The Strange Adventure of a Broke Mercenary - Chapter 197: From Moving to Battle
Chapter 197: From Moving to Battle
After getting a weapon, Loren was led on a long walk by the Demon King before finally arriving at an amphitheater located, in what looked like, the courtyard of the castle. Loren was tempted to ask why such a thing was built here, but he forced himself to recognize that it was such a large building that they could build whatever they wanted. A Demon King must have a lot of soldiers, so it was a good idea to have a place where they could train.
“We have a different training ground for soldiers.”
“What is this place for, then?”
Loren had no idea what the point of having an arena if it was not used for training. He asked Judie if this place was truly built simply because their castle was too big, and they had too many unused spaces, but she just looked away without answering, her cheeks slightly twitched. Loren was taken aback at her reaction – it seemed like he had hit the bullseye. But his astonishment soon dissipated when he saw the figure standing in the center of the arena.
So that was the person the Demon King called a Black Knight.
Indeed, his entire body was covered with black plate armor, and he did not have a shield. His greatsword, which almost came up to their chest, was stabbed into the ground as if it was a staff. He stood with both hands on its hilt. The aura of the Black Knight perfectly fitted the word ‘imposing’. Loren scowled at his with his greatsword on his shoulder.
“Well, it’s a bit strange, isn’t it?”
“That’s right, Mother. Even I think that something is strange too.”
As they stepped into the arena, Loren and Lapis stared at the black armored figure that refused to move from the center of the arena. They were still quite far away, but they couldn’t have been mistaken because there was no other figure around.
It was the size of the Black Knight that Loren and Lapis were concerned about.
“The knight is bigger than me, no matter how you look at it.”
“If you think so, then I guess so.”
Loren himself was one of the tallest amongst humans. With such a height, a blow from his greatsword contained marvelous power. But the Black Knight standing in front of them was two heads taller, and of course to go with that height, he was also wider in built. In short, he was big enough that Loren had to look up at him. The length of his greatsword was almost Loren’s height.
“Isn’t he too big?”
The helmet the Black Knight was wearing was the type that completely covered the face, so you couldn’t tell what he looked like even if you wanted to. Loren could barely see the purple of their eyes, but that didn’t give him any information about whether the Knight was male or female, or how old he/she was.
“Was there such a huge person in your entourage, Mother?”
Standing next to Loren, Lapis looked up at the Knight and cocked her head in wonder. If even Loren had to look up at the Knight, the difference in height was even greater for Lapis, who was shorter than him.
“I thought I could remember most of your subordinates, Mother.”
“‘It’s a hidden gem. The talent is guaranteed.”
Judie laughed and patted the Black Knight’s armor, but he didn’t even twitch. The knight continued leaning on his greatsword and stared at Loren from inside his helmet.
“Is it even alright for me to fight that person?”
“Yes. If you can’t continue fighting or if you surrender, you lose. Simple and straightforward, right?”
Loren signaled for Lapis to step back, then got his greatsword ready. The weight in his hand was unfamiliar. Unable to feel the usual reliable weight in his hands, Loren watched the Black Knight leaning on his greatsword. It was obviously not the case for him.
“You can attack if your opponent is down, but you can’t finish him off. If someone dies, no matter how much we try, we can’t bring him back to life.”
As Lapis retreated to behind Loren, Judie stepped back to stand behind the Black Knight. The Knight slowly raised his greatsword with its tip pointing up in front of his chest. Realizing it to be a salute, Loren returned with the only salute he knew: He gripped the hilt of his greatsword with both hand and pointed its tip down.
“Can I at least ask your name?”
After that mutual salute, Loren held his greatsword back up and asked the Knight. He didn’t expect any answer, but he could hear some kind of murmuring coming from behind the Black Knight’s helmet, even though no meaningful words reached his ears.
“So, let’s start!”
As soon as Judie’s order came, Loren leapt forward. Victory belonged to those who made the first move, so he kicked at the ground and charged with a speed unimaginable for such a large body. He was skeptical about the Black Knight’s slow reaction to stop him, but he held his greatsword high and struck at the Knight’s left shoulder with all his might.
The shrill sound of metal hitting metal rang, and sparks of fire flared up at the site of impact as if to represent the force Loren had put into the blow. Yet he was the one who grimaced and immediately leapt back.
His arms were numb as if being electrified, and he had to use all his strength to keep the greatsword from falling off, but the pain in his wrists and shoulders was too much to ignore.
