Duality III

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In the face of imminent danger, the maid laughed. It was a laugh that did not fit with her cutesy image. In fact, it sounded quite sinister and echoed throughout the throne room.

The uncanny reaction from Eama raised King Hurley’s concern.

“You are a fool, King Hurley. An absolute fool.”

Despite standing against twelve elite magicians who was twice her body size, she continued to giggle. The air remained tense as the Unpolites glanced amongst themselves.

What’s so funny?

I can have her killed in one word yet she’s snickering in the face of death.

That laugh reminds me of a yandere…

“Silence, Eama-!” King Hurley waved his hand in a sweeping motion. “I’m giving you one last chance. Do not test my anger.”

“I speak the truth — a group of pretend elite soldiers stand no chance against me.”

King Hurley could feel the slight irritation from the Unpolites but they held their ground, waiting for the signal to devour the maid. After witnessing Eama’s power with the guard earlier, it would be wise to tread this carefully. Something was odd about the escalation of this situation. 

It almost felt too easy.

“What makes you say that?”

Eama smiled coyly and pointed at her circular glasses, which seemed to shine in accordance.

“「Spectatles of Inner Observance」, this allows me to accurately appraise each person’s magic level and their repertoire of spells.” With a pitiful smile, Eama shook her head. “I have to say, I am quite disappointed in the Unpolites — their skill levels are far below my expectations.”

King Hurley felt a sting from the sheer resolution of her tone.

She’s bluffing. 

No, she must be. 

In battle, deception’s a key to victory.

Rationally speaking, there was no chance she could win against the Unpolites. By Adventurer’s Guild ranking standards, they were considered between Platinum-tier and Diamond-tiers — the top one percent of the entire community.

But if Eama did own powerful items like the spectacle she wore, it would mean that she was no ordinary magician. That was because someone of lower status could not have access nor have the ability to use them properly. Based on his past experiences, these items were prized possessions, often obtained from dungeon or a reward from life-threatening quests.

Is it from a sponsorship?

Or the arsenal of a famous guild?

With Zenpy’s superior insight and the experienced synergy of Unpolite, King Hurley was confident in his victory. But not all battles were guaranteed. He had to analyze Eama and what she does to ensure her chances of winning remain near zero. 

Why do I feel so uneasy…?

Eama seemed to be on a different level than all the other enemies he had encountered. King Hurley could physically feel the power disparity between his army and her. For some reason, he sensed a veteran vibe, the air that hardened soldiers exhibit when they lived through years of fighting.

The utter confusion behind all this was how a teenage girl attained this gravitas and had access to a powerful magic item of this level.

“I don’t know how you found out about the assassination but I will applaud you.”

“Everything merely went according to my plan,” King Hurley smiled. However, he could feel his heart beating rapidly. “Now then, what will you do about it?”

Eama’s face instantly turned grim. It was dark and filled with malice, sending thrills down his spine. She stared into his eyes as if gazing directly into the abyss of his soul. The maid was no longer cutesy and adorable.

“Your actions are absolutely unforgivable — I will make you pay for harming that innocent girl.”

“You would hate to know what I did to the others, especially the ones who were disobedient to my orders.”

King Hurley chuckled. He was in love with the dangerous expression the young girl had on her face. The adrenaline rush and the shivers, he was craving more of it.

The despair on Eama’s face after will only make it more satisfying.

“Then I will gladly exterminate you from this world. And along with it, your entire kingdom built upon slavery and everything you have over the last decade.”

King Hurley and the Unpolite chuckled at the ridiculous remark that Eama made.

“Such huge words from a little girl. Just what do you think you can do?”

In a swift motion, the maid brought her right hand up in the air.

The Unpolites expertly harmonized into a defensive formation. It was time to act. Zenpy’s eyes seemed to be glowing in delight but quickly muttered a protective ability.

Instead of a destructive spell like everyone expected, there was a loud sound.

SNAP-!

The guards scanned around the room and began to snicker amongst themselves. Eama had snapped her fingers and nothing had happened, it was merely all a bluff—

—Suddenly, something heavy fell between the Unpolites and Eama with a thunderous crash, completely penetrating the opulent ceiling above in the process.

Unable to bear that weight, the stone slabs shattered, and concrete parts flew everywhere.

Before him, stood a swordsman, still kneeling from the force of his landing.

