Episode 27/Chapter 1: The sword of selection (1)
Darkness gushed from the tip of Mordred’s sword. Merlin roared, raising his staff to unleash his mighty power. Both the stream of darkness and wave of magic power collided above the ruined ship, causing its two halves to shake violently.
Merlin couldn’t believe the scene before his eyes. He wanted to deny it.
“You wicked traitor!”
On the day of Erin’s annihilation, the walls of Camelot had been breached with ease. To the great dismay of the defenders, there had been a spy, a traitor, hidden among their ranks. Their inner turmoil had swept over Camelot before their battle against the giants had even begun.
Too many people had lost their lives for nothing.
The knights, prepared to valiantly face their enemies with pride, were caught unaware of the unjust sword piercing them from behind.
The same held true even for King Arthur.
Even after so long, Merlin still felt his blood flowing backward when he recalled the scene from that day.
Mordred had pierced the chest of King Arthur with his Treasure Sword, Clarent. He’d dealt the king a mortal wound that left him without the ability to fight.
If that hadn’t happened….
If the terrible flames of an inner conflict hadn’t engulfed Camelot….
Erin’s destruction may have been preventable. No. Even if that were untrue, its path to ruin would still have been far altered.
As it had happened, King Arthur had perished.
Gawain, the noblest of all knights, had been fated no differently.
It was the same for Lancelot, K, Galahad, Tristan, Bedevere….
To name each one was a miserable process. The Knights of the Round Table had all died wretched deaths.
For Mordred, the cause of all these terrible deeds, to be alive.
For the man that shattered Camelot and Erin into pieces to be alive!
Merlin couldn’t contain his resentful feelings. His current state was far unbefitting that of a wise, old man’s.
Mordred did nothing to avoid Merlin’s curse-like rage. He cursed out against the one who hated him to the core.
“God damn your vile words! I am no betrayer. I am the one that fought to protect Camelot until the very end!”
He yelled like a beast and poured more strength into Clarent. As he did so, the dark energy surrounding the sword spread out to envelope the entire area. Pitch-black knights grew from the long-spread shadow to stand alongside Mordred. They were dozens of them. They were the traitorous knights that had revolted against Camelot under Mordred’s leadership.
Merlin faltered. The nightmarish scene before him was too reminiscent of that day long ago, and he staggered in surprise. The strength of his legs grew weak, and he found himself unable to even stand properly.
Mordred grimaced, his gaze coldly fixated upon the great magician. It seemed that with Erin and Camelot gone, the only one now left to hear his story was Merlin.
“I only wanted to protect Camelot. I didn’t betray anything.”
Joy and sorrow dominated Mordred’s words. He continued in a tone raw with emotion.
“That battle was unwinnable! The giants’ forces were too strong, and even if we’d faced them head on, defeat was only inevitable. I had to negotiate with them. I had to! To protect Camelot, to preserve it, I stabbed Father while shedding tears of blood. Yes, I stabbed King Arthur! I stopped him from burning down everything through pointless resistance and opened the gates. I only wanted to protect Camelot!”
His actions were incomparably foolish, and Mordred had long since realized that. The fomoires had burnt down Camelot and broken their promise. No, even the fomoires that’d pacted with Mordred couldn’t realize their goals in the end.
The Giant of Fire, Surtr, had burned Erin into oblivion. The Camelot Mordred had vyed to protect, even at the cost of betraying his own father, was transformed into nothing but ashes.
Mordred still couldn’t admit his fault, however. That the truth that his betrayal was for naught. That the actions he’d taken to protect Camelot had ensured its destruction instead of preventing it.
That realization could crush one’s soul. The moment Mordred admitted his mistake, he would degrade to become the traitor of Erin that Merlin believed him to be.
“I wanted to protect Camelot… I’m the one that should be called its protector! Are you aware of my grief from having stabbed Father’s chest? Do you know how strong my love towards Camelot was that I’d go so far to protect it?!”
He howled. It was a burst of emotions that not even Mordred himself could control after almost a century of resentment.
Mordred pleaded for Merlin to understand him, to accept that he wasn’t wrong, and that his actions had been justified. He hoped that Merlin would comfort him and say that it was not him who was evil but the giants instead.
Deep down, Mordred knew that this was a foolish dream. It was impossible, but he couldn’t help it.
His desire was the scream of a tortured soul begging for relief.
Perhaps that explained why he’d chased after Camelot’s glory like a madman. Rather than aspiring to return Camelot’s glory once again, he may have only wished from a kindred survivor of Camelot to hear that his actions weren’t wrong.
Merlin panted. It felt like all his strength was being sucked from his body. Mordred was completely crazy. He’d become a raving lunatic, broken under a mountain of guilt.
Mordred cried under his helmet. He had followed the fomoires to Midgard and lived for close to a hundred years like a corpse. He yelled towards Merlin once again.
