Author’s note: Next chapter tomorrow, this one drained me.
If one came to the Vilen Town for a light show, their desire would certainly be fulfilled. Hundreds of white light pillars blotted out the sky of Vilen Town. Chubby priest in the church offered some words of encouragement to the miserable individuals. However, there were too many for him to attend to.
While most of the combat classes despaired over their unfortune situation, artisans had the time of their lives. Every death meant that the equipment the deceased wore deteriorated faster. Thus, they needed repairs! Every constantly dying person was viewed as a potential customer. Although sweat trickled down the artisans’ foreheads, they joyfully completed their tasks. After all, there might not be another chance for them to be this sought after.
In front of the eastern gate the largest battle was taking place right at this very moment. Sabers, swords, spears, hammers and shields clashed against each other. Arrows flew from one side to the other, hitting the wrong target more often than not. But no one had the time to reflect on their insignificant misfire. Bowstrings hummed as the Archers let out constant volleys of arrows.
Lizardmen were bombarded by magic spells left and right. Unfortunately, in such a grand battle, collateral damage was unavoidable. Many players killed their own kin. In fact, the battlefield was so chaotic that some inexperienced players slashed all around them, hurting or even killing a friendly player in the process. [Sense presence] was an almost non-existent skill at the beginning of the game after all. Only those who truly looked for it could find it. That’s why Zunix and the other leaders quickly eliminated those eyesores, letting them reflect on their actions in the church.
Rhukka wreaked havoc in the middle of the eastern gate battlefield. His constant roars energized other green lizardmen, making their morale soar. Green reptiles charged in like enraged bulls, making their way through the players as if they were trampling ants.
The level advantage itself didn’t pose that much of a problem, but the health difference was like a giant chasm dividing the two forces. Once three lizardmen huddled together to attack one player, that player’s fate was decided. Those quick on their feet dodged, while those less agile were skewered like shish kebab.
Tanks like Warriors and Paladins had it easier, but they were too scarce to take the aggro of every single lizardman. Besides, the original formation of the lizardmen was gone, the reptile beasts were hacking players left and right. To some, like Rogues, this was an advantagous move. They could utilize the hit and run tactic. However, to stationary Mages, this chaotic development was a nightmare.
Santi, Tiana and Puyo looked for a way to focus Rhukka, but he was surrounded by his kin, killing players left and right. They couldn’t close in on that many reptiles, no matter how skilled they were. All they could do was slowly grind the numbers of the lizards down, hoping for the best. Dying was not an option as they would lose experience, possibly their equipment as well. Thus, they decided to play it safe.
While most of the Mages complained about the little Defense they had, how immobile or how costly their movement techniques were, Vilenne’s students attacked the weakened lizardman in a circle. The casualties at the western gate were the largest. The only advantage this side had was that there was no lizardman leader nearby.
As the battle raged on the western side had an unexpected development. Rogue players appeared out of nowhere, backstabbing the fortified archers! With the firepower at the top of the western mountain lessening, Mages and Archers had easier time coping with the huge numbers of the lizardmen. Most of Vilenne’s students managed to score a kill after making a deal with the Rogues. Apparently, their guild was located somewhere in the forest and their mysterious leader told them to wait for an opportune moment. This gamble had paid off really well so far!
Loss of the elite archers didn’t really hurt the lizardmen too much though. They were very mobile creatures. Coupled with their spear range, the underleveled players where impaled one by one.
As such, the war of attrition continued.
Meanwhile, at the Vilen Town’s plaza, Adian and Magent vigorously exchanged blows. The two majorily different figures stood on opposite sides. One of them was a youth with short brown hair, the other was the black haired mercenary with a rocking moustache. Both of them seemed to have the time of their lives.
Tremors ran through the plaza. The white marble tiles cracked and shattered as Adian and Magent clashed.
“Heh, you’ve got some skill, kiddo.” Magent guffawed.
“You’re not that bad either.” Adian smiled wryly.
“Hahaha! Good! That’s how one should live when he’s young!” Magent nodded appreciatively. “Warm-up’s over, get ready!”
Magent’s foot stepped on the ground heavily, after which he seemed to teleport right in front of Adian.
Holding the longsword in both hands, Magent’s whole figure turned blurry. To the audience around, he seemed to completely disappear.
