Hmph, I’ll get rid of your annoying companions first! Saron thought.
Something was off about Leguna, so he’d take care of the distractions first. He wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but it irritate him that the little brat appeared to have the upper hand. He’d worked hard his whole life to earn his current strength, it was unacceptable that a little brat who’d probably never had a hard day in his life was possibly stronger than him.
He was certain Leguna wasn’t playing by the rules, so he wouldn’t either. He would kill his companions to upset him and get him off balance, then make us of his moment of weakness to kill him too.
Vera, his target, however, didn’t even twitch. Bow clutched tightly, she unleashed four arrows at nearly the same time.
Saron’s impetus twisted and burnt the arrows to ash. The red-hot arrowheads fell harmlessly on the ground in front of him.
“Eh?” Vera gaped.
She hadn’t hoped the arrows would kill him, but they should at least had done him some damage. She forced his angst out of her mind and pulled back.
Saron gave chase, however. Vera only made it back half a meter before slamming into an invisible wall.
[Damn! I can’t get there quick enough, I can’t blink again so quickly!] Gahrona snapped.
The assassin hadn’t had anything to do with Vera before, but she’d been a fly on Leguna’s wall since she’d taken him in as her disciple. She knew how important this little girl was to him. She couldn’t let her die so easily.
[You must make it!] Leguna wept like a baby.
“Nooo!” Kurdak screamed as he leapt in his woman’s direction futilely.
Saron’s fist descended on Vera, his skin burning with impetus.
I was a burden until the end, huh? Vera sighed as she closed her eyes.
Her shadow shot up from behind her in the last moment, however, solidified in front of her and stopped the attack.
The strike connected and Vera felt her body shudder, but nothing else. Her eyes slowly opened. In front of her stood a solid shadow, a black mass slowly melting and collapsing to the ground like wax held to a fire.
Saron withdrew his fist.
“Such strong shadow energy... A shadow creature?” he murmured in disbelief.
Its energy was certainly denser than Leguna’s had been, at least.
The jellow-like surface of the shadow rippled as it shoved its upper limbs against the ground, trying to stand back up. The ripples quickly vanished as the surface solidified into a mirror-like sheen again. Night was the perfect time for creatures of the shadows, so wounds normally fatal would not stop them.
Two dents in its head slipped around its head to face Vera as though looking at her. They lingered for only a moment before slipping back around to face Saron.
Vera stared at the thing, frozen in place. She didn’t know whether to be relieved or petrified. It felt profoundly wrong and unnatural, yet at the same time something about the silhouette was familiar.
[Balor!] Leguna shouted, [So he’s been following us around!]
[Something’s off about him,] Gahrona splashed some water on him.
[That’s his Shadow Double. You saw it before, right?]
[We’ll talk later!]
Gahrona rushed at Saron, coiling her whip.
“Don’t you dare use tricks on me!” Leguna shouted as he approached.
Vera would have been dead if not for this third party’s intervention. How dare he, dirty tricks were for assassins!
“You alright? You’re not hurt?” Kurdak half-shouted as he stumbled over to Vera and tumbled her around like a vase as he checked for wounds.
“It’s alright... It’s alright now...” he breathed.
He pulled her off the ground and squeezed the breath out of her. His left hand roughly rubbed her cheeks before he combed her long red hair with his sausage-like fingers.
Vera started crying like a little girl.
“Just now... I...”
“That shadow… Balor!”
“What?! That black thing?!”
“It looks like him!”
She suddenly darted out of Kurdak’s arms and shouted at the shadow.
“Balor? Balor! Come out now!”
Kurdak grunted as he pulled her back into his arms, dissatisfied. Leguna and Saron were still fighting, did she want to die?
“Come on, Balor’s here. He’s no weaker than Ley. Who can hurt me?” Vera said, somewhat arrogantly.
It seemed she’d already forgotten everything that had happened between them in the past, and how much Balor had hated her the last time they had met.
“Are you sure it’s even him?”
Kurdak gave up. The shadow had indeed looked like Balor some, but he wasn’t going to accept it.
“When did my brother-in-law get such a tan?”
“Damn you!” Vera snapped, “Who’s your brother-in-law?!”
“You’re missing the point! I was talking about his looks.”
“...Saron said something about a shadow creature... How did Balor get that?”
“Just ask Ley later,” Kurdak said, trying to get off it, “Then again, it seems he’s not completely worry-free either. He’s acting… odd.”
“He must have his reasons.” Vera said dismissively, “We never found out who Ley really is, but he wouldn’t have hid this kind of power from us. Heavens... He’s only using the third stage, but he’s already fighting Saron on equal footing. He’s really not normal today.”
“We’ll just have him spill everything later,” Kurdak said as he patted her shoulder, “The little brat is saving us again.”
“Ley is...” Vera’s eyes dulled, “We really don’t look like a good big brother and sister, do we?”
“We’ve no choice. He’s stronger than us. All we can do is keep working to keep up,” Kurdak smiled ruefully.
Gahrona evaded another dragonflame burst.
[Finish him quickly! We don’t know when reinforcement will arrive,] Leguna urged.
[You make it sound easy!] Gahrona snapped, [You’d used up half of your energy by the time I took over and you were injured already. You think fighting a twin-gifted is easy with that little at my disposal?!]
[Shows how much I trust you,] Leguna flattered.
[Tch, fine. You’re about out anyway. Did you watch carefully?]
Leguna knew his master had been holding back so he could get a good look at her techniques. She’d have ended this long ago otherwise.
[Good. Now watch me end this quickly!]
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