“We still can’t break through?” muttered Gizmo as he evaluates the battlefield with a frown.
Unlike Luon who was able to see their team units by using the command table, Gizmo had to use the manual method of having messengers and a map. Fortunately, one of the types of Inzektors that Luon had given him could signal each other from great distances and record the details for him. Otherwise, it would have been more challenging to advance onwards.
Despite having progressed before their enemies base with the Inzektors, they were having trouble with attacking the opponent’s team with the cruddy terrain. The demons who were summoned would intelligently focus their defenses around tight corridors, and create complicated pathing problems for them.
Gizmo felt that the Inzektors were like a congested walkway one would see in highly populated cities, only several times more troublesome as the Inzektors appeared disorganized. Gizmo tried to command them to maintain formation but found it difficult as there was no sense of coordination between the different Inzektors while in combat. Their innate sense of survival took over when it mattered the most.
At this moment the ground shook nearby, and the map on the table updated itself once more. The scattered miniature figurines of creatures shifted around as new ones were instantly formed with the help of an Inzektor. Before Gizmo’s eyes was a miniature of a demon that was currently surrounded by Inzektors. This action had happened numerous times since their attack had started. Coming from where the disturbance was located were a group of Demons who launched a surprise attack out of nowhere, this was caused by demons known as Rift Walkers.
The Inzektors dispatched their foes relatively quick but had lost a numerous of Inzektor as these demons were carrying explosives on them. The only thing he could do about the attack was to eliminate the source before it could spread, but in exchange, their rate of production was balanced by how many were continuously eliminated.
In due time, this equilibrium will break, but who would have the upper hand of the battle? Whether or not Gizmo can tire them out with time, or the demons conjure an even stronger demonic being, only time could tell. But time was something that Gizmo did not have, right at any moment their base may fall due to the opponent’s offensive forces. However, Gizmo didn’t give up, if he could make a breakthrough, all would be well. If he had failed, he only hoped that Luon would be able to make a recovery by eliminating the enemy’s commander. A being who is above level 80.
Gazing at the tabletop once more he ponders about which action to take with his current set up.
A series of blade clashes resonated around the room. Luon and Deminier backed away after another engagement. Looking at the two from a distance, Luon appeared tired as he began to sweat profusely as if he had just run several kilometers without stopping. On the other hand, Deminier seemed relaxed as if he had just woken up and just did some light stretches despite having fought Inzektors for several minutes.
‘His vitality is amazing,’ Luon thought as he recalled their last exchanges. Luon needed to apply more pressure but found it difficult to do so. The force behind his blows wasn’t as strong as Deminier despite having the same speed. The only reason why he was still in this battle was due to his profound and complicated sword skills.
Deminier who appeared relaxed on the outside felt a slight of fear from the opponent in front of him. Compared to his strength his opponent was indeed no match for him, but every time he managed to get in the perfect position to attack his opponent, he would slightly pause giving his opponent just enough space to avoid his attack.
Why was he hesitating? Why couldn’t he finish off his opponent? Deminier asks himself, but he was unable to find an answer. All he needed was that one blow, a decisive attack to end all of this once and for all.
He thought about the scene of him killing Luon over and over again, he was not playing with his opponent, this match has a lot of weight behind it, and yet he kept hesitating everytime he sees Luon’s eyes. He had seen it many times before, but Luon’s seemed to have an unfamiliar flare to them. However, after he stopped exchanging blows with Luon, he managed to cool down and calm his thoughts. What was there to be afraid of? He had witnessed the pitiful cries of people when he severely beat them down, some of them had the same look that Luon had only to break down once they were injured, he believed that Luon would do the same.
‘Luon should be the same, there should be nothing different with him than the rest of the people I have faced,’ thought Deminier as he stares Luon down. Luon readied his stance as he warily watches Deminier’s every move. However, his next set of steps surprised him.
Deminier took a different stance, his sword stretched horizontally as he stood up straight, the aura around his body began to rise as dark clouds started emitting from his feet. Slowly from the bottom to the top Deminier was coated in dark armor as he said to Luon, “No more games, it’s time to end this once and for all.”
Deminier wore a full suit of black armor and stood before Luon’s eyes, in response, Luon did the same as he transformed using his belt to add a little more resistance. Luon could see with his eyes that although Deminier’s strength did not increase, his speed had increased due to the arcane runes that appeared on the armor.
Two fully armored warriors stood face to face, Luon readied his stance as he prepares himself for Deminier’s quick attack. As they continued to stare down, Deminier blurred before Luon’s vision and vanished. Luon knew he didn’t go invisible, it was just that he went faster than what an average person can see. However, Luon was just an average person, with his eyes he couldn’t see his opponent quickly moving towards him.
But eyes weren’t everything, Luon slowly motioned his body and predicted Deminier’s future attack, however, as he did so he saw the smile on Deminier’s face widen. Luon felt an eerie sensation as Deminier’s speed change once more. He changed his blade trajectory and landed a heavy blow on Luon’s shoulder.
The armor Luon equipped was able to protect Luon from this attack, but then it didn’t end there. Like a rag doll, Deminier chained a series of attacks on Luon before knocking him several meters away. To the crowd the match was over, Luon flew several meters before rolling on the ground for several more and coming to a stop.
