Chapter 729: Clash (2/2)

Just as Siegfried had been surprised by the fact that Vahn hadn’t dodged, Vahn was experiencing a similar degree of shock when, instead of twisting and moving away, Siegfried instead leaned ‘into’ the blow. At the same time, Siegfried began to jerk his wings, which had been buried into Vahn’s body, ‘open’, attempting to strain them inside the body of Vahn so that he wouldn’t be able to move. Since he was certain Vahn could have dodged, Siegfried knew that Vahn must have had a way to stave off the seemingly fatal blow, especially since the aura radiating off of Vahn’s body hadn’t diminished at all.

Pressing forward with his knife-hand, glowing white hot with the infusion of fire elemental energy, Vahn’s fingers touched against Siegfried’s back…and broke. As if he had hit an indestructible piece of Adamantine, Vahn’s hand buckled under the force of Siegfried’s moment as the wings that had pierced through his body, already causing him a great deal of pain, became taught within his flesh. It felt like he was about to be torn apart but, instead of backing away, Vahn infused his source energy into his crushed hand, causing Siegfried to sharply inhale before opening his wings completely, tearing Vahn’s body apart in the same movement.

Without assuming that Vahn had been defeated, Siegfried opened up a distance of more than 200m in a single movement, observing Vahn while brandishing his sword, eyes staring unblinkingly towards what would have been the corpse of a normal person. As for Vahn himself, he was beginning to realize how difficult it was to fight against someone that had a lot of battle experience, especially if they had fought against others with unique abilities. The words of Eva echoed through his mind as the wounds on his body healed almost completely in just under two seconds.

Just as he had risen to his feet, Vahn wasn’t surprised by the fact that Siegfried was already in front of him, golden eyes trained with intense focus as he buried the dark blue claymore deep into Vahn’s chest. Unable to resist the secondary pulse that spread through his body from the ridiculous force, Vahn coughed up a mouthful of blood onto Siegfried’s face before placing his white-hot hands against the blade piercing his body. Having learned his lesson previously, Vahn infused source energy into the flames and attempted to destroy Siegfried’s weapon, even if it was an S-Grade piece of equipment.

Things didn’t go as planned, however, as the blue blade began to change shape, much like Fafnir’s scales. In an instant, Vahn felt the blades tear through his body, branching through his organs as Siegfried muttered, “That is quite a fearsome ability, kid…I hope it holds up…” Though he normally wouldn’t spare his opponents any words during a fight, Siegfried was impressed by the regenerative ability of Vahn. At this point, he was confident that he had identified all of Vahn’s rare skills, being the strange light in his eyes, the speed at which Vahn could move, and his regeneration. It was well documented that people, regardless of how much they trained, could only develop three rare skills. Many battles between people at the peak revolved around identifying your opponent’s abilities so, now that he had figured out Vahn’s, Siegfried was confident in his victory.

Feeling the blades coil around and embed into his flesh, Vahn clenched his teeth to resist the pain while his [Will of the Emperor] went into overdrive. The problem was, even though he wouldn’t be defeated by such an attack, Vahn couldn’t move anymore. Turning off his [Magia Erebea] would put him in a compromising position, with his body being torn apart and only slowly regenerating, but Vahn was struggling to come up with a solution. He didn’t want to reveal the existence of [Enkidu] during a fight against a powerful opponent with close ties to gods, nor did he want to use his true trump cards unless he was pushed into a corner…

Fortunately, as he resisted the blades tearing through his body, Vahn felt a powerful energy begin to stir within him, bringing with it memories that had long been buried in his mind. Thus, though it was very painful to do so, Vahn began to laugh in an eerie and uninhibited manner, causing Siegfried to lift his body before pinning it into the ground. Then, doing something beyond the pain threshold of anything Vahn had ever experienced, Siegfried twisted his blade, and all the branching blades attached to it. Vahn felt like his body had been ‘blended’ in an instant as his head separated from the rest of his body.

Siegfried watched as the ‘pieces’ of Vahn immediately gathered towards him at an incredible speed, moving even faster than he would have been able to manage. He was awed by the existence of an ability that would allow a person to regenerate, even if their body was turned into paste and their head was separated from their body. His assumption was that Vahn’s head was the ‘key’ but, as he didn’t truly wish to kill Vahn, Siegried had avoided hitting the head. A part of him was also worried that, even if he smashed Vahn’s head, it wouldn’t be effective…

Though he couldn’t keep up with the larger flow of Sage bits, Siegfried grabbed a small part of Vahn as he once again opened up a distance to observe. He could feel the piece wiggling around in his palm, trying to escape his grasp before, to Siegfried’s exasperation, it ‘dissolved’ before completely disappearing. It had been one of Vahn’s fingers and, seeing that it had regrown on the boy in question, Siegfried knew this was going to be a troublesome fight. He needed to find out the mechanic behind what made Vahn’s regeneration possible, with his first assumptions being that it relied on the boy’s internal mana. However, since Vahn had been able to regenerate from having his body annihilated, Seigfried knew it was more complicated than that.

