39—Legend of Sun Knight Volume 1
Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Chapter 3 Secret… Part 2: What Kind of Fragrance – translated by lucathia (proofread by Lala Su & Arcedemius; C/E edited by Doza)
After carefully stashing away the three little bottles in his coat pocket, Elaro left the essential oil shop. His mood was the complete opposite of his pocket—heavy, while his pocket was light. He didn’t know how he was going to complete the king’s mission, especially since it was a mission that was very far from Leaf Bud City. The traveling, food, and lodging expenses alone would be endless…
Do I still have no choice but to borrow from Ludia? Ah! I just borrowed from her last week. The money she has left is probably only enough for meals on non-work days. Maybe Shuis instead… No, last month, Shuis already took his next month’s pay in advance to lend to me. So, there’s only Valica left?
Elaro abruptly stopped walking. He recalled that before the teachers had left on their mission, the Leaf Knight had smilingly signed for a box full of seasonings. Is his own salary really enough for him to buy that box of seasonings…?
Elaro wanted to be more optimistic, but he found that he absolutely couldn’t deceive himself. The Leaf Knight surely must have taken Valica’s salary to pay for the seasonings.
He took in a deep breath. In the end, if he really had no other choice, at most he’d just have to go and borrow money from Teacher Grisia. After all, this was originally a mission he had to complete. So, Elaro should be able to… be able to successfully borrow money from him… Probably…
Suddenly, screams and sounds of a disturbance came from afar. Elaro’s hand immediately closed around the hilt of his sword, but then he wondered, Could the teachers have returned?
Today was indeed the scheduled date for the teachers’ return. If the Twelve Holy Knights appeared together on the streets, it would not be strange for such an uproar to result. Elaro relaxed a bit, until he heard a familiar voice within the commotion.
No! Elaro’s face abruptly paled. Even if the teachers had returned, they would return straight to the Church of the God of Light. There was absolutely no way they would appear on the streets; they had used a teleportation circle to leave Leaf Bud City!
He heard a faint cry of “Captain” again. There’s no doubt about it. It’s definitely Dili’s voice! Elaro immediately broke into a run, and he didn’t even keep to the streets properly. Instead, with a single step, he jumped onto the rooftops and rushed straight toward the place where Dili had been waiting for him.
The distance wasn’t far, just a few streets, and running along the rooftops was even faster. After only a dozen or so leaps, Elaro could see Dili right below the roof he stood on. Dili had his sword raised, fighting off two enemies while he shouted for the surrounding citizens to quickly leave.
Elaro’s eyes widened, and he shouted, “Dili! Watch out on the left!”
Hearing his captain’s voice, Dili turned his head reflexively to look at him with a joyful expression. However, he hadn’t heard Elaro’s warning clearly, and had even shifted his gaze away in the middle of battle, so both the engaged enemy right in front of him and the enemy sneaking up on him from the left succeeded in their attacks.
The enemy in front of him used a knife and was originally targeting Dili’s chest. However, because Dili had turned to look toward Elaro, only his left arm got slashed. Following that, the sneak attack from the left knocked Dili completely flat on the ground.
Elaro snarled and jumped off the roof. When he landed, he had already drawn his sword. He held his sword with his right hand and pulled the sneak attacker off of Dili with his left hand. He lifted the person high up, about to give an angry warning, when he realized the person’s complexion was very odd.
Ashen skin, deep purple lips and clouded eyes that obviously didn’t have any spirit… An undead creature?
The undead creature struggled violently, both hands wildly scratching at Elaro’s arms. Even though it didn’t have a weapon, its hands and fingertips had both rotted all the way down to the bones, and they could be considered a type of weapon. Just now, it had directly used its hands to attack Dili.
Elaro frowned and didn’t hesitate any longer. With a powerful toss, he threw the undead creature away. While it was still in the air, he swung his sword once. When it landed heavily on the ground, something round rolled away from the body. The undead creature was already thoroughly dead.
He stared fixedly at the remaining enemy. Although it looked more like a person, just one with an extremely terrible complexion, Elaro had already figured out from its dark element that this was also an undead creature. Furthermore, it wasn’t a low-level creature. No wonder Dili had had such a hard time dealing with it.
“Dili, how are your injuries?” He didn’t turn his head to look, fixing his eyes on the enemy.
Dili’s voice came from behind. “Merely a scratch. It’s nothing.”
When he heard this, Elaro put Dili out of his mind, focusing completely on the enemy before him. The opponent was using a sword and wearing simple armor. Upon first glance, it would be hard to tell that it was an undead creature. Of course, no undead creature could pass careful inspection. Those lifeless eyes could never trick anyone.
