[You're awake?] Leguna asked. Gahrona had slept for just a few hours, but it was enough for Leguna to realise how useless he was without her.
The fundamental pillar of his worth was Gahrona, without her he was just a pile of rubble. His dependence was pathetic, but he had no choice in this situation since he could not achieve anything on his own.
Faced with such a ridiculous enemy, even with four people on his side, Leguna was hopelessly without hope. He was nothing compared to Saron, even worse because even with others' help he couldn't even match that man who used nothing but his own strength.
[You would be ash already if I was still asleep.] Gahrona snapped.
[I am a disappointment, Teacher] Leguna admitted.
Gahrona nearly incessantly reminded him that he was still nothing and that he should be humble, but he hadn't faced a truly powerful enemy yet so he had become arrogant.
Annelotte was his woman, so even though she beat him, he didn't take it to heart so it didn't put him in his place.
Only now had he finally been made aware of how small, weak, and insignificant he really was. It wasn't just the crimsonflame fiend either, even Alissanda was much better than him. He was far better in a fight and could recover from injuries much faster than Leguna, even during Leguna's peak at midnight. Leguna could only then just barely match him.
Saron was a true genius. Leguna was nothing in front of him. He was an ant, a little flake of shit drifting in the wind.
[So you finally know how weak you actually are, huh?]
[Yes, Teacher… I thought too much of myself because I hadn't seen someone really strong and became arrogant. I was blinded by how far I'd come to how far I still have to go.]
[So, you're not arrogant anymore?]
[Are you still going to disobey me?]
[I won't... Not that it matters. I'm dead anyway.]
[Tch, you've gone from being arrogant to being pitiful in just a few moments… Don't be arrogant, but at least be resilient! What's this just accepting your fate?]
[I am. But even I can see I clearly can't beat him. We're not even in the same worlds. Maybe if I'd started training the moment I was born I wouldn't have fallen this far behind by now--]
[It's just power, that hardly counts for anything. Let me show you once and for all how things are done. Skill and intelligence can more than make up for a difference in raw strength.]
[Huh?] Leguna hesitated, [Teacher, are you--]
[--Relax. I'll settle this myself!] Gahrona said, her voice a little arrogant this time.
[Thank you, Teacher!] Leguna said, somewhat excitedly.
Gahrona had learned soul exchange after she became a weapon's spirit. It let her temporarily possess her wielder by swapping places with their soul.
It could technically be sustained indefinitely. If she wanted to make the arrangement permanent, she could just destroy Leguna's soul.
Leguna thus had to trust his master completely, because once he relaxed control over his body and let her take over he was completely at her mercy.
Leguna wasn't really bothered, however, he did trust her. He knew the temptation was incredible for her, but he knew she wouldn't sacrifice her first and only disciple to achieve that. Besides, if that had been her goal, she would have done it during his duel with Balor when he first let her take over.
It had happened because his body couldn't handle the seventh stage of Host of Darkness. His soul was forced into a hibernative state but he switched with Gahrona in the last moment and she finished things and headed back to the camp. A bunch of things interfered however, and she was forced to hide with his body in the forest instead. She gave control back when Leguna's soul woke up again. That would have been the perfect time, even better than now, to wipe him out and take over permanently, but she had not done it, so she wouldn't do so now.
Leguna willing gave up control. He felt dizzy for a moment and when it passed, he found himself inside Lighteater.
[So this is how being a sword spirit feels. I was unconscious last time so I never felt this.]
He was floating in the middle of the air. He stood in front of himself, holding Lighteater, facing Saron. He tried to float a bit higher, but he quickly began to feel weak as the distance between his projection and his vessel increased.
The version of him holding the dagger opened his eyes. They were the same color and shape, but the air about them was different. It felt like when a top actor slipped into a character's persona; his entire aura had changed.
He always felt like a happy-go-lucky trickster, a sly fox that didn't have it in him to be up to anything good, a little urchin that couldn't be trusted. He now had a completely different aura. He felt like a confident, somewhat arrogant, but fundamentally capable kid. His aura had suddenly become that of a true expert.
"Ley?" Vera asked.
She was the first to notice the change in his aura. She spoke hesitantly, unsure what had happened.
"Don't worry. Leave it to me," Leguna spoke.
He had the same voice, but it didn't sound like he was the same person. Gahrona had the best impression of Annelotte, but she liked the boy's other companions decently as well.
Everyone felt their skin crawl. Why was Leguna's voice seductive and raspy?
"Is the brat so terrified that he lost his wits? Even his voice changed!" Kurdak murmured.
It hurt him just to think, but he couldn't let this chance to ridicule his little brother go by unused.
"Shut up, you stupid man!" Leguna shouted.
Kurdak's face blanched even more.
Leguna didn't pay him any more attention. Her gaze landed on Alissanda.
The prince was less acquainted with Leguna than his companions, but his senses were far keener than theirs, so he too had noticed the change in the boy's aura.
"You still have some impetus left. Heal me. I can't deal with the other brat in my current state."
"Oh? I didn't think you could say something so insane," Saron mocked, "Don't worry, I want to see what you're up to, so go ahead and heal. I'll beat you into a pulp afterwards."
"Fool!" Gahrona snapped.
"Quick, heal me, or have you gone dumb?"
Alissanda stared at her, his mind racing. Leguna as he was now unnerved him, but he felt undeniable confidence radiating from the kid. Did he have some trump card he had yet to use?
He didn't like how the kid felt right now, but he had little choice but to trust him.
"If you fail, we'll all die. Don't disappoint the trust I choose to show you today," he whispered as he healed Leguna.
Leguna screamed in agony the moment the holy energy poured in his body.
[Teacher, Teacher! What's going on?] Leguna chirped from inside Lighteater.
She was a saint-ranked expert, what could possibly make her scream?
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