While fighting empty handed wasn't something Kurdak found difficult, the old saying, 'even the strongest martial artist fears a kitchen knife' was an immutable fact. As if that wasn't bad enough, the guy wielding the 'kitchen knife' Kurdak had to face was stronger than him in terms of martial prowess.
While Leguna owned Flameblade, a relatively better weapon, it was obvious that a sixth-stratum rookie like him wouldn't pose much of a threat to Orwen. And Vera without her bow and arrows was a defanged tiger. Orwen felt rather confident about dealing with the situation despite being outnumbered three to one.
Loud cheers and cries rang out from around them. It had been quite a long time since someone dared to let a fight break out within the Association. Now that one had, regardless of the reason, the mercenaries that revelled in chaos cheered and fanned the fires.
"Hey, Kurdak, give that son of a bitch a good beating!" cried one mercenary.
While Kurdak's party was independent and didn't belong to any faction, its three members were considered elites. That aside, Kurdak's good reputation and casual attitude gave him quite a name in the Association, so many who were present recognized him at first glance.
Orwen didn't get along with others as well as Kurdak did. However, his usage of the cruelest killing methods possible made him almost as infamous as Kurdak was famous. Most people only showed support for Kurdak after recognizing the two parties involved.
While the Association forbade fights, they wouldn't go out of their way to stop an incident. Instead, they only demanded the sides involved take responsibility for their actions after the fact. So, after seeing the incident break out, all the mercenaries in the building's three floors came to watch the rare occurrence like a show.
Orwen wasn't disturbed by the jeers he received. Frankly speaking, he didn't have much of a grudge against Kurdak. However, given his calculative personality, while he wouldn't go out of his way to stalk and assassinate him from the shadows, he was more than willing to give him a public beating and put him in his place.
Leguna began to cool down as he remembered his own abilities were still far from comparable to his 'fellow guildmate'. So, he did his best to calm his impulses and tried to make the most natural decision he could.
Toying around with the two daggers in his hands, Orwen didn't seem like he intended to attack at all. However, those who understood him knew the situation could turn bloody the moment he moved.
Kurdak made the first move. Orwen's casual attitude had enraged him considerably, and since Leguna had already lashed out, he no longer had a reason to hold back. He rushed up to Orwen and sent his sandbag-sized fist covered with a layer of impetus flying towards his face.
The slender assassin merely smirked and lashed out with both dagger-wielding hands. They curved in an incredibly odd manner, sending the tips straight at Kurdak's heart. He hurriedly twisted his body to evade the strikes. The moment he dodged, Leguna appeared and swung the gleaming Flameblade in an arc trailing towards Orwen's daggers, intent on breaking them by relying on his relatively tougher enchanted weapon.
Naturally, Orwen wouldn't let that fly. He quickly swerved around the kid to Kurdak's front, sending his impetus-infused dagger in an arc at his throat. Having just done a sudden evasive maneuver, Kurdak couldn't do much to respond. Leguna's strike caught only air and he wasn't able to retract and turn back in time. At the very last moment, the throwing knife Vera flung forced Orwen back.
"Don't forget this ole gal here."
Apart from being rather adept at archery, Vera was also the most skilled at using smaller, concealable weapons in the party. While she hadn't brought her bow along, she still carried a few throwing knives for self-defense.
Even though Orwen was forced to duck, the corner of his lips curved upwards into a snicker mid-jump. Leguna, who saw it clear as day, couldn't help but feel something was off. As expected, Orwen accelerated momentarily and appeared next to Vera in a flash, his dagger swung towards her lower body in an underhanded angle. While the strike probably wouldn't kill her, it would definitely hurt far more than actually dying.
Suddenly becoming the target of the enemy, Vera was at a loss of what to do. She attempted to duck, but how could she evade Orwen's lightning-fast strike? Fortunately, Leguna managed to rush over and push Vera away, suffering a wound on his left shoulder in the process. He disregarded his injury and continued to wave his dagger in an attempt to attack.
