Knight of Demise - novelonlinefree.info
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It comes! Faced with the sudden a.s.sault, Julian does not panic. He carelessly tosses aside the torch in his hands, and draws the longsword at his hip. The steel charts a beautiful curved arc, slicing towards the target behind him. His sword meets only empty s.p.a.ce, but through the body of the blade, Julian feels something substantial in the void.
The surrounding shadows abruptly shrink, recoiling as if having been stabbed. They meld and fuse together, before transforming into a caliginous, humanoid, form. Dazzling moonlight s.h.i.+nes down, bringing illumination to the darkness in the bottom of the well. Helped by this faint light, Julian is able to clearly discern the humanoid figure before him. Its body is composed of thick, roiling black fog; two glowing red points appear upon its head, filled with an indescribable killing intent. Aside from these points, no other facial features can be seen. From within its body comes a screeching roar, sending vague sensations of numbness into even Julian’s body. An arcane revenant! After getting a clear look at his a.s.sailant, Julian raises an eyebrow in surprise. An arcane revenant, intrinsically, is a soul filled with powerful magic turned vengeful spirit. This type of revenant is exceedingly rare, since those filled with sufficiently powerful magic are almost always wizards, who have manifold ways to cheat death. Even if one were unlucky enough to die, it is rare for them to remain within the pale, instead becoming mana anew and returning to the world. Thus, even someone as storied as Julian has only met something like this three times. Though arcane revenants do not possess such a myriad variety of magical attacks as wizards, they are filled with a terrifying magical energy. Ordinary weapons are unable to block their attacks, and even weapons filled with positive energy will have their effectiveness greatly reduced thanks to its magicks’ disruptive effect. But the infamy of an arcane revenant is not due to those factors alone. As revenants, they lack almost any form of thought or reason, and therefore have the total annihilation of any enemy before them as their sole precept – by any means, at any cost. Imagine, if you will, a madman who doesn’t care about the fact he’s holding a nuclear bomb; that thought should give you an appreciation of the feelings of those who are faced with an arcane revenant. Once it decides to unleash itself regardless of consequence, even the castle would be totally destroyed. There’s nothing else for it, then. Julian’s face sinks as he considers his options. He turns over the longsword in his hands; a blue radiance rises from the intricate etchings upon the body of the sword. However, the light is faint, almost intermittent. Nocturnal iron, still unsharpened … well that's as much as it can do. Provoked by the sword, the arcane revenant seems to have locked onto the adversary before its eyes. Letting out a fevered shriek, it extends its arms in a lunging motion. Clang! Julian brandishes the longsword to parry the attack, sustaining a block against the pair of thickset, illusive arms. If not for the special properties of nocturnal iron, it would not be possible to intercept an ephemeral attack on the soul. In the instant of the block, Julian hesitates in mild surprise. His opponent’s strength is not as great as he had imagined. Though it was filled with magical energy and killing intent, this arcane revenant was nevertheless not particularly strong. In his past encounters with arcane revenants head on, Julian had been hard-pressed to even go half-and-half with them, but now, he feels … his strength is clearly greater, possibly even oppressively so. Was this arcane revenant still immature? Julian does not let down his guard because of conjecture. Though arcane revenants were all thoughtless creatures fighting on instinct alone, who knows what exactly those instincts are? Thinking this, he immediately draws backwards, but the shadow shows no sign of ceasing its attacks, lunging forward in an angry howl yet again. After a flurry of blows that are all parried away from Julian’s body, the foiled revenant is clearly fl.u.s.tered, reflecting those sentiments in its roars. Immediately following, Julian feels the surrounding void energies converge towards it; accompanied by this gathering of energy, the once-weak shadow regains its strength. So that’s how it is! Having recognized the truth of the matter, Julian takes action instantly. Unlike his previous strategy of waiting for the other party’s attack, he takes two steps forward, initiating an a.s.sault himself upon the arcane revenant. “Ssh – !” The bottom of the well is cramped. In only two paces, Julian rushes to the shadow’s side; faced with his attack, the latter lets out an impatient growl, sending its two black arms in sword-like rapid thrusts towards the man charging towards it, attempting to run him through. However, the arms do not achieve its intended goal; Julian’s blade delineates an airborne circle of azure light, pressing itself tightly upon the shadow’s arms, forcing his adversary to change course with its attack before he follows up with a reverse sweep, slicing easily into the shadow’s body.  