Chapter 159: The Powerful Weak And The Fragile Strong

Back inside the room, I sat in a meditating position on the bed as I tried to calm down my nerves then detect the problem.

What happened? → Shen

[Host has weakened the defensive system against the devil for almost 10 seconds. Before the devil could do anything else, I had to stimulate the host’s aura into defensive mode once again.]

I entered in a contact with my Second Will and what he told me made my heart shock once again.

But all I did was to feel calm for once… am I not allowed even this much? → Shen

With the same neutral and strong tone, the inner spirit said such:

[Until the devil has not been rid of, the host must remain in a state of defensive and awareness 24/7. The sense of calm and pleasure can be felt, but if it would endanger the host’s concentration then I recommend to keep the contact with such feelings to a bare minimum.]

Was it like that even before I was aware of the devil? → Shen

[No. The one called Rosabhi was deeply hidden inside the soul in a state of hibernation. However, the strong feelings experienced by the host, together with the strong energies absorbed by the host made the devil stronger and more aware of himself and his surroundings.]

How can I get rid of him? I don’t want to remain with my heart tensed up for my entire life. → Shen

[Through direct confrontation with the devil. The host tried this before but failed considerably. As of now, by how you are at the moment, I do not recommend.]

…Understood… → Shen

Feeling frustrated by the news, I simply shook my head as I thought again about Sylvia’s behavior and appearance from just now.

The way I am now… I can’t open up to her, however much I’d wish to. → Shen

My heart stung as the feeling of frustration only strengthened inside me. I then clenched my fists and tried to enter into an even deeper meditation.

If I’m too weak, then all I have to do is to get stronger. I have to defeat this devil and regain the freedom of my heart… At least I found another goal. → Shen

As I continued to meditate and strengthen my mind together with my spirit, Sylvia also returned to her room, trying to visualize what the future has reserved us.

The next morning Sylvia knocked on my door only to offer me a blue memory-crystal. With my devil-eyes, I observed a blue string that separated itself from the crystal and reached far away in South. Seeing me so confused Sylvia started explaining in a calm tone.

“This memory crystal has been connected by me to another memory crystal, making you able to see what the other crystal shows with no time-lag.” → Sylvia
“… you mean this is like filming live?” → Shen

I asked dumbfounded and Sylvia nodded calmly. She then got up and continued:

“Ryu told me that you might wish to visualize the duel between Ashura and Khalid. They will fight inside the Valley where you fought against Yuri while the barrier around the kingdom will be strengthened just in case their attacks would reach Antara’s buildings. Well then, I’ll go now.” → Sylvia

Just as she wanted to turn and leave, I instinctively reached out, grabbing her by the wrist. We both stared confused at one another and I instantly released her, unable to understand why I just did what I did. Seeing my confusion, Sylvia smiled calmly and sat right beside me.

“So I understand that you want to watch the duel together?” → Sylvia
“Eh? Err… As you wish.” → Shen

I wasn’t sure how to answer her question so I unconsciously talked from the pride rather than from what I really wanted.

The more she’s by my side, the more childish I feel… No. I must not let myself relax, or the seal will weaken once again. God, that sucks…. → Shen

I shook my head, trying to ignore the useless feelings and calm my heart.

“I understand, then I’ll stay right here and go later. Is this alright with you~?” → Sylvia
“I said do as you wish…” → Shen

I answered grumpily as I strengthened my mind while Sylvia chuckled lightly, then the crystal lit up. A holographic screen of one-meter diameter appeared and Ryu’s wide smile appeared on the screen. His eyes then turned naughty as he saw me with Sylvia sitting side by side, our shoulders almost touching.

[My oh my~! Shen, you beast~. Tell me how much fun you had last night, aye~?] → Ryu

“Get to the point, bastard.” → Shen

My eyes reddened for a moment as I felt my veins bulge on my forehead. Sylvia only laughed, amused at my reaction, then she also asked Ryu with the same mischievous smile.

