Killing You Ten Thousand Times
Vera looked at the person in front of her as tears and raindrops dripped from her face. Beside her, the werewolf seemed to have felt something. He watched the slender figure with a tinge of sorrow.
Annelotte couldn't hold on. She coughed up two mouthfuls of blood and slumped weakly.
"Aaaaaaaaaah!" cried Leguna.
His howl crawled out of the depths of his soul, tearing its way into the world. He shoved Lighteater upwards with every ounce of strength he had and cleft the lump of meat in twain. It had barely started to separate but he was already heading to his girl's side. The rain-covered ground had turned into mud and splashed all over his body and face. He didn't care, he didn't even notice to have to care. He only saw one thing, his girl's body slumped on the ground.
[Ley! Watch out! I haven't absorbed Hladik's soul yet!] warned Gahrona.
[Shut up, you stinking woman!] rang his voice. He completely forgot he was talking to his teacher, the Saint-ranked Assassin Gahrona, who had once shaken the world.
Luckily she knew he was only barely holding on to his sanity, so she didn't get upset at his comment. She also hoped Hladik wouldn't launch a surprise attack shamelessly. The rain became heavier. Leguna felt his vision blur gradually. Annelotte lay there silently, but he was losing sight of her. Fear gripped his body. He wasn't tired or injured, but his body shook like it was going to rattle itself apart. He had no control over himself. Each step was a mountain.
Leguna hugged her lightly. She was doing a tightrope above the abyss of death. Her eyes were open, but empty. She was going to pass out soon.
"Annie..." Leguna mumbled, his voice breaking, "Annie, no... Annie, you'll be fine... It's fine..."
The girl's lips twitched subtly and let out a soft, blurred mutter.
Leguna tried his best to listen. Amidst the noisy chatter and the rain's patter, he managed to make out her words: "Do you trust me now?"
Vera rushed over. The girl was gone. Despite being covered in mud and water, her face was untainted and perfect as always. Her long eyelashes shook as rain beat down on them. She looked like she would open her big, round eyes at a moment's notice. Leguna wished she would. He'd take a year of her hardest beating over this any day. Both he and Vera knew, however, that would not happen. There were no signs of injury, the blood on her lips already washed away by the rain, but her insides were a different story altogether. She had taken on a Death's Finger strike, and lost. Her chest didn't move, her body cold.
Vera clasped her mouth, stupefied as droplets and tears dripped onto the ground. She muttered something as she stared at the boy's blank face.
"Hladik suddenly tried to attack me. He dictated a petrification spell before using Death's Finger. Annie... She leapt in front of me to block it."
'Do you trust me now?'
Leguna's mind blanked out when he heard Vera's words. He could hear nothing but Annelotte's last words. Even before her death, she had striven to prove what sort of a person she was. She had succeeded, but Leguna had failed. He had failed to live up to his words yet again. He had made an oath to use his power to protect her, but what happened? Not only did he fail to protect her, he was even the one that hurt her the most.
Regret was the most painful thing in the world. Annelotte had done so much for them, even giving her life. But what had he done? He suspected, rebuked, and mocked her. How horrible it must've felt to be misunderstood by the one to whom you are closest. After knowing the truth, he wanted to apologize, to get her forgiveness, but he couldn't, not anymore.
Regret, suffering, sorrow, despair, and hatred! Leguna had no words to describe his feelings. He had never felt as horrible as he did at this moment. He wanted to murder, to kill, to tear the world apart. He kissed the corpse in his hands' smooth forehead and put it down lightly.
The crowd had yet to disperse. The magi illuminated them and could see them clearly. They were criticizing Leguna as well as the corpse from afar.
Killing intent flooded his mind. He Lighteater tightly, his fingers turned white and his nails dug into his skin. He wanted to rip everyone present into tiny pieces.
"What a perfect coordination!" cried Hladik's voice at that moment.
He stepped out of an unilluminated spot.
"Had I not prepared a clone of myself beforehand, I would've died."
The clone spell was a level 8 necromancy spell. It allowed its user to create a lifeless physical copy of their body. When the user's bodily functions ceased, their soul would be transferred to the copy and be revived. However, there was a price: the user's power would drop a stratum.
