The figure's speed was unimaginable. Even an experienced assassin like Haden couldn't react in time.
Leguna thrust Ebony at Haden's back, the man, however, turned around in the last second and the dagger missed his heart.
Though Leguna didn't kill him with his first strike, he managed to wound him. A good outcome already. He immediately jumped back into a corner of the room.
"Cough... cough... Who are you?" Haden clutched his back and inspected the masked assassin.
How had the bastard snuck into the stronghold? Even he would have a hard time doing that. And this bastard had just 15 strata...
Leguna regarded Haden silently. His mission was this man's death, so he didn't care what the man wanted to know. Xeno continued to yell in pain like a pig being slaughtered. He shot the would be assassin a hopeful glance every now and then, not so he would be saved, but that Hadaen would die.
[Teacher, are you sure I can use it?] Leguna asked.
[Yes,] Gahrona said somewhat shakily, [I've infused part of my spiritual power into Ebony. It should have recovered some of its abilities.]
[You don't sound convincing...] Leguna pouted helplessly, "Ebony, rob his vision!"
Tendrils of shadow congealed into a small ball at the tip of the blade. Before Leguna could snicker, however, the impetus popped.
Haden jumped back. His muscles tensed as he awaited the sinister attack. Ten seconds passed with nothing happening. The only sound in the room was Xeno bellowing his suffering into the world.
[I haven't infused my power yet, why are you rushing?]
[If you embarrass me like that again, I'll just turn and leave,] Leguna snapped.
[Fine, fine. It won't fail this time.]
A golden light burst out of Lighteater, sheathed on Legunas back. It darted across his should and entered the dagger.
[I'll be in a weakened state for a time, so you better eat his soul! Otherwise I'll be incapacitated for a long time!] Gahrona whispered fadingly.
[It's only Haden,] Leguna said confidently, [Rest well, Teacher. I'll take care of this old rogue.]
[It's over when you say something so foreboding. I suddenly have a feeling you won't beat him. I guess we'll die together...] Gahrona snapped with her last strength.
After making sure she was fine, Leguna raised Ebony again.
"Aaaargh!" Xeno roared, "Don't posture around pointlessly! Kill him!"
"Just lie quietly like a good boy. You're in no position to complain! Mouth off again and I'll kill you first!" Leguna snapped.
"Oh? It's a young man." Haden murmured.
His apple probably hadn't developed yet!
"Don't look down on young people." Leguna said, raising the dagger further, "Ebony, rob his vision!"
Shadow impetus once again balled at the tip of the blade. It didn't explode this time, it seeped into the blade instead. A navy glow enveloped the blade and shot out.
The room darkened. Haden rubbed his eyes but he could see nothing, not even the hands rubbing his eyes.
Was it that weapon's doing? Normal enchanted weapons could only affect themselves with things like increasing damage or adding elemental energy into the strikes. So how could this weapon affect something other than itself? If it really was the dagger, then it was something extraordinary!
Ebony used to be enchanted with Ebony's Curse. Every time the weapon consumed fresh blood, it could form a kind of link with the enemy's body for a short moment and seal the victim's senses. If it were in prime condition, it could even poison the target, make it suddenly start bleeding profusely, boil its skin, or sap its energy and strength.
How effective it was, however, depended on the relative powers of Ebony's wielder and the target. Leguna had 15 strata and Haden 17, so it could only take away most of his vision, he was not completely blind. Someone who couldn't use impetus however, would likely just have died on the spot.
Haden's shock told Leguna the curse had taken effect. He tensed up and shot at the man like an arrow.
Haden struggled to recognize the objects around him. He suddenly heard something whooshing towards him. The assassin waved his hands, barely able to block Leguna's attack with his dagger.
"Looks like it didn't work as well as I'd hoped." Leguna said, shaking his head.
It was more that his expectations were too great. Ebony was powerful, but Leguna couldn't unearth its strength completely, and besides, a weapon's effects could not win a battle on its own. Weapons were only tools. Victory still depended on the wielder!
Haden took a few steps back and held onto his desk as he spat out some blood.
Leguna didn't pierce his heart, but his one lung had been punctured. His condition was worsening with every breath.
"Looks like this will be easy." Leguna twirled Lighteater and Ebony before rushing in again.
"Who are you?!"
Haden knew the young man was most likely a Hock assassin, but he couldn't recognize him despite knowing most of the empire's high-order assassins. Who was this brat?
Haden preferred to fight knowing his enemies. He kept on asking Leguna who he was so he could put his knowledge to use, but the bastard had only cursed him twice and snapped at the brat on the floor.
When did Hocke get such an arrogant joker? Was he Marolyt's disciple, or his son?!
Leguna continued his assault in silence. Haden's experience let him keep up despite not knowing his opponent and being wounded. The dragged on in a stalemate.
"If this is the best you got, you're far from defeating me," Haden said coldly.
Defence was his specialty. Though his condition was worsening, given his opponent's strata, the other should tire out before he expired. Not to mention that the strange effect of that sword couldn't last forever. If he could hold out until he got his vision back, he would have won.
Sure enough, his vision soon began recovering. He also started noticing the patterns in his opponent's attacks and moves. The brat moved fluidly and struck with rapid movements, but it lacked strength and the style would exhaust him quickly. The boy didn't seem to have much of a repertoire either, his attacks were all straightforward and easy to predict and counter.
Haden took a bottle of potion from a pouch hung at his waist. He kept a bottle of super-grade potion with him at all times just in case, a good thing too, it turned out.
Haden downed the whole bottle in a couple of gulps during a moment of reprieve whilst his opponent caught his breath. The pain in his lungs quickly dissipated.
"You had a great opening," he spoke condescendingly, "but you underestimate me. Now, it's my turn to teach you some respect!"
So he had been holding back before, was he going all out now? Leguna had had the chance to end it while the man was downing his potion, but Gahrona wanted him to temper himself, so he held back.
He'd focused on his first strikes before and got them to a seven out of ten rating by his master, not it was time to begin practicing his combat skills for in case his first attacks failed, like it had this time. Per Gahrona's instructions, he couldn't use Shadow Blink or Host of Darkness.
Leguna looked at his prey, whose aura was recovering, and gulped audibly. His master really picked a difficult time to give him a challenge. Was she not worried he'd end up damaged goods from this?
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