༺ Finishing Touch (2) ༻
The roar of a Mandrake echoed across the Shadow Fortress. The voice of a Mandrake had sufficient magic damage to kill most demonic beasts in one go. Even normal Mandrakes were like that, let alone the golden one which had 7 times the damage.
Hearing the wail of the Golden Mandrake, the demonic beasts of shadow screamed in pain with ruptured eardrums.
Even though they were demonic beasts, they still could not hold off against the one and only Epic-ranked Mandrake of this world.
Amidst that horrifying noise, the two warriors gazed at each other in silence.
Blood flowed out of their ears.
The Golden Mandrake had heavily impacted the two warriors as well. Although they should have both received a similar amount of damage, Korin Lork said after floating a smile.
“Just letting you know, I have a regeneration ability and one that’s called Pain Tolerance.”
“I’ll get used to it over time, but I wonder how long you’ll last?”
‘It’s a provocation,’ thought Fermack.
Whether Korin was saying the truth or not, it was clear that he was trying to make him feel rushed.
What was worse was that he was probably telling the truth. Fermack was one of the few professors who knew about the ins and outs of Marie Dunareff’s incident. The fact that Korin could resist the first blood suction of a vampire made it highly likely that he indeed possessed some type of regeneration ability.
He had to escape the city as soon as possible and yet the scream of the Mandrake was harassing him in real time. Plus, the opponent even had a regeneration ability, and if Korin wasn’t lying, that meant he would be getting used to the scream of the Mandrake through Pain Tolerance.
It was a very crafty set of actions that forced Fermack Daman to go for a very short, and decisive battle.
“I admit it. You have the talent of a schemer.”
“I told you already. This will be your graveyard.”
Fermack wondered why Korin had so much hatred and killing intent against him. Even he, who knew about the hidden side of this world, probably wouldn’t even imagine that it was because of his evil deeds of the ‘previous iteration’.
“The subject of the evil king will fall here.”
“You insolent fool.”
Fermack charged forward with the compressed acceleration of his runes. Korin reacted as soon as his body vanished from sight.
Kagang! The outreached fist was blocked by the shaft of the spear. After that, the spear displayed the potential dizziness it could cause through Spinning Heaven.
Following his retreat with Full Back, Fermack even had to use the Ducking moves to fall back by two more steps, and ready himself against the incoming spear.
Darkness started to form shapes around him. This fortress enveloped in shadows was his spear and shield.
❰Ominous Snake: Secret Arts – Distorted March❱
x [ᛊ] — Sowilo Resonant Activation
Three sharp stabs of the Silver Spear, which was still radiantly gleaming within the world of shadows, pierced through the darkness as Fermack widened his eyes into circles.
All the darkness of the Shadow Realm protecting Fermack was penetrated. The three stabs of the spear that suppressed the dimension itself easily sped through his defense and grazed past his cheek.
Right as Korin started retrieving the spear, Fermack lowered his head and approached him in the blink of an eye but in response, Korin jumped to the side.
That was a foolish move. Did he not know that jumping at a close range was a stupid thing to do that opened him up to a lot of attacks?
Fermack waited for him to land back down but it was then.
❰Void Spinning Heaven, Turbulent Spear❱
The fancy trajectory of the spear that turbulently rotated while he was still in mid-air was so dizzying that even Fermack had trouble keeping his vision straight.
7 times while he was still in the air – that outrageous consecutive strikes landed on his gauntlets 7 times and made his hands tremble.
Korin Lork landed back down in that time frame, but the rebalance after the landing required a lot of time. Despite having just recovered the stability of his hands, Fermack charged in to land a few major hits at the cost of potentially receiving some himself.
ᚱ — Raidho
x Jet Screw Combination
At a supersonic speed he approached Korin. As soon as his first punch was about to reach his unprotected back…
❰Spinning Heaven: Second Move —
The spear that had been resting next to his foot started an unexpected rotation. Without even looking back, Korin spun the spear behind him using the force of his kick.
— Rotating Demon Spear❱
He used that trick to fend off against the sudden ambush from behind.
A slash appeared on Fermack’s outstretched arm. The reason he only had a small wound despite being countered at an unexpected timing was all thanks to his superhuman reaction speed.
‘That almost took my right arm away,’ thought Fermack while throwing a glance at his bleeding arm. It wasn’t a serious wound as of yet, but the injury was bound to get worse the longer this battle lasted.
It almost happened at the same time. While the two warriors were collecting their breath after sharing that violent bout, Korin’s left ear and Fermack Daman’s right ear started to bleed profusely as if a dam had been broken.
The scream of the Mandrake that they had been trying to ignore in the heat of battle had finally ended up rupturing one of their eardrums.
