I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God
[Translator – Jreaming]
[Proofreader – Gorm]
“The butler as well?”
But before they could proceed, one of the knights spoke up, worry in his voice.
“I heard that she worked at the main house. Her outfit as well... Maybe she used to be a collector...?”
“It doesn’t matter what she used to be. What’s important is what she is now. In any case, she’s just cleaning up after the young master.”
“The walls of Bednicker only protect those that are important to the family. Being kicked out of the main house means they exist outside of that protection. Eliminate them. I’ll take responsibility.”
The knights nodded and started to walk toward Luan, who was deep asleep.
No matter what, Luan Bednicker was their primary target. Their priorities didn’t change just because they now knew that Arzan wasn’t ordinary.
Without making even a single sound, the knights pulled daggers out from their sleeves.
A dagger sliced toward Luan’s neck. Swish.
But before the dagger could cut Luan’s neck, the knights were forced to retract their weapons and pull back.
A projectile had been thrown at their critical points.
“Stand back,” said a familiar voice.
Over the fading light of the campfire, a red-haired woman could be seen.
Arzan, who they’d thought had fallen asleep, had pulled out her own dagger and was glaring at them.
Osel said, “Butler, you were acting as if you were asleep?”
“Your guard is commendable. Or did we perhaps make a mistake?”
“From the very start, something has felt off about all of you.”
“Even so, you couldn’t have been completely sure.”
“No,” Arzan replied with a cold voice, “so the moment I felt the most safe, I doubted you once more.”
Hearing that, a small change appeared in Osel’s eyes. They were like the fierce eyes of a beast.
Osel stood up and stomped out the fading campfire.
Fwoop. The area was instantly covered in darkness.
The midnight battle began.
Even though Arzan was completely submerged in darkness, she didn’t panic. She quickly began organizing her thoughts.
There were a total of five enemies. Since Osel was the one who had given the order, there was a high chance he was the leader of this operation.
And right that instant, when the campfire went out and everything became dark...
This is advantageous for me.
In a battle of one against many, the many had more to think about during combat.
Cooperation was crucial for a successful joint attack. In a sense, an ally you couldn’t cooperate with was a much trickier variable than an enemy.
And this darkness would make cooperating at least twice as difficult.
Of course, these were knights.
Technically, their real identities were unknown, but at least for now, they were knights. They would’ve trained in join attacks countless times—
No, that thinking was wrong.
She’d nearly overlooked one crucial fact.
The one who had put out the light was not Arzan but Osel.
He wanted this situation.
They were crafty individuals who had hidden their true intentions for more than three days. Would they not know of the disadvantage this situation would bring them?
No. They’re professionals.
There was another thing she had overlooked.
One versus many? That wasn’t the case at all.
Arzan wasn’t alone.
She deflected a dagger that had come flying in the darkness.
It hadn’t been aimed at Arzan.
They had been aiming for Luan Bednicker from the start.
That was the reason they had stomped out the campfire. If the enemy’s goal wasn’t to fight but to assassinate, then the darkness favored them.
Arzan’s expression became serious. The situation was worse than she had anticipated.
I need to keep close to the young master.
Having your area of movement restricted in the darkness was a death sentence.
...At least, under normal circumstances.
Arzan closed her eyes.
Fuu. She let out a low breath, and her eyes opened in less than an instant as they flared like those of a beast.
Arzan charged forward.
Seeing this sudden movement, the two knights hiding in the darkness stopped moving.
She’s charging so recklessly even with Luan here?
So she doesn’t care what happens to this idiot young master?
Of course, that wasn’t the case.
She moved because she needed to protect her young master. She moved while the locations of the enemies were still fresh in her mind.
“Hide yourselves!” Osel shouted, having figured out Arzan’s intentions.
But it was too late. She had already arrived before the two knights.
Earlier, Luan had said that Arzan’s combat experience was focused on sparring.
This was true.
Compared to a monster, the human body was far too weak and full of openings.
This was true even for trained knights. The moment Arzan’s dagger flashed, the two knights fell over as blood spurt from their wounds.
It was far too vain an ending for them who had defeated dozens of monsters in the mountains.
