*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
I quickly rushed down the streets towards the battle scene, leaving the guide behind, for I could easily sense the strong aura of the undead ahead of me. I've never felt such a strong undead aura appearing in the city before……
(Don't tell me it's because I asked for higher level undead creatures from the necromancer? But from what my teacher told me, the Church refused to pay a lot for the necromancer's services, so they'll only summon the weakest corpses for me…?)
There was a small house ahead…… I leaped onto the roof, got a better look at the battlefield, before leaping down while yelling, "Undead creatures that violate the laws of nature and death, I, the Sun Knight of the Church of Light, swear upon the blinding sun in the sky, to wipe out this blight and cleanse this beautiful world of your evil presence!"
"Sun, you're finally here!" Leaf Knight turned to me with a relieved expression.
Standing beside him were Storm, Earth and Frost, each leading several knights from their own teams. All in total, there were about 20 or so holy knights gathered there. This was the first time I could recall such a large force being mobilised within the city.
However, I could understand the why, for a Death Knight isn't some small fry one could easily deal with…… Hold on, a Death Knight?
The probabilities of successfully summoning a Death Knight are so low that necromancers couldn't be bothered to summon one in the first place, so why is there one here?
Could he have lost his way and came here by mistake?
Due to being overly surprised, my control of my left leg slipped, causing it to bend insufficiently and collide into my right leg, which in turn caused my right knee to bend at a wrong angle, leading to my being unable to step out with my right leg properly…… in other words-
Luckily for my teacher's 'reasonable' and 'unreasonable' training, my abilities to trip elegantly are second to none. Not even the God of Light Herself would be able to trip more beautifully than me…… of course, I'm sure that the God of Light would never be so 'ungodly' as to trip in the first place!
I bent my waist and tilted my upper body forward, swept out my arms gracefully-not unlike a dancing ballerina's, flipped around 720 degrees in the air before twirling 180 degrees as I land. Touch down! Lastly, I pulled in my arms to my chest in a butterfly shape, took a deep breath and regained the Sun Knight's confident and elegant bearing.
'Clap, clap, clap, clap…!'
The audience immediately burst out into thunderous applause. One of the knights even pounded on his shield while clamouring, "Encore, encore! One more time!"
To hell with you and your 'one more time'! Oh God, why hasn't the Death Knight sent this idiot to Your Holy Being to be re-enlightened?
"10 points!" The ever nice and kind Leaf immediately gave me full marks.
"Hmph! 5 points. His landing was a bit wobbly." Ooh, curse that evil Earth! He must still be upset about me
interrupting his time with the lady.
"8 points. The trip before the queen was more beautiful." Storm……. Alright, you have a point there.
I admit that at that time to avoid humiliating myself in front of a queen, I had called upon my superhuman abilities to-beautifully and elegantly, fall down 323 flights of steps.
Ever since that incident, the Holy Temple's flight of steps hold a special place of hatred in my heart. I hate them even more than Earth.
Shit! Why build such a long flight of steps in the first place?
If it weren't for the hundreds of priests waiting to heal me at the bottom of the steps, I would have became the first Sun Knight to die from falling down the stairs.
Remember when I told you what my teacher had said? "As a Sun Knight, even if you were to trip and fall, you still have to do it very gracefully."
Well…… when I was old enough to go on missions, my teacher had said this to me, "Child, you are now finally able to go out and start carrying out missions. As your teacher, I feel immensely proud of you. But before you go, there's one more thing I have to tell you."
"Yes, teacher. I will be sure to take extra care of myself." I felt so moved. My teacher really does care about me!
"Oh, yes, of course, do take care! But remember that a Sun Knight must be elegant and graceful at all times."
"Teacher, don't worry. I will elegantly and gracefully complete my mission." I nodded obediently.
(Back then, I had already been through several hellish months of training. I had to see the priest for some high level healing every few days to heal some of the nastier injuries I received from my tripping, uh, I mean, training.)
But my teacher shook his head and said, "Child, completing a mission elegantly is only the basics"
"Then what is the next level?"
"Child, remember that should you ever fail in your missions and may be about to die, you have to……"
"Pray to the God of Light?"
"No. You have to think about how you are going to die, and contemplate about which expression you should have as you die. Should you look peaceful, or defiant? And most importantly, should you be killed by being stabbed in the heart, or should you kill yourself rather than dying at the hands of your enemy? Only when you have properly considered the best and most elegant combination, can you then gracefully die. As a Sun Knight, even if you were to die, you still have to die very gracefully!"
