A woman with blue hair panted as she looked around.
The mercenaries around her were laughing loudly in excitement.
Her eyes became dark at the desperate situation. Her body was practically screaming at her to rest, that she was at her limit, but it would all be over if she did.
Sonia Aquarid took pride in her swordsmanship.
From a young age she had an exceptional comprehension ability toward swordsmanship and her talent shocked the Aquarid family which had always been known to produce the most talented knights.
If she had been born as a man, she would definitely have been able to take over as the head of the family.
At 13 she was able to display Sword Aura. At 15 she was able to win in a fair duel against a Royal Knight, at 18 she was granted the title ‘Rainstorm’ by the King.
To be given a knight’s title was one of the greatest honors in the Luanoble Kingdom and it was also the first time in the history of the kingdom that someone was able to gain a title under the age of 20.
Sonia felt that she couldn’t find any more opponents and in a way it was true.
While she was dedicating her life to the sword, she suddenly got word of a marriage proposal with the Kastkau Empire.
The person was from the Jun family, one of the Three Great Noble families of the Kastkau Empire.
From generation to generation, the Luanoble Kingdom had always shared a close blood relationship with the Katskau Empire.
There had already been several similar situations where great noble families were able to form bonds through marriage.
However Sonia did not like the choice that the family had made for her.
‘All wizards are weak.’
At least, all the wizards she had met.
In all honesty, Sonia had never had a good opinion of wizards. The days when they stood in the limelight were long gone.
In fact, it was the public’s opinion that since the age of light 4000 years ago, they had been getting worse.
Even Kastkau, which had formerly had the reputation of being the Magic Empire, was currently working hard to train its own knights.
This was the era of the knights.
She had fought Battlemages from the Magic Towers before and won without much difficulty.
This led her to believe that her thoughts were not wrong.
Now she wanted to meet the people called ‘Magic Martial Artists’.
She had heard that they were people who were experts in close combat who strengthened their bodies using mana instead of aura. She felt that they would at least be more fun to fight than the boring wizards.
Sonia didn’t want to marry a man who was weaker than her, but she had no way to refuse her father’s wishes.
In the end, it was decided that she would go directly to the other family to meet them for herself.
Originally, she was supposed to use the Warp Stone.
But Sonia vehemently refused to do so. She had used a Warp Stone once when she was younger and ended up suffering from upset stomach, headaches and vomiting for more than a week.
Other than that, the only way to get to the empire was by boat or by crossing part of the Ispania Mountains.
However the weather at sea was not good and it would take much too long for her to wait for a ship when it calmed.
Inevitably, this meant that she had to go through the infamous mountain range.
With the knights from the Aquarid family, the monsters that they would find at the outskirts were no challenge at all.
After all, there were over a hundred mountains in the range, so there were still ways to avoid the truly dangerous areas.
Her convoy was made up of 10 knights and 5 servants. Sonia thought their presence was cumbersome, but in the end she decided to accept it instead of complaining.
She thought that it would be a boring trip.
But her expectations couldn’t be more wrong.
“It seems the tales of the knights of the Luanoble Kingdom are only rumors.”
A man with a scar on his face finally spoke.
There were dozens of bodies around her, including those from his party, but the man’s face was still relaxed.
The reason was quite clear however as there were still around 20 of his men around.
On the other side there were only four survivors, including Sonia.
Even then the other three were only two servants and an old knight who had retired for more than 10 years already.
‘I was careless…no.’
Even if she had been vigilant, they wouldn’t have won.
From the start there were too many enemies.
However that wasn’t the only reason. The main reason was how well prepared the enemies were.
‘They aimed for the moment we were just about to leave the mountains when we had been the most relaxed.’
By the time they’d realised what was happening, three knights had already been killed.
“What are you after?”
Sonia tried hard to speak while panting and Karles responded with a bright smile.
“You’re asking me that? Your head of course.”
He glanced over the body of the silent Sonia.
