Hey people! Chapter 12 is finally here… but I’m on schedule so everything is fine in the world 😀
Please do consider supporting the translations on Patreon
Anyway, here is the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
In a certain room of one of Archen’s inns, Zentos was looking at the card which had stopped transmitting the regular messages that he had been exchanging with his subordinates.
Even if something had happened to the vice commander, someone else would be acting as his substitute. The fact that he could not communicate with the knights despite that meant that they had likely been annihilated.
There was still no expression on Zentos’ face, his clenched fist was trembling.
He then left the room and gave an order to his remaining subordinates.
【”You must stand guard for his Highness. Don’t let anyone pass by here before my return.”】
Having said that while not leaving any room for objections, he went out of Archen on top of his personal horse.
As for Kyle’s group, they were about to get out of the large forest soon.
After leaving the forest, they would be back on the main road, right next to Archen. The town would soon come in their field of vision.
Precisely because they were close to their goal, Kyle focused his attention all the more so as not to get distracted. And then, a report came from Sildonia.
『Kyle, there is a knight heading here. 』
【”How many people are there with him?”】
『None, he’s all by himself… Oh?!』
Sildonia raised her voice out of surprise.
【”Is something wrong?”】
『Mhm, I was just attacked by an ‘Energy bolt’ spell even though I had taken plenty of distance. To keep such power and accuracy from this far is a pretty big deal. 』
“Energy bolt” was a lower-class spell with low power which would attack an opponent using a magical arrow, but thanks to its range and its little cost in mana, it was used as a foundation for attack spells.
【”I see, he noticed a bird moving suspiciously in the sky so he attacked without any hesitation. Given that he aimed accurately despite the long distance, he must have a high control over his magical powers. Knowing this, the knight who’s coming here can only be…. him.”】
“So he still came in the end”, added Kyle with a heavy sigh.
【”I was hoping from the bottom of my heart that he wouldn’t come, but it seems like things won’t go my way.”】
Although Kyle did not want to fight, he still resolved himself since there was no avoiding this.
He stopped the sleipnirs, and instructed the rest of the group.
【”Everyone, go reatreat a little and stay on standby. If you sense anything that’s even just remotely strange, go back further down the highway and join Seran.”】
【”But, will you be alright, Kyle?”】
Said Lize worriedly, having felt a tension that she had not felt before within Kyle’s words.
【”…This will definitely be harder than dealing with that Hydra or with the thirty knights of the royal guard.”】
【”So Zentos is coming.”】
A grave expression appeared on the face of the princess, who had likely guessed this from Kyle’s words alone.
【”He’s the best knight in all of Jirgus. Are you saying that you’ll face him by yourself?”】
Kyle was also aware of the severity of the situation.
If possible, he would have prefered to face Zentos together with Seran, Urza, and Lize, no matter how cowardly that would have been.
【”I also absolutely want to avoid this, but at this point, there is no other way. Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.”】
“Rest assured, it’ll be fine” Leaving everyone with only those words, Kyle once again started to walk.
『You seem to have some sort of connection to him. 』
Sildonia spoke quietly to Kyle, who was full of vigor.
【”Something like that. Also, I’m sorry, but, is it okay with you if I do as I like in this fight?”】
『Good grief, you’re really hopeless. 』
Complained Sildonia, but she did not say anything else other than that.
Having taken enough distance from Lize and the others, Kyle kept waiting in the middle of the road in an imposing stance, until he noticed a man on top of a horse, approaching at an extreme speed.
The man also noticed Kyle, and having likely judged that it would be dangerous to approach any further with his mount, he stopped it and dismounted it.
Zentos then approached on foot, and when he was a single step away from reaching the exact range at which the battle could commence, Kyle talked to him.
【”Don’t worry, I’m the only one here, there is no trap.”】
【”Are you one of the travelers helping Princess Milena? …I see, you do seem competent.”】
Zentos strengthened his guard as he faced Kyle, who had an accurate grasp over the distance that was separating him from his opponent.