Luon felt heavy, he coughed up some blood in response as the consecutive shockwaves had damaged his inner organs. Deminier watches Luon arrogantly as he watches Luon struggle to get up.
Stabbing his sword in the ground, he managed to stand up as he downed a recovery potion from his intraspatial bag. Deminier allowed him to do so as he thought it wouldn’t be enough to change his fate, and Luon wanted to wipe the smirk off his face.
As Luon looked up and faced Deminier a portion of mask broke down revealing one of his eyes. At this point, nobody thought Luon would be able to win. He wasn’t heavily injured after drinking the potion, but he felt weakness in his body from the release of blood. He knew it himself that this match is more than likely over. Luon didn’t give up though, his eyes flamed with passion as he was still determined to win.
Blood seeped out from his mask as he resumed a battle stance once more causing Deminier to laugh, he said, “Fool, although I do admire your determination to continue this battle, you need to know when to give up. If your actions aren’t foolish, I wonder what is? Hahaha! You can’t even hold your sword straight.”
The sword in Luon’s hands wavered, he felt fear, shame, anger, and more negative emotions as he desperately clings to his pride.
‘Could I still do this? It’s easier to just give up. Why am I fighting? Everyone already said it was enough,’ Luon thought as more and more negative thoughts appeared. Only his teammates still believed in him at this moment. The crowd, his opponents, even the headmaster of his school thought he wasn’t going to win, inwardly they thought that either third or fourth place was good enough for Nexus University, and they should be satisfied with that result.
Luon hesitated, at this moment he was indeed at a lost. He wasn’t able to win the match, triumph over evil, and save Arisa from her fate. Luon had always admired heroes, they were still able to change the battle around no matter how disadvantaged they were, but he couldn’t become one himself.
A wave of hopelessness washed over him as he began to lower his blade, seeing this Deminier laughed even harder as he began to stutter over.
“Are you satisfied?” Luon heard a voice ring inside of his head. The voice overwhelmed the negative emotions he had a few minutes ago. It was darkness he felt akin with, the accumulation of his hatred, depression, and negative feelings vanished with the presence of the voice.
‘Can I win this? It’s hopeless, there’s nothing I can do,’ Luon thought in response, he knew who the owner of the voice was, but he honestly believed that nothing could change the result. He had seen him in his dreams, his memories, and some way or another, Luon felt that he still existed within him and helped him when he needed the most.
The voice didn’t say a word causing Luon to feel depressed, he thought there indeed no solution to this problem. Deminier came closer, and Luon was almost in range of his blade. Just about a few meters away from him, the voice responded once more, “You didn’t answer my question. I said are you satisfied?”
‘Satisfied? Of course not, I’m not satisfied at all. How could I be?!’ Luon roared his discontent in his mind.
“Then, will you be willing to do anything for victory?” the voice responded back.
‘Anything? I would give everything, I would do anything to win this match,’ Luon responded as he thought of the possibility in his head.
“How willing are you? Would you be willing to sell your soul… your very existence to win this match?” the voice said.
Luon hesitated for a second before he responded firmly, ‘To be honest, I’m not sure. Although it isn’t the most logical thing to do, I feel like if I were to lose this match, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. This battle will forever haunt me, and if I can offer my very existence to win… I may be willing to do so. Also… I don’t think you would do any harm to my family and friends.’
“…” the voice became silent, soon Luon felt the darkness crept closer to him as he felt his skin shiver.
“Very well, embrace the darkness, your darkness,” said the voice as Luon mind was coated in black.
Meanwhile, Deminier raised his blade and said to Luon, “Too bad for you, don’t worry. I’ll treat everyone from Nexus a little more nicely, hahaha! I can kill you so easily I can do it with my eyes closed.”
Swinging down his blade with his eyes close, the crowd also closed their eyes to avoid the brutal execution. However, the boorish sound of blood spurting out didn’t occur. Instead, the sound of blades clashing appeared once more. The crowd turned back to see the scene of Luon blocking Deminer’s attack.
Deminier frowned and said, “Why don’t you just quit struggling already, it’s pointless to continue, and you know that.”
Luon didn’t respond, Deminier who arrogantly proclaimed to kill Luon without needing his eyes, opened them to see something frightening. Luon’s blue eyes turned black, and his expression became solemn as if he had aged physically despite looking very young. For some reason, he could feel the source of his fears coming from the darkness.
Deminier quickly distanced himself from Luon, however, as he did Luon had vanished from his spot and appeared behind Deminier.
‘How!’ Deminier thought until he realized that he was played like a fool. The defenseless Luon was actually a physical illusion as it was evident from the two Luon’s before him.
“This feeling… it’s nice to have a body once again,” said Luon as he clutched his hand open and closed, as he does so dark mana surrounded his body.
“You… who are you?!” asked Deminier as he realized something entirely off about Luon.
Luon stood in front of Deminier after giving his body a little shake and said, “Me? I’ll let you know in a few seconds… now…”
“Come,” Luon said as imposingly. Luon had spoken those words once more, only this time… it was several times more frightening.