Chapter 58. The Colorful (彩) Kingdom (2/3)
As I was thinking about such a question, alarms rang inside my head as an elderly yet bulky man who was at the pavilion walked over as he reached out to his side before a faint blue glow appeared, strengthening before a sword of steel was formed as he pointed it at me.
Immediately, all the knights reacted and took out their swords as they pointed it at the elderly man who looked to not bother at all as his eyes firmly stared at me, “Are you Her Majesty?” which made me curious as his eyes looked as if he was testing me.
“And if I am, would you still dare to point your sword at me?” I rose my hand as to signal all the knights to relax before the elderly man laughed as the window above his head appeared, showing his name which was ‘Evans von Skylake’ with a level that made me flinch.
His level was at 110 which was so far the highest I could remember… but I do feel like I’ve seen someone with a higher level… for some odd reason though, I can’t remember who or when I saw a number that was higher than this man.
“Naturally,” he said before turning towards the pavilion as he spoke, “As the reigning commander of the entire military, would the other officials inside the pavilion grant this old man’s wish to have a short duel with our Queen?”
“Are you joking, Evans?! Her Majesty had only woken up from a two-month-long sleep!” Felice tried to retaliate but I held her back as my gaze went towards the elderly man’s sword which was glimmering with strength… it was filled with power and technique that could only be groomed from years of experience.
My inner curiosity grew curious as two knights walked over to the elderly man before announcing the decision of the pavilion people, “The officials of the Pavilion has granted permission for Duke Evans to have a short duel with Her Majesty, but the three Dukes holds no accountability over the injuries that Duke Evans may sustain.”
I became even more curious about who the Three Dukes were and took a glance at the pavilion, but I couldn’t see them as they were still too far for my eyes to see clearly. To think that they had that much confidence in me is something odd though.
“Felice,” I looked at Felice who was fuming but she soon caught up with what I wanted as she reluctantly handed over her sword which felt light to the hand, my gaze returned back to the elderly man who was grinning as I pointed my sword back at him, “I, Aya hereby accepts the duel of this humble elderly man.”
“That’s the spirit!” he laughed before looking at one of the knights as he said, “You! Be the referee, this duel will end once one among us drops to the floor.”
The knight was surprised but still heeded his command as he took a step forward without showing a bit of emotion, reaching his hand out to the front before he spoke, “Are both sides ready to fight?”
All of the people around us were filled with anticipation as Felice and the others took a step back. I wasn’t confident at all over how this battle will go but I felt that somehow… my body would be able to guide me through.
I wanted to learn how a super high-leveled person would fight using a sword. It was something that I had no memory of. My mind was curious as the two of us both spoke at the same time, “We are ready to fight.”
“In the count of three, the battle will commence…” the knight stutteringly spoke.
The beat of my heart rose as my breathing became rough when, suddenly, a little notification appeared at the bottom right of my screen that warned me of the intensity of this short duel. The window was bright red and showed some spooky stuff.
WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING WA
You are about to battle against a person with a level that is nearly ten times higher than yours. The system highly recommends forfeiting!
At that point, it was too late to forfeit as the knight soon started to count down.
“MAY THE BATTLE COMMENCE!” the knight shouted.
Almost immediately, the spot where the elderly man stood was clouded with dust as alarms rang throughout my head whilst my body instinctively turned around with a swing before a very loud clang echoed throughout the garden.
The dust cloud around us dispersed in an instant, revealing the elderly man who was grinning from top to bottom as his figure vanished once again. My body, as if used to such battles, hopped backward before fragments of war appeared inside my head.
It was a very unfamiliar memory that I couldn’t grasp my head around, but I felt resonance with that memory… it felt like it was a piece of my own past. The first-person perspective of a person swinging her sword in a deep, bloody war with only a sword on her hand, parrying every kind of attack that came to her whether it was from her back or from her front.
My eyes widened to the fragmented memory before I came back to my senses as the elderly man could be seen swinging his sword straight down towards me. As if remembering the sensation of that fragmented memory, my hand moved in a very speedy motion as if time had slowed down.
BAAAAAANG! A metallic explosive sound roared throughout the entire pavilion as I was quickly reminded of the abilities that I had received from my blessings of both the Divine Goddess and Chronos as a smile appeared on my lips, “Hey… abilities are allowed here, right?”
“Huh?!” he was surprised.
