Episode 32/Chapter 5: The land of darkness (5)
One day- two days- fifteen days.
It was a long and a short time, but there were quite big changes in the residence of Idun.
The biggest change was the transformation of the population.
New warriors entered Idun’s legion just like Freya had told them. They numbered twelve in total.
Adding them to the original five, there were now seventeen lowest-ranked warriors.
Of course, it was a really embarrassing thing to call just seventeen people a legion, but in the first place, Idun’s legion only had Tae Ho. Compared to before, one could say that it had become exponentially more legion-like.
Idun followed Tae Ho’s advice and built a big lodging for the warriors. If the original lodging was a hut, then the new one that was built was a huge mansion. It even had three floors so it would be able to accomodate more than a hundred warriors.
It was a mansion built from thinking of the future.
Aside from the lodging of the warriors, a training center, smithy, restaurant, and other buildings were also installed.
“We also built a lodging for the Valkyries.”
Adenmaha mumbled in a low voice in front of the altar where Tae Ho was lying and then smiled shakily.
“I also have more juniors now.”
Heda had obtained Adenmaha as her junior after a hundred years, but Adenmaha obtained two of her own in less than a month.
Sigrun and Gudrun.
The two of them were Valkyries that had just graduated from the Valkyrie Training Center.
Sigrun was a sharp-eyed woman that had a long braid woven with her sea-blue hair. As she was also tall, she gave the impression of a sharp blade when she stood still.
On the other hand, Gudrun gave a soft impression. Her long, brown hair, slightly droopy eyes, and drowsy voice resembled her well. In addition, her body and character were also filled with an aspect of motherly love.
Adenmaha thought about Gudrun for a moment and then pouted. It wasn’t always good if you were tall.
“I’m talking about stature. Height.”
Adenmaha said as if she was making an excuse. Actually, it wasn’t that great of an excuse as the two new Valkyries were taller than her.
Even Gudrun, the shorter one between the two, was taller than Heda. She was around the lower 170cm range, but as she had good proportions, it made her seem taller.
Sigrun was taller than Gudrun and had reached 180cm. As she also had good proportions, she seemed to be even taller than some warriors if seen from afar.
“But the two of them are good people.”
Because they certainly treated Adenmaha as their senior even though there wasn’t a big difference between them.
Right now, only Gudrun was in the residence. It was because Sigrun went out to lead warriors in an expedition.
Originally, it was normal to be led by a Valkyrie of one’s own legion when warriors went out on an expedition. Tae Ho didn’t need a leading Valkyrie as he was had been the only warrior, but it wasn’t the case for the new warriors.
“Ragnar said that it has now become a proper legion.”
Adenmaha still chirped about the changes like a baby bird.
“Rolo is almost completely healed. He can’t fly yet, but should I say in a short while? McLaren can also dig into the ground again and is healthy.”
Adenmaha spoke up to that point and then laughed. It was because she thought of the warriors that were discussing among themselves as to who would become a gryphon rider by looking at Rolo’s kids.
There was a big cave in Scathach’s lodging.
But it wasn’t a bit dark because of the light wards that were emanating light in the ceiling.
Adenmaha spoke again what she had already said yesterday and the day before and then wiped off the sweat from Tae Ho’s forehead.
As if on cue, Tae Ho convulsed again.
Tae Ho screamed and began pouring sweat, but it didn’t end there.
Tae Ho let a groan after screaming and then gasped with a pained expression.
Adenmaha breathed in to calm down her surprised heart and then wiped off Tae Ho’s sweat once again. It has already been fifteen days since she first saw this scene, but it didn’t feel like she would get accustomed to it anytime soon.
Tae Ho yelled once again, and Adenmaha put on a sulky expression instead of regret.
‘It would be good if he also calls out my name at times.’
If he screamed ten times, eight or nine of them were Heda’s name and the remaining ones were Idun.
‘Is it because my name is too long?’
Rather than shouting out “Adenmaha!”, it would be more comfortable to shout Heda or Idun.
But of course, Adenmaha also knew that it was nonsense.
“You play well alone.”
Adenmaha frowned at the voice that was heard behind her, but she then calmed her breathing and turned around with a business-like expression.
“We already finished with today’s classes.”
“Can’t I roam inside my house like a please?”
As Scathach stated her argument, Adenmaha could only cower and step back. But she didn’t just step back.
“He has only been screaming for fifteen days. Is this working properly?”
Scathach stood next to the altar and then nodded slowly as Adenmaha grumbled.
“Right, it’s going well. He grew accustomed to it better than I thought.”
Fifteen days having passed in this world meant that it has already been a year and three months in Tae Ho’s mind.
Looking at it externally, a difference of thirty times existed in the Land of Darkness.
Because of that, Scathach didn’t really mind Tae Ho’s shouts or pained expression. It was because it was a reaction that showed his overall state and not the actual reaction.
Screaming, groaning, and panting were basic options for those who trained in the Tower of Shadows. As even the Prince of Light, Cuchulainn, had done so, there were no exceptions.