“I’m asking if you know! About my feelings! My grief!”
“I don’t know, you bastard. I don’t even want to!”
The one that responded was Bracky. He swung his hammer and lightning promptly erupted toward the specters of Camelot. He then glared at Mordred.
He’d heard the general outline of the story while charging over.
Bracky could roughly imagine what the guy had done and what his motives were in doing so.
It was a stupid thing. If he’d really wanted to protect Camelot, he should have fought until the end like his brothers. He had vowed to defend all that was good from evil.
So was the path of a knight, and the warriors of Valhalla held similar beliefs.
Bracky didn’t spout these things needlessly. He instead focused on Mordred and contemplated how he could beat him.
They were in the midst of a battle, after all. He didn’t want to share a heartfelt conversation with someone that wasn’t even a beauty but a bastard wearing some twisted, black armor.
Lightning arced. A miniature thunderclap was heard as a specter of Camelot perished under the deadly attack.
Mordred stared at Bracky with a cold indifference, and many specters of Camelot began charging in his direction.
Bracky did not waver as he readied his hammer. Siri and Harabal, who’d arrived a beat later, stood at Bracky’s flank. Together, they faced down the incoming specters.
‘He might be crazy, but his level of power is astonishing. Remember, even the weakest of the Knights of the Round Table were at least of the superior rank.’
Cuchulainn spoke hastily. Tae Ho activated both ‘Idun’s Warrior’ and ‘Warrior’s Equipment’ together at the same time. The power of Caladbolg was tremendous, and due to its awkward shape, it was difficult to handle in close range.
The magic sword Vein Blade, which he’d obtained upon defeating the degenerate hero, Ra Chrysa, appeared atop the Unknown sword piece. Together, they formed a powerful aura.
He immediately charged through the path Bracky and Harabal had opened. He closed on Mordred in an instant and heaved his sword forward.
As the two swords collided, there was no sound akin to the clashing of sharp metal. The malice eminated by Clarent didn’t only swallow the noise, however. It also began rapidly consuming the magic power of the Vein Blade.
Mordred’s gaze pierced into Tae Ho with burning eyes. He applied his massive strength in an attempt to finish Tae Ho off with a single move.
Tae Ho narrowed his eyes. Through the sentence of the Milesians, he applied to the Vein Blade the power of a God. It contested against Clarent’s antipathy and defended against Mordred’s attack.
The two swordsmen began exchanging blows. As they fought, countless afterimages of deadly blades whipped the surrounding air into a frenzy.
Bracky and Harabal couldn’t help Tae Ho. The specters of Camelot aside, the skills being displayed by both Tae Ho and Mordred were too far beyond their abilities to match. Siri, while desperately wishing to aid Tae Ho, also had to grind her teeth and battle the specters instead.
Like Cuchulainn, Adenmaha knew well enough the power a Knight of the Round Table could wield. Because of that, she’d concentrated her attention on dealing with the specters from the start. She spewed out ice breath to prevent them from approaching the river, while Valkyrie Ingrid rescued the wandering warriors and people of Kataron that had fallen into the river. Her actions were desperate as the current was strong and the water was freezing.
Siri charged a bolt into her crossbow and cried out in horror. It was because Tae Ho’s sword had shattered under Mordred’s onslaught.
Tae Ho quickly reformed the Vein Blade, but the problem still existed.
The strength of Clarent was simply too strong. Overwhelmingly strong.
He could barely endure it even with the amplifying power of Idun.
There was another, more serious problem. The real, clear difference between them.
Tae Ho finally understood the sheer power of the Knights of the Round Table.
The contrast between their swordsmanship was like a candle to the sun.
Until now, the enemies he had faced were very much bestial in nature. The giants used their natural-born power and agility and didn’t need proper techniques or martial arts.
Mordred was different. Even though he’d long since degenerated and betrayed Camelot, he was still a Knight of the Round Table.
Mordred’s sword suppressed Tae Ho without mercy. He couldn’t fight like he had against the giants. He faced Mordred with his physical abilities that were amplified by ‘Idun’s warrior’, but it was not enough.
The limit was clear.
‘Fall back! Buy some distance first!’
Cuchulainn screamed in his ear, and Tae Ho attempted to create some space by detonating the power of Idun; however, Mordred didn’t permit him that. Claret spun in blinding fashion to block Tae Ho’s sword and squeezed Idun’s power with its hatred. While Mordred couldn’t stop the explosion, controlling the direction was easy enough.
Tae Ho stumbled as the blast shot off in a weird direction. As his defense broke, Ingrid intervened at the last second. She swung her harpoon-like sword and slashed at Mordred’s waist, but Mordred blocked her attack far too easily.