His jet-black cloak reflected the calm light of the crescent moon, which shined through the broken roof, making for a strange yet beautiful sight. His crimson cape fluttered like a roaring blaze. In his hand held an extraordinary katana, gleaming with the crimson light of judgment. 

Instead of a face, he wore a Wolf-Kabuki mask.

Instead of a face, he wore a Wolf-Kabuki mask

The cloaked warrior slowly rose to his feet. 

Just like skeletons and zombies recoil from divine light, King Hurley sensed fear from his group of elite magicians as they gazed upon that masked swordsman, trimmed in an uncanny gold and crimson-red that resembled blood.

There was no doubt that he was powerful.

How powerful was another question…

King Hurley heard the sound of swallowing in the silence. To his surprise, it had come from his trusted advisor, Zenpy. To think the calm and masterful tactician was slightly trembling… It was the first time King Hurley had seen him this afraid.

After a moment of silence, a confident voice shattered the night.

“Now then… Who was the one that upset my little sister?”

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There was a masked swordsman standing in the middle who had not originally been there.

King Hurley and Zenpy, leader of the Temecula’s special operations unit looked at the mysterious warrior with perturbation in their eyes.

Zenpy called the Unpolites back, ordering them to form a defensive perimeter around their leader. His assiduous gaze studied their movements.

“King of Temecula and the Unpolites, you have upset me and my little sister.”

The masked swordsman stood some distance away, but the breeze from the broken-glass above the ceiling carried his voice-over clearly.

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King Hurley did not respond. He did not how to after the sudden grand entrance. Thus, the swordsman man continued:

“I am Yang of Duality. The maid beside me is actually Yin, my dear partner and little sister. And I would like to speak with you.”

Duality…?

Little sister…?

King Hurley heard of reputation and achievements behind Duality. They were a Master-tier guild that was universally known for having only two members. Not only were they highly skilled individuals, there was also little information on their skills and capabilities. But almost all the rumors mentioned that Duality had perfect synergy in combat, whatever that meant.

It would be rash to make an impulsive move, especially against a renowned adventurer team. Thus, King Hurley raised his chin, indicating that Yang should continue.

“Thank you for taking the time to listen to me. Then, I would like to start by making one thing clear. That would be — there is no way you can defeat us.”

He could hear the absolute confidence in that statement. This was not a bluff or a boast. This was something that Yang truly believed from the bottom of his heart.

Throughout all the past encounters, no enemies he faced had the audacity to speak in such manner, especially in front of a royal sovereign with one of the best private armies in the world.

It was absolutely ridiculous.

“What an ignorant fool, we clearly have the advantage here. It’s clearly thirteen against two, not including my infantry and mages stationed outside. Do you really think you can win?”

“Absolutely.”

It was an immediate response.

“I have been observing the Unpolites since my little sister’s arrival and have already dealt with your minions. I have also sealed this area with magic to ensure no one can escape. Therefore, my presence here would indicate that I am confident of victory. After all, if I was not sure that I could beat you, would it not be wiser for my sister to teleport away?”

Yang was right.

King Hurley could feel his anger slowly growing. He needed more information.

“Since you are from Adventurer’s Guild, wait until they find out that Duality is affiliating with national affairs. Once we submit the reports, you will be completely stripped of your hard-earned ranking and trialed internationally for treason, affiliation with national politics and property damage.”

Instead of an enraged response, Yang and Eama chuckled. It felt quite mocking to the point it made King Hurley felt like he had said something wrong.

“I merely speak the truth, Duality. I have dealt with countless adventurers like you in the past. And they either perished against me or currently reside in National Prison in New Folsom.”

“You’re exactly right… if that was still the case.” Yang held his sword up high as it glistened ominously under the crescent moon. “But times have changed. You refused to accept the Emancipation Proclamation and continued to mistreat your citizens despite the repeated warnings. Thus, we’ve been granted permission by the Adventurer’s Guild to exterminate you.”

Permission from the Adventurer’s Guild…? 

Impossible!

King Hurley furrowed his brows and pointed at the swordsman.

“Such absurd lies. This is my first warning. Do not anger me, Duality. What is your real intention?”

Yang let out a sigh.

“You can’t even handle the truth when you hear it,” He shook his head as the little sister maid walked up to him and shrugged. It was as if they were pitying him for failing to understand something so simple.

