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Chapter 263 - Strike 1

Emperor of Steel
     Chapter 263: Strike 1

    On a wide plain, a battle was happening that shifted the earth and the sky.

    As many as 30 knight class Gigants and 10 hero class Gigants were aiming at one person, performing terrifying attacks.

    With just one punch, a huge rock broke down, but Emperor Rudolf was standing still.

    Effortlessly avoiding the attacks from the Gigants, he pulled out his sword to fight back.

    Swak! Pung-!

    Flash! Slash!

    When he used his sword to hit a knight class Gigant, a golden aura began to radiate. Swinging from side to side, the body of a hero class Gigant was cut in half.

    The more the Gigants come at him, the fiercer their attacks were getting. However, Emperor Rudolf was the one who was pushing them.

    Kasak!

    Kwang! Kwakwang!

    Eventually, after an hour-long battle, all the Gigants were destroyed.

    As the last Gigant fell on the ground, the surroundings changed.

    The beautiful plain, which was once there, disappeared in an instant. In a 10-meter wide field, Emperor Rudolf was sitting there with both his eyes closed.

    Flash!

    As Rudolf opened his eyes, a golden glow emanated from his eyes and spread.

    The brilliance of the light was so strong that it could probably melt a human being.

    With his eyes opened, the emperor looked up at the ceiling of the room, which exploded.

    “Kuaaahaha! Finally, I have completed the second half of the Golden Sword!”

    The battle that just happened was an image training involving virtual magic.

    Being the emperor, there weren’t many places where he could practice, and at that time, he decided to use an underground area where virtual magic could be applied.

    One might think as to what the effect of it could be?

    But it was a different story if a knight could do it.

    Since the emperor reached a stage where he couldn’t physically grow any longer, he decided to break the limit to his mental strength and metaphysics.

    At any rate, Emperor Rudolf had finally completed the second half of the Golden Sword.

    “Congratulations, Your Majesty!”

    “To our Majesty, may the glory of your whole body reside with you!”

    The guards, who were guarding the underground station, entered and congratulated him.

    “Haha, thank you. I will pass on the next part of the Gold Sword to the upcoming knights.”

    The knights were the chosen ones from the Knights of Guard of the empire, and they were like Emperor Rudolf.

    They learned the Arcane Sword from Rudolf himself and were Sword Masters.

    It wasn’t known to the outside world; however, it was a secret that only a few people knew including the vice-captain of the Knights of Guard.

    Even when they had such solid skills, Rudolf didn’t seem to be greatly satisfied, which was why he was planning on teaching them the latter part of the Gold Sword, which had been stolen from the Rakan Family a long time ago.

    If the knights learned the Gold Sword, it wouldn’t take much time for them to turn into a Sword Sage.

    He would then be the first emperor in history to conquer the continent with knights that were Sword Sages.

    ‘Huhuhu, so what if I wasn’t a dragonian? I will become the strongest knight of all time!’

    A prince who was present decades ago, Rudolf had almost lost his position to his half-brother, Reichard, simply because his brother had the blood of the dragon in him.

    According to the prophecies that was passed down in his family, the prince who could awaken the blood of the dragon, Tiamet, would be the one to look down on the continent.

    But his mother-in-law’s quick thinking allowed Rudolf to slay Reichard and inherit the throne.

    But from that moment, Rudolf couldn’t kill the inferior feeling that had taken shelter in his mind and heart—that the dragon’s blood would be superior once it awakened.

    So he practiced swordsmanship with his life on the line, and recently, he even complete the last warrior, the legendary warrior Rakan’s skill.

    ‘In reality, I don’t regret giving you the poison! Even without the blood of the dragons, this will be the body that will look over the continent!’

    With a content smile on his face, he looked at the knights and asked, “Did anyone come while I was practicing?”

    “Count Voltas said he had something to report.”

    “Oh my, we were supposed to meet today, right? I’ll be there soon. Tell him to wait at my office.”

    “Yes, Your Majesty.”

    Rudolf, who had bathed and changed his clothes, entered the office, and Count Voltas, who was there waiting, got up from his seat to give his greetings.

    “I heard that you have completed the second part of the Gold Sword. Congratulations, Your Majesty.”

    “Thank you.”

    “Then, I guess you are a Sword Emperor now?”

    “Hut, I can bet that even if the bravest warriors come back to life, they won’t be able to defeat me!”

    “Ohoh! This is really great news!”

    Rudolf shook his hands at the praise of Voltas.

    “Not at all. I should still strive to become stronger so that I could make the world bend on its knees.”

    “It is a shame that there are young knights who lack such determination. They should learn from you, Your Majesty.”

    Rudolf decided to ask the reason for Voltas’ visit.

    “Yeah, do you have anything to report to me today?”

    Instead of answering right away, Voltas nodded with a slightly dark face and began to speak about the outcome of the situation in the Holy Arthenia Empire.

    Listening to it for a while, Emperor Rudolf asked, “The Konrad Kingdom has been destroyed without causing much damage to the Imperial Army, and Marquis Suleiman and his province of Ranghel was suppressed by Arch Duke Gregory?”

    “That was what has been reported to me.”

    “I don’t get it. What was Lazlie been up to when the situations were turning like that? And what did the Flying Dragons even do? And Count Ferrero and Shirley?”

    At the bitter expression and questions from Rudolf, Voltas wiped the sweat off his forehead.

    “It was said that they worked really hard but things went out of hand because unexpected people had joined the army.”

    “Unexpected people?”

