Tl Note: Note that the Elks Clan is written as Soar to Freedom or Flight to Freedom.
Volume 3: Chapter 180 – Soar to Freedom (Elks Clan) (2/3)
“Ahaha! This is good! There’s so many to pick from!”
Laughter sounded as blood spurted about. Each time Vine swung her sword, screams would sound and corpses would rise.
“…Clan leader, your bad habit is showing.”
The gnome warrior, Berk, frowned, but he continued to support Vine from afar, shooting down the foes that entered Vine’s blind spot with his magic.
The sharpened rocks were difficult to dodge in the dark of the night, but worse than that was the fact that even if one did manage to dodge them, the only thing waiting for them was Vine’s evil blade.
All that the eye could see, all that the blade could reach, all were dragged into the depths of the abyss by the evil blade of the Red Moon’s clan leader.
“Die! Die! Die! Ahahaha!”
“The clan leader’s opened a path. Now, go!”
At Berk’s behest, Pale ran straight ahead.
“Shurei, Rue, cover me.”
Pale used her senses to find her foes within the dark of the night and shot at them with her small bow. With every arrow nocked, screams would resound. This was the skill of the sylph that surpassed even the precision of Berk’s rock bullets.
While Vine was happily cutting one person down after another, something managed to stop her, causing her to cry out in displeasure. As sparks flashed in the dark of the night, it became apparent that the one who stopped her was none other than the eastern swordsman who had named himself Shunrai.
“You look like you’re having fun. How about partnering with me?”
“Don’t put on airs around me! I’ll tear you into pieces!”
Vine shook off the flesh bits and blood clinging to her blade, then she sheathed it, smiled fiercely, and rushed up to the eastern swordsman.
In response, Shunrai slightly inclined his scimitar over his shoulders and lowered his gravity, allowing him to move anytime he wished.
For a moment, there was silence between them.
But it was only for a moment.
And in the next moment, Shunrai and Vine cried out, sparks erupting as their blades crossed. When they saw that they failed to kill their foe, they swung their swords once more.
Vine’s evil blade grazed Shunrai’s nose, while Shunrai’s scimitar cut several strands of Vine’s long black hair.
Vine was shorter compared to Shunrai, so she aimed for his feet, but Shunrai didn’t show any intention of defending his feet as he took a step in and prepared to cut down Vine from above.
Vine clicked her tongue as she sensed death, then she brought back her sword and – relying on her instincts – jumped to the side to avoid the descending blade.
In response, Shunrai swept with his sword, releasing an attack that was akin to a powerful wind. If that were to hit, Vine’s head would surely burst like a pomegranate, but as revenge for earlier, Vine jumped over his head instead.
In a contest of swords, one stakes his life in a moment. Sword technique, strength, vision, guts, speed… Even if one’s opponent surpasses oneself on all accounts, one must never doubt his sword, for to do so, is to accept defeat.
Which is why these two warriors have been keeping a firm hold on their spirit while focusing on the battle.
When Shunrai’s muffler was cut, the fierce smile hidden behind was finally revealed.
“What are you smiling for!?”
Veins bulged on Vine’s temples as she took a step forward, then as she unsheathed her blade, she sent an attack toward the eastern swordsman. It was a blood curling sight when her graceful features were covered in blood and twisted in that ghastly expression.
Shunrai received her attack directly with his own scimitar and laughed.
“Good, good! Give me more! Hee hee.”
As fury burned within Vine’s eyes, she pushed back the scimitar with all of her strength, and when a big enough gap was made, she swept with her sword to claim Shunrai’s neck. But as Shunrai pulled back, the smile on his face did not vanish, and as he opened his eyes wide in excitement, he mimicked Vine.
Vine clicked her tongue upon seeing Shunrai’s eccentric behavior, and she sheathed her curved sword once more.
“I’ll kill you.” Vine spat.
“Kill me? Saying stuff like that repeatedly only makes you look weak, little girl.” Shunrai spat back.
Vine had always had a short fuse, so it comes to no surprise that when she heard those words, she immediately lost all constraint. She smiled a sublime smile, but her eyes weren’t laughing. Instead they emitted a powerful killing intent as she eyed the enemy before her.