However, Elaro suddenly thought of a certain someone, who was an undead creature and had kept his disguise for over ten years. Out of the entire world, “he” was the only undead creature of that level.
“Undead! You dare to trespass in Leaf Bud City!” Experience told Elaro that this undead creature’s level should mean he had some intelligence. At least, conversation should not be a problem.
As expected, the other party’s face contorted, and it let out a hoarse roar unique to undead creatures, “Under the orders of the Monarch, I have come to kill you!”
Monarch? Elaro froze, looking at the other party in puzzlement. However, it had already raised its sword and rushed forward, so Elaro had no more time to investigate further. He could only raise his own sword and engage in battle.
The opponent’s strength is quite good, but in the end, it still cannot rival mine. Elaro furrowed his brows, dodging a few attacks. After he came to this conclusion, he did not want to prolong the battle. He took a step backward first, and then reached his hand out to swipe it across his sword. The originally silver sword promptly shone with white, holy light.
“Grr—” The undead creature fell back several steps, absolutely hating the white glow.
Seizing the opportunity, Elaro rushed forward, swinging right at the other party’s sword. A heavy kick followed right after that, causing it to involuntarily stoop over. At this time, the blade shining with holy light sliced from left to right, and a second head rolled about the streets.
Clean and direct consecutive attacks that don’t allow the opponent to even react before utter defeat had always been Elaro’s fighting style.
“Before you defeat the opponent, you must engage in a prolonged battle first, then… I haven’t even finished speaking. Why have you already killed it? Try it again. Slow down!”
“Before you defeat the opponent, you must engage in a prolonged battle first, then you must allow the opponent to show off its strength for a while… Why have you killed it again? Try it again. You’re not allowed to fight so quickly!”
“Before you defeat the opponent, you must engage in a prolonged battle first, then you must allow the opponent to show off its strength for a while before you break out your ultimate skill—if you kill it again, I’ll kill you!”
Even though Elaro heard him, he wasn’t able to stop himself in time at all. A single strike, and the undead creature’s head rolled.
Elaro said helplessly, “S-Sorry, but Knight-Captain Judgment and Knight-Captain Hell both taught me this way. My swings have already become a reflex. I can’t slow down…”
“Sword experts are really annoying!”
At the age of fifteen, Elaro had already earned a spot on his teacher’s list of hated sword experts. Although his teacher said he hated it, he sent Elaro out on all sorts of missions in great delight, including the ones owed to the king. By now, it had already been seven years. The battle experience he had was even more abundant and rich than what many holy knights already past forty years old had.
Elaro, who had ample experience, chose to directly kill the opponent without any hesitation, because undead creatures were difficult to render unconscious to bring back to the Holy Temple. Interrogation was also impractical. They were already dead and did not feel much pain. Besides, undead creatures sent out like this usually weren’t able to provide any information.
Such an average undead creature… Elaro lowered his head to look at the corpse. It said it was here on the Monarch’s orders?
No! Impossible. If it really was “that person,” he should know very clearly that an undead creature of this level is nothing to me. Sending this over wouldn’t even be a worthwhile test or training exercise.
Is “his” name being used? Or did he actually send it?
Elaro turned his head. Dili stood behind him with a brilliant smile on his face.
Seeing how Dili could move with ease, Elaro was finally reassured that he was not hurt too badly. He immediately berated him, “Dili, you are far too lax with matters regarding battle. How can your reaction be turning your head to look at me when you hear a warning in the middle of battle? If the enemy today had been a little stronger, you might already be dead!”
Dili’s smile vanished, and his expression turned solemn. His fighting ability could never compare with Rhonelin’s, so he mostly concentrated his efforts on handling official business instead.
Elaro was really unsatisfied with Dili’s combat ability, and when he caught sight of Dili’s arm that was still dripping with blood, he felt his anger rise even higher.
“For the next few days, swap duties with Rhonelin. You’re responsible for the platoon members’ drills. Rhonelin will help me with official business. If there’s something he doesn’t understand, help him out. And likewise, when it comes to fighting, you should consult Rhonelin more.”
Elaro’s tone was reproachful. “Don’t be afraid to ask just because you’re a little older than him, or you’re afraid of losing to him in a spar. Losing to a comrade is always better than losing to an enemy, wherein you lose your very life!”
Dili froze. He had really been too foolish. “Yes, sir!”
Elaro’s expression finally relaxed a bit. He never ever wanted to receive news of his vice-captain losing his life in the middle of a mission.
Elaro walked forward to study the corpses of the two undead creatures. His brows furrowed. Something wasn’t quite right. Even now, when the undead creatures had already been defeated, he still felt a little uneasy. It was as if there was “something” permeating the air…
“Long live the Sun Knight!”