Deciding that he needed to test the limits of Vahn’s regeneration, Siegfried revealed one of his own trump cards. Blue scales began to sprout from his face, neck, and ears as he leaned forward and released a powerful flame breath that was reminiscent of a welding torch. The blue flame created a conical shape that turned caused all the nearby trees to immediately catch fire as the ground below melted into glass. To his surprise, however, Vahn just jumped towards him with a strange fiery claymore appearing in his right hand. Siegfried’s eyes widened when he saw the blade, but not nearly as much as they did when he saw Vahn moved ‘through’ his flames. It was as if they had no effect on him whatsoever, only burning away the layer of clothes he had been wearing without a single burn anywhere on his body. (A/N: I know some people will recall that Lefiya had managed to ‘burn’ Vahn with her magic, but you have to remember that was Light-based, not actual Fire.)

Only allowed on

Swinging his [Laevateinn] forward, Vahn felt a very powerful urge to let Siegfried feel what it was like to have his body cut apart. He didn’t consider himself a vengeful person by nature, but Siegfried’s attacks had shaken Vahn’s heart and mind a little, making him somewhat resentful of the powerful Dragon Knight before him. Unfortunately, Siegfried parried his blow with ease, causing Vahn to feel helpless as the blue claymore bisected his body in two. Before he attached back together, Siegfried grabbed his face and jumped away from the lower half of his body. Vahn felt like he was being pulled like the anchor of a ship before Siegfried tossed him forward like a ragdoll, far away from the other half of his body.

After throwing Vahn, Siegfried looked back to watch the naked lower body begin to ‘evaporate’ into black particles. He wanted to see if there was an effective range to Vahn’s regeneration but, after throwing the boy a few kilometers, it didn’t seem to be the case. Releasing a sigh, Siegfried tore away his shirt to reveal that his body muscular body had started to sprout dense blue scales. The longer he fought, the more his body would transform into that of a True Dragon, the result of his own rare skill [Tyrant Dragon’s Body]. He could also control the transformation himself, which had been what enabled him to produce his wings and block Vahn’s attempt to attack his spine. Still, with his body now laid bare, there was a small burn mark on his scales that irritated him even now.

Flapping his wings, Siegfried took to the sky to get a better vantage point, only to see several flashes of light as arrows flew towards his position. Normally, Siegfried wouldn’t have even bothered dodging such attacks but, with his powerful instincts, he immediately knew these weren’t simple arrows. Swiftly evading each of them, Siegfried then swept back with his sword as a trail of blue flames spread through the sky, burning the dangerous projectile.

The moment his flames contact them, however, the arrows seemed to ‘morph’ into black spheres that began to twist and distort space around them. Seeing this, Siegfried felt his scalp tingle, as space magic was one of the most difficult to deal with. No matter how tough his body was, there were some magic attacks that simply couldn’t be resisted with physical durability alone. Gravity magic was in that category and, even though it was his first time seeing such a phenomenon, Siegfried understood those small orbs used powerful gravity to tear apart the target.

Accompanying the tingling of his scalp, two sapphire-like horns branched out of Siegfried’s head and he charged toward the now clothed Vahn. Keeping a distance would potentially disadvantage him and, as he had already identified that Vahn’s strength couldn’t match his, Siegried intended to use close combat to suppress the boy. He realized he would need to completely seal Vahn’s movements if he wanted this fight to end as, even though Vahn had been using his ability for a long time, Siegfried hadn’t seen any indicator that it was taxing his energy to do so. In fact, Vahn’s energy seemed to replenish almost as quickly as it was used up, something that made Siegfried feel like he was trying to fight against the tides of the ocean. No matter how hard he struck them, the water would eventually beat back against him, to the point where the resultant tidal wave would even devastate the land where he had previously stood…

Placing away his bow, Vahn then brought his palms together, mentally chanting, (“Come from the void, oh thunder, cut down my enemy! Axe of God! Fixate. Seize. Load magic, ‘Armament’~!”). Just as Siegfried created a ‘prison’ of swords to try and capture him, Vahn’s body became infused with the lightning magic, [Dios Tukos], meaning ‘Lightning Axe’. Without the assistance of Fenrir or Terra, this as one of his most powerful [Magia Erebea] forms, which he referred to as ‘Lightning Armament’. In the future, he wanted to be able to shift into the form just by calling the spell’s name, but that would have to wait until he dealt with the foe in front of him.

Using [Koku Shundo], without restraining his momentum, Vahn moved through the blades, allowing his body to split freely before it converged back together behind Siegfried’s body. Part of the energy had actually arced into the Dragon Knight’s body, as his metallic scales had acted like a lightning rod, allowing Vahn to stun him long enough to strike the same spot as he had burned earlier. This time, however, Vahn was using his [Vis Maxima] to the fullest, further amplifying his speed to the point that Siegfried couldn’t keep up with him. Though it could be seen that Siegfried was able to keep track of his movements, there was a big difference between someone that could move several thousand kilometers per hour, and someone that could move hundreds of thousands of kilometers per hour.

