V2 Chapter 141: The Source of Hostility


Hearing Lucius’s agonized cry as he received Sora’s punch, Zenon moved to assist his son.

But Sora didn’t wait passively for an interruption. Concentrating Kei in his legs, he quickly spun around and delivered a powerful roundhouse kick to Lucius’s side.


Lucius couldn’t even scream this time. Struck from the side with such force, his body bent into a ‘C’ shape and he was kicked into the air.

Spinning like a top through the air, Lucius was caught by Zenon just before hitting the ground. Zenon, holding his son with one hand to cushion the impact, kept Sora at bay with his soul equipment in the other.


Zenon’s call went unanswered. Lucius couldn’t respond.

His face twisted in pain, his right palm grotesquely deformed. A thin trickle of blood spilled from the corner of his mouth. Sora’s kick had penetrated Lucius’s shield, reaching his internal organs. The shattered right hand was likely a result of the shield being nullified.

Zenon furrowed his brow deeply.

It was evident from the fight with Ragna that Sora had greatly improved his handling of Kei. However, it seemed impossible for anyone to penetrate a deputy commander’s shield without even drawing their soul equipment.

Yet Sora had done just that, bringing to Zenon’s mind a story told by a former banner leader.

—The Kijin clan leaders used a martial art that penetrated all defenses to destroy their enemies. In the battle at Mount Taikouzan fifty years ago, it caused many casualties among the eight banners…

Zenon, both before and after becoming a banner leader, had crossed blades with many Kijin. However, he had never encountered a practitioner of this deadly martial art, nor had he heard of it from his peers.

Thus, he speculated that either the practitioners of this martial art had died out, or it was a secret technique passed down only among the Kijin royalty.

If the martial art used by Sora was as Zenon imagined, it meant Sora had gained the trust of the Kijin to be taught such a secret technique—a person of the Mitsurugi family, which upheld the laws of demon extermination and divine sealing.

Suddenly, Zenon was struck by a strange premonition.

—Could Sora, who bore the blood of the Mitsurugi family and had ties with the Kijin leaders, fundamentally change the very nature of the Mitsurugi family?

“Why do I have such a premonition?” Xenon wondered, even he himself couldn’t understand it. Logically, such a thing should be impossible.

Because, as far as he was concerned, Sora would die here today.

Even if Zenon were defeated, Shikibu, the head of the Mitsurugi family, would be the one to cut down Sora. The Sword Saint, embodying the laws of demon extermination and divine sealing, would never allow a son who sided with the Kijin to live.

Sora’s fate was sealed the moment he joined the Kijin, and there was no way he could change the Mitsurugi family. Zenon tried to convince himself of this.

…But no matter how much he tried, the premonition that had sprung up in his heart did not fade.

“I’m thinking about pointless things,” Zenon muttered to himself, still holding his soul equipment, as he once again faced Sora.

The unsettling premonition hadn’t disappeared. It was a baseless feeling, but its lack of rationale made it impossible to logically deny. The only way to dispel this unease in his heart was to defeat the young man before him.

This should be the best outcome for Zenon, for Ragna, and for the Mitsurugi family.

“—Void Armor, awaken.”

Knowing that a shield of Kei was ineffective, he couldn’t afford to be cautious. From Lucius’s exchange with Sora, it was clear that even a single hit from Sora could break bones.

Unlike Sora, who had regenerative abilities, any bone broken for Zenon would significantly impair his ability to fight.

Sora was like a scorpion with deadly venom. To defeat him, Zenon needed to deliver the most powerful attack with the fewest moves.

Ragna was right to unleash his secret technique from the start. The only regret was that its power wasn’t enough.

Therefore, Zenon intended to settle the battle with one strike using his most powerful sword technique.

“Race across the ecliptic, Heart of the Lion, Cor Leonis!”

In the next instant, Zenon’s Kei exploded, creating a torrent of power that shook the heavens and earth of Shuuto. Like the diverse manifestations of soul equipment, Void Armor also varied greatly among users. Some manifested it as Kei techniques, some as weapons, and others in different abilities.


on’s Void Armor ability was a manifestation of weaponry—a significant enhancement of his soul equipment.

The surging Kei enveloped the cumbersome greatsword, transforming it into a shining longsword. While the blade was shorter and thinner than his regular soul equipment, making it closer to a standard sword and easier to handle, the density of Kei infused within it was incomparable to that of the greatsword in its soul equipment form.

This transformation indicated a profound increase in power, tailored for Zenon’s fighting style, which emphasized swift and precise strikes. The newly formed longsword, glowing with intense Kei, was a testament to Zenon’s mastery and his readiness to confront Sora with his utmost strength.

In the legend, the Nemean Lion, after being slain by a hero, ascended to the night sky, becoming the constellation of Leo. Cor Leonis refers to the brightest star in this constellation.

Zenon, manifesting a treasured sword forged from the light of stars, wasted no time in transitioning to his next move.

“Phantom Blade Style, Sun Style—”

He unleashed an ultimate technique classified under the Four Symbols of the Bagua, a secret technique of Kei.

This lethal move, augmented with the power of Void Armor, was a sword of absolute destruction, capable of obliterating a human body without leaving a trace, a true death-dealing blade.

“Red Sword of the Sun!”

Zenon struck with all his might, unleashing the culmination of his life’s dedication to martial arts against Sora.

In response, Sora—

“Phantom Blade Style, Hedge.”

—quickly mustered Kei for defense.

Named after a bamboo fence, this technique was an even more refined version of the Kei shield that once stopped the Behemoth’s breath in the Catalan Desert.

A cylindrical defensive formation confronted Zenon’s Kei technique head-on.