Adian’s brows furrowed as he recognized the move. He reverse gripped the two axes, his eyes closely following Magent’s high speed movements.
Magent appeared at Adian’s side like a ghost, throwing three consecutive sword stabs in oblique angles. The light around his longsword distorted, making the already hard to see through movements even more enigmatic.
Adian’s hands twirled in the air like the Buddha’s, creating whirling air currents.
Cling! Clang! Clang!
“Ah!” one of the townswomen unwittingly screamed, seeing the rippling magic barrier.
Magent’s expression turned serious. He didn’t expect the youth to actually counter his move so perfectly. Such a proficient counter must have been practiced diligently. Magent retreated by a few steps and glanced at Cus.
“Haha, Cus, you old fool, you actually taught your brat how to counter [Phantom Steps]?” Magent stroke his black moustache.
Everyone’s gaze turned to Cus. The move Adian had used just now seemed to be esoteric. None of the guards knew it, even Marcus Vilen’s stealthed operatives didn’t recognize it.
“You should exert some effort, Magent, otherwise you’ll be beaten by a greenhorn.” Cus roared with laughter. However, as soon as Magent turned his eyes away from him, Cus’s expression turned pensive. “That brat must have learned it during his travels! Like hell I know such a powerful skill!” Cus thought.
“Heheheh! Very well!” Magent turned to his subordinates and nodded. The gathered mercenaries’ faces immediately turned pale white. However, they didn’t dare to dawdle and immediately spread around the plaza, preparing to use their auras to defend civilians if necessary. This move could significantly boost the Mercenary Guild’s prestige if anything bad were to happen.
“Strenghten the barrier, it’s high time I’ve had some fun.” Magent licked his lips, sheathing the longsword. Out of the other scabbard, he pulled out another weapon.
A 82cm long curved blade covered in a greenish-black sheen distorted the sun rays. Its handle was covered in brown leather, but faint gold could be seen shining through the gaps.
“Oh? You actually brought out your scimitar, Magent?” Cus stroked his brown beard.
Magent flashed a grin and said somewhat joyously “You had better prepare kiddo.”
Magent’s speed was so high an afterimage was left behind him. He appeared in front of Adian and brought his scimitar down with unbridled momentum.
Adian crossed his two axes, blocking the greenish-black scimitar with difficulty. The sheer force behind the blade was something he had trouble withstanding head on. Even though Adian often bragged about his strength, a powerful expert coupled with a formidable weapon was too much to bear. The white marble tiles under Adian’s soles cracked, the ones he stood on were ground to dust under the tremendous pressure.
“Impressive. You can actually withstand one of my blows.” Magent’s grin widened. He quickly followed with a vertical slash and then a horizontal one.
Adian nimbly dodged and then tried to counter with one of his axes, making a wild overhead swing. However, Magent was no fool and quickly sidestepped. His figure standing sideways like a musketeer, Magent made a horizontal cut.
With only one hand left to defend, Adian didn’t dare to directly face the blow. He shifted his weight to the right leg and fiercely jumped sideways.
As Adian flew, his right hand’s axe came in contact with the scimitar. As Adian gained distance, the burden on his right arm lessened. If he didn’t quickly react, his right arm might have been broken.
“Shall we call it?” Magent asked blandly. He enjoyed himself, but he still couldn’t bring out his all against Adian. Mere couple attacks were insuficient to fulfill his battle thirst.
“Look at you, acting so arrogant. Since you revealed your real weapon, I guess it’s high time I’ve used mine.” Adian threw the two small axes to Cus, massaging his sore right arm a little. After alleviating the pain, Adian stretched, taking off a ring from his left hand. On top of the ring was a small rectangular beige metal. It blended with the skin color, almost unnoticeable. Adian moved his hand over the ring, as if trying to cast a spell on it.
A sudden flash of light blinded the audience. When the glaring light faded, they noticed that Adian held a long black halberd!
Adian caressed the black wooden shaft, patting the side of the white, shining metal at the top. If one listened carefully, they would hear the oscillating winds around the sharp edges of the halberd.
“You’re actually a halberd user?” Magent gaped with astonishment.
“I wanted to get a long ass two-handed giant war axe, but then those smartasses handed me this halberd. At first I was conflicted, but when I held it in my hand…heheh.” Adian scratched his head embarrassingly. His joyful expression betrayed his thoughts.
