|Author: Ryuusen Hirotsugu||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 7041 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 3055 words|
「But Little Mira, you’re going to fight against a devil. We know you’re strong, indeed… but still!」
「Yeah. At least let us buy you some time to summon Alfina.」
Emera held her breath while Asbar tightly grasped his hammer and told that to Mira who was going to fight the devil. But Mira said without giving them a glance:
「I doubt there will be enough time for that!」
Then she summoned a Dark Knight before her. A high-pitched metallic sound instantly rang out. The next moment, Emera and Asbar saw the Dark Knight holding back the devil’s scythe with its sword.
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Asbar was drenched in cold sweat. Emera, unable to react in time, could only lift her sword after it happened. This clash clearly demonstrated the gap in strength with the devil.
「Step away already!」
Once again, Mira warned the members of the Écarlate Carillon.
As adults, not only Emera, but Asbar as well couldn’t just leave all the fighting against the devil to a little girl. However, the enemy was out of their league and even if they tried to distract him by buying some time for everybody to escape, judging by that strike, they probably wouldn’t even last a couple of seconds.
「You two, let’s retreat back to the castle!」
「Yeah, it’s better than staying here.」
While Asbar and Emera hesitated, someone called them from behind. When they turned back, Fricca waved at them, looking impatient. However, when they tried to argue, Fricca shouted:
「We’re getting in the way here!」
She saw it. The magic power rising from Mira, overpowering even the enormous amount of energy the devil released.
At her words, Emera and Asbar looked at Mira again. Her small back that seemed so large told them that Fricca was right.
「Sorry, Miss. We are leaving it to you!」
「Mira, run away if it looks like you won’t be able to win. We’ll somehow hold him back!」
With that they joined Fricca and Zef and ran to the castle. At that time Asbar felt that her back, though still small, reminded him of the heroes he once saw.
「Guess I’m just seeing things,」
Asbar muttered and convinced himself that he just got taken in by the atmosphere, so he rejected that thought.
「No matter where you run, mere humans can’t get away from me.」
Revealing a smirk, he clashed his weapon against the Dark Knight’s while jumping away. He didn’t put all his strength into the blow, but it was enough to make him recognize the Dark Knight, who stopped it, as a worthy opponent.
「Let’s start with the greetings, strong one. I am Wolfton Bane. A third-rank Earl from the Valnares Soul Hunting Knights.」
This time the devil kept his distance from Mira without looking away and deliberately gave a formal greeting. Despite being a devil, Wolfton was a knight who held a sense of pride and nobility. That said, a devil’s sense of pride wasn’t accepted by humans since it was inhuman and cruel.
「My name is Mira. I’m a summoner, as you can see.」
Mira, pointing at the Dark Knight with her eyes, then faced Wolfton to return the greeting.
「Hahahahaha, a summoner. Then it will be over after I cut down this knight.」
Without finishing the conversation, Wolfton kicked the ground and jumped, putting gravity and his own weight into a blow against the Dark Knight. This time, there was a dull metallic clang and the sound of something breaking. The Dark Knight parried the blow by lifting its sword, but the ground couldn’t withstand the force and collapsed under its feet. The Knight lost its balance and Wolfton wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.
As he landed on his feet, Wolfton made a half-turn, his scythe soared and sharply pierced the Dark Knight’s body, sending it flying.
「Hehehehe! Is that all?」
Wolfton kept rotating, his face expressing pure joy. His scythe closed in on the girl like the blade of an executioner. But the only thing his dark blade pierced was a single rock. The girl who stood there a moment ago vanished from his eyes.
「Where did she go?!」
【Sage Art – Heaven: Refined Impact】
Wolfton’s head was spinning, his face deformed with a crack and his huge body taking off to the sky. The moment Wolfton turned away, Mira sneaked under his chest and hit him with a Sage Art. A powerful multilayered shockwave was unleashed into the stomach of the careless Wolfton and brought him down.
(Hmm. That was so-so.)
Checking effects of the blow, Mira lightly gripped her fist. The feeling she got while fighting was almost the same as before. Her reach became shorter, but she could just take half a step further. And with her smaller body, concealing herself in the shadows became a lot easier. That’s what Mira learned from the first hit.
What Mira was worrying about the most, was the difference in physiques. The air resistance and wind pressure. But even though it changed, it wasn’t enough to hinder her movements.
Moreover, she could feel the presence and flow of the air with her five senses, which caused her intuition to give very sensitive reactions. The very basis of Mira’s strength were the many and varied techniques that she has acquired and compiled together to turn into strength, as well as the experience and skills she had gathered.
And what made her gather all those factors, was nothing else but Ark Earth Online itself.
That game was realistic to the point of lacking common sense, and had a world that was affected by players to an impossible extent.
From the beginning, experienced martial artists or karate champions could already keep up with mid level monsters or players. Therefore, it was a system that not only made people stronger, but also improved their real skills as well.
In fact, there was a powerful warrior who fought monsters in-game with his fists turning from a complete amateur into a high ranker in the national karate tournament. Although he eventually lost due to his lack of physical strength.
