Book 3 Chapter 197

A Difficult Victory

Leguna upped his speed again. He had to close in before Legg reacted. The distance between them gradually shrunk to one meter...

"Huuaargh!" Legg cried all of a sudden.

The sounds, infused with impetus, shot in all directions. Even the audience's eardrums hurt.

War Cry. The same skill as Kurdak, but far more destructive.

Leguna's blanked. His eardrums almost shattered. Blood dripped from his earlobes. It wasn't over though.

Legg stepped forward and grasped Leguna by the arm.

"No escape this time!" A bloodthirsty glint flashed across the barbarian's face.

Leguna's abdomen was hit first. Legg's huge hand clutched his arm and pulled him into his rising knee.

"Ack!"

Blood burst out of his stomach, up his throat and blasted his lips apart, splattering all over the floor.

Legg kept going. The brat had refused to stand still and fight him properly, so he was now going to show the little pigeon what being pummeled meant. His fist slammed into the tiny chest. The ribs deformed, then snapped in numerous places.

Another mouthful of blood burst out of the rat's mouth, this time from his lungs, pierced by one of his ribs.

The strikes woke Leguna from his stupor. Gnashing through the pain he formed another sword in his free hand.

Legg only glanced at it before slamming his fist into the rat's head. The kid's face suddenly cracked and skin came away. Only, beneath was not flesh and bone, but skin again. The features were different from the other half of the face though.

Legg stared at the strange scene for a moment before realizing what was happening.

'Hiding your face are you? Let me pummel the rest off. Show me what you really look like!'

Veins in Leguna's eyes burst and blood dripped from them like tears. He watched the skin on Legg's arm change shade again. There was no hurting it anymore. Since the giant wasn't going to let go of him, he just had to pit blade against fist.

"Aaaaagh!"

The two bellowed bestially. One's face shattered like glass whilst the other's stomach burst open like a sack of legumes. None used technique or tactics, they just traded blow for blow and injury for injury.

Such a fight of endurance should be an easy win for Legg, but he had no motivation to fight with his life on the line. He was just here to cause trouble. Leguna, however, was utterly determined to beat his boss's former opponent and was determined to face Annelotte.

The fight continued for several more minutes, blood and flesh flying every second, but Legg was losing ground. He lifted Leguna into the air and slammed him into the ground with everything he had. He howled and, before the dust had even finished billowing up from the impact, flung Leguna across the arena.

Legg's injuries became apparent once the two separated. His body was a network of cuts and slashes. His intestines stayed in his abdomen thanks to just the thinnest of membranes left uncut.

Leguna was in no better shape. His was distorted beyond recognition. He'd traded one mask for another, the latter one of blood and maligned flesh. His nose pointed in completely the wrong direction and his mouth had only one or two teeth, half of which dangled loosely in his mouth. One of his eyes was so swollen it looked like it would jump out of its socket at any moment.

Vera fought to keep the two girls from seeing the sight. It was not rare for mercenaries, but the girls shouldn't see this so early in their lives.

The two knew, even without seeing the details, that Leguna must be in literal tatters, and wept uncontrollably.

Vera's cheeks, too, were wet. She probably would've joined them a few years ago, but she could not afford it now.

If Ley falls again, they'll be counting on me! I can't cry! I must not cry! she shouted at herself.

Leguna's mind kept swinging back and forth between clarity and darkness like a pendulum. He could not hear Gahrona shouting, if indeed she was still shouting and had not just given up completely. He noticed, at some point, that his left arm was still swinging half-heartedly as if still fighting.

Legg, while badly hurt, was still fully clear. He shoved the pain out of his mind and prepared to finish it once and for all.

[Stand up! You're going to lose!] a familiar voice eventually swam into his ailing consciousness.

Stand up? Why? I just want to sleep. Leave me alone. I'm done fighting. It's such a hassle and I get nothing for it, Leguna's mind answered on his behalf.

[Stand up! You're my disciple! You're the heir of Nidhoggr's shadow! You can't fall here!] the voice wriggled again, slightly clearer.

I'm tired... I don't want to do this anymore... I get nothing for this. Annie left me, Boss and Vera probably will too to start a family, Eirinn is three fingers short a set... And Innie... I killed her whole family... There's no point...

What did I get for my fights? I fought to defeat Balor, but he won't listen...

The familiar voice blurred again and eventually grew quiet. He heard cheering. Who was cheering, for whom? He heard footsteps, who was coming towards him, for what?

The judges would normally count to ten after someone is beaten down, and if that person didn't get up, they would be considered to have surrendered the match. But, perhaps shocked out of their mind, they had not started the count. Since the judges weren't going to end the match, Legg would do it himself.

Leguna heard the thuds approach. He fought with his arms to move. They wouldn't. He tried several more times, but gave up when they all failed.

[Is this how it ends?] a familiar voice, different from the one he'd heard earlier, asked.

[Who?] his eyes slowly opened, just barely.

[So you're going to break your promise again,] the voice said, as if this was completely expected.

[...Annie?] the name eventually came to him, [No! I won't! I won't break my promise again! Trust me! TRUST ME!] he yelled.

His entire existence screamed as he fought with himself.

[The hell are you telling me for?!] Gahrona shot.

[Then who?] asked Leguna.

[Tell my ass! Say it to that little girl yourself! Get up and finish this!]

Reality finally struck. He screamed at his limbs and they finally answered. He struggled up from the ground.

A few meters from him, Legg waited patiently. He was furious at the little rat, but he was not going to get in his way if he wanted to be standing for the final blow. Part of him also wanted to see what the little rat was going to do. He could not believe it was getting back up after the beating it'd gotten.

"Is this that important to you?" Legg suddenly asked.

"Yes," Leguna answered, more as a breath than a spoken word.

His left eye was black, he could see nothing beyond the bridge of his deformed nose.

"So, how badly do I need to beat you so you'll stop bothering me?"

"You'll have to kill me. As long as I can still breathe, as long as my heart still beats, I won't stop. And don't think this is my limit. I still have a lot I haven't used. You won't be my match once I decide to use it."

"I can tell you've not used anything yet, but I haven't either."

"Then let me show you that I've got more left than you!"

"No thanks. I've grown tired of your irritation. I'll beat the rest of you when we meet next time."

Legg raised his hand and gasped rang out all around the arena.

"If you want to die so much, let someone else kill you. I'm done. If you survive this, then come see me when you're ready to get beaten again. Tell me, though, Ley isn't your real name."

"No. My real name's Leguna -- Leguna Dark Requiem."

So you're the one who caused so much trouble for Bloodhand. Not bad.

Legg half-collapsed half sat down where he stood, closed his eyes, and fainted.


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