༺ Hua Ran (8) ༻
Placing Alicia down on the ground, I walked to Hua Ran. Meanwhile, I aroused the other core sleeping dormant inside me.
The Aure Core of a demonic nature that supported the myths of the great hero, Sebancia Duke – although it was too much for me and it was like a pig wearing a pearl necklace1Pig wearing a pearl necklace: A famous saying in Korea about someone having an item of an unsuitably high value. Usually used as a derogatory phrase., I was ready to swallow all that shame and pain.
The silver spear twitched.
As I created a path from the Core to the dantian, and from the dantian to the weapon, the silver spear reacted with an echo.
A tremendous amount of aura was flowing through my dantian and pounced at my heart before making their way to the spear.
On top of that, it was painful.
However, even though my body was nearing its limit from the previous fight, I hadn’t used everything just yet. I remembered Sebancia Duke’s demonic sword that he showed at Castle Duke.
『Look. This is the heaven-defying power – the one I used in my youth to kill a dragon.』
I couldn’t perform the exact move he showed me; at least for now.
But it was nonetheless true that his demonic attributes had been passed down to me. I had inherited his experiences and skills.
That demonic sword of his… I shaped it into the form of a demonic spear. Instead of swordsmanship, it was like making use of the innate power of a weapon, which meant I could apply that to my spear.
Ever since I returned from the south, I had never been lazy even when it came to practicing with this demonic spear. It was just that, this was way too risky of a skill to use in real life.
But actually, it was obvious that a prototype or a new skill had to be properly used for the first time in an actual battle, right? That’s what happens in every show or movie, after all.
“Sorry for the wait.”
I looked at Hua Ran, the focal point of the battle. I could see that she was looking at me with caution. It was the first time that this girl with an Unbreakable Vajra Body had become wary of me.
That must be proof of just how intimidating of a change my spear had gone through.
Right. There were only few people in the annals of history that could stand off against the Heavenly Yaksha.
Sebancia Duke, the greatest hero from 800 years ago was one of them.
Now, it was my time to re-enact that myth.
“1st Demon Spear”
I let the turbulent aura flow into the weapon because without that, it would have been difficult for me to withstand the sheer density of it. The silver spear roared, as if it was excited by the higher-quality aura that was at a different league compared to my own.
A ridiculous amount of aura gathered at Hua Ran’s fist. Our next course of action was very simple.
Hua Ran threw a straight fist with her right hand, while I thrusted the silver spear that was now tainted in darkness.
It was a head-to-head contest to see who was the stronger one out of the two.
A single clash of the two deadly weapons resulted in an intense impact.
This, here, wasn’t a clash between me and Hua Ran.
It was the frontal collision of two pure forces – the Heavenly Yaksha was contesting against Sebancia Duke himself, allowing a glimpse into the mythology of the hero.
Resulting from that was a storm so violent that getting caught up by it could only mean being shredded to death.
The two bounced off and fell back. That was the first even outcome ever since the start of the battle, and I could tell that she was confused.
I didn’t stop.
In fact, I couldn’t pause here.
Befuddled, the Yaksha swung her right hand once again but was yet again blocked by the black glister of the demonic spear. The one gasping in disbelief was in fact Kang Ryun, who had been fully focused on controlling Hua Ran.
“T, that’s impossible.”
He was right to be surprised.
Without the restrictions in place, Hua Ran could destroy mountains with a punch. That was just how absurdly nonsensical her aura was both in quality and output quantity.
The only person inside this formation that could contend against Hua Ran by sheer force was Marie Dunareff, and definitely wasn’t me.
And yet for the third time, Hua Ran’s demonic aura was nullified after crashing into my demonic spear.
“This can’t be! How could someone like you! How could someone like you be on equal grounds with the Heavenly Yaksha…!?”
Now that his 100% trust in the absolute power he had was being pushed back, Kang Ryun anxiously slandered me with a scream.
“What are you doing?! Hurry up and kill him! Get him out of my sight!”
Kang Ryun ordered her through the talisman on her forehead. His restlessness seemed to have been transmitted to Hua Ran, and she gathered a terribly large amount of aura on her right hand, which probably equated to about 1,000.
She was spending that much aura with just one punch, but in response, I also readied myself for an equal amount of 1,000.
❰Demonic Spear of Darkness – Ominous Snake❱
A mind-boggling aftershock trembled the ground but my body was still in one piece. It meant that I had fully offset her fist.
I ignored his scream.
Right now, I had neither the physical stats nor the speed of back when I was using Shura. But even so, each of my attacks was a definite reenactment of Sebancia Duke’s myths.