【”Well, I’m only so-so. But why are you alone? There should still be around ten knights left among your people.”】
【”I don’t want to lose any more of my men on a matter like this one. I just have to kill all of you myself.”】
Zentos said that he would kill everyone in Kyle’s group because he had enough power and self-confidence to back up his words.
【”Is that so? Sorry, but most of the knights who were pursuing us were eliminated. Also, how do I say this… If possible, could you surrender? I don’t want to kill you, and I don’t want you to die either.”】
【”What did you just say?”】
Zentos furrowed his brows.
He never thought he would be looked down upon and even asked to surrender so straightforwardly by a young man who was 10 years younger than him.
【”Certainly, you might not be able to escape from being sentenced for a capital crime, but I could ask for your life to be spared in exchange for giving up on my reward. If you want, you can ask for other conditions.”】
As Kyle said that, the expression on Zentos’ face grew more and more dubious.
That was because Zentos could tell that Kyle was seriously trying to help, even though he was trying to kill him and frame him for the princess’ murder.
【”I don’t get your motive, why’d you want to help me?”】
【”I just sincerely believe that it would be a shame for Zentos Ordiy to die here.”】
【”… I’m glad you think that much of me, but it’s too late for me to quit the mission.”】
【”Yeah, I figured you’d say that, it’s only natural.”】
Even though he had known this would be the answer, Kyle had not been able to stop himself from asking.
【”I want to ask one more thing. Why do something as foolish as trying to assassinate the princess? At the very least, it wasn’t for the money nor to raise your position, was it? Moreover, I heard that you’re following that Carenas guy’s plans. Is there any worth to that?”】
【”Seems like you know a lot about the situation…. Or maybe you heard about it from the princess? Anyway, for now, let’s just say that it’s a complicated story.”】
Kyle had expected this answer, too.
【”… Even so, this plan is full of holes, isn’t it? It’s actually already on the verge of failing. Speaking frankly, it’s a pretty sloppy plan.”】
【”We’ll be able to fix that as long as I silence all of you people.”】
【”Say what you like, but you’ve pushed things really far now, haven’t you? Some people will have suspicions.”】
【”You’re going to die very soon so you don’t have to concern yourself with that.”】
Believing that it would be futile to talk any more than this, Zentos pulled out his sword.
【”I can’t let you buy any more time than this. I have to quickly kill you and then chase after the princess.”】
【”…Well, I suppose it was obvious that you’d notice what I was trying to do.”】
“Guess that’s as much as I’m gonna get” Thought Kyle while pulling out his sword.
Just like Zentos has said, Kyle had been buying time.
Even though Zentos was his opponent, Kyle figured that it would be possible to capture him alive by using numbers as long as he could keep earning time until the fifth knight corps’ arrival.
Because, in the present situation, Kyle had not other choice than to kill Zentos if he didn’t want to be killed.
However, they weren’t there yet, so, in the meantime, Kyle started chanting to launch some magic spells.
And so did Zentos.
【” ‘Haste’ ‘Strength”!”】
【” ‘Haste’ ‘Strength”!”】
Simultaneously, the two of them used self-reinforcement spells to boost their respective speed and strength.
And so, a fight began between Kyle and the man who had been his model in the ways of a magic swordsman in his previous life.
Zentos made the first move.
He raised his sword above his head to attack with a head-on front blow aimed at the crown of Kyle’s head ―― However, that attack was actually a mere illusion made through the use of the “Illusion” spell.
Even though it was just an illusion, the blow was filled with killing intent, to the point where it would make even a first class warrior move his body by reflex, and there were few differences between the intensity of this illusion and the real thing.
However, Zentos’ real attack was an upper slash from below, which was difficult to deal with and came almost at the same time as the illusory attack, with only a slight delay of difference.
So far, no one had been able to defend against this attack upon seeing it for the first time. This sure-kill attack, which was mixed with a magic feint, had brought many of Zentos’ opponents to their doom.
