Gillock put on his clothes with an expressionless face.
He pulled his sword from his waist, looked around, put it back in its sheath, and then fastened his belt tightly.
After getting ready, he went downstairs, and a woman approached him with a smile.
“Are you done preparing?”
“Now, here. It’s an ade mixed with lemon and sugar. Drink it all the way.”
Gillock gulped down the drink the woman gave him and handed over the empty cup.
As he walked out the front door, he looked at the woman who was seeing him off.
She was smiling brightly, but on the other side of her face, he could feel a slight darkness that could not be hidden.
It was like that every game, but today it felt darker.
The woman was Gillock’s wife.
The relationship began when Gillock saved her, who was unfairly caught by a slave trader and dragged to the prison.
Gillock thought again. You never know where life was going to take you.
He thought he would die alone wielding a sword for the rest of his life, but he met the woman and fell in love with her so deeply.
“Don’t worry, Ellie. I’ll come back victorious.”
After kissing his wife’s cheek, Gillock left the mansion.
After passing through a familiar street, he arrived at Actipol and went straight to the waiting room.
“The time is up.”
As he walked down the dark hallway to the stadium, thunderous shouts poured out.
Gillock looked around the stands once and fixed his gaze on the front.
He saw the figure of a woman standing on the other side of the iron fence.
He stared at her, who was glaring at this side with sullen and deeply sunken eyes.
He had defeated many challengers so far, but this match was special for Gillock.
The first time he saw Reef’s game was about three years ago.
It was around the time when Gillock had just become the new champion.
A young girl who could not yet be called a woman stood in the arena holding a sword.
The opponent was a man the size of a ship. A match that no one would have thought she would win.
As everyone expected, Reef was easily subdued, and the man tried to attack her without killing her right away.
Because in Actipol, whatever you did to the opponent gladiator, it was all just a performance.
But in the end, it was Reef who survived.
The scene was still clearly etched in his mind.
The figure of Reef, who had caught the man on top of her and bit his neck like a beast.
The man in fright drew his dagger and stabbed her on her side repeatedly, but Reef did not let go.
Even after the man’s body drooped and became immobile, Reef bit his neck and didn’t let go.
Gillock turned his head slightly and looked up at the arena.
He also didn’t forget.
The gruesome and evil smile on the lips of the Sixth Lord who watched that match.
‘That girl, I heard her brother has light blood disease.’
‘…Yes, that’s right.’
‘Heal her so she doesn’t die. Teach her how to fight so that she can survive in the future.’
As ordered, Gillock taught Reef many things. How to build up magical power, how to wield a sword, how to move her body…
Of course, Reef didn’t reject him either. Because she had to learn anything she could learn from anyone in order to survive in this hell.
He just taught her. Other than that, there was no exchange of emotions.
Obviously, Gillock taught her a lot, but the two had a strange relationship that could not even be considered as apprenticeship.
She got strong so amazingly fast. Yes, she was desperate, but it’s also true that she had an innate talent for fighting.
And as time passed, she became a gladiator of the fifth order in an instant, and now she was standing right in front of him to challenge for the title of champion.
It became like this, in the end…
Gillock finished his brief thought.
In the past, if it was a time when I was just living because it meant nothing, I might have just given up on this game.
But now he had a reason to survive.
Just as she had a younger brother she must save, he also had a happiness to protect.
-The championship game everyone has been waiting for! The long-awaited match begins now!
At the start of the match, Reef flew first.
Seeing her fiercely charging, Gillock calmly raised his sword.
The swords of the two gladiators collided.
Gillock deflected Reef’s sword strongly. She bent her back and narrowly avoided the attack that followed. He immediately swung his sword again and aimed at her leg, but was simply blocked.
The two blades, engulfed in a blue energy, collided and entangled. A dizzying parry came and went.
The main attacking side was Reef. Like a madman, she drove towards Gillock like crazy, as if she had more than one life.
Gillock was still dodging and blocking all the rushing attacks with the same blunt expression as the first time.
Reef’s appearance looked like she had lost her mind and was simply wielding her sword, but Gillock knew that wasn’t the case. There was still a cold coolness in her eyes.
She knew best that she could not defeat Gillock, the one who taught her swordsmanship, if she only relied on pure skills.
So it’s just a matter of who would get distracted first.
First, revealing a gap and finding the opponent’s gap, even if it’s just a little carelessness, prying through the gap and inserting the blade somehow was the only way to win.
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However, it was only a small possibility.
Gillock, of course, had already seen her intentions. If he had been a careless human in the first place, he wouldn’t have been able to survive so long as a champion until now.
Gillock’s kick pierced Reef’s abdomen.
Reef sighed and stepped back. The attack continued immediately without giving her a moment’s notice.
