Published at 29th of December 2018 09:36:41 AM
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Chapter 113
Jun Marda .

He looked like the ideal image of a knight in shining armour; soft and short brown hair that fell perfectly across his brow, straight and piercing green eyes full of courage and spirit, a tall and well-fleshed-out muscular frame and dressed in light plate mail armour .

A sword hung by his hip - longer than a longsword but shorter than a two-handed one .

As the start of the fight was declared, Lars decided that he shouldn't look down on his new opponent .

He bowed slightly as a sign of respect then unsheathed his sword and smiled politely to his foe as he stood ready to clash blades .

He held his own longsword lightly in his right hand, balanced in the palm of his hand . As the original Brightstar was a national-level or Legendary artefact, he had not brought it in with him into this match . In addition, he had also left Moira's ring with Boa so as not to be accused of cheating - just in case the ring with its strong emanations of power were identified to be a high-level artefact as well .

As he needed new equipment for the tournament, he had excuse to go shopping!

He frequented a couple of stores during the past two days and gloated over the fact that the price tags were now dirt cheap to him!

What was 15, 30 or even 500 platinum coins to him when he now numbered his wealth in the millions?!?

He had laughed like a mad scientist as he revelled in the feeling of being filthy rich - that is, until he wept when he realised he was going to be forced to part ways with his hard earned cash! When it came time to pay the 1,999 platinum coins and 99 gold, 99 silver and 99 coppers for the enchanted sword, he fiercely haggled with the shopkeeper like a miser and spent (wasted) nearly half an hour just wrangling over the prices .

In the end, the shopkeeper threatened to kick him out if he didn't buy it and dared him to find another shop with equal quality goods at such a low price . . . And Lars took him up on his dare .

. . . Only to return in the evening of the same day dejected and depressed as he grudgingly handed over the money with trembling hands . . .

Snapping out of his traumatic flashback of the moment when he was forced to relinquish his precious money, he came back to the present and kept a stiff smile plastered on his face .

His moderately-armoured opponent bowed to him too, showing the spirit of a warrior as he bent his body in a deep bow, smiled and drew his one-and-a-half-handed bastard sword .

Though the weapon should have been hefty and heavy, Jun Marda made it look light as he wielded it once handed and twirled it around in a display of his skills . He showed deft movements and drew a graceful arc through the air with the tip of the blade as he took a stance that was equally able to attack and defend .

"En garde!!" He yelled as he advanced swiftly despite the weighty armour on his body; clearly he did not lack in any of speed, strength OR skill!

Lars smiled as he realised that this would be a good fight and one through which he could hone his sword arts as well as his understanding of the concepts of space and time . This would be helped (?) also by the fact that his 17-year-old foe was a full realm above him at the beginning Elite-level .

Lars smiled sheepishly . Helped . . . In the sense that, otherwise, there would be no challenge, right . . . ?

He held his sword before him in a one-handed fencer's stance and readied for his approaching opponent .

Jun Marda feinted first to the right, then to the left - before he suddenly converted his feint into a real strike that went whistling straight for Lars' shoulder!

'F-Fast! How unexpected!' Lars' eyes widened as he had seen the large sword and deemed it to be unwieldy, but was proven wrong as the edge of the blade sliced through the air towards him .

He quickly lifted his sword to parry the blow and winced when he received it - at the same time as it was swift, Jun Marda's fast slash was also not light at all! As Lars was only exerting his peak-Adept level strength right now, even with his minotaur's strength exerted (passive mode), he was nearly knocked off balance and could barely resist the pressure from the young knight!

He kept up his resistance, now gripping the slightly longer than normal longsword with two hands as both the blade and his arms began to shake from the exertion .

But he was smiling - how rare was it for him to have a good fight like this . . . ? It had been so long since his last good spar, not since the times he had sparred against Gardner . . .

At the sudden memory of his former best friend and big bro, Lars' mood turned dark and melancholic, a stark change from his earlier cheerful state . Jun Marda noticed this, but took it to mean that the younger and smaller boy was unnerved by his stunning display of both speed, strength and control .

Jun kept a serious gaze in his eyes as he smiled inwardly and felt his blood pumping .

'I can do this! I just need to tie him up and not let him open a gap - as long as he can't utilise his magic and spells, I'll be able to prevail! I can do this! Come on, Jun boy!' The teenage knight cheered himself on, pumping himself up with his inner monologue as he changed his stance .

"Take this! CROSS SLASH!!!" He shifted his feet from a pushing position to an open-stanced one . Then his arm muscles bulged as he stirred up his blood energy and launched two fierce slashes; one from the top right slashing diagonally down and to the left and the other intersecting with it in the middle, from the top left to the bottom right . . .