The citizens suddenly burst out with thundering cheers. Even though the course of Elaro’s battle was really too quick, so they hadn’t seen much, Leaf Bud City recently had too few undead creatures appearing. There weren’t even any thieves who dared to provoke the holy knights and royal knights, so such a battle was a rare sight. No matter what, thundering cheers had to be given.
“The Sun Knight is truly too strong—”
“As expected of the Sun Knight!”
“I’m not yet…” Elaro wanted to explain that he was only the Sun Knight-in-training, and not the official one, but the people’s cheers were so loud that his explanations couldn’t be heard at all.
Teacher was right. The citizens really weren’t very good at telling which generation of Sun Knight they were on. All was fine as long as the characteristics of having golden hair, blue eyes, fair skin, and a smile were met.
In the end, Elaro could only give up on explaining. He took a deep breath and gave the Sun Knight’s trademark smile, causing the surrounding citizens to cheer even louder.
“What a… nice smell!” Amidst the cheers, some people started saying, “Where is that fragrance coming from?”
“I smell it too. It smells like a floral fragrance…”
Floral fragrance? Dili stilled.
“It must be a miracle, a miracle from the God of Light!”
“The Sun Knight must have received the God of Light’s favor!”
The Sun Knight, more accurately, the future Sun Knight, Elaro looked up at the sky tearfully. His spirit was truly already with the God of Light as he kept back his tears and mumbled, “The essential oil bottles actually broke. I was just thinking something was wrong…”
“What?” Dili hesitated. He thought he had heard that a bottle had been broken? Ah! Was it a bottle of perfume? The fragrance was really familiar. Just like what Rhonelin had claimed, it was indeed a floral fragrance. It should be…be…
“Violets!” He blurted out.
Elaro winced. He turned to ask, “What did you say?” Did the fact that he had just gone to buy violet essential oil get discovered? Even though he could say it was for his sister, everyone at the Holy Temple knew Ludia. They would probably know that his sister never used any perfume…
Dili hurriedly waved his hand. “No, nothing, Captain. Undead creatures actually appeared within the city. I will immediately return to notify Rhonelin and the other platoon members. Should we do a citywide search?”
Elaro considered his words. Although they were currently very busy, having undead creatures appear was quite serious. No matter how busy they were, they had to investigate it thoroughly. They absolutely could not let there be any trace of undead creatures inside Leaf Bud City!
Elaro nodded seriously. “I will patrol the vicinity for a bit. You should return ahead of me and seek out Vice-Captain Adair. Borrow ten platoon members from him. With one current Sun Knight Platoon member and two of our platoon members, carry out the citywide search in teams of three. Do not allow any undead creatures to remain in Leaf Bud City!”
After he received his orders, Dili turned to leave. Although it was a big scandal for creatures of darkness to appear in the vicinity of the Church of the God of Light, and he had just been harshly reprimanded by his captain, his mood was buoyant. Other than witnessing his admirable captain’s prowess…
He also knew what to do about the birthday present now.
“Have the Twelve Holy Knights returned?”
When Elaro returned to the Church of the God of Light, he stopped a holy knight in passing and received a negative answer.
They haven’t returned yet? Elaro felt uneasy. It was already evening. Normally, the teachers would have been back by now. They usually returned earlier rather than later, but it was possible that it was just that something had delayed them. It wasn’t like there weren’t any precedents. I shouldn’t need to worry too much…
Elaro turned to look. Adair was currently walking his way with large strides. “I heard that undead creatures appeared? It’s been a long time since undead creatures have dared to trespass in Leaf Bud City! How is the investigation coming along?”
Elaro hesitated for a moment. He uses his eyes to scan their surroundings a bit, making sure that no one would hear him. Then, he whispered, “Big Bro Adair, before I defeated it, one of the undead creatures said that the ‘Monarch’ had sent it.”
Adair stilled and said quietly, “The Monarch? How is that possible?”
“Could it just be referring to the person who summoned it?” Elaro was a little uneasy. “Maybe I’m being too sensitive. The teachers still haven’t returned yet?”
“Not yet.” Adair frowned and said, “If they haven’t returned by tomorrow, I’ll go over and take a look. As long as I ask His Holiness, the Pope to use the teleportation circle, I can reach them immediately.”
Elaro nodded. “I’ll go with you.” He really didn’t feel reassured. The sooner he saw his teacher, the better.
“No!” Adair turned him down on the spot. “None of the Twelve Holy Knights are in the temple. If something happens, you have to immediately take command. It’ll be enough for Vidar and me to go over and take a look.”
