each swing, the ground exploded and the temperature rose. Although he had dodged perfectly, the ends of his garments became blackened.
“You little rat!”
It was Oliver, who has been dodging those blazing fists in irregular circular fashion.
As if he had changed his strategy, Oliver launched a full frontal attack. Was it a bad decision as he has presented a perfect target for Helene’s blazing counter punch?
Helene’s screeching was filled with blood and mocking laughter. However, she did not realize it. It was Oliver, who was the better expert, of the two of them, of the ‘burning punch’.
The two blazing fists that had neared Oliver’s face had simply puffed away in all directions. It was because the effective duration time has expired.
But, Helene did not recognize that subtle expiration timing as she saw it very differently. To her, it was as if Oliver had pierced through the fireball with his own abilities.
Helene hurriedly continued with mana barrier.
Oliver’s sword touched on that surface. It was in a nick of time. If she had failed to create the protective shield, one of her shoulders would have been cut off. She could not anticipate Oliver to penetrate through the fireballs.
A streak of sweat fell down Helene’s cheek. But, it was manageable. There was ‘mana barrier’ to a sorcerer. The ‘mana barrier’ could never be penetrated by brute force and swords. Helene had always been very reluctant to use the protective shield spell, but she was given no other choice this time.
“There. That’s right. A Halfling like you will never come close no matter how hard you tried…..”
He was not an ordinary knight.
He was much stronger than anticipated.
Even Helene recognized Oliver as such.
However, with this barrier, she will always be safe.
She just needed to find the right opportune time and fight again.
Oliver probably knew that too.
It was definitely so.
“Good. Finally, we can really get started.”
Captain Oliver became even more serene.
He spoke as he was fixing his grip on the sword.
“I wanted to show it off when the day came to battle the duke Ian.”
Helene could not understand Oliver’s words. This was the ‘mana barrier’. Swords were nothing and even mobilizing catapults would not even make a dent against it. But then do what? A mere swordsman is going to do what?
“Practicing in advance is not a bad thing either.”
Oliver cut his own hand with the sword.
It was a much deeper cut than thought.
Obviously, there was dark, red blood stain on the sword.
Was it just a stain? Rather, the blood poured out.
So the blades of the sword would become soaking wet.
“We have no ability to extricate mana as Halflings as you’ve spoken of.”
Subduing voice of Oliver was resonating.
He held his sword with the wounded hand.
The crimson colored blood continued to streak down his sword.
Wet with Oliver’s crimson red blood, his artifact sword, ‘Mundile’ vibrated slightly. It was exactly the same affect that occurs when mana is injected.
“It was possible briefly.”
Mana is an energy that circulates within the blood stream. That energy persists even after the blood is extricated from the body. It will evaporate soon, but as Oliver has expressed, it remains there very briefly.
Thuud, thuud, thuud, thuud -!
The vibration on the artifact sword, ‘Mundile’, has become stronger. On top of that, the entire length of the sword surged with the natural blue light of the mana. Even at this moment, the replenishment effect of the mana energy from the streaking blood was occurring.
“Let me show you.”
The white blades have now overwhelmingly been covered with blue light.
Rather, it was on fire with mana’s blue light.
“With all of a Halfling’s might.”
Oliver’s sword was raised vertically.
That sword has firmly pierced through.
At the mana barrier that Helene had created.
Towards that strong protective shield, it came.
Even the sound differed.
And an amazing thing happened.
The knights’ eyes that were witnessing it all,
Those eyes were opened wide as if to explode in astonishment.
Helene felt the same as well. Rather, it was beyond feeling the same. The ‘sword’ has sliced through the ‘mana barrier’. A mere iron has sliced up the protective shield as if it was just a piece of paper. Was that all? It even sliced through Helene’s arm. Thick blood splashed all over. As the knights were in wonderment, Helene felt extreme pain and felt the loss of the all sensibility.
“No, No way…..”
Startled, Helene began to retreat. She summoned every bit of energy to escape. However, Oliver’s attack and the sword were much faster than she was. There wasn’t even a moment to think straight.
A large piece of Helene’s robe got sliced off.
If it had been any deeper, her thigh would have been cut off.
It was, yet, another part of her robe.
If it had been any deeper, it would have been her wrist.
Beads of Helene’s blood spread out into the air.
The back of her hand has been slightly cut.
It was much bigger this time.
