༺ Sun – Claiomh Solais (3) ༻
How many times has it been, he wondered.
Garrand clicked his tongue, seeing the Sword Fiend challenge him time after time whenever he was about to get bored.
“What a remarkable tenacity.”
Over time, it was taking more and more time for him to beat the monster because of its ridiculous growth speed. The Sword Emperor was very much impressed while watching the fiend learn skill after skill.
“Huhahaha… Just like my granddaughter.”
An overwhelming talent.
The demonic nature of being bewitched by the action of cutting others. He wondered who would be on top when comparing them based on their madness.
“That does make me curious.”
From the sage that he got to know in the mountain range, Garrand had heard news about the visit of his granddaughters, and that they were here to meet the giant nearby.
“Hmm… Maybe it’s time to gauge their abilities again.”
The Sword Emperor knew just how absurdly powerful the Sword Fiend was and was aware that there was a chance that his granddaughters would all be annihilated just from him trying to test their abilities using the monster.
However, for the old man who was crazy with the sword, he cared not for the likes of familial affection, and was more intrigued by the appearance of another swordsman that would be on the same level as himself if not higher.
If his granddaughters were to die here, that would just mean that they hadn’t grown enough.
With that thought in mind, the Sword Emperor kicked off the hill and chased after the Sword Fiend, while forcing it into a certain direction.
A mountain was speaking.
The sonorous voice of Searbhan echoed the ground and even the forest quivered from his voice.
At times, size alone was more than enough evidence. It was clear just from looking at him that his strength would be on another level.
— Answer me, little ones. Are you here for the fruit?
There were a few people who couldn’t even dare stand before the one who could oppress others with nothing but his voice.
“That’s a very big fellow, Dum.”
“Looks like defeating it will be quite a challenge.”
“Don’t even think about it, Miss Lunia. Whether we win or not, we won’t be able to obtain the Claiomh Solais anymore.”
Searbhan the Sky Titan was looking at us with an apathetic look on his face.
“My name is Korin Lork sir. I would like to receive some fruits.”
He looked down at us without a word, and glanced across everyone with his eyes filled with rocks.
A giant had a slow-working brain because there was no need for him to think faster than the little ones. However, the silence of an overwhelming giant gave rise to a bunch of doubts, and most of Scaith’s subordinates took several steps back in fright.
In the end, when one of them turned around trying to run away…
Scaith punched the man with his fist as his neck rotated 960 degrees before coming to a stop. After a gruesome execution, Scaith walked up to the giant as if nothing happened.
“You see, very very big friend~. I need to take your little fruits~. Can you give them to me?”
Despite rotating the head of another person just then, he nonchalantly let out an amicable voice.
— The red fruits of the rowan tree are what the Goddess of Danu has assigned me with. Those without qualification cannot take the fruits.
“How do I earn that qualification?”
— I will now test your wisdom.
Alicia, who had been shivering from the side, rejoiced in the fact that it would end without a fight.
“I, it’s great that we don’t have to do any fighting. But how is our wisdom going to be tested?”
— I will give you riddles. Solve them.
Tilting her head, Alicia vacantly stood there blinking her eyes.
“Monsters in all sorts of mythologies love riddles. Didn’t you know?”
“Uwahh…! Scaith loves riddles! I wanna do it! I wanna do it!”
Sky Titans loved precious treasures and riddles. I could remember reading a line in the game that talked about how any other form of entertainment ended up breaking the world apart which deterred them from doing them.
“Well, I guess we will do it as well.”
The enormous giant explained the rules with a large voice that would immediately bring about complaints in an apartment. For fairness, only two people from each group was allowed to participate with the exception of druids.
Apparently, the druids had been doing riddles with the Sky Titans so much that it wasn’t fair.
And the other rule was that the first side to answer 5 questions would be the victor.
“Anyone here confident with riddles?”
Yuel couldn’t participate because she was a druid so it was only me and the Arden sisters. Honestly, anyone should be better than someone with a strange mind like Scaith.
“Do you think I would have anything to do with riddles?” Lunia asked.
“You really don’t. You don’t even look like the type to invite clowns to any ceremony.”
“Hmm… I, I did solve a few riddles that came out in magazines.”
In the end, it was me and Alicia on our end whereas…
“Hihit…! Scaith loves riddles!”
For the other team, it was Dun Scaith and someone wearing a robe that was trembling next to him.
— We will begin.
Although we were suddenly made to solve riddles, it was certainly the most peaceful option out there.
— It becomes big during the morning, gets smaller again at noon, and becomes bigger again in the afternoon. However, it disappears at night. What is it?
Searbhan’s thunderous voice echoed the world and certainly reached our ears, but I couldn’t come up with an answer. Big during the morning, but smaller at noon… bigger in the afternoon and disappears at night?
