713 – The Legendary Swordsman (side: Volk)
『To think a swordsman capable of fighting me would appear again…! I wonder how many seconds you will last.』
“Sorry, but I won’t fall easily. I’m confident in my durability.”
I say in reply to Ares.
But despite my strong front, I find Ares seriously intimidating.
After all, he demolished the roof with just a single [Shockwave]. I cannot see him as a swordsman. His power is too great. I don’t think my [Autoregeneration] will be able to do much in this fight.
『Blocking won’t work, we need to dodge.』
Magiatite calls out to me from his [Golden Magic Steel Spirit Sword] form.
A dark aura is emanating from Ares. It’s clearly not the aura of a human. His human-like form is probably only temporary.
My instincts inform me of where an opponent’s bloodlust is directed… If I stand in those places, then it is possible for the opponent to instantaneously attack me. The dangerous areas appear slightly darker to my eyes.
When I fought the legendary swordsman Howgrey, this ability of mine did not function properly.
The entire area around him appeared as a black haze, and it was impossible to fight him without stepping into it. The region of danger was so complete because Howgrey’s ability with the sword was so far above my own, so no matter how I approached him it was possible I would be cut down.
Now, I’m the sight before my eyes is far worse. From the moment I turned my attention to Ares, the entire world appeared shrouded in darkness. The darkness even extends far beyond the gaping whole in the wall.
If Ares felt like it, he could attack any point that I can see within an instant. A being capable of such a feat cannot be called a swordsman.
Do I really stand a chance of winning this? If Ares were to get serious, everything in Harenae could be erased.
I control my breathing and concentrate. I’m not going to give up before the fight. When I fought against Howgrey, too, I had thought it hopeless. But nevertheless, I was one standing in the end.
Besides, I have magiatite and atlach with me.
『I will show you the difference between us. [Multi-Shadow Stride].』
Ares slides to the side. Apparently his skill throws off the opponent’s senses as he closes the distance.
However, most frightening of all is his speed. The difference in our stats is clear to see. One moment he’s in front of me, but then before I know it he’s circled around behind me.
I can do this… I should be able to do this.
Howgrey was able to consistently dodge Irushia’s attacks, despite his far lower stats. I believe that I have learnt a lot from my fight with him. I’m not able to reproduce his rule-breaking skills, but I am confident in my ability to replicate his ability to predict and might light of an opponent’s attacks.
I will utilise all my experience and raise my intuition as a swordsman to the next level. If I can manage that, I will be one step closer to the world as Howgrey saw it.
I remember how it felt when I cut through Howgrey’s [God-Felling Myriad Slash]. If I can reproduce that level of awareness, I should be able to see through Ares’ moves.
『This world is artificial.』
『Do not think so highly of me. This bumbling old man simply does not want to fade away without knowing the meaning of life. That is all. Through the Saint, I will ask God as to the meaning of this world. That is my objective.』
『…Volk, a cruel fate lies in store for you, but you must never break. Believe in yourself and keep walking forwards.』
Howgrey suspected that this world was a fabrication. That was because the ultimate technique he reached at the end of his swordsmanship was to pierce through the distortion of the world.
I don’t yet understand that intuition of his. But Howgrey believed that if he could speak with God’s Voice through the Saint, he would learn the truth of the world. Moreover, he already had his suspicions of the answer.
“…I have inherited your wish. Howgrey, lend me your power!”
Closing my eyes, I unify my mind.
『I will drive my greatness into you, and then I will kill you! Sink into despair as you learn the might of what you have made your enemy. Know that to fight me is as foolish as turning your blade to the oceans or ground! To begin, I shall take an arm!』
An extreme fast slash swings down from Ares. Powerful winds follow its passage. The floor explodes as the blow crashes down, raising a spray of earth.
After the swing is over, I realise. I dodged Ares’ attack unconsciously.
『How can you dodge it….? Impossible. There’s no way you had time to react! A man who does not even have a divine skill dodged my attack?!』
“By fighting the strong, my sword has been elevated. Mephisto of the Three Knights, Alexio the Holy Knight Commander… Howgrey the Ascetic, and now you, the Hero Ares. I can only say that I was helped by fate. Thanks to them, I am able to reach this state of mind.”
Of course, the fight with Howgrey was most significant of all. Ares is incredibly powerful. However, Howgrey was by far more perfected as a swordsman than Ares.
I know that Ares is the strongest Hero in history. But that only makes Howgrey’s abnormality stand more. Simply by mastering the sword, he was able to notice the distortion of the world.
『Marvellous… There is probably no other in the world who could see through that attack. Now I understand the reason for your arrogance.』
All traces of condescension have gone from Ares’ voice. Instead, he openly praises me for having dodged his sword.
『It is the first time I’ve seen a swordsman like you. You are fascinating, but that is why this is vexing. I wish there had been someone like you when I was in the realm of humans.』
But this doesn’t change the fact that this fight will probably be decided quickly.