Due to their damaged semicircular canals, the two of them wobbled a little and required some time to regain their coordination, but that was when the surrounding demonic beasts overcame the scream of the Mandrake to run at the two of them.
One strike of theirs was enough to explode their heads and chests. Without paying any attention to the lowly beasts, the two warriors stood face-to-face.
Taking in a deep breath, Fermack collected mana.
❰Shadow Servant x 12❱
Using every bit of mana he had inside him, Fermack summoned a large number of clones. That was only possible because they were in a world covered by thick shadows, but Korin Lork did not let him make use of them.
Korin suddenly took off his shirt and threw it away, which greatly confused Fermack. His Precepts should be engraved on his bare body – recklessly revealing that was close to asking for death, so why was he suddenly doing that?
After turning to his body to have a look at the Precepts that were engraved on top, Fermack couldn’t help but feel appalled at the sight of the engraved runes.
[ᛊ] – Resonant Activation.
ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ ᛊ
The solar runes were engraved all across his body. They were giving off a radiant light that chased out the surrounding darkness and at this rate, the Shadow Servants wouldn’t be able to reach him.
It seemed that he had prepared everything in his kit just to fight against one warrior who went by the name of Fermack Daman. That persistence was quite terrifying even.
“It’s sad to have your skills revealed. Because others can come up with plenty of ways to counter them, right?”
Even though Korin said that, this particular move was also quite suicidal for the user himself. The rune of the sun wasn’t something that simply emitted light – there was a reason why it was called the rune of the ‘sun’ and not the ‘light’.
The blinding light and dazzling heat of the divine sun. Carving that all across his body was the same as opening his body up to all that heat.
In other words, it meant that his body would be burning throughout the fight until he dispelled the runes. To think he would do something so suicidal just to seal one of the opponent’s abilities…!
“Crazy. You are truly not sane.”
“Not as much as you guys, who try to destroy the world for the Advent of Paradise.”
Korin Lork arrogantly declared.
“Let’s stop here with these petty tricks and let our martial skills be the deciding factor of this fight. Don’t try to save up on a bit of power for no reason and come at me with your life on the line.”
Receiving his red penetrating gaze, Fermack loosened his arms, but his face was still tense and frozen stiff with no signs of easing up like his body. He had no choice now but to admit that the warrior before his eyes was a great foe that could only be defeated after him putting everything on the line.
Fermack maintained his calm after coming to that conclusion.
Calmly and rationally, he settled his impatience and anger.
Wind blew across the fortress. There shouldn’t be any natural breezes inside the structure, so it would most certainly be related to Fermack’s change of attitude.
Semi-Unique Grade. The knight who could call himself the subject of the King of Paradise was able to create a wound on the fortress with his overflowing abundance of aura alone.
Six Ways — Shura
That was when the air shifted around Fermack. A haze was created by his aura going outside of his body as an intangible aura was covered by a tangible energy.
The explosive emanation of aura that every great warrior of Paradise could use. Its effect was very simple and straight-forward – all of their aura would be substituted to ‘power’ and ‘speed’, all the way until they ran out of aura.
It was the profound secret of Six Ways that allowed a warrior to focus all of their aura on destruction; to make them a match for thousands with no equal on the planet, that could deter tens of thousands of people.
That was the last resort ability that should only be used as a finisher due to its ridiculous cost of aura, and was one that was impossible to use without a huge amount of aura saved up inside the Aura Core.
The extended fist resulted in an explosive thud as it crumbled a portion of the fortress. Just from coming into contact with the gust of the attack, the Golden Mandrake ended up drawing its last breath.
The Mandrake that had been filling the background noise with its scream died, and the scream was replaced by the crumbling roar of the fortress.
His attack was on a completely different scale from before. That brutal show of violence was enough to frighten most people but…
Korin only seemed slightly impressed as he gave out a whistle.
Unlike Fermack who had been concealing his ability that was on the level of a semi-Unique Grade knight, Korin Lork’s Aura Rank had yet to reach a High rank.
The reason there was a big difference between High Rank and below was the existence of the Aura Core.
That decisive difference should lead to the difference in combat potential between Korin Lork and Fermack Daman but…
Six Ways of the Spear,
Sixth Style, Shura.
Condensed aura of a similar kind started leaving from Korin Lork’s body as well.
‘He has an Aura Core!’
Fermack couldn’t understand what was going on. Even if Korin had the Precept to somehow rapidly increase his growth speed, how would anyone be able to increase their Aura Rank from Low to High in just 2 months?
Since he wasn’t aware of the effect of the White Silver Mandrake that created an Aura Core for its consumer, Fermack just couldn’t comprehend what was going on.
First Style, Ominous Snake
The air was divided into two. Despite being a simple warming up skill, the force behind his strike wasn’t too different from Fermack’s.
“It’s Round 2.”
Korin said with a smile.