The next moment, a deafening roar echoed throughout Shuuto, as their powers collided with explosive force.


Shivering uncontrollably, Ragna felt an unusual chill, despite the prior adrenaline of battle. A large bead of sweat trickled down his forehead. Wiping it off unconsciously, he stared blankly at his hand, feeling the warm dampness of the sweat. His body was heated, yet the chill only grew stronger. This disparity between body and mind led Ragna to a realization.

—Am I afraid?

In his line of sight, Sora and Zenon were fiercely clashing.

Sora’s forehead bled, painting half of his face red. Deep lacerations marked both his hands, spraying blood with each punch thrown or attack from Zenon he countered.

Each injury was inflicted while fending off Zenon’s secret techniques. Even Sora, who had effortlessly blocked Ragna’s techniques, couldn’t perfectly defend against Zenon’s.

Yet, there was no sign of panic on Sora’s face. In fact, it was Zenon who seemed more anxious.

It made sense. Despite unleashing his most powerful technique, Zenon couldn’t defeat an opponent who hadn’t even drawn his soul equipment.

Although Sora was injured, these were far from fatal. And if he drew his soul equipment, those injuries would heal quickly.

Zenon had played his trump card, while Sora had yet to reveal his. The advantage was clearly with Sora.

—A man who couldn’t even last two rounds against a Dragon Fang soldier…

Ragna internally groaned.

The Sora he knew was a disgraceful, inept person, always looking down, slouching, walking along the edges of hallways.

In every essential aspect, Ragna surpassed his older brother. This fact was Ragna’s confidence, his pride.

Sora’s growth threatened to destroy everything that defined Ragna. It was this subconscious realization that filled him with fear now.

There was another thing frightening Ragna.

—If you return, Mother, Ayaka…

Ragna gritted his teeth in frustration.

As mentioned before, to Ragna, Sora was a disgraceful and inept older brother. At the same time, despite his incompetence and disgrace, Sora was an obstacle, seemingly having everything Ragna desired.

He remembered the day he told his mother, Emma, that he had become the legitimate heir.

When Sora was exiled, Emma was bedridden. Ragna had spoken to her three days after Sora left the island.

Ragna expected his mother to be delighted. He imagined she would smile at him beautifully and praise him for his hard work.

However, he never saw that smile. As soon as he spoke, Emma’s expression changed drastically, and she left the room in haste. Ragna was left dumbfounded.

Later, regaining his senses, Ragna rushed after his mother and saw her confronting their father with an unusual intensity.

As far as Ragna knew, his mother had never confronted his father before. She had always been obedient, never forsaking her dutiful role as a wife.

Yet there she was, earnestly pleading for the reversal of Sora’s expulsion. Despite her persistence, the head of the family, Shikibu, remained unmoved.

Emma had always cared for Sora, who had lost his biological mother, which Ragna resented. Though Sora was his brother, it was displeasing to see his mother care for someone other than himself.

Fortunately for Ragna, Sora had rejected Emma’s kindness, and she ceased her concern for him—or so Ragna thought. Apparently, she had continued to worry about Sora.

Emma’s appeal lasted half an hour. Realizing she couldn’t change Shikibu’s decision, she left his room in exhaustion and immediately started writing to her family, the Duke of Paradise.

The Paradise Duchy, one of the three great houses of the Adoastera Empire, was led by Emma’s younger brother. She had never asked her brother for personal favors, considering it inappropriate as a married woman into another house. But to find Sora, she needed the Duchy’s resources. She couldn’t ask others within the Mitsurugi family to defy Shikibu and find Sora, risking punishment.

So, she turned to her brother outside the family.

The Duke agreed immediately to her rare request. Despite mobilizing his people, they couldn’t find Sora.

Ragna, watching his mother apologize at the grave of her dear friend Shizuya, could only silently observe.

—Mother values Sora more than me.

Feeling aggrieved, Ragna found solace in his newly betrothed, Ayaka Azurite.

Ragna, aware of Ayaka’s close relationship with Sora, initially worried that Ayaka might reject him. Contrary to his fears, Ayaka readily accepted Ragna as her betrothed and interacted with him as she always had.

Ragna secretly felt relieved by this. Being looked at with indifference by one’s betrothed would have been unbearable.

There was a reason for Ragna’s thoughts.

The first time Ragna met Ayaka, he was six years old. He was instantly captivated by her doll-like beauty. However, Ayaka merely glanced at him with a cold, emotionless gaze.

Being dismissed by a girl he had taken a liking to, even on their first meeting, hurt young Ragna deeply. He couldn’t hide his shock for a while.

However, Ayaka’s attitude wasn’t exclusive to Ragna; she treated Sora, her betrothed at the time, the same way, showing an impartial attitude towards both brothers.

Looking back, Ragna thought that Ayaka might have been nervous. As the eldest daughter of the Azurite family, one of the empire’s three great houses, moving from the capital to a remote northern island must have been daunting. Her anxiety and dissatisfaction likely manifested in her attitude towards others.

Indeed, Ayaka soon regained her innate cheerfulness and began to interact more warmly with Ragna, treating him like a younger brother.

While Ragna was somewhat dissatisfied with being treated as just a brother-in-law, he preferred it to her initial indifference. He convinced himself that this was better.

Seven years later, Ragna became the legitimate heir in place of Sora and secured his position as Ayaka Azurite’s betrothed. Ayaka continued to show him her bright smile. Naturally drawn to her and feeling a gap with his mother, Ragna became increasingly fond of Ayaka.

As Ragna tried to close the distance with Ayaka, he realized that her attitude towards him remained unchanged—that of warmth towards a brother-in-law, without any romantic inclination. It was a natural realization, albeit a disappointing one for Ragna…

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