LTBE - Chapter 400: The One to Determine Fate (1)
Never had Leinster’s streets and alleys been so empty before.
The tickets for the colosseum ran out within seconds, forcing people to acquire tickets at the other broadcasting locations instead. The betting houses and taverns were packed tighter than sardines in a can.
Tension could be felt in the air as everyone waited with bated breaths for the finals to begin.
Majestic music played as Leinster’s colosseum welcomed the stars for today with great fanfare. Four chariots entered the field under the accompaniment of magnificent music, prompting roaring cheers from the audience.
Selina, Kurt, Brittany, Juliana, and the others watched the chariots with solemn looks from the challengers’ sector. At the teaching staff’s sector, Alicia clenched her fists tightly out of nervousness, and Chris couldn’t hold back her urge for a smoke.
Paul and Geralt sat amongst the members of the Bluerose Faction as they led the members on resounding cheers. Next to them sat Charlotte and the members of the Redrose Faction. On a rare whim, she decided not to divine the results of the match but instead witness its proceedings with her own eyes.
It started off with Lilian and Teresa’s battle.
This time around, there was no sudden bout of luck from either side. The chosen field was an ordinary forested terrain, and the results were as the crowd expected.
With greater ground to maneuver around, Lilian was able to effectively deploy her army around the field and put them to good use. In response, Teresa maneuvered around the field with great finesse, launching frightening spells every now and then.
It was just that Lilian’s army was far too much for a single person to deal with. While Teresa was busy kiting the knights, the magician platoon was able to channel a large-scale military spell that ended the battle with its overwhelming destructive might.
The crowd might have anticipated the outcome, but the battle was still a thrilling one to watch. It piqued everyone’s interest, and both fighters received resounding applause from the crowd when they were teleported out of the dungeon.
The Austinean spectators were exhilarated to get one over the Knight Kingdom after the previous infuriating defeat, and the crowd looked forward to the next battle.
Under everyone’s gaze, a black-haired young man and a fully-armored knight walked onto the field. Deafening cheers immediately broke out from the supporters of both sides, overpowering even the voices of the referee. The referee had no choice but to wave his hands in an attempt to calm the crowd down.
Roel appeared to be unfazed by the huge commotion around him. He locked his eyes on William and spoke words that surprised the latter.
“Cast away your reservations and give it your all. This is a once-in-a-lifetime tournament. No matter what, we shouldn’t leave any regrets here.”
After saying those words, he turned his sights toward the spectator stand. He didn’t know whether his conversation with Teresa had stirred any changes in William’s thoughts or not, but they were now standing at the most prestigious dueling ring with countless eyes on them. It was only basic manners for them to bring out everything they had, be it to their supporters or their opponent.
William agreed with that too.
“… I’ll give it my all.”
“Let’s decide everything with this fight then,” declared Roel with an air of indomitability.
William’s fighting spirit also blazed.
When the spectators finally calmed down, the organizing committee began announcing the rules once more.
The finals of the Challenger Cup had always been the most heated battle for the tournament, such that it wasn’t uncommon for injuries to occur. As an additional safety precaution, the organizing committee had decided to double both of their substitution magic tools from five to ten.
After a quick explanation, the crystal ball placed in the center of the field lit up once more. Countless spectators found themselves holding their breaths in nervousness.
This time around, it was not the referee but a respected old man who was in charge of drawing the field. Antonio walked down from the VIP stand with his robe and stepped onto the field. He first smiled at Roel and William before placing his hand on the crystal ball.
“I’ll be selecting the field now,” he said.
The scenery in the crystal ball projected outward and swiftly changed. In the end, it stopped at a crimson mountainous terrain.
“32nd Field, Charred Mountain.”
Most of the spectators cheered aloud, gladdened that there was no overwhelming disadvantage for both sides with the choice of terrain.
Roel began recalling the traits of Charred Mountain.
Charred Mountain was known for its hot climate and red soil. Its land was barren, and the lack of greenery meant that cover was limited. Similar to the field between Roel and Kurt, this terrain allowed little room to lay an ambush.
There were some boulders scattered sporadically around the area that could be used as cover, but of course, those boulders couldn’t hope to fend against the sheer piercing power of William’s Swordheart. Attempting to hide behind these boulders would only hinder his own vision, making it harder for him to deal with William’s attacks.
Ironically, the safest option was a frontal confrontation.
Roel narrowed his eyes as the two of them were transported to the battlefield.
A battlefield that was so red that it looked like it was burning—it was a fitting battlefield for their showdown since it reflected their feelings as well.
The fighting wills of the two fighters were crackling quietly.
William had been conflicted between the values repeatedly instilled into her over the years and her own personal desires, and she sought an answer from Roel. On the other hand, Roel had resolved himself to sever the chains shackling William.
It was his fundamental belief that a person should govern their own fate.
The restrictive traditions of the old era should be done away with, and those who had been shackled should be liberated. It should all begin from this instant.
The two of them stared at each other from afar across the charred land. None of them were moving a step, but their mana pulsations gushed outward like massive waves and collided at the center point between them.
It was impossible to see William’s expression under her full-body armor, but her presence felt piercingly sharp.
This must be the so-called ‘Sword Intent’ I’ve read so much about in the novels from my previous life,
This was the first time Roel was experiencing something like this, and it was terrifying. He felt like a guillotine was looming above his neck, and it heaped so much pressure on him that he actually felt phantom pain all over his body.
This showed just how far William had polished his Swordheart.
I can’t let him draw his sword.
Such a thought arose in Roel’s mind upon sensing the dangerous vibe coming from William. He immediately channeled his mana and called for his companion.
“Am I the first one up, my hero? I must say, this is a nice change of pace since I’m usually reserved for the finale… though this does pose some trouble.”
A white-haired witch answered his summon with a merry smile. She assessed the enemy with her madder red eyes before making her move.
The moment the Witch Queen raised her hand, the surroundings started to go crazy.
She manifested a blinding mana sphere in her hand and tightly compressed it. It was a perfectly ordinary action, but the sheer mana she was manipulating was so great that it raised a violent whirlwind around her. It was a formidable feat that won her excited cheers from the crowd in the colosseum.
Despite the cheering from the crowd. Artasia didn’t release the deceptively simple spell she was manifesting on her palm. In truth, this was nothing more than the first step of her preparations.
As she slowly raised the blinding mana sphere, a reversal occurred.
The blinding light retreated into the mana sphere as the darkness hidden at its core took over and began expanding outward. This darkness was destructive in nature, and it bared its fangs at the knight who stood in its path.
The emerging darkness brought terror and death to the world with it. It was incomprehensible and fear-inducing. Those who laid their eyes upon it were inevitably intimidated by this sinister phenomenon. Even the spectators at the colosseum gasped in shock.
Yet, the knight who stood in the face of the darkness showed nary a reaction at all, almost as if he had fallen asleep.
It wasn’t because William had chosen to give up or was putting on an act. Instead, she was in the midst of tempering her own Swordheart.
What is Swordheart?
It is the manifestation of one’s will, a sword created by one’s intentions.
William was using her burning fighting will as a furnace to further temper her Sword Intent.
In her subconsciousness, she could vaguely hear the sound of a hammer striking down on a sword. Those words Roel had spoken that night flashed across her mind, and her raging emotions and heart gradually calmed down.
She reaffirmed her will to protect, and her Swordheart resonated in response to her feelings. Under the influence of her Swordheart, her disposition underwent a sharp change.
The darkness was still swiftly pressing in her direction, reminiscent of a humongous mouth seeking to devour everything. Right before it was about to reach her, she made a move.