|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3305 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1506 words|
After some time of wiping the floor with the black knights, they finally understood our difference in power. They stepped back, trying to regroup, but I would not let them get away. I simply used the increased distance to shoot magic at them without concern.
“Let’s get wild then!”
I created multiple fireballs above my head and launched them all at the same time towards my surroundings. Some tried to take a defensive stance, others tried to dodge, but no matter what they did my spells still closed on them, the fireballs exploding wildly on contact and bathing the battlefield with fire.
“I- I’m on fireee!”
As the black knights were set on fire, multiple of them desperately looked for a way to put them off. But their army had not prepared for such attacks, and even if they looked in our camp they would not find enough water to put off those flames. They began collapsing limply one after another, stopping moving on the ground. Their bodies continued burning, however.
“The main enemy should make a move soon after something like this…woah?!”
I lifted my face to look at the state of the enemy army, and noticed someone’s blade closing in on me. I quickly dodged, managing to avoid a hit, but my stance was completely broken.
A hellish voice filled with hatred called my name, throwing me off a little. The owner of that voice seemed to only pay attention to me, even though there was an entire army opposing him, and attacked again before I could stand up.
“I’ll kill you! I’ll kill you Lapis!!”
“What the hell is going on?!”
Usually I would not have anything to worry about when fighting the soldiers here, even if they attacked from my blind spot. Not to mention that I had been training in Dragon’s Nest. There were only a handful of people who could put up a fight against me now, but somehow this mysterious figure was relentless. He swung his sword at me continuously from all directions. None of them managed to connect, but I could feel an immense power behind each attack. When I blocked with my sword, my arms would feel strained and shake a little. I decided it was best to escape into the air and collect my thoughts, but something I had never expected happened.
I could not believe my eyes, the mysterious black knight was following me into the air as well. Not with a jump off the surface, but with Flight Magic. I would have expected that from a powerful demon, not from a human. As far as I knew, only our party knew how to use that.
That was so unexpected I was barely able to react in time and block his sword, but that left me open to his kick, which I took face-on and was thrown onto the ground. I could not afford to think of the pain. I could hear him soaring towards me, so I pushed myself away with my arms. An instant later his sword was thrust into the ground, in the same location where my head had been.
“Don’t get carried away!”
The moment it took him to get his sword out was enough for me to fix my posture. Turning around to face him, I instantly let out lightning magic from my fingertips. He seemed to consider blocking at first, but realized the electric shock would still hit him, so he decided on dodging. Still, lightning magic was one of my best, so it would be hard to evade it. It took him a great effort to get out of the way, giving me an opening to attack.
There was a metallic clang from my sword breaking into his helmet. But it did not go much further than that, somehow he had managed to raise his sword and block mine. Still, I had succeeded in rendering his helmet useless. It broke into two pieces which fell from his head onto the ground below. I recognized the face hiding underneath it.
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“It’s you…from Leble!”
I could never forget that face. He was Leble’s hero Barbaros. He had used the dirtiest means to harm Karin, so I avenged her, making him try to take revenge on Luvias, so I left him half dead in front of Leble’s emperor. The last time I saw him he did not look very human anymore, but at least he seemed conscious. That was no longer the case now. His eyes were bloodshot, all color was drained from his face, turning it to a ghastly ashen hue. He was clearly not sane either, making me wonder just how he gained that much strength.
“Does it mean Leble was helping Stied, if you’re here?!”
“Kill! Kill! I’ll kill you!”
It was useless, I could not get him to talk. Whether by some drug or magic, he had lost his sanity completely. He stared daggers at me, shouting in bouts of anger and continuously attacking.
“How did you even get this powerful?! I guess it’s impossible to restrain you and keep you alive then..!”
Ideally I wanted to tie him up somehow and use him as proof that Stied and Leble had been in cahoots. But it was impossible to capture someone so strong alive. If I lowered my guard just a little he could kill me.
“Don’t hold it against me! It’s just time I end this conflict!”
I let mana course through my body to finish the fight. I easily dodge his next attack and retaliate, moving twice as fast as him. He tried blocking with his blade, but I continued moving like it was not there, my sword digging into his shoulder.
I raised my sword again to slice his throat next, but a thick miasma began pouring out of his body at an alarming rate. I instinctively flew away, that miasma spreading wide. It was even thicker than those of demons, devouring black knights, soldiers, horses, and knights alike.
Anyone that came into contact with the miasma went limp and collapsed. They all held their chests, pained looks in their faces. The weaker they got, the stronger Barbaros seemed to get. From the look of things, whatever he was doing sucked off the life force of those around, making it his own. One needed an extreme amount of power to resist that.
“So you don’t care about allies or enemies? Or you can’t tell them apart…but still…”
While he looked like Barbaros, it was clear he was someone completely different now. When I saw him use Strengthening in the past, he had turned uglier like demons, but he posed a far smaller threat. I realized a cold sweat had formed on my face, so I quickly wiped it off. I had to give it my all if I wanted to defeat him.
“Is that your new Strengthening? You’re clearly on a different level than before, but just how did you obtain that power?”
He did not answer. It was like he had lost the ability to form words, simply glaring at me menacingly. I stopped asking questions, staring back at him in silence. After the first round I realized I had to watch every single of his movements to the millimeter. I could not afford to lower my guard against him now or I would die. That much was clear.
The rest of the army seemed to get intimidated by our staring contest, everyone else falling silent and watching from a distance. His sword seemed to absorb some of the power gathered as well, changing color into a deep crimson. A moment later he shouted loudly and darted towards me.
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He swung his sword down as he ran, cutting through everything it encountered. Weakened soldiers on the ground, armor, everything. The impact created a deep gash into the ground as well, like paper being torn apart. I looked at the deep rift he made, then back at him. That attack could easily break the walls of any fortification, it was too powerful.
“Only if it hits though.”
Right before he reached me, I imbued my feet with magic and jumped up and across him. The sudden strain burst the blood vessels in my legs, but this was not the time to worry about that. I was no longer holding the plain sword from earlier, but the holy sword Lazlight which materialized with the God of Artisans’ power. He could block attacks from a normal sword, but even an illusory projection of my old beloved sword was not so easy to stop.
“This is the end.”
There was a swift sound. Barbaros was still turning towards me when I sliced through his neck, his head separating from his torso. His face was still contorted in anger as it spun in the air before rolling on the ground.