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Volume 3: Chapter 170 – The Holy Knight, Gowen Ranid (1/2)
His breath was faint.
He had already exchange over 30 decisive blows with the enemy before him, each and every one of which only possible due to his training.
Gowen checked his body’s condition.
He was long past the peak of the human body. Back in his 20s or 30s, he would be able to move without running out of breath, but that was no longer true at his current age.
Like the hinge of a door that had not been maintained for may moons, his joints cried as the years sapped his strength away.
To make things worse, the wound from that Goblin King weakened him even further.
Though wrapped in bandages, his life was undoubtedly flowing out.
His only saving grace was that he could not feel the pain due to his extreme focus. Gowen himself believed that, though he did so with derision.
Be that as it may, Gowen wouldn’t dare boast he could beat the goblin before him easily even if he had his youthful body.
He’d already concluded earlier that simply having more stamina wouldn’t allow him victory over this swordsman.
Humans age with time.
There was no going against it. It was both the blessing of Jurana, the god of time, and a hateful curse.
With age, came weakness, loss, and yet also, more people to protect.
He had polished his shoddy swordsmanship to perfection, shaving off all the unnecessary movement. Even though he had only one technique to close in on his opponents, even though the sharpness of his sword technique was… No! It was more than than. The way be breathed, the way he walked, everything was something Gowen carefully trained across the years.
His position as a feudal lord, his fief, his fame.
All of that was – at this very moment – crumbling away.
And fitting enough, in the face of death, from whom Gowen could not flee, the holy knight returned to being a mere knight.
Gowen slowly lifted up his sword that he had been holding in a lowered stance all this time, and he wielded it in the middle stance.
He was no longer the feudal lord, who excelled in defense. At this moment, he was the expert martial artist, Gowen Ranid, and for the first time, he was going to fight offensively.
His strength drained, he faintly looked at the person standing before him. A big goblin holding a curved sword by his side.
Normally, he would not be able to see an opening from this goblin. But just a little, an opening the size of a needle could be seen from that intimidating pressure coming from the goblin.
Suddenly, a thrust.
Gowen’s right leg stepped out like one trying to stitch together a hole in the air. There was barely any resistance on the power coming from his legs. It passed smoothly from his knees to his hips, then to his back, and finally, his arms, as the strength of his whole body coursed into his thrust.
In that moment, Gowen seemed to vanish from Gi Go’s sights.
There was almost no preparatory movements when Gowen moved out. It was so precise and so natural…
Of course, the resulting thrust was all the more terrifying.
All hints of the pain that tortured the old knight vanished from his face as he drew out that one attack and caught Gi Go’s life.
But there was yet a thread connected to Gi Go’s life, a thread born from the goblin looking into the old knight’s eyes.
Gowen’s face was emotionless when he drew out that one attack, but in his eyes blazed the will to fight.
As soon as Gi Go saw those flames, the sword god within him cried out in alarm. And without even the moment to ponder how shoddy a move it would be, Gi Go intentionally allowed himself to fall to dodge. Immediately after, a streak of heat ran across the back of his neck.
Gi Go swung his curved sword before he could even feel the pain.
Unfortunately, however, Gowen was not done just yet. In fact, it seemed as if he was only just starting, for he retrieved his sword and quickly struck down Gi Go’s sword, then he thrust out again for the center of Gi Go’s body.
Gi Go jumped back, but Gowen’s thrusts did not stop.
When one attack would end, Gowen would close in on him. Whenever Gi Go was in midair, Gowen would take a step.
Gowen’s frightening perception allowed him to perfectly grasp where Gi Go would run to. He was so precise he almost seemed prescient.
Gi Go brushed Gowen’s thrust away, but Gowen just brought it back along the same course.
Blood spurted out as it cut Gi Go’s arm.
Rashka and Gi Zu Ruo groaned from a corner of the room as they watched Gi Go Amatsuki battle Gowen.
Gi Zu groaned because Gi Go was having a hard time, while Rashka groaned because he couldn’t fight.
“Damn it, I wanted to fight!”
Rashka did not bother to hide his displeasure.
“…Is he really human?” Gi Zu inadvertently said upon seeing how different Gowen was from the humans they have faced until now.
Gowen’s full power that has finally unleashed itself at the face of death was too great of a threat to the goblins.
“Lord Gi Go might hate us for this, but I think we should interfere…”
When Rashka heard Gi Zu say something so cowardly, he sneered.
“You sound just like those weak humans,” he said.
“What!?” Gi Zu flared up.
“Try that and that Gi Go will cut your head off the moment you enter the fray.”
Gi Zu was unhappy with Rashka’s remark, but with no words to refute his, he could only quietly watch the duel.
Gi Go’s body was already dyed in the color of his own blood, but his harsh movements came with a heat that seemed evaporate the blood off his skin.
If Gi Zu knew the word ‘heroic’, he would surely describe this sight as such.
Gi Go had already braved through several dangers in this duel, but despite that, he continued to smile. That was the smile of one completely entranced by the sword, a smile born from a zeal that was closer to madness than interest.
Gi Go was a goblin whose sole pursuit was greater heights in the way of the sword, while Gowen was a human who practiced his sword a stupid number of times. The two of them fought each other as if they couldn’t wait to be the first to die.
Two warriors, two different races, but they pursued one thing… The culmination of the sword, the apex! A realm none has ever seen nor touched.
Gowen read ahead with his inhuman perception to maximize his advantage, while Gi Go, understanding that goblins wouldn’t die from a little scratch, braced himself and stepped forward.