However, Kyle easily avoided it.
Zentos raised his voice out of shock.
Having dodged sideways, Kyle calmly swung his sword downward, aiming for Zentos’ dominant arm.
But, since Zentos instantly jumped back, he merely received a superficial wound on his arm.
Zentos was grinding his teeth while glaring at Kyle, who had not only dodged his sure-kill attack, but had also injured his arm.
However, Kyle actually clicked his tongue.
That was because he had missed the best and only opportunity to beat Zentos while keeping him alive.
【”If I had chopped off his arm just now, I could have incapacitated him, but…”】
Kyle spoke with a pained and a bitter tone.
Since Zentos wanted the fight to be over as soon as possible, Kyle had figured that his first blow would be this one as he was very confident in it and it was a sure-kill attack.
Now, Zentos was using normal attacks and was slashing his sword over and over again. Under that assult, Kyle was retreating little by little. He was handling Zentos’ fierce attacks very well, by sometimes avoiding them, and sometimes parrying them with his sword.
Kyle was patiently withstanding the attacks, and once there was a slight gap in Zentos’ defense, he slashed his sword without a moment’s delay.
Although Zentos easily dodged the slash, Kyle almost simultaneously sent a kick towards his crotch.
There was no change to Kyle’s extraordinarily balanced stance as he used his upper body to attack with his sword while he launched that sharp kick towards his opponent, but Zentos managed to block the kick with the handle of his weapon.
This manner of fighting by including kicks in one’s attacks was Leila’s forte, therefore, her students, Kyle and Seran often used kicks as well.
【”What a vicious foot technique!”】
【”Well, I’m just following my master’s teachings!”】
Following the kick, Kyle used Zentos’ sword like a springboard to jump behind him and to land a great distance away from him after rotating once in the air.
And the moment he landed, Kyle threw an ‘Explosion’ magic stone at Zentos.
The explosion’s blast could reach a wide range so it would be able to deal some great damage to Zentos even if he were to dodge.
However, having received a report about the magic stones beforehand, Zentos stepped forward instead of dodging and used the flat of his sword to repel it towards Kyle.
Kyle was able to bear the resulting flames thanks to his armor’s fireproof ability, but the shock of the explosion still assaulted his whole body.
Zentos rushed forward with his sword as if tearing through the cloud of dust that rose due to the explosion’s blast and he aimed for Kyle’s neck.
When the blade was a few milometers away from the nape of Kyle’s neck, he barely managed to parry it with the guard of his sword, despite his reaction having been delayed by the impact of the explosion.
Even so, Zentos kept pushing his sword forward with all his strength, trying to cut Kyle’s neck, and Kyle was also clenching his teeth while doing his utmost to resist.
For a little while, the blade and the sword guard continued to stay in a lock, and then the blade slowly started digging into Kyle’s flesh until blood started to trickle down his neck, but Zentos suddenly jumped back and took some distance.
There was a skin-deep, distinct, bleeding scar left on the nape of Kyle’s neck.
Zentos had likely also suffered some considerable damage due to the explosion.
The two fighters were now facing each other, gasping for air while trying to put their breathing back in order.
【”As expected… he’s strong.”】
Although the Zentos that Kyle knew was the one from three years in the future, he was almost as powerful now as he was back then.
There was no big difference between Kyle’s skill with the sword and Zentos’.
However, Zentos’ basic physical capabilities, like his speed and strength, exceeded Kyle’s.
Normally, Kyle would make up for that difference in strength by using his magic, but he and Zentos were equal when it came to magic, so that difference was still very much present.
And since Zentos could keep his calm at all times, using tricks like the magic stones from earlier would not work either.
Kyle’s assessment was that Zentos was clearly stronger than him in his current state.
But Kyle still had some leeway since he possessed a few advantages over Zentos.
【”That’s a good sword…”】
Zentos was looking at Sildonia that Kyle was wielding. From the several blows which he had already exchanged with it, he understood that this sword was an amazing treasure.
