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Chapter 43 – The fight at the top

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Author: Resn Original Source: Kakuyomu
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

Nearly at the same time as that girl shot the man who had wiped out most of Lua Cheia and Nord Glacier, carrying out the wills of those two guilds, another fierce fight was being waged elsewhere.

There were only two combatants, but the destruction they left at their wake turned what once was a beautiful garden in the southern district into a desolate wasteland.

“…Thorn Blood!” Crim used the art she gained with 40 Points in Hemomancy, Thorn Blood. It created a multitude of crimson spikes that emerged from below the target.

Evading that attack was usually really difficult, as the spikes would emerge from below one’s feet, but not only did he not get impaled by them, he actually stepped on the long side of the spikes to use them as a foothold to jump forward.

He can’t be serious?!

As much as Crim wanted to complain, she could not afford to stand motionless. She quickly began chanting to unleash her next art, “Shadow Heavy-Weapon, Scythe!!”

Three more!

She kept count in her mind of the weapons she had made earlier, while also producing a scythe to block the incoming pair of swords. Sorleon recoiled back from that, and Crim aimed another Art at his landing spot.

“Slave Chain!!”

A chain of blood emerged from Crim’s left hand and wrapped itself around Sorleon’s right arm. Usually Crim used that to pull enemies toward her. It would break her opponent’s balance, while also giving her a chance of impaling them as they were drawn closer.

This time Crim also ran forward though…and Sorleon did the same, closing back in on Crim.

“”..?!””

Both of them were surprised to see the other do that, their eyes widening with shock. That shock lasted merely an instant, as both began to grin and charged ahead with even more force, their heads slightly lowered.

And then they collided, creating a bloodcurdling clunk noise that rang loudly around them.

“O-Oww..?!”
“Gh…hah..?!”

Their eyes blacked out and filled with stars from the hit.

Both of them groaned and groveled in pain for a moment, but quickly recovered and stood back up nearly at the same time, taking their weapons and lunging at each other. As their blades crossed, there was a powerful shockwave that shook the area surrounding them.

“Are you stupid or what?!”
“Huh? Wasn’t it thou who charged like a blind bull at me!!”
“I thought you’d dodge!!”

Both of them had tears in their eyes as they pushed their weapons onto the other.

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“What kind of girl doesn’t dodge a headbutt anyway!!”
“Why would that matter on a battlefield, idiot!!”
“Did you just call me an idiot again?!”
“Did I? Idiot, idiooott!!”

Even though their trash talk was incredibly childish, both of them continued fighting furiously.

They were still bound by the blood chains, so their only recourse was to continue striking at each other with both words and blades, as they could not get away from each other. It was almost like a wrestling chain match.

“Heavy Smash!”
“Dark Harvest!”

Sorleon began to spin with his blades held out, and Crim began doing the same, her scythe covered with dark magic, and so their blades clinked against each other a few times before they pushed each other away.

“I’m not done yet! Mist Step!”
“Hngh, Nacht Angriff!”

Sorleon smoothly transitioned from being pushed back onto the starting motion for his attack, which made his body hazy as he stepped forward while swinging his left sword. But Crim’s quick reaction activating a different art meant she was able to blink out of the way, and dodge Sorleon.

What followed was a fierce exchange of various arts.

Neither of them would relent, each failed attack being connected onto a follow-up, leading onto what was likely the most fast paced fight the game had ever seen, with bright sparks flying everywhere when their weapons collided.

Crim was using a special move, Art Chaining, which no one had mentioned publicly in forums before and she had kept secret for this fight, and allowed her to weave arts without any downtime between them. But almost obviously enough, Sorleon was also able to use it, so Crim didn’t have the advantage she had hoped for.

But there were so many missed and dodged hits there that if a third person tried to get closer, they would be killed instantly. The constant shockwaves had already destroyed the fountain and pool nearby, but their fight continued…

“…There!”
“Ghuh..?!”

Then just as Crim’s scythe was about to reach his neck, he locked his left sword on the corner between the scythe’s blade and handle, stopping it and letting him push down on it.

“I just have to get closer..!”
“I won’t let you..!”

Sorleon reaffirmed his position within the reach of the scythe, holding his right sword forward pointed at Crim.

In response Crim let go of her scythe without hesitation, even though she knew she could not win a purely physical fight, and rushed forward while the fingernails on her left hand turned into beastly claws pointed at Sorleon.

“Ghuh..!”
“Oww..!”

Both of them tried to slice through the other’s throat, but they missed, and Sorleon’s sword just cut slightly into Crim’s left side, while Crim’s claws grazed Sorleon’s right eye.

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And then the effect of Slave Chain wore off, the chains of blood dissolving away.

