Surprisingly, even my fastest swipe at the most ideal of timing is still narrowly avoided by Asellus. At this point, I can’t help but think of her almost as an equal in terms of overall combat prowess, and that’s truly a frightening thought to have.
An entity, who was merely an ordinary female human being has become a powerhouse capable of standing up against a member of the [Six Pillars], just after less than two years!
Once a human; now she’s a twice-[Absorption] Mystic that can hold her ground even while fighting against me with my full strength.
“Don’t get distracted while fighting with me; I won’t give you the luxury of doing so!” (Asellus)
Seizing the opportunity of my opening, Asellus turns her body towards me while still bent over backwards, and launches a upwards punch from that awkward-looking position. Just merely the execution of such a movement shows proof of her proficient mastery over her entire body – the balance, footwork and flexibility, all combining into one.
I barely avoided the strike by forcefully twisting my entire body to the side, flipping myself away from Asellus. I regain my footing quickly and almost pulled back a few steps, until I saw Asellus’s condition.
With blood steadily vaporising away from her arm and a battle-ready posture, she has an overall menacing aura that intimidates even me. However, she’s breathing extremely heavily and showing numerous signs of fatigue.
Of course! To have attained strength capable of challenging a member of the [Six Pillars], she’ll obviously burn through herself even more than usual. It’s barely been one minute since she used [Bloodfury], and she already looks like she has already exhausted more than fifty percent of her total stamina.
However, that one minute can seriously determine someone’s life or death, even if that someone is a [Hero] or a [Six Pillars].
“Gideon, you pride yourself to be a strong being, don’t you? In that case, do you dare to receive a strike from me?” (Asellus)
Provoking me by attacking my pride, eh?
(Master, from a normal point of view, I don’t think you should…never mind, you’ll are definitely taking up her provocation, aren’t you?) (Eva)
“Taunting me to take a hit? Very well, show me what you got. At the same time…receive a strike of my own!” (Gideon)
I rush forward with my Greataxe, preparing to strike her with a swift, strong swing. For an instant, a slight grin flashes across Asellus’s face, only to be replaced with a look of seriousness. She clenches her fist tight, and I can sense an increasing concentration of mana gathering towards her left arm.
Within a second, I covered the distance between the both of us to my ideal range to strike. I immediately swing the Greataxe with enough force to break her bones, if it lands. At the same time, she threw out her fist towards my direction with a tremendous amount of force, which makes no sense considering she’s quite far away from me, and that strike of hers won’t hit me…
Then, an immense amount of force struck me cleanly on chest and I was flung backwards, soaring across the ground and slamming onto a mountain cliff. The force of that attack nearly imbedded me into the cliff!
Even though that strike was incredibly powerful, the psychological impact is greater than the physical damage itself. Just what was that move? How did I get hit even without the fist colliding on me physically?
My mind fell into disarray for a brief moment. After all, I just got struck with an attack that I have yet to comprehend, yet to experience before. And what’s more, the attacker is someone who has only learnt how to fight not more than two years ago!
This is nothing short of beyond ridiculous.
I forced myself out and up, using the Greataxe as support. I can feel the area where she struck me at hurting like never before, and the pulsating pain seems to spread with every passing moment. Thanks to my incredibly tough physique, at least I didn’t break any bones but this will take a while to fully recover from…
About ten meters away, Asellus is half-kneeling on the ground, with [Bloodfury] deactivated and utterly exhausted, gasping for air painfully while clenching both fist and one arm on the ground for support.
That’s her limit, I guess. Still, that is already incredibly strong. For a brief moment, her strength is able to match, maybe even exceed the strongest beings within these lands. Even without the usage of [Bloodfury], her strength is already good enough to compete against anyone she wishes.
Also, she has that trump card of hers that will definitely catch most people unaware. A punch that is able to hit someone without making contact? Asellus has single-handedly torn down the disadvantage of close ranged combatants, even if her limit now is just once.
I walk up to her and hold my hand towards her direction.
