「To think he was that powerful! 」
A man was running through the Corsas Forest. The person who was running outwards of the forest with ragged breath was none other than the person who was once known as Marquis Holguin.
It was a misjudgment. Rather, he didn’t manage to discern it. He knew that the Countless Swords Sorcerer is someone extremely capable compared to the others.
The previous marquis is also born of a martial arts family. On top of that, he had been in the army since his younger times, and made various achievements to the point of becoming a stake of it.
In that process, he had witnessed many strong warriors. Exactly because of that, he was confident in his own eyes to discern who was dangerous regardless of friend or foe.
Certainly, the Countless Swords Sorcerer is strong. Despite being a sorcerer, he had the strength to win in Lotus Cup with just swordsmanship.
However, inciting the devout plump-eared priest, gathering a total of two hundred elites after getting help from Lord Thoria, he thought that even the winner of the Lotus Cup would pose no threat.
However, the overwhelming strength of the Countless Swords Sorcerer was leaps beyond what the previous marquis expected. Easily trampling over more than a hundred elites on his own, even the suicidal attacks of the inquisition soldiers only inflicted light wounds.
Although they managed to deal damage to the twins and also the woman mercenary, the fight afterwards was one-sided. A trample to be exact.
There was not a single overexaggeration when they said he won against a thousand cavalries on his own in the war.
「I must change my approach……! 」
The previous marquis finally realized that he’s not someone to be challenged upfront. Losing his private soldiers, even the elite mercenaries, inquisition soldiers and reinforcements from Lord Thoria are all likely dead by now.
Although he managed to catch a glimpse of the plump-eared priest escaping at the same time himself did, they split up while running in the forest, and there’s no knowing if he’s still alive now.
In any case, the previous marquis is still alive. Even though he lost many pawns, surviving now would mean having a chance to stand back up.
The problem was how to convince the current Marquis Holguin who is his son, and also getting through the forest in one piece.
「I-If it’s this far out……」
The rapidly beating heart was demanding him to rest. The previous marquis paused nearby and supported himself on the tree as he tried to regain his breath while looking at the ground.
「Where’s the direction…… of the capital? 」
It was a mutter to himself without expecting an answer, but an answer came immediately.
「It doesn’t concern you where it is right? After all, it’s not a place you can visit again. 」
As the previous marquis raised his head in surprise, there was a black-haired young man standing there staring at him with a gaze chilled to the bones.
「C-Countless Swords Sorcerer……! Since when!? 」
「Woah, don’t try to run. 」
A sky-colored blade extended outwards to his nose just as the previous marquis was about to turn tail reflexively.
The previous marquis collapsed on his back seeing the blade close to the point of touching.
「Doing extra when a person is being docile. And pulling such extreme hands. 」
「W-What are you saying!? 」
It seems like his opponent was not resorting to violence immediately, as the previous marquis judged that there was room to talk.
「Are you pretending? 」
「I-It’s a misunderstanding! I only sortied soldiers under the church’s request! The orchestrator of the attack this time is the church! I didn’t intend to join in the first place! 」
「I-I will become your backing. It’s the Holguin house, if me and Duke Nyrestia were to support you, no one but only the royalty can say anything in this country. Isn’t it the best you can ask for? 」
「Are you stupid or what? With that much hostility just now, what are you trying to achieve backing off now? Do I look like a good person? 」
「Y-You are making an enemy of a marquis house!? 」
「Rather, making an enemy or not, it’s your side that chose to make an enemy of me. Enemies will be disposed of. Even my patience has its limit. If I don’t make the cut here, then there will be no ending to it. 」
The Countless Swords Sorcerer that had no expression on his face narrated. Only his eyes showed his intense will of ending the previous marquis right now.
「I’m……, I’m the marquis! I’m different from a stray dog like you! 」
「I thought the Marquis Holguin is a different person now? 」
「Guh………. E-Either way, I’m a member of the marquis house! There’s a limit to being foolish for acting against a noble! It will never be forgiven! 」
「Heeh, 『Forgiven』 huh……」
The Countless Swords Sorcerer snorted and asked with a smile.
「So? Who’s not going to forgive me? 」
「The country, the royalty, all the other nobles! 」
「Country? Other nobles? I don’t see them here though? 」
After looking around purposefully, the Countless Swords Sorcerer continued.
「I don’t remember swearing allegiance to any country, in the first place, we’re not in a territory of the Nagras Kingdom. Here is the Corsas Forest. 」
「N-No matter what, if it becomes known that you made a move on me――」
「So who will be telling others about this situation? 」
The words that overwhelmed the previous marquis caused his thoughts to stop suddenly. They’re currently in the Corsas Forest known to have dangerous beasts all around.
