The Cycle Continues
The Princess’s gaze swept across the family heads of the fourteen and she snorted, “You absolute trash! You’ve been bullied right up to your doorstep but you still won’t fight? Where’s your pride?!”
She stopped for a moment on Richard, but continued to shake her head, “So this one’s trash as well!”
Richard’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t speak.
When Kimbaye returned to his seat, an old Marquess from the Millennial Empire asked him softly, “Isn’t this princess below the epic realm still? Why yield so much?”
There were hints of disapproval in the man’s voice, but Kimbaye just smiled, “Instinct.”
The old Marquess froze, almost disbelieving his own ears, “Did you just say instinct?”
“How… How can you make such important decisions based on instinct? What sort of rubbish is that? Go change the proposal at once!” the man’s moustache started to twitch.
“You bring it up if you want, I’m not going to die. My life is more valuable than yours.”
“You…” The Marquess came from an important family as well, his status equivalent to the Earl’s. He couldn’t find the words to express his anger.
“You know, that’s the difference between us,” Kimbaye pointed to his own head, “I have instincts and you don’t.”
This tiny episode didn’t catch much attention. The moment she was done berating the fourteen families, Apeiron had immediately started the vote. Julian quietly appeared behind her, giving her a large scarlet cloak that she used to cover her bruised body.
Even before the cloak could stop fluttering, Julian disappeared and reappeared once more, holding an extravagant high-backed chair that he’d gotten from somewhere, “Please take a seat, Your Highness!”
Apeiron sat down on the chair, body naturally leaning to one side. Placing an arm on the rest to support her chin, she looked rather languid and beautiful. As she settled in, however, Julian suddenly grabbed the legs of the chair and actually placed it on his back!
Already in the middle of the assembly, Apeiron was thus placed higher than the various masters of the floating islands. Some people looked at Julian in shock, but instead of shame or disgust the man had a look of gratification on his face as he served as a platform. The nobles looked around while lost, and the legendary beings just stared with an indescribable sense of embarrassment.
It was at this point that the Ironblood Duke stood up, “Your Highness, could we ascertain your strength before the vote?”
Apeiron snickered, “Still not giving up? Fine. If you want to humiliate yourself, that’s not my fault. Well, I’ve already been nice by not killing you all; if I don’t hit you until you cry, it seems like you won’t remember the lesson from thirty years ago.”
“I’ve already lost once, what does it matter if I lose again?” The Duke laughed in self-deprecation before shouting loudly, his internal energy exploding around him to gather into eye-catching battle armour. He started walking towards Apeiron, stepping on air itself as he went higher with every step.
With his aura billowing out, those below felt like they had been dropped into the abyss. He seemed like an enormous mountain loftier than the hall itself, but the smarter ones in the crowd quickly realised that this was just an illusion from his power. In fact, many of the stronger members of the assembly seemed to face no discomfort at all; the outburst of power was clearly controlled to do no damage.
Apeiron sneered, “Afraid I can’t hold back? Alright; if a single person gets injured in our battle I’ll have lost. But you’re pissing me off more now!”
She flew up from her seat, silently throwing herself at the Duke. Their figures parted right after contact, but the hall immediately started shaking as a large crack appeared on the domed roof. One of the statues in the area was dislodged, crashing down.
Apeiron’s figure flashed in front of the falling statue for an instant as a backhanded swipe sent out black energy that turned the stone to powder. She circled around and pounced towards Duke Orleans once more, exchanging dozens of blows in an instant. Her gale-like attacks stood in stark contrast to his heavy, stable strikes, but whenever their fists met he was the one to tremble. Despite her speed, she still possessed more strength in each strike.
The Princess eventually flashed a malicious smile, her strikes growing heavier and heavier to the point that the Duke was starting to be pushed back. He started to sway around from the sheer strength behind the attacks, finding it difficult to block. When she finally stopped her movements and wiped away the grin, his calm disappeared into slight fear as he realised the worst was about to come.
The corners of Apeiron’s lips turned up as she flew towards the Duke directly. He grunted and punched out with such force that his fist literally cracked space, but she seemed to turn into a weightless spectre that flew all around his attack. It was said that primordial giants could smash through mountains with a punch, and the Ironblood Duke’s attacks were certainly reminiscent of such a saying, but a dozen attacks closed up each of the cracks before she punched right into the man’s arm. There was certainly no need for this— he evidently had such great control over his power that the cracks weren’t threatening anyone— but she seemed to be showing off as she swatted him right back down into the hall.
Duke Orleans crashed down into the stone floor, creating a pit that was several metres deep. A flash of light blinded everyone as the last of the defensive spell formations in the assembly was destroyed, but he jumped out and shook off the rocks before throwing himself back into the fight.
The Princess continued to fight using her own exquisite style, only waiting a few seconds before sending him into the pit with another heavy punch on his face. The Duke flew back up with blood dripping down his body and engaged once more, and it wasn’t long before a kick to the back sent him plummeting down once more. When he appeared once more, she finally turned stern.
Knowing she had lost her patience, the Duke suddenly sighed with bitterness, “I lose again.”
Apeiron sneered, “You’d never win. Go celebrate that I’m in a good mood, or I’d have killed you right away.”
“Heh, that’s true.” Duke Orleans seemed to age by decades in an instant as he silently returned to his seat. The entire hall was deathly silent, everyone in a daze. All they could tell was that this was a fight of the highest standards; only the legends and a few of the most perceptive saints in the crowd had even managed to keep up.
Earl Kimbaye had stood up at some point, mouth agape as he played with a fragment of a jade lion that he had smashed into pieces at some point. His trembling pale hands were icy-cold, but his body was still leaking sweat.
Julian was the only one who seemed the same as before, still acting as a platform while staring at Apeiron with zeal.
The more powerful members of the crowd finally saw that Princess Apeiron truly wasn’t an epic being yet. However, the offensive power she could muster was no different from one, while her exquisite display of martial arts in battle could make up for a difference in defences. There was no way to read her movements, and the sheer pace of her attacks showed a level of control over spatial laws. If one underestimated her purely based on level, death was certain.
Looking at it all, Richard could see a level of similarity to his own style. This was someone who eliminated all possibility of long, drawn-out battles, instead pulling in close and forcing one to fight at full force until they made a mistake. Thinking about it for a moment, however, he realised he had to switch around that sentence. He was someone who copied Beye, and from the looks of it Beye had adopted her own style from Apeiron.
It was at this moment that someone muttered in shock, “Isn’t Her Highness injured?”