“Ah. Of course I don’t just intend to kill you. It’s always been my dream to taste a noble woman. The only daughter of the Aquarid family is the perfect partner to fulfill my dream for the first time.”
Sonia knew that her opponent was intentionally saying such things in order to affect her reasoning.
But even though her head knew that, her body couldn’t ignore it.
Her face became red after being humiliated in such a way.
“I would take my own life before giving you that chance.”
“Oho. Well that would be worth seeing. Then we’ll just have to take it out on the old man and two bitches behind you.”
“I’m confident in my torture skills. They would all beg me to kill them before 10 minutes had passed.”
The man gave her another smile and bowed slightly.
Sonia bit her lip.
‘So that’s why they kept them alive.’
It was now clear to her what their purpose was. Besides their job was to only kill Sonia.
She thought they didn’t care about it but now she realised that they did it to stop her from killing herself.
“Don’t worry Sonia. We would never be a burden.”
Luther, the retired knight and a father figure to Sonia, spoke to her with a smile. It was a smile that showed that he was already prepared for anything.
Sonia’s eyes shook. Then she closed them.
Then she looked towards the two maids.
“You will lose your lives because of my incompetence. I’m sorry.”
“It was something that I prepared for when I became a maid of the Aquarid family.”
One of the maids laughed.
“Would you please end my life by your hand? I do not want to become a toy for those beasts.”
Sonia bowed her head.
The maid’s lips were shaking slightly. Though she spoke casually, it was obvious that she was afraid to die.
Karles clicked his tongue.
‘It truly is a prestigious noble family. Even a simple maid has such a strong willpower.’
He ordered his men.
The mercenaries rushed towards them, but Sonia’s sword was much faster than their movement.
And something was even faster than her sword.
Sonia looked blankly at her hand.
The sword was not there anymore.
‘Someone took my sword.’
But it did not take her long to realise what happened.
As a knight this was the greatest humiliation, but Sonia was so focused on what happened that she did not think of that.
Instead she pondered while shaking her head.
‘Did any of them have that sort of skill…’
Didn’t that mean that they could stop her desperate suicide if they wanted to?
Despair flashed across Sonia’s face.
Just as she was about to try to bite her tongue in order to save her dignity, she realised that the mercenaries that had been previously running toward her were now looking behind her with wide eyes.
Sonia looked back and was startled immediately.
This was because there was someone behind her.
It was a sloppy man. He had messy hair, a beard that was much too long and he looked like he had not washed himself in a long time.
Although his clothes and armor were in relatively good shape, no one noticed that because of his overall messy appearance.
Sonia had never seen such an unkempt man. Nevertheless, she couldn’t open her mouth.
A sword was in the man’s right hand. The sword that Sonia had just been holding.
It was the same for the embarrassed mercenaries. They all turned to look toward the man that was standing in the center of them.
This man, Karles, the leader of the mercenary group, rolled his eyes once.
‘A ragged appearance, overgrown beard and that grey hair…’
He then spoke quietly.
“Right. So you are the ghost.”
Even after the vice captain had disappeared, members continued to vanish into thin air.
Eventually ten more had been taken by him. Some of them held key roles for this mission.
If it wasn’t for those members that had disappeared, the number of members that had been killed in this raid would’ve been reduced by half.
Frey ignored Karles’ words. Instead he looked at Sonia and returned her sword.
Sonia hurriedly received her sword. Normally she would have taken it calmly, but this was enough to show that she was not in her right mental state.
Only then did he turn to look at Karles.
“You are the leader.”
The mountain range was so large that it took him a long time to find them. In the first place, Frey had no talent for pursuit or search.
Because of this, he had not been able to clean himself since he wandered the mountain.
Karles looked back at Frey and a serious light flashed in his eyes.
So he was looking for where the camp was.
They had been there for a month so there were a lot of things to be stored. It couldn’t be neglected or it would be taken by monsters, so he had to let 10 men guard it.
“What happened to my members?”
“Exactly what you think.”
Karles’ face became cold immediately as he realized something.