Opposingly, Adenmaha put on a bright expression when Scathach said that he was getting accustomed to it well.
“Is he doing well? Like, is he breaking the record or something?”
If one looked at Adenmaha still, she looked more like a puppy than a serpent. Scathach looked at Adenmaha’s rear trying to find her waving tail and answered.
“No, how can that be? He’s struggling on the lowest floor with the worst speed.”
Those weren’t words to tease Adenmaha. There was no one that was as slow among the ones she had put in the tower.
Adenmaha put on a disappointed face at Scathach’s words. Scathach looked at her face that showed all of her emotions and then opened her eyes sharply and said,
“But it’s really, really interesting.”
Tae Ho was certainly roaming in the lower floors and the speed he conquered the tower was also the slowest.
However, it was certainly interesting. Not because he was too slow but because of his methods.
As Scathach’s eyes shone with a conspicuous color, Adenmaha opened her eyes widely as if she was moved with curiously and then looked up at her.
Scathach just nodded instead of explaining, and Adenmaha pouted once again.
“You should tell me or something so I can be interested too.”
“Your words are short nowadays.”
Scathach said while opening her eyes sharply and Adenmaha flinched, but she just played dumb instead of making an excuse or saying that she was sorry. Adenmaha wasn’t someone to forgive that arrogant attitude.
Adenmaha, who’d been sitting down, screamed and rolled over. It was because Scathach had performed a cross lock on her.
Adenmaha screamed once again, but she didn’t beg her to release her or said that she was sorry and instead gritted her teeth.
As she couldn’t just suffer always.
A cross lock was something done by a human to another human. Because of that, Adenmaha was thinking of transforming into a sea serpent. She had been enduring it as the place was too narrow and it was burdensome if Scathach got crushed by her, but everything had its limit.
‘She’s a witch, so she will do something about it!’
Will she die because of that?
Adenmaha closed her eyes and tried to transform.
Tried being the operative word.
“Uh- huh? It, it doesn’t work- kyak!”
The last scream came out instinctively.
Scathach fixed her lock even tighter and then clicked her tongue and said with a pitiful voice,
“This is my residence. Did you think that I would allow you to do what you wanted in the territory of a magician?”
Strong magicians had the power of a God in their magical territories. Scathach put more strength and Adenmaha couldn’t endure it anymore.
“I- I’m sorry! Ah, hurts! It hurts!”
“What did you do wrong?”
“Po- polite words! I will! Use them! Ugh!”
“Fine. Let’s see how you do.”
Scathach undid the lock and stood up. Even though she had rolled on the ground, she didn’t look at all messy.
Contrary to her, Adenmaha was in full disarray. She barely stood up again and sat down, but her hair and clothes were a complete mess.
“Sob sob. Uahh.”
Scathach inspected Tae Ho once again while Adenmaha was sobbing pitifully, and then interest spread over Scathach’s face once again.
“So, what is so interesting?”
It seemed like her arm still hurt, for she still had a teary face. Scathach frowned while looking at Adenmaha but didn’t use recovery magic on her. It was to let the pain turn into a lesson.
Nevertheless, Scathach wasn’t planning on just leaving her alone. Scathach drew a rune in the air and said,
“You will know if you see it directly.”
What she had been interested in.
The rune emitted a bright light and then a big window of light spread over Tae Ho’s chest.
“It’s Cuchulainn’s point of view.”
As soon as Scathach finished speaking, a scene appeared from outside the window of light. It was showing Tae Ho and the floor master.
Cuchulainn was checking the battle between Tae Ho and the floor master with crossed arms.
They were currently in the eleventh floor.
He was merely at the eleventh floor after a year and three months, so it was a really slow speed, but Cuchulainn didn’t feel bored but interest just like Scathach.
The floor master Tae Ho was fighting against currently was one of Scathach’s disciples, Ferdia mac Daman.
It was a clone instead of the real Ferdia, and his looks and abilities weren’t those of when he was at his peak.
When he was in his youth- precisely speaking, when Cuchulainn first saw Ferdia mac Daman, his skills matched those of the clone’s.
Tae Ho was using a big spear meant to do a lance charge to face the sword-and-shield-bearing Ferdia mac Daman.
There was obviously no way to fight against him properly. Tae Ho was barely managing to block Ferdia mac Daman’s attacks.
Cuchulainn had already seen their fight more than forty times.
Ferdia mac Daman’s weapons were always the sword and shield.
But it was different for Tae Ho. Even though he was most proficient with a sword, the types of weapons he used were much more widespread than a mere spear or axe.
Tae Ho was clearing the same floor several times.
After he defeated the floor master with a one-handed sword, he tried again with a two-handed sword. If he won again, he tried once more with a dagger and kept changing his weapons.
It was a method Cuchulainn had never thought of; perhaps, it was a stupid way. Because he was struggling to learn several weapons when it was hard to even learn one of them properly.
Actually, Tae Ho had defeated the floor masters quite easily with a sword, but he hadn’t been able to do so with the other weapons.