“Azrael’s Ring!!” Crim reached for her scythe, which was still in mid-air as it fell, and quickly spun her body to throw it.

The scythe began to twirl violently like a lathe as it flew off, getting Sorleon caught up in it and blowing him away as well, granting Crim some distance from her opponent again.

While he recovered, Crim reached for one of the katanas she had left stuck on the ground while manifesting a second katana on her other hand.

Two more!

Trying to restrain her excitement knowing she was almost there, she kept her eyes focused on her opponent.

“I still can’t believe you can keep getting weapons out of thin air like that, you’re really crafty.”
“…What’s that supposed to mean, wasn’t it thou who began dual wielding blades?”
“Okay sure, but I’m a bit of a special case. I’ve been doing this since I was small, so it’s just what I’m used to.”

…Since he was small?

Crim began to wonder just what kind of childhood Sorleon had, but she pushed that question out of her head as the fight was more important.

“We’re polar opposites in this fight though, I’ve thoroughly honed this one skill my entire life, yet you switch styles naturally like flowing water.”
“What’s gotten into thee…feeling the sudden urge to become a poet?”
“Hmm…I consider myself a bit of a scholar too, so I could write a poem in your honor if you want?”
“Eugh…that’s gross, don’t you dare do that.”

Crim disliked the idea so much that she forgot to keep her act up.

“Alright, seeing how much you hate the idea makes me want to do it even more. I’ll start working on it after the tournament is over.”
“STOOPPP!!”

Sorleon sounded delighted about the idea as he said that. Seeing his almost sadistic side manifesting itself, Crim’s face contorted with heartfelt disgust as she screamed.

“…I knew it was all an act, ‘no interest in becoming the strongest’ was it? And yet thine words seem to relish this moment.”
“Oops…I just ended up having too much fun around you, so I did that by accident.”

Sorleon was smiling happily, but then that smile vanished into cold serenity.

It’s coming.

Realizing the main fight was about to start, drops of cold sweat began to bead up on Crim’s forehead as she reaffirmed her stance.

“Well…if we’re talking with such frankness already, I’ll also treat you as a true opponent with all I have.” Saying that, Sorleon took out some sort of translucent crystal from his pocket and swallowed it.

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Crim watched, wondering what he was doing, and soon enough his body began to convulse unnaturally.

“What a sick joke…does this mean thou hast a second form..?” Seeing what was happening finally made Crim break into a smile of her own.

Sorleon’s well kept silver hair quickly became longer, while the horns on his head also grew in size and took a more sinister shape.

His skin also began to turn pale blue, with silver scales that began popping up all over. His limbs also changed, becoming more beastly with sharp claws, almost like those of a dragon.

Two bone nubs also protruded from his back, like those at the root of wings, which began to emit something like flames. His appearance could be summed up as a dragon with human proportions.

“This is the unique trait of my species, Draconification. This is the first time I’m using it against another person, so try to not die right away, okay?”
“…So thine true power was concealed all this time, thou are truly a beast, I must say.”
“I don’t know about that, I think we’re the same in that regard. You’re still keeping your true power secret, aren’t you?”

That question silenced Crim for a moment.

Yes…I actually am.

It was a mysterious Skill that had just appeared at some point amongst her stats. She had only discovered the means to activate it shortly before the tournament though.

“Hmm…I wonder about that?”
“You’ve been really diligent about making all these weapons, there has to be a reason for that, right?”
“…”

Sorleon’s second question made Crim fall silent again.

“Don’t worry, I’m not so rude as to destroy them now. And I’m curious to see what it is you’ve been hiding…”
…It wouldn’t be fun otherwise, right?
Sorleon poised himself, leaving the last part of his sentence implicit.
His attitude made Crim feel slightly annoyed.

“…I shall make thee regret this.”
“I’m looking forward to that.”

While Crim was glaring at him with ferocity, Sorleon remained calm and composed, unbothered by Crim’s response. Though that was all borne from a firm conviction that no matter what Crim did, he would be able to break through it.

And the pressure that made chills run through all of Crim’s body, a stark difference from what she felt during the fight, told her his confidence was not unfounded. It was almost like the strongest player who had seemed like a beast for so long, had turned into an actual beast.

“…I shall rid this world of all beasts.”

Otherwise she would never be able to forgive herself, as she had convinced the rest of her friends to go fight alone while she went to pursue her selfish goals. She stuck her newest katana onto the ground, then created one more.

Just one more.

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But that last katana was nowhere near her yet. She still had to wait a full minute before she would be able to use Shadow Heavy-Weapon again. The question was whether she could survive until then…

No, I’ll do everything to resist until then..!!

Firmly grasping the katanas in both her hands, Crim gave herself a bit of a pep talk before kicking off the ground with all her might.



 

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