"Blood for the blood god!" ~ Occult warcry in the late 18th century

The tent was filled with clashing. Not only did the nobles drop their cups, some also stood up with fright. Those already standing dropped their jaws. The tent was suddenly so quiet you could hear a pin drop. One noble after another glanced to the old servant beside Viscount Krilos.

The moment the old man received the sheathed sword, his aura changed dramatically. He stopped looking like an old man entirely. Krilos stood in the center of the tent with a gentle smile but he was no longer the center of attention. The old man no one paid any attention to now commanded everyone's gaze.

Master Magrut, the windstorm swordsaint, held his sword by the hilt and traced a few lines in the air, a smile cracking his face. However, that little move caused the nobles who were holding their breath in to despair, because all of them felt that they had fallen into the hands of the windstorm swordsaint completely. It was an indescribable feeling. Was this how the fish felt as it stared at the butcher's knife?

Duke Fisablen stood beside Lorist. Perhaps because of his identity or because Auguslo wished to use him to suppress House Norton, he arranged the duke's position in front of Lorist. However, as they were standing together, Lorist could detect the slight shivering of the old man's frame. It was as if the stronger a blademaster was, the more they would fear the formless sense of pressure and threat a swordsaint exuded. Even Reidy's legs were shaking uncontrollably… Jinolio seemed panicked.

Why do I feel nothing?

"It's... it's really the windstorm swordsaint... Dead... We're definitely dead..." stammered Duke Fisablen as he shivered.

Is he really that scary?

Lorist squinted and tried to suppress his raving desire to fight. He used all the calm he could muster to inspect the enemy. The moment Krilos announced his identity and handed his sword to Master Magrut, Lorist realized he wanted to fight. It was as if he was a hungry black bear, and his enemy was honey. He couldn't suppress this desire, it burned in every muscle in his body.

The swordsaint stood right there and the sword in his hand gently moved through the air. It was a mystical rhythm. No one spoke. The swordsaint stood calmly and played around with the sword, confident that he could end everyone if he wished. Regardless of how high their status; regardless of whether they were blademasters. He was an unsurmountable mountain. They were ants before a titan.

However, in Lorist's eyes, he was just an old man. Granted, he wasn't just an old man. He felt slightly ethereal. It felt like he existed almost outside of space, like his body was about to burst out of reality, tearing the world as he did.

The man stood beside Krilos, natural, carefree, and nonchalant. He looked as if he had openings all over. When Lorist played a fight in his head where he struck any of the openings, it always ended in a loss.

A strong enemy! As he struggled to suppress the desire to fight, excitement joined the fray. He wanted to make this challenge even if he couldn't overcome it. He suddenly woke to the fact that this could be the opportunity to break through he had so long sought. Now that a rank 3 blademaster like Duke Fisablen could not last a hundred strikes against him, only a swordsaint could pressure him enough to burst through the barrier that held him back.

"Surely Your Majesty won't refuse a swordsaint's invitation. The Union has sincerely invited you and the other lords to Morante for a relaxing vacation. You may return to your dominions after signing the treaty." Krilos still wore the same damned smile.

Auguslo's face was pale. He shivered. But his reply couldn't be more resolute.

"I'd rather die than follow you! Krissen's descendants will die rather than kneel before the likes of you!"

The elegant smile on Krilos's face vanished.

"Hoho? You want to die? Not so easily. Do you honestly think your life is still yours to take? Even if you resist, Master Magrut won't take your life. However, he will shatter your limbs and break your chin before bringing you back in a cage. If you think it'd be more fitting to travel like a prisoner, I will oblige you."

Just now, Auguslo was going to cover Krilos in honey and stick feathers on him. This was a punishment reserved for liars. Krilos's suggestion, on the other hand, was the punishment for bandits. They had each come up with the perfect treatment for the other.

"I admit I'm no match for a swordsaint, but can he really stop me from killing myself?" With a loud whir, Auguslo drew his sword and placed it against his throat.

"No, Your Majesty, don't!"

