Chapter 77 Stranger(2)
Translator: BaeBae Editor: BaeBae
“What are you doing!”
The crowd dispersed as Juan propelled himself into the mass. Juan quickly scanned the area.
It had only been a moment since the stranger left but he had already disappeared out of sight. Juan inctivetively realised that he was dealing with a skilled opponent.
Definitely more skilled Ethan, and possibly on par with Nigrato in his non-incarnated form. But one thing was for certain. This stranger was the most skilled individual Juan had come across since his resurrection.
Juan followed the stranger’s faint trace that still remained. Every second, his target was getting further away.
It wasn’t easy to keep his concentration high and move in parallel with the stranger’s trace. Wandering through alleyways, sometimes unsure where the tracks led, eventually Juan slowly but surely shortened the gap.
But just as he thought he’d caught up, the tracks vanished. It seemed his opponent was proficient in concealment as well.
Juan didn’t feel easy about a highly skilled stranger suspiciously loitering around the Hugin knights.
After continuing to scan the nearby area, he jumped up onto a building that was still in the middle of construction.
The half finished building was at perfect height to survey Hiveden’s alleyways. After a deep breath, he materialized Grunvalde’s fog and dispersed it in all directions. The fog began to spread from where he stood, covering all surrounding area.
At first, the quickly spreading fog alarmed the people close by, but after confirming themselves that it was just a normal night fog, alarms turned to puzzlement.
“Where are you……..”
It wasn’t far from where the stranger’s presence was last felt. Juan was sure that he was hiding nearby.
The fog entered every rat hole, every gap between bricks to find what he was looking for.
Juan didn’t have to wait long.
Just as he sensed an alien like presence, he felt someone nearby move with great haste. Juan’s eyes didn’t miss the opportunity to find his target.
Using blink, Juan’s body shot towards the stranger like an arrow and proceeded to go for the stranger’s legs.
The unidentifiable outsider expertly parried Juan’s sword before jumping back to safety. Juan raised his eyes.
He readied his stance then stared at the stranger. Seemingly given up on escaping, the stranger simply stood still and stared back.
The stranger was hidden underneath a shabby black robe. Inside the excessively large robe that hid every piece of the stranger’s skin, Juan sensed a darkness lurking.
Even the stranger’s weapons and hands were tightly rolled up in bandages.
‘Definitely not a Paladin. Very different to what I felt with those bastards before….Maybe a knight like Sina?’
Juan wasn’t confident in this guess either.
The aura that was coming from this stranger wasn’t clean and upright like Sina’s.
His opponent was giving off a revolting aura that had been twisted.
Therefore, he couldn’t understand how his opponent was so well versed in Valte swordsmanship. It was as if he was looking at himself.
“Take off your robe.”
The stranger didn’t even move a muscle, but rather continued to simply stare at Juan. It was an observation stare.
Juan didn’t like the stare the stranger was giving. So once again, they went at it.
“If you don’t want to take it off, I’ll make you do it.”
The stranger again expertly countered Juan’s attack.
There was no preliminary action required to use blink. The attack simply propelled the user forward without a warning so it was an extremely difficult move to defend against.
But this stranger was putting his sword in the trajectory, where Juan was attacking from. It felt as if the stranger was familiar in dealing with blink.
‘Still observing, huh.’
Juan again distanced himself. He didn’t feel any malice from the stranger. This was more unbelievable considering that they’d just exchanged blows that could kill.
Even when he purposely showed a gap for the stranger to exploit, there was no reaction. Juan decided to give up on overpowering the stranger and instead decided to find out what he can about his identity.
“Familiar with blink are we?”
If his opponent was proficient in Valte swordsmanship as much as he was, then it was meaningless to continue with the same attacks.
Juan recalled how Camille talked about the Valte swordsmanship being divided into stages.
She’d said Ethan Ethil was about on stage 3. And she brought up the names of the empire’s strongest when talking about stage 4.
So then, what stage is this stranger at.
“Lets see what you can do.”
Juan grabbed hold of his dagger in reverse. During his time researching Valte swordsmanship, not once had Juan been lackadaisical in further developing his sword skill.
Considering all of the empire’s swordsmanship originally derived from Valte swordsmanship, it wasn’t a stretch to say that Juan had mastered all existing swordsmanship and was looking to evolve it.
The stranger was still standing by, simply observing what Juan was doing. But then Juan completely stopped moving just like his opponent. Considerable time went by in silence.
Then the stranger hastily pulled back.
The stranger’s hood was narrowly cut open. If the stranger had been a second late in pulling back, it would have been face instead.
Out of nowhere, Juan’s body moved like fog and tangled itself with the stranger’s body.
Smooth movement that allowed no retaliation. A blade life fog entangled around the stranger and restricted his freedom.
Stage 4 of Valte swordsmanship.
Sea of fog.
Up till now, Juan’s physical body created limitations, leaving him no choice but to rely on basic abilities. However, now with a more matured physical body, he could display high level movements and skills to an extent.
Seeing the fog like Juan close in like a snake, the stranger did everything to wrestle Juan away.
He attempted to shake him off, but it felt as if dozens of snakes had bitten into his body and was relentlessly refusing to let go. This wasn’t an illusion.
His shabby robe was really being torn apart. He was only just barely keeping them at bay.
Then, the stranger took the same stance as Juan. Juan immediately noticed the change in air. He too had deployed stage 4 of Valte swordsmanship.
As expected. Juan wasn’t surprised.
Juan knew that the stranger would at least be able to perform stage 4. Due to this, Juan predicted the stranger’s sword path. The moment Juan’s sword and his connected, the bandage wrapped around the stranger’s sword ripped into threads.