Demonic beasts of the Shadow Realm were the true bodies of evil from the other side of the real world. Born with innate violence, brutality and hostility against humans, they would sometimes cross over the gaps between dimensions and earn a new body. That was what humans referred to as ‘demons’.
In other words, you could say that they were the true beasts of evil.
For these monsters, violence and struggle were a part of their lives, like how humans consumed food for survival.
However, they were all staying still while holding their breath.
A human and a human.
Small, feeble… and pitiful existences who sometimes wandered into the Shadow Realm and got ripped to pieces.
When they first spotted the one-on-one battle of those humans, they didn’t think much about it.
‘Let’s eat both of them together!’ was their initial thought, but the scene before their eyes was proving how arrogant they had been.
The heat of the battle unfolding before their eyes and the scale of their violence… were so huge that even the beasts of evil were frightened by it.
The amount of aura and weight behind their attacks both far exceeded the realms of common sense.
A single punch crushed through the ground and spread across an aftershock. A raise of the spear sent the poor monsters flying into the air.
Each of their steps resulted in an earthquake and their kicks smushed the monsters in the blink of an eye.
The monsters weren’t even allowed to survive from the aftershock of their collision.
Ominous Snake: Secret Arts, Distorted March
Boost Double Jet
The world quivered. The two warriors swung their weapons as the aftermath swallowed the evil beasts. The collision caused by two people that transcended the limitations of a physical body crushed the nearby monsters.
Swallowing the mouthful of blood that almost spurted out of his mouth, Korin stood his ground despite his wobbling knees. The one who suffered more damage from the consecutive aftershocks was by far Korin Lork, who lacked defense in comparison.
– Grkk! Gurukk!
However, his flesh wriggled and gathered back to one piece. The tenacious will of the warrior immediately regenerated his wounds. It was now 200% more effective than its original ability thanks to his Precept.
But before he could fully recover from his wounds, the afro-haired boxer marched in.
Rush! Rush! Rush!!!
Fermack poured out his attacks. At the cost of pain and potential injuries, he continued his fierce outburst.
Horizontal Sweep of a Tiger
Spear was still a fearsome weapon even at close range. The long shaft of the spear bolted sideways with the force that could swallow thousands in its path.
It was an attack that threw a question at the opponent. Will you get cut, have your ribs broken… or will you give up on attack and defend?
Fermack had no choice. He put his guard up in preparation for the attack.
The fortress jolted from the attack.
As if he had been hit by a flying meteor, Fermack’s body flew across the air after receiving the swing of a tiger and the condensed aura inside it.
– Kwang! Kajik! Kaduduk!
Fermack crashed into the wall as the watchtower of the fortress crumbled down. From amidst the dust created by the falling remains of the watchtower, the man jumped out.
In his hands was a big piece of the watchtower. Using the monstrous power of his arms, the man threw it at the spearman.
Eight Trigrams Spearmanship, Taiji
Korin slashed with the spear as the overflowing aura inside the weapon bisected the flying fragment of the fortress.
Appearing from behind the bisected watchtower was Fermack, who was wearing the darkness of the Shadow Fortress around him. By even making use of the crumbling fragments of the watchtower as his footholds, he accelerated himself again through [ᚱ] — Raidho.
In response, Korin Lork dug his two feet into the ground like tree roots, retrieved the spear and prepared for a lightning-fast stab.
His body scorching from the heat and light of [ᛊ] — Sowilo made it look like he was wearing golden plated armor.
Wearing the pure darkness of shadows and the blazing heat of the sun, the two of them appeared like complete contradictions of one another that seemingly tried to deny each other’s existence.
At last, they used it.
The explosive punch of compressed acceleration and the fastest spear of the Void.
—Rearing Head of the Venomous Dragon…!!
Kicking off the remains of the fortress, the fist fell straight down like a comet as a venomous dragon reared its head in retaliation.
The two powers crashed into each other. As soon as they tried to overpower one another, the aftermath became like a rampaging excavator that crushed and destroyed everything around them.
Korin Lork was the first to let out a groan. That blindly fast stab wasn’t the perfect one he had been after.
He failed at entering the Domain even after all that warming up.
That might be how it seemed at a glance, but to be exact, it was slightly different. The runes of the sun were constantly burning his body. On top of that, his physical stats that had rapidly increased by tenfold, if not more, due to the Precept and Shura-mode were instead stopping him from concentrating on one thing.
The unfamiliar power and pain were interfering with the process of him entering the Domain, since his stats were originally just at the level of a Grade 2 Knight.
Korin wasn’t able to make full use of the crash and deal the finishing blow, and ended up allowing his enemy to approach him. Fermack used his fingers to carve a rune onto the shaft that he was holding onto.
