XIV.1 The Twirl of Blades: For Her Freedom!

  Segenam glared as Harley twirled his summoned weapon around. The High Lord was raising his arms as if he expected everyone to cheer his name. Only a group of young noblewomen let out their cries of approval. He pointed a finger at them and winked to show his appreciation to them. Segenam tried to put his sword through the boundaries of the arena, only for a mystical barrier stopping the weapon from going through.

  “Oh, the crowd is so boring. As expected from the many old-timers here after all,” Harley quipped. “Shall we entertain them, Sir Segenam Hawkwood?”

  “Do you think this is a game, High Lord Harley? Moments from now, you will be taking this seriously.”

  “Oh, will I now? Say, Sir Segenam: what is a mouse to an elephant? Nothing more than a mere pest, yes?”

  Segenam smirked. “The size won’t matter if the mouse surprises the elephant first.”

  “Hmpf, fair point. Let’s see what the mouse has to offer. En garde, Segenam Hawkwood!”

  “Prepare yourself, Harley Eadburt!”

  The two were at a stand-still for a moment and the crowd murmured, wondering who will deliver the first blow. Segenam felt a drop of sweat drip from his forehead. He had fought many battles to get where he was right now, but this may be his most difficult trial yet. He saw Harley’s mana flowing all around the arena and despite the threat his opponent posed, he readied his blade without hesitation.

  A gush of wind erupted from Harley’s spot and the lord disappeared.

  To the left! He thought.

  Segenam blocked Harley’s attack and ground their weapons upon one another. Four instantaneous strikes followed hereafter. Deflecting the blows somehow caused a shallow cut on his hands. Harley disappeared once again and he trailed his eyes to follow his path of movement.

  “You’re open!” Segenam exclaimed.

  Knowing Harley would lunge for a blow, Segenam sidestepped. He pulled the lord close by grabbing his arm, then kneeing him down. Harley groaned, gasping for air. Segenam kicked him away, placing a single enchanted dagger on the ground before pursuing him.

  “Flame Blast!” he shouted.

  A burst of fire sparked and ignited the entire top portion of the arena. The flames turned into hot steam. Harley countered his assault by erecting a water barrier. He flashed and grabbed Segenam’s face, pounding him into the marble floor. The impact caused a crater on the flooring. Harley swung his sword down, causing another shockwave that rattled the entire estate.

  In the distance, Dickus gritted his teeth and stirred his tea restlessly while watching the chaos ensue. The Hawkwood family wasn’t so happy how this battle was turning out for them.

  Roman gasped. “Oh no, is Big Bro having a hard time with Lord Harley?!”

  “I thought he said he got this,” Julius said.

  Morrison grumbled. “Looks like Segenam got himself deep in this time.”

  “Big Bro is stronger than Harley, I know it!” Roman argued.

  Dickus patted Roman’s head and smiled. “Yes, believe in your brother as all of us do.”

  “Honey, is this battle necessary? I don’t think it’s healthy for both sides to be fighting each other,” Enna fretted.

  “He wanted this for a while. We cannot do anything but watch and have faith in him.”

  Dickus frowned, taking a sip from his tea to calm his nerves. “Do your best… Segenam.”

  The dust settled and Segenam’s weapon held against Harley’s. The two began pushing against each other’s blade and he was struggling to fight back.

  “Impressive you made it this far, but I’m afraid the winner has been decided, boy!” Harley gushed.

  “We’ll see about that. This is just the beginning!”

  Segenam managed to push Harley back. He took out another enchanted knife from his belt and placed it down again. They trailed to the right side of the arena, exchanging blow for blow. The progression of their strikes continued to ramp up in speed. Eventually, they were faster than the eye can see. The two interlocked swords: the sound of metal clanked loudly with sparks flying around them.

  Harley laughed. “Good, good! Why is it anger that I feel from your strikes?!”

  “This anger is going to pierce through you, Harley!”

  “I’m afraid not, you fool!”