An exchange of blows between soul and soul occurs. Harmed by Julian’s attack, the black shadow erupts once more, madly flailing its arms in an effort to repel the enemy that had harmed it. Having antic.i.p.ated this long prior, Julian calmly leaps back in lockstep with the shadow’s movements, dodging his opponent’s counterattack just so. Afterwards, he raises his sword to parry again, denying far and away the shadow’s attack. The same time as Julian begins to turn his sword, the strange shadow suddenly stops its motion, backing up two steps. Its crimson eyes glow intensely as it raises both hands to clutch at its head. For his part, Julian averts the blade in a guarding motion, simultaneously examining his opponent in curiosity. The black shadow raises its head, and a hoa.r.s.e, grating voice sounds from its body. “Who … who are … you?” It can talk? Julian is increasingly unsure about his present circ.u.mstances, but he ponders a few seconds before deciding to answer the other side’s question. “h.e.l.lo, my name is Julian; Julian Felix.” His mind made up, Julian retracts his longsword, allowing a graceful, pleasant smile to appear on his face. Since his counterpart can speak, why not communicate? Though the arcane revenants he had met before now had all been unable to speak, there are exceptions to everything, no? “You … you … you …” The shadow seems vexed by Julian’s actions, bellowing in a deep voice, seemingly caught in contemplation or remembrance. “You … are … person …?” “Of course I’m a person.” Julian shrugs nonchalantly before looking back at the shadow. “Who are you?” “I … I …” Hearing Julian’s query, the shadow is excited once more, waving its elongated arms up and down; it alternates between clutching at its head, then dropping its arms, then clutching again, almost as if the problem Julian posed was insoluble - even for itself.  “My … my …” The shadow’s movements grow more rapid; it seems to be looking for something that cannot be found. It desperately tries to recall, to answer Julian’s question, but to no avail. Quietly gazing at the shadow, Julian says nothing further, though he keeps a hand prudently placed on his sword-hilt. Though the confused revenant poses a threat to him no longer, and may even be pretty easy to eliminate, Julian does not take advantage; it’s rare to find one of these that can both think and talk, so let’s see how things turn out before the beating resumes – he has both the confidence and the strength to utterly destroy it pending rejoined battle. “My na … my na … name … is …” The shadow quivers, and the surrounding voice energies contract and congeal with its movements. Following this, the shadow seems to remember something; raising its head, it stares directly at Julian with its crimson eyes. “My name is, Auvalire West.”  An elegant, melodious voice resounds; accompanying the declaration, the pitch-black mist that had surrounded and composed the shadow flares forthwith. The figure of a girl appears within. She looks serenely towards Julian, her eyes flas.h.i.+ng with a strange brilliance. “That is … my name.”  A long run-on sentence, but I’m too lazy to splice it. Tough.  There is a spot of wordplay here. “Problem” and “question” are both the same word, 问题 in this context. Hard to render completely, though I could have tried harder.  It could have been a better name. Yes, it’s definitely not Ophelia, although it could have been if I wanted to force the matter. I wanted to have a novel with only French names, dammit! How about that Julien Félix, hmm? Culturally challenged indeed. TN: I'll try to get a few more out today. I'm planning 2 more but I could be off. As much as this is a "fun" project for now, I'd like to get a reasonable volume out, huh? TN2: As a rule, I do not try to shoot for accuracy over smoothness and comprehension, though preserving most of both is my goal. I hope my work is agreeable to read and does not sound too unnatural. If the peanut gallery has any comments on my work, let me know on Discord or Plebbit; you can find my translator page (?) on NovelUpdates, with contact details. TN3: Also I'm upsizing font to 12. I hope that's okay but you guys don't get a say anyway.