Though his body resisted the physical blow almost completely, Siegfried felt the lightning elemental energy wreak havoc inside of his body. He couldn’t make any move to regain his footing and, as a result of Vahn’s lightning-fast blow, Siegfried smashed into the ground with enough force to cause the land to upheave around him. Stones weighted thousands of tonnes were displaced by the force and, instead of making a crater outright, Siegfried’s body was buried nearly 300m into the ground, like a stake that had been driven by a hammer. Vahn had infused his source energy into the blow so, regardless of how resistant Siegfried might have been, there was little he could do about the lightning energy until it dissipated naturally into the earth below.

Even so, Vahn didn’t believe for a moment that Siegfried would have been defeated so easily. When his blow had landed, Vahn’s hand had actually shattered into lightning particles. Not only did his scales seem to increase his defensive might, but they apparently had a repelling effect on attacks as well. Vahn’s mind started racing for solutions to come out ahead without going all out but, seeing how things were developing, it would turn into a long fight of attrition unless he kicked things up a notch. The only thing that prevented him from doing so was, even though Siegfried’s attacks had seemed ruthless, Vahn knew he had still been holding back. Still, there was a limit to his tolerance and Vahn was beginning to get very frustrated with having his body cut into ribbons…

Suddenly, the ground in a 3km radius seemed to ‘sink’ slightly before huge cracks appeared, originating from the hole where Siegfried had been buried. In the next instant, blue flames erupted from those cracks, causing the ground to sink even further into molten stone, dirt, and composite minerals. Vahn didn’t have any time to marvel at this scene, however, as a massive pillar of blue flames came straight towards him. Being completely resistant to such attacks, Vahn ignored it completely as his [Eyes of Truth] focused on the figure contained within the flames themselves.

Moving forward at nearly 6,000km/h, Siegfried attempted to grab Vahn with his claws, now glimmering with the same sapphire glow as his horns. Instead of a normal human, he now had the appearance of a 280cm tall Dragonic Knight that was completely covered in blue scales. There were almost no human features remaining, other than the fact that Siegfried’s anatomy more closely resembled a human’s than a Dragon’s. Vahn didn’t have time to inspect him completely, however, as his evasive maneuvers to avoid being grabbed got rewarded by a sweeping blue tail crashing into his body. It felt like he had been hit by an unstoppable force that caused his abdomen to literally disintegrate.

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Siegfried moved to grab Vahn’s upper body once again but this time he was more than prepared to react, easily moving to avoid the blow and counterattacking. He had only been hit by Siegfried previously because he had been stationary and observing the phenomenon below. In truth, Vahn’s reaction timing couldn’t actually keep up with his own movements so, with Siegfried’s enhanced speed, the Dragon Knight had managed to catch him off guard. Now, however, Vahn went on the full offensive.

Ignoring the fact that each of his blows caused his arms to shatter into oblivion, Vahn continued to strike forward in an effort to wear Sigfried down. Siegfried had also noticed that Vahn’s speed was impossible to contend with so, instead of defending himself proactively, he tried to use the fact that Vahn was striking him haphazardly to his advantage. Completely forgoing any defensive actions, Siegfried began to rain his own blows forward, each fist carrying enough momentum to turn boulders into powder. Unfortunately, though he managed to ‘disperse’ Vahn several times, it took less than the blink of an eye for the boy to reform. All the while this was occurring, a larger amount of lightning energy began to flow into his body, causing smoke to begin rising from cracks in the surface of his body.

Though he was slowly getting an advantage, Vahn’s frustrations had started to peak and, unable to tolerate to internecine blows any further, he transitioned into his Xuánwǔ form. Siegfried immediately tried to open distance between them, something he would soon regret since the difference in their speed meant such actions were pointless. Vahn’s onyx-black skin grew black scales that made Siegfried feel as though the boy before him had a similar rare ability as his own. Then, several times faster than he could even blink, Vahn was already burying both of his palms into his lower body. Though such attacks would normally have no effect on him whatsoever, Siegfried paled as he observed Vahn somehow redirect the energy of his natural reflection ability into his own body…along with the terrifying momentum of Vahn’s actual blow.

In an instant, their roles had been reversed and, instead of having his own body ripped asunder, Siegfried was now falling from the sky, both halves of his body tracing separate arcs since Vahn’s attack had parted the once whole body in twain. As a last desperate blow, though he knew it wouldn’t have any effect, Siegfried hurled his sword towards Vahn’s like a spear. The last thing he saw before darkness claimed his vision was Vahn ‘blinking’ to the side and catching the hilt of his prized sword with the ease of a cat catching a mouse it had been hunting…

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