Drake was training with the Dark Legion trainees when the commotion broke out.
'I can mobilize 28 Dark Legion Trainees, as well 50 guards. No matter how I look at it, 78 guards cannot face a hostile crowd of 1000 men and women. Furthermore, I won't commit a massacre in broad daylight.'
Drake pondered for a while.
If he opened the gate, his family's reputation would greatly suffer.
And his family motto was 'Grow strong in honour'.
If his family disgraced itself by yielding to mere mercenaries, his father would truly never be promoted. Nobles were petty after all, and honour was something valued by all. If you lacked honour, no matter whether you are a Grand Knight or not, you won't be accepted in the 'high society'.
Drake didn't care about honour, to be honest, but his father did. And he didn't want to be the boulder preventing his father from achieving his ambitions.
Drake threw away his training sword, and picked up his elven heirloom.
In difficult times, heroes emerged.
Drake opened the gates, but he also ordered the 50 guards and Dark Legions Trainees to draw their weapons behind him. The crowd was angry, but it wasn't ready to die for this cause. The glares from the guards or the murderous smiles on the Dark Legion Trainees' face was akin to a cold bucket of water on them.
In this deadly silence, Drake took the initiative.
"You want to be heard. ALRIGHT! I will listen to you. But what you just did is treason, punishable by death. I won't ask you to return to your homes right now, and I am not going to massacre you. I REQUEST A TRIAL BY COMBAT!"
Trial by combats. Whenever two parties do not seem to reach an agreement, they can request a trial by combat according to the Kingdom's law. In fact, trial by combats existed in many kingdoms besides the Porfield Kingdom.
The head of the Silver Wolf Mercenaries had two choices: refuse the trial and return to his home, or accept the trial. In a trial by combat, death was a possible outcome. Trial by combats were said to be events in which the gods decided who was right and who was wrong.
"MAY THE GOD BE WITNESSES! IF I WIN, YOU ALL GO HOME. IF YOU WIN, I OPEN THE GATES AND ORDER THE GUARDS AND THE DARK LEGION TO STAND DOWN. THAT WAY, THERE WILL BE NO BLOODSHED!", Drake shouted.
The crowd nodded. It was a fair proposal. They may have the advantage, but if Drake really wanted to, he could order the archers on the wall to abandon their positions and kill them all.
The head of the silver wolf mercenaries grinned. In his eyes, he was going to fight a child. How strong could a 15-years-old pampered young master possibly be?
"I accept!", he said, "I, Jonas, swear to abide by the terms offered by Sir Drake Moonlight! May the god be witnesses!"
"MAY THE GOD BE WITNESSES", the crowd shouted in unison.
On the side lines, everyone was impressed by Drake's determination.
The opponent was not a soldier. It was a famous gold-rank mercenary, a preparatory knight who went through many battles, someone who had killed dozens of enemies, if not hundreds!
Drake never killed a fellow human being in his 15 years of existence in Barnolia. But he was ready to do so. His mind entered a strange state of concentration. It had happened several times in his past life: entering a strange state in which 100% of his mind would be focused on one thing, killing his opponent.
Drake unsheathed his weapon. He was no longer the kid who was cheering and charming. He was nothing but a swordsman brandishing his sword, about to cut down his target.
Jonas was quite surprised, seeing Drake's composure. However, knowing that he had the upper hand in terms of body strength, Jonas took the initiative.
[Beep! Analysis completed!]
[Human Male. Name – Jonas Heart
Age – 41 years. Rank: Preparatory Knight
Strength – 3.0 | Dexterity – 1.5 | Constitution – 2.8 | Internal Energy – 3.0
Jonas had reached the very limits of what a preparatory knight could possibly reach.
'The only advantage I have is speed, but I won't be able to parry his attacks with such a big difference in strength.'
Drake wasn't afraid. As long as his opponent wasn't a knight, he was pretty sure he would win, not to mention that it wasn't a fight against several opponents, but a trial by combat, one versus one.
If he won, Blackwater would return to its original state of prosperity and stability.
If he lost, the castle would fall, and he would most likely lose his life in the process. Upon the Viscount's return, there would be a bloody massacre and that would be it. Drake couldn't allow himself to lose here.
Drake charged, and his speed obviously startled Jonas, a war veteran. Drake managed to land a clean hit, though the man's armour protected him well. Still, Drake's thrust pierced Jonas's shoulder as if it was butter.
'Damn…He protected his throat with his shoulder at the very last moment!'
Drake parried the incoming strike, yet he still felt like a mammoth had stomped him. His left arm grew numb from the 3.0 points of strength from his opponent.
What followed was an exchange between Drake's strikes and Jonas attacks. The man was fighting was fighting with a sword, yet his swordsmanship was akin to child play when comparing it with Drake.
Drake was not the same person as he was in the past. A month ago, he had learnt the full elven sword art, passed down by his mother. But there were flaws in this Knight-level sword art.
Over the weeks, Drake managed to earn some insight from learning the Kadac Sword Art. He had done more than merely learning it. He had mastered most of its forms. Of course, some elite warriors might use it better than Drake, but in terms of theory, Drake was better. He then proceeded to alter some moves in his elven swordsmanship to increase the fluidity and lethality of his forms, an unbelievable task for human beings.
Changing a sword art would usually lead it to lose a grade in quality, since sword arts were completely different one with each other. But Drake had the biochip. Analysing the weaknesses and fortes of his elven sword art was a piece of cake. He only had to do experiments, and the biochip would analyse them. Whenever a positive result was given, Drake would practice the new form hundreds of times to engrave it in his muscle memory, and the sword art would be enhanced. Of course, he noted down every change, should he ever pass this sword art down.
The difference in skills between Drake and Jonas was evident. Drake's proficiency in the knight-level sword art had already reached the advanced minor realm, while Jonas didn't even possess a complete sword art.
Though these changes were minutes, the dominance of Drake was obvious after a minute of fighting. He had suffered no wound, though he left arm suffered a lot from the repetitive strikes from his opponent. On the other hand, Jonas was riddled with small and large cuts, and after a moment of hesitation, Drake managed to cut his fingers, which made the crowd gasp.
A gold-rank mercenary was being pushed back by a 15-years-old boy.