Alicia was also deeply pondering to herself next to me. I had a feeling that I was very close to the answer but it was then.
“I can say with certainty that ‘Shadow’ is the answer.”
The one who answered the question was someone completely unexpected. Scaith, who looked thoughtless and stupid, changed in the blink of an eye like he was a totally different person. Like an old sage, he gazed at Searbhan with a serene gaze.
Everyone turned their eyes to Scaith. We thought he would be the weakest one at riddles here but he had solved it all too easily and proved everyone wrong. Wait…
“Did he… get it right by chance?”
Alicia murmured as if she couldn’t believe it either. It might be a prejudice, but no one could blame her for it because Dun Scaith didn’t look like a riddle genius in any way.
His original impression was so strong that I had forgotten about the uniqueness of the ‘entity’ called Dun Scaith.
That was no coincidence.
— This exists but cannot be seen. Even the strongest of beings cannot beat it. It always comes to you but stops forever once past.
“Time. If you may excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, the answer is time.”
— At times, this is happiness and at times it is pain. Sometimes it is comedy but at times it is tragedy. Everyone alive is the protagonist of this play. What is it?
“Life! That has both the names Comedy! And Tragedy…! To live or not to live! That is the question…!”
Going back and forth between all sorts of personas, Scaith solved the riddles. It felt like I was going against hundreds and thousands of people at once.
“Huhihi…! Scaith is too good at riddles! This is too easy!”
There were only two questions left. We hadn’t even solved one and yet Scaith had solved three of them already.”
“Oi, Alicia. Try doing something. You read a bunch of kinky magazines, don’t you?”
“What do you mean kinky? I only read the ones that all the teenage girls read!”
— Fourth Question. This is beautiful to me but sometimes, it cannot be understood by others. It could be violence to some but could be a way out for others. What is it?
The question was again very difficult. Was I this bad at riddles?
“Uhh… umm, can I… try… saying something?”
Alicia said with her hand up.
Even after a reply from Searbhan, Alicia hesitantly fidgeted with her fingers and wavered before finally opening her mouth.
Eyes gathered to the source of that voice, not because they thought it was a wrong answer. After hearing that and linking parts of the riddle to it, it did sound like a reasonable answer, but a few of us still doubtfully gazed at Alicia for coming up with an answer like that.
“D, doesn’t that make sense as well… if you think about it?”
— Interesting. That is also correct.
“Umm… W, wait. Please just tell me it was the wrong answer. I’m sorry. Let me take back what I said…!”
“Alicia, you… what in the world do you think about all day long?”
“Y, you’re wrong! That’s not it!!”
We tried our best but that question seemed to be the limit of our beginner’s luck. Scaith answered the following two questions in a row and we lost the riddle just like that.
“Huhihihi…! Pretty fruits! I did well! Did I do well?!”
“C, congratulations, Mr. Scaith!”
It was our complete defeat.
After the riddles were over, we were trudging our way back to Findias.
“Uhihirk…! Very pretty!”
The wise look he showed during the riddle was long gone and Scaith remarked while staring at the fruit like a child.
“I suppose you are not too good at riddles,” said Lunia.
“…I guess so.”
Looking back, I was never the type to rely on my brain. Even when playing the game, I had relied on the Internet for all the puzzles.
“Umm… What do we do? Didn’t we just fail?”
Alicia seemed restless so Yuel carefully shared her opinion to give her peace of mind.
“I don’t think the tasks… will end just like this. We are probably just missing one of the materials.”
“That would be nice but…”
“We, druids, don’t usually decide things just from one failure so…”
It was then. Yuel stopped her feet after seemingly sensing something and so did Dumnorix. Seeing their abnormal reactions, Lunia placed her hand on the sheathed sword.
“Is it an enemy?”
“…There is none.”
“I can’t see… a single spirit near us.”
“Now that you mention it, we didn’t see any demonic beasts on the way either, did we? I remember seeing a few when we were going to the tree though.”
No spirits and demonic beasts?
This place was the so-called Mountain Range of Demonic Beasts. There were only two possible reasons why those would both be nowhere to be seen.
One was if someone killed all the spirits and demonic beasts… And two was if they ran away from the presence of an overwhelming powerhouse.
“Uhihi…! Are we in too deep?”
Before Scaith even finished his nonchalant remark, Dumnorix raised his oak staff.
❰Oath Lauvre – Dentata❱
All the nearby trees immediately formed a fortress. It took 2.3 seconds for the walls to be completed under his rapid growth spell and the assistance of nature. It was very fast, as expected of the greatest Druid Elder, Lawmaker.
And as soon as the fortress was complete, a crescent light slashed it apart.