This then formed a gleaming X-shaped sword light: the trademark knight's move, Cross Slash!

Lars' eyes narrowed instead of widening; he took the boy seriously as he realised that he had already mastered a move normally only learned by knights in their mid-20s and at the Master stage! His feet turned ephemeral and illusory as he backpedalled swiftly to make some distance between himself and the valiant knight .

Then he raised his sword up before his face, the edge of the straight blade almost touching his nose and brow, almost as if though he were holding it up in a prayer to some higher power .

'Time to try out my new move!'

'What new move??? Since when did you even practise of prepare a new move???' Two incredulous house-pets' voices resounded in his mind, but he quickly rebuffed them in an evilly irritating way .

' . . . Secret . '

Then his eyes narrowed even further as, despite his light-hearted response, he began to recall the weight of his responsibilities and the mission he had before him . . .

And also the loved ones he had lost, and those he could not afford to lose . . . !

'My earth . . . My brothers and sisters . . . Moira . . . What's wrong with me . . . ? What's come over me? How could I forget . . . What really matters to me in life???'

The soul imprint of Greed began to waver slightly in Lars' soul but nothing significant happened after that as his consciousness seemed to clear slightly . It was almost as if though a veil had been over his mind for nearly a week or two now, and as if though a soothing summer's rain had fallen to wash away the haze over him!

"WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!?" A roar exploded before him and Lars was suddenly drawn back to the battle upon him - and the flashing cross-shaped sword lights about to slice him apart!

Jun Marda and his Cross Slash skill had almost connected on him and was only 1 metre away!

Lars' eyes did not waver . A deep and firm conviction filled his soul and he felt something forming within him, a sense of power and strength that arose anew and instilled him in a way he had not felt before and words floated in his mind unbidden .

'Charity . . . Charity . . . . ?'

' . . . . Living for someone else . . . ?' His eyes wavered and firmed up, shook and focused again and again in the span of just a few split seconds . He felt confused and felt his heart shaken .

'W-wait!!! DEFEND!!!' Lars' dilated eyes suddenly focused once more as he held his sword tightly .

If not for the fact that Lars' soul-imprint of Insight gave him 10 times faster thinking speed, he would have already been chopped apart 5 times over by now . However, thanks to his bullet-train mind, he regained his spirit and released his newly invented counter-attack just in time before the Cross Slash crashed into him!

"The Eye . . . Of the Storm!!!"

A serious and worried look crossed Jun Marda's face as Lars' raised sword descended swiftly . . .

But to his surprise, the younger boy's blade did not strike at him, but missed him completely, the sword's tip descending to touch the ground instead!

'What the--' His eyes grew wider in shock as he was confused . Had the continent-level genius made a fatal mistake?? Jun Marda's heart raced crazily as he wondered if he should withdraw his Cross Slash, as he feared that his Elite-level strikes would instantly kill the boy!

But he needn't have bothered entertaining such a thought; not against the super-genius Lars!

To his shock, the X-shaped sword lights from his skill dissipated suddenly - before he felt the space and world around him *TWIST* violently and rip through his sword, armour, blood energy, aura and into his skin and body!

"ARGHHH!!!" He felt as if though he were swallowed up by a whirlpool, only, one that was spinning through the air and dragging him into its depths . Along with the intense suction force and spinning force was the most serious of the effects - a rending twisting pressure that burst apart all his defences and covered him in countless bloody wounds in the blink of an eye!

Almost instantly after the wounds began to appear, the whirlwind-like attack was forcefully dispelled by Mr White who shot forward like a comet to rescue him before he was too seriously wounded!

And just in time too, as Jun Marda had already lost consciousness just from the slightest exposure to the space-law sword move!

As Mr White held the bleeding Jun Marda and quickly cast healing spells to stabilise his condition, he looked over to Lars with an approving look and announced the result .

"Total victory! Your winner, Lars!"

The crowds could not quite fathom what they had just seen and were still in stunned silence when the white-haired man declared those words . The fight had been short but very, very tense . Even though there were only a few moves, the awesome display of power from both contestants was mind-blowing!

Slowly, one member of the audience after another began to clap their hands and begin to cheer . Soon, the lonely claps turned into a sea of roars and thunderous applause .

Once again, they had been given a spectacular show by the young and yet infinitely magnificent Lars!

* * * * *

While this was happening, Darius turned away from the scene of Lars' victory . He had an unreadable expression on his face as he looked into the air .

And plotted how he would bring Lars to his knees, by hook or by crook . . . !