That’s why Mira who was good at close range fights as a Sage Art fighter also had world-class fighting skills, discounting her lack of muscles.
Indeed, it was more than enough. Just by doing it the same way as always, she could fight the devil.
Mira took another deep breath and changed her thoughts. She remembered how she did it in game and was applying it to the fight.
「You wrench, what did you do?!」
Wolfton angrily yelled at Mira after he twisted his body in the air and landed.
「I just gently touched you. Why are you so angry, brat?」
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As Mira casually said that, she felt like she returned to her time as Dunbalf. When her pleasant complexion changed to a fearless smile, flames erupted from the scythe to demonstrate Wolfton’s anger as he charged at her.
「Lass, don’t underestimate me!」
Mira just kept dodging the burning scythe swings with her footwork, sidestepping left and right. She felt uneasy at the beginning, but her movements kept her at a safe distance and she gradually gained the upper hand.
She had the skill that had permeated her body and the experience that backed it up, both of which turned into her strength. As she regained her posture, Mira kept dodging the scythe with the minimum movements and naturally made use of Wolfton’s openings to punch him.
After enduring all her weak hits, Wolfton completely lost himself. That wasn’t strange. His opponent was a petite child and to add to that, a woman. His noble devil’s pride did not allow him to lose in 1-on-1 combat to a human who they considered to be an inferior race.
With a loud roar, he twisted the scythe and released a slash with all his might. Mira effortlessly avoided it, causing the great scythe to pierce the ground and scattering crimson sparks. Retaining her momentum, she changed her stance and moved around the devil to kick the back of his knees. Wolfton lost his balance and Mira was able to run up his defenseless back to hold his horned head with her right hand.
【Sage Art – Earth: Crimson Grasp】
Mira concentrated her mind and released raging flames that wrapped around his head.
Wolfton’s eyes were filled with madness after he managed to get up from rolling on the ground, covering his burnt head.
「Hmm. I had a feeling these simple attacks wouldn’t work.」
No matter how many punches she exchanged with the devil, due to his tough skin, Mira felt like she barely even hit him. On the contrary, her fist was red and throbbed with pain. However, this was just natural as she had passed her equipment for close combat strengthening to Cleos, so her own physical strength wasn’t much different from your typical mage.
Most of the Sage Arts were affected by one’s physique, though Mira could compensate a lot of it with her magic power. Still, having low muscle strength made her attack power to be lower than expected.
Originally, the battle style of Sage Art users displayed its true worth by combining close combat with Sage Arts. Mira was going to use this fight as a martial arts practice. But now her punches didn’t work so there was no reason to try any further. Also, thanks to her high magic power, she could actually do damage.
【Secret Sage Art: True Eyes】
Mira completely regained her sense for combat she had as Dunbalf and used a secret Sage Art to awaken her true eyes. She shortly closed her eyes and after opening them again, her pupils had an even purer shade of blue, as clear as the sky. Upon activation, she received buffs to all stats and a bonus to her Sage Arts.
Mira’s magic power skyrocketed even further and reached the eyes of Fricca, who watched over the fight from the castle. Fricca reflexively collapsed, overwhelmed by the sheer amount of magic power she never felt before.
「What happened, Fricca?」
Said Emera as she reached out to Fricca who suddenly collapsed.
「Thanks. It’s just… the atmosphere around Mira has changed. It became stronger… and deeper.」
Everybody there silently gasped upon hearing her words.
The fight between Mira and the devil became even fiercer. Still angered, Wolfton returned to his senses. He clad both of his arms with black flames as he attacked in waves with his flaming scythe. When the scythe was swung down and Mira avoided it, the black flames burst to pursue her.
【Sage Art – Earth: Wind Clad】
To counter the black flame, Mira wrapped her hands in wind and repelled the black flames that had pursued her before slipping in beneath the Devil to deliver a palm heel strike. Immediately after that, the power of wind she was clad in was released to create a storm of turbulent whirlwinds and vacuum that blew Wolfton several steps away.
However, ignoring the damage, Wolfton swung his scythe upwards. His wound was shallow enough to not affect his movements. He sharply cut through the storm, leaving a trail of flames right before Mira. But Wolfton wasn’t finished yet. He reached out with his other hand, attacking directly with the black flame.
「Huh! You aren’t half bad, brat!」
Mira crossed her arms and received the attack with her winds while staring at Wolfton with her clear blue eyes.
「How much are you going to mock me, lass?!」
Wolfton shouted in anger and leaped backwards. His magic power immediately swelled and proportionally to that, the black flame on his arms had covered his entire body before gushing forth towards the ceiling.
「Forget about souvenirs. I’ll burn you right here!」
Wolfton roared and dashed towards Mira, clad in a jet black flame. But with her true eye, Mira could clearly see the fast approaching devil who had enough speed to smash through the bedrock.
