Volume 4 Chapter 98 – The Cosmos Arena (9)
[Translator – jhei]
[Proofreader – yukitokata]
The two had stopped moving, but the audience continued to shout and scream.
Even though the tables had turned significantly, with hope in their bets, the people contributed to the loud noise.
Jin’s words were overpowered by the wild crowd, and the two just stood and stared.
—Don’t go easy on me.
Hearing those words, Dante felt embarrassed.
‘Yeah… It could look like that.
It could look like I’m going easy on you.’
In whatever situation, refusing to hurt the opponent meant failure as a warrior.
That was disgraceful while confronting an enemy, and even more disrespectful in front of a worthy opponent.
‘Is there anything more embarrassing than going easy on an opponent that I value’
The problem wasn’t whether or not to use his secret technique.
It was whether or not he would try his best without hesitation.
Ending the battle without doing so would be pointless regardless if he won or lost.
“I apologize for showing such disgrace.
Let’s start anew.”
Dante pointed his sword at Jin, meaning to tap swords to represent respect for each other.
Jin used his sword to tap Dante’s, emitting a soft musical sound of metal hitting metal.
And at that moment, they experienced a weird feeling.
The shouts and screams grew faint, like an echo traveling in a canyon.
Their surroundings blurred and gradually became dark.
In their world, it was just the two of them, standing in front of each other.
They both trusted that either one of them would put up an exhilarating fight.
They didn’t need to talk to share this feeling.
It was a common hallucination that swordmasters enter when dueling their rival.
“Then let’s begin.”
They simultaneously took a deep breath.
It was difficult to tell who struck first as they clashed swords.
Unlike their respectful sword taps in the beginning, the impact of their blades caused blinding sparks to scatter.
Sounds akin to explosions, the screech of metallic friction, and wind echoing throughout; aura flickering everywhere.
As if his exhaustion was a lie, Dante swung his sword more energetically than before.
Jin, as well, channeled the rest of his energy in his attacks with a shout.
Because of the impact, blood and sand splattered and sprayed throughout the arena.
In a moment where they should be cheering, the crowd grew quiet from shock.
In their eyes, the two fighting teens looked like giants, and they didn’t dare to blink lest they would miss a moment of the fight.
It had been ten years since the arena had opened, but they never had a moment like this.
The spectators—who originally came to watch a cruel slaughterfest—were now blessed with a spectacle.
They were witnessing a duel between two talented knights.
At this point, the gambling aspect of the arena became irrelevant.
Of course, once the battle finished, some would be laughing, and some would be crying.
Still, as of this moment, everyone was astonished by the fight.
‘Maybe I kind of underestimated Dante.
I was sure he was exhausted, but where did this power come from…!’
Blood dripped from Jin’s lip.
He was too busy deflecting Dante’s attacks to notice that he had been biting his lip.
Dante’s feel for the sword was a god-given talent, but his strength and stamina were painfully average.
No, how much effort did this undersized boy—who was born with below-average physical traits—put into training How many times did he kneel in despair before overcoming his fatal flaw
Those who trained until death could notice the amount of effort in others.
As for Jin in his past life, he remembered the seemingly eternal hell of being unable to overcome the 1-star wall despite having the Runcandels’ blessed body.
So he could easily picture Dante’s past.
Him curled up like a little ball in a dark training room, staring at his small and frail body in the mirror with distress.
He who trained and whipped himself until he was on the verge of death and exhaustion.
And in all those moments, he never let go of his sword.
Just like his own past life.
However, unlike the past Jin, Dante persisted through each hardship.
‘Makes me shed a tear.’
Dante’s hoarse and husky voice was born from all of the shouts and screams he channeled in order to overcome his challenges.
Dante began to tremble.
From wandering through hopelessness to becoming the prospective successor of the Hairan Clan and having the motivation to try harder and harder after each tiring day.
Simply because he was one with his sword.
If he weren’t, even if he were a noble in an empire, life would merely be a boring stage play.
Dante was like that.
Runcandel’s thirteenth young master.’
As each strike of the blade vibrated throughout his body, Dante thought about Jin.
‘You were born with everything you needed.’
The bloodline of every knights’ dream.
A durable body that came from the blessed bloodline.
Jin—who became a 5-star at the age of 15 and was now 16—could face Dante head-on.
The most talented among the talented.