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“We did nothing, King Ryu. However, I’m sure that Miss Bonny will surprise you tonight quite a bit~.” → Sylvia

[Eh? What do you  mean?] → Ryu

Both Ryu and I stared confused at Sylvia as she held her finger at her lips, mimicking a vow of silence.

“It’s a surprise~.” → Sylvia

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[Gulp.] → Ryu

Ryu instinctively swallowed as he thought of the best possible surprise, thinking for himself with a  red face.

“Ryu. Please focus already.” → Shen

[Eh? Ah. Alright, alright, sorry~.]

I said in annoyance then Ryu excused himself as he rushed through the Window of the main tower, letting me watch a few new buildings and an entirely new design of the kingdom… Actually, it was like an entirely new capital.

“Just where are you, Ryu? Is that really Antara?” → Shen

I asked baffled while Sylvia giggled as she expected my reaction. With a conflicted feeling Ryu explained for he still couldn’t believe what happened himself.

[Well… Do you remember when you explained to me that I built the kingdom in the wrong place? I also told Sylvia that at one point and she said that she could help me with that. At first, I wasn’t that sure what she meant, only to see her suddenly turn an entire chain of mountains into one great kingdom, spamming for more than 4 kilometers and being completely made of the same mountains… You don’t even know what goddess of a woman you got by your side, bro.] → Ryu

“You mean, her…?” → Shen

With a baffled expression, I pointed at Sylvia, still doubting what Ryu just said. While seeing me point toward her, Sylvia lightly slapped my finger away and asked with a pout.

“And what is that supposed to mean? You yourself called me a goddess for quite a few times as well.” → Sylvia
“Yeah, but I was referring to appearances alone. Power-wise, that’s absurd.” → Shen

[Wait, Shen? You called her goddess again? How come?] → Ryu

“Er…” → Shen

I was unable to tell him that it was when I saw her naked atop the lake under the rays of the blue moon, so I hastily changed the subject and asked once again.

“Alright. So what about the duel?” → Shen

[Right. Here we are. It just started.] → Ryu

“W-what the hell…? Is that Iron-Wolf, or something?” → Shen

[I know, right? Even I was mesmerized for a moment when I saw that beauty.] → Ryu

“I agree.” → Shen

Ryu stopped atop a defensive tower which had a direct view towards a huge crater that spammed around 1 km, filled with holes and ravines from previous fights. Inside the crater, Ashura equipped the fiery-red gauntlets I prepared for him back on the ship toward Eihwaz, while on the other side a wolf beast-man in a full-armor that covered even the tail, stood tall while he pressed buttons on a holographic screen in front of him. The armor had the head of a wolf, black sharp claws, a tail filled with spikes, and on his limbs, head, back, and chest, more magical circles were visible from which more wires separated and appeared to be sustained mid-air everywhere around the armor, the rest of the wires and tubes disappearing after reaching one cm from the armor. There were also many holes for tubes and rods that waited to be connected on something everywhere around the armour.

“Are those… Spatial storage magic-circles?” → Shen

I asked stupefied as I observed Yuri’s magic circles on top of Khalid’s super armor.

[Ah, so that’s what it was? When I asked Khalid, he told me that it’s a surprise. Now I’m really curious about what he reserved for us for this fight.] → Ryu

“I’m not sure about it, myself. Yuri taught him only depositing magic. It was nothing for combat.” → Shen

[Wait. Depositing? T-then that’s more than enough for him…] → Ryu

Ryu already knew about Khalid’s latest creations and felt like something ridiculous will appear the next moment.

“Wait. What do you-“ → Shen

-BAAM!-

Just as I wanted to ask, from inside a magic circle atop Khalid’s armored claws, an anti-tank sniper suddenly appeared and shot out a bullet, flying so fast one would think it was a beam. Ashura simply tilted his head and dodged the deadly bullet, as a little bloody cut still appeared on his cheek.

“Oy bastard. What are you doing?” → Ashura

Ashura asked annoyed and Khalid answered in a calm manner, a rather robotic voice resounding from inside the armor.

