Suppression through Skill
[Hahahahaha,] Gahrona laughed, [You used Host of Darkness and are almost completely filled with shadow energy, and now, you're being washed with light energy. What do you think is happening?]
Heavens, even he recalled how it felt to be under sunlight after using Host of Darkness. And now Gahrona was being baptised by pure light energy. He had felt like he was about to burn away; how must she feel?
[Why?] he asked.
[To cleanse your body that's practically a shadow creature,] Gahrona smile painedly, [I've been thinking about doing something like this since you first met this boy. I knew you wouldn't want to do something this painful, though, so I'm doing it now in your stead...]
Leguna's spectral form couldn't cry, but he would have if he could. This female assassin was willing to accept such pain to spare him it. How could he ever repay her?
[Let's not dawdle,] Gahrona said gently, [You've been my disciple for half a year now and I've been relying on you to hold my soul together. It's bad to rack up too much of a debt without repaying any of it. Plus it wasn't good for my state of mind to hear you calling me 'Teacher' under such circumstances...]
[Don't say that!] Leguna shouted, his spectre kneeling in mid-air, [Your disciple isn't someone who doesn't have any clue on what's going on! I always knew you've been doing whatever you think is best for me. I would've died eight or ten already if not for you! You've always treated me well and there's no such thing as owing favors to one another. We're master and disciple!]
[Get up. Stand up properly,] Gahrona said, her non-existent heart slowly calming.
The assassin gazed at her disciple, filled with satisfaction.
[Remember. You are my disciple, Gahrona's disciple, and Shadowedge's successor. You're not the strongest assassin in the world, but you aren't a pitiful thing others can just bully either! Teacher's gonna take care of this for you, so watch carefully!]
Gahrona turned her attention back to the real world and realized everyone was still staring at her.
She forced her mouth open and muttered, "Pain... Oh how long have I missed you!"
She collected herself and tried her best to ignore the pain from Alissanda's holy light.
"Hey, Ley, are you alright?" Kurdak asked.
He had already guessed why Leguna was wailing.
"Ah, don't worry," Leguna answered.
He took a step forward and familiarized himself with his new body.
Speed, strength, joint flexibility, impetus, gifts…
The body moved like it was doing calisthenics and Gahrona made not of important parameters. She had controlled the body before, so it didn't take long.
[You alright?] Leguna asked.
Had his master not withstood the baptism, he would be completely confident in her chances. But now she was constantly bathing in searing pain. Could she really oppose a monster like Saron in her current state?
[Don't worry,] his teacher answered, [the pain is only from the residue left in your body being burned away. You're being healed, so things are actually getting better every minute. Alissanda's impetus also doesn't seem to affect Host of Darkness apart from causing some pain.]
[Thank goodness.] Leguna sighed and fell silent, putting his full attention on observing the coming fight.
This would be his first time seeing his teacher in action and he wanted to savour and remember every moment. No one else might know, but he knew he was about to see something beyond rare, it was a privilege beyond measure to watch Gahrona Shadowedge fight.
Gahrona stepped forward and called forth two shadow swords.
[Aren't you going to use Lighteater and Ebony?]
[He's not worth two. Also, don't look down on Shadowedge. It's far more versatile than you think!]
Did he blink again? Saron turned around and saw Leguna behind him.
His impetus flared and he leaped at him like an inferno.
Leguna didn't look surprised, however. He waited until the two were at each other's throats to move out of the way. One of the black silhouettes in his hand collapsed to the ground, one end still gripped in his hand, turning into a whip.
[This thing can morph?!]
Leguna watched as he floated closer from where they'd been a moment earlier, his mouth agape. His had always been still, harder than mithril. He'd never thought they could be soft. How was this Shadowedge?
[Look closely, kid. I didn't make the shadows soft, I made millions of small, interlocking bits,] Gahrona explained as the fight continued.
Leguna couldn't picture how that would work..
Gahrona ignored his confusion, however, turning her attention back to the fight.
Leguna's wrist twisted. The whip flung up and wrapped around Saron like a large coiling snake. Leguna grunted as he flung Saron away.
The monster couldn't help but be taken aback as he soared, spinning, through the air. How had the brat suddenly become so different? He was suddenly cooler than ice and could cleanly grasp even the smallest opening. He moved like this was a practiced dance. If the kid hadn't been in his sight the whole time, he would have sworn someone else had taken his place.
Leguna didn't give him the time to think it through. He blinked again and stood in front of Saron once more. The whip lashed out and caught the youth's ankle. Another yank sent him into the air again for a moment before he crashed into the ground.
Leguna's hand flailed incessantly, sending countless shadow needles at Saron as he headed for the ground. It felt more like ten people were attacking than one.
The needles beat up a cloud of dust as they landed. Leguna sailed through the air, landing elegantly a few meters from Saron.
"Beautiful!" Alissanda exclaimed.
Leguna's attacks were like flowing water; smooth, clean, accurate, and effective. Had he not seen it with his own eyes, he wouldn't believe a kid could do it. That level of skill was comparable to his master. His teacher had told him that if he wanted to move like that, he would have to train for at least a decade. Was this little brat really that talented?
"This isn't Leguna..." Kurdak muttered, suspicious.
Something unsavoury was going on. His movements were too ghastly. Kurdak knew Leguna's strength intimately, he was decades away from this.
Unless… had he been hiding this from the beginning? Surely he would not be this dishonest?
"Ley is fine, right?" Vera asked, angst-ridden.
[Is it over?] Leguna asked.
[How could it be over so easily?]
Leguna stared intently at his master's whip. He finally noticed what his master meant.
The whip wasn't a single thing. It was made up of millions of tiny shadows that all interlocked like an exotic chain. Each bit was hard as steel, but because they could move, the whole could behave like it was a soft piece of leather.
This was worlds away from anything Leguna had conjured up.
Saron burst out of the cloud before Leguna could shower his sly praises on his master, however. Indeed, while troublesome, this was far from enough to beat someone like him who was a true talent.
Leguna smiled and blinked again, appearing behind his opponent. This time Saron was prepared, however. The air around on of his hands solidified as it swung out and struck Leguna.
He was knocked flying before he'd even completely adjusted to his new view. Saron solidified the air behind him and kicked against it like against a wall. He flew in the opposite direction he'd sent Leguna, however. The only thing in front of him was Vera.
"Vera!" Kurdak cried.
[Watch out, Sis!] Leguna roared pointlessly.
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