“Well then, let’s dance!” Adian smiled wryly and stepped off.
Magent’s pupils constricted. What he saw today exceeded his expectations. He started suspecting that the old fool Cus had amassed a mountain of wealth so that his son could be taught by a monster. Either that or Adian was simply a freak. He feared the second outcome.
Grabbing the leather covered handle tightly, Magent flashed, creating afterimages in his wake.
The ground trembled as the two made their moves. Deep foot imprints were left behind Adian, as if his feet were hot enough to reshape the white marble tiles.
Placing his foot in front of him, Adian stabbed out. Magent’s blurry figure dodged to the right, only to see the short haired youth flex his muscles and turned the stab into a horizontal cut.
“Shit!” Magent cursed. The incoming attack was too strong to block and too fast to deflect. He could only pray that his reflexes were fast enough! Shifting his weight, Magent leaned back on his heels!
The black loose trousers Magent wore were ripped through. White skin beneath them carried a trace of blood. The shallow wound was slightly bleeding.
“What the hell?” Magent’s instincts tingled. Something was seriously wrong. Magent watched with his own eyes as he dodged the sharp halberd blade by a hair’s breadth. Even if the energy behind the blow cut him, it shouldn’t be powerful to that extent.
Magent’s pants weren’t just for show. They were made of a really durable material, capable of withstanding the aftermath of an attack. But this time, not only were they sliced apart, Magent was even wounded! If not for his muscle memory and quick dodge, he might have even lost the duel right here and now!
“This brat must have a powerful inscription pattern drawn on the halberd!” Magent grit his teeth. The thought of Adian being able to afford such a pricey weapon made him curse! “What dog shit luck!”
As the audience stared in awe at the aftermath of the exchange, they couldn’t help but rub their eyes.
“I’m not dreaming, am I?” one of the mercenaries on the side muttered. His boss told him to secure the perimeter so that the civilians weren’t hurt, but wasn’t this a little too much? Just one strike was enough to wound their powerful leader?
“Heh, surprised? We’re just getting started. Warm-up is over, remember?” Adian grinned. Rising the halberd over his head, Adian stormed out!
Magent saw the overhead swing approaching and grinned inwardly. “What an idiot, this is so easy to dodge!” Sidestepping the blow, Magent unleashed his scimitar at Adian’s side.
However, Adian’s halberd that seemed to be unusable after such a heavy strike made a sudden horizontal move! Adian’s right hand was placed on his left elbow as his muscles flexed to vehemently change the trajectory of his weapon!
Piercing the wind with unbridled momentum, Adian’s halberd approached Magent’s right side. Now Magent was in a troublesome situation! His scimitar would definitely strike first, but if it did, there was no way he could have dodged the halberd! What’s more, although his scimitar would inflict heavy damage, it wasn’t enough to decide the fight. On the other hand, Adian’s strike could cut him in half!
Quickly shifting his gaze, Magent noticed that Adian’s eyes thirsted for battle. Only those who have treaded the path of life and death could manifest such a crazed expression! Those people were madmen who actually enjoyed living on the blade’s edge!
“Like father like son! Crazy fuckers!” Magent cursed, forcefully withdrawing. His life was worth way more than a mere duel with a brat. Even if he lost face, he could always do a meritorious deed to reclaim it.
After Magent got out of the way, Adian’s halberd’s trajectory slanted, hitting the ground.
The white marble tiles exploded, those directly under the halberd were cut into smithereens, the ones next to them hit the magic barrier all around, making it ripple like the sea in the storm.
“Wise move!” Adian grinned, leisurely picking up his halberd from the shattered ground. He negated the force behind the blow by bringing it down. Otherwise he would be wide open. Magent would have definitely seized the opportunity.
“I couldn’t use this weapon against the Fleeting Violet Direwolf since it was way faster than me. Even if I somehow hit it, with its monstrous physical resistance I probably wouldn’t inflict too much damage. I don’t know what that squirrel Icicle rescued ate to become so devastatingly strong.” Adian remembered Leila’s paw strike, smiling wryly. He quickly shook his head to dispel the thought. He had an opponent to face.
“Since that’s how you want to play, don’t blame me kiddo!” Magent’s aura soared and suddenly four vivid afterimages of him appeared!
“Darkness Aura Clones?” Cus looked on with mild surprise. “So that old prick Magent wasn’t just wasting time.”