The logic behind that was simple.
Even though Hua Ran might have hundreds of thousands of Aura, the only amount she could spend at once was limited to 1,000.
It was shocking enough that she could use her mountain-crumbling fist a hundred times, but the point here was that she could only use 1,000 every time.
If I could use 1,000 at a time myself to offset her attacks… that meant I could display a miraculous scene of fighting against Hua Ran on equal grounds.
That was only possible thanks to the Aura Core left behind by Sebancia Duke, who was of the equal Aura Rank as Hua Ran the Heavenly Yaksha.
Of course, there was an incredibly large difference between my and Sebancia Duke’s aura capacity. I probably won’t be able to parry more than 6 attacks from now.
Hua Ran parried my spear away with her fist. It was powerful enough to send the world home crying, but the silver spear withstood the impact.
The resilience of the magic stone Marie gave me, the Unbreakable Stone, was standing firm despite the earth-shattering battle.
Therefore, the spear wasn’t even a problem and the only question here was whether my body would last or not. My body was shrieking and being torn apart with each and every attack, but I held on by relying on my resilient willpower and the Regeneration of the Tenacious Warrior.
She seemed so bothered by the inability to beat me that her demonic aura kept on getting more and more violent. Every time, my spear was either blocked or parried.
This miraculous feat was taking a massive toll on my body but I did not stop. In fact, I couldn’t because… Hua Ran still wasn’t using her left arm.
“You didn’t throw it away.”
Hua Ran might have delayed it, but hadn’t made a choice yet. She still hadn’t made the choice of becoming the original owner of the body after chasing Ran out.
Her left hand which was most certainly still holding onto the lightning-struck wood was the proof.
I had to grab that hand of hers, and that piece of wood that she was still holding onto even after reaching this point. I had to lead her forward until she could make a decision.
However, my arms reached the limit first. After swinging the demonic spear several times, they couldn’t last anymore and ended up dropping the spear.
Hua Ran’s demonic aura was swung but I didn’t have the spear to oppose it. Without releasing enough power to offset that move, I would probably end up dying here.
There was no need to hesitate on what to do.
My next course of action was very simple.
I moved the channel connecting to the spear into my right arm.
The power of darkness enshrouded my fist as the two fists then clashed against one another.
Her aura was canceled. Unlike the unbreakable spear, my hand ended up being crushed and the opponent was still unscathed.
She started emanating aura once again, and it was again through her right hand. Taking half a step back, I twisted my back and met the downward strike with an upward kick of my left leg.
It resulted in the sound of something cracking as well as a hail of blood. My left leg didn’t last against her punch and made it rain with flesh and blood.
But thanks to that, Hua Ran was pushed back. She stumbled back from the force of the attack.
I could see the confusion on her face. Looking at her arm, she seemed unable to believe that her arm had been pushed back.
However, she was fast at emanating her demonic aura once again. As if to make up for the mistake and as if to get rid of the nuisance in front of her, she swung her poisonous claws at me with speed.
There and then, I took a step forward.
It was a step with my life on the line.
That step forward wasn’t to avoid her attack. All I wanted was a newer position and a better posture with that one step.
Putting my right foot in front of me and firmly rooting it down like Mt. Tai… I pulled my left leg back as if it was a javelin.
With the sheer concentration of my consciousness, breath, and muscular movement, I aimed for half a step more.
That instantaneous fissure of time was only allowed once, and missing it wasn’t an option.
The world stopped.
Ripped and scorched. My fist, that wasn’t even steel, was nothing but a chunk of meat exposed in a turbulent tornado of blades.
However, I was certain.
I was certain that this fist… would at least maintain its shape until it could reach her chest.
Eight Trigrams Extreme Fist of Darkness,
Like a short spear, it penetrated into her chest as the Yaksha coughed and gasped for breath. The status of her Unbreakable Body quivered.
That last attack with my life on the line made the Heavenly Yaksha fall to one of her knees.
But that was it. Her life was still there.
I took a deep breath.
My hands and legs were destroyed beyond repair, showing no signs of movement.
Hua Ran was the one who coughed out blood. Despite still being under control, the Yaksha looked down at her own blood as if she couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
But that was all there was to it.
The extreme fist of Mixed Origin might have been able to pierce through Hua Ran’s unbreakable defense, but that was it. Before long, Hua Ran recovered from the shock and it looked like my impending death was only 1 second away.
