The Platinum White Hair and equally Golden eyes with diamond shaped pupils, the distinguishing mark of Aristan family. The family known as the protectors of the Tazak Kingdom and who were by tradition masters of sword, magic, and the power of the soul. Aristan family was one of noble families that produced some of the strongest individuals in history. While there are many powerful individuals and many distinguished families in Tazak kingdom, but without a doubt the Aristan family was the most famed one.
They family was a directly descended from the hero who established and protected the Tazak kingdom while facing off with the vile Demon King of Kalkan and the Monsters of Beyond such as Dragons. It was said he was the one human being gifted above all and who could give even immortals taste of death. His name was Aristan the Fearless, the First Sword Maister, and the protector of Tazak kingdom.
Honoring his legacy, his descendants for generations only took a mate with someone who is able to best them in combat, no exceptions. Due to this trend continuing for generations, the descendants became increasingly more powerful due to the fact that they inherited their abilities and gifts for many talents from previous generations running through their blood. To say that they were considered over powered would be an understatement. If one parent possessed the ability to heal fast while the other possessed ability to manifest soul as a spiritual form- a rare ability that select few can achieve, then if they passed on their abilities to their child then the result would be unimaginable. Due to this with each generation of descendants getting stronger and stronger, there were fewer and fewer and fewer people able to measure up to them in terms of strength and ability. Due to this, Aristan family’s current Sword Maister was one of the top tier protectors of the city. If one were to approximate, in such a vast kingdom, the Sword Maister would be at least tenth most powerful, with family’s values being centered upon becoming the strongest. The strongest in the kingdom is called the Sword Lord, and that title is not passed down by the family, but from one Sword Lord to the next once the previous is defeated by the next Sword Lord. That was the legacy of the Sword Lord and Aristan family wanted to reach the peaks surpassing even that title. Within the kingdom there is an order of sword wielders aside from the royal army, called the Order of Holy Swords, within which there were total of ten members and are known as the strongest warriors within the kingdom, not including the Sword Lord.
The current generation of Aristan family, whose family had two branches, due to the fact that there were two children in the previous generation. One branch produced a single son, while the other branch a single daughter. The son didn’t have any trouble finding a wife due to the fact that he was allowed to choose who he would be with; the same could not be said for the daughter though. Since young both were trained and taught to excel. In both cases, each ended up becoming one of the strongest in kingdom. Of course there were some warriors and magicians in Tazak kingdom stronger than Aristan family’s heirs, but many chose to conceal their identities in order to avoid attention. After all, in a kingdom as big as Tazak kingdom, there are bound to be individuals more powerful than the other ones. In fact, the king’s personal bodyguards consists of people famed to be worth an army each in terms of combat ability. There were knights who exceeded known human limits, magicians who made impossible possible, and also adventurers who combined fighting ability and magic in order to clear quests. It is safe to say that Tazak kingdom was filled with uniquely powerful individuals. However, due to being descended from bloodline of the hero they were different from others. They were the Sword Maisters. The family that only accepted the strong into its ranks, not tolerating the weak. The current Sword Maisters held the spots of fifth and tenth within the Order of Holy Swords, with Jansulu holding the tenth spot and her cousin being the sixth.
In daughter’s case, she honed her skills until it reached perfection, and she was required to find a husband who could beat her in a combat. She didn’t have a choice on the matter after all it was the age long tradition held by her family. She could not refute it.
Because of this, originally there were many suitors, their number proceeded to steadily decrease due to the fact each was beaten by her in combat, often in such a violent way that left them unable to fight ever again. She was told never to go easy on anybody in combat and to use her full power against any opponent. Unfortunately for them, she possessed more than a couple dozen abilities and she had full mastery over each one of them. One could say she was a one woman army. With each passing day, a new suitor with an overconfident look would arrive, then he would leave, (usually unconscious) carried off by his servants. It seems that youth these days were not as strong as hoped, which was slightly regrettable. She was simply too strong for people close to her generation.