  The moment Segenam shifted his focus, Harley launched him back. His speed was exponentially getting faster, and Segenam was barely able to track him down with his eyes and instincts. Harley landed slashing blows to his legs. Segenam gritted his teeth in pain and without getting rest, Harley gripped his face and slammed him at the arena barrier wall then threw him in the air.

  He was zipping all around, attempting to cut his opponent up into pieces as Segenam tried to deflect his assault. Harley twirled around, kicking his opponent back to the floor with a roundhouse. Segenam cried out in agony and his landing made the floor crack beneath him. He struggled to get up as blood dripped from his wounds and stood on his two feet with the help of his broken weapon.

  “Oh no…” Layette quavered.

  Seeing her brother in such a state, she was tempted to go down in the arena and stop the fight. She knew if he continued any longer, there will be lasting consequences to his figure. Unable to hold her temptation back any longer, she stepped on the railing and was ready to jump.

  Segenam saw this and yelled at the top of his lungs.

  “Don’t you dare, Layette!”

  “B-But you look beyond injured! This needs to stop, brother!”

  “I decide when this fight ends!”

  Segenam’s grip on his blade tightened. “I won’t let him win, no matter the cost!”

  Layette shook her head, expressing a worrisome look. “Y-You’ll die, you idiot! Stop this, please! I don’t want to see you hurt for my sake!”

  Harley sighed and massaged the back of his neck. “I agree with her, dear friend. It’s adrenaline that’s keeping you going. Don’t embarrass yourself any further.”

  Segenam gritted his teeth and a dark aura rose from his body. “Harley Eadburt, you shall fall here!”

  He jabbed a third enchanted knife on the ground in front of him, then, he put his arm in front and chains manifested out on the palm of his hand. They immediately wrapped around Harley’s body and constricted him. He twirled around, dragging his opponent across the marble floor, then up to the ceiling.

  With a quick pull, sent Harley back to the ground. Dust accumulated around them. After a moment, Segenam was pulled to the cloud of soot. Harley grabbed the hunter’s neck and thrust his sword deep into his abdomen. The lord cast him aside as if he was a mere toy, making Segenam slam to the barrier.

  He took a couple of steps before propelling himself to Segenam. Segenam saw this, managing to avoid the lunge of the sword. He kicked Harley back, forcing a distance between them. Popping a smoke bomb and unraveled a set of knives, he threw them at Harley’s location. Sparks flew all over the place as Harley deflected them with ease.

  He doesn’t know where I am! I got this! Segenam thought.

  He thrust his sword into the white smoke, expecting his weapon to land a decisive blow. Harley dodged effortlessly and kicked Segenam away. The High Lord put his hand forth and a green magic circle manipulated itself around his arm.

  “Earth Prison!” he shouted.

  Segenam noticed the floor beneath him wrapped itself around his legs. Before the earth reached him, he dropped the fourth enchanted knife in front of him. The rock covered his entire body and restricted him from moving. He struggled all his might but couldn’t budge. Harley chuckled and when he approached Segenam, he displayed his weapon and pointed the tip of the sword near his opponent’s throat.

  “I believe this is the part you surrender, Sir Segenam. You have fought valiantly, but your strength compares nothing to mine.”

  Harley raised his sword. “Your eyes show conviction. Even the courageous have limits of their boldness. I win, so yield.”

  Segenam smirked. “You win? Hey Harley, you know of my family’s origins, right?”

  “What of it? Hawkwoods are former Hunters.”

  “My family has a sacred spell to trap and destroy even the strongest of monsters. You, High Lord Harley, have lost.”

  A magic circle manifested itself to the ends of the arena barrier. The knives Segenam had planted earlier illuminated in bright blue. Before Harley was able to react, he was pulled into the center of the arena. The light began to condense itself and the High Lord had to bear with the insane pressure. The rocks which bounded Segenam let loose and he raised his arm above. Red markings burned itself onto his skin and as he gritted his teeth,

  “This is the only thing I can think of that will defeat you!” Segenam shouted. “A spell that even makes the demons fall to their knees!”

He began to chant:

By the command of my ancestors,

To bring forth salvation against the odds,

To defeat the demons before me,

I seal their fates and mine!

Ruinöses Schicksal!!!

