Former General Is Undead Knight - Act 1-41
Chapter 41 : Earl Aubock ⑩
The one who made the first move was Hector.
As he began to close the distance, he made sure to stay just out of the range of Lambert’s greatsword, all the while keeping an eye on his movements..
However, before he could move in again, Hector’s instincts, honed from hundreds of deadly battles, flared; something was wrong.
Hector shifted his center of gravity and retreated as soon as his feet landed on the ground, never letting his gaze stray from his opponent.
Before he knew it, the place where Hector’s feet were supposed to land had already been crushed by Lambert’s greatsword.
Hector corrected his stance faster than could be made out with the naked eye, but Lambert had already stabbed forward with his sword.
Hector received the stab while standing on his tiptoes, allowing himself to be blown back, cushioning the force behind Lambert’s thrust.
However, as a result, Hector’s blade was smashed to bits.
Death was imminent.
Sacrificing his sword had just barely saved his life, but now, if he made a poor move, he’d surely meet his end.
Without any hestitation, Lambert kept pushing forward with his sword.
At the same time, Hector pulled out his second sword, throwing its sheath to the ground.
「It seems I don’t even have the leeway to observe your movements.」
From the very beginning, Hector was a dual swordsman. [TL : Kirito!!!]
For many years, his second sword had remained sealed, forever sheathed, waiting for a worthy opponent.
「Let see how you handle this!」
Faced with Lambert’s inhuman speed, Hector could only rely on his senses, his finely honed talent, and his two swords.
Seeing that he couldn’t read Lambert’s swordcraft, he chose to dodge.
In the first place, Hector was a man who always stood as the victor at the end of battle. He was always confident with his skill and ability to surpass more powerful opponents.
Before Lambert’s overwhelming ability, Hector’s movement began to surpass that of a human.
Hector dodged Lambert’s third strike.
Even Hector himself would never have expected that he could dodge like that.
The excitement and passion that he felt was like a drug to him, giving him pleasure and affecting the way he moved his body.
He was starting to see couldn’t before, and his body’s movement began to surpass what he ever thought he was capable of.
Basking in a whirlpool of excitement, he didn’t feel exhaustion or pain any longer.
There should be a slight pause right after Lambert brandished his greatsword.
If he dodged right now, he should be able to use that momentary opening to close in and stab his sword into the joint between Lambert’s armor.
But his instincts rang a loud warning.
Even if he managed to land a hit in the gap between Lambert’s armor, his body would be bisected in the next moment by Lambert’s counterattack.
He leaped up to dodge Lambert’s greatsword, spinning his body in midair to prepare for Lambert’s next attack.
He stomped on the tip of Lambert’s sword and opened the distance between him and Lambert again.
When he landed, he retreated right away. In the next moment, the floor where he stood a moment ago had been crushed by Lambert’s attack.
Although Hector could predict where the attack would come from, he couldn’t see Lambert’s swing itself.
As for why he couldn’t dodge Lambert’s god-speed attack, even Hector himself couldn’t explain the reason.
Such a feat might be impossible to reproduce.
After all, Lambert’s attack was the fastest attack he had ever met up until now.
Lambert lowered his sword after he fixed his stance; the visor of his helmet looked at Hector.
Lambert was confident that his previous attack would kill Hector for sure.
Lambert praised his opponent.
They might be an enemy, but Hector happily accepted such blunt yet wholehearted praise from the overwhelmingly strong opponent before him.
In that momentary rest after such a deadly exchange between the two, Hector sorted through the information about his opponent, while giving a rest to his mind.
That one second felt like ten seconds for the current Hector.
Although Hector rarely showed his emotions due to the contant struggle to survive in his childhood, he became an open book in front of Lambert due to the excitement he felt from struggling to survive from Lambert’s attacks.
His pale skin flushed red for the first time in a long time, and the blood vessels beneath his face and hands bulged.
The battle so far had forced Hector to break his own limits, taking a huge toll on his body. Even so, he neither felt pain nor exhaustion.
He didn’t even care about who won or what would happen to him after that.
Blood dripped down from Hector’s nose.
Even so, he didn’t bother to wipe it away.
When Hector set his stance with his sword, he laughed maniacally while lowering his hand.
Lambert followed suit, lowering his sword a bit.
「I understand now! You really are the real Lambert de la Croix! Otherwise, there would be no explanation for your strength! I mean, I never expected that your swordcraft would be far more polished than mine! It’s the best; you really are the best!」
Hector spoke loudly without even trying to hide his excitement.
「I also want to continue this duel forever, but a prolonged duel would only wear me out.」
It was as he said; Hector understood his biggest disadvantage in this duel.
Lambert didn’t let him attack since the beginning of the battle.
Even if Lambert didn’t wear Organ, Hector knew that he would die as soon as he launched an attack on Lambert.
He wasn’t in the right condition to fight properly.
「That’s why, it’s my turn to attack! Lambert de la Croix!」
Hector, who had approached divine territory in the fight with Lambert, realized an even greater height of his swordcraft.
Although Hector had mastered the 『Forty Nine’s Swordrain』, which was passed down by the sword saint to his descendant, he knew that particular skill wouldn’t work against Lambert.
Because that skill was completely ineffective against someone in full-plate armor.
The 『Forty Nine’s Swordrain』 was hailed as the most perfect sword skill in swordsmanship history, a skill guaranteed to win any battle. It worked by countering an attack with an attack that wouldn’t allow the enemy within its range to counter. Over the course of the battle, it would continue to limit the opponent’s choices, eventually leading to their defeat.
However, Lambert didn’t need to protect his body since he wore full-plate armor. That compounded with Lambert’s large build made it even more difficult to tip him off balance.
Therefore, greater improvements were needed to fight an opponent like Lambert.
And doing that in the middle of battle was literally impossible.
However, with Hector’s personality, his heightened emotion, and his swordcraft that continuously improved in the fight against Lambert, Hector managed to refine 『Forty Nine’s Swordrain』 into 『Forty Nine’s Swordrain・Revise』.
Since 『Forty Nine’s Swordrain』 was a counter, the first requirement to execute this sword skill was surviving Lambert’s first attack.
Normally, Hector just needed to force his opponent to make an attack by feinting slightly to the right.
However, his sword would be smashed if he forced himself to defend against Lambert’s greatsword, which only aided Lambert’s herculean strength and god-speed swing.
A slight mistake on Hector’s part would spell his demise. That was all it would take for Lambert to bisect his body in two.
Even Earl Aubock, whose life became the bet between the two swordsmen, could only gape at the incredibly high level duel that unfolded before him.
Nevertheless, in Earl Aubock’s eyes, Lambert was a loser who couldn’t even catch up to Hector’s movement.
Almel, who had been following Lambert from behind, barely made it in time to see the duel. She had the same idea as Earl Aubock.
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