38 – Great Duel (3)
With a violent sound, another knight fell to the ground. This was already 4 wins in a row. Physis’ winning streak continued without knowing the end.
No matter what he heard from her, he beat the female knight with a rather ferocious expression and defeated Aiden’s great warriors one after another even more fiercely than before.
The family members around me were enthusiastic about Physis’ winning streak and cheered his name.
So did I. It was true that I was anxious about the dream I had recently and the image I had seen of him in the past.
However, this was not a situation and a time to show such anxiety.
I wasn’t foolish enough to be afraid of him saying that he was scary even in the great duel, where life was on the stack.
'Yes. Don’t be afraid to ask him directly.'
I decided to ask him what thoughts he had when he changed his attitude, it was better than struggling alone like this.
So now, it was time to cheer him who was risking his life in the duel.
“You can do it! Physis!”
I cheered for him with all my might, and even the knights who usually looked down on him began to cheer for his winning streak.
And on given breaks. He returned to the camp of Rodenov.
Perhaps he couldn’t hear the cheers of the people of Rodenov who were calling Physis’ name over and over again, so he was looking towards Aiden with sharp eyes.
Apparently, Physis was thinking about Aiden’s final battle that was to come next.
When I thought about Aiden’s final battle, I couldn’t help but be nervous.
Because it was with Edith Douglas... The winner of the National Day martial arts competition, the same Edith, whom Physis said was strong.
* * *
“Can you win?”
Dillard’s expression was half-dead as he spoke to Edith. He asked Edith with a resigned face.
“It's probably difficult.”
Edith flatly admitted.
'Impossible. We couldn’t win!'
The more Physis went through the duel, the more he grew. The growth rate made Edith wonder if Physis was really human.
“Also… …about that-”
“-No… … He is a monster. Even if I do that, I probably won’t last long. Even if I get lucky and beat him, Sir Lucas Wintes is standing behind him.”
“… …The Winter Knight.”
“How could you not be?”
“I have no intention of sitting down and giving up, but the situation is pessimistic. Please prepare your mind in advance.”
Dillard smiled dejectedly. There was no hope.
Even before the great duel started, he didn’t know it would be like this. How could he have expected the fact that Physis Ortaire will appear as a great warrior-
'Ortaire’s mad dog.'
-Because this was in itself a term used to refer to the Physis Ortaire.
Dillard had laughed enthusiastically at the news that such a man had become Rodenov's warrior.
Physis Ortaire was a new knight who became a knight by winning the jousting tournament. And jousting was a tournament that does not use mana. He didn’t think Physis was strong because it was a tournament where even a knight who couldn’t handle mana could win.
Catch a monster in the hunting tournament? And Wiing the jousting tournament? They were obviously great achievements, but the skill of a knight in a duel was not determined by such things.
A strong body and mana that can crush opponents, as well as sharp skills… … That was the standard for judging a person’s strength.
Rumors were circulating that he wasn’t even training properly, so Dillard wondered if Johannes was crazy.
But… …That mad dog performed unbelievably great and defeated four skilled knights in a row.
The four knights Edith Douglas brought were obviously unusual even to his own eyes. Enough to keep up with the Rodenov knights cheering for Physis over there.
But they collapsed in the snow field without much resistance.
He might have some hope for Edith Douglas, but Dillard realized that was futile.
Let’s say that Edith defeats Physis, and then defeats the other three knights to turn the game around...
But Lucas Wintes still remained.
The strongest knight in Rodenov, who will soon take the throne of the Swordmaster.
It was true that Edith won the National Day martial arts competition and was a knight with superior skills, but even so, he will lose to Lucas.
With no chance of victory in sight, Dillard, whose vision began to blur, closed his eyes.
* * *
After unarming, In front of me, I saw Edith Douglas standing firm.
The great duel had already completely moved over to Rodenov. No matter how hard Edith will try, he will not be able to overturn this fixed game.
Still, he did not abstain. As if he was aiming for something, he was staring at me intently.
The man’s gaze was not pleasant.
Thinking about it, I remembered what a female knight named Eileen had said earlier, who was badly beaten by me for making fun with her mouth.
‘There’s another person who hired us.’
As expected, I felt some doubt when I heard that five talented knights had suddenly come to Aiden to become great warriors…
'…Something must have been up.'
Perhaps the person who hired them asked to help Aiden, and also asked them to find out something along the way. He might have been asked to gather information, or he might have been tasked with stealing property from Aiden.
There was no way to know at this stage what the plan was, but… … There was nothing wrong with being aware that they were plotting something.
Edith seemed to have grown more than I had seen in the martial arts competition, and he was radiating considerable momentum. He was probably strong enough to be incomparable to the four knights I had dealt with before.
He silently lowered his helmet and took a stance with the longsword slung on his back.
In the same way, I lowered my face shield, put on my gauntlets, and took a stance.
For a while, we carefully examined each other.
Finally, the imperial overseer gave the order to announce the start of the duel.
In the moment of conflict, the mana-bearing longsword and gauntlet met, and an explosion scattered around.
With just that impact, all the eyes around us were surprised, revealing the unsightly appearance of the frozen ground.
Without any spirits or provocations towards each other, Edith and I just swung our fists and swords at each other.
Edith’s longsword passed my ear, and my fist passed his nose.
As soon as the first clash was over, he seemed to have judged that maintaining the distance was favorable, and with a miraculous movement, he escaped the range of my punches and dodged them.
I also quickly judged the direction of his sword strike, and then pushed myself into the blind spot of his sword skill to avoid it.
Just as Edith’s attacks did not reach me, my attacks did not reach Edith either.
Unlike the previous four knights, he didn’t give me space after the first clash, and because of that, I was in a position where I had to use a little more stamina to chase him.
The subtle difference was bigger than I thought. Since I had already exhausted my stamina, I couldn’t be free from the overlapping stamina consumption.
Edith, as if not aware of that, didn’t respond to my punch and continued to choose to evade. He seemed to wait until I was exhausted.
But… … I had no intention of playing around with that guy’s will.
I stopped chasing him, repositioned myself, and watched his every move.
So that I could respond to whatever he does.
Perhaps he realized that I wasn’t playing the way he wanted, so unlike before, when he was just avoiding me, he started pushing me in reverse.
He seemed to have decided that there was no point in dragging out any more time.
Intense yet complex sword strikes began pouring down on me.
If a normal knight saw it, his eyes would be dazzled at once and Edith's sword would pierce his heart.
By simply looking at the swordsmanship, I could tell at a glance how much Edith had put in to learn this swordsmanship.
Also, if one looked at the strong power that resided in each sword attack, it seemed that he did not neglect the basic skills because he was immersed in flashy moves.
But… … His swordsmanship didn't give him an edge against me.
For my eyes which were unaffected by any dazzle. It was not a very big advantage.
Gradually the world slowed down, and every path his sword strikes took began to engrave in my eyes.
And I started to see the way I should go.
At that moment when the direction of the sword was twisted and the tip of the sword withdrew for a moment, I took a step and dug into his arms at the fastest speed I could.
As always, the most powerful blow was the simplest one.
I amplified the mana contained in the gauntlet and put the rotation of my toes and waist on my fist.
Then, with the biggest blow I could create at the moment, I hit him right into the pit of his stomach.
With a roar that was incomparable to any noise heard today, the surrounding ground was completely shattered and exploded, and his body was slammed into the middle of Aiden’s camp in a terrible shape.