Given that he was a commander of the royal guard’s knights, Zentos’ sword was quite good as well, but Sildonia was on a whole other level.
If Zentos were to parry a blow unskillfully, his sword would break, leaving him with no chance of winning. It was quite disadvantageous for him to fight while having to worry about his weapon.
The reason he had withdrawn earlier, when his weapon was locked with Kyle’s, was because he did not want to damage his sword.
【”I’ll thank you in her stead, I’m sure she appreciates the compliment… Look, I’ll ask you one more time, how about you just surrender? Oh, and, if surrendering is really impossible, why don’t you escape to another country? I’ll help to arrange that for you.”】
【”…You’re a persistent guy.”】
【”I could even give you some escape funds, what do you think?”】
【”If you want to help me that much, how about you stand still and let me kill you?”】
【”Yeah, how about no? Ask for something cheaper, can’t you?”】
Said Kyle with a light laugh.
“He hasn’t lost his calm at all… Just how experienced can he be at his age?” Thought Zentos in astonishment as he watched Kyle’s state.
In the first place, it would be impossible for any normal person to joke around with their opponent in a life or death battle like this one.
Even in the attack from earlier, if Kyle had reacted one instant too late, his head would have likely been separated from the rest of his body, and yet it had not agitated him in the slightest.
It seemed like he was used to fighting against opponents who were much stronger than him.
And, more than anything else, the hardest thing to deal with were Kyle’s abnormally good reactions to Zentos’ attacks.
It was as if he had fought Zentos many times before.
That first attack that used a magic feint was one of Zentos’ trump cards, there were few people who knew about it.
Because most of the people who had witnessed it were dead.
【”You… How did you manage to react like that against my first attack? …Do you know me?”】
Zentos had absolutely no recollection of the man in front of him.
However, the man surely knew him in some way, that at least was a certainty for Zentos.
【”Well, how do I say this…. I can’t really explain in words whether I know you or not. I’ve had quite the curious life. But if you want me to, I can explain all the details to you from the beginning.”】
【”That sounds like it will take too long so I’ll have to say no. I can’t let you drag things on any longer than this.”】
Kyle showed a big grin in response to Zentos’ words.
【”Well, of course I’ll try to drag the situation, that’s the reason why I’m fighting you in the first place.”】
Kyle’s biggest advantage was time.
From Zentos’ perspective, the princess could escape to a place out of his reach while he was fighting here.
But conversely, for Kyle, earning time would allow rescue to come.
And at that point, the match would be decided.
Zentos was well aware that Kyle was trying to prolong the fight instead of trying to win.
【”…This means I’ll have to be the one who ends this.”】
In Zentos’ original schedule, he expected, or rather, he needed Kyle to already be dead by now.
When he realized that, overall, he was actually the one being cornered, the look in Zentos’ eyes changed. So far, he had been fighting with all his strength, but now, he was ready to put his life on the line.
From here on out, he wasn’t going to leave any spare energy for himself to overthink things anymore, and he was going to focus all his power into a life endangering assault.
【”I guess it does.”】
Sensing a killing intent that felt as if it was burning his skin, Kyle also took a fighting stance.
【”I’ll just kill you right now, and chase after the princess immediately after.”】
【”…My name is Kyle by the way…. Kyle Leonard.”】
【”….I’ll remember it, Kyle.”】
【”Well, yeah, that’s the last name you’ll ever hear… You’ll only have to remember it for the next tens of seconds.”】
From there, the two men stopped speaking. Now, they were only going let their weapons talk for them.
With his sword lowered, Zentos charged ahead in a forward-bent posture.
He completely gave up on defending for this attack, he was likely aiming for a simultaneous exchange of strikes. Having realized that his defense would be useless against this, Kyle prepared to thrust his weapon to meet his enemy’s attack.
Right before they entered each other’s range of attack, Kyle thrust his sword forward while Zentos simultaneously lowered his body even further.
