Chapter 1420: Gathering Strength
An endless darkness.
In the dark, there seemed to be thick and turbid breathing, as well as dull and wild heartbeats. What’s worse, he seemed to have lost his sense of hearing and sight, which had been completely swallowed up by the darkness!
After being thrown into the Source of Darkness hall, Aragon immediately realised the serious consequences of losing his senses, and his heart sank.
But Aragorn was an experienced warrior, one who had been through many battles. He had spent at least ten years wandering around Middle Earth after he reached adulthood, then joined the Gondorian army while hiding his real identity. He quickly became known as the famous “Thorongil”, which meant the “Eagle of the Star”. With a small Gondor squadron of ships, he led an assault on the long-standing rebel province of Umbar in 2980, burning many of the Corsairs’ ships and personally slaying their lord during the battle on the Havens. He then left to lead the Rangers of the North, becoming known as Strider.
During the battle on Weathertop, Aragon had displayed formidable strength, holding off five Ringwraiths by himself. The power of the Ringwraiths came from the darkness and fear in the enemy’s heart. This battle was a testament to how strong Aragon’s physical and mental strength were.
Aragorn took a deep breath and gripped his sacred sword, Andúril, tight. In truth, Aragon’s equipment was appallingly luxurious. The accessory hanging on his waist was shimmering with a white light, dispelling the darkness around him.
The accessory, a gem set on a silver eagle-shaped brooch, was a magical equipment. It was named the Elessar, also known as the Elfstone, and it was a gift from Galadriel, the Lady of Light. Being a gift from the Lady of Light, it was naturally the enemy of darkness.
In addition, the Evenstar necklace around Aragon’s neck was a gift from his lover, Arwen. The ring on his finger, the likeness of two serpents intertwined with eyes made of green jewels, was an ancient, priceless artifact that had been passed down through the generations for tens of thousands of years, a culmination of legendary equipment. It was the Ring of Barahir, a symbol of inheritance of the Númenorean royal family! Even when Aragorn had yet to use any of his powers, the majestic reprimands of the Númenorean rulers of old could already be vaguely heard within the darkness!
To cope with the sudden abrupt change by taking a passive stance so that he could react to any eventuality. This was Aragorn’s response. He took a few steps back to place his back against the wall, held his sword horizontally in front of his chest, and kept a tight defensive stance.
He believed that the enemy would not be able to hold him here for long. This was their final, desperate counterattack. The moment he managed to free himself was the moment of their death!
Contrary to Aragorn’s calmness, the will of Sauron in the Source of Darkness hall became violent and restless the instant Sheyan had thrown Aragon deep into the hall to create this fleeting chance to claim Aragorn’s life.
The darkness from the Source of Darkness hall overflowed wildly, covering an area 40-50 metres around the hall like a black fog. One could not even see the fingers of one’s raised hand within the darkness. Not only that, even in Mordor that was thousands of miles away, at the place where the Eye of Sauron was located, flames were raging. Mount Doom was spewing thick black smoke. The Eye of Sauron moved its gaze towards the distance. Everything that entered its sight along the way wilted and dried up.
Sauron’s roar sounded in the minds of all the dark side contestants who were still alive.
“Kill him! Kill him! Sacrifice to me the flesh and soul of the only remaining heir of the Númenorean royal family, and I shall forgive all your sins!”
[ Note: Aragorn is currently within the Source of Darkness hall, under Sauron’s curse. If he were to be killed by a contestant, his drop rate will be beyond belief! ]
It was no surprise that Sauron had such an intense reaction when he realised that there was a chance to kill Aragon.
Back in the Second Age, Sauron actually had a great chance to conquer Middle Earth. During the Siege of Barad-dûr, he brazenly went out with a sortie himself to duel the High King of the Ñoldor, Gil-galad, and the first King of all the Dúnedain, Elendil, in single combat. He crushed them both. Nonetheless, Sauron was wounded in the fight with the two kings, and as he let his guard down, Elendil’s son, Isildur took up the broken hilt of his father’s blade and hewed off Sauron’s ring finger, separating the One Ring from the Dark Lord’s body. The Dark Lord’s spirit fled, and the dark army was defeated.
Sauron was so shamefully defeated when he was so close to achieving his goal!
The legendary sword currently in Aragorn’s hand, Andúril, was reforged from the broken blade of Narsil, the sword which chopped off Sauron’s ring finger! And Aragorn was also a descendant of Isildur’s lineage! As the saying goes, seeing makes one remember. Aragon’s presence with Andúril in his hand was giving Sauron twice the provocation!
Of course, aside from old hatred, there was also new resentment. Aragon had led the Army of the Dead to smash the Orc army and the Haradrim’s Oliphaunt army. With hatreds both old and new directed at Aragorn, how could Sauron not be enraged?!
