Chapter 36: Vol1 Ch36: The greatest strength of humans
This was said by the one she called ‘father', a statement that left a deep impression in the mind of the young Tesa.
She was the result of a one-night stand between her merchant father and her powerless civilian mother. After a natural disaster occurred, her mother had no choice but to bring her 6-year-old self and seek out her father who wanted nothing more than to climb the ranks of society.
In the end, her mother had to become a lowly worker in his merchant caravan in order to stay. Her father was barely interested in keeping them there. He had the same indifference that most merchants had, they only focused on whether or not they could earn a profit. Even if it was a woman with whom he shared a night of pleasure, even if she carried his blood-related daughter, he only gave them affection when they could bring him certain benefits.
Tesa grew up in her father's merchant caravan. No matter how hard her mother worked for them, all she ever received were sneers and ridicule. Even if Tesa was angry, she understood the fact that women were only men's dependants in this world. Those without sufficient strength would never be recognized by others.
She then did her best to study and learn what she could, gradually becoming an important figure in the merchant caravan, even those who used to sneer and look down at her called her ‘young lady'.
Perhaps she inherited her father's traits, or perhaps because of her own experiences when she was little, Tesa didn't know when to stop. Every moment of every day, she would either be actively working to improve herself, or looking for an opportunity to do so.
She saved up money and hired an old mercenary to teach her swordsmanship, but during the very first day, that old mercenary mercilessly showed her that a woman's strength was naturally inferior to that of men. Because of that, no matter how much effort she put into this, she would not achieve much in the end.
The change to all of this was when the caravan arrived in Reystromia. Seeing her chance, she left the caravan without hesitation and chose to become a Crowmen. This was how she was, a person that took every opportunity she could.
Tesa glanced at her rapier, now soaked in blood and [Black Crow] germs, took a stance and stared closely at her opponent, Chris.
When she became a Crowmen, she chose to implant the [Black Crow] germs into her hands. This made it so that her grip was strong and stable, raising her swordsmanship to an incredible level. The old mercenary who predicted that she would not achieve much was now unable to receive even a single one of her strikes.
"Defeating you will be my opportunity to rise, and I will take that opportunity no matter what!" Tesa brandished her rapier and stabbed straight at Chris' nose and mouth with lightning-fast speed and precision: "Chris, your strength comes from your [Respiratory Art], and thus so will your downfall!"
"That sword is soaked with that black substance. It would definitely not end well if I were to be struck with that sword!" Chris sensed his surrounding rhythm and quickly avoided Tesa's frenzied barrage of stabs.
"Right at this moment, Metal Rhythm!" Chris took a deep breath and closed the pores on his hands, they even gleamed almost like metal. He clamped the rapier with great accuracy and broke it with both hands. He then shifted his body and moved in closer to Tesa, throwing a punch at her without hesitation.
"Seize the opportunity…" Tesa completely ignored Chris' incoming punch as her throat moved and spat out a mouthful of mixed blood and [Black Crow] germs straight at Chris' face.
Tesa received the punch head-on with her face and was sent flying backwards, several bloodied detached teeth could be seen falling on the ground quite clearly.
Meanwhile, the black germs that she spat out moved like living creatures, trying to invade Chris' mouth and nose, making it so that he couldn't help but stop this [Respiratory Art]. The sense of power from harmonization with the world through rhythm also stopped.
Chris was a bit flustered as he tried to peel off the black substance climbing into his mouth and nose. Without the heightened senses brought by the [Respiratory Art], he was feeling very awkward, similar to a person who was used to seeing with their eyes being suddenly blindfolded.
Tesa struggled to stand up, her face was swollen and made it so that her plain features now appeared laughable. But she didn't care, as seizing an opportunity naturally came with its costs and risks.
She only implanted the [Black Crow] germs into her hands, but her overall constitution was also improved, otherwise taking one of Chris' punches head-on would've caused her to fall unconscious.
"I won…" Tesa didn't attempt to go in for the kill. Chris' [Respiratory Art] being rendered useless by the [Black Crow] germs was nothing but a small victory. Being an illegitimate daughter in a merchant caravan made it so that she had to constantly be careful of everything, otherwise, she could die during the long trips at any time.
Right now, Chris' [Respiratory Art] should be useless, but he might have other aces up his sleeves, so there was no need for her to recklessly charge in.
"Men, finish Chris off. I will appeal to Lord Negary for whoever kills him to be granted the qualifications to become a Crowmen" Tesa loudly shouted in a leaky voice.
After a few moments of silence, several people appeared out of nowhere with weapons in their hands and approached Chris. [Black Crow] germs that were suitable to be implanted into a person's body weren't easy to create, so there had always been very few quotas to join the Crowmen.
These people had been watching the Crowmen and Chris' fight so they saw how powerful both of them were. It was unlikely for them to obtain the [Respiratory Art] from Chris, and it also required talent as well as meticulous training, so becoming a Crowmen was a much more enticing offer.
Due to being unable to breathe, Chris' vision was becoming blurry, he could only see faint figures that approached him out of ill-will.
10 years ago within the Snow Mountain, those pursuers also approached him with similar ill-will. At the time, due to the snowstorm, all he could see were blurred figures as well.
"I'm no longer the same confused man who needs to be saved as before" Chris resolutely closed his eyes, recalling the words of the great man who taught him [Respiratory Art]:
Recalling how Tesa bit and ripped the back of her hand and how the black substance moved from before, Chris stopped putting strength into his hands. Apparently realizing something, he quickly crouched down and hit his head against the ground with considerable force.