This man never had any intentions of sparing them. The member’s description that he was cruel was accurate.
‘We shouldn’t give him time to cast spells.’
Karles gestured quickly.
“Aim at the wizard! Don’t approach from the front, use the trees!”
The mercenaries moved immediately.
‘A Battlemage’s power is usually equal to five B class mercenaries. We can defeat him with the amount we have now.’
At the end of his thoughts, blood splattered from a mercenary.
Karles blinked in shock.
‘What? What just happened…?’
For a moment he could only stare blankly.
Then his instinct told him that something was coming to him.
His body reacted before his mind could and he pulled his two swords up to block.
It was a spell.
It was a spell with so much power that Karles’ wrists began to throb after he managed to block it!
It seemed like he would lose grip on his swords but he gripped his teeth and endured it.
Karles was an A class mercenary.
His skills were solid and his experience was abundant. He had even fought Battlemages numerous times before.
Therefore he knew that there was a certain cooldown after a wizard casts their spells.
‘He won’t be able to keep attacking.’
The moment that his attacks paused would soon come. No, it didn’t matter if it came or not.
He still had over a dozen men around him. He was sure that they would chop off the mage’s head while he had to take a break.
…That’s what was supposed to happen.
However something was strange.
Cold sweat covered Karles’ entire body.
His legs shook and his wrist throbbed as if they were broken.
Nevertheless he refused to let go of his swords. The moment he let go was the moment he died.
‘Why hasn’t the spell ended?’
It was as if dozens of wizards were alternately shouting spells at him.
He’d been holding on for so long but what were the other guys doing!
Karles decided to take a look around despite the danger.
He immediately felt like he’d have a breakdown.
He wasn’t the only one holding his sword desperately.
All the mercenaries were being attacked by the spell!
‘Wh-, who is that man?’
Was he able to cast and control this many spells at the same time?
Even the Deputy Head of a Magic Tower that he had met before wasn’t this powerful!
It was at that moment.
The magic finally stopped.
The mercenaries lowered their hands and desperately took breaths of cold air.
Karles also lowered his hands while shouting loudly.
“Hi-, his mana should be empty! We have to kill him now!”
If this missed this chance then it was over.
Karles wasn’t confident in withstanding such a barrage again.
These words seemed to light a fire in the mercenaries who looked like they were about to fall over any moment.
The mercenaries rushed forward at the same time.
Sonia, who had been watching in a daze, hurriedly raised her sword and tried to confront them. She didn’t know who this person was, but at least he wasn’t an enemy.
Then Frey raised his hand to stop her.
“Stay back. It’s already over.”
“O-, it’s over? What…”
At that time the ground began to shake. The mercenaries gasped.
“Ea-, Earthquake! 5 star magic!”
“Da-, dammit! Let’s get out of here!”
The mercenaries struggled to escape the spell but the range was too wide. They didn’t have enough experience when facing a wizard.
Also had they been in perfect condition, they might have been able to escape. But now that they had reached their physical limit, it was impossible.
Even those who stood at the back could not escape the furious shaking.
The mercenaries were buried in the ground in no time. They tried to wrestle and dig their way out with their hands but they were soon sucked into the ground.
‘I, I can’t believe it! The magic he used so far was simply to stall for time?’
Karles was astonished as he felt the pain of rocks crushing him from every direction.
This man had kept them in check with one spell while using that chance to cast another!
He knew the wizard had been capable of double casting.
But this was the first time that he’d ever seen such a powerful double casting.
The entire mercenary group had been suppressed by a single spell before. And what was with the power of that Earthquake spell?
Rather than simply shaking and opening the ground, it had sucked them in as if the earth itself was alive.
‘Oh, oh no. In such a way…’
Karles was filled with grief, but he had no way to escape.
The shaking stopped and the ground returned to its previous appearance.
“Oh, oh my God.”
Sonia stared at the man in front of her.
Then it clicked in her brain. This man had wiped out the mercenaries in the blink of an eye.
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