Chapter 18. Van of the Cho Family (3)
Van could only wonder. In fact, he thought that he wasn’t sufficiently strong, yet, and that was true to a certain point. However, he still made all those aristocrats to focus on him.
The reason was simple.
“…He seems to be better than many of the Cho Family’s swordsmen.”
A knight murmured. In fact, many of them were murmuring similar things.
Van’s thought wasn’t wrong. He was weak. The battle between Hazleck and Van was definitely insufficient when compared to the real knights’ fights. However, Van’s swordsmanship was not.
The knights’ standard was based on whether one knew how to use the internal energy or not. To put it in another words, not every knight was a master in swordsmanship.
There were varying conditions in utilizing internal energy. Some would be able to utilize it from the birth, and some would utilize it by becoming a master. Also, by spending time in aimless way, sometimes it led one to be able to handle internal energy, and sometimes, the ability to use it was initiated from some emotional shock.
For those and other reasons, not every knight was a master of his own weapon.
Hence, as far as knights were concerned, the weapon proficiency level would only play a major role.
“He is showing that at that age…. Should he learn to control the internal energy, he will be terrifyingly good.”
“Did he say he was from Cho’s? Such a lucky family.”
“Not set in stone yet. After graduating from the academy, who knows, he might join the Royal Knights.”
For Anyae, it wasn’t all that strange to hear these conjectures from her vicinity. It was a worthy fight. The battle between Hazleck and Van was the most intense and glamorous fight in the whole tournament, so far.
“….Hazleck was fighting tooth and nails.”
Yeoryung murmured. His intensity was an indication that Hazleck was determined to not lose, in this battle.
Unlike the sparring sessions, the outcome of this fight of the tournament was not determined quickly. That was understandable as Hazleck did everything he possibly could to not lose this fight.
[You’re engaged in a sword fight against a higher level opponent.]
[The analysis speed of the sword path is being adjusted to the lowest level.]
[The path of the sword has already been analyzed.]
Seeing the same words, every time he fought Hazleck, Van raised the ends of his lips. ‘Level is high.’ That means, Hazleck was at least a level 3 star swordsman. Perhaps, 4 star.
That was believable. Unlike him who was forcefully applying internal energy into his sword, every attack maneuver by Hazleck was filled with internal energy.
In exaggerating it a bit, it felt like fighting Yeoryung. And in fact, he was using the fighting maneuvers which were used when he was fighting Yeoryung. Without directly clashing against Hazleck’s sword, he was hitting it away.
Even a minute error would lead to his arm getting severed. It was that dangerous. However, Van was composed, and it was actually Hazleck who appeared as if he was being pushed into a corner.
Hazleck ground his teeth, internally. From everyone’s perspective, he was launching overwhelming attacks, but they weren’t that effective. As every strike had to be accompanied with internal energy, he was consuming more physical and mental energies, compared to Van.
There was a reason why he wasn’t sparring in this manner against Van. He would not only get exhausted, but he could also get into trouble should Van get hurt by making an error in the utilization of the internal energy. In fact, the family did not recommend engaging in practice battles, using internal energy.
However, this was a different kind of battle. The medics were at the ready to treat the wounded, should any part of the body get severed, but mostly….This fight was worth putting one’s life on the line. To him, to Van.
Hazleck stopped attacking. If such exhaustive battle would continue, it would be work against him. The problem was that, attacking without using the internal energy, it would be very easy for him to lose to Van without even putting him at bay.
‘…..How is he able to hit away internal energy engulfed attacks without even using internal energy?’
Based on whether one was using internal energy or not made much difference in the sword speed, power, and even the sword’s power.
Of course, Van’s sword wasn’t directly making contacts with his, but more like hitting it away or pushing it away….Yet.
‘Do I have to use that skill?’
Van said. Sweat dripped from his face, but he was perspiring less compared to Hazleck whose entire body was dripping wet. Van fixed his long sword holding position as he got ready.
“If not, I’ll attack.”
Hazleck slowly opened his mouth.
“I have a skill. A skill which I’ve never shown you.”
“Why are you mentioning that?”
“It’s not quite perfect, yet. So…I can’t control its power, ‘just right’, yet.”
Hazleck gripped his long sword with both hands. He gave a blurred smile, sweating profusely.
“So, even if you get killed, do not resent me.”
Light flashed. Van instinctively stepped back. He distanced himself so that he did not necessarily need to hit away Hazleck’s sword. That’s how he thought.
And, it was the next moment when he realized that he made an error. Although he swung his sword with all his might, at the last minute, and slightly changed the path….Ultimately, Van suffered a rather deep wound on his chest.
And Hazleck did not give Van the time, or chance to understand what had just happened.
‘He will get used to it. That’s how he is.’
Van was, undeniably, a genius. No matter how new a sword skill was used against him, it didn’t even take too long before Van could fully analyze it.
This immediate offensive maneuver would be the same. It was slightly different from swordsmanship, but it would only be a skill with a slight bonus element, as far as Van was concerned.
The skill’s effect was simple. At the tip of the sword’s edge, it was to elongate the transparent tip of the sword’s edge by condensing internal energy there.
If he thought the distance separating them was sufficient, the length would be changed again, and by repeating it as many times, and pushing the opponent until the opponent could not estimate the safe distance.
In fact, materializing internal energy was still quite a challenge to Hazleck. His heart was hurting as if it was about to explode, and his legs and arms were numb.
However, he did not have any intention to complain. He already knew, from long ago, that worrying about his own safety when battling a genius opponent was futile.
Just look at the Cho Family. They were demonstrating giant’s power from an early age, so how could one beat them by training in the same way as they did.
Van wasn’t different, either. Although he did not possess the power of a giant, he possessed the talent which all of the world’s swordsmen envied. Thinking about beating him without any injury was a vanity.
Swing the sword. The fact that he caused a wound on Van was telling him that there, at least, was a possibility for him. Perhaps, by hurrying it a bit. Before Van could analyze it. Before Van could understand it. Just a bit more quickly.
And he understood. It was too late. In no time, his sword no longer made contact with Van. His sword was slowing down. And Van’s sword was moving faster, instead…..
In no time, it was making contact with his throat.
Someone said as if to be sighing. Their responses weren’t new to Yeoryung. Even the senior members of the Cho Family reacted in similar ways when they watched Van, too.
‘Referred as a gemstone. A boulder sized gemstone.’
And quickly, that gemstone has been chiseled, and was slowly becoming a jewel.
It wasn’t a surprise that Hazleck lost. It was true that Hazleck usually lost the practice fights, but given similar skill levels, it was hard to imagine Van losing. In fact, even she could not defeat Van, these days. Of course, the outcome might be different, should she tried with all her might though….
It was somewhat shocking when Hazleck materialized internal energy. In fact, the nearby spectators were saying that he might actually win with such a skill level.
However, even that was not enough to sway her certainty that Van would be victorious.
And, in fact, Van had even analyzed Hazleck’s internal energy. Watching him calibrate the safe distance by analyzing the invisible length of the sword….even she, who had the Cho Family’s monstrous powers, could not help feel insufficient.
‘He wanted to be the world’s most powerful swordsman. Van.’
Would he know it.
The reason why everyone here was so much in shock was not just because he was only strong.
They were all watching the same thing which she was watching.
That that young lad, who was standing in the coliseum, might, in fact, had the potential of being the ‘world’s best.’
The round of 16 has ended. Now, only three battles remained.
It only took three times for the citizens of Citadel to notice the Van’s name.