After both of their attacks disintegrated into the air, Francis took the opportunity while Alex was in the air falling towards him and he channeled Qi to the ground for a counter-attack. An earth spike shooted out of the ground towards Alex.
The speed of the incoming the spike was very fast but Alex managed to dodge it barely by turning three-sixty degrees in the air. Even then the earth spike managed to brush against Alex's chest ripping out a piece of fabric from his clothes and a slight wound that bled a little.
When Alex dodged the spike he also reciprocated Francis with another energy slash.
Francis blocked it with his sword covered in his yellow Qi
'I only have less than half of my Qi remaining until I'm all spent...' Francis thought as he met Alex's sword head-on the moment his enemy managed to land on his feet.
This time Francis was ready and he was not thrown off due to feeling the sudden transfer in the force higher than him.
Orange shards burst forth, and then Alex attacked with even greater ferocity.
Francis and Alex exchanged a few swords move, each one trying to hold their ground with the other.
Alex was able to it with practical sword moves, his immensely pure Qi, and body strength; while Francis only had the advantage of being a little experienced and being able to earth elemental Qi for protection.
'Dammit, I have to defend more than I can attack.' Francis's felt his heart being crushed by a huge boulder seeing that a young man was able to fight almost on par with him. Even if he was not poisoned which caused a slight lag in his reaction, Francis knew that Alex could still stand his ground.
'Even Count Nathan is not as strong when he was at this young man's age... Now that I think of, Nathan might not be able to win if he fought with Alex since even I'm having such a hard time.' If only he didn't compare Nathan with Alex then maybe Francis wouldn't be feeling so sad.
Francis yelled and generated a slight earthquake with a backhand causing fissures to appear in the ground area upon which they were fighting. Alex jumped back to not lose his footing or his balance which could give Francis an opening to hurt him severely.
Alec may have been able to fight with Francis without losing any limb but he still felt his arms aching.
Earth Qi had qualities of being stable and heavy, and it also increases the strength of its user a little bit not to mention its defense quality is top-notch in all the elements except rare ones like ice elemental Qi.
Alex had more strength but Francis's defense was much better as it could absorb most of his attacks and transfer them to the ground beneath.
Francis said with his heaving bloody chest, "Alex Mordrake, you are an extraordinary young man. Even the large five sects of the Belmont Subcontinent would want you to join them without any test. I'm shocked to witness your strength, battle instinct, and your cunning mind. But I don't understand why you have captured one of our city when it was you who had asked for a cease-fire and ten-year long peace agreement. It's not good for someone at your status to go back on your words."
Alex sneered when he heard Francis speak, "Are you trying to act stupid? That agreement was invalidated when you and your Count requested the Three Fanged shadow to assassinate me on the day of my wedding. Did you think I would have not retaliated? Maybe you never thought I would instead kill the assassins sent by a famed organization such as the Three Fanged shadow hall and come alive to haunt you, huh?"
"What! That's utter nonsense. You are lying. Count Nathan would never do that. There must have been some misunderstanding. Maybe someone else did it with ulterior motive and made you suspect Count Nathan instead." Francis immediately denied such accusation.
It's not that he completely believes in his Lord, knowing his character better than anyone else, Francis could guess what Alex was saying about the assassins is right.
Count Nathan must have paid the Three Fanged Shadow Hall behind his back to get back at Alex on his wedding day and wash his embarrassment of losing to some Island lord who was younger than him.
But he can't accept it publicly and had to defend Count Nathan by putting the blame on someone else. Anyway, he knew that assassins of the Three Fanged Shadow Hall would not tell the target of killing about the identity behind their customers who gave the task.
"Hmph, Don't try that act with me because it's not going to work. I already had interrogated one of the assassins after capturing her and got your Count's name. Now that you have wasted time talking to prepare your big move how about we start fighting again." Alex knew the butler was preparing a big move when started to talk. He was also doing the same therefore he cooperated with the Butler.
Francis's hand jerked unwittingly when he found that Alex knew about his real thoughts.
"Very well then, let's fight!... Claws of One-eyed Rock Python!" Francis smirked as if the fight was already won by him.
Rocks and dirt were suddenly lifted off from the surrounding ground and condensed together to form two long rocky hands that were quipped with claws instead of fingers.
They went behind Francis and attached themselves to his back and immediately after that Francis moved them flexibly around as if they were his real arms.
Claws of the One-eyed Rock Python is an earth type elemental skill that Francis developed after examining the One-eyed Rock Python Demon Beast for many years.
This Rank 3 Demon Beast was quite famous as it was very difficult to deal with due to being able to use the above skill innately.
Francis wanted to see the look of shock and fear appearing in Alex's eyes after seeing his transformation. But the butler was disappointed as Alex only lifted his right eyebrow in amusement as if he was appreciating a theatre group in the market.
Authors Note: My new Novel 'The Wolf of Aragnar' is out and it's very exciting. Please do give it a read after finishing this chapter. You can find the new Novels link in the synopsis or just search the name. Be sure to add it to your library, I will update it with two chapters every day.
--\u003eI have participated in Writing Prompt Contest #134 with my second Novel. Please do vote for 'The Wolf of Aragnar' to help me win it.