After swiftly and directly taking their two lives, Arzan took a more diligent movement back to her original position.
It had taken less than three seconds for all this to happen.
There are still three left.
Although she had practically cut their combat capabilities by half, the real fight would start now.
She couldn’t sense them.
It was proof that they showed no change in emotion even though two of their allies had died.
Arzan tried to focus to find any clues in this blinding darkness... but she wasn’t able to keep up her focus for long. As the silence continued, the exhaustion and tiredness assaulted her once more.
Her body felt too heavy.
A wave of regret came over her.
I would’ve taken a few naps here and there if I’d known this would happen.
The enemies still didn’t look like they would act any time soon.
Maybe it was because they knew Arzan’s condition, but regardless, the more time passed, the more disadvantageous it would become for her. But she couldn’t act first either.
Arzan was practically being bled out in this standoff.
Like this, time passed.
She felt like 10 minutes had passed, but she still hadn’t felt any movement from them.
...Perhaps they had left?
At that moment, something flashed in the darkness, like they had been waiting for this.
Arzan turned her head to just barely dodge it. Something sharp flew past her cheek.
A moment later, Osel revealed himself right in front of her. The moment she saw his shining blade, Arzan reflexively swung her dagger.
The metal blades crossed in the air, and Arzan nearly let go of her dagger.
Osel’s attack was much stronger than she had expected.
There was no point in conserving her strength. Arzan gritted her teeth and shouted while putting strength into her thighs.
Osel frowned a little at her explosion of strength and took a few steps back.
After separating a few feet away, he let out a sound.
Osel looked at Arzan with a bit of a surprised expression.
“It’s interesting. How come I have never heard about someone as skilled as you?”
“I’m starting to become curious about your identity... but for now, drop your weapon.”
“Silence? Have you already forgotten?” Osel asked, a beaming smile on his face. “I have two more allies.”
Arzan turned around and saw two knights standing near Luan’s sleeping bag.
She saw their swords aimed at the sleeping bag.
Was Luan still deep asleep?
She supposed it didn’t matter; the young master inside the bag would become a bloody mess with no effort from them.
She subconsciously clenched her fists.
It was an obvious tactic, and although she’d expected it, there was nothing she could do to stop it.
This was the advantage of numbers.
What should I have done?
Maybe she should’ve overextended herself to try and kill a few more at the start.
Or maybe she should’ve just picked up Luan and run away
Arzan didn’t know.
She had never before fought while protecting someone.
“I’ll say it again: drop your weapon.”
“Or do you not care if we kill this foolish young master?”
* * * * *
[Translator – Jreaming]
[Proofreader – Gorm]
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* * * * *
She couldn’t follow his order.
In the end, it was obvious that they would both die.
However... if she didn’t listen, Luan would die immediately.
She could tell from the looks on their face that they had no aversion to murder.
Wouldn’t that be better?
In the end, Luan would die, but Arzan might be able to live.
It was rational for one to survive rather than for both to die.
In that second, many thoughts and many faces passed through Arzan’s mind.
The final face she saw was the face of Lucia Bednicker.
The moment she saw that face, Arzan instinctively released her dagger.
Osel looked at the fallen dagger for a second.
“You should have more than that.”
Arzan took out the daggers she had hidden in her inner pocket, her back, her sleeve, her ankle, and her thigh.
Osel narrowed his eyes as he looked at the dozen or so daggers on the ground.
From that short exchange of blows he’d had with her, he’d realized he was somehow familiar with her fighting style and the way she stored her daggers.
On top of that, Arzan was staying mighty calm even in such a cornered situation...
To Osel, this didn’t look like her natural personality but rather something developed after being trained to suppress one’s emotions.
The final point was what she’d said before.
When you think you’re safe, doubt once more.
Osel knew that saying. But knowing wasn’t the end of it.
“Butler Arzan... Now I know why I never saw you even once at the main house. If my guess is correct, only a select number of people would know about you in House Bednicker, and less than a handful of people would know your identity.”
“I have a few suspicions, but if possible, I’d like to hear it from you. Do you still have no intention of talking?” Osel said, a slight sense of excitement in his voice.