As soon as we scattered to dodge the ‘condensed aura’ that immediately slashed through the fortress created by the Lawmaker,
Something came in and stood at the center.
The one who appeared while stepping on the rotting leaves had a humanoid figure. However, the red demonic beast had a gleaming pair of purple eyes and a muscular body that was definitely not that of a human.
“…A humanoid demonic beast?”
It was one of the rare demonic beasts that was in the shape of a human. In its hands were two swords.
The monster struck down as one of the robed men got sliced apart like a piece of paper. The bisected body of the man falling on the ground marked the start of its onslaught.
With its two swords, the beast created a slicing tornado. The blades shredded everything from the ground up like soaring dragons and immediately hacked thirteen people.
In that instant, I blocked the rampaging swords of the monster and retreated back after grabbing the defenseless Yuel. If not for the fiend attacking everything around itself, I wouldn’t even have had the time to take her to safety.
“T, thank you.”
Damn it, why was this guy here? Like, I knew it was around here but why now, and why was it attacking us?
Nature immediately responded to Dumnorix’s call as tree roots soared up from the ground and restricted the monster. Both the size and strength of the grip were incomparably better than Yuel’s.
Scaith reached his arms out at the restricted monster as dozens of vipers jumped out of his hands. Each and every one of those snakes had a lethal dose of venom that were even effective against demonic beasts.
Despite having its feet rooted in place, the humanoid monster still managed to swing its blades. Those attacks that had the power to penetrate through the dimension bisected the snakes along with Scaith.
In the blink of an eye, half of Scaith’s head disappeared elsewhere. Without even realizing what happened to him, Scaith tilted his head in confusion.
Flop! He powerlessly fell down as the monster then swung its blades at Dumnorix.
At a glance, it seemed futile to cut through the air but the sword aura embedded in his blades shot through the air and headed to the old druid.
In response, Dumnorix quickly defended his body. Oak trees surged out of his body and covered him like plated armor but…
Blood spurted diagonally from his shoulder. The oak armor that got separated along with the surrounding dimension splattered down onto the ground.
Right now, the only ones that were aware of that name were me and the Sword Emperor, that crazy old man who gave that name to the monster. At the same time, that was the name of the strongest swordsman of ❰Heroic Legends of Arhan❱ that would make the world tremble with its name.
According to the original game plot, the Sword Fiend was supposed to go under Tates Valtazar’s banner some time soon, and yet right now, it had just cut the King’s subjects, Dumnorix and Dun Scaith, its future allies.
However, I couldn’t exactly be happy because we were going to be next.
“You damn beast…!”
Lunia pounced at the monster with a sharp ambush, but the fiend reacted in time.
Her fastest slash was mitigated by the monster’s swords letting it flow elsewhere like the turning current of water.
A demonic beast was using swordsmanship.
That alone was already shocking but there was something else that was even more surprising than that. That parrying posture and the following counterattack…
The demonic beast blocked Lunia’s sword and wrapped its body inside for a following stab. It was definitely the swordsmanship of Arden.
A defense using Falling Fist, followed by a counterattack.
“Bastard…! Where did you learn that sword!”
With her immaculate sense of distance and her perception, Lunia dodged the counterattack with a hair’s breadth and struck down with a rapid slash.
What came in response was not a sword but claws. After blocking her sword with its sharp claws, the monster immediately swung one of its tough legs like a blade.
As a monster, every part of its body was a weapon and even aside from its hands, even its legs were as powerful as blades. With only one sword to fight against those, Lunia didn’t force her luck and retreated back.
Next, their swords crashed into one another’s. Lunia’s strikes collided against the Sword Fiend’s swords, creating terrifying storms of blades around them.
Every time, their attacks turned more and more intense. The two longswords shredded through the dimension with less than 1 meter between them. After a consecutive set of slashes, the Sword Fiend tried to take half a step back but was forced to an unnatural halt.
Lunia was stepping down on the Sword Fiend’s foot. That short moment of failed retreat was a detrimental gap.
Now that Lunia and the Sword Fiend were stuck in place at a distance so close that they couldn’t even attack each other at full strength, we obviously didn’t stay still doing nothing.
Two-faced Ominous Snake: Dragon Blood
Crushing Steel, Three Paths of One Sword
Alicia and I attacked from both sides but—
The monster jumped back in an acrobatic movement while seemingly kicking off the air.
However, we didn’t let it escape. We might have been caught off guard by that circus-like movement but that was only for a bit. The moment it barely distanced itself from us, the three of us immediately pounced at it without giving it time to recover.
The world paused.
And there, we saw it.
The two swords of the monster moved four times inside the Domain.
❰Domain Severance – Eight Dancing Blades❱
Eight dancing trajectories were carved onto the Domain.
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