While experts like Cus could easily see through the technique, Vilen Town’s civilians saw 5 Magents standing next to each other! According to their eyesight, the mercenary simply cloned!
Adian watched the aura clones circling around him. However, he did not make any move to stop it. With a mild smile, he asked “You ready yet?”
Magent’s expression turned dark. He rose his greenish-black scimitar overhead, channeling copious amount of mana into it. His clones followed his movements, as if they were one entity.
“Taste this! [Five-pronged strike!]” Magent cried out, his voice spreading everywhere. It was hard to tell which one was of the 5 figures the real Magent as they all sounded and felt the same.
As the scimitars whistled through the air, Adian was grinning from ear to ear. “Such a little deception. I’ll show you how MEN should fight.”
Oustretching his halberd before him, Adian started spinning!
As the air was cut apart, Adian’s mana powered halberd hummed! Fierce wind rose up next to him, quickly forming into a cyclone!
As Magent’s clones approached, they were dispersed with but a one strike! After all, although they had the same aura as Magent, they could do nothing more than act as a decoy and exert pressure on the target. The only one who truly posed danger was Magent himself!
Adian’s spinning caused his halberd to hum so loudly it roused the wind, making him turn into a genuine human cyclone! As soon as Magent approached Adian with his scimitar, he was hit by and overbearing strength of the halberd, making him fly!
The magic barrier set up by the mages rippled intensely as Magent’s body struck against it. He coughed up blood, his hands shivering. Magent looked on with utter fear as he lost control of his hands. Only after a while did the numb feeling he felt dispelled, making the shaking stop. The mercenary leader balled his fists and sighed in relief. He was fine.
As Magent sorely stood up, dusting his black clothes, Adian finally stopped spinning. He patted his chest proudly. This gesture infuriated Magent, while Cus’s roaring laughter resounded through the plaza. “That’s my boy!”
Vilen Town’s residents were so dumbofunded by the sudden developments that they turned numb. They didn’t even dare to think who would win and who would lose anymore.
Behind the plaza was a garden where apple trees swayed in the wind. Colorful flowers released their sweet fragrance, enchanting the atmosphere. A blond female with emerald green eyes sat under the tree, yawning. “Not bad for a youth.” she muttered, closing her eyes lazily.
Adian’s dark brown eyes blazed with joy. He gripped the halberd tightly. “So that’s what that old cheapskate was referring to. No wonder he made it seem like he was not repaying a favor but actually even making me owe him one! The inscription pattern he left… it wasn’t just a pattern, was it? It was your name! My halberd’s name… Windcaller!” at that moment, Adian made telepathic contact with his weapon, making it resonate!
An excited wind howl resonated through the area, making Adian laugh out loudly! His gaze turned to Magent’s sorry figure.
“It’s not over yet. Brace yourself boy!” Magent drawled out. Adian’s joyous expression incensed him. The aura around Magent exploded, turning into a greenish blur. Soon after, the green hue solidified into a shape of a Praying Mantis!
Nearby audience saw the aura and loudly gulped. Using one’s aura to battle was the strongest move the warrior could use. Mages often focused on the control of their mana, trying to reach perfection. Something like auras taking shape didn’t really interest them, as it drained mana too quickly. It simply wasn’t cost efficient.
On the other hand, Warriors trained their bodies all their lives. They were used to exhausting their energy, thus the energy drain wasn’t too taxing on them. That’s where their greatest advantage laid, they were resilient!
Adian guffawed. His expression was extremely joyful as he looked at the Windcaller, his new partner. Adian’s aura soared, its light grey color on the verge of turning transparent. What appeared behind him was… it was a Steel Eagle!
As the name suggests, Steel Eagle was one of the rare variants of an eagle. Not only was its defense absurdly strong, the Steel Eagle could even cut its enemies in half with its wings! Except for the mythical creatures, it was one of the strongest beings under the sky.
Marcus Vilen looked at Cus standing next to him. The latter’s face was all smiles. For a person who was always strict and almost never smiled, this was an extremely rare sight. As if sensing Marcus’s peculiar gaze, Cus guffawed “You see this, Marcus? Look at my boy, getting such a rare variant!”
Marcus’s eyes widened and he immediately understood. Cus’s family was known for having eagle type auras, but none of them had an eagle so rare. It seems Adian really lucked out during his travels.