[ᚱ] — Raidho
A rune of acceleration was engraved on his spear. Due to that acceleration, the Silver Spear escaped from Korin’s grip and soared into the air.
It immediately pierced through the ceiling of the world of shadows and the spearman ended up losing his spear.
The spear did not respond. It was deep inside the ceiling and did not heed to his call.
❰Southpaw Flicker Jab>❱
A fist struck Korin by the face. His teeth fell out as blood splattered from the wound.
“A spearman without a spear is nothing.”
Fermack pushed his advantage. Korin had reached a remarkable level with the spear but he was still just a kid.
There was no way a spearman could beat him in a close-combat battle.
“I’ll end it before the spear comes back.”
As soon as he finished his words, a rune that had been carved on the gauntlet, ᚱ — Raidho, emitted a radiant light. It was the compressed acceleration combo skill that he had been hiding until the very last second.
This accelerated fist could even destroy a castle.
❰Southpaw Jet Straight❱
Fermack shot out his strongest punch that could immediately destroy a person’s heart. Even someone with a regeneration ability should die after having their heart crushed.
❰Eight Trigrams Footwork, Fleeting Body❱
Like flowing water, Korin flowed by using a mysterious footwork. By dodging the opponent’s secret move with a mystifying set of steps, he replaced himself behind Fermack.
❰Southpaw Liver Shot❱
Although he managed to dodge Fermack’s strongest attack, Fermack responded in time. He swung his fist sideways to the back as it accurately landed on the right side of Korin’s body… at his liver.
Korin was somehow still standing up but his organs must be in a mess. Even though he was still in Shura-mode, that attack should have been lethal.
‘I won,’ thought Fermack.
“Looks like your bare-handed skills are not as good as your spearmanship. Your defense is very sloppy.”
The warrior savored his victory but there was something he was unaware of. He did not know that even the system had acknowledged Korin Lork’s Eight Trigrams as having reached MAX level.
In a manner that was so natural,
By matching himself to the flow of thoughts and breath of the enemy, Korin landed his hand on Fermack’s chest before he could even realize it.
“It was on purpose.”
❰Eight Trigrams, Chest Palm—
A palm strike to the chest;
—Eye Palm, Nose Palm.❱
And a palm strike each to the eye and the nose.
That was the Three Palm Strikes of Eight Trigrams.
Fermack staggered from the unexpected attack. Blood flowed from above his eyes and interrupted with his sight, but he instinctively threw a fist and made it land on Korin’s chest.
That punch made Korin scatter a blizzard of blood from his mouth. The fundamental difference between a palm strike and a punch laid in their destructiveness. After receiving a straight punch to his liver and his chest, even Korin shouldn’t be able to last…
It was then.
A spear of silver light that was gleaming in white arrived in front of Fermack’s eyes.
‘I can’t let him grab it!’
The opponent had more profound wisdom on bare-handed fights than he expected. That was a painful mistake but Korin Lork was all in all a spearman.
His best chance at victory was when Korin wasn’t holding onto the spear.
Fortunately, he was closer to the spear than Korin. Fermack decided that he would end it here before he could lay his lands on his spear again.
❰Southpaw Jet Straight❱
Fermack threw a fist. As soon as Korin Lork reaches his hand out for the spear, his fist would definitely pierce through his chest.
Right. That was only ‘if Korin reached his hand out for the spear’.
Fermack doubted his eyes. Korin twisted his waist, as one of his legs rotated for a powerful kick.
Was he in a rush after realizing that he couldn’t grab the spear again?
It was a high kick that was aiming at his head. It was a powerful attack but at the same time, it was one with a very high risk that Fermack could easily dodge by lowering his head to dive deeper inside.
Bending his back down, Fermack easily dodged the incoming kick. All he now had to do was use a skill to deal the finishing blow to Korin who couldn’t move after that wide kick but…
A strange sound echoed into his remaining eardrum. At the same time, the spear that had been stuck on the ground was pulled back out.
It seemed that Korin had kicked the tip of the spear. The reaction from that kick made the spear leave the ground at a rapid speed and made it bounce up with a powerful spin.
❰Unorthodox Spinning Heaven❱
An unorthodox skill used by the feet and not the hand – that adapted skill which was very questionable to be called spearmanship made the spear slash past Fermack’s left arm.
His left arm began to fly in the air. Fermack’s little pause and hesitation was more than enough time for the spearman to grab onto his spear again.
❰Void Spinning Heaven—
The spinning spear slashed past both of his knees. Fermack’s right arm that instinctively tried to protect his body had its veins cut off on top.
By the time it spun three times, the spear even cut off his remaining right arm.
Watching his enemy retrieve the spear for another sharp stab forward,
Fermack sent an honest and undisguised praise to his enemy.
The scattering drops of blood marked the end of their fight to death.
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