The Aristan family believed that due to this the kingdom’s prince never cared to propose a marriage to Aristan family for doing such a thing would be equivalent of a suicide.
Still, the marriageable age in the country was considered fourteen and the daughter of Aristan family has reached age of nineteen. Soon, she would be considered past marriageable age and Aristan family line might end with her. This is why her parents have pushed her to take on any suitor that might challenge her, they explicitly instructed her to pursue strong and challenge them.
The fact was, she was a striking beauty, a flawless face, with long Platinum white Hair that looked entrancing under the sunlight making people wonder if they just met an angel. She possessed a slim yet curvaceous figure as well, making her an object of many men’s intimate fantasies. From her look none would have guessed at first how truly powerful she is.
Out of two of the descendants of Aristan family, she, without a doubt was the stronger one. Of course her family members secretly said ‘It’s a pity she is a girl’ while thinking how boundless her abilities were. In a sparring match against her cousin, she easily beat him, striking his sword away and he ended up with her sword pointed at his throat. He swore to become stronger than her ever since.
Without a doubt, she was the stronger Sword Maister of her generation. The Sword Maister was the title held by her family, with the founder being the first Sword Maister, the demon slayer.
She fought against one suitor after another, each time ending with the suitor’s humiliating defeat. At least until the day he came in.
Shengyn Finnerman, aka Morphus’s right hand man came to the Tazak kingdom to check up upon the kingdom and observe its inner workings. He was ordered by Morphus to familiarize himself with the infrastructure of the kingdom in order to find the best way of conquering it.
While his master was without a doubt an extremely powerful entity, he could not cross the barriers separating the realms and worlds, at least not without losing the body he was currently occupying. This was why Shengyn had to find a way to destroy the kingdom from the inside.
Of course, being a living being, Shengyn quickly found himself hungry and tired, so he followed where his nose led him. He ended up going inside of a large building, following a line of rowdy men who were for some reason either shouting or flexing their muscles. He did not realize this was the entrance to the Aristan family mansion nor did he realize that the line of people were potential suitors.
There were about ten people before him. The owner of the house entered and said “Welcome to our humble domain. Please take a seat. Food shall be served shortly.”
‘All right! A free meal!’ Shengyn smiled thinking, without truly comprehending the reality.
The rowdy men in front of him all sat down, occupying a single long table filled with foods and drinks. It was quiet a feast. Shengyn found himself drooling while looking at the food.
“These a just the starters. Please go ahead.”
Shengyn began stuffing his mouth to the brim after all his hunger prevailed his reason. The others were not so eager to eat for a good reason.
“Then, when the first challenger is ready, please go towards the courtyard” the servant pointed behind him. “Young miss is waiting there.”
The first one was a scary looking guy with a scar on his left cheek. He had a scary looking large longsword in his hands. His spiky red hair and the large grin on his face combined with the fact he was licking his lips gave Shengyn a very bad first impression of him.
“I, Barlo the Great, shall become the next master of Aristan house, just you watch” he beckoned to everyone who sat near him.
None responded. They didn’t want to anger someone who looked so intimidating.
Then, he went away towards the courtyard.
There he met a fair sight, a maiden with a sword, facing her back to him.
“So, you are the first opponent for today, isn’t that right?”
“That is so” he said it with wild expression.
“Then, prepare yourself.”
“I am already prepared, you…” he didn’t get to finish. The quick slash of the sword across his abdomen followed by blood spilling out happened in a flash. That was just how quick her movement was.
He didn’t have time to react. All that boasting was for nothing. When faced with true Sword Maister, bravado meant nothing.
The other challengers who watched the fight were scared to from their wits. ‘We have to face that monster? What have we gotten ourselves into?’
‘She is a bonafide monster, how can I beat her? The riches of the family were alluring, but the beast that guards them is so fearsome.’
‘We have to do our best, who knows one of us might be the lucky man.’