  The chanting caused the light to glow even brighter and Harley saw his arm twisting into an awkward position.

  He screamed in pain and struggled to get out. “Ugh, what is this?! Are you trying to kill me you curr?!”

  “You die where you stand, you monster! Grand Spell: Infinity Barrier!”

  Several layers of yellow mystical shields covered Segenam, and a green light hovered over his wounds, slowly healing him.

  “By the Gods. What is he doing?! He’s using the ‘Ruinous Fate’?! Is he out of his mind?!” Morrison exclaimed.

  Dickus’s eyes widened and he stood up. “Everyone, please get up from your seat and leave now! This spell is going to destroy this area!”

  All the guests were escorted outside of the ballroom with the guidance of the guards. Dickus and the other High Lords stayed behind, and the clown lord covered his eyes as the light glowed brighter and brighter. Never had he thought his own son would use the household’s secret spell to defeat Harley.

  After the visitors left the scene, it was up to the High Lords and the mages to contain the blast. Dyrus and Argus cast several grandmaster protection spells and with the help of the mages, the situation seemed to be under control. Before they knew, the spell broke through the protective barriers one by one. Dyrus and Argus accumulated more mana into the last layer, trying to prevent it from shattering.

  Dickus cast his arm to the side. “The spell cannot be contained by anything related to magic! Lancelot use your shield to reflect it upwards. Dyrus, Argus, use whatever you can to make sure that reflect doesn’t break! Morrison help Lancelot hold the shield!”

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  “Right!” everyone agreed.

  Lancelot took out his sword and by throwing it into the air, it turned into a giant shield. Morrison’s arms became fiery red and he helped Lancelot hold the shield firmly. The shield emitted blue panels that surrounded Segenam and Harley.

  “Dyrus, Argus, everyone! Get behind this shield now!” Morrison commanded. “Make sure it doesn’t break!”

  Dyrus and Argus commanded various spells to enhance the shield’s durability and strengthening its reflection boundary. While everyone who was exposed out in the open gathered behind the grand shield, Layette, Scarlet, and Zyna were still on the upper floor. They struggled to maintain their composure. The ground started to break beneath them and before they were able to react, the floor broke and the three fell into the rubble. They yelled when the rocks toppled on them.

  The entire area exploded, the sky was lit into a blue streak of spectacle, going through the glass roof above. The reflecting boundary started to crack, and despite their efforts trying to reduce its power, the shield shattered, and the blue light engulfed the entire estate. Everyone was blasted away and seemingly consumed by the Ruinous Fate. The ground rumbled and it took a minute before everything began to settle.

  Layette opened her eyes to see the debris an eyelash away from crushing her. She looked to her right to see Zyna save the three of them from being buried by the rubble. The Witch summoned gale winds to get the wreckage off from them. Scarlet stood and help the other two on their feet. Zyna dusted herself off and chuckled.

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  “Oh my, I never thought the fight would go this far. Spectacular, yet damaging for sure,” she remarked.

  “Segenam you damn idiot! This is supposed to be a bout! Why are you trying to kill Harley?!” Scarlet shouted.

  In the distance, the three saw Segenam crawl out from the rubble. Before Layette was able to rush to his aid, the rocks beside him exploded into pieces. It was Harley, but he was not his usual self. His skin was extremely scaly and soon, his body shed. Bits and pieces of white, dead skin slowly fell to the floor and the High Lord stood as a tail whipped out from his behind.

  The man was in his Divine Beast form: most of his human skin replaced with blue scales, two horns on his forehead, hands turned into monster-like claws, and he had webbed aquatic ears. He chuckled and fixed his dislocated shoulder.

  “An interesting spell, Segenam, but I fear that is going to cost you.”

  Harley raised his blade, with the intent to end Segenam’s life. “Begone from my sight.”

  Layette yelled at the top of her lungs, summoning the Jeweled Sky upon her hand. Their weapons clashed, and she pushed her blade down on him.

  “You… You’re trying to kill him!” she yelled.

  “I do not want to hurt your pretty face, my dear. Stay out of this.”

  “Just try me, you bastard!”

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