The Master of the Brave - Chapter 145
Chapter 145. Jade
“Well…” Jade looked away from Neumann, who had given up, and turned to Wynn. “Do you remember? The first time you and I met?”
“When we first met?”
The first time Wynn and Jade met was at the entrance ceremony for the Simurgh Knight School. Jade calmed the boys who had been picking on Wynn and shook his hand with an arrogant smile. However, the smile on his face was fake. His eyes were not smiling, they were full of arrogance, and he glared at Wynn. And then he said to him:
‘The traditional Simurgh Knight School is no place for a commoner like you. You should know your place.’
Jade let out a great sigh.
“It’s a shame that a commoner like you would attend a traditional knight school and be my classmate. That alone causes me great humiliation. And on top of that, you are standing in the audience hall that should be reserved for people of noble lineage.”
“I just wanted to be a knight. And the people around me gave me the support to be one, and that’s why I’m standing in front of you now.”
Hearing Wynn’s response, Jade snorted slightly.
“Give it up, Jade. Your undead knights are being contained by the Royal Guard. None other of your allies will come this far.”
“Give up, huh. That’s what the victor says to the defeated. But my ambition is not yet fully crushed.”
“At this point, what are you going to…?”
“Have a one-on-one with me, Wynn.” Jade held his shield in his left hand and his sword in his right.
“A sparring match!” Wynn was confused when Jade put the tip of his sword right under his nose.
“Your Excellency Cliffdorf. You are free to take on Wynn-kun, but even if you win, there will be no escape for you now, you know?”
“You think so?” Jade laughed at Kelvin, who entered the room at the end of the line, who interrupted him with a relaxed attitude. “Kelvin, second in command of the squadron… a man who once served as Colonel to General Zaunas.”
“Now I’m just a squad leader.”
“My ambition to become the ruler of the Empire apparently ends here, but I still have another goal.”
“Revenge against the same empire that took my mother’s life and her homeland!” As soon as he shouted, Jade launched a slash at Wynn. Jade’s sword skills were inferior to those of Leticia, Raul and Mito, with whom Wynn had crossed swords in the past. However, his spirit was not inferior to theirs.
Jade’s arm strength, enhanced by magic, was greater than Wynn’s, so he stepped back and dodged the sword without meeting it. He then launched his own attack against the base of Jade’s, hoping to disarm him. Jade did not dodge the slash, but stepped into it. He held the shield of his left arm in front of him to block Wynn’s sword and pushed with all his might. Jade, with his superior strength, sent Wynn flying backwards as if he had been hit by a bullet.
“I’m all right!” He shouted at Locke, and immediately readied his sword.
“It’s nostalgic, isn’t it, commoner? You and I met like this once.”
“You mean the first time we had a mock battle at the knight school?”
“In that fight, for the first time in my life, I experienced the humiliation of losing to a stranger. Let me pay you back for that!” Jade pointed his sword again.
“Don’t get in my way, Brave!”
“Letty, don’t interfere! I’ll take care of him on my own!”
Jade’s sword was quickly deflected and Wynn tried to close the gap between the two, but Jade deftly maneuvered his shield away from Wynn to prevent that from happening.
“I, who know the truth of fire, strike like a fireball!” He also created a series of fireballs near the ceiling and attacked Wynn with them. The latter gave up the chase and moved out of the way of the attack. Once again, Jade raised the shield on his left arm towards Wynn and his sword.
The two stopped moving.
“Jade has… become strong!” The moment the suffocating battle stopped, Locke let out a great sigh and muttered in a voice that could not hide his surprise.
“It’s true that Jade was the best student in the knight school…”
He was always at the top of his class at the Knight School. The others thought that Jade’s performance as a normal knight was a mixture of favoritism due to his status as the son of a marquis, but they realized now that this was not the case when they saw the way Jade fought. It was true that there might have been some favoritism, but Jade was capable enough to be one of the best.
“Surprising, eh? Of course I wouldn’t be defeated so easily by a commoner.” Jade heard Locke’s murmur and shot him a mocking look. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve been remembering the moment I tasted that defeat? I haven’t been able to get it out of my head, I’ve even seen that sword in my dreams.” Jade gritted his teeth and swung his shield at Wynn. It was as if his whole body had crashed into him. Next, he pulled his sword out from behind his shield just as Wynn moved to dodge, but it only grazed his hair. “Damn it.” Jade clicked his tongue softly. Then he held his shield in front of him again and faced Wynn head on.
Leticia looked at Wynn with a worried expression on her face. When Kelvin saw that profile, he realized Jade’s true objective.
I see… that’s what he meant.
It was something Kelvin overheard while sharing a meal with Royce. Apparently, Alfred once asked Royce what he had to do to beat Leticia. At that time, Royce replied that he would do nothing. If they did nothing, the Brave would eventually die, as she was only a human being. He also revealed to Alfred what he should do if he couldn’t wait. He thought that if you deprived her of the place where her heart was, that would kill her mentally and make her believe that you had achieved your true purpose, then she would die alone, by suicide or something.