Shengyn who has been stuffing himself with food did not notice how the nine remaining challengers were discussing among themselves. He wasn’t even aware what kind of challenge was occurring right now.
The second challenger went off to face against her. Unlike the first challenger, he faced her head on without averting his eyes.
The fight began. The challenger swung his sword down at her which she easily avoided and then proceeded to kick the man on his face, sending him flying. The second challenger has lost.
The third challenger did not have any luck either. He left with two broken legs and a large bruise on his face.
Needless to say, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth challengers were easily defeated by Aristan family heiress. They simply stood no chance against her skills, so overwhelmed they were, unable to stand after a single strike. Their weapons were littering the courtyard.
“Are these all the challengers for today?” she asked in a bored tone.
“No, young miss, there is still one more challenger left inside the guest room.”
“Bring him and let us be done with this!”
Inside the eating room, Shengyn was having nice time putting jam on bread and stuffing it inside his mouth with a side of wine. Then, the servant came in and said ‘Challenger, it is your turn.’
Shengyn ignored him.
“Young lady, it seems like he is not coming out.”
Shengyn kept eating in nonchalant manner until he sensed danger coming at him very fast. He managed to stand up and dodge it in time. The next second, there was a spear embedded in the place he sat in. Apparently it flew in through the window.
Shengyn turned his head and saw a woman in the courtyard. She was looking at him as though he were a mere bug. ‘She threw that damn spear at me, man, and I was having such a good time.’
“The lady is waiting for you, young sir” the servant beckoned to him.
‘She threw a spear at me from that distance with such precision; I guess the meal time is over for me then.’ Shengyn reluctantly stood up and walked towards the courtyard.
He walked towards where the young woman was standing. She was dressed in elegant clothing, white pants and coat with golden and red decorations of flowers on the back. What he noticed was the fact she had two swords on her belt and one sword in her arms. She was preparing for a fight.
“Ready yourself. I promise you I will end this as quickly and painlessly as possible.” Just after she said that she sprang into action.
Due to his honed skills, Shengyn was able to instinctively react and block her sword. He used his hardening ability to toughen the skin of his hand, and then he used that hand to block the sword swing to his head.
The sword and the back of the hand collided for a split second, and then both opponents jumped away.
‘She is fast, if I didn’t use my ability on time, she might have hurt me’ Shengyn thought.
‘He blocked me just with his arm, what was that? Some sort of a technique?’ she thought.
The young lady turned towards Shengyn with her sword pointing at him. “You are skilled. It seems there is no reason for me to hold back.”
‘She was holding back?!!’ Shengyn cringed. Now he had to take her seriously or this crazy sword lady was going to kill him.
In the blink of an eye, her image disappeared from sight, reappearing next to Shengyn.
Shengyn drew out his sword and blocked her sword. Just like that, the battle began.
Strike upon strike, she attacked him while he relentlessly blocked everything she threw at him. When she tried to trick him he didn’t fall for it instead he avoided it altogether. It was like he was a master swordsman in his own right.
Shengyn felt thankful that Morphus had taught him swordsmanship, after all it really came in handy.
Also, Shengyn felt that her strikes while strong were not stronger than his own. She was attacking him, and he just had to defend. If he was the one slashing, he was confident he could win.
Suddenly, Shengyn’s sword flew out of his hands.
The young lady swung her sword down on his head while jumping ahead. “You are finished!”
She found her sword stopped with a bare handed block.
Shengyn managed to catch her sword while using his hardening ability on both of his hands. When he uses hardening ability, his limbs become tougher than diamonds, allowing him to execute his signature move-punch that easily pierces the person’s body. It was one of abilities he awakened after witnessing a certain event in his past. That event came to define who he was today.
With both of his palms holding on to her sword, Shengyn made a slight twist with his palms. The blade of the sword shattered.
Aristan heiress watched as the sword in her hands shattered into pieces with a look of disbelief in her eyes. Just when she thought victory was hers he did such a move!