As if he was about to launch a full-fledged counterattack now, Gillock pushed her fiercely. Reef just stepped back and was desperate to defend.
The scars were growing all over her body. It looked like she could never reverse this match to her advantage.
Reef bit her molars tightly and struggled to regain the momentum she had somehow lost.
At one point, Gillock’s sword slashed through her side like a flash.
Gillock withdrew his sword for a moment and stared mercilessly at her as she staggered.
If Reef had more time, she could have defeated Gillock and became the champion someday.
However, there was a fundamental difference in ability that was difficult to overcome between the two at this moment.
Reef straightened herself up, grabbing her bloody side. Her eyes glowed.
It still looked like he had not broken her fighting spirit in the slightest, but that was all.
Gillock raised his sword again and took a stance. To finish the game without further dragging.
Even if you become the champion…
After all, her brother’s life could not be saved from the beginning.
Gillock was sure of that.
He was well aware of how much of a vicious demon the Sixth Lord was.
So it might be better for her to die here like this.
He opened his mouth and muttered a little.
“I will see off your younger brother in your stead.”
Reef’s face contorted like a ghost.
Gillock slammed the ground and flew away.
Gillock’s sword strike slashed through her body.
Even in a normal state, it was only possible to barely block his attack. Now that Reef was injured, she was no match for the other.
Reef roared fiercely and swung her sword in anger. But it didn’t even touch Gillock.
Red blood splattered on the floor. Reef’s body was shattered to the extent that it was surprising that she was still standing without falling down. Despite that, she was still desperately protecting her vital points.
Gillock was about to put an end to it. He raised the magic of his whole body. After deflecting this sword attack that cut through her side, he intended to pierce her heart as it was.
That was the moment.
With a sense of nausea rising from within, Gillock felt his body paralyzed for a moment.
Reef didn’t miss the gap. Squeezing out her last remaining strength, she desperately stabbed her sword to his chest.
Gillock looked down at the blade that pierced his chest in disbelief.
His body was heavy and cold. As if poisoned.
It wasn’t just because of the sword that pierced his heart.
Something flashed through his mind.
The last drink his wife gave him before he left the house.
Gillock barely turned his head and looked up at the top of the pitch.
He could see the figure of the Sixth Lord smiling happily as if he couldn’t stand the joy he’s feeling.
Only then did Gillock realize.
That everything had been decided from the beginning.
He looked at Reef with empty eyes. Blood covered her whole body, and she stood there desperately, holding her sword hilt.
At the end of the day, you and me…
We would both die playing in the devil’s grip.
The sword was drawn, and Gillock’s body was torn apart.
Taking a rough breath, Reef looked at Gillock, who had fallen to the floor, with blank eyes.
Killed Gillock. Defeated the champion.
An indescribable feeling surged inside her. Opposite things such as joy and sorrow, achievement and guilt mixed like a mass.
Reef bit her lips tightly and staggered away.
She heard not even the slightest cheers from the audience.
The spectators all kept their mouths shut as if they had made a promise and looked at the scene.
Reef, who had moved to just below where the Tyrant was seated, fell to her knees.
“···I have won!”
As if she wanted everyone to hear it, she shouted with a cracking voice.
“I am now the champion of Actipol!”
In the quiet stillness, the Tyrant had a smile.
He looked down at her and opened his mouth.
A quiet but loud voice resounded clearly throughout the arena.
“Tell me your wish.”
“My little brother!”
Reef was forced to pause for a moment at the rising excitement, then shouted again.
“I beg you, the great Sixth Lord! Please cure my brother’s light blood disease! This is my only wish!”
The smile on the Tyrant’s lips grew stronger.
“You want to cure your brother’s illness?”
“Your affection for your blood relative is commendable. Okay, let me treat your brother according to your wishes.”
It was when Reef’s face was about to fill with joy.
“But before that, there is still something you have to do first.”
She looked up blankly at the Tyrant.
He was smiling.
It was as if he had just reached the moment of picking the sweet fruit he had been working hard on for a long time…
The Tyrant turned his gaze to the commentator on the other side of the stadium.
The commentator, who caught the attention, immediately exclaimed.
–Well then! The event match to celebrate the birth of a new champion after years begins right now!
There was a commotion in the audience.
Because there had never been such an event match before when someone won the championship.
An iron fence on one side of the stadium went up.
But that was the door where captured monsters came out, not the gladiator.
Reef’s expression, who had been staring blankly at the scene, gradually distorted and became incomprehensible.
Stepping out of the door was the figure of a familiar boy.
However, the only difference was that his whole body was dyed dark red, and he had a completely monster-like appearance.
Reef looked at the boy, at his younger brother, and let out a groan of despair.
The boy glared at her with a flash of red eyes.
It was as if he was looking at an enemy who he was going to tear to death at any moment, not at his sister.