One of her fingers went flying off.
One of her fingers that was as white as white jade.
Helene let out screams. The right thumb and the tip of her middle finger were cut off. However, she could not stop moving. With the ‘sword’, burning in blue light, drenching in blood, Oliver’s aggressive attack appeared to Helene as a ‘ghost wielding a sword’.
“Stay, stay away!”
Helene was under the influence of black magic. Although the spell’s strength has been eased as she was able to speak and display her natural personality, her movements and thought processes were still being dominated by it. Yet, she felt it, the fear towards Oliver, shrieking sounds of terror.
Eventually, Oliver’s movements overtook that of Helene’s.
She became vulnerable as her side was exposed.
Helene’s movements became dull.
The arm, fingers, now her side were injured.
Intolerable pain swept over her.
Even her breathing has become strained.
There was a moment of letting down of her guard.
A single streak of lightning sword sliced through Helene.
To be more precise, it went through her neck.
Helene could not even let out a scream.
The vision of her head, being decapitated,
Like a fountain, she saw crimson blood shooting up,
She had truly felt such a disastrous event.
But, that was only an illusion.
Her head has not been severed.
There was only a thin mark on the neck.
Helene examined her neck, with her shaking hand. It was still intact, but no sound would come out of her vocal cord. There wasn’t anything that she could do. Shivering her eyes, she could only look up at Oliver.
“Have I not told you?”
Helene has become totally impotent to battle.
Oliver withdrew his sword after seeing that.
Then he recited in a quiet voice.
“That I will take you alive for sure.”
Will interrogate to find out who was behind her.
But, he didn’t necessarily have to say that.
“Allowing death is the final form of mercy.”
“Do, do try! What does that….?”
“Why are you acting so dumb? Did you really think that I would come unprepared? You’ve already have past experiences.”
Fairy Queen was even surer.
Oliver, on the side of the crowned prince, was believable. It would have been also true even if a high level 4th class sorcerer had come. Even if two of them had come, they could have been defeated. That’s how Ian had scripted the situation. ‘Oliver Raywood’ was the unique genius, and of course, the unique ‘grinder’.
‘He was definitely the first swordsman of the continent.’
Not just an empire, rather a continent.
That’s how Ian had scripted Oliver.
He will only get stronger going forward.
“No matter how one prepares, it would not be possible to defeat a sorcerer…..”
“Fairy Queen’s Dust.”
Ian had cut off the murmurings of the tower lord, at once. He spoke as he slowly shook the pouch that held the fairy queen’s dust.
“How do you think this came into my possession?”
Fairy is a very strong ‘fortune of gods’. There definitely existed such recordings at the Ivory Tower as well. If one was the tower lord, he would have certainly read every bit of it.
“The negotiation has ended. There is nothing to gain.”
Ian’s stern voice continued.
“You will most likely be put on trial. For such offenses, death penalty is certainly written on the wall. I will make sure that’s what will happen. I will be glad to accept the Ivory Tower that you’ve worked so hard, putting blood and sweat for many decades, to cultivate.”
As if about to devour, the tower lord fiercely stared at Ian.
That was all that he could do.
What else could he do?
There was no more mana, no more black magic.
“Ah and…. Since you’ve played dumb already, I’d ask that you be a real dummy. That will make my future work easier, I reckon.”
Understanding the true meaning behind it, the tower lord retreated back slowly.
Rather, he ‘crawled’ should be the better description.
“Wait! Please, Stop! There is a better way……”
“I will just limit it to excessive side effects.”
There was no more talking. Realizing the situation, Herbert, the tower lord, made the final move with recovered mana.
“In fact, I didn’t mean to take it this far.”
Finally, Ian’s hands reached the tower lord.
To be precise, he snatched his head with both hands.
He wanted to directly get to the brain.
Of course, the tool was ‘mana’.
Mana began to be injected in huge quantities. Jerking roughly, the mana began to heave the tower lord’s brain. Feeling such pain for the first time in his life, the tower lord let out deafening screams.
“As the tower lord, it is appropriate to raise authority of the Ivory Tower. Supporting the 5th prince, Ragnar, rather than the crowned prince, is understandable. Having hoarded such wealth? A man could do that. But bringing my family into this was the worst mistake that you have committed.”
Ian remained cool even in the face of such terrible screams.
“Doesn’t the king’s wrath exist in everyone?”