Only reckless explorers or mercenaries that has no choice to come here because of a request would ever set foot here. Naturally, their numbers are low, and it’s unlikely to meet another person in the forest.
In such situation, there’s only the previous marquis and the Countless Swords Sorcerer. Even if the Countless Swords Sorcerer killed the previous marquis now, there would be no one around left to convey the truth to outsiders.
After his thoughts finally managed to arrive there, the previous marquis understood his current standing. He is a powerful figure among nobles. However, that is only a phantom strength given by people.
It is the laws, customs and traditions that are protecting nobles. The weapon of a noble is political power and fortune. However, all of them are side effects originated from human society.
They hold no meaning at all at a place where no one else is around.
「Looks like you finally realized. Here is not your house and not even close to any human settlements. It’s not even considered a place where humans can leave. Certainly, you might be a noble, but what purpose would that serve you here? 」
The previous marquis was stunned at the reality.
Having born as a noble, wielding its power, being someone who should be respected, he only had the idea that nobles are a prestigious being that commoners should follow unconditionally. Factually, that was the world he was born in.
Territory, social circles, even the milliary are organizations made up of human groups. The previous marquis was isolated from all of that for the first time in his life.
A place where other than himself, only existed people that wanted to kill him. As his thoughts reached there, the previous marquis for the first time felt true fear.
It was an apology that came out first.
「It…… was my wrong. I apologize, sincerely. During the Lotus Cup, I acknowledge my wrongdoing in its entirety. I swear I will not make a move on you in the future. I will also make the church nullify the heretic branding. 」
He faced back towards the Countless Swords Sorcerer, and for the first time kowtowed to a commoner. As a noble, there would be no greater embarrassment, but his survival instincts were overwhelming all of that.
「So…… please help. I beg you, spare……」
「What are you saying this late. It’s not even at a stage you can apologize any more. Also, I’m not a good enough person to believe words from someone like you. 」
Not intending to listen to the previous marquis’s pleads, the Countless Swords Sorcerer took a few steps backwards after stabbing a sword into the ground.
「However, I will give you a chance seeing your apology. Take up the sword, I don’t have interest in beating unresisting people. 」
Knowing that there’s no way he could escape, the previous marquis’s instincts ordered him to fight for his life. And the fear that had lightened turned into shame and anger swelling up in his chest.
The previous marquis glared at the Countless Swords Sorcerer with a piercing gaze as he raised his head.
「Ku……, this stray dog! 」
Taking up the sword in the ground, the previous marquis rode on the momentum and slashed.
「Die, brat! 」
Although now already considered old, he was a person to have been in the army for more than thirty years.
Naturally, being a noble meant that his experience swinging a sword in the frontline is lacking, but as a commanding officer, training was nonetheless carried out regularly. That’s why, he had the ability to match equally with normal mercenaries.
Despite so, the scale is too unbalanced. The moment the Countless Swords Sorcerer swung his sword horizontally, the previous marquis’s sword rang out dully and split into two.
His right hand that was deflected by the momentum felt intense pain the next moment.
A sword was growing out of his right hand. Or rather, that was how it looked like. With no idea where it came from, the sword that appeared suddenly pierced through his right hand, and fixed it onto the tree trunk.
「I would’ve cut your head right off if you only came for me, but it’s a different story so far. That was for Minerva who had her future stolen and her life threatened. 」
The words of the Countless Swords Sorcerer never made it to the previous marquis.
The previous marquis whose only instincts at that moment was to pull out the sword piercing through his right hand, but another sharp pain came from his left leg.
「This is for injuring Fillia. 」
Quicker than he could realize the pain, another sword pierced his left shoulder.
「And for Riana. 」
With two more swords piercing through his body, the previous marquis himself was now stuck to the tree like his right hand.
「I wanted to make you regret your actions more but, there’s not much time to waste here. After all, there’s one more I have to catch. 」
The previous marquis begged for his life without a shred of integrity with tears and snot dripping. That figure was no longer a significant noble of the kingdom, but only a plain human trying to escape from his pains without any regards to shame and appearance.
「I said it already right. It’s too late. 」
The Countless Swords Sorcerer mercilessly gave his conclusion to the pleading man. Within the cloudy vision stained with tears, the previous marquis saw the sword swing. The next moment, he felt his vision slowly tilted and fell onto the ground, before entirely covered in darkness.