I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God

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I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God

[Translator –  Jreaming]

[Proofreader – Gorm]

 

Chapter 23

The Sapphire Snake seemed larger than I remembered.

It hadn’t even been a few days.

Now that I think about it, don’t snakes keep growing as long as they’re alive?

This gem beast certainly had a longer lifespan than a normal snake.

I was struck by a sudden curiosity: how old was this snake?

“Fuu…”

I heard a sigh and turned to look at Calzark. The atmosphere was chilly enough to make one’s breath visible, but he was dripping with sweat.

“Are you okay?”

“Am I okay? Are you asking me that right now?” 

Calzark was smiling nonchalantly, but I could tell something was off.

Still, one must respect a man’s ego. 

But even so, this was a little unexpected.

No matter how strong the opponent was, it was rare to see a man get this nervous.

And Arzan is...

Based on her position, we still had some time until the fight began.

To try and raise our chances of victory by even a little bit, I tried to talk with Calzark.

“Are you hiding anything?” I asked.

“What?”

“Is there anything between you and the gem beast?”

“Why do you think that?”

“No reason."

I hadn’t placed much importance on the question to begin with.

“If there’s anything you want to say, please say it now, while we have some time.”

Calzark glared silently at me for some time, until...

“Arrogant bastard.”

Cursing, here?

“You’re pretty similar to Dellark.”

“...”

“That thing took away what was most precious to me.”

“More precious than your arm?”

“Yeah.”

“What was it?”

“My family,” Calzark said.

He didn’t continue immediately. He seemed to need some time to choose his words.

“I had a younger brother. We weren’t the same age—he was actually about as old as you are. He kept pestering me about walking up the mountain with me. In the end, I couldn’t refuse him.”

“...”

“He wasn’t skilled, but his senses were good. He was the first to notice the gem beast deep beneath the swamp. When that snake bastard opened its mouth, he pushed me out of the way. That was the last I ever saw him. The one I needed to protect was, in the end, the one who protected me.”

There was nothing for me to say to that, so I kept quiet.

Rather than looking at each other, we were both observing the huge gem beast.

“I chased after the snake and fought it countless times. But I couldn’t see a way to finish it. When I felt like I was being pushed back, I retreated and planned for another day. At that time, I thought that was the right course of action—if I died, then I wouldn’t be able to avenge my brother. But...” Calzark looked down at his hand. “Seeing my current state, maybe I wasn’t cautious, just a coward.”

“...”

“Shit. I’m just talking about whatever now. Maybe it’s really my time to die.”

“You need to live,” I told him. I pulled the Ring Sword from my finger and handed it to Calzark. 

“What is this?”

“It’s an artifact. The Ring Sword.”

Although it had blown up in the fight with the assassins, the Ring Sword’s actual form was the ring itself.

With this ring, I could create an endless... no, about two or three more swords, at this point.

“I already have a sword.”

“I know. Please use this if you want.”

“Why?”

“I’m strong even without my swordsmanship.”

“Hah.” The edges of Calzark’s lips twisted as he put the sword he was holding in his scabbard.

I also smirked. “It’s easy to use. You can adjust the length of the sword by how much you spin the ring...”

I looked at Calzark’s missing right side and shrugged.

“I’ll put it on a finger for you.”

Calzark wordlessly lifted his middle finger toward me.

What a character indeed.

“How long do you want the sword to be?”

“A little longer.”

“...This much?”

“Perfect.”

Calzark had a complicated expression as he looked at the Ring Sword.

He quietly mumbled to himself, “...Dan always personally handed me my sword before my missions.”

“...”

So Dan was his brother’s name...

I couldn’t dare imagine the emotions of an older brother who used the name of his dead younger brother as a pseudonym.

It was impossible for me since I didn’t have a younger sibling, and it wasn’t like I was close with my older brothers or sisters.

“Will Dan be happy if we kill that bastard?”

Calzark stared at me.

“How could a dead person be happy?” 

