TS2 Book 2 Chapter 137

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Bladedge

The next morning, Leguna mentioned his upcoming trip to Bladedge to Oljharok.

“You’re going to Bladedge?”

The chief had no idea how the kid came up with such outlandish ideas.

“Yes. It’s the cradle of orc assassins. I have to go there before my duel. I might get something.”

Oljharok fell silent for a moment.

“…It’s not that you can’t… I just don’t have a way of keeping you safe.”

“Oh? So there’s a place in the empire you have no power?”

Though he wasn’t too worried, Oljharok’s tone made it sound like there was something special about Bladedge.

“That’s not it. Orcs respect the powerful. Bladedge is even more severe in this respect. Imagine a human like you from a different race heading there. Even if you bear my name, they’ll cause trouble. If you’re weak, they’ll even kill you and not think much of it.”

“I see. I’ll take care of myself. I just need an escort. I’m most afraid of being chased by other tribes on the way there.”

“No problem—” Oljharok raised his hand and turned to instruct a nearby orc guard. “—@!$#@…%[email protected]…”

The guard nodded and approached Leguna. Saluting, he struggled to speak in the common tongue.

“Sir… Leguna… I… protect you… Come with.”

Leguna bowed slightly.

……

That guard was massive and domineering. Though he wasn’t as big as Kreighdon, he was larger than Kurdak. Having such a ferocious orc behind him filled Leguna with confidence.

After breakfast, they left the city. Leguna headed east, led by the escorts. Bladedge’s territory was at least a day’s travel away. He had no spare time if he accounted for the time he might have to spend there, so he planned to leave for Nightsong immediately once he returned from Bladedge.

{I hope Teacher’s dagger is worth it.}

The scorching noon sunlight wore on everyone. Had it not been for Leguna and the escorts’ training, they would’ve collapsed from dehydration.

{Of course it is! That dagger is a quasi-divine item! It’s a bit of a waste to let a dual-wielding assassin like you use it! Apart from the dagger, there’s something I want you to experience. Trust me, this trip is worth it.}

{I hope so,} Leguna replied lazily.

He couldn’t get excited at all in the scorching weather.

The group rode gray wolves. They were the size of horses and incredibly agile and long-winded; all-in all pretty good mounts for orcs. The only downside was their wild temperament. If a rider didn’t have enough strength and sense of balance, they couldn’t control the beast.

During their conversations, Leguna learned the guard’s name was Kree. He was a member of Earth-shaking Hammer, part of Oljharok’s blood guard even before he founded the empire. Such was the tribe’s tradition. After the great chief inherited the post, they would pick ten orcs to be their blood guard.

When an orc willingly becomes a blood guard, his entire life revolves around the chief. He has no honor he has to defend, no reputation, and no status outside of his post. The chief’s honor is his honor, the chief’s reputation his reputation, and the chief’s position was… still the chief’s. Though the blood guards could represent the chief’s will when they were appointed to. That was why Oljharok had Kree travel with Leguna. On the way, they encountered quite a few orc hunting parties who drew their weapons the moment they saw a human. If it not for Kree’s rebukes, they would’ve leaped in for the kill immediately.

There wasn’t a strict requirement to joining the blood guard. As long as both sides were willing, even someone from a different race or a child could become a blood guard. However, any sane chief would pick the most loyal and powerful candidates, which limited the selection to powerful orcs. Kree, for instance, was the orc equivalent of a 16th-stratum high-order warrior. He far exceeded Leguna. Had it not been for Leguna’s killing of two high-order magi, the orc wouldn’t show him any respect.

They finally arrived in Bladedge’s territory by nightfall. Leguna was very thirsty, and the strain of riding a gray wolf was much more than riding a horse. He just wanted to enjoy a good meal and pass out on a comfortably bed. He was not destined for such luxury, however.

Bladedge’s settlement looked a little nicer than other settlements. They lived in stone houses instead of grass huts at the very least.