[What I’m doing? You told me I can start whenever. Don’t cry now for being unprepared.] → Khalid

A vein bulged on Ashura’s forehead as he shot out like a bullet toward Khalid.

“Oh yeah? Then eat this! [Sunset]!” → Ashura

Ashura appeared right in front of Khalid and rose his leg for an ax-kick.

[No need.] → Khalid

A blue shine covered Khalid entirely as he quickly moved to the side and wanted to strike at Ashura’s leg.

“You’d wish- ugh?!” → Ashura

Just as Ashura wanted to jump, a sudden explosion resounded from Khalid’s leg as the initial visible speed grew by ten-fold, striking Ashura’s leg and making him trip in quite the violent manner, spinning in the air still not touching the ground.

“Little tricks!” → Ashura

He continued the spin mid-air and landed on his one arm, then spun around with both legs striking around like a whirlwind in an attempt to distance Khalid from himself. However-

[Useful tricks.] → Khalid

His armor now shone with a green aura and Khalid hastily blocked the strike, the ground-breaking under him but his position stable.

What the hell is this now? He’s like a mountain. → Ashura

As Ashura thought surprised, Khalid’s aura turned red and with a ridiculously strong kick, he sent Ashura flying until he struck the mountain in front. Khalid stared at his arms and observed multiple cracks from that one kick, a sharp glint forming in his eyes.

What a monster. The aura of a Mountain Turtle of S+ rank and the usage of just as rare materials and you tell me he still damaged them? I can say that even tungsten is weaker by a large margin from what I got here… Well, even so-… → Khalid

He placed his hand at his forehead as if trying to gaze in the distance, pinpointing the place where Ashura crashed.

[If only I used a bat for that. It would’ve been a Homerun.] → Khalid

“W-what the hell!? Did that monster Ashura actually got sent flying into the mountain nearby?! Just what has Khalid done to achieve such powers?!”
“This brat Khalid is a master craftsman. His dexterity in handiwork, his precise focus, his sharp mind, and rich imagination. Combine such a prodigy of craftsmen with a little genius mage and you’ll acquire one of the most ridiculous creations that ever appeared on Sario. I’m sure that even gods would raise an eyebrow at such machinery.”

Many people were sitting on the Mountain-City’s defensive walls and towers, spectating the duel between two little monsters of completely different power-ranks. While one was one of the peak warriors of Antara, the other was the greatest craftsman and at the same time the weakest young man of the kingdom. Everyone looked with wide-open eyes at Khalid who was now sitting confidently in the middle of the crater, waiting for Ashura to appear from in-between the boulders. Tara who stood atop one of the towers beside Bonny and Ryu looked with a conflicted glint in her eyes, not knowing for who to root. Seeing the sadness in her eyes, Bonny patted her head and said:

If you don’t know for who to root, then just enjoy the show. That was a saying from when I was just a kid and had to watch different sportive matches with my father. You don’t have to cheer and neither do you need to choose one of them. You just have to accept the fact that they both fight for their own reasons, for their own goals. Neither of them is right or wrong, they’re just defending their own ideals.” → Bonny
“Understood… Thank you, Queen Bonny.” → Tara

Tara nodded and tried to continue looking, her hands still tightly clenched at her chest, begging for this duel to end with no accidents.

Back inside my own room, both Sylvia and I stared at Khalid with great interest as we understood most of his secrets that he already showed.

“Shen. The red, blue, and green auras. Are those from Monster Cores?” → Sylvia
“You said it right… And that armor must’ve been created from attributeless materials so it could absorb any kind of essence equally: The blue one for speed, the green one for toughness, and the red one for brute strength. And by the power showed, every core must be at least from an S+ monster.” → Shen
“Yes… He must be hiding the three orbs inside the spatial magic-circles. Also, that little explosion that appeared behind his leg to boost his speed. I think it was the same spatial magic. Using the shockwave from the little bombs to speed his kicking power… what a crafty mind.” → Sylvia
“To think he found so many usages for that little magic-circle Yuri showed him… And seeing by how his entire armor is covered in them, I’m really curious what else he’s hiding. That Sniper Rifle left me baffled for a moment.” → Shen

Inside the great crater, the eyes of the wolf-like armor started to shine with yellow light as he tried to detect Ashura’s presence.