The enemy may cut his flesh, but in exchange, he would cut his bone. Gi Go crossed swords with Gowen with that resolve.
“They’re still not done?”
While the two swordsmen were battling, Gi Za Zakuend entered the room. He was the person in charge of leading the druids to pursue the humans.
“I can’t believe you can say something like that after seeing how intense their duel is,” Rashka said with a sneer, but Gi Za wasn’t affected in the slightest.
Gi Za replied with a face void of emotions. “Why aren’t you helping him kill him? We could avoid needless casualties if we could just hang his head on the gates. May I remind you that our forces aren’t so lax.”
“…Interfering would only expose Lord Gi Go to needless risk,” Gi Zu said as he kept his emotions in check.
Gi Za sneered. “Then let me tear that man to pieces with my wind.”
Gi Za took out his staff, but as soon as he did, Gi Go sensed what he was about to do, and he howled with a fury like that of raging fire.
“This duel is mine! Try and get in my way! I’ll cut you down! Just leave this man to me, I will definitely win!”
“But that’ll take too long. We may have already occupied the land around the castle, but there are still people resisting. If we could just get that man’s head and hang it, we could take away the little morale the enemy has left.” Gi Za spoke coldly without any emotions.
In contrast, Gi Go’s hands shook in anger as he wielded his curved sword. “…Don’t get in my way.”
Gi Go swung his curved sword and distanced himself from Gowen.
The very air tore as Gi Go swung his sword. From that, it was clear as day that Gi Go had resolved himself.
Now awoke from the intoxication of the sword, Gi Go stepped out to conclude the duel once and for all.
Suddenly, the enemy before him seemed bigger than before. Seeing that, Gowen narrowed his eyes.
“Planning to end it, I see.”
Gowen stood wary with his iron arm in front.
Gowen spoke to Yuan without turning to him. This young soldier had tried to secure a route in hopes of helping him escape.
“Lead the soldiers, protect the people! That is the way of us knights!”
Gi Go and Gowen stepped out at the same time. Seeing Gi Go’s large frame as he wielded his curved sword by his side, Gowen resolved himself to sacrifice one arm.
The blood he has lost throughout this duel was already nearing fatal levels. If there were one of those rare healers around, things might go differently, but with the western capital already at its last breath, such convenient things could only be dreamed of.
Because of that Gowen could not run from death.
What should he do then? He asked himself.
That was obvious. A goblin defeated was a goblin less. His predecessors fought with the same mindset, and it was because of that that humanity was able to cut open a path for those left behind.
Like this Gowen resolved himself. He would cut down this goblin, then he would cut down another… And then, he would die.
Gowen understood after fighting this goblin all this time that he possessed a power and a sword different from the others.
A normal sword could not cut through a goblin’s thick muscles. Much less when it was a goblin such as this who possessed a sword above his peers.
Because of that Gowen decided to receive his enemy’s blade with his iron-arm, then at point-blank range, he would let loose a killing move that could not be dodged.
Knowing that the goblin was about to put an end to the battle, Gowen sought to end it too… in his victory.
Their clash lasted for but an instant.
Gi Go swung his sword from below.
The moment his right arm was taken, Gowen knew he won, but…
Something unexpected happened.
Gi Go’s step was deeper than he’d expected, and as Gi Go slashed up from below, he carried with him some fragments from the floor. That small deviation broke Gowen’s stance.
If Gowen’s last move was a sure-kill thrust, then Gi Go’s last move was a sure-kill blow.
Gi Go took Gowen’s iron arm as he raised up stone fragments within a cloud of dust.
At this moment, Gowen, who was usually calm, suddenly let loose a passionate battle cry.
He forcefully tried to fix his posture and release that sure-kill thrust of his. Try as Gi Go might to hide himself behind a smokescreen, there was no way Gowen would miss with his unparalleled precision.
His aim was Gi Go’s throat.
Gi Go’s curved sword was moving up at a speed too fast too follow, but it was in that moment, that Gi Go took one more step and brought out his left hand.
Gowen had seen for himself the moment when Gi Go lopped off his right arm, so he thought he’d won, but when his thrust finally landed, it landed in Gi Go’s left arm. At that, his last attack could not reach Gi Go’s life.
The moment he thought he’d failed, a silver light flashed through his eyes.
Silence greeted him.
As a sound resounded, Gowen knew he had fallen to his knees.
Before him was his hateful enemy, a swordsman with a skill comparable to his, the strong warrior who overcame him.
Gowen hoped that the people who would follow after him would be able to surpass this moment.
“Farewell, proud and strong son of man.”
Gi Go’s curved sword flashed a silver light.
It was at that moment that the western feudal lord, one of the seven holy knights of the Germion Kingdom, Gowen Ranid’s, life came to an end.
Gi Go’s level has risen.
97 => 43
Class has changed due to the influence of the sword god.
Duke => Baron.
|Name||Gi Go Amatsuki|
|Class||Baron; Sword King|
|Possessed Skills||Sword Mastery S-; Purple Flash; Iron Decapitation; Sword Fiend; Acumen; Sense; Discern; A Master Swordsman's Proof; Silent Nature; Veteran; Man-Slayer|
|Divine Protection||Sword God|
|Abnormal Status||Sword God's Blessing|
Sword Mastery A+ => Sword Mastery S-
—A realm that only the chosen can reach. One’s sword will no longer be damaged.
When facing an enemy using a sword, battle abilities are raised. Strength, ether, and agility are all increased.
—Pressure toward humans increased. Enemy defense will be reduced.