With a sudden change of tone, he spoke coldly.

“Allow me to phrase it differently for you. The Elite Five asked us to destroy Temecula and we are here to fulfill their request.”

Elite Five. They were an extraordinary group of world leaders that possessed immense influence on the four main nations. Their power was similar to that of a monarch or a president in terms of political strength.

“Y-You’re bluffing, why would the Elite Five purposely jeopardize the fundamental laws that Adventurer Guild is built upon? That’s absolutely preposterous!”

One of the founding principles of Adventurer’s Guild was to defend humanity against external threats such as monsters and demi-humans like goblins, skeletons, demons and so on. Thus, there was an unwritten rule that they would never involve themselves in disputes between humans. 

This rule was to prevent the adventurers from being hired as mercenaries by different nations, which the Unpolites eventually disagreed with and affiliated themselves with Temecula.

But if these two in front of them really had the backing of Elite Five, does that mean the world had deemed Temecula as an international danger?

If that is truly the case, then his days as a king will soon come to an end.

His glorious kingdom. His great harem of mistresses. All the immense wealth and power he had accumulated for the past decade will all vanish—

—No. He won’t allow that to happen.

It was not him who was wrong. It was society. Owning slaves as properties were still common a few decades ago. King Hurley silently cursed at the gradual technological advances called Science, which led to the modern reformation on traditional construct and norms.

“You do realize that the Adventurer’s Guild would be involved in a great scandal if other world leaders were to find out—”

“—Who says they will find out?”

A thrill of cold ran from the bottoms of King Hurley’s feet to the top of his head. He had felt this countless times in his struggles along the edge of life and death.

“At this point, those are trivial matters,” Yang said with a piercing voice. “Our meeting was inevitable. Duality does not tolerate the strong abusing those who cannot defend themselves.”

Realizing a battle was unavoidable, King Hurley bit his lips.

“Even so are you sure that you two can confidently beat a team of Diamond-tiers? Even the Hero-tier adventurer, Boba had trouble with the Unpolites awhile ago.”

He would not be satisfied unless he sees the duo shiver in fear. After all, he was a mighty king who deserved to be respected. He was furious that they had been making him look like a fool in front of his men.

“Yang and Eama. No Yin. You two are now going to die in vain because of your foolishness. You purposely shared your plan and true motives. Thanks to your stupidity, we are now aware of what is at stake.”

King Hurley grinned widely and raised his arms in manners befitting of a mighty leader.

“If you were discreet about your rankings, we might have been caught off-guard. Now that we know you are the Duality, the Unpolites will now fight you with everything they have.”

The elite squadron expertly gathered themselves in a defensive position.

“So I have to say, the two of you are the worst assassins I have ever seen. Thanks to your naiveté, we will be able to remove Adventurer’s Guild from society and simultaneously begin our way for global conquest!”

With his heart still beating rapidly, King Hurley glared into Yang, hoping his words have stricken fear and sparked doubt. But it was too difficult to tell what he was thinking due to his mask.

After what felt like a long period of silence, the swordsman said in a confident voice.

“I told you earlier, there is no way you can defeat us. Understand that your strongest will never be able to win against Duality. No matter how hard you try and struggle, you cannot avoid your demise.”

It did not even sound like a threat but a statement for the events about to unfold. For some reason, his body shivered at those words. His mind screamed for him to flee. While Yang had stated earlier that there was no escape, all the physiological responses kept repeating one phrase: Run away.

“In answer to your response earlier, telling you made no difference to the results. It’s already pre-determined since our arrival at Temecula. We simply did not want a one-sided massacre.”

Pre-determined…?

Massacre…?

There’s no way…

Immediately after, Yang freed HIS weapon from its sheath, the silvery blade sparkled under the moonlight. The runes carved into the blade’s body sparkled, etching themselves into any onlookers’ eyes.

 The runes carved into the blade's body sparkled, etching themselves into any onlookers' eyes

Yin and Yang took a step forward as King Hurley gulped.

It was just a single step, but they seemed to swell massively before their eyes. Cowed by their mighty presence, the Unpolites reflexively took a step back.

“All right, we’ll end the pointless bantering here. Let us speak through our weapons.”

  

『 Amae (01/27/20): Time to d-d-duel!

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