But for the first time, she let out the voice of intellect. She asked as a human and not as a beast, which allowed the upcoming death to be delayed. And during that short period of time…
The Eight Gates Formation started to tremble. Things cracked and shattered all around as… the chains started to move.
The sacred artifact of the New Faith immediately wrapped themselves around Hua Ran’s body.
“…It worked out it seems.”
All that hard work just to buy even 1 more second of time had been worthwhile. Senior Marie… along with Kang Yuhua and Sa Jinhyuk who were no longer in this place must have destroyed all the articles inside the formation.
Destroying the articles of the four perils, that had momentarily removed Hua Ran’s restrictions, made the chains work again.
“T, this can’t be…! This can’t be right!!”
Kang Ryun screamed and doubted his eyes at the unbelievable sight before him. However, his desperate shriek was suppressed in an instant.
“…You better stay still. Professor Kang Ryun.”
After the complete nullification of the formation, a witch entered through the gaps in the dimension – Lady Josephine overpowered Professor Kang Ryun in the blink of an eye.
That side was also done, it seemed.
Dragging my leg behind me, I walked towards Hua Ran, who was vacantly standing there staring at me with a blank look on her face.
It was dangerous. One more fist from Hua Ran would probably blow me away in an instant.
However, I had faith. I wouldn’t die and Hua Ran wouldn’t kill me.
Her left hand that was still refusing to open up was the proof.
“This is not good on a child.”
I took the talisman off her forehead. That removed the connection forged between Kang Ryun and Hua Ran.
Her body immediately crumbled down on the spot. Fortunately, I was somehow able to support the small body of the girl and stop her from falling down with my broken arms.
On the other side of the surface of consciousness, she was deep underwater. It felt like someone was shouting at her.
Rather than the usual shout of hatred and rage… it was warm… It was based on an emotion that seemed so far from her that she felt ticklish at heart just from hearing it.
The warmth being conveyed directly to her skin made Hua Ran realize that she was in the arms of someone else.
“Ohh… You’re awake,” said her unpleasant housemate.
Her red eyes picked up the state he was in. Her eyes failed to take in anything else… after seeing the miserable condition Korin was in.
Despite that, all she could see on his face was a wide smile.
He was in a horrible state.
His right arm was crushed and his left leg was twisted beyond belief. His left arm was severed and a part of his fractured bone was poking out of his flesh.
He no longer even looked like a proper human.
That was the final state of the man who had put his life on the line to buy even 1 more second of time.
“Is this… because of me?”
Seeing his horrid condition aroused despair and guilt inside her heart. Even she could tell that this had to be the result of him throwing his body just for her sake.
“I told you.”
With a constant shiver, he stretched out his demolished hands with visible bones, muscle tissues, and fibers, and tightly held onto her left hand.
“I told you I’ll help you… until you can make a decision for yourself.”
She couldn’t even ask him any questions because she realized that for him, talking right now was just asking for pain. Hua Ran had no way of returning the favor to this hero of devotion.
“Make… a decision you can be proud of. So that… you won’t regret it.”
He talked of choices and not about one’s birth. Even though she was born as a monster and a Yaksha of a demonic nature… he still emphasized the importance of making decisions.
Hua Ran immediately opened her left hand. She wanted to show him – she wanted to repay him and prove that she wasn’t a monster.
However, there was nothing remaining in her left palm. Her superhuman grip had long crushed the lightning-struck wood into ashes.
“What do I do… What should I do…?”
There was nothing she could do. Nothing happened despite her making a choice. She wanted to show him right now and repay him for all his trust but…
And yet seeing that, the boy in tatters laughed out loud. He was satisfied by just seeing her choice.
“Well, we have other ways…”
He said while turning the silver spear stuck in the ground. His hypothesis of using his favorite spear with the ‘Orb’ in place was still valid.
“…Thank you, for responding to my trust. I knew it. You… are a very nice girl.”
After saying that, Korin collapsed on the ground with Hua Ran still in his arms. Raising him back up, she asked with warm drops of tears leaving her eyes for the first time in her life.
“I… am a monster. I hurt you. I killed many people. I stole Ran’s body.”
– Can someone like me, still be forgiven?
The boy hesitated for a bit as to what to say in response. It was because he couldn’t give her a definite answer to that question; he didn’t have the right to reply to that.
All he could do was use his ruined arm to tap on the back of the crying girl.
“We’ll look for ways together.”
All he could do was assure the child that she was not alone.
- 1Pig wearing a pearl necklace: A famous saying in Korea about someone having an item of an unsuitably high value. Usually used as a derogatory phrase.