I wasn’t going to let him react as I immediately made us of my skills and summoned two spells simultaneously, utilizing the mana inside my body as I hopped backward with time moving insanely slowly. The entire world’s colors twisted and turned into grey.
With the opportunity on hand, I instinctively jumped upwards and twirled in the air a bit before landing behind the elderly man as time started to speed up and the colors started to return as my hand swung down towards the elderly man’s back.
I felt it… I could feel my mana boiling in excitement. My heart rumbled as the sword slowly descended down towards his undefended back but just as the scene of victory came into my head, he turned around with a blue flash erupting from his sword.
BAAAAAAAANG! My body went flying backward as a huge cloud of dust erupted from the scene before suddenly, a bright blue glow appeared from the thick dust. I couldn’t react fast enough and could only grit my teeth as the bright blue grew brighter and brighter.
My feet grasped onto the floor as hard as they could, holding onto the ground as friction tried to stop me from continuing backward. I quickly tried to move my sword into defense as the clouds of dust moved their way for a bright blue glowing sword that came rushing towards my direction.
Almost like a red carpet for him, the dust paved the way as both of our swords collided and created a shockwave that even my vampiric body couldn’t withstand. It only took a few seconds before my body couldn’t hold itself anymore as my hand dropped the sword from the pressure.
“BATTLE OVER!” A loud shout echoed as the clouds of dust dissipated.
I couldn’t help but grit my teeth as I was completely defeated… it wasn’t even a battle but rather a one-sided massacre. It was like a wake-up call to me as the elderly man looked at me with a bright grin on his face.
“My lady!” Felice and Iona rushed over with Ruby and Aquamarine following behind.
The elderly man backed off and allowed them to come near as I bitterly looked at the sword and the floor, punching my fist onto the brick pavement as the elderly man sheathed his sword, “You shouldn’t look that disappointed. You did extremely well for someone of your level.”
“As someone who has gone through thousands of battles and led dozens of wars, it has been the first time in so long where my blood had grown excited especially those last two moves of yours which caught me completely off-guard,” he laughed before turning around as he kneeled on the ground with his sword pierced to the floor.
He looked at me with a drunken smile before saying, “You have earned my trust, Your Majesty. This retainer apologizes for attempting to test your capabilities. I only wanted to see what kind of person made the few strongest adventurers in three towns and the chiefs of several towns and villages become confident enough to rebel against an entire kingdom.”
“Now, now. You have to remember that we weren’t originally people from the kingdom, Evans,” a person from behind laughed.
I turned around and noticed six unusual people walking towards our direction, among them was a very handsome man with black hair and yellow eyes that almost resembled a dragon’s and three half-human and half-wolf men together with two beautiful twin ladies with silver hair and blue eyes.
“Pleased to meet you, Your Majesty. The six of us including Evans are people who were originally nobles from the neighboring Demon Kingdom. I am Byul, one among the Three Dukes of the current Kingdom,” the man smiled.
I felt heavy pressure from all six of them as windows appeared above their heads showing an average level of 110 with the black-haired man being in a completely different tier at 135 which made me utterly speechless.
“You…” I looked at the man before asking, “Why did you leave such a large kingdom to become simply a retainer of mine?”
“It’s because our job is to help create a foundation for this kingdom. As you may have known, the Demon Kingdom has been the only peacemaker of the continent for years and that is never the healthiest for the continent especially in an abrupt situation where the reign of the Queen of the Demon Kingdom was to be suddenly disrupted,” he explained.
“And that is where we come in, during your long sleep, the Demon Queen consulted first with your closest retainers before sending us as Dukes of the Kingdom under a loyalty contract. You can think of us as people who are absolutely loyal to you and the kingdom.”
I was surprised as the question I had earlier was immediately answered… it turns out the reason why they are extremely loyal to me was because of the loyalty contract that he said. It made sense now, but I still don’t understand why the Demon Kingdom is willing to spend that much on us.
Sure, having another peacemaker of the continent is good but I heard the Demon Queen is the strongest person in the continent right now and even if the top people in the continent were to ally up together against her, they would be defeated mercilessly which means, the chance of her reign being disrupted should be impossible.
Everything felt suspicious but as I was being suspicious of them, a notification popup appeared at the corner of my eye.
All the retainers within a few kilometers of radius have been determined as people that can be trusted… showing reason in a very short while.
Just before I got to question why they could be trusted, a scroll paper window appeared in front of me that showed the entire loyalty contract in its fullest—and it really was no joke…