Orwen's ethereal footwork was on full display again. The surrounding mercenaries let out gasps. He blurred before he reappeared behind Leguna and pressed one of his razor-sharp daggers against his neck. A look of frenzied viciousness flashed across his face. He knew Vera already had her throwing knife drawn and the that he was about to be struck from the rear with full force by Kurdak. However, the strikes wouldn't cost him his life, so he continued to hold the youth confidently.
No longer hesitating to go all out, he exerted force in his right hand and readied himself for the sweet sensation of blade piercing flesh.
Clink! The sound of an object knocking against metal rang out. Both Vera's throwing knife and Orwen's dagger were knocked on the ground. Kurdak was struck on his knee and couldn't help but stop in his tracks. Orwen twisted his head hatefully and felt his bloodlust consume him more and more. Someone coming out of nowhere to mess up his big show enraged him greatly.
But when he saw the person in question, he couldn't help but feel a chill run through his heart. It was a young maiden about 15 or 16 - whose short, ice-blue hair and snow-white skin made her look more like an intricately sculpted ice statue than a person. But her two blue eyes gave off a sort of glow that no inanimate being could have.
"Let this end here. Don't take any lives," said the maiden softly.
It sounded more like an instruction than a negotiation. Orwen gulped audibly, his sadistic urges were extinguished by the girl's tone. When he calmed down, he realized she wasn't someone he could deal with. There wasn't much he stood to gain. Since Kurdak's side was the fight's instigators, he knew they would have to pay the price for it, so he did the smart thing and sheathed his daggers.
Just moments earlier, Leguna felt death missing him by hair's breadth. When he finally relaxed, he realized his anxious sweat had already wet his whole back. He turned around and attempted to thank the one who saved his life, but when he saw the girl, he couldn't help but fall into a stupor. He thought he had seen quite a number of beautiful women since coming to the eastern continent, like the average-looking but incredibly voluptuous Vera, or the blonde and optimistic Eve. But he had never seen a person like the girl in front of him now.
She was unquestionably a magnificent beauty. In fact, he was even willing to swear on his true name she was the most beautiful girl that had ever graced his eyes all his life based on her face alone! Her lips were a light, rosy pink, and her delicate mouth curved upwards mischievously, into a seductive smile; her fine nose was tall but not too huge and was the embodiment of perfection; a veil of likeable feistiness that only barely concealed her heartbreaking indifference to everything could be seen in her big, blue eyes that complemented her bluish hair almost perfectly. Everything combined painted a picture of indescribable beauty that carried an aura of conserved clarity. She wore a purplish-red magus robe. Loose fitting as it was, the robe failed to hide the nubile figure beneath.
Some experienced women-appraising men could tell that, while the girl's figure couldn't compare to Vera's, her size to figure ratio was not far off. Her prepubescent freshness that only girls in the beginning of their primal youth only added to her overall irresistible allure. Leguna slurped his saliva and completely forgot to utter a word of thanks.
"Thank you, young lady, for your assistance. I am Kurdak, that's Vera, and Leguna."
Naturally, Kurdak wasn't as numb-skulled as Leguna was. He quickly grasped the situation and realized the girl was a magus of at least the tenth stratum. Otherwise, she wouldn't have been able to stop the movements of all four of them, himself and Orwen included, that easily.
And that brat was actually drooling for such a powerful person... I really don't know whether he's bravely horny or just plain idiotic.
Having worked as a mercenary for many years, Vera had seen her fair share of powerful people and hurriedly helped Kurdak wipe the drool off the kid's face. However, the threatening manner in which her hand approached Leguna's face made him think that Vera was trying to slap him.
"Hmph, you little pervert... Why did you freeze up after seeing a beautiful girl just like Kurdak did?" mumbled Vera softly.
Even though she was arguably the prettiest in the party, she had to admit the scary magus was an incredibly beautiful girl.
The girl announced her name in an incredibly neutral tone after giving Kurdak a glance.
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