I can’t believe that I knocked that idiot out. He must’ve bounced right back here the moment he landed on the mountain… Just what is he doing? → Khalid

[DANGER!]

Suddenly a red screen appeared in front of Khalid as his armor detected a great amount of energy focused at one point from right at the base of the mountain.

So he can use his head as well! → Khalid

Khalid’s aura turned blue and hastily jumped in the air with full power, also using the shockwave from more little bombs bellow his legs.

[Nova Explosion]

Just as he jumped, a great beam of light flashed for a moment, completely obliterating the ground between Ashura and Khalid’s former position, striking the barrier from the kingdom with a loud BANG. However, the barrier didn’t even shake but the ground everywhere around the outer part of the barrier was now turned into magma. Everyone looked baffled at the destruction created by that one beam that flashed for not even one full second, making everyone wonder just what kind of duel was this.

B-brother! Just what are you thinking?! → Tara

Tara barely held herself not to interfere and stop the duel, thinking that if Khalid were to take such a strike head-on, not even a part of his fur would remain unburnt and charred.

“Tsk, so you saw that coming.” → Ashura

Ashura walked outside from behind more destroyed boulders and Khalid landed to the side of the deep ravine just created, fury washing over him.

[So to understand, this is a Deathmatch?] → Khalid

“No? Well, maybe? Depends on how well you’ll fight.” → Ashura

[Just what is your goal? To finish me? If so, then stop hitting around the bush and get to it.] → Khalid

Khalid shone with golden light and every bigger magic-circle from his armor showed out a weapon that instantly connected to him: from his two hands, what looked like mini-guns, suddenly appeared. From his shoulders, two long cylinders that looked like those of an anti-tank sniper rose in the air then pointed their muse at Ashura. Then from his back, two huge bazookas appeared then locked onto the enemy in front with a domineering appearance. Right after, Khalid shone with a red shine as the ground cracked from the weight pressuring him, the new weapons weighing at least a few tons together. From the two mini-guns, a long chain of bullets was connected from two magic circles under the two great cannons. A long magazine with quite the width for both snipers while two huge and thick boxes atop the two cannons, automatically loading them with strong explosives.

“W-what is that!? A tank!?”

Many players jumped up in shock after seeing how Khalid was armed to teeth and even Ryu with Bonny looked stupefied. I also froze in place after seeing the all too familiar weaponry and instinctively gulped as I was taught since a child the destructive power of such weapons.

Even though I could do hundreds of times more damage with no weapon, they still make my heart pound every time I see them. → Shen

A restless grin appeared on my face as I looked more intently at Khalid, waiting to see more of his many creations.

Ashura stared somewhat confused at the many tubes and cylinders that appeared on Khalid, then a sudden chill on his spine made him understand that whatever Khalid tried to do, it was something that would make him lose the bet if he stood still.

[Now come and kill me if you can.] → Khalid

Two rockets shot out from the bazookas, two beams of light shot out from the two snipers, while close to a few dozens of bullets per second shot out from the two mini-guns.

“What in the- woah!?” → Ashura

Ashura shot out from where he stood and the two rockets missed him by a hair-thread while the salvo of bullets penetrated everything in the place where Ashura stood a while back, making the ground resemble swiss cheese.

“T-that was close. And, did those two things just rush right into my direction?” → Ashura

Ashura looked back and observed how the rockets suddenly turned and followed him once again, while from behind, Khalid redirected the bullet salvo towards him once again.

“S***! Just what is this?! I feel no mana from these things!” → Ashura

He hastily ran while nothing but holes were left behind, then Khalid accurately pointed the two snipers at the running Ashura, a serious expression on his covered face.