The nobles snapped awake. They racked their brains for a way to stop their king from dying. Some even drew their swords and stood in front of him. There was no choice. Should their king be killed by the swordsaint before everyone else, it would be a mark of for everyone's houses for the rest of eternity. They might as well commit suicide. Even if that meant facing a swordsaint, they could not stand by passively. At the very least, they could still leave their courageous deed behind for their house and make their reputation sore.

Krilos clapped slowly.

"I admire your bravery and your vassals' resolve. But I have to remind you that you can do nothing in front of a swordsaint, much less in their domain. Do you think you can take even a casual blow?"

Krilos shook his head.

"King, stop playing around. You had best come to Morante obediently. I want to leave you some face if at all possible. If you don't obey obediently, I will really break your limbs take you back in a cage. You, nobles. You had best advise your king likewise. We do not want to be called kingslayers, so he won't die, but you aren't kings. Time's running out."

Huh? What does he mean time is running out? Just as the rest were considering what Krilos's words meant, a loud alarm could be heard from the distance.

The patter of hooves soon approached. They stopped outside the tent and the royal guards barged in, instantly kneeling to make a report.

"Reporting to Your Majesty, the Union suddenly deployed their army and launched an attack. Near 100 thousand men are coming for Whitelion. The two divisions stationed near the border have crumbled, please make your decisions swift-- Ugh--"

That royal guard finally realized something was wrong and lost his head. His legs twitched a few times.

Auguslo's face paled and he stumbled back two steps, tumbling back into his throne. He even dropped his sword. As a blademaster who had seen the royal family records on the swordsaint, he knew Krilos' words were true. He was less than six meters from the swordsaint, which meant he was within range of his domain. The moment the swordsaint activated it, he would lose his ability to kill himself.

The guard's report only reinforces his despair. His army would be crushed. No wonder the enemy had kept gathering their forces. He had thought it was because they feared his army, the thought never occurred to him that they were just preparing to wipe his army out. If this happened, he would never be able to threaten the Union again even if he tried.

Two tears ran down his cheeks. He only wished he could die on the battlefield now. If he died like that, he would at least be remembered as a brave king. But his wish was destined to be unfulfilled. He couldn't even decide whether he lived or died. He could do nothing about his current situation. He hated his pride and recklessness. He was now the one responsible for the death of his bloodline, and the death of the last embers of the Krissen Empire. It could never rise again.

It's all over. He stared at the patterns on the ceiling, How laughable... The plan I spent years crafting actually ends like this. So what if I have a massive army? The Union only needed one man to undo everything. They dealt with the whole kingdom's elites in one move. Everything is over...

"Don't drag it on any longer. The weather is still good, so let us leave for Morante soon."

Auguslo didn't respond. He just sat catatonic on his chair.

"Sigh! Some people need to learn things the hard way!" Krilos turned to bow to the windstorm swordsaint, "Master Magrut, I have to trouble you."

The swordsaint nodded silently. With but a sweep of his eyes, the nobles blocking Auguslo's way were knocked aside, making a two-meter-wide path. The swordsaint snorted before he paced towards Auguslo. But he froze after taking two steps as another kingdom noble appeared in his way. The noble showed no fear, he even seemed confident. He had his hand on the hilt of his sword, slowly unsheathing it.

"Who are you?! How dare you draw your sword before Master Magrut?!" yelled Krilos angrily.

"Hehe, I am Duke Norton Lorist, the one your Union wants to punish publicly. His Majesty introduced us at the start of the banquet, have you forgotten already?"

Lorist glued his eyes to the swordsaint. The two were only three meters apart. The old man's face finally twitched. His sword was drawn, but he didn't attack. He waited patiently for his opponent to finish getting ready.

Whir! The tip of Lorist's sword pinged out of the sheath. He cracked a smile before everything inside the tent turned crimson. The swordsaint's expression shattered as he retreated in a hurry. He finally made a sound.

"A domain! You... You're a swordsaint too?!"