So, if I were to die from such an inelegant way-falling down the stairs, my teacher would probably get so angry, he'd get a necromancer to raise me from the dead just so he could make me die elegantly once more.
"Sun, this Death Knight is pretty strong. Don't underestimate him." With that, Leaf, Storm and Earth backed away, leaving some empty space for the Death Knight and me.
A few of the knights exclaimed, "Isn't it a bit much to let the Sun Knight handle the Death Knight alone?"
"Don't worry. My best friend would never lose to an undead creature." Said the Earth Knight loyally.
"That's true. Sun becomes stronger whenever he sees his most hated undead creatures. Don't go interfering with his fight, or he'll get upset. " Explained Leaf, before throwing a 'don't worry, I won't let anyone interfere with your fight' smile at me.
But-but wait a minute! That was only because those undead creatures that I've been fighting were requested by me to vent out my frustrations on!
At that moment, the Death Knight's sword burst into black flames. He opened his rotting mouth and let out an inhuman roar.
Great. Maybe I should start considering which expression and pose to die with, and chose my favourite method of dying.
I was still thinking about how I should die when the Death Knight leapt at me with his fiery sword and slashed at me…… Don't joke with me! How can I die now when I have yet to come up with the best combination of dying elegantly!
My teacher often said, "It's alright if you don't have natural talent, as long as you practice, practice, and practice. Come on, continue trip for another month, and I'm sure you'll be able to trip elegantly!"
So, if I do not die elegantly, my teacher will revive me again and again, and make me practice dying for a month until I can finally die elegantly……
That's why I cannot die before figuring out the most elegant way of dying! Or alternatively, I have to first leave instructions with Judge to chop up my body into little pieces after my death, so that my teacher would have no way of reviving me!
"He-ah!" I yelled while drawing my sword and blocking the Death Knight's blow.
"As can be expected of the Sun Knight, his aura is indeed impressive." The holy knights marvelled.
"Sun, where is your Holy Sun Blade?" Leaf exclaimed with surprise.
Fuck. The Holy Sun Blade is a priceless ancient artefact! Even though its blade remains sharp as ever, who knows if it will one day break into two?
It doesn't really matter when it breaks, as long as it does not break in my hands. Or else, not even all of my future salary will be enough to pay for it!
Furthermore, I had thought that I would only be fighting those weak undead corpses. Do you ever see anyone using a butcher's knife to kill a chicken? I would never use the precious Holy Sun Blade when letting out my frustrations. It would be rather counterproductive if I had to constantly worry about the sword breaking as I fight.
What's that? You think I'm making a mountain out of a molehill?
Fine, even if it won't break, there are still other problems.
No matter what the weapon may be, be it the Holy Sun Blade or the XX Holy Sword or the YY Malevolent Blade, the weapon's blade would eventually get blunt after using it for some time, and you'll then have to take it in to the blacksmith to sharpen it.
Now, if it were an ordinary sword, it would only cost at most 1 silver coin-which is already quite expensive-to sharpen its blade. But for a sword as priceless as the Holy Sun Blade, no ordinary blacksmith would dare to touch it. I would have to bring it to the city's best blacksmith, who would charge me at least 1 gold coin!
One gold coin! Why, I could buy an ordinary sword with that money!
And don't forget, a sword's blade gets thinner and thinner every time it is sharpened! So rather than wasting one gold coin to sharpen the Holy Sun Blade, which would make its blade thinner and thus more susceptible to breaking, I'd rather kill those undead creatures with my bare teeth!
Although, biting undead creatures is rather inelegant-not to mention difficult. So I have no choice but to spend that one gold coin and buy an ordinary sword instead.
Now I may have been grumbling here for quite some time, but I've actually already exchanged a few blows with the Death Knight. Every 'clang' as our swords clash causes me to wince internally, for unless one weapon was significantly better than the other, each hit with the other's sword is one more nick in my sword's blade. Should there be too many nicks, I'll have to send it in to the blacksmiths, and there goes another silver coin……
If it weren't for the black flames covering the knight's sword, I would have preferred to block him with my own body. After all, there are plenty of priests in the Hall of Light, and I could just ask them to heal me for free!
However, I do think it's suspicious that I have yet to be defeated by the Death Knight. Is it that the legendary Death Knight is actually not as strong as they are rumoured to be?