As the two auras solidified, their might sent shockwaves through the ground, making the energy barrier ripple like it never has before!
“Strengthen the barrier!” Marcus immediately cried out.
Watching Magent’s grievous expression, Adian looked at his halberd, nodding from time to time. Magent’s aura soared once again as he prepared for the final showdown. His scimitar was brimming with green colored energy, creating an illusory sight of a peaceful valley filled with colorful flowers.
Opposite him stood Adian. His aura had fully solidified. The Steel Eagle let out an excited cry, winds were roused, forming into an image of a rocky cliffs assaulted by the fierce wind!
“I understand! This is something that belongs to you, and now, you’re letting me use it as your Master!” Adian whispered softly. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
While Adian’s eyes were still closed, Magent made his move!
A blurry greenish figure moved over in a breathtaking speed. The common folk only saw Magent suddenly disappear.
As Magent was 4m away from Adian, the latter’s eyes finally snapped open! “Windcaller’s Inherent Technique – [Soar]!” Adian recited in his heart. A violent shockwave appeared beneath his feet, carrying fierce wind with it. Nearby pebbles and previously shattered marble tiles flew in every direction, stabbing into the magic barrier with unbridled force!
As the wind blew gently among the raging storm, Adian disappeared from sight!
A fierce sound of the explosion let the audience know where the two figures clashed. Their eye movements were simply too slow to comprehend what had happened, but the violent shaking of the ground made them aware of the degree of explosive force used in the exchange.
“The barrier may not hold!” one of the Mages cried out, pushing his mana to the limit. As the cracks in the barrier appeared one after the other, a gentle breeze blew by, carrying with it a scent of flowers and rich soil. The previously transparent magic barrier changed color to yellow, turning firm and steady. No matter how strong the explosion was, it couldn’t cause even the tiniest ripple in the new barrier.
“Tch, two little kids are playing and yet those incompetent old fools can’t even contain them.” Cindy cutely snorted. “Can’t even get a wink of sleep because of them.”
“Haha, I’m sure the townsmen appreciate Guildmaster’s help.” Vilenne laughed at the side.
“Well, since you already came here on certain someone’s request, at least tell me how you’d fare if you were to fight the boy.” Cindy asked lazily.
“If I were to use everything I have, I’d roll over him with ease.” Vilenne smiled faintly.
“For someone who got rolled over by Icicle, you sure have a great deal of confidence, little brat~.” Cindy giggled like a little girl.
Hearing the words, Vilenne’s expression immediately darkened. A bluish-purple vein pulsated on her forehead as she balled her fists. Her entire being was shaking.
“Now, now, I’m just teasing you.” Cindy faintly smiled at Vilenne’s display of anger. Her gaze turned to the plaza “Seems like it has been decided.”
Silence reigned over the entire plaza. The gathered audience watched with bated breath as the dust slowly settled. Panting of the two figures could be clearly heard from within.
Magent coughed up a mouthful blood. His chest was now adorned by a diagonal cut. Fortunately, the wound was shallow. Adian on the other hand was catching his breath, propped on his black shafted halberd.
“It seems like Adian had won the strength duel, but he’s too exhausted to continue.” one of the watching guards mumbled out unwittingly.
Magent’s thought process was almost the same as the guard’s. Bearing the pain, Magent grabbed the scimitar tightly, swiftly approaching Adian.
With the curved blade’s quick approach, Adian’s right leg jolted!
“[Soar]!” Adian completed the technique with the fierce second step. A gust of wind pushed him right behind the madly rushing Magent.
Magent was an experienced person. The [Sense presence] let him easily pinpoint Adian’s location. His eye pupils quickly constricting, Magent turned, slashing his sword horizontally. “Too slow!” he uttered, calculating the time between the halberd’s and the scimitar’s arrival. He was certain his weapon would arrive first! As the victory was at hand…
Just when the words left Magent’s mouth, his entire being suddenly stilled. A cold halberd blade was firmly stuck to his throat.
“You lost.” Adian smiled faintly, retracting the leftover of the halberd. Just now, he had shortened it, making his attack arrive faster than Magent’s. He stored the halberd in its ring form.
Everyone in the audience let out a breath. Only now did they remember about the important process called air ventillation. They gazed at each other, letting out a wild, unbridled cheer!