「Turn into ashes!」
The black flaming scythe approached her, but Mira shouted:
【Sage Art Step: Ground Shrink】
Without any preparations, Mira instantly moved below his chest and punched him with 【Sage Art – Heaven: Refined Impact】.
The black flames scattered and Wolfton took off to the skies. Though with an anguished expression, he quickly repositioned himself using his wings. The damage itself wasn’t so bad. His body, strong as expected from a devil of his rank, allowed him to be confident in his defense. The average devil, however, wouldn’t even be able to move after receiving all of these attacks.
「Lass… how did you do that?!」
Even though the attacks barely worked, he couldn’t stay calm when a human child was playing with him like that. Wolfton ground his teeth while staring toward the ground. But what he saw there for a moment made him shiver.
【Sage Art Step: Sky Stride】
Mira closed in on him as if she was climbing stairs.
He had no time to take a swing. Wolfton took the handle of his scythe and promptly lashed out to drive her away. But Mira jumped even higher to avoid his desperate strike and looked down on him, touching his head from an upside-down position.
Although her skirt was lifted up and everything from her thighs to her belly could be seen, Mira did not care about that in the least as she concentrated her consciousness on her hand.
「How about this?」
【Sage Arts – Earth: Furious Grasp】
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A lump of energy formed inside her palm, then she released it as a raging shockwave that rampaged to blow Wolfton’s head away. This overly violent force threw Wolfton, who was unable to stay in the air, to the ground below.
The rock crumbled with a loud noise and a moment later Mira landed on the ground. Her pupils were focused on the black devil crawling out of the rubble.
「Who would have thought there would be a human like you.」
Even after receiving two strikes of high-powered close range Sage Arts, the devil didn’t show any signs of significant damage. His sturdiness clearly was abnormal.
(I didn’t know such tough devils existed.)
However, Mira still didn’t show any concern and fixed her eyes on the devil.
「But it doesn’t work! I can’t even feel it! These weak attacks can’t do anything to my trained body!」
Wolfton declared to keep up his willpower. The Sage Arts themselves indeed worked to some extent, but it wasn’t enough to make him worry about his body.
「It was a good match, but it’s about time to end it, brat.」
【Hidden Sage Art: Magic Eye Release】
With these words, Mira activated a skill that dyed her right eye black and changed her pupil to a golden color.
The change in her now magic-filled eye made it seem like an ominous moon shining in the pitch-black night. And under the gaze of that eye, Wolfton felt like her gaze alone could pierce him. He unconsciously shivered, feeling the superiority of the girl in front of him.
(Impossible… Me feeling fear…. It can’t be!)
「YOU IMPUDENT LOWLY HUMAAAAAANNNnn!」
Wolfton yelled and pointed at Mira with all of his black flames concentrated on the scythe. However, the instant after that, the scythe suddenly slipped out of his hands and Wolfton noticed an abnormality with his body.
(This is…nghh…paralysis!? Impudent, impudent!)
【Eye Sage Art: Evil Paralyzing Gaze】
A high-class Sage Art that paralyzes the opponent you’re focused on and furthermore crushes him from the inside. The condition is to keep the magic eye’s gaze on your opponent for a specific amount of time. That was the reason Mira landed some distance away to keep him inside her field of vision.
「As expected from a devil. I can’t keep it up long enough.」
From his fingers, to his arms and shoulders, the paralysis gradually left Wolfton. Devils as a whole have a high resistance to status effects. He was paralyzed despite that just due to the sheer amount of magic power Mira possessed.
Of course, Mira was aware of that. Her aim was not the damage to his internal organs combined with the paralysis. She just wanted to buy some time.
No matter how much Mira dominated him, dealing with that excessive toughness was hard. It would take quite a lot of time to break his armor with her own strength.
「However, it’s already over.」
The next moment Wolfton felt a dreadful presence behind him. But the paralysis was not over yet, so he could only grind his teeth when a jet black blade suddenly pierced his chest along with drops of a black liquid.
Blood spouted from Wolfton’s mouth and he turned around despite the paralysis affecting him, showing a look of confusion on his face. The black knight that he thought he had defeated at the beginning stared at him with deep red eyes.
Although Mira’s fists couldn’t deliver any effective blows, her Dark Knight’s blade was sharp enough. Still, due to the hardness of Wolfton’s body, it was necessary for the black knight to gather strength for an attack to pierce him. That was the reason for using paralysis.
「Why… when did he…?」
「There’s no way my Dark Knight would fall that easily.」
Mira calmly approached him. Her steps were small but each of those steps engraved her assured victory into the ground.
「I didn’t expect to be defeated… like this.」
「Haven’t I told you already? I am a summoner.」
Standing in front of Wolfton, Mira gazed at him with her true eye and her magic eye. Looking at those eyes, Wolfton faintly smiled. His face showed contentment that he fought a true warrior and lost.
The Dark Knight pulled out the great sword and poised it to the side.
With these last words, Wolfton’s head was beheaded by the black knight, spraying black liquid into the air. The black body fell to the ground, and beside it was Wolfton’s head, looking up to the heavens with a satisfied smile.