Chapter 127: Duel with Ririnrara
Zoltan was quite warm today.
It felt like spring even though we just entered winter.
“Ah, the clover flowers are blooming.”
I felt a sense of nostalgia when I saw the tiny white flowers blooming along the road.
When I was young, I made a flower wreath for Ruti with those.
Maybe I’ll make one for her again … I wonder if she is at the age where she still likes flower wreaths?
It would be fun if we all camped out together next time.
Not camping because we are on an adventure but just camping for fun.
Have a barbecue in the field, talk unreservedly around an open bonfire, play with alchemical fireworks, and lie down on the meadow at night to look up into the starry sky.
Maybe I’ll invite them when this incident is over.
I thought to myself as I walked off my usual path and proceeded into the forest that remained in town.
I placed my hand on the copper sword on my waist and verified the sensation.
Although it was a small forest, once you enter into the depths, you would forget that you were inside the low wall of Zoltan.
I placed the medicinal case on my back onto the floor.
“Haa, is this place okay?”
I said in a thorny tone without hiding that I found it troublesome.
A High-Elf woman with an eye patch appeared from behind the tree after I said that.
She had beautiful gauntlets that shone green on both her hands. On her waist was an expensive-looking longsword inside a white scabbard laced with gold thread.
The gray cloak that covered her navigator’s uniform seemed to be High-Elf-made too.
She was wearing a reputed elven knitted chain shirt made with green steel as armor.
They were probably all magic items. In Zoltan, even the general wouldn’t have such luxurious equipment.
“Why are you tailing me. I am just an apothecary.”
“Just an apothecary would detect my presence when I tail you while masking my presence and try to settle it alone in a forest?”
“You were the one who intentionally slipped your presence for me to detect.”
The High-Elf hit me with a sharp gaze at my words.
“You saw through that much?”
I could feel the intimidation of a skilled warrior mixed with vigilance and fighting spirit on my skin.
“Those two and you as well, why are there such warriors in this shabby country?”
“You are Ririnrara?”
There probably weren’t any other High-Elf warriors with an eyepatch who could intimidate me. But Ririnrara was acting oblivious with her lips slightly twisted.
I didn’t think the possibility was high that Ririnrara would come out herself but she actually came out on her own.
That meant that she had confidence in herself and she knew that sometimes using the greatest combat strength she has would lead to the smallest loss. It was said to be a bold act used by Ririnrara both when she led King Veronia’s navy as a general and during her time as a veteran pirate.
“What about you then, who exactly are you?”
I shrugged off Ririnrara’s sharp tone and replied.
“Apothecary Red. A harmless ordinary person.”
“There is no ordinary person like you.”
“There is no criteria to become an ordinary person.”
We closed the distance between us by one step, then by another, as we lightly retorted one another.
The wind blew and the trees were astir as if they were whispering their expectations of who will win.
“So, what business do you have with me?”
“Throw down your weapon and surrender. Come along with me and I will spare your life.”
“And you expect me to trust the word of a pirate?”
“I have stopped being a pirate.”
Ririnrara stopped moving.
“You don’t plan to surrender no matter what?”
“It’s uncool for an older brother to cause a nuisance to his younger sister.”
A thick murderous intent hung in the air between us. But I placed my hand on my sword handle and stepped forward without hesitation.
A white gale blew past.
Without even the sound of the sword exiting the sheath and within the blink of the eye, the silver blade of Ririnrara’s longsword flashed as it was swung down toward my head.
I avoided it by slipping past to the right of my opponent.
As I turned around, I unsheathed my sword and slashed at Ririnrara’s back but Ririnrara turned around at the same timing and parried the sword.
The sound of metal colliding filled the area.
Seeing the magic pattern emerging from Ririnrara’s blade, I instinctively leaped back.
Ririnrara had a look of triumph on her face.
Wind blades spilled out from her bade and attacked me.
I immediately threw the mantle on my back at it.
The wind blades tore my mantle into shreds but the sturdy cloth dampened the power of the wind blades and they faded away.
“Sigh, I liked that mantle.”
The mantle that fell to the ground was no longer useable.
In addition, the copper sword in my right hand was filled with tiny cracks due to the countless blades that struck it.
I couldn’t parry them all huh? It would be dangerous to use that sword any longer.
Ririnrara looked at my condition and a smile appeared on her face.
“That’s some skill. I don’t know what divine protection resides in that body but you don’t use martial arts or magic and I don’t sense any noticeable skills. You’re an uncanny and unfathomable guy … but, there is an incomparable difference in our equipment.”
“They are High-Elf magic items after all.”
They cost about a thousand of my copper swords. Or maybe more?
The difference in equipment was clear. Moreover, Ririnrara was not only a famous pirate, but her sword technique was also greater than I expected … she was comparable to the Captain who taught me the sword.
In other words, she was stronger than I was when I traveled to the capital.
“Well, I could not fight and leave it to my younger sister and Tise or I could escape to the guard station.”
I held my sword with my right hand and lightly pulled my left foot back.
“I don’t really want to participate actively in this, I don’t wish for praise, nor do I hate you all for threatening the peace of Zoltan.”