{According to legend, Bladedge orcs have a trace of elven blood. We appear more civilized than other orcs,} Gahrona explained, {But don’t think you’ll be served delicious fruits and drinks. We welcome an alien like you with the edge of a blade. If you can’t gain the recognition of the tribe’s majority, you’ll lose a lot of flesh.}

{You brought me here to fight, didn’t you?}

{You can say that. I managed to beat up the rest of the tribesmen at my age. Since you’re my disciple, you have a duty to beat up everyone as old as you as well.}

{I’ll try my best.}

His voice had both frustration and confident expectation. It was not surprising. He was already ahead of his peers. Only the rarest individuals reached the 14th stratum by the age of 17. Leguna also had four ridiculous gifts. He could be considered beyond the match of many old famous fighters, to say nothing of those his age.

Gahrona heard the confidence in his words. Perhaps because he had it coming, she just giggled silently. Whatever she said would be useless. The kid had to expand his horizon beyond that in the future, anyway. It was only natural for him to trip and fall from time to time.

……

Blood Guard Kree stepped forward to talk to the Bladedge guards. The two glanced at the human brat when they hear why this odd pair had come to their lands, but ultimately let them enter.

{Teacher, what do you think I should do if I am jumped?} asked Leguna nervously.

The orcs on both sides of the streets glared at him, shock, the moment they spotted him. They all surreptitiously clasped their weapons. It would surprise no one if someone’s knife slipped out of their hand and fell towards the brat’s face.

{Kill them,} his teacher answered casually.

{Aren’t they your tribesmen? Don’t you want me to spare them? What if I make them angry by killing orcs?}

{They are my tribesmen, yes,} Gahrona agreed, {but an idiot’s death is a good thing. We’ve always believed this. Don’t worry about getting in trouble, rather, it’s the dead that’ll get in trouble for being so stupid and incapable.}

{I see.}

The bit of angst he had vanished once he heard he didn’t have to hold back. The caution in his step vanished

“Look, a human! What armor is that? And those weapons? They should be incredibly valuable to humans! They’ll be mine if I can kill it!” yelped a young orc to his friend as he rubbed his dagger.

“Dream on!” the female orc next to him snapped, “Do you think you can rob it with your third-rate skills? Don’t you see the insignia on that orc next to him’s hand? He a blood guard! Someone, even if he is a human, who can get the great chief’s attention must be very powerful!”

The young orc’s expression changed when he glanced at the orc mentioned.

“Well—” he laughed awkwardly. “—I was just running my mouth. I’m not that much of an idiot I know he must be very strong since all the orcs long the roads want to kill him but won’t.”

“Tsk!”

No matter how fierce they were, even they didn’t dare mess with Great Chief Oljharok’s guest directly. They welcomed him according to their customs. The tribe’s chief called a banquet when he was informed of Leguna’s arrival. He even called over the tribe’s foremost youths and its higher-up.

……

“I didn’t think Mister Leguna would be so young. Allow me to introduce our tribe’s young ones. They think they’re hot shots even though they’ve only been in the tribe. Maye you could show us some of your skills and teach them a lesson? Please broaden our horizons!” suggested the chief. As the tribe’s leader, he was pretty well educated. He could speak the common tongue more fluently than Kreighdon at the very least.

“Hehe, you overestimate me, Mister Kiranou. I am the one who still have much to learn.” replied Leguna. It seemed the meal wouldn’t end without a fight. The hall’s atmosphere was sinistrous. While the orcs appeared friendly, he could tell he was sitting on needles.

{You don’t have to be too roundabout when talking to orcs. Speak your mind. As long as you can make them submit, your words will carry weight.} Gahrona advised.

{I understand.}

After making sure he had recovered from the trip, he took a deep breath and stood up.

“Mister Kiranou.”

“Yes? What troubles you, Mister Leguna?” asked the chief, smiling.

“I believe you’ve heard the great chief say I’ve inherited your tribe’s most outstanding star, Lady Gahrona’s power.” Leguna didn’t forget to insert a few words of praise for the tribe. “Lady Gahrona is my teacher in a way. I have a rightful claim to her legacy, and, if I’m not mistaken, her weapon, Ebony, is enshrined in the sacrificial altar. I have come to retrieve it.”


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