“It’s not like nothing will change. I believe requiems are a ritual for the living. When we kill that thing, your heart will definitely experience change, Senior. That much is enough.”

At this point, we confirmed Arzan’s position.

She had skillfully climbed the wall before approaching the area around the gem beast.

“Senior.”

“What.”

“That’s an artifact,” I noted.

“You told me that already.”

“It’s expensive, so please return it properly afterward.”

“Hah.”

Kruaaaaah!

At that moment, an explosive roar rippled through the cave.

In the distance, we saw the gem beast flailing and Arzan being flung back.

She succeeded.

It was time.

***

It was a critical strike. The moment she hit the reverse scale, Arzan was certain.

Of course, this certainty wasn’t born from having a complete understanding of the snake’s bodily structure.

What Arzan was focused on was the Sapphire Snake’s reaction and the feeling in her hand.

The roar of pain, its flailing and thrashing, and the blood dripping from its eyes and mouth...

Its reaction was far too severe for a mere scale being disturbed.

Arzan was flung back by the snake’s power, and she landed near the roof of the cave. Luckily, there was a protrusion jutting out of the wall.

From this position, she observed the Sapphire Snake in its entirety.

It’s... way too big. 

Right now, Arzan couldn’t even dream of killing this snake alone.

Even if she threw the dagger in her hand a thousand times, it wouldn’t be enough.

With how big it was, trying to make it bleed out would take days.

That monster could probably only be killed by an attack from Calzark.

The Instructor of Swords and Blades should be powerful enough to create an aura blade that exceeds a few meters. A sword of that size should be enough to behead this huge snake.

That was why Arzan’s role was to create distractions.

Head, body, tail...

On the battlefield made of these three parts, she was responsible for the head.

Kraaaaaah!

In its rage, the gem beast seemed to be focused entirely on Arzan.

This reaction was understandable given it had been woken from its sweet dreams by the worst pain it could imagine.

Arzan focused on dodging, but even as she put her all into evading its attacks, she could feel the constant threat of death looming over her.

No matter where she ran in this cave, she could not escape the reach of the gem beast, and she had no choice but to dodge most of the attacks at the last moment.

But even when she dodged an attack, shards of stone from the destroyed wall behind her would ricochet off and cause small wounds on her body.

Of course, she wasn’t running away the entire time.

Slash!

The gem beast screamed once more.

Master’s attack worked.

Although she couldn’t see it happen due to the snake’s large size, it seemed Calzark had begun attacking the snake.

Calzark was handling the snake’s body.

To continuously damage the snake, he would stay in the safest spot and land direct blows against the gem beast whenever an opportunity arose. His attack power was the strongest among the three, so this was his role.

* * * * *

REAPER SCANS

[Translator –  Jreaming]

[Proofreader – Gorm]

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Arzan felt the gem beast’s attention move off of her.

It was a clever beast. Even though it was just a snake, it didn’t let its rage completely overtake its decisions. Even in this short battle, the snake had decided on its priorities, and after the last attack, Arzan had been pushed down to the lowest priority.

Right now, it was most wary not of Arzan but of Calzark, who was swinging his sword down below.

This was much better. As the enemy’s attention shifted from her, she was naturally able to fade away and hide her presence...

Situations like this were the best for fighting like an assassin.

Next time.

She would aim for the gem beast’s eyes or tongue. 

The snake hadn’t completely forgotten about Arzan, but it didn’t matter. This would become a long, worn-out battle, and the snake wouldn’t be able to always pay attention to Arzan.

If it lapsed for even just a moment, that was good enough for her.

At some point in this battle, perhaps when Calzark went for another attack and its attention faltered for just a split second, that would be Arzan’s golden opportunity.

The gem beast would once again be forced to recognize her existence.

***

Some days are perfect. When your head feels strangely clear, when your body, mind, and every single cell declare that they are in peak condition...

Calzark wanted to kill the gem beast on such a day.

Unfortunately, his condition wasn’t that good today.

...Or at least, it hadn’t been that good before the battle began.

My head is clear.