One of Jade’s goals was to get revenge on the Empire, and if there was still a way to fulfill his wish in this no-win situation, it was to kill Wynn in this battle. In other words, to take Leticia’s heart.
From Kelvin’s point of view, Leticia was totally dependent on Wynn. If he killed Wynn, Jade would be killed by Leticia’s hands immediately. But would killing Jade be enough to stop Leticia’s anger and hatred? Leticia’s anger and hatred, which would burn so fiercely because she would lose the place where her heart was, could be directed at the empire that caused the death of her beloved. If that happened, the empire would simply perish. As he came to this thought, Kelvin was struck with a chilling thought. His narrowed eyes widened and he couldn’t help but look at Leticia, who was observing the combat situation beside him.
“Don’t worry, Onii-chan won’t lose.”
At that moment, Leticia muttered as if reading Kelvin’s thoughts.
“Onii-chan is not going to lose.”
“Right, Wynn-kun will definitely win.” Cornelia, who folded her hands in prayer in front of her chest, also muttered.
The two girls, who were probably the most important noblewomen in the empire, had their eyes focused solely on Wynn.
“Onii-chan, you can’t lose when two girls are here believing in your victory, can you?”
As if responding to Leticia’s muttering, Wynn shouted in a booming voice. Then he kicked the ground and lunged toward Jade.
“What are you planning to do charging head-on!” Jade tried to parry Wynn’s slash with his shield. Then he was going to draw his sword as a counterattack. He checked the position of Wynn’s sword, then anticipated the trajectory of the incoming blade and placed the shield in its path. Jade’s movements were fluid and unhurried. During this movement, Jade’s line of sight was blocked by the shield he had moved for a split second. And then…
The commoner is gone!? When his vision returned as he moved the shield a little, Jade had lost sight of Wynn. Before he had time to think to look for him, Wynn’s sword came out sharply from his right side and pierced his stomach.
“Ugh…” The first thing that went through his mind was the pain in his chest, and a taste of iron spread through his mouth. Then he coughed up a lot of blood. He stumbled back a step or two, and used his sword as a cane to break his fall, but it wasn’t very effective and he fell to his knees. He coughed again and again, and each time a clot of blood stained the audience chamber.
“Another… defeat for me…”
Muttering under his breath, Jade rolled onto his back. He could see Wynn looking at him with a puzzled expression.
“Maybe… even my father… won’t win. Commoner… no, Wynn… right. With the dissolution of the Continental Anti-Demon Alliance… nations have nowhere to direct their power. War spreads destruction, but it also generates vast amounts of wealth.”
“Hey, Jade. Don’t talk.”
Cornelia crouched down next to Wynn, who called out to him, and tried to cast a healing spell. But Jade grabbed her hand and rejected the healing magic.
“The nations of the world will unleash their power once again… but this time for riches. The world will once again be plunged into war. The first to reach the Empire will be Petersia. They will come with a great army before the scars of the recent turmoil have healed… At that time, how will we fight with the depleted national power of the empire…? I can’t wait to see… what it will be like…” coughing faintly, Jade laughed, his lips twisted into a small smile.
“Mo… Mo… ther…” The voice was so faint you’d have to bring your ear close to his mouth to hear it. Those were Jade’s last words.
Jade, who was thought to be one of the heads of this civil war, had taken his last breath. While Wynn and the others were more or less shocked by Jade’s end, there was only one person who had almost been forgotten by everyone present. It was Neumann.
“What should I do… What should I do from now on…?”
There was no one here who could answer that question. Jade, who until now had only been using him, but who kept telling him what to do time after time, was dead. There was no one to tell Neumann what to do anymore. However, what Neumann knew, even in his head, was that, as the person who had caused this civil war, was brought before Alfred right now, he would definitely be put to death.
Yes… Father. If I could get my father to intercede, then….
For Neumann, who had lost his backing after Jade’s death, the last thing he could do to save his life was to ask his father Alexei, the emperor, to intercede with Alfred.
It’s not my fault. Right! I have been deceived. This civil war started because I was led to believe Alfred was a double. It’s not my fault! The one to blame is Jade von Cliffdorf, who tricked me! That’s what I’ll tell to father, and that’s what he’ll tell Alfred. It’s not my fault. If I tell him that he’ll understand.
Unnoticed by Wynn and the others, who were still surrounding Jade’s corpse, he moved closer and closer to the staircase where the throne was located. Behind the throne was a corridor leading to the Emperor’s quarters. Only a limited number of people could enter them. The only one who was qualified to pass through it was Cornelia.
For the time being, I will ask Father to hide me in his chambers. If it’s just Cornelia, I can handle it. That’s what he thought as he climbed the stairs to leave the room.
“Don’t take another step, Neumann. You have no right to set foot on the throne stairs.”
A low but powerful voice echoed throughout the courtroom. How long had he been there? Neumann, and then Wynn and the others, looked up startled by the voice.
At the far end of the audience hall, on a throne decorated with gold and jewels, the seventeenth emperor of the Lemmrousell Empire, Alexei Lau Root Lemmrousell, sat looking down at them all.
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