Or is it that I've been getting stronger without being aware of it? …… I think I better not get my hopes up.
Just a few days ago during one of our spars, I was defeated by the Judge Knight in just three moves. If I were to claim that I'm getting stronger, I think even the Death Knight with his brain half rotted away would never believe me!
Or maybe, this Death Knight I'm fighting is not really a Death Knight, but merely a 'dead knight' that just so happened to be summoned by a necromancer?
As I look at it up and down, err… His whole body is half rotted away, and his sword skills are pretty lame. It's not like I really want to admit it, but, for me to be able to ramble on and on whilst fighting him and winning…… well, my opponent has to be really horrible at…… er, I mean, is not very skilled at sword fighting.
(Don't joke. If I criticise that his sword skills horrible, then wouldn't that be admitting that my sword skills are equally poor? I admit that my sword skills aren't that good, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it horrible!)
So, this undead creature with 'not very good' sword skills is not a 'Death Knight', but a 'dead knight'.
Oh, forget it! No matter if it is a 'dead' or 'Death' knight, if I don't quickly defeat it, I'll have to spend money on a new sword, which must be avoided at all times.
Even though I admitted that I'm not that skilled with a sword, I am very good at the holy knights' specialty-holy magic. I can guarantee you, one hit and KO for the undead. The only reason I hadn't quickly killed it early on was because……
"Child, even if you encounter a really strong undead creature, remember to battle with it for some time before killing it off with holy magic." My teacher told me.
"But why not kill it off from the start?" inexperienced me could not understand his meaning.
"Child, think about it. Whenever people encounter a monster, it'll take about ten minutes for the monster to show that it is a powerful threat by killing a few people, the crowd would then take up another ten minutes screaming and panicking, and another ten minutes of scrambling about before the knights arrive to rescue them. If you use only three minutes to defeat the monster, how can you expect to please the expectant crowd who spent 30 minutes waiting for a great battle?"
"…… then, how long should I spend fighting the monster, in order to meet the crowd's expectations?"
"Child," said my teacher as he gazed into the distance. "A battle is like a poem, and you are the poet. A battle needs not only a beginning, a middle and an end, but also suspense and uncertainty. Ideally, you would let the enemy beat you into the ground (elegantly, of course). If the enemy has some standards, he would then use degrading words to belittle and demean you, and you then burst out with your hitherto unknown potential……"
"…… unknown potential?"
"Err… burst out with your hidden powers and the Holy Light magic, and elegantly defeat the enemy before dispatching him off to rest in peace. This is a perfect battle."
…… Sounds like an exhausting battle to me.
Since then, I've always hated fighting missions. Those missions are even more exhausting then having to gracefully fall down more than 300 flights of steps. So unless it was an arranged fight with the undead creatures, I would leave all battles to the Judge Knight, who defeats his enemies in one swipe of his blade.
That is why no one bothers to watch the Judge Knight's battles. They are just too boring.
Startled by the cry, I suddenly felt a great pain across my back. Before I could turn and see who had sneaked an attack at me, Leaf had sent off the 'dead knight' to rest in peace with an arrow and was turning to look at my back with concern. I could faintly hear him gasp upon seeing my back.
It's not that bad, is it? I, too, worriedly craned my neck around to look at my back, but just couldn't manage to see my injury.
However, I did see Earth summon his specialty-the Earth Shield-behind me. I may hate the guy's guts, but I have to admit that my favourite place to be is right behind his Earth Shield, especially when facing enemies who are too strong for me.
Meanwhile, Frost raised his Holy Frost Blade-which looks uncannily like an icicle-and frowned at the enemy whom he was facing off with. This enemy must be very strong indeed to be able to make Frost frown.
"Sun, don't you hurt, at all?"Ask Leaf worriedly.
I shook my head. Hmph. What? This little injury? After undergoing several months of my teacher's special 'tripping training', I have become a Sun Knight who can still smile as brilliantly as ever-even after falling down 300 flights of steps! This little pain doesn't bother me in the slightest.
"You sure it really doesn't hurt?" Leaf still sounded quite panicked.
I restrained myself from rolling my eyes at him. Darn it, Leaf! Why do you have to force me to open my mouth?
"The God of Light's gentle sunrays has helped to make the pain fade away."
"Sun, you're amazing. To call such an injury only a little painful……" murmured Leaf.