Not wasting time, Shengyn proceeded to kick the young lady away from him. Strangely, instead of being knocked down, she still remained on her feet.
“You really are not a small fry, huh. You,” she beckoned to Shengyn. “State your name!”
Shengyn returned with “Why do you need that?”
“I view you as a worthy opponent, isn’t it natural to ask for your opponent’s name?”
“The feeling isn’t mutual. Besides, I don’t know your name!”
Aristan heiress’s mouth dropped open in disbelief. “You are the one who challenged me! How can you not know who I am?!”
“Very well then. How about this, If you defeat me I will tell you my name, and if I beat you, you shall tell me yours?”
Shengyn said “That sounds fair” He had absolutely no intention of revealing his name. ‘So that’s her intention, huh, to make me reveal my name, to jeopardize my mission, there is no way I am letting that happen. I will have to get a little serious here.’ He absolutely could not let anyone know his identity as Morphus’s right hand, his spy in Tazak kingdom.
The young woman took out two swords off her belt. She did something and both her swords ended up being coated in flames.
“I trust you have no qualms about me using magic? I do plan to use everything I have against you.”
“That is fine”. Shengyn nodded. He activated his left eye, his sole demon eye, just in case, to the first level. His left eye changed color from brown to pure white.
With speed much higher than before, she began a barrage of attacks. First she launched a stream of fire from her sword towards Shengyn’s direction. For some reason it had no effect on him.
‘Immune to flames, huh. Then what about this!’ She circulated her energy into her swords and shot them at him, then at the same time she slashed at him with her swords.
Shengyn quickly blocked her sword slash after deflecting her energy attack. His hardened hands were like swords, he used them to parry blows of her twin flaming swords with hand chops. The hardening ability really did come in handy.
Sound of metal clashing against hard surface. No matter how hard she swung her swords at him, he always managed to block them with his bare hands. It was almost like his hands were made of metal, the way he was parrying swords with them seemed rather unimaginable.
Shengyn seemed to know every move she was going to make beforehand and made perfect counter attacks. None of her attacks landed on him. He was using his demon eye’s basic ability, the ability to predict next movement and using it to aid in his counter attack.
‘What the hell is he?’ she thought, he was different from any opponent she has ever faced, almost like he was on a whole different level.
After blocking her swords several time, he started avoiding her swords altogether. Such swift movements! When she slashed towards him, he would back away and avoid being cut or when she made a horizontal slash he would duck: avoiding any damage.
“Wind element” young lady whispered, now using wind nature to aid her in a fight. Now that her sword slashes were enhanced they would allow her to strike anything without directly touching it-cutting wind. A skill that allows one to cut someone from far away by sending a rather sharp wind at them. One of the skills she only used against only worthiest of the opponents.
She took both swords and made two wind slashed towards the direction of her opponent.
This way, there was no way to dodge the slashes. They were invisible sharp winds that flew in his direction with a spark of golden light. He wouldn’t know what hit him until it was too late.
Unexpectedly, Shengyn took the broken sword lying on the ground and countered the sharp winds with a slash of the broken sword. The sound of sharp edges colliding resounded.
There was no damage on Shengyn; he managed to fully counter the sharp wind with a broken sword.
Aristan heiress sent even more sharp winds in his direction. Even though they were invisible, Shengyn proceeded to dodge them, jump over them, and plainly avoid them in such a nonchalant manner that he looked like he was doing it easily. He did it all without blocking a single sharp wind. When the sharp winds collided with things that were behind him, they proceeded to cut things as hard as rocks into pieces.
‘He avoided all of the cutting winds I sent against him, how good is he?’ She proceeded to stop fighting long ranged and switched to close range attacks.
Now they were fighting each other, with her swinging her swords with intent to pierce and slice and him masterfully avoiding all of her strikes. It seemed like he wasn’t taking her seriously. ‘If he wouldn’t take me seriously, I will just make him!’ She made a feint with her left sword while lunging with her right at his head. He saw right through it. He used his left index finger to flick the sword as it came near his head while he dodged the sword lunge by bending his head back. The force of finger flick made the sword fly away to the left.
