Chapter 49:

Al and Hydrick III

Sword Quest

Fueled by the strong memories given to him by Al, Tess, and his brother Hedric, the Knight pushed through Pursia’s unrelenting attacks, delivering one crushing blow after another.

Pursia met the attacks with equal force and utilized his blade’s longer range to angle out and chip through the Knight’s armor with precise counters. However, Hydrick pressed on, fighting his way inside the Red Wolf General’s range. Loading up and roaring, he delivered his strongest blow yet, Pursia responding in kind.

The two swords clashed, grinding piercingly against each other. The men struggled to push the other back, their heels digging into the sand, until the tension broke and the swords finally slid apart. In that moment, while their blades seemingly glided away from them, they both reared an arm back.

Their fists crashed simultaneously into each other’s helmets with enough force to send the headwear flying back. The crumpled helmets rolled to a halt while the two men recovered their posture, glaring fiercely into each other’s eyes.

“Your head and neck… you aren’t near as big as that armor or your strength makes you out to be,” Pursia groaned in a deep voice, ignoring the sweat dripping down his disheveled black-brown hair and fiery red eyes.

“That’s exactly why strength isn’t measured in attributes,” Hydrick answered, his sweat-matted long blond hair shaking with his every breath.

“Maybe so, but your elder brother was aided by his great physique. I can tell that you, on the other hand, have not become any stronger than you were six years ago on the day you managed to overpower me.”

“I may not have grown in stature…” Hydrick answered, slowly removing his upper body armor and torn cape to reveal his thin, gangly torso and arms. “But as I said before, you do not know the measure of my strength,” he continued with higher volume, raising his sword at his enemy.

“Then let’s see if one of us will measure higher before we run out of time,” Pursia said with a thin smile, tossing aside his own upper body armor and raising his sword in turn.

The crowd of soldiers surrounding the duel were being pushed further inward, closer to the fighters. As their blades met, however, the crowd’s attention was shifting elsewhere.


“IT’S HERE! CHARGE INTO THE GAP!!” Al roared at his men, fire in his eyes as he led them into the thick of the chaotic battle lines.

Changing course so suddenly, the horsemen were forced to grind through dense lines of soldiers. Hundreds of blades churned as they fought to cut off the path of the approaching enemy head.

Al felt like he was trudging through mud as the thicket of soldiers swarmed their charge from all sides. However, he continued hacking a path forward using his great curved Dao broadsword.

“Come on, men, we’ve never met an enemy we couldn’t cut a path into! The goal lies ahead! Glory lies at the head of the enemy charge! DEVOUR THESE MEN AND HAVE YOUR GLORY!”

The sound of the cavalry stampede intensified as the men roared out, tearing through the enemy lines and spreading flesh and blood in their wake.

Al found his goal in sight and made the final adjustment toward it, cutting through three enemies at the same time. The last few lines of soldiers opened up just as the enemy head streaked by.

The curly-headed general looked into Al’s eyes with a blank expression, as if calmly waiting for Al to make his move—unperturbed by the collision course they were on.

With a heave, Al threw his heavy blade directly at the general’s horse. As it found its home in the horse’s chest, the general briskly leapt into the air. Al’s horse crashed into his, creating a chain reaction as the two opposing charges collided into one another. The curly-headed man disappeared amidst the chaos as soldier and horse alike scattered into bloody piles.

Al immediately crashed into the ground, flung far from his horse. As bodies rolled in layers above him, he spat dirt out of his mouth and fought his way through the pile and back to his feet, blood trickling from his head and neck.

The area around him looked like the aftermath of an explosion. Dust and dirt spread over hundreds of felled horses as the surviving combatants re-formed into messy skirmishes.

The dust cleared around Al, revealing an approaching figure. The curly-haired general trotted toward him, twirling his long red spear loosely. The spring in his step indicated that he had come out of the devastating collision completely unscathed. He smirked at Al, looking unbothered by the fighting around them.

“You must be 3,000 Man Commander Al,” Shuant said, his deep voice laced with amusement.

“You made a mistake in coming here, Shuant,” Al responded, voice quivering with anticipation as he stepped forward.

“On the contrary, you weren’t the target tonight, but your spirit at least makes you a worthy kill,” the tall man replied with an unnervingly calm expression as he cut the distance down to several meters.

His spear rose slowly, almost hypnotically as he approached. Al withdrew his dual blades from his back, eyes brimming with excitement.

I couldn’t have asked for a better chance than this...

Everything started with this man… he’s behind everything…

Hydrick’s brother… the war itself…

If I kill him here, I’ll end it!

To do that… I don’t care if I have to—what?!

In that instant, Shuant dashed at him, erasing the distance faster than Al could comprehend.