Right now, it was as if he was witnessing a crucial point for the Bednicker family.
“It’s fine if you don’t want to answer. We have all the time in the world. Then, I’ll ask something else.”
“Between you and Luan Bednicker, whose limbs do you want to save first?”
At that moment, Arzan realized why she’d felt something was off about Osel from the moment she first saw him: this man had been wearing a mask this entire time.
This bastardly action had just revealed his true face.
Even while feeling a dense sense of murderous intent, Arzan didn’t fall into panic.
She calmly thought over her remaining strategies and tactics... and quietly resigned herself to the fact that there was nothing she could do to overcome this situation.
She hadn’t been sharp enough.
She’d needed to be more on guard from the start.
Just because she’d had no proof, just because she’d thought they wouldn’t misuse the name of the Lord of Blood and Steel...
In the end, those biases had led her to make the wrong decision.
“If you don’t answer—”
“Cut my arm off first.”
Hearing her respond without any hesitation, Osel tilted his head.
“I can’t understand it. That’s Luan Bednicker over there. A piece of trash abandoned by even his father, the Lord of Blood and Steel. I don’t know why he was suddenly summoned to the main house, but I don’t suspect it’s for a good reason.”
“Even if he dies here, the Lord of Blood and Iron won’t take action for him. Why do you intend on giving your life for that trash?”
“The young master isn’t trash, and you are not in a position to insult him.”
“What a humorless answer.”
Osel’s excitement seemed to fade as he pulled out his sword.
Although Osel had said he would cut off a limb, he definitely wouldn’t stop there. Arzan had a hunch that she was going to die.
As the movement of the blade’s edge flashed under the moonlight, it reflected the life she’d lived back to her.
Her first memory was one of pain. Then an experiment that seemed to tear through her entire body.
Death had been all around her, and she’d needed to throw away her emotions to survive.
In the end, Arzan had survived through sheer circumstance.
Although it was a meaningless life, there had been a ray of sunshine.
—I want you to become my son’s teacher. If it’s you, you’ll be able to become that child’s signpost.
The request she’d received from Lucia had become her ray of sunshine.
She’d looked forward to the concept of education.
She’d thought that even she would be able to teach someone, that she would be able to correct him from his wrong path.
She’d taken this as the only path to purging herself of her cursed past.
It was a greedy wish and desire.
However, Arzan knew well... every person had something they were good at, something they had an aptitude for.
For Arzan, it was killing.
Although she looked like she had given up, Arzan was quietly condensing her strength.
This was the moment her target was most likely to let their guard down. When they thought that they had won, that it was over, that they had accomplished their goal.
If she used that opening, she would be able to kill at least two of the three.
One would remain, but it would still increase the chance that Luan survived.
Arzan nearly let out a laugh. Hah.
Damn it. She had been running her entire life because she didn’t want to kill, but her final act in life would be that of murder.
If there was such a thing as fate, she wanted to go and smack whoever created it.
If there was one difference, it was that she was killing to save another person... but honestly, that fact didn’t bring her any peace.
“What’s her identity? Good question.”
Something came flying from behind her with fierce intent. The black entity made Arzan flinch for a second, but it flew over her shoulder toward Osel.
Osel instinctively made to swing his sword, but for some reason, he met the entity with his body.
Osel was sent tumbling to the ground. Only then did the black entity become visible.
Surprisingly, it was one of the knights who had been hiding.
What is this...
While Osel was still surprised, another knight came flying as well.
This time, Osel didn’t try to receive the blow and instead dodged.
The knight tumbled to the ground as he vomited up blood. Unlike the other one, this knight was still conscious.
“Just what’s going on?”
“Th-that guy used some weird trick...”
Suddenly, they heard footsteps accompanied by a tsk.
“Aren’t you embarrassed, making excuses like that after getting beaten up?”
Arzan dazedly looked into the darkness.
The clouds parted, and the face of a blonde boy shone under the moonlight.
Arzan didn’t know why, but for some reason, it looked as if dawn had come early for her.
“Osel, I’ll ask you one thing as well.” Luan Bednicker smiled brightly. “Why are you assassin bastards pissing around in Bednicker?”
Osel’s expression hardened.
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