[Target locked. Fire.] → Khalid

Right after, two bullets shot out towards Ashura’s head and heart, making him feel another chill down his spine as he saw the two snipers and how they were positioned.

T-this f*****! He knows about my weakness!? → Ashura

He quickly tilted his head as the bullet took one of his horns while the other one struck one of his shoulders.

Bugh!” → Ashura

The horn was completely obliterated while his arm flew away.

J-just what are these bullets?! Their destructive might is ridiculous! → Ashura

Then he felt the danger from behind and shot out of the way in a hurry.

-BOOM~!!!-

The two rockets struck the ground and a great explosion comparable with a normal [Nova] of mine sent Ashura flying while spitting blood.

“T-those rockets are much stronger than those normal ones from back home…”
“Y-yeah. This Khalid is ridiculous…”

The players commented together while cold sweat fell down their backs, thinking that being struck by such heavy bullets must’ve hurt quite a bit.

Brother… → Tara

Tara was also looking with her hands at her mouth, her heart aching from pain. And thinking that she assisted at the creation of the bullets made her feel even more pain.

Ryu and I both looked with solemn expressions on, thinking that if they start to fight with their lives on the line then the duel must be stopped then and there while the bet between the two to be canceled.

Ashura’s eyes reddened from frustration and rage as he saw the next salvo of bullets rush towards him. Then his eyes shone with a red glint as he roared furiously, his aura exploding as well.

[Solar Pressure]!

The ground ten meters around him sunk a few centimeters while the bullets that were close to striking him instantly bent their trajectory and struck the ground in front of Ashura’s feet.

[Hm? Then what about this?] → Khalid

Khalid pointed the two snipers at him again and shot both of them at the same critical points. The bullets passed through the gravitational pressure, but Ashura simply blocked both of them with his one gauntlet, the other one being sent flying together with his arm. A furious expression on his face as he slowly stepped toward Khalid, his injuries visibly healing.

[I see you found a way to counter my toys.] → Khalid

He then shot out more rockets in succession, making them all target Ashura. Seeing the new wave of rockets coming right up to him, Ashura’s entire body started to redden as he shot out like a mad-man toward the salvo of rockets, a wild roar escaping his mouth.

“ROAAH!”

Right after, everything moved slower while his skin turned darker and luscious.

[Iron Body] + [Sharp Senses]

With quick moves he gently slapped the rockets to fly by him, accurately redirecting them in a further area so the shockwave won’t affect him so harshly. Even he himself was shocked by how ridiculously well he was doing by evading and redirecting the rockets.

I’m doing so well…? No, this is no time to think about it. Just, don’t even think. Feel! → Ashura

[Yes. This is the way, kid. Ignore everything else and let your senses take control. Your mind is nothing but an obstacle to the true power you desire!]

A sinister and heavy voice resounded inside Ashura. Time moved slower while the rockets now seemed to fly in slow-motion. With fluid moves Ashura redirected the rockets in a more relaxed manner, gently pressing on the rockets then changing their trajectory, closer and closer to Khalid.

[… This kid is changing.] → Khalid

The armor’s eyes shone with a yellow light once again and observed how the level of energy emanated by Ashura was continuously growing and transforming. From the explosive aura he had before, to a more fluid and controlled one, but at the same time, resembling like a raging and mocking volcano that was ready to erupt.

This won’t work on him any longer. Time for plan B. → Khalid

Khalid then reabsorbed all the weapons inside the spatial magic-circles and took out one double-edged two-handed black sword that had a tube connected to the handle, connecting to the armor at the back, on one magic-circle from other four, making for a total of five magic-circles right at the belt-area from behind.

“Take this back.” → Ashura

Right then Ashura deviated the last rocket backward toward Khalid. Seeing his own rocket returned, Khalid simply waved his sword, and then a sharp and quick wind-slash shot out towards it, cutting it into two and exploding right after passing him.

[This time we’re serious.] → Khalid

His aura turned blue once again, but this time with a stronger shine that even lightning flashed here and there repeatedly.

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