Yet the place where Loren had struck was only slightly scratched, and it did not look like the power of the attack had reached inside the armor at all.
Loren was still enduring the pain, but the Black Knight immediately raised his sword to unleash a sweeping sideway blow, and he tried to defend it by raising his greatsword.
Almost at the same time, the Black Knight took one step into Loren’s space and struck at his greatsword. The shock struck Loren’s whole body, and the unstoppable momentum sent him flying sideways and rolling several times on the arena floor. When he got up, he was some distance away from the Knight.
Wary of pursuit, Loren held his sword up even before fixing his stance. But the Black Knight stayed at the same place and watched Loren getting up while slowly raising his sword.
Thinking that he was very lucky to still be able to hold his sword despite his arms feeling so tired, Loren wondered why the Black Knight didn’t seize this perfect opportunity to go after him. His stance was bad, and his arms were too numb to wield the greatsword. He probably wouldn’t be able to counteract if the Knight attacked now, and this battle would very likely end here. Yet the knight didn’t take this chance, and Loren just couldn’t understand it. Loren wondered if he was being played, but he reminded himself that it was too early to draw any conclusion when they had only crossed swords once. So he readied himself and lunged at the Knight once more.
This time, the Black Knight also reacted to Loren’s attack and did an upward slash to match Loren’s downward blow. As a result, blades crashed into each other, sparking fire and sound, it was Loren who lost. And it was a rather one-sided loss too: Before his sword could be swung downward, it was sent flying back up. The shock was too much that his shoulders almost got dislocated, and he was knocked down backward.
The Black Knight gave chase this time, but Loren managed to escape somehow by following the momentum rolled back a couple of times.
[‘Onii-san, do you need my aid?!’]
Loren heard Shayna’s voice in his mind as he stood up and lightly swung his sword sideways to keep the Black Knight from approaching. If he used the King of Death’s power, he would be able to handle the Black Knight, who hadn’t shown any signs of being a magic user until now. The idea had crossed his mind, but he shook it off, as he could feel Judie observing the battle closely from a distance away. He had no idea what Judie would do to him if he got help from Shayna. Even though the King of Death’s power was invisible, a Demon King might still be able to see through it, so using Shayna’s aid would be a bad idea.
[‘It can’t be helped then. If that’s the case, I’ll lend you my magic power, onii-san.’]
Normally, Shayna would have used Energy Drain, the power of the King of Death, to absorb the power of others and supply it to Loren. However, since it would be difficult for her to do so in front of the Demon King, she gave up on the idea and offered him the power she originally possessed. She explained to him that this would make it look like he was using his own magic, because she herself was inside his mind.
[‘Use self-boost, then try attacking again!’]
With Shayna’s voice cheering him on, Loren quickly circulated magic power throughout his body and activated self-strengthening technique. Feeling a force unlike anything before coursing through his body, he wondered if it was alright to use it like this and swung his greatsword again. The Black Knight intercepted him, and their blades clashed.
The self-boost allowed Loren to make a dash forward, adding even more power into his slash. When his sword met the Black Knight’s, it wasn’t a one-sided loss anymore, and both of their blades were locked for a moment. Loren could feel himself being pushed backward slightly, though, and he realized that he was still outmatched. This may have been due to the difference in size and weight between Loren and the Black Knight, in addition to speed and arm strength.
The Black Knight seemed to sense that Loren wasn’t being overpowered like before and pushed at him with even more strength. Thinking that he might be defeated like this, Loren quickly changed tactics. He immediately changed the angle of his blade to block the pushing force of the Black Knight, then quickly slid his greatsword past the Knight’s blade to the back of his knees, which were usually considered to be weakly defended.
The backsides of joints were usually weakly defended due to the construction of armors. Loren had struck with that anticipation, but it seemed that the joints of the Black Knight’s armor were reinforced with chains and metal plates. Loren’s blow didn’t cut through the armor, but only scratched at it with an unpleasant sound.
As if to return the favor, the Black Knight struck another slash, which Loren met with his greatsword. But the force of the strike was too much for Loren to withstand, and he was sent flying backwards. He was prepared this time, though, so he didn’t roll on the ground and safely landed a distance away from the Black Knight instead. Still, the fact that the Knight was strong enough to send him flying back with just a casual flick of the sword chilled him. He readied himself again as the Knight slowly drew his sword back and turned towards him.
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