‘Why am I feeling desperation from you, then Despite being born into a world considered a heaven for knights, you act as if you’ve been watching this heavenly world from afar.
‘Why are you so desperate Why, despite being born with everything, do you have such emotions dyed in your blade Is it because being the heir to the throne is far from reach as the youngest son No, you are not an earthly being to fuss about hierarchy… Is it just to become the best in the world Or is it because you had lived many days of hopelessness and despair Are you saying you had more days of anguish than I did
‘Who are you, Jin Runcandel …No, it doesn’t matter who you are.
Today… is the day I prove that my efforts weren’t in vain.’
As he exerted force into his sword’s handle, Dante could feel cracks crawling throughout the bones in his hands.
Excruciating pain traversed his body, yet he didn’t falter.
Instead, he smiled.
Every time he swung his sword, his bones would suffer from more fissures, but his movements didn’t change in the slightest—not even his shoulders, chest, waist, and feet.
Although his stance began to fall apart, Dante did not despise his weak body.
‘I’m just fighting because I love to.’
Dante was smiling as Jin began to dominate the battle.
He knew he couldn’t do anything about it.
‘Dante’s body… is falling apart’
While Jin felt the sword closer than his skin, he could feel Dante’s exhaustion through each clash of their swords.
Once he felt that his victory was within reach, Jin felt anger more than joy.
‘Why are you not using your clan’s decisive killing move! Are you hiding another skill that I don’t know about’
He was wrong.
Dante staggered back, looking as if he were a beast that had used all of its energy.
Although his eyes glimmered with a burning fighting spirit, he was truly on the verge of fainting.
‘You definitely had the chance.
You still don’t hesitate to slash me, so why…’
It was now Jin’s turn to decide.
‘Do I slash him, or do I not’
He didn’t need to think for long.
‘Putting away my sword would mean disrespecting you.’
Jin swung a horizontal swipe.
Dante deflected the blow, but his body shook.
Barely maintaining his balance, Dante felt more bones breaking in his body.
Before he could turn his head and track Jin’s movements, Bradamante was already on its second strike.
Thankfully, there was hesitation in the blade.
‘You bastard! Why!’
Gritting his teeth, Jin changed the trajectory of his swing, which was supposed to slash through Dante’s chest.
Because he forced his sword to move unnaturally, his hands cramped up.
Bradamante flew out of Jin’s hands, and Dante aimed his sword towards Jin’s throat.
It looked like it was purposefully aimed.
However, before he could even thrust it, his body lost all control.
In fact, Dante had already lost consciousness before Jin’s second attack.
Dante fell on the dirt floor.
Jin rapidly blinked and breathed coarsely as he stared down at him.
Time seemed to stop in the ensuing silence.
At that moment, the audience held their breath.
And as for Jin, he had many complex feelings.
Victory aside, millions of complicated emotions heated his body.
He prayed that Dante didn’t die.
However, he was certain that he died, but he felt a little scared to check.
Instinctively, he sat on the ground beside his body and checked for his pulse.
Jin couldn’t feel anything due to his own blood pumping through his fingers.
‘We have to call a doctor…!’
The moment he tried to yelp for a doctor or anyone who could treat Dante, an audience member jumped out of the spectator area and into the arena.
Bodyguards followed the teenager into the arena.
Beradin Zipfel’s hands glowed with a warm, green light as he sprinted on the dirt.
He was already preparing a healing spell halfway through the battle, worried that he would lose either one of his friends.
“Don’t worry, I’ll save him!”
Beradin kneeled beside Dante and chanted a spell.
Then he cast two more.
Beradin had cast three healing spells consecutively, displaying his insane talent for magic.
However, at this very moment, Jin was only concerned about Dante.
Beradin’s expression didn’t look great as he chanted the spell.
Not even ten seconds had passed, yet his entire body was drenched in sweat.
Jin wondered how much mana he channeled.
Even though he was using a spell that could instantly heal a fatal wound, Dante’s eyes were not opening.
While Jin and Beradin’s hearts ached, the young Zipfel lowered his hands and shook his head.
This isn’t something that could be healed with magic…!’
All of Dante’s insides were messed up.
Not a single bone was intact.
In fact, his broken body was burning with aura.
Not even Holy King Mikellan could revive him with a miracle.
Beradin whispered Jin’s name.
‘Beradin, Dante is—’
This will stay between the three of us.’
Following his words, Beradin revealed something from his cloak.