Young lady was left with a single sword, full on guard against Shengyn. For some reason, he didn’t seem to have any desire to attack, so she decided to attack instead. She combined a fire attack with a wind slash and used it as a cover while she sneaked in from behind and tried a land a decisive blow. Remarkably, He avoided both by jumping up and making a back flip away from his current location.
When she tried to follow and attacked him, he kicked her sword off her hands, leaving her to fight him bare handed. Unbeknownst to Shengyn, Aristan heiress was physically stronger than many men and was more skilled than any in unarmed combat.
Not giving up, she stood in a fighting pose, preparing to use her spiritual form to aid her in combat if necessary. The spiritual form-materializing your spiritual being as a large energy entity near yourself was her trump card, her last resort. The spiritual form took on a shape unique to the user, usually connected to their bloodline and soul. Aristan heiress’s spiritual form was a firebird.
With a war cry, she began a began a series of kicks and punches aimed towards her opponent. He blocked every single one of them. No matter how hard she tried, his defense was impeccable.
He was some kind of a monster, able to take her punches and kicks and block them so easily. Even if her punches were blocked it would usually cause such recoil upon the body of the one who blocked the punch that he would be unable to use his limb from pain. Yet, this man was repeatedly blocking multiple punches and kicks without any hint of pain; just what the heck is he?!! Needless to say, she has never met anyone like him.
Blocking another punch, now trapping her fist in his palm, Shengyn made a push with his other palm towards his opponent’s chest area, sending her flying five meters away. She awkwardly landed on her rear, and then quickly stood up.
“Is that really all you have got?” Shengyn asked in a bored tone.
“NOT YET!” She roared furiously, aura of red, orange and yellow color began swirling around her, condensing into a form of energy. This was the spiritual form- a giant flaming bird appeared near her. She was going to use this ability of hers to quickly end the fight.
“Attack!” She commanded her spiritual form. Usually, spiritual form coats the user like armor, so she used hers as an extension of her body.
The giant flaming bird, along with its user, proceeded to soar high and then dive straight towards Shengyn, fully intending to swallow him.
It collided against something with its beak. Dust covered the entire area obscuring the view.
When the dust cleared away, she saw that Shengyn stopped the beak of her spiritual form with his bare hands. ‘Such strength! What his muscles are made of?!’ He was holding the tips of the beak with each hand while it was trying to swallow him whole. His effort to holding off his beak was the only thing preventing from being bird food.
“I see. A spiritual form user, huh, impressive.” Shengyn said smugly. “I suppose it is my turn then.”
Young lady’s eyes opened wide as she saw dark energy start coating Shengyn’s body, combining into a form of a monstrous black tiger. This was his spiritual form- a magnificent black tiger that was larger than her firebird by several times.
Shengyn still didn’t let go of the beak of the firebird while his own spiritual form coated him like armor.
“You know what they say, tiger eats a birdie!” Shengyn’s spiritual form opened its mouth wide and proceeded to swallow the firebird. With a single bite, the firebird lost its head.
Aristan heiress’s spiritual form dissipated. She was left exhausted and defeated. It was her first defeat, in her entire life. To be defeated in such an absolute way, it was unthinkable! Just who is he? How in the world is he so powerful? He was more skilled and stronger than any opponent she has ever faced, almost like he was born for the sole purpose of beating her.
‘He defeated me’ She realized the implication of such a thing. ‘He has won, that means he is now my…’
“I guess, it’s a tie then?” Shengyn walked towards her. She was lying on her back, completely exhausted.
After hearing his statement her expression turned into a smile. “No, you won. You have bested me in every way possible.”
Shengyn didn’t smile; he just looked away and took a step forward.
“Wait! Please tell me your name!” She shouted after him.
He turned and said “The terms were that I would only tell my name if I lost, and I have clearly won.”