“Has Vice-Captain Vidar returned from his patrols?”
Elaro relaxed a lot more. The vice-captains of the Sun Knight and Judgment Knight Platoons were both present. Both of them had high reputations in the Holy Temple. Outside of the Twelve Holy Knights, these two people were the most capable of leading the Holy Temple. Having both of them present was very reassuring.
When Adair saw Elaro’s reaction, he furrowed his brows and said, “Elaro, you have to remember that when the Twelve Holy Knights aren’t here, you are the leader of the Holy Temple! Neither Vidar nor I have the qualifications to lead the Holy Temple. Only you can make the decisions.”
“Big Bro Adair, you are the vice-captain of the current Sun Knight. How could you not be qualified?”
Hearing this, Adair inwardly sighed and said, “In any case, you have to be mentally prepared. If something happens to us and we can’t return, you have to take command of the entire Holy Temple. There will be no one else qualified to help you make decisions.”
“Big Bro, you’re only going over to take a look. You don’t need to account for everything so seriously, right?”
Elaro thought it was a little ridiculous. Isn’t this making too much of a big deal out of things? In the past, when the dark element was at its thickest, no major mishaps happened. How can something happen after so many years?
Besides, this is a huge matter that involves the entire world’s fate. Nothing wrong can be allowed to happen!
“Don’t ever think like that!” Adair placed his hands on Elaro’s shoulders and said solemnly, “That year, when the entire city of Leaf Bud evacuated, Captain even wrote up a substitute nomination agreement in order to prevent the worst case scenario from occurring. On it was written, ‘If the Twelve Holy Knights all perish together, all of the vice-captains will immediately succeed them and become the new Twelve Holy Knights.’”
Perish together… Elaro didn’t even dare to think of such a scenario. What was Teacher feeling when he had to make that kind of preparation that year?
“Prepare for the worst, and then pursue his path with no second thoughts. That’s Captain’s style of doing things.”
When he heard this, Elaro fell silent for a moment. Then, he said, “I am still far from living up to Teacher’s standards.”
Right after he spoke, he felt that his words were very familiar, like he had just heard someone say them…
“I’m still not qualified enough to be your Judgment Knight… I-I just can’t be as good as Teacher!”
It was Hungri!
I actually said the same thing? He had always felt that he was unable to be as good as his teacher, but Hungri hadn’t even reached the age for succession yet, while Elaro had long passed it. The person who actually needed to reflect should be himself! Elaro couldn’t help but mock himself.
“Nonsense. You’re not bad at all! Have you forgotten the nickname you’ve earned even though you haven’t assumed the position yet?” Adair rubbed Elaro’s head. Even though Elaro was already taller than him, he still sometimes treated him like a kid.
Regarding this, Elaro was actually quite happy. He had grown up among a bunch of kids, so it was very rare for him to be treated like a kid.
Adair mumbled, “However, if you want to win against Captain, you do lack one certain characteristic, and that’s being despicable… cough, cough, and shameless… cough! In this area, you will probably never win against Captain.”
Elaro laughed. “It’s true that I can’t win against my teacher in that area.”
Seeing that Elaro’s spirits had lifted, Adair patted his back and said ruefully, “Fortunately, you are already over twenty years old. If you were only in your teens like the others, I really wouldn’t know if I should tell you about this worst case scenario, and then toss the heavy responsibility of commanding the entire Holy Temple onto your shoulders.”
“This doesn’t really count as tossing it onto my shoulders, Big Bro Adair. With my age, I should already have succeeded… Ah, that’s not what I mean.” After saying so much, Elaro suddenly felt that he sounded too much like he was complaining that he couldn’t succeed the position yet.
Adair merely smiled. “You’re right. It’s too bad the others are still young. Even though they are all very capable, they do need just a bit more discipline. Elaro, you’ll need to bear with it a bit more. No matter how late, you will all have to succeed within the next one to two years. After all, the captains are not young anymore. It is time for them to retire.”
Elaro chuckled. “Big Bro Adair, are you thinking of retirement too? You’re not any younger than the teachers, are you?”
“That’s true. The passage of time has really put years on me!”
When he heard this, Elaro observed Adair’s face. He was only a little older than forty and couldn’t really be called “old.” It was true that he had some wrinkles around the corners of his eyes and mouth. When he smiled, the wrinkles were even more noticeable. Even so, he didn’t feel old at all. He was still very much filled with energy. At most, it was just that he could be considered a bit older.
“However, there’s also someone whom the passage of time isn’t able to put any years on,” Adair suddenly said.
Elaro shared a glance with him. Adair didn’t have to explain for Elaro to understand tacitly to whom he was referring.
Indeed! That person is really…