My body feels light.

Maybe he was imagining it, but his blade didn’t seem to be at all rusted either.

Calzark realized the reason for this and laughed in his heart.

That cheeky brat.

The kid had spoken to him before the battle began.

It hadn’t been a grand speech or some deep discussion.

The brat hadn’t given any meaningful advice either.

But there were moments when one’s head felt lighter because one shared something deep within one’s heart.

Calzark suddenly thought back. It had been quite some time since he had shared his thoughts with someone else.

Thoughts became heavier the longer one held on to them. One needed to speak them aloud, to share them, if one wanted to lessen their weight, but he hadn’t been able to do that.

Arrogant bastard.

Because of him, Calzark was experiencing a rare phenomenon. Although he’d started the fight in his worst condition, his mind was becoming clearer and clearer as he fought. As if his body was being carried by momentum, he felt this sword become sharper and sharper the more he swung it.

This gem beast...

He knew it was dangerous, but he also felt like it was weaker than the last time he’d fought it.

Dash!

Calzark jumped high into the air and swung his sword downward.

Crunch! 

A line appeared across the gem beast’s huge body. Were this bastard’s scales always this easy to cut?

Calzark smirked.

As he fought, certainty arose in his mind.

Today, this gem beast will die.

***

The gem beast’s tail swished around like a whip as I pummeled it.

Although my wrists were becoming numb, I deflected the snake’s attacks as best I could.

This tail was one of the ways the gem beast could attack.

It was as big as a boulder and covered in scales as sturdy as steel. On top of that, the incredible speed every time the snake flicked its tail was enough to kill just about anything in its way.

This was the most dangerous part of the battle against the gem beast. 

Arzan would distract its head and Calzark would land lethal blows on its body. My job was to keep this tail from moving too widely.

At this point, the plan was going smoothly. Easily.

In other words...

It’s going too well.

As time passed, the gem beast’s movements began to slow.

The damage inflicted by Calzark seemed to be starting to accumulate. 

We had coated the blade with all of the poison we’d looted from those assassins.

Evidently, Osel had been correct when he’d talked about how effective it would be against the gem beast.

Kyaaaaaak!

With another ripping sound, something thumped to the ground.

I thought it was some weird pink snake, but looking at it closely...

Is that the Sapphire Snake’s tongue?

That meant that Arzan, who was in charge of the head, had succeeded.

A snake’s tongue was a much more important sensory organ than its eyes or its nose. Since she had succeeded in cutting it off, the snake shouldn’t be able to perfectly detect our location.

In that case...

We had passed what we expected to be the most dangerous part of the battle.

All that was left was to continuously damage its body and stop it from moving, and then we could cut off its head.

“...”

I furrowed my brow.

Is this it?

The gem beast was by no means weak. We were still fighting with our lives on the line. But... why had Calzark and Arzan been so afraid of an enemy of this caliber?

It’s too easy.

My head felt cold.

I remembered the teachings of my senior brother. He’d told me that one should be more nervous the more favorable the situation appeared.

Had we perhaps missed something?

I deflected the tail with another punch.

Bang!

The gem beast’s tail struck the wall. The collision was so great that the wall itself crumbled down.

Its movements were becoming more and more desperate as it got closer to death, but it wouldn’t last long.

When an opportunity arose, I would try to completely destroy its tail.

“...”

Suddenly, I stopped moving. 

Beyond the section of the wall destroyed by the tail, a new area had been revealed.

There was a space here behind the wall. It wasn’t unexpected—the area Calzark had been staying in was similar in design.

However, the moment I saw the area that had opened up, I felt a chill go down my spine.

Behind the wall was a group of countless white eggs.

And these were—

They’re already hatched!

I quickly looked toward the battlefield.

From the other cave entrance that the Sapphire Snake had been covering with its huge body...

Rumble...!

I could see a cloud of dust moving toward us.

“...Fuck.”

I’d expected something like this would happen. I gritted my teeth as I saw the gem beast’s “babies” swarming toward us.

 

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