“Congratulations. This time, our battle ends with a draw.” (Gideon)
She tilts her head up, looking somewhat dissatisfied but still with a tinge of happiness layered over her face. She grabs my hand and I pull her up with some difficulty. She lands of both her feet somewhat wobbly.
“A draw, huh? In the end, I still never managed to force you to fully use your artefact.” (Asellus)
“That’s silly talk; you forced me to show nearly everything I got in just a span of a month or so, and you’re still not happy about it?” (Gideon)
“I want to end Vergil’s existence as soon as I can…” (Asellus)
Asellus clenches her fist even tighter as her face distorts in agony. I understand how she feels completely…after all I am too, a survivor of my own clan, my own family.
“Actually, with your current strength it is not impossible for you to defeat Vergil…” (Gideon)
“Really, is that true?!” (Asellus)
Her eyes instantly flash with the light of hope, and she stares at me with those eyes of hers.
“Well, yes…but currently, the both of us aren’t in any shape to fight, or do anything actually. One week, one more week of resting and training in this place and we’ll head straight to claim Vergil’s head, agreed?” (Gideon)
“Agreed, even I wouldn’t want to fight against anyone else for the next few days.” (Asellus)
We continue to slowly walk back to our hiding area, while engaging in small talk.
“Anyway, just what is that final attack of yours?” (Gideon)
“Ah…that is my current trump card, I call it the [Void Strike]. If I am in the state of [Bloodfury], I can release a punch so fast that I can punch out the mana gathered in my arm out. To be honest, I sometimes train in secret at night, so I found the time to somewhat hone the attack…” (Asellus)
No wonder the execution of the attack was rather smooth. So, she has already did so much preparation work beforehand…if anything Asellus is not just gifted, but she’s also a genius of hard work.
“Well, good job I guess. You really did great today. I have nothing but praises for the amount of hard work that you’ve put yourself through to reach such a level.” (Gideon)
As we finally reach the comfortable looking straw bed, I help her down gently on her own bed. Then, I noticed the stiff expression on her face, and her eyes are starting to…tear?!
“W-wait, why are you crying? Are you injured anywhere that is that painful?” (Gideon)
I don’t think I’ve landed any attacks on her that’ll cause this much pain, and she didn’t complain about her own injuries just now, so what’s causing it?
(Ah master, you are an insensitive buffoon.) (Eva)
Huh? I don’t get it…
“No…it’s not because I’m sad or in pain, it’s just, this is the first time you’re praised me, and I just felt so happy having achieve such a high level of recognition from you…so…” (Asellus)
Ah…Okay I get it now. But have I never praise her before? Now that I think about it…I’ve really never once talk to her about her rate of growth, or complimented her rapid rise in strength.
(Oh master…as expected of you, to be so dense in matters such as this.) (Eva)
“Asellus…I’m sorry, I guess? I mean, I didn’t know it meant so much to you.” (Gideon)
“Oh, no don’t worry…it’s not something you need to be sorry about. In fact, thanks for acknowledging my strength. With this, I think I can…be…much more confident with…myself…” (Asellus)
Right after she finishes her sentence, she closes her eyes and falls into a slumber, dead to the world. It is to be expected though; after all she has put in her absolute best today by showing me all she is worth, in one short yet exhilarating battle.
Perhaps, as much as I’m uneasy that she might not fulfil her end of the bargain after I help her with her revenge plot, she too is worried that her strength is insufficient for me to help her with, hence her need to prove to me her value.
I stifled a yawn of my own, as my vision begins to blur slightly.
Looks like the same goes for me; it has been quite a tiring morning…maybe some extra shut-eye will do us some good.
After making sure briefly that there isn’t anyone near our surroundings, I went to my own bed and fall asleep in a blink of an eye.
When I wake up, it is already evening. The sun has already begun to set and here I am, just waking up after a truly exhausting sparring session. I look over to the side and just as I suspected, Asellus is already no longer on her bed. If I didn’t know any better, I’ll guess that she’s probably out training or finding food for us.
