|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3645 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1680 words|
I stepped towards him and hurled my fist in a straight line towards his eyes, which he evaded by tilting his head to the side. But I had anticipated that, he was quick enough, so I immediately grasped his hair and held his head still and jumped with a knee aimed lifted towards his chin.
If he reacted poorly, his head would end up getting crushed like an egg between my knee and my hand. But rather than resisting my pull, he began turning his own body along the motion and went past my knee, but falling on the ground. I began stomping around, trying to crush his face, but by the third try I had to jump back to evade his dagger, and he used that time to stand back up. There was little grace to my attacks, but if they landed he would die instantly, so he was looking less careless than before.
But standing up was not enough to stop me. Not giving time to do any more movements, I charged again and feinted a punch, as if I was trying to repeat my earlier attack. He dodged down, getting closer to the floor, and then I turned around, landing a slightly less than optimal roundhouse kick on him.
He had not expected that kick, which sent him flying away before he could defend with daggers. The crumbling wall could not stop the momentum I imprinted on his body, which tore through and kept flying outside. I was scared the entire mansion would fall down from that hit, but it was not that decayed yet, and only the wall was destroyed.
“D-damnit..! What’s up with those odd moves..!”
The demon cursed as he pushed the rubble away from him. Three hundred years ago before I retired it was very common for people to fight like this, so it took me a moment to understand what he meant. Back then there were many priests in all religious sects that focused on hand-to-hand combat, who were known as Monks. But apparently it was not just the humans that had lost skills as the ages passed by, but demons had also forgotten a lot.
“It’s starting to get annoying how you only target vital spots too. You might have a cute face but that’s honestly scary.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
He began talking again as he brushed off the remaining dust on him. I thought he would try escaping now that he was in disadvantageous terrain, but his lips twisted into a weird smile as he glared at me.
“I guess I should humor you and stop holding back too. Let’s see how you can deal with all of my power.”
As soon as he said that, magic power welled up inside his body as he transformed. There were no exaggerated changes like with Barbaros, but I could tell his muscles were being fortified and the aura surrounding him became more menacing. On top of that, the ring he was wearing completely masked his presence and I could not track him. He raised his hand, proudly displaying the ring.
“If I use it too long it breaks, so time to finish this quickly. Let’s see how long you can last barehanded!”
He charged towards me at an unbelievable speed! In mere instants he was in front of me, swinging his dagger straight at my neck…but that was a feint, his true target being my feet.
With a short movement I managed to side step it, but that barely gave me any time, as follow-up attacks seemed to come from every direction almost at the same time.
It was night, no lights in the empty street except for the moon, and we uttered no more words as we fought. He kept trying to slice me open with his dagger, while I constantly aimed at his vitals with every punch and kick I threw. He was strong! I honestly had not expected this would take this long. In our current situation, he would slowly overpower me given I had no weapons, but I did not feel worried at all.
“You really shouldn’t have thrown your weapon away! You got too cheeky!”
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His attacks continued relentlessly. A regular person, and even a trained soldier, would be unable to follow the tornado of blades. If anyone else had tried fighting him, they would have been shredded into a pile of mincemeat by now. Meanwhile I kept studying his movement, a plan hatching in my mind.
“I got you now!”
To him, it looked like I just misstepped, having misjudged the range of one of his attacks. My upper body was fully bent backwards, his dagger swinging above me, and then instantly lifted his other dagger and plunged it straight down towards my heart. But…
His face contorted in shock. Rather than piercing my body, his dagger produced a dry clang as it shattered into countless pieces. Right after my elbow swung over and destroyed his second blade. That had been my goal since the beginning, his daggers. If we were evenly matched while he had his daggers, then I just had to disarm him to gain an advantage. With that simple plan in my mind, I had constantly aimed my punches to the blades, weakening them. If I covered my fists with magic, continuous hits could destroy even the strongest demonic swords. A legendary blade with much more power in it might be impossible to destroy, but he had common daggers so they were easy enough to weaken.
He was at a loss seeing he had no weapons, and then my fist dug into his face. My left fist went in for a follow-up, but he dodged it and leaped backward. Huh…I was sure I could take him down with just one hit, but it seemed I was still underestimating his strength.
“Now that’s a shocker. I never expected to meet anyone who could destroy weapons barehanded, and amidst a fight, no less. Say, you’re stronger than the heroes, right?”
I did not reply, just reaffirming my stance. I had no obligation to answer, and I preferred if the truth was kept secret. That left me only one option, staying silent. He did not seem to mind, continuing his speech.
“Silence, huh? But seriously…I can only think of one person who was said to be this strong. Curious, right?”
He grinned annoyingly. I had no idea what he was getting at.
“I know I might look young, but I’m actually a bit more than three hundred years old. I’ve lived for far longer than any of you could guess. And I’ve seen a human before, stronger than any other…and you fight just like him. If I remember correctly, his name was…”
More than three hundred years old? He had been alive since before I retired? That could only mean one thing!
“…Brave. A lethally powerful human who could fight with any weapons, and overpower monsters barehanded. It seemed like he could plunge the entire world into magical flames of his creation without breaking a sweat. A legendary hero who literally trampled over all the strongest demons I knew. You don’t look anything like him, but I sense a similar aura around you, and the way you fight reminds me of the terror I felt watching him. I don’t know why or how you changed your appearance, but it’s you, isn’t it?”
I noticed his presence starting to wean, so I dashed towards him trying to catch him. I could not let him escape! He had figured out my identity, and if he divulged that it would only lead to a lot of headaches. I would constantly get targeted by everyone, and if those in power heard about it my regular life would vanish. I had to kill him as soon as possible!
“It seems I guessed right, seeing how desperate you are! Sorry, but I’ll take my leave here! I’ve obtained information more valuable than this entire city, so I have to go!”
His presence kept getting dimmer and harder to read. Had he used the same spell as the female demon from the other battle? The instant my fist seemed to collide with his face, he vanished from my sight. My fist pierced nothing but air, nothing left in the spot where he was standing.
“Dammit! Was that the ring’s power too?”
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I had paid little attention to the ring so far, but now I was confronted with its full power. I looked around in dismay, but I could only see darkness, the demon was gone.
“He got away…this is the worst!”
I could not believe I had blown my cover, and my hesitation allowed my enemy to escape! I was the worst, I could not even think how I would face Luvias and the rest now.
“Hey, are you alright?”
The sudden call made my body jerk, and then I saw Bacchus walk out carrying a woman, one of the hostages. I might have failed personally, but at least I was glad the hostages had been rescued.
“I heard a loud bang and a lot of metallic noises so I was worried something had happened to you. Did you get him?”
“He escaped. I was one step away…”
I spoke, frustrated with myself. Bacchus looked slightly disappointed for a moment, but he quickly changed it into a smile and patted my shoulder.
“Nah, don’t worry about it. We only rescued the women and kids thanks to you. I dunno why you’re looking so blue, but we’re all really grateful.”
Looking at the results alone, things had gone well. The demon had retreated, and the hostages were rescued without casualties. But still…
“I’m sure they’ll spread rumors about me soon…”
I had worked so hard to gain my current life, but now it could all go to waste any moment. Just thinking about the future made me feel depressed.