TALES OF A WITCHER - Season 6 Episode 24
Chaos and confusion erupted in the hall. Wooden tables were flipped, while bowls and dishes fell all over the floor, creating a symphony of clanking and cracking noises. Spilled soup flowed along the crevices in the stone slabs until it was everywhere.
It was the first time for the Duke’s two sons to witness such a life-and-death fight from such a close distance. The older son, Cole, held out his sword and stood in a rigid posture to defend his father. It was completely unlike his carefree attitude during training sessions. Meanwhile, the younger son, 17-year-old Lance, cowered behind his chair.
Calvin sighed in silence. If he did not have Edith, his sons would probably not look so useless by comparison. The gulf of ability between her and them could not be bigger. Perhaps, they were already resigned to this fact and had long lost the courage and motivation to catch up with her.
The Duke looked towards the center of the banquet hall. His wunderkind eldest daughter already had her eyes fixed on Ed Howes, the strongest challenger around.
First, she took a bottle of ale and flung it at her opponent, forcing him to turn away. Next, she leaped up onto one of the long wooden tables and dived straight at him with her sword. Her quick and agile movements were like those of a cat. Ed adeptly parried her blows, and the clashing of swords caused sparks to fly.
She struck out half a dozen times within a split second, and her sword came together with Ed’s to form a continuous clinking sound which seemed to signal the impending arrival of death. In this critical situation, Ed displayed frightening technique and strength to negate every one of her strikes. It was hard to pick a winner. While they fought around the long tables, many of the Howes Family’s knights had already succumbed in battle. Yet, Ed did not flinch or cower but instead became increasingly aggressive.
Calvin began to worry.
As evident from the blood stains on her armor, Edith had earlier been involved in another tough fight. Even if she was not wounded, her physical strength had been expended considerably. Furthermore, as a female, she was naturally disadvantaged in terms of strength. It would be unfavorable to her if the tussle drags on.
However, there was not a trace of fear on Edith’s face.
Her eyes were fully focused on her opponent—her bright pupils were like twinkling stars that could illuminate the world. Beads of sweat flung out of her hair ends with every strike she made. Although her energy was visibly diminishing, she continued to thrust relentlessly at her opponent, forcibly keeping him in a defensive stance.
Ed seemed to take notice of this. With a loud roar, he changed to a technique which would deal great injury to both of them. However, Edith was not keen on exchanging blood with blood, and became the one deflecting attacks. The disparity in strength between them finally told. Edith lost her balance as her sword was sliced into two, causing her to fall off the long table.
The Duke’s heart jumped into his throat. “F*ck, help her now!”
However, even the nearest guard was not able to assist—everything happened too quickly.
Instead of attempting to stand up immediately, Edith astutely used the remainder of her sword to slice off the legs of the long table. At this moment, Ed jumped onto the table with both of his arms raised, intending to finish her off with a powerful blow. He completely did not notice what she had just done.
Calvin stared in disbelief at what followed. The table, missing a leg, caused the knight to lose his balance. If the table toppled normally, he would have been able to leap off easily. But just at that instant, all of his strength was concentrated in his arms, while his feet were fixed on top of the table, and his body was hunched forward in the chopping posture. As such, he fell headfirst onto the floor with a loud thud.
There was no chance of a comeback.
Edith jumped onto her opponent’s back and pulled out a dagger from her waist. She plunged it straight into his neck and twisted it. The knight’s body began to spasm.
“Was it… a matter of luck? Probably not…” the Duke realized that Ed had fallen into his daughter’s trap the moment he jumped onto the table. When Ed took over his opponent’s high position, it made him feel as though he had turned defeat into victory. The advantage that he built up over the course of the fight caused him to think that strength and power alone would decide the outcome, and his confidence grew at the sight of his opponent’s weakening resistance. This was why he placed all of his strength into his final blow. Under normal circumstances, Edith would not have been able to survive it.
But this turned out to be the perfect opportunity to trick him into losing his balance completely.
The resistance of the two families did not last very long in the face of opponents who outnumbered them by three to one. After less than 10 minutes, the hall quietened down again. The fireplace continued to burn calmly, while the only noticeable difference in the hall was the strong smell of blood that mixed together with the smell of spilled alcohol and other drinks.
The Duke returned to his seat and looked around the room. The lower nobles hurriedly lowered their heads and did not dare to look straight at him.
“Earl Lista and Earl Howes conspired against King Wimbledon and have been duly punished. Right now, you all have a choice. Do you all want to serve these two corpses or the new king?”
This time, the responses were uniform and there were no extra remarks.
“So, it’s settled?” In the study, Calvin used a handkerchief to wipe off the blood stains on his daughter’s forehead. “Will His Majesty Roland Wimbledon accept us?”
“You were calling him a rebel king only yesterday,” Edith quipped teasingly. “Are you going to pledge homage to him so soon?”
“Wasn’t this what you said?” The Duke glared at his daughter. “Since we can’t beat him, we may as well surrender earlier. If we don’t win his trust, the nobles will hate us too!”
In fact, the execution of the two great noblemen without going through due process violated the bottom line agreed among the noble. If it was not for the fact that the Kingdom of Graycastle had been at war for two years and the lords of various lands had changed rapidly, as well as Timothy being a bad example, Calvin would never have dared to do things as his daughter had suggested.
“I don’t know if we can.”
“Wh-what?” The Duke quivered and nearly dropped his handkerchief. “You don’t know?”
“Indeed. All we can do is to display our sincerity, but ultimately it’ll be Prince Roland who decides the fate of Northern Region. You should know this, Dad,” Edith said almost nonchalantly. “There’s a chance he’ll send his own people to take over Northern Region, and it won’t be surprising if your rank is lowered. But I know that if we don’t try, our Kant family won’t have a chance to survive.”
Calvin stood rooted for a long time before he sat back down, looking extremely displeased. He knew that his daughter was right, but yet he found it hard to accept her reply.
He did not want to lose the position of Duke.
Just then, Edith laughed. “Don’t lose heart, Dad. You still have much work to do tomorrow. We’ll seize the mansions and fiefs of the two Earls. Besides, the outcome of this matter will heavily depend on the level of competence we display to His Majesty.” She paused for a while, before continuing. “Sincerity is our ticket into the negotiation, but ability is what will decide the outcome of the negotiation.”
Calvin frowned in incomprehension. “What do you mean?”
“I’ll bring these two heads to King’s City, Dad.” She laughed in a charming yet wicked way. “Let me be your messenger to His Majesty.”