Book 2 Chapter 146

Leguna vs Balor (4)

Waves of impressive shadow impetus flowed out of Leguna's body continuously. It twirled around the youth in a chaotic frenzy and formed a smooth black sphere two meters across.

Though Leguna was tens of meters away, Balor felt the shocking amounts of energy the sphere radiated.

He's released all his impetus. What in the world is he doing?!

The reports he had on the brat said he had a gift capable of temporarily raising his impetus by several strata. No one knew the details, so, when Leguna released his impetus, Balor thought the gift was already at its limit. It appeared his assumption was incorrect. The sphere suddenly collapsed. The kid in the middle of it all growled in intense pain.

Not enough! Not enough! Not enough to defeat him! Stronger! I have to become stronger! Even more power! I must defeat him! roared Leguna internally.

A duel he could not afford to lose, fought with power that could not let him win. His defeat would kill not only himself, but Kurdak, Vera, even Eirinn. A memory suddenly flashed through his mind. He was digging for food in a pile of trash with a stray dog. He only found a single chunk of spoilt, black bread. The dog noticed -- and jumped him. The two tussled and fought each other with every ounce of strength left in their frail bodies.

The present was no different. He fought with his life on the line back then, and he was fighting with his life on the line again today. He had changed nothing, nor had anything changed about him. Man or beast when the only thing they had was threatened, they fought more ferociously than even a god. If he was still no better than a wild dog, if he would always be a stray creature no matter what he did, then he might as well embrace it. He would fight, if need be he would gnaw with rotten teeth, but he would not lay still as long as he still had something he could use to fight. No one, nothing, would take from him what little he had.

Host of Darkness, seventh stage, unleash!

"Gaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!"

The impetus did not enter his body like streams of water this time, it pierced him like spears, thrusting into his body relentlessly. He roared in agony but it would not stop. It felt like he was blowing up, slowly enlarging like a bubble before popping. Power he never had; speed he never possessed; strength he never owned!

Balor's mouth hung agape as he started at the little monster. The brat caught up to him in a few moments and now they stood on equal footing.

"How?! Impossible! Unfair!" cried Balor.

This broke the universe's laws of fairness. He had paid for his strength with years of blood, sweat and tears. But this little brat got it all by screaming and shouting a few times! He swore that if he died one day, he would walk into the afterlife and tear the heavens apart!

"The world does not care about being fair."

Leguna opened his eyes. His irises shone blackly. His hair and face danced in black patterns. Indeed, the heavens had nothing to do with this child, heaven did not favor it, hell did. This was no human standing in front of Balor, it was a devil.

"If I need strength to defeat you, then I'll get strength. I will even sell my soul for it!"

Indeed, he was willing to tear his flesh apart, to endure any pain to get this power, and indeed, he had. But deep inside, something changed, a mark unseen now branded his fate. Yes, he had suffered great pain to get this power, but this was not a power one could gain through physical suffering alone. A debt… He had incurred a debt so great he could not imagine it. And when fate came to collect, he would have no choice but to pay. And fate would come back again and again, for this was a debt he could never pay. The interest alone was more than he could muster.

"Don't act smug! You're only barely on my stratum now. I can match your abilities, and you are unarmed. It may take a few more cuts to end you, but it will still be you that falls before the sun rises!"

He spoke as much for his enemy's benefit as for his own.

"Is that so?" Leguna cackled oddly, "I have to give it to you. Shadow Double is pretty impressive. But you will soon see who is the true sovereign of darkness!"

Leguna vanished. Shadows closed in and he re-appeared beside Balor. He clasped two shadows like longswords in his hands.

Balor raised his hands to parry, but was sent flying. He rolled several times before finally coming to a halt. The brat did not pursue him, but turned to face the double instead. A couple of black shadows appeared in his hands, which he flung at the black mannequin's joints like throwing knives. One also flew at its throat. They impaled the black figure on the tree behind it. Again Leguna vanished. This time he re-appeared right in front of the material shadow. The two shadows in his hands swung around and severed the figure's limbs. The limbs and shadows dissipated and Leguna retrieved his sword and dagger from the ground.

Both were confidently sheathed. The brat's hands stretched out and two long black shadows, like spears, appeared within their grasp. The kid flung them at the remaining black torso. Without Balor's aid, it would go nowhere now. Satisfied the unwelcome third wheel would roll no more, he turned to his opponent.

Balor caught glimpses of the fight as he rolled to a halt.

"Gahrona's gift... Shadow-edge?!"

The brat's hands waved calmly through the air. Mirages of weapons appeared and faded in their wake.

"I didn't just inherit a portion of Gahrona's power, but her famous ability as well."

The saint-ranked assassin had three shadow dancer gifts. The most fatal was Shadowedge. The ability's name eventually became her sobriquet. Using Shadowedge, she could control the shadow energy around her and form material objects. She could make any kind of weapon or inanimate object she could imagine. It wasn't just limited to shadow energy either, she could even do so with her impetus directly. There was no such thing as an unarmed Gahrona.

Leguna had inherited that gift with her spirit's help. His control was still roughshod, but it was enough to turn the tables.

{Your body's fine, right?}

With Lighteater once again near, Leguna and his teacher were back in contact. She had thought the kid would fight recklessly, but not this badly. Unleashing Host of Darkness' seventh stage came with unknown levels of consequences.

{I can hold on for a little longer. If I faint, though, I have to count on Teacher.}

He had never activated Host of Darkness to this level before. He'd only ever gone as far as the sixth stage. The sixth had put him out for a week. Who knew how bad the backlash would be? Would he be unconscious for even longer? Or maybe suffer a permanent injury?

{I'll do my best. You have to deal with Balor before then though.}

{I'm busy!}

He lunged at his opponent immediately. Six throwing knives appeared between his fingers. Moments later they were flying towards their target. Balor parried them all. But Leguna was next to him before he could get ready. Lighteater rose into the sky and came crashing down several times in quick succession. Each swing flung a wave of impetus at Balor. He slowly weakened under the savage onslaught and was quickly pockmarked with small wounds. Opposite him, Leguna was faring no better.

The gash on his back tore a little further with each strike he delivered. The pain numbed his awareness slowly and his movements became sluggish. Balor grasped the opportunity. He retaliated through the small gaps created. Striking his enemy savagely several times.

The two clashed dozens of times without pause. Both were soaked in blood and sweat in moments. Balor was the first to withdraw from the clash though. Leguna did not pursue, instead he stumbled back a few steps and panted inexorably.

Each glared hatefully at the other but Leguna's eyes were slightly more determined. They were the eyes of a dying man determined to pull those around them with them into the abyss. Both roared and dashed at each other once again, each determined to end this with one final strike. One of them would die, and each was determined to make it the other.


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