Sheyan’s ‘Hornrage’ stopped halfway. Time was of the essence, yet he halted his charge all the same.
Because in that instant, he had heard a notification in his mind: [ Aragorn is currently within the Source of Darkness hall, under Sauron’s curse. If he were to be killed by a contestant, his drop rate will be beyond belief! ]
Sheyan could not predict the future, but he firmly believed in two points.
The first was that humans were greedy bastards. The second was that Aragon would not be so easily killed!
Therefore, Sheyan stopped advancing and instead went over to his party members who were under the protection of ‘The Magma of Mount Doom (Ice-Cold Version)’ to administer some recovery medicine to them. From the rate at which the dark gold leech’s HP was dropping, he estimated that he had at least 30 seconds to kill Aragon without any disturbance.
At the same time, a dazzling white light fiercely broke through the darkness, and a series of screams were heard. A few drops of warm liquid splashed onto Sheyan’s face in the dark, causing him a dull pain.
Party Ace was not the only party in the Source of Darkness hall. There was also Skull’s party. Right now, they should have recovered quite a bit of HP under the protection of ‘The Magma of Mount Doom (Ice-Cold Version)’. Surely, one or more of them would succumb to the temptation and attack first.
But was Aragon so easy to deal with? Now that he knew he had fallen into a trap, he would surely use everything he had to protect himself. The moment he started attacking, he would definitely lash out with great explosiveness! That was the reason why Sheyan had slowed down. He wanted to let those greedy bastards absorb Aragorn’s long-prepared counterattack for him, while taking the chance to take a breather.
After the screams subsided, Sheyan slowly walked in Aragorn’s direction, looking calm, resolute and unhurried. At the same time, G-spot melted and shifted shape, transforming from a pair of gloves to the terrifying Evil Sword Apophis!
“You know why I’m not in a hurry, Aragon?” asked Sheyan as he walked forward slowly. The darkness in the hall had no effect on his vision. He could clearly see the tragic scene around Aragon. Two contestants had been chopped by him into nearly twenty pieces. Blood and entrails splashed everywhere!
The ornaments on Aragorn’s waist sent out a soft white light which wrapped around him like a white eggshell. It was the power of the Lady of Light of Lothlórien protecting him from being eroded by the darkness. Aragon had only half a metre of visibility, but it was better than being completely blind.
Hearing Sheyan’s question, Aragorn initially had no intention to reply, but he suddenly felt that he should say something. He was the returning king of Gondor. Was he so scared that the did not even dare respond to the words of the enemy? Besides, he had his comrades near him, as well as thousands of troops outside!
“Because you know that no matter what you do, you will not be able to run away from justice and the light, believer of darkness,”answered Aragon with contempt.
“Wrong,” replied Sheyan seriously. “It’s because I’ve been planning this trap for 18 days and 21 hours. I have more than enough time left to kill you.”
“About ten people have dared to speak words like that to my face, and their heads have all been chopped off and hung from trees without exception, as a warning to others – a warning that this shall be the only fate awaiting those who have fallen into darkness,” said Aragorn flatly.
“I believe you’ve met our people on your way to take control of the Army of the Dead? You’re no longer in peak condition after that battle. Perhaps your strength has not dropped severely, but it has dropped by at least a tenth, or you wouldn’t have been delayed by nearly ten hours.”
“After that, you led the Army of the Dead here, traveling thousands of miles, and got right into battle with the Haradrim and the Orc army upon your arrival. Everything went right for you in that battle, but those troops of darkness were known to be tenacious; they were not so easily brought down. Your strength must have further dropped by at least two tenths, am I right?”
“After the battle concluded, you’ve recovered around 80% of your strength after taking a short rest. However, the three successive assaults on the Source of Darkness hall afterwards should have once again gave your vigour a heavy blow. I know very well how strong my companions are. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to estimate that they’ve sapped at least three tenths of your strength from you.”
“Which means that the Aragorn I’m facing right now is only an Aragorn at half strength! But more importantly, Aragorn, I know that your biggest weapon is your destiny of a king, but I can unravel that! In front of me, you’re no more than a powerful Dúnedain!”
Following the end of the final sentence, Sheyan’s momentum had also reached its peak. He rushed fiercely towards Aragon holding his sword in both hands! Seeing the ordinary-looking weapon in Sheyan’s hands that would only show its brilliance when it struck, Aragorn also charged forward with a roar, because he knew that if he were to take a step back, he would lose not only ground, but also his confidence.
Neither side dodged during the first exchange. Sheyan’s sword struck Aragorn’s shoulder, while the legendary sword Andúril pierced through Sheyan’s left leg!