Ruti and Tise could probably defeat her a lot easier.
As a mere apothecary, there was no reason for me to fight like this.
“But how do I put this … I don’t want to push a problem that I can solve myself to my younger sister.”
“What are you talking about?”
I switched my consciousness to my battle consciousness.
Sensing the change in my air, Ririnrara’s expression changed.
“I didn’t think you would be stronger than that B-rank.”
“Of course not. Those two are stronger than me.”
“So that’s why my subordinates were caught so easily.”
I shook the tip of my sword while looking for an opportunity.
Ririnrara maintained her lower sword stance and slowly approached me.
At that moment, Ririnrara’s foot stepped on the root of a tree. Ririnrara’s gaze lowered to her feet for a split second.
I stopped my breath, pushed with my foot and closed the distance between us to one foot.
Ririnrara’s sword sprung up to try to defend.
Ririnrara’s movements were dull compared to before. Ririnrara’s complexion lost its composure and her line of sight moved to the gauntlet on her hand.
There was a large cut running down the gauntlet on her left hand.
During the first clash, I cut the gauntlet as I leaped back.
It was probably not a magic item that gave the simple effect of body strengthening but disturbing the precise elven magic caused the gauntlet’s effect to halve.
And the sudden failure to move in the manner she thought she could caused a large opening to appear in Ririnrara’s movements.
Ririnrara barely defended against my sword thrust.
Just before the two swords touched, I rotated my wrist.
The sword slipped through Ririnrara’s defense like a snake and bit into her shoulder.
Ririnrara endured the pain and reformed the distance between us in a flash. My sword slipped out from her shoulder and blood flowed out.
A deep wound on her right shoulder.
Ririnrara lost her arm strength along with the blood that traveled down her right arm.
“Do you still want to do this?”
“A country that is utterly hard to measure. There are at least three people stronger than me?”
Even if she possessed recovery type magic or skills, or if she tried to drink a cure potion, I would probably not miss that chance to strike. At the current distance, a single opening will allow the opponent to strike immediately.
If the current standoff continued, Ririnrara would collapse from the loss of blood, but even if she tried to attack, she had no chance of winning with her injured arm and I could chase with ‘Lightning Feet’ and strike her if she tried to escape.
I held the upper hand but … Ririnrara’s eyes showed that she still had composure.
At that moment, a different male voice was heard. Ririnrara was convinced of her victory.
The man that appeared was a High-Elf as well and he had a cutlass in his right hand and held the mouth of a girl trembling with tears in his left hand.
That child was a resident of Downtown.
“A hostage huh, as expected of pirates.”
“Generals use dirty tactics too. There is no meaning if you don’t win. Throw down your weapon.”
“If I refuse?”
“The child dies.”
That child’s name was Maria Bell if I remembered correctly. I recall there were about three girls from Downtown with the same name.
She was a cute kid who would greet me if we passed each other by but that was all the interaction I had with her. It would be questionable to claim that we were acquaintances.
“You indiscriminately kidnapped any child that was convenient for you?”
“But it shows an effect, right?”
Ririnrara said as she pressed on her wound.
“I guess so.”
I said as I tossed the sword as if throwing it down.
“Wha, you bastard!”
The sword drew a large arc and flew toward the High-Elf who was pointing his cutlass at Maria Bell.
Of course, a copper sword falling while relying on gravity would be easily deflected with a cutlass and stepping back three steps would mean that it could not even graze you. Even if it hit, a simple copper sword would not leave a large wound.
However, there are few who can stay calm and ignore a blade flying toward them.
The instant their line of sight shifted, I ran around the back of a tree and appeared beside the High-Elf.
Before the High-Elf could react, my fist slammed into the handsome face of the High-Elf and the High-Elf collapsed to the ground.
I grabbed my copper sword that was flying in my direction and swung the sword at the surprised Ririnrara.
Unlike the High-Elf who failed to react, Ririnrara quickly put up a defensive stance. However, perhaps because her wounded right arm could not move properly, her movement speed was slow compared to her reaction speed.
My sword flicked away Ririnrara’s incomplete defense.
A flash at her defenseless body.
It sliced through the High-Elf chain shirt and the deep wound that Ririnrara suffered overcame the High-Elf’s strong lifeforce, causing her to collapse to her knees.
After making sure that Ririnrara would not stand up, I sheathed my sword.
Then, I wiped the sweat from my forehead and exhaled slowly.
I don’t believe she is dead but … Ririnrara’s actions affected my thinking so I stepped in a little too deep. I had already won the moment I damaged her magic item and injured her arm so a shallow attack would have been enough.
The captain would have gotten angry if he was here. Well it’s over so there’s no helping it.
“I guess Newman will have to wait a little longer.”
I’ll give emergency first aid and hand her over to Ruti.
I’ll deliver the medicine later.
“U, Uu, Red-san.”
Before that, there was still the child.
In order to reassure her, I slapped her shoulder and laughed.
“It’s all right now, I defeated all the bad people. Good job enduring this.”
She was probably terrified, getting kidnapped by a stranger and held hostage for a reason unknown to her.
The girl hugged my waist and shed tears of relief.