Ignoring Leaf, I turned my attention to the guy who had popped out of nowhere. He looked quite strange. At first glance, he appeared to be human, yet a closer look would tell you that he was definitely not human!
No human would look so 'faded', right?
His hair was a faded brown; his skin looked like it had been drained of its natural colour; even the clothes and armour he was wearing looked to be faded silver. The guy looked ashy grey; as if he hadn't moved for several centuries, and had let a layer of dust accumulate all over him.
When I put it like that, he just sounds like a lazy someone who has not bathed for many years and allowed dust to settle all over him, yet, I'm telling you, he was indubitably not human!
For he had no eyeballs; instead, there were two balls of grey flames where his eyes should have been!
Wow. Even the flames are cutting corners these days, what with their colour all faded away.
The only spot of colour on the guy was his sword. It was a simple and unadorned sword, but its blade gleamed in the sun, a testament to its cutting sharp edge.
Luckily, Frost's Holy Frost Blade is also not to be underestimated. It might look like any old icicle but its sharpness is definitely not that of a mere icicle!
And better yet, the Frost Knight is famous for his sword skills. I believe that even if he were to wield an icicle, he would still be stronger than me……
Anyway, Frost's style of fighting is to attack only after the enemy's first move; that is to say, he could stand there all day without moving, until the enemy eventually grows impatient and attacks, only to find himself dead with a sword run through his body.
So, Frost's battles are pretty boring too, and nobody watches them as there's not much to be seen.
And this time was no exception. The washed out guy grew impatient within a few minutes and attacked Frost with surprising speed. One moment, he was standing there; the next, he was already in front of Frost. It was as if he had never moved, managing to disappear and then reappear in front of Frost.
With such speed, it is no wonder then that he was able to slash at me even with the Earth Knight around…… I had thought that Earth had not helped me on purpose, as payback for earlier.
Thankfully, Frost's was watching the guy and managed to block his attack with his icicle…… I mean, his Holy Frost Blade.
However, this time Frost was unable to dispatch the guy as quickly as usual, and so he began fighting with the guy, both moving at incredible speeds. When I looked closely, I was shocked to see that Frost was actually losing.
I watched on excitedly ……cough… I watched on anxiously as my companion fought with the enemy when a notion suddenly came to me. A powerful knight, washed out appearance, alarmingly strong undead aura…… is he the Death Knight?!
Oh, my! Looks like it really is him.
"Sun, wouldn't you like to take care of your injuries first?" Leaf asked as he stared at my back worriedly.
"Sun is fine." I'm in the middle of watching a fight here! It's rare to see Frost having to fight with an enemy for so long. The injuries can come later.
Although I was watching excitedly, I did still notice that Frost appeared to be having a hard time. Well, he is helping me to fight off that guy, so I should help him out. After all, with Frost defeated and Earth being more of the defence type, and Leaf is a long range fighter, so…… I'd be the only one left to deal with the Death Knight!
My blood would be splattered all over the grounds in eight moves; and I'll be dead in another three!
"Frost! Let me help you!" I shouted, not all worried about him losing his concentration, for Frost has the best concentration among the Twelve Holy Knights.
As the Sun Knight who absolutely loathes the undead, more than half the skills that I've had to learn deal specially with the undead. One of them is the Holy Blessing. With it, I can bless any object, giving it some powers for a period of time and which helps to increase the damage inflicted upon an undead.
I originally thought to bless Frost's Holy Frost Blade, but it was moving too fast for me to lock-on to it.
Never mind, I'll just waste a little more energy and bless Frost himself!
"Praise be the God of Light who shines upon this land, whose bright rays of sun rid the world of darkness and evil…… (etc. etc.)" After reciting a long list of praises for the God of Light, I finally finished with, "……God's blessing!"
Immediately, Frost was enveloped by a glowing golden light and seemed to sparkle. Not only does this light increase the damage inflicted upon the undead, it can also blind your opponent, regardless if they were an undead or not!
"Sun, me too."
The ever kind and nice Leaf had gotten angry, probably because of Frosts increasing wounds. He was standing at my side sternly, and in his hands he held…… Haha! You probably think it's the Holy Leaf Blade, but you're wrong!
It's the Holy Leaf Bow.
I was too lazy to recite the long list of praises of the God of Light, so I simply grabbed the notched arrow, letting the arrowhead pierce my palm. When I let go of it, the arrowhead was covered with my blood.