    “Men of the Red Wolf Mercenaries had entered. Its captain had defeated Count Schmidt, and his lieutenant took down Shirley in a Gigantic Duel.”

    Count Voltas reported everything that had happened in the Holy Empire.

    “Count Schmidt, huh. I heard of him too. In the past, he led the 1st squadron of the Holy Army, and a simple mercenary captain won against him?”

    “Well, he isn’t just some mercenary captain. Allegedly, Captain Lev was told to be the Son of Belik, the former knight of Volga Kingdom.”

    “Son of Firestorm Belik? No way. Wasn’t Belik’s entire family destroyed during the rebellion?”

    “I too have thought the same. No matter what, it seemed like someone has disguised themselves in the other nation.”

    Sometimes strong mercenaries did appear.

    However, if one could beat an Advanced Sword Master in a Gigantic Duel, he must be someone who had a higher knight position.

    However, someone who had never been heard off had suddenly won, and that was much more suspicious.

    “Lev is also known to be a rune knight. Any person that comes to mind?”

    The fact about this mysterious mercenary captain being a rune knight and a Sword Master were all Rudolf needed to know the answer.

    “… Luke de Rakan?”

    “In connection with the information we have, the new pope resembles Princess Reina, and Captain Lev could be Luke. The chances are surely high,” said Voltas.

    Rudolf was deep in his thoughts.

    However, there was another problem.

    “But wasn’t it informed to us that he was in his estate?”

    Even though he had dispatched numerous spies, they all kept their eyes on the Rakan Estates.

    Every report that came back said that Luke hadn’t taken a single step outside his estate.

    “Of course, it makes no sense… The evidence seems very credible enough though. The falling meteor to be broken, but rune knights aren’t very common to come across,” stated Voltas.

    “If that Captain Lev is really who he is said to be, then isn’t he better than that Luke guy?”

    “But if that Luke is in hiding…”

    “Stop! I know what you are going to say, but in order to punish the nobles, there has to be certain evidence. I can’t do anything without any circumstantial evidence,” said the Emperor.

    “Even then, should we summon him here first? Shouldn’t we call him once…”

    With a sullen smile, Count Voltas locked his hands. As long as Luke came to the capital, he could differentiate between rats and birds.

    Thinking for a while, Emperor Rudolf shook his head.

    “That won’t work either. If we summon him and the man goes missing after coming here, it will turn into a huge problem. Find another way to get rid of that Luke.”

    “Then, how about sending the Assassin Master of Hydra? That way we can handle the situation without leaving behind any traces.”

    “Uhm, is he in the capital right now?” Asked the Emperor.

    “He had completed his mission a few days back and was said to have returned.”

    “Good. Then ask him to check if Luke is in the estate or not and assassinate him if the situation isn’t troublesome.”

    The development of Rakan territory was really dazzling.

    If left alone, it would surely turn much more troublesome than the issues of the nobility, so they decided to take action as soon as possible.

    The news was that the Marquis of Rakan had no other direct descendants other than Luke. If he was removed, it was definite that the territory would be easily integrated.

    The two men, who decided to deal with Luke, went on to their next topic that needed their attention.

    “What about the monster attacks that have been happening in the empire from awhile back?”

    “I have sent the Central Army which was stationed nearby, but it was stated that the damage got worse, aggravating the monsters.”

    A few months ago, monsters from all over the Baroque Empire had begun to move.

    Initially, it was just like simple monster riots.

    But as the number of monsters kept increasing, the damage they caused increased as well, so the issue couldn’t be taken lightly anymore.

    Rudolf moved the Central Army to the lords nearby, but the result wasn’t favorable for them.

    “Tch, we can’t even defeat one monster!”

    “They are much smarter and more organized than we thought.”

    Voltas looked at the reports that were handed to him and analyzed the monster attacks.

    As a result, they found out that the monsters were actually tactically attacking weak places.

    The troops of the Rhodesia Continent revolved around the use of Gigants. The general charter depended on the Gigant battle, and without a Gigant, there was almost no battle.

    It was a common story in the military textbook, and every commander knew about it.

    “But this is troublesome. The units operating the Gigants are behind the infantry and the cavalry.”

    “Aren’t they using the trailers for moving them ahead?”

    “Yes, they are but the trailers weren’t really that useful. The roads are too long or the ground is too weak; that’s why they can’t help right away. The trailers aren’t being very accessible.”

    “So, they make sure to finish attacking a region before the Central Army could even reach the place.”

    The story had moved from Voltas’s mouth to Rudolf’s ears, which made him convinced, but a solution wasn’t available.

    “There is something to know in here. According to the testimony of the knight who got captured but managed to run away from the orcs, the Orc Hero is someone named Shaikan.”

    “Orc Hero? The one who caused the Navarre Duchy monster wave years ago?”

    When asked by Rudolf, Voltas nodded his head.

    “Right. This seems to be the same person.”

    “Kaak! Why did that Orc Hero have to show up in this empire?! Make sure to send the right squad before he manages to assemble the monsters!”

    “I will make sure to select the right person,” responded Voltas.

    At the calm response of Voltas, Rudolf frowned.

    “It’s annoying because nothing is getting solved lately!”

    The issues at the Holy Arthenia Empire, as well as the monster problem, everything was at a loss.

    If things hadn’t gone like this, Rudolf was planning on wiping out the nobles at once, but the other problems seemed much worse.

    ‘Should I be glad that the men from Volga are silent?’

    If the Republic decided to take advantage of the situation in the Baroque, then Rudolf would have to beat everyone and run straight for the battlefield.