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Intermission: The Sword Dancer’s Boisterous Dance (2/3)
In the east, where the rain poured on endlessly, was the last base of the Red King, Harianse. Midway through the minor countries, within the Iron Country, Elfa, was the old fortress that had been throughly repaired by the Red King and was currently being used as their base.
Although it was by no means a large fortress, only able to Accommodate 400 men, now that the Red King was in war, it was the most ideal place to store their necessary resources. Within that fortress were 200 men. Shunrai himself was among that 200.
Normally, Shunrai would be loitering the city looking for enemies to kill, but he had to return to Harianse because his accountant, Ryusta, who was kidnapped had returned.
“So, where’s that woman?”
Ryusta was on the verge of death. From the looks of things, he had not received any treatment at all. His cut arms were left to fester, he was burning with high fever, and yet despite that, he still managed to reach the fortress.
Despite the terrible condition he was in, Shunrai spoke normally with Ryusta.
“Right, Vine the Mad Blade.”
The moment he heard the name, Vine, he started screaming. The other clan members pushed him down, but he kept on hallucinating. While hallucinating, he suddenly looked up blankly, then his heart stopped.
As his subordinate said that, Shunrai looked outside.
The clouded heavens pushed aside the body of the God of Fire as it erupted with thunder. It was a perfect weather for an attack. When Shunrai heard a scream, he knew that the enemy was here.
“They’re coming. Get to position!”
The members of the Red King quickly exited the room, then as Shunrai grasped his scimitar, he ran outside, where the rain never stopped. There, the assailant was, wearing a water-repelling robe with a hood that hid his face.
Despite not being able to see the figure’s face, Shunrai knew who it was just from the killing intent pouring out of him.
Shunrai bolted off, but Vine threw her robe at him to block his sight. At the same time, she slashed out with her curved blade from her waist. Shunrai didn’t bother to dodge. He ran straight through the robe, already having planned his next steps.
Vine cried out a battle cry as her curved sword slipped out of its sheathe. It cut through even the very drops of rain as it made its way for Shunrai. At about the same time they took a step, their drawn swords moved even faster, and then steel clashed with steel. With the distance between them closed with the first strike, they took another step and attacked once more. They had deflected each other’s sword, but they continued to bear their fangs at each other, seeking to take the other’s life.
They clashed again. Sparks erupted, and they moved their body away from it
Splattering off the accumulated rainwater, they took another step and sooner than the torn robe could even reach the ground, they released a third strike.
Their battle cries clashed. With everything they had put behind their sword, it was easy to imagine that the battle would end as soon as it hit either one of them.
In the second clash, Shunrai’s sword failed to stop Vine’s sword from assuming a low stance. In the next moment, that sword slashed diagonally up. Vine swung that sword up with one hand, but even as Shunrai was forced face up, his posture broken, he managed to barely dodge it with the tip of his nose. From that broken posture, Shunrai turned his back on Vine.
With vicious strengh, he released his own attack, aiming even lower than the sword Vine had unleashed, reaching for her right arm. Vine knew that she wouldn’t be able to dodge this, so she immediately let go of her sword, allowing the scimitar to pass between her hand and her sword. Immediately after, Vine stretched out her arm a little and grasped the handle of her curved sword with her fingertips, then with a reverse grip, slashed down with her sword toward Shunrai, who was still finishing his earlier attack.
Shunrai knew that if he stepped back, he would be on the receiving end of a counterattack, so he immediately abandoned his defense and rammed his body against Vine. Although her blade managed to shallowly cut his body, his life was not in any danger. With her flank taken, Vine immediately realized that she had erred, so she tried to move away.
But compared to Vine, who couldn’t see her enemy because her arm was in the way, Shunrai was now in a position who could attack anywhere and hit. As if to measure the distance between him and Vine, who immediately jumped back, Shunrai leaped and his heavy slash cut Vine’s thighs.
Blood spurted, but the drops of rain smashed it back into Vine’s honey-colored skin.
The reason Shunrai couldn’t inflict a fatal wound was because Vine’s curved sword had grazed Shunrai’s neck. Not being able to take that step made his attack that much more shallow.
After getting some distance from each other within the rain, the two swordsmen took a breath. Normally, if they moved this much, their body temperature would rise and the breath they exhaled would turn white, but there was no white in the breath they exhaled. They did not want the other to perceive any openings from the depth of their breath, so they kept their breath shallow. This too was one of the tricks of a swordsman.
‘DON’! A crashing sound resounded throughout the fortress.
As if that sound was a signal of some sort, the two swordsmen moved once again.