As the representative of the God of Light, my blood is blessed with the powers of the God and is quite lethal to the undead!
Leaf looked at me, touched, and said, "Sun, I will not waste this sacrifice of your blood."
With the help of the Holy Blessing, Frost was now able to fight with the Death Knight more evenly, for the Death Knight was rather wary of the holy light and this hindered his movements.
However, Leaf decided to put an end to this fight and drew his bow. His eyes glinted as he stared at the enemy and aimed his arrow.
Did I mention that the moment Leaf draws his bow, he instantly switches from a very nice guy to a very scary guy? He can shoot out five arrows in ten seconds, each hitting the bull's-eye every single time.
And that's not all. He can even shoot while running, while jumping, while singing, while turning to look at beautiful women…… all the while shooting at the enemy till he is speared like a porcupine.
I would rather fight with a Death Knight than to fight with Leaf armed with his bow and arrows. If I'm no match for the former, at least I'm still able to run away. As for the latter…… Well, I can't outrun an arrow, can I?
An arrow flew past me and buried itself into the enemy's chest, just as he was dodging Frost's attack. While an ordinary arrow may have no effect on the already dead Death Knight, an arrow covered in my blessed blood is another thing altogether.
The Death Knight's chest started sizzling-like a fish on a grill-and soon, there was a hollow pit where Leaf's arrow had struck him. No blood flowed from it, but his wounds oozed a sticky black substance.
This seemed to encouraged Frost even more and his attacks speed up, managing to hit the Death Knight on his right arm and causing him to emit an inhuman roar. This hit had cut through the bone and had nearly severed it from the rest of his arm. His arm dangled, connected to the rest of his arm by a few scraps of muscle.
The Death Knight immediately retreated, too fast for Frost to chase after him. But don't forget, we have Leaf on our side!
No matter how fast the Death Knight is, he cannot outrun an arrow!
'Shuute, shuute, shuute. '
It was a testament to how fast he was that the Death Knight was able to dodge the first two arrows, but the third arrow found its mark. It was a pity that the last arrow was not covered with my blood. He couldn't even be bothered to pull it out as it had absolutely no effect on him.
I smiled faintly and grabbed the next arrow's head, covering it with my blood. Then, thinking about it, I dripped my blood onto the remaining arrows in Leaf's quiver. There, even if Leaf missed the next one, he'll have more blessed arrows.
True to form, Leaf began to continuously shoot out arrows. Even though most of them were dodged, at least a few still managed to hit the Death Knight, each causing Death Knight to moan in pain.
"Oh, no! He's running away!" shouted Leaf while shooting out arrows even quicker than before. I could only see a blur of movements and hear the sounds as the arrows fly pass me. As expected of the Twelve Holy Knight's archer, Leaf.
The Death Knight could do nothing against this barrage of raining arrows but dodge them and run further away……
"Sun Knight! I will definitely come back for you!" Shouted the Death Knight when he was a mere speck in the distance…… Hold on, did he just threaten the Sun Knight……me?!
W-wait a minute! What's it got to do with me? I'm not the one who hit you!
As the saying goes, 'Every injustice has its perpetrator and every debt its debtor'. I had only blessed some holy light on Frost and covered some arrows with my blood! The ones who had hit you were them, not me!
I felt like weeping. Not only did I suffer a hit to my back, I somehow managed to unknowingly provoke a real Death Knight. What have I done to deserve all this?!
Frost sheathed his sword and Earth retracted his shield, before turning to look at me with a severe expression. But for some reason, the moment they saw me, they looked stunned.
"Sun, you……are you alright?" asked Earth, looking like he had just seen a ghost.
I emphatically shook my head. Why is everyone looking at me like that?
Frost kept silent, but his gaze dropped from my face to the ground, all the while looking a little dazed. Curious, I followed his gaze and looked down.
Oh, my! Where did all the blood come from? All the bright red looked rather startling-and impressive-against the brown cobbled street.
Hold on! Why are my white pants leg stained red?
"Sun…… are you sure you're OK?" Leaf sounded like he was fighting to hold back his tears.
Don't tell me that…… this whole floor of blood……is mine?
"Leaf…" I said, before realising that how faint my voice was.
"Yes?" Leaf quickly drew closer. I was probably too soft for him to hear.
"Give me a hand……"
And then, I-extremely elegantly-passed out.