Chapter 21: Celebration (5/5)

Magic Apprentice Topaz QD 12648Words 2021-09-15 13:45


Elric’s suspicions were confirmed soon afterward when Lloyd finally committed to his offense. His weapon, a lengthy broadsword, was dexterously wielded with just a single hand despite being meant for two and was able to bring a full-stop to Kite’s offense. Being able to so decisively cause a turning point in the duel only served to show just how powerful Lloyd was.

The weapon Kite used was a rapier, a type of sword extremely thin in blade but exceptionally long. It was an excellent weapon whose length was second only to weapons classified as a polearm such as the pike and halberd. With the rapier being a sword whose focus was to maintain a certain range of distance from the opponent, it was an excellent choice to use against the bastard sword who used power to tyrannically force an error. This duel between Kite and Lloyd was now akin to a fight between a tiger whose power was in its claws and an antelope whose power was in its headbutts and horns.

Kite’s tempo was completely disrupted as a result of Lloyd’s sword. He was in a precarious situation now with his guard rocked. The rapier wasn’t a sword meant at all to be used defensively given its thin and pliable nature, so Kite was left with no other option but to evade the rest of Lloyd’s assault and inevitably using up far more stamina than before.

Extending the distance between the two felt like the best option for Kite to take. He needed a moment to recompose himself and figure out a new method of attacking Lloyd, but the other man was determined not to let him. He thrusted his broadsword at Kite when the latter retreated, prompting Kite to hurriedly bring his rapier in front of him to defend.

But how was a flimsy rapier meant to take the full-on blow of a heavy broadsword?

Lloyd saw an opportunity the moment both their swords were about to touch. With a flick of his wrist, the paladin was able to turn his sword thrust into a mini-sweep with enough force to force Kite’s rapier away—but not enough force to completely disarm Kite. Unrelenting in his assault, Lloyd then withdrew his weapon and then swung it again at the vulnerable Kite.

Kite drew his rapier quickly back to him with a grimace. Defending was possible, but he certainly wasn’t about to leave from this exchange unscathed. A rapier was by no means a weapon meant to defend with.

The broadsword connected, propelling Kite off his feet. He fell head over heel onto the ground with a grunt, his rapier clattering onto the ground beside him. From where he stood, Elric could see the sword-arm of Kite trembling slightly.

Lloyd didn’t move in to capitalize on this development. He simply stood there with his sword propped against the ground. “Ser Kite, your strength is admirable, but it’s not not what I wanted. Are you not an expert in both magic and martial arts? If you would please remonstrate.”

Several figures within the crowd murmured in agreement. The duel was dragging on for far too long already without anyone even seeing a glimpse of Kite’s specialty; the synthesis of maguscraft and martial arts.

Kite, having already climbed back to his feet by the time Lloyd finished speaking, picked his sword back up. “Well, look carefully then.”

The wind around Kite began to swirl faster as he started his hymn. Everyone could tell from the flow of mana that this was the start of a spell and that Kite was indeed a magus. The flow of mana additionally told them that it was a rather rudimentary spell and not at all what many of the aristocrats expected. How could a spell as basic as this be an example of the ‘unique’ magical martial arts?

Several of the imperial magi were already casting a barrier around the stage to protect the emperor and audience.

Elric breathed in, preparing himself to cast a barrier as well. But when he saw Myron and Kebrilio both gaze anxiously at him, he paused. His eyes flickered to the eight guards nearby. Each one of them looked nervous and had a hand on the hilt of their sword.

Elric shuddered, the trauma of being surrounded by Hughesin’s guards that night was still fresh on his mind. He smiled at the soldiers in reassurance.

Neither seemed to work on the guards as they maintained their guards. Having an enemy magus as powerful as Archmagister Kebrilio nearby the emperor was intimidating enough, but to have him smile? The guards only grew even more apprehensive and tightened their grip.

Elric bit back a bitter laugh at their reaction.

Back on stage, Kite was finished with his preparations. The wind stuck closely to Kite’s body now, silent, but deadly-looking. The world grew silent for a split-second when Kite took a step forward and…took off! Accelerating to speeds far beyond the limits of humanity, Kite was like a shooting star in speed and impossible to be seen by the common person!

Gasps broke out amongst the crowd. How could magic produce such a mind-blowing event?

But Kite’s speed wasn’t face enough to lose everyone. The paladin grandmaster and Hughesin were both veteran fighters and could keep up Kite’s new speed. And Lloyd, despite not being as strong as his father, was also able to sense the abrupt change and timely react. If Kite was finally fighting seriously, then it was time for him to do the same.

Lloyd’s broadsword affixed itself at the incoming Kite. His sword was held at a slant in a stance perfect for being able to react to any sudden type of attack as he prepared his next move. It was also preventing Kite from attacking him at certain angles, even. This move was something Lloyd was saving for his next trial by the Paladin Order.

Lloyd dreamed of being a paladin ever since he was young. Back then, he spent every day training until his hands bled so he could improve. The trial was still a year away, but Lloyd made sure to constantly seek new heights with his strength, and this next attack was something he quite proud of. It was rather symbolic of his swordsmanship. It was the type of genius swordsmanship like the duke, but it was still an admirable form made possible only through hard work. And now it was time for him to show them the results.

He lashed out with the broadsword. Whether Kite tried to dodge, jump backward, or use his sword to block it, Lloyd was confident he could counter appropriately. Kite was moving faster, but not fast enough to exceed what Lloyd could account for. He felt confident his swordsmanship would whittle away at Kite eventually, and so did many others amongst the crowd.

Achieving what Kite had done was a noteworthy achievement, and no paladin there would never dare claim otherwise, but it wasn’t enough to confidently change the tides. Even Lloyd’s father fully believed that Kite would admit defeat soon. The only paladin there that doubted was Hughesin. His gut was telling him that differently. Lloyd was making a mistake choosing this move to attack. Were it Hughesin himself standing there, he felt confident that this would be a silly trick and easily taken advantage of. It was, after all, a powerful move that left the person completely defenseless if unsuccessful.

Kite and Lloyd were right on the verge of contact, it was time for Hughesin to know if his gut was right or not.