Hladik had been pushed into a corner so badly by a mere mid-order assassin and a mid-order magus. It was the biggest humiliation he had ever endured. Though he pretended to act gracefully and even praised the two's tag team, he had already set his mind on torturing the brat properly.
Since the girl was dead he couldn't vent on her. But he swore he would capture the brat alive and hand him to the necromancers. He wanted his soul so he could burn it in a soulgnaw for ten thousand years and have his body made into a puppet; nothing but a pile of walking meat.
He pumped himself up more and more with each passing second. Only by torturing this vile thing could he calm his rage and put his disciples' souls to rest.
"You shouldn't have pissed me off," Hladik said gracefully, "You shouldn't ever piss a grand magus off. You're just paying the price for what you did."
Hladik clapped. An enforcement squad appeared behind him. Though the high-order magus had managed to survive his assassination attempt, he was one stratum weaker and didn't have much mana left. He wasn't confident he could deal with Leguna by himself. Though the kid was only at the 14th-stratum, he had managed to kill Hladik's disciple, Nabir, a high-order magus. So, he didn't dare to risk it.
Leguna didn't look the least bit nervous about facing a great foe or standing in front of an enforcement squad formed from 15-stratum high-order warriors. He stared at Hladik silently.
"I never offended you. Farsi was the one who tried to kill me. Nabir also killed a dear friend of mine and his siblings in York. They were my friends, so I killed him as punishment."
"I don't really care what they did," Hladik said, "All that matters is that they're dead and you're not. That won't fly by me. That's all there is."
"Is that so?" muttered Leguna softly as he ducked out of the illuminated area.
His figure appeared behind Hladik a moment later. He poked his head to Hladik's ear and whispered.
"I suppose I have no choice but to kill both the disciples and their master."
The magus felt like Death itself had spoken. He tried to scream but Leguna stopped him. He grabbed the man's neck and ran with unfathomable speed. He was out of the area under the Eye's control before they even knew what was happening.
"I wonder how many more clone spells you can use, eh?" asked he relaxedly as he smashed Hladik into the ground.
Stepping on the high-order magus's head, he roared, "How many more trump cards do you have, huh?! How many more times can you come back to life?! If you have ten thousand clones, I'll kill you ten thousand mother-f*cking times! You could've come for me if you hated me so much, but why?! Whyyyyyy?! Why did you have to touch them?! Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy?!"
Hladik struggled to wriggle free. The moment the tendons in his arms moved, Leguna severed them. He had currently lost all mobility.
"You wouldn't dare kill me!" Hladik barked, "I am the Eye's vice-chairman! Kill me and they'll pursue you to the ends of the world! You-- Uck!"
Before the magus could finish his words, Leguna raised his leg and stomped down as hard as he could. The magus didn't have any physical barriers up to protect him, so he died. Leguna's impetus-infused feet crushed the head like a watermelon. Brains and eyeballs splatted all over the ground.
Leguna then waved Lighteater and stabbed it deep into the corpse's heart. A black jewel on the sword's hilt glowed.
"Why do you all have to announce who you are before dying? You're just like that stupid son of York's mayor," he muttered, staring at the corpse.
The world around him suddenly lit up. Everyone stared at the boy and the corpse, completely dumbfounded.
"What had happened? How did he get next to Hladik so quickly?!"
"Did he really kill the vice-chairman? Who's this kid?"
"Idiot, he's that assassin from Kurdak's party, Leguna. I think he even calls himself Dark Requiem or something. F*cking hell. He claimed he would take Hladik's life in three months, but he actually did it in one. Is he really a mid-order assassin?!"
"That's it! I've heard about this! I didn't think he'd actually do it!"
"So what? That kid's dead for sure. Does he think he can escape the Eye now?"
"It's possible. He even managed to kill Hladik, and in just a few seconds!"
Leguna's entire history was revealed and discussed in a mere couple of moments. Three transference gateways lit up in the middle of the crowd. Three magi in luxurious robes stepped through them.
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