I step out of our hideout, only to find her practising her [Void Strike] on large trees, leaving them with holes through the tree trunks. As I walk towards her, she seems to be just about done with her training and lands on the floor gently, breathing heavily in and out.
(It’s such little wonder that her rate of improvement is so fast. Even though her growth period from [Absorption] is more or less over, she continues to improve her skills to eliminate as much useless motions as possible. At this rate, you might even one day lose out to her, master. Thankfully, her strength or stamina won’t grow any more than this, unless she miraculously gets another [Absorption].) (Eva)
That’s true. Her own incredible growth combined with her diligence and desire to become stronger has made her what she is today. Even if she cannot get any stronger than right now, she’s already still an incredible entity by as of now. Not many people can push themselves so hard for the sake of a goal, even if that goal is to avenge their loved ones.
When I look at her, I somewhat feel ashamed of my own growth. Even almost two years, adding on my knowledge of when I am an Ogre Lord, my growth is simply about the same as that of Asellus.
Thinking about it, I let out a huge sigh.
(Don’t be too hard of yourself, master. Mystics have different growth than humans, remember? Without the [Absorption] of Wourein and your guidance, she wouldn’t have come this far.) (Eva)
That’s true to an extent, I guess…
I walk up closer to her, and when she noticed my presence Asellus quickly tried to get up, somewhat wobbling as she tries to do so.
“Don’t, you’ve already train hard today and beyond that. For the rest of the day, you’ll have to rest up; let me find the food this time around.” (Gideon)
I extend a hand to help her up, which she look fixedly at for a short moment before reaching towards it slowly. Feeling a slight impatience, I extend my hand even further and grab hers instead, pulling her up from the floor.
“Hmm, what’s wrong? Your face is slightly flushed…are you alright?” (Gideon)
“It’s…it’s nothing! Excuse me for a moment!” (Asellus)
With that, Asellus removes her hand from my grasp and makes a strong effort to run back to the hideout. What’s with her today; she’s acting all weird…
(Ah, master…you are a sinful being to seduce a married female.) (Eva)
I enter the hideout and lay on my bed, as I try to calm myself down with deep breaths.
Just now, why did I hesitate to hold his hand? Why did I give out such a weird noise when he hold my hand and pulled me up?
I don’t know…all I know is that I feel weird inside. Just what is happening to me? This has never happened before in my life.
Just when did this start? I mean…this is all too weird! I can’t possibly be…in love with him, with Gideon, can I?
At the idea of that, I roll around my bed in embarrassment while covering my face with my hands. They feel burning hot, which only serve to fuel my embarrassment. Only after a while did I manage to calm myself down slightly.
…But it’s not like this is a bad feeling, is it? I don’t know much about this past, so I don’t know if he even has a sweetheart at all. But judging by his age, I don’t think he has one at all?
But wait, age is quite a deceiving for an abnormality such as him…after all, his identity is one of the [Six Pillars], the Ogre Lord Buvul. I tried to get him to talk about it a few times, as well as his past, but he seems unwilling to talk much about it. The only piece of information I manage to get from him is that he died from an attack of a traitor, and somehow his soul and consciousness is now combined with this body of a human youngling.
…I just don’t know anymore, sigh…
My feelings are in a mess, just what do I see about him anyway? True, he’s very mature for his age, strong and powerful, it’s as though no one can match his might, even among demons. Come to think about it, we have spent plenty of time together alone.
Once again, after that thought popped into my mind, my emotions went on another whirl, as my entire face flush red.
Just what was I thinking?! I mean, my whole mind was just filled with the thought of revenge so I didn’t think too much about it, but now remembering it again is just plain embarrassing!
“…What are you doing?” (Gideon)
I look up, only to see Gideon carrying a huge carcass of a Grand Marshal Tiger while staring at me with a weird gaze.
This is the point where my embarrassment hit its peak, and I started to throw sticks at him randomly, and he panicky ran out of the hideout with a confused look on his face.
I should go apologize to him later…
Author : Kiribou