As soon as that word was spoken, Pale ran past Vine, and Vine approached Shunrai to keep him from chasing after Pale, but Shunrai didn’t even glance at Pale and instead focused on Vine.
It was such a perfect decision that Vine couldn’t help but click her tongue. Vine had originally intended to take his head if he tried to go after Pale or showed even a little hesitation, but alas…
Shunrai knew that Pale only wanted to go where Ryutanu was. But as far as he was concerned, the living was more interesting than someone about to die, so he instinctively moved for Vine.
In the dark of the night, the battle of the crazed warriors was yet to end.
Pale couldn’t hear anything anymore as she ran. Not the battle occurring nearby nor the enemies nor her allies, nothing. The only thing she could focus on was her old friend, whom she embraced despite his bloodied body. Beside her was Ryutanu’s aide, the little girl that was hiding in the shed, looking like she was about to cry.
As Ryutanu faintly opened his eyes and breathed weakly, Pale swallowed her breath.
“… Tha…t’s… rea…lly… cru..el… Wh, y?”
Ryutanu’s eyes were filled with tears as he looked up at Pale.
Pale thought he was blaming her, so she never stopped apologizing as she embraced him.
“I’m, sorry. If, I hadn’t left for the forest…. you, I…”
Ryutanu shook his head. Just speaking alone was already difficult for him and his arms couldn’t move well, but despite that, he still desperately tried to wipe away the tears on Pale’s eyes.
“It’s alright. It’ll be alright… That’s why, Ryutanu!”
Even just breathing was difficult. Ryutanu’s voice was already powerless.
“Yes! Elder Brother!”
Sophia wiped away her tears and held Ryutanu’s hands.
“Dism…iss… Elks… Live… as you… please…”
“No, no, elder brother! We will… always…”
“Princ…ess… Please… take… care… of… these…”
Ryutanu couldn’t even finish that last sentence.
“No, you’re joking, right? Ryutanu… Ryutanu!”
Pale openly cried while Sophia quietly cried. Shurei and Rue were protecting them, but that wouldn’t last forever. Rue did not have the power to resurrect the dead and Shurei was outside of his area of expertise.
But the ones most annoyed by this odd turn of events was the assassins surrounding them.
While the swordsman from the Red King Clan and the black-haired woman were fighting, they were done in by some women and children. That fact greatly hurt their clan’s pride, a clan that had crushed the Elks Clan.
“How long are you planning to let these women and children run over you!?”
Openly furious, the assassin ordered his members to attack Pale and the remnants of the Elks Clan. Shurei readied to defend Pale and Sophia, while Berk attacked the Dagger of Webrus from afar.
It was frustrating being hit with those rock bullets in the middle of the forest, so the assassins clicked their tongues and went after the source of the rocks.
A closer look would reveal that the rocks had been shooting from the same place all this time.
Several people had been done in as they closed in, but Berk figured Shurei would probably be able to handle them so long as they blocked the rocks.
Having decided that, Berk decided to make his appearance.
“I’ll make you regret for making an enemy out of Webrus’ Dagger,” the assassin declared, thinking Berk was hiding deep inside the forest.
But then a voice suddenly replied.
“I wonder,” it said.
The assassin turned around in shock, and lo and behold, the gnome warrior was right there behind him.
“Why, are you… How did you get here!? You were over there!”
“Hmm… You mean this?”
As the rock bullet floated in the air, it flew to one direction, then it drew a curve and shot out from the same location as before, blowing away another assassin from Webrus’ Dagger’s ranks.
“It’s a game we play back in my hometown. Looks like it was pretty useful this time around.”
The assassin jumped back in a panic, but Berk didn’t allow him to, and before he could, his body was cut in half.
“Hmm… What are you supposed to say at a time like this again?”
Berk leisurely thought himself like that as he took a breather.
“Berk Alsen has taken the enemy general’s head!!”
When that voice resounded throughout the forest, the members of Webrus’ Dagger cried and scattered about like frightened baby spiders.
 Battle cries. Doesn’t really mean anything.