“I’ll cure your brother’s illness as much as you want. Of course, you have to finish the rest of the game before that, right?”
The sound of the Tyrant’s laughter mixed with words echoed in her ears, like the whispers of the devil.
Looking at Reef, who was sitting there in a frenzy, he burst out laughing as if he couldn’t stand it.
“Now, what are you doing? Come on, kill that monster.”
A boy, who lost had lost his mind, ran wildly towards her.
I sighed as I looked down at the tragedy unfolding in the arena.
I came to watch the championship game because I just wanted to check the results before leaving the city. Because the last time he saw Reef, it bothered him.
But the game was going in a direction no one expected.
He was thinking of doing this in the first place.
I stared at the Tyrant sitting in the distance, high in the arena.
Did he intentionally inject more blood into her younger brother, causing the light blood disease to run rampant?
I thought he must have some kind of ulterior motive, but the Tyrant, his malice was beyond my imagination.
At this rate, she had to either kill her brother with her own hands, or die by her brother’s hands. Because Actipol’s match ended only when one side died.
Asher, who was next to him, was also watching the game with a terribly hardened face.
The crowd was cheering more excitedly than when she played against Gillock.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t help her.
In the first place, light blood disease was a disease that disappeared only when the Tyrant died.
It was absurd to fight the Tyrant and kill him just to save Reef’s brother.
Because if a Lord killed another Lord, it was the same as turning the entire Calderic into an enemy.
Because of that absolute iron rule, Lords with different tendencies did not interfere with each other, and Calderic’s order and system could be maintained for hundreds of years.
I turned around and clicked my tongue.
It was even more disgusting to be here. It was the moment I was about to leave the stadium…
I grabbed my forehead and staggered at the sudden overwhelming headache.
Asher was startled and grabbed me.
“···Sir Ron? What’s wrong?”
I pushed her away and frowned.
Unknown memories were running through my mind.
Dizziness? Deja vu?
A strange feeling, as if it had happened once.
[All, I will kill them all!]
I saw a dead woman, a boy crying over Reef’s corpse.
[You made a contract with the demons? Ah, you are born with a rare quality, but you threw it in the trash and it turned into a waste.]
As time passed, the boy who had changed completely from before, and the Overlord standing in front of him overpowering him like that, flashed past in my mind.
[How about playing a game with me? I’ll spare your life. Instead, you will become the 7th Lord of Calderic. Just five years. After that, no matter what you do, I won’t stop you.]
…In a certain city.
Amidst the blazing heat, the image of a boy who was carrying out a massacre with a bright smile flashed past me for the last time.
The headache went away, and there were no more memories.
I looked down at the arena again with a confused look on my face.
I stared blankly at the boy, who was running madly to kill his sister.
Reef desperately moved her body, that was about to collapse.
The boy ran like a wild beast, grabbing her and trying to bite her. It was a monster that was far beyond normal.
There was nothing she could do against him. She couldn’t counterattack by swinging her sword, and she could only dodge his attacks.
Even if she called out her younger brother’s name and shouted for him to come back to his senses, the only thing that came back was a scream full of murderous intent.
Amid the resounding shouts of the crowd, Reef wrestled with her brother for a long time. However, her body had already reached its limit.
Reef barely grabbed the boy’s face as he was gnashing his teeth at her.
All she could do was stare at her younger brother, who was frantically trying to bite her throat with his red, bloodshot eyes.
Could there be any more terrifying nightmare than this?
The strength in her grip was getting weaker.
If it was a dream, she would wake up. If it was reality, she just wanted to end it like this.
But before that, it was the boy’s side that ran out of energy first.
The boy’s body slipped to the side. His rampaging state had ended.
Reef looked blankly at her brother, who had lost consciousness and collapsed, and then turned her gaze to the Tyrant.
He was still staring at this side with a smile that said he would die of joy. As if urging me to put an end to it.
Kill it! Kill it! Kill it…!
Voices echoed from all directions.
She was on the verge of losing her mind.
Not because of the many wounds all over her body, but because of the shouts of those demons.
Reef got up from her seat, shedding tears incessantly with her open eyes.
She picked up the sword that had fallen on the floor, and brought the blade to her neck, and not to the boy who had fallen. To finish the game as they wished.
That was the moment.
Someone grabbed her hand, holding the sword.
Her hand went down slowly.
Reef turned her head blankly.
There stood a man with a familiar face.
The shouts that had just been resounding were nowhere to be found, and a terrible silence fell on the arena.
The expression of the Tyrant, who was smiling happily, was severely distorted.
The man who had been staring down at the boy who had fallen turned his gaze to the tyrant.
The man, the Seventh Lord’s mouth opened softly.
“End this game, Sixth Lord.”