“I see, that is true.” She sighed. “I shall keep my end of the deal as well then, my name is Aristan Jansulu.”
“Jansulu, heh. Very nice to meet you.” Shengyn finally smiled, with his eyes closed and showing off his sharp teeth.
“You… You do realize what defeating me means, right? Now we are going to be together for the rest of our lives.”
“It seems so, but I hope next time you can give me better challenge than this.” Shengyn assumed she was referring to challenging him in the future.
“I promise you. By the way, how did you become so strong?” Jansulu asked out of pure curiosity.
“Strong? I am not that strong. There are plenty stronger than myself.” He personally could attest that there are at least hundreds of beings in the world stronger than him, beings he could only beat with guile and strategy. She may be the strongest lady of her generation, but there are plenty in the world, let alone Tazak kingdom who are stronger than her and even him. That is why he needed to be careful so that he will not have an encounter with someone he could not handle. Shengyn was, without a doubt, strong, but he knew full well that there are plenty stronger than him in this world. He referred to them as monsters.
“You’re humbling yourself, you are the first opponent who put up such a fight against me, and managed to win. None else has done that before.” She said with a smile, still with her back on the ground.
“Then I am sorry for not following the suit.”
“No, no! Not at all! I am just glad there is someone like you in the world, a true match for me.” She sighed in relief. “I was starting to get worried that I would die lone maiden. So thank you for being able to defeat me.”
Shengyn turned with his back once again. “Weirdo. Well then, until I see you again.” Then he proceeded to walk away.
“I believe I will see you again, my future husband” Jansulu whispered while Shengyn kept walking. She memorized his face in her mind, the only man who was able to best her in combat, the only one worthy of being her husband.
“Young miss! Young miss, are you ok?” her servant rushed over with medical kit.
Jansulu turned her neck to face him. “Arlo, I lost, I completely lost.” She said with a tear filled smile.
The servant named Arlo said in a shocked expression “Does that mean Aristan family is going to have a young master?”
“It seems so” Jansulu nodded. Arlo helped her stand up and walk back to her mansion.
When her parents returned to the mansion, she informed them of the news.
“Father, Mother, I was defeated in a fair fight.”
Both her parents were astounded beyond belief. Their daughter had reached peak of human ability so they thought it was unlikely to find anyone able to exceed her. Yet, it seems like the world is a very large place.
“Where is he? We have to formally welcome him to our family!” the patriarch of Aristan family, Orak said with excited tone.
“It seems like he left this place after fighting young miss” Arlo said courteously.
“In that case let’s make a search for him! How does he look like?”
“I think I can help” Jansulu took pencil and paper and quickly drew a portrait that bore a striking likeness to the person who defeated her. “He didn’t tell me his name, the only thing I know about him is his appearance.” She handed his picture to her father and mother.
“Such focused eyes” her mother remarked.
“Indeed” said Orak while examining the picture. “The appearance of his is plenty, I am confident we will be able to find him. I am so glad my daughter has finally found a fiancée! To be able to best you, what caliber of a person he must be! Such a person must become a member of this family!”
“Yes” Jansulu said with a happy expression. “He was the bravest and the most noble warrior I ever encountered. If I ever meet him again I will make sure to bring him home.”
“By challenging and defeating you, he has proven himself worthy to be your husband. Now there no longer is any need for suitors.”
“Thank you, father. I was getting tired of facing suitors every day.” Jansulu smiled “Now I need to focus on finding him.”
“Let us hold a feast in honor of our daughter’s engagement!” her mother said in a cheery voice.
“This occasion is truly worth the celebration!” Orak said merrily. “Servants! Call upon the guests! We are having a feast in honor of my daughter’s engagement!”
Just like that the Aristan family’s heir became enamored with the one who beat her.
For the last three month after that Jansulu searched for her fiancée everywhere in Tazak kingdom to no avail.
Then, when she already gave up hope, she had a certain encounter in one of the most unexpected places.