Book 2 Chapter 144

Leguna vs Balor (2)

"I will send you back to Vera, piece by piece. I think I'll start with your head," Balor commented, raising his aura.

His power grew, shooting from the tenth to the fourteenth stratum in seconds. Leguna suspected it had gone beyond that, but he could not tell. He was at least equal to Leguna on six tenths of Host of Darkness.

"Your strength increased when you inherited an orcish legacy, but mine also grew when I inherited Teacher's, I can now easily reach the 18th stratum," Balor bragged, "I also know about your gift that can raise your strength for a few moments. As far as I can tell, however, you can only use it in the dead of night or in the depths of a dark cave or basement. So die quickly for me!"

His body dropped to the ground like a panther reading to pounce as the last word left his mouth. His muscles tensed and he leapt forward. A strong gust of wind blew at Leguna. He raised Lighteater to block, preparing himself subconsciously for the shock that would hit him in a few moments.

{What are you doing, you idiot! Don't block it, deflect it!} Gahrona cried.

Leguna's mind jump-started again. He leapt backwards. Balor's strike connect a moment later. It shoved him back five meters. The moment his legs touched the ground, Leguna rolled, finally coming to a halt a dozen meters further. Balor came to a halt more or less where he'd hit Leguna. He let a slow, deep breath escape his mouth. This was a powerful strike, but it also strained his body accordingly.

Swiftshadow Slash, one of the techniques he'd learned, granted him a sudden, momentary explosion in speed, but he couldn't follow it up. It had cost him quite a lot to get it from the guild. He had never let anyone who saw it live. Leguna was the first to escape it unharmed. This made him up the brat's threat level for this duel slightly.

Swiftshadow Slash was a modified Voidbreak Slash, it pushed the speed of the attack to its absolute limit. Most people could not react in time and died from a single strike. It also allowed the user to manifest a larger impetus presence than its predecessor could. Even if the enemy had the reflexes required to react, they would still be bisected by the strike itself. If Leguna took the strike head on, he would have lost his head. He didn't, however, and had survived by the skin of his teeth.

"Well well, you actually managed to survive," Balor mocked as he swung his blade elegantly, "At least with this you're qualified to die in this duel."

Leguna wiped off the thin line of blood on his cheek. He stared up at the sky, he had to survive at least another half an hour before it would be dark enough to use Host of Darkness effectively. He collected himself with a deep breath and vanished into the forest.

"You want to play hide and seek?"

Balor gave chase.

{You have to hold him at bay! Hide if you have to. You're only his match if you can make it until it's completely dark!}

{I know,} Leguna panted.

He dashed through the maze that was the forest's canopy. Every couple of seconds he had to dash to the side to avoid one of Balor's throwing knives.

{I have to lose him first! I can't hide if he can see me. If this goes on, I'll be caput before I even have a chance to put up a good fight!}

{Why couldn't you wait just one more hour? You could have fought him confidently then!}

{How was I supposed to know he would start the fight immediately? I hoped to keep him blabbering until the time was right. I had hoped we could sort everything out without having to fight!}

{You're a complete idiot! How on earth did you become my disciple?!} Gahrona wailed in dispair.

{Don't worry, Teacher. My gift is most effective at night, but it's not like I can only use it at night!}

"Stop running! You can't escape!" Balor's yelled pushed through the leaves behind Leguna.

Leguna ignored him and pushed his feet to move even faster. The two sped along for ten minutes as the forest slowly plunged into darkness. Leguna led his pursuer as far into the forest as he could. As they moved, the world darkened further and further as the sky was hidden more and more behind the forest's ceiling. The kid's shadow slowly faded, followed by his figure soon after.

Finally!

Leguna stopped. He turned around and prepared to face his reaper.

"I see… So this is dark enough for you? It's decently convenient. But do really believe you'll be my match, even with your gift?"

"Neither of us will know until I give it a go."

Host of Darkness sprung into action. Four tenths of its full potential was unleashed and Leguna's power grew to the 16th stratum in one leap.

Balor didn't act immediately. He waited patiently for the brat to finish his power-up. His expression was serene, but shock ate at his heart. He had guessed Leguna's gift was strong, but not this strong. For someone to break through an order barrier so easily, especially with the size of the gap there was between the brat's actual strength and the barrier itself, even if just for a few moments, was incredible. Balor was very jealous.

Leguna's confidence grew at least as much as his power. He may be inferior to Balor in every other way imaginable, but he was at least on par when it came to abilities. Shadow Blink could probably be counted as stronger than Balor's abilities, and might even be able to overturn the match if used correctly. He gripped Lighteater and charged.

Balor smirked and rushed to meet him. The two clashed at full speed and with full force. Their swords crossed for an instant. When the dust settled, neither had any new wounds. Leguna activated his trump card. He vanished and reappeared to Balor's left an instant later. Lighteater bit at the youth's neck whilst Ebony dashed for his arm. The youth knew of Leguna's ability, so this move did not surprise him. He ducked below Lighteater and met Ebony with is longsword. A dark, aura burst out of the black dagger at the moment it met the two swords and a ray of dark light dashed out of its tip. It struck one of Balor's arms and flung him away.

{It's so strong!} Leguna yelped internally. He waved Ebony around like a child would its favourite toy.

Ebony could, among a few other things, send impetus out on blasts thanks to its enchantments. The blasts were usually around 2 centimeters across. High-order warriors could in principle do the same, though not with such dexterity and finesse. It would also take them double the amount of impetus to do the same amount of damage as Ebony had just dealt.

Balor rose wordlessly, wiping the blood from his mouth. He had been caught off guard, but not injured severely. He had done careful checks on all of Leguna's weapons, but Ebony was not known to be one of them. A weapon capable of doing such things, it could not be a simple weapon, nor something Leguna had had made in the few days he had, even if he had a year, there was no way he could scrounge together the money it would need. This had to be a famous weapon he'd found somewhere. Balor rummaged through his memory for any weapon that could do what this little dagger had just done and matched its description.

"Ebony?" he muttered.

"Yes. Ebony."

There was no point in hiding the weapon's name. He had already revealed all the weapon's abilities he could currently use, so he revealed nothing already known. In fact, it was actually better to reveal it now. Balor did not know this was the only thing Leguna could use, he would have to guard against all the dagger's abilities, which might just distract him enough to make a mistake Leguna could use.

"I didn't think you were that cosy with the orcs. Both Gahrona's essence and legacy, and her weapon?--" Balor glared at Leguna, "--I have to give it to you. I've not seen someone this shameless before. You really are all crutches and no legs! It's just too bad crutches can never compare to legs!"

A blinding intent rushed as Leguna as the last words left Balor's mouth. He leapt forward, panicked, and just barely avoided the strike. A dark silhouette identical to Balor's stood where Leguna had been just moments ago. It lunged forward, bringing a black blade down. Leguna vanished immediately. The sword missed again.. by a hair's breathe this time.

{What the hell?} Leguna stared at the solid shadow. This was no longer a duel, Leguna was fighting two enemies, neither any weaker than the other. One Balor was bad enough, but two?

{Shadow energy,} Gahrona muttered, {Must be Balor's third gift. It's a copy of sorts.}


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