The sword, which been aimed at Zentos’ heart, left a big hole in his left shoulder, but he stepped forward without worrying about that.
And the moment Kyle tried to bring his weapon back towards himself, Zentos repelled it upwards, using the pommel of his sword.
Both of Kyle’s arms were repelled upwards with great strength, and while his sword did not escape his hands, his arms were now raised above his head.
Kyle’s body was left completely unguarded, and it was right in front of Zentos.
【”I got you!”】
Given his capabilities, Zentos would be able to cut through both Kyle’s armor and body with this single slice of his sword from the left flank.
Though he was aware that Kyle’s sword was approaching him from above, Zentos had put all his strength in this attack and he was convinced that his sword would be the first one to reach its target.
After Zentos’ slice hit Kyle’s flank, he felt a certain resistance and ―― with a dull clunk, his sword broke in two.
When Zentos instinctively raised his wide-opened eyes, all he saw was a sword blade right in front of him, and the face of Kyle, whose eyes were full of sadness.
【”As you’d expect from Zentos, that part of the armor was cleanly sliced, even though it’s made of dragon leather… Still, there is no way he could damage this.”】
While patting his flank, Kyle brushed the gap which had appeared in the part of his armor that had been sliced.
From that gap fell a blood-like red gem, the “Dragon god’s heart”.
Even though Zentos’ slash could cut and slice through rocks and steel alike, it was not able to damage this legendary “Dragon god’s heart” which existed since the mythical era.
However, Kyle’s complexion was bad. The “Dragon god’s heart” had been able to defend against the slash, but the resulting shock had apparently damaged Kyle’s ribs and internal organs. Even now, he was still feeling a throbbing pain.
As for Zentos, he was lying down in a sea of his own blood.
He had suffered from a fatal cut that went from his shoulder straight to his heart. It was likely thanks to the strength of his will that he was still barely able to breath.
【”Did you let me… repel your sword… on purpose…?”】
While vomiting blood, Zentos spoke with a hoarse and weak voice.
【”No, it wasn’t on purpose. I was serious, my attack was completely serious and you really did repel my sword…. I also thought I might be cut right in half.”】
In a direct confrontation, especially if Zentos were to put his life on the line, Kyle could not win by himself; for Kyle this was an undeniable fact, no matter how much he thought about it.
Therefore, knowing that he might end up fighting against Zentos and starting from the assumption that he was going to be killed, Kyle had begun thinking from the day before about the methods that he could use to reverse the situation.
And since he was not able to make enough preparations, the only way he had come up with was this one.
【”Actually, we’ve had several bouts before, and I’ve fought maybe hundreds of time against the illusory version of you. So I was able to predict that the fight would go like this. And I figured it was inevitable for me to use this method.”】
Once Zentos attacked while putting his life on the line, the only method for Kyle to fight him was to put his life on the line as well. If he had changed his position ever so slightly, if his timing had been off by even one instant, Kyle would have likely died.
Although Zentos, who was on the brink of death, did not understand what Kyle meant by saying that he had had several bouts against him, he was still amazed by the rashness and recklessness required to walk so close to the brink of death.
【”What…. that’s insane….”】
【”Well, I decided to do it because I had faith in you and your skill. I was convinced that, if it came from Zentos Ordiy, such an attack would take my life for sure, so I had no other choice.”】
Zentos weakly laughed at the words of Kyle, who seemed like he sincerely had an absolute faith in him.
And then, using his last breath to mutter something to himself, Zentos Ordiy perished.
【”I’m sorry… I… there are people that I absolutely have to protect, no matter the sacrifices needed for it.”】
Kyle looked behind him, while picturing the faces of Lize and Urza who were likely standing not too far from there.
【”…… You were one of the people that I wanted to save in this life, damn it… I never thought I’d have to watch you die a second time…. Farewell, comrade.”】
While dragging his wounded body and heart, Kyle went back to his group.