Tae Ho had died more than a thousand times the past year and three months. Even though it wasn’t a real death, the pain wasn’t illusory.
Because the pain one felt when they died was real.
But Tae Ho didn’t change his strategy. He proceeded with the ignorant method even though he died and kept dying.
‘Well, Idun’s warrior indeed.’
Cuchulainn had wondered seriously if the ones that received Idun’s blessing started to enjoy pain and became masochists.
But Cuchulainn didn’t deny Tae Ho’s method.
He would have stopped him if what Tae Ho was learning was martial arts, but what he was training in right now were Scathach’s techniques.
The reason Cuchulainn had said Scathach’s spear techniques was because Gae Bolg was the best weapon Tae Ho had, but it wasn’t that he was planning on forcing him to learn spear techniques.
In addition, Scathach’s techniques weren’t limited to just the spear techniques.
In normal martial arts, one learned how to use a particular weapon. How to use a sword, how to use a spear, or others.
But it was different for Scathach’s techniques. It taught the essence more than anything.
The eyes looking at the fight.
The moment one clashed their weapon against their opponent’s, they’d experience a normal way to fight, how they should fight, and how their opponent would move.
Thinking and analyzing was the normal thing.
But Scathach’s techniques hoped for something beyond that.
Being able to understand everything just by watching.
Analyzing more things in a systematized way than thinking and analyzing.
Eyes that had surpassed any reason.
And gaining insight through those eyes was the essence of Scathach’s techniques.
It wasn’t important what weapon one was holding. Just like a warrior of the Temple had said, all streams connected into one. Someone that had realized the essence of Scathach’s techniques could be said to be able of expressing their strength completely through any weapon.
The Tower of Shadows was a place that made the nature of Scathach’s techniques awaken forcefully.
And in that meaning, Tae Ho’s way of training suited well with the Tower of Shadows. Battling with various weapons created various aspects.
In addition, it was also effective on training in the sentence of the Milesians.
Tae Ho was now able to communicate with the weapons registered in the ‘Warrior’s Equipment’ and also with the weapons of the Knights of the Round Table.
Because of that, Cuchulainn and Scathach felt interest in Tae Ho. They didn’t expect that Tae Ho would be able to awaken the essence in an instant, but he would at least be able to approach it.
And the expectations of the two people weren’t wrong.
At some point, Tae Ho’s movements had changed.
It was a change that occurred when one didn’t realize it.
Tae Ho raised his huge spear, but he hadn’t done so while thinking about it. It was a natural movement which saved his life. The attack that should have originally pierced Tae Ho’s abdomen was parried.
Tae Ho created some distance with Ferdia mac Daman and then Tae Ho realized a gap in the latter’s defence. He moved his huge spear following him.
The attack of Ferdia mac Daman missed, and it wasn’t able to even touch Tae Ho.
A smile appeared in Cuchulainn’s face and Scathach, who was observing with a time difference, put on a similar expression. Adenmaha didn’t know well how the situation was turning but smiled brightly as Tae Ho was fighting well.
Tae Ho looked at Ferdia mac Daman and understood in that moment.
The Knights of the Round Table once fought like this. They could see things like this.
The battle tilted to Tae Ho’s favor and he had started to take the lead. Ferdia mac Daman was in a hurry to block Tae Ho’s attacks.
Adenmaha clenched her fist and cheered for Tae Ho, but it was different for Cuchulainn and Scathach. The smile in their faces disappeared.
It was because they could know different from Adenmaha.
Tae Ho started to stab with his huge spear. It was a stab he had learned on the seventh floor, but it wasn’t completely the same. There were other things mixed in it.
[Synchro rate: 61%]
Tae Ho got pushed in swordsmanship against the traitor Mordred and not in strength or speed either. He couldn’t overcome Mordred’s mysterious sword techniques.
Tae Ho blamed himself for that. He thought that he was at fault for not being able to recreate the sword techniques of Kalsted perfectly, who was the strongest swordsman in the Dark Age.
[Synchro rate: 62%]
He became able to execute Kalsted’s sword techniques better than during the battle against Bress the Tyrant. Because of that, he was able to face Bress, who had overwhelmed him in speed, strength, and all the other areas.
And now he could understand.
There was a defect in Kasted’s sword techniques.
A saga was a recreation of a legend.
Kalsted was the strongest swordsman in Dark Age, but there was no substance to back it up.
Only the image of the strongest sword technique still remained.
Sword techniques that only had the external appearance.
But in this moment, Scathach’s techniques were added to Kalsted’s sword techniques.
[Synchro rate: 65%]
The synchro rate increased quickly, but Tae Ho didn’t think of what was happening to him. He just understood it and received it naturally.
A combination of Kalsted’s sword techniques and Scathach’s techniques.
What was born from that-
What was made-
Cuchulainn opened his eyes widely, and Scathach let out a soft exclamation.
[Synchro rate: 69%]
Tae Ho stabbed with his huge spear.
Ferdia mac Daman couldn’t block Tae Ho’s attacks anymore.
< Episode 32 – The land of darkness (5) > End
TL note: Thanks for reading~