Juan couldn’t believe his eyes upon seeing the appearance of the sword reveal itself from underneath the bandage.
A black sword that was cracked like a twig.
It was similar to the knife that had haunted his dreams. That had pierced his back.
As Juan shouted, the stranger swung his sword. Having been surprised by what he saw, Juan realised that he’d made a mistake.
He’d assumed that he was holding his sword the right way, but it was in reverse. The stranger’s sword aimed at Juan’s heart continued on without encountering any obstacles.
Juan readied himself for a fatal wound. Meanwhile realizing Juan’s mistake, the stranger did not show any mercy.
But instead of his flesh being cut open, Juan felt a blunt impact.
As if his abdominal had been struck, Juan’s body was sent flying back. He was unsure what had happened.
The sword that had even pierced his body as an emperor, couldn’t penetrate this incomplete body?
But upon looking at his chest, he got his answer.
The black essence was covering his body in a cloak like shape, and was holding the opponent’s knife from piercing through.
When the stranger hurriedly pulled his sword back, a goo of sticky fluid remained on his sword but it was quickly dissolved.
Juan then finally realised what Lars had meant by wanting to ‘be of use’.
Suddenly, the stranger let out a cry that Juan couldn’t understand. From an empty space a splitting sound erupted and the ground cracked open, forming a giant fissure.
The surrounding windows and vases all shattered at once. The shock wave had almost blasted Juan away.
Juan was already well aware of this ancient power. He had even seen something similar not too long ago.
Juan had been about to grab the stranger from escaping but then someone snatched his hand.
It was Anya.
Anya was wildly shaking her head sideways with a pale face.
“Don’t go any closer. Juan!”
It seemed like Anya was aware of what ‘that’ was. While Juan was being held back, the stranger had already disappeared inside.
Then the fissure began to close back up. A trace of the ground having split remained for a while but then it gradually disappeared.
With a dumbfounded face, Juan stared at the spot where the stranger had vanished.
Juan was left confused and uneasy at hearing the stranger mutter an unknown name.
He didn’t know why the stranger had muttered this name while looking directly at him. But it was too late to ask the person in question.
Juan turned to look at Anya who was still holding on to his hand.
“You know what that is?”
“I asked if you know.”
“It’s the power of the fissure.”
Anya calmly replied.
“I’ve been around many places, Juan. I know that anyone who ventures there without caution doesn’t ever return the same. Till their death bed, they become either a self inflicted lunatic or an abomination…..their skin and bones turned inside out. Either way, I had to stop Juan from going in.”
“The thing that just went in could be…….!”
Just before yelling that it may be his eldest, Gared Ga-in, Juan calmed himself down.
There was no evidence that the stranger had been Gared Ga-in. Only that he was holding the same or similar sword that Gared had stabbed him with. That sword didn’t belong to Gared anyways.
But this implied that Gared was involved with the fissure
Which confirmed that Gared had really betrayed him.
It was true that a part of him had hope after hearing Lars’s innocence.
He took a deep breath. He didn’t want to reveal the cruel truth with his own tongue.
Anya didn’t reply. Juan didn’t wait for a reply. He was thinking something else.
Whether the stranger was Gared Ga-in or not, it was undeniable that he was a dangerous individual. Juan was certain that the stranger had come for him and no one else.
Juan’s existence was inviting danger to those around him.
It was time to leave.
A moonless night.
Only a few weeks ago, it was nonsensical to be walking around Hiveden alone during the night. This was no different for the head of smuggling business in Hiveden, Oppert.
Although people were now saying Hiveden’s nightlife wasn’t dangerous at all, out of habit, Oppert was hiding himself as he walked.
Hiding himself from the commander of the Hugin knights, Anya.
While holding his breath, Oppert quickened his pace. Not far away, he caught sight of Hiveden’s castle wall.
He searched the nearby area to find the person who was waiting for him. In the corner, he saw the darkness wiggle.
Oppert flinched in surprise but then let out a sigh after seeing the person’s face.
Juan stood with a black cape draped over him, helping him melt into the night. Oppert knew that Juan’s cape was darkness itself.
Nigrato’s essence. The source of impurity and something that Lars once wore as he commanded the countless undead. It was now functioning as Juan’s overcoat.
Grunvalde’s cloak smoothly converged with Nigrato’s essence as if they had been originally one.
“It seems like now it’s fully yours.”
“Certainly does. It’s similar attributes allow it to really fit well with the cloak. As if Grunvalde’s cloak has been enhanced.”
Its value was priceless to say the least as it now was the by product of two whole precious items converging. Oppert suppressed his inner despire as a scholar and handed Juan his luggage and his horse.
“I managed to slip away from Commander Anya, but I’m not sure if she really fell for it. I’ve gotten used to concealing my presence but certainly not at acting.”
Juan, who briefly went silent, shook his head.
“Anya haven’t followed.”
“…….I’m guessing you just checked. That ability. I’m amazed every time I see it.
“I have a keen sense, which is nothing to be amazed at. Anyways, don’t you have something more to give?”
“Yes, I brought it. Although it took me a long time to find it…..”
Oppert took out a small bag from his inner pocket. After slightly opening the bag, Juan saw the broken purple gem inside.
The indeterminate polyhydron.
 – Yeah….. it took me 10 mins to finally come up with this name. Yes, it’s a name and it’s one name Czatequzail. Maybe I should put a dash in between??? Hmm
[X] – The author hasn’t mentioned if the stranger’s a male or a female.. I’ll go with ‘he’ for now, don’t be surprised if it’s a she.
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