Mordred smiled gently and spoke in a soft tone. As he did, the Treasure Sword, Clarent, emanated an all-encompassing malice with the intention of completely swallowing Ingrid. Ingrid attempted to pull back her sword and dodge the wave of energy, but it was impossible. The two weapons were stuck together, and by the time she abandoned her sword, the malice had already reached her.
Ingrid grimaced before crying out in agony. Tae Ho roared and charged towards Mordred, but the latter saw through Tae Ho’s strike as if it were childsplay. He swung Clarent without hesitation.
Vein Blade was shattered once again, and the tip of Clarent carved deeply into Tae Ho’s shoulder.
It wasn’t a simple wound. The moment the blade touched his flesh, Tae Ho felt a pain beyond imagination. It was the effect of the malice that Clarent contained.
Idun’s power surged forth to protect Tae Ho. It single-handedly stopped Tae Ho’s mind from breaking.
Treasure Sword Clarent.
A sword that symbolized the royal throne of a species that resided beyond Erin.
Mordred wasn’t one to get drunk on a momentary success. Despite his apparent madness, he was still a Knight of the Round Table. He swung Clarent quickly and tried to sever the heads of both Ingrid and Tae Ho.
However, Bracky didn’t let him do that. He’d fired bolts of lightning without a second thought. The aftershock may have harmed Ingrid and Tae Ho, but there was no room to consider such repercussions.
Mordred changed the direction of his sword. He destroyed the lightning using the hatred within Clarent.
Cuchulainn felt frustrated. The combined power of Mordred and Clarent was too strong. A peerless warrior had gotten hold of a magical sword.
In order to fight on even ground, a sword comparable to Clarent was necessary. Regardless of the consequences, they had to unveil Caladbolg.
It was at that moment-
Merlin, who’d by now landed on the riverside, placed his hand on a sword instead of a staff. He, a great magician of Camelot, had judged that Clarent had been strengthened a few times over. The specters of Camelot were responsible for this.
One couldn’t see everything with only their eyes. Thousands of specters resided within Clarent. They were the souls of the ones who’d died when Camelot had been destroyed.
Merlin had to liberate them, and there was only but one thing capable of doing so.
It was the sword that symbolized the true King of Camelot.
The legendary sword which King Arthur had pulled from a stone.
Merlin sent magic power flooding into Caliburn. Camelot’s glory revealed itself.
Mordred felt it immediately. He kicked off the ground and closed in on Merlin without a second thought.
Surprisingly, Merlin turned away from him. Upon seeing his actions, Merlin finished applying magic power unto Caliburn and threw it away from Mordred.
Mordred was bewildered; however, his instincts took the better of him. He stopped Clarent mid-swing and reached out to Caliburn.
Clarent releashed a joyful cry as Mordred revealed an expression of many mixed emotions under his helmet. He sheathed Clarent and grabbed onto Caliburn’s sheath.
He expected to draw it and finally bear the true sword of Camelot.
Despite his best efforts, however, the sword refused to budge. It almost seemed that the sword and sheath had become one, and it didn’t even rattle.
Merlin smiled, for he’d watched such a scene occur countless times before. No one could draw Caliburn without King Arthur’s blessing.
Mordred roared in anguish. He let out resentful cries at Caliburn which lay quietly in his hands, and then a great malice burst from within him.
However, Caliburn was unmoved.
The reason for this was really quite simple.
It wasn’t because Mordred had betrayed Camelot nor because he was a bastard that’d slain his own father and king.
It was something Merlin had long since realized.
Caliburn already had an owner. The Sword of Selection, Caliburn, had already selected its master after the death of king Arthur and the century that had followed.
The sheath Mordred was clutching suddenly melted, and so did the hilt Merlin had made for it.
The blade of Caliburn appeared while emanating a righteous aura of intense heat. It transformed into light within the hands of Mordred, who’d wanted to wield above all else, and then scattered.
It had disappeared.
No, that wasn’t the case.
Mordred cried in grief which he could not contain and slowly turned around.
The particles of light were gathering in the hilt of the Unknown sword piece, forming the distinctive shape of a sword.
Sword of Liberation, Caliburn.
The sword which only obeyed the true King of Camelot.
By now, Tae Ho had also realized the sword’s identity and the truth of its intention.
But it didn’t stop at that.
The words which the Milesians had told him said so. Caliburn was speaking to him.
He thought of Heda’s face, and he remembered the words she had told him.
Sword of Selection, Caliburn.
A sword that, by itself, could considered a legend.
[Synchro rate: 45%]
Tae Ho inhaled deeply as he added the power of Idun to Caliburn. It then emanated a pure, white light.
He accepted the legend within the weapon, and thus he began a new saga.
The sage foretelling the glory of Camelot which shone like the sun.
[King of Camelot]
Caliburn cried out in joy.
It had proclaimed the birth of a new king.
< Episode 27 – The sword of selection (1) > End
TL note: Thanks for reading~