༺ The Lord Is With Us (9) ༻
She missed. Taken aback by the lack of sensation under her sword, Delphine’s eyes chased after Ian’s silhouette.
Ian was charging towards her while brandishing his sword.
Delphine had to acknowledge his monstrous sense for spacing. An aura blade was capable of reaching further beyond a blade’s normal length, making it more difficult to read, but Ian had managed to dodge her strike by a hair’s breadth.
Stunned, she wondered if what Ian had done was even possible, but there was no time for her to dwell on it.
He was drawing closer, and she had to stop him.
Stepping forward, Delphine thrust her blade at him, conjuring a ray of golden light.
It was a tactic to disorient his senses as it was harder to determine the range of a frontal thrust. It was a feat made possible only due to her overwhelming physical abilities. Otherwise, she would have struggled to retrieve her blade in time.
However, in the next instant, her sword once again sliced through empty space.
Instinctively, her eyes scanned her surroundings.
Then. seemingly appearing out of nowhere, Ian attempted to stab her without hesitation.
She hadn’t even seen which direction he had approached from.
Gritting her teeth, Delphine spun around, parrying his strike.
Her unstable footing prevented her from unleashing her full strength, but it was sufficient. Sparks flew through the air as Ian’s sword bounced back.
Regaining her stance, Delphine charged forward, unleashing a barrage of attacks.
A resounding crash echoed through the air each time their blades clashed, yet despite her superior physical prowess, Delphine couldn’t overpower him.
It was strange.
No matter whether Delphine advanced or retreated, the distance between her and Ian remained the same.
She felt like he was attached to her by some invisible thread. Whenever she closed in beyond a certain distance, she suddenly found herself within his striking range.
He maintained a distance where only he could attack while she could only defend
As the heiress of Yurdina, she had faced multiple powerful enemies in the past, but Delphine had never encountered a swordsman of such caliber.
In footwork, it was Delphine’s complete loss.
After their monotonous dance continued for a while, a faint glimmer of determination flickered in Delphine’s eyes.
‘Then, I’ll force my way in.’
She clenched her teeth, making up her mind. Although it would create an opening, there was something she could use to turn the tide of the battle.
It was the Yurdina’s secret sword, the Illusory Sword of the Golden Lion.
Like the claws of a lion, this technique unleashed multiple aura blades simultaneously, seamlessly hiding lethal strikes within deceptive illusory attacks together.
While her inexperienced half-sister could only create three blades, Delphine was capable of drawing five blades.
She thought that was enough to cover the small opening in her defense that was inevitably created when using the sword skill.
Having made up her mind, Delphine acted decisively. She anchored her foot to the ground and lunged towards him.
Abruptly coming face to face with Delphine prevented Ian from thinking about his next move. Her preparations would be completed the moment he took a step back.
It was the decisive moment.
Both Delphine and Ian seemed to realize this, and the looks in their eyes intensified.
In that split-second, Delphine’s sword dropped down to her lower left.
She was in stance.
Ian’s eyes followed her weapon, likely aware of what she was about to do. Even then, it was still too late.
The moment she forcefully closed the distance, the proper reaction would have been to swiftly increase it through any means available.
He was both an experienced tactician and skilled in throwing weapons.
Creating another variable and suppressing her movement would have given him a better chance of victory.
With a glimmer of excitement in her eyes, Delphine traced five solid golden lines in the air with all her strength.
However, it was short-lived as the excitement in her eyes was replaced by disbelief.
Her illusory sword shattered.
Delphine’s eyes widened, disbelief washing over her.
At the last moment, Ian’s sword mirrored her exact movements.
Except, seven silver lines emerged from his sword.
One by one, Delphine’s aura blades were offset, the remaining two blades soaring towards her. She desperately roused her mana to defend, but it was too late.
A scream erupted.
Within that brief span, thirteen more blades were unleashed.
Aura blades rended the air, and soon, Delphine bore the full brunt of the man’s illusory swords.
Her wounds ran deep.
She managed to hold onto her weapon through sheer physical strength, but after she failed to defend herself, the aura blades wrecked her body.
She tumbled across the ground.
Everything in her vision spun, and she failed to comprehend what had happened until she slammed into a tree far away from where she once stood.
She felt faint, but more than that, she was shocked.
She wasn’t even sure if what she had seen was real. A sword aimed at her side as more came hurtling towards her simultaneously.
It was the Yurdina’s Illusory Sword of the Golden Lion, a technique outsiders should have been incapable of learning.
Not only that, the number of blades he formed even exceeded hers. In other words, both his ability and comprehension of the technique surpassed hers.
She was flabbergasted and wondered how that was possible. Delphine was the rightful heiress of Yurdina and was even considered a prodigy.
And yet, even she was only capable of drawing five aura blades.
She had heard that her father in his prime was able to draw up to seven and was considered to be on the verge of mastery.
The man’s onslaught continued, giving her no time to collect herself.
The sound of flesh being penetrated through reverberated near her shoulder as she experienced an oddly familiar sensation.
A searing pain coursed through her as she felt the cold steel of the hatchet blade piercing her shoulder.
Her sword dropped to the floor as she groaned in pain.
Bloodlust welled up in her eyes as she grit her teeth, persistently reaching for her weapon.
She couldn’t allow herself to be defeated like this.
Unfortunately, reality was cruel.
The sword pierced her other shoulder.
Delphine fumbled on the ground, her vision still hazy, and then, unable to bear the pain any longer, she collapsed.
“Ugh! Guh… AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
She had been enduring the pain through clenched teeth, but once it intensified, her trembling jaws opened up to let loose a shrill scream.
Delphine gasped for breath as her vision turned hazy, only able to see straight ahead.
In the distance, the reaper was walking towards her.
Against the scarlet hue of the setting sun, his figure inched closer and closer, and the sound of his footsteps assaulted her ears, amplifying her fear.
The golden eyes penetrated her, and their owner languidly gazed down at her.
It was as if their battle was insignificant to him.
The man opened his mouth.
“Delphine Yurdina, I think you’re misunderstanding…….”
Then, he pulled out the hatchet stuck in her shoulder.
Like before, Delphine bit down on her lip, trying to stifle her scream, but the pain overwhelmed her.
And without hesitation, he brought the hatchet down on her calf.
Blood spurted out from her leg like a geyser
She instinctively reached for her wounded leg, squirming and writhing in agony.
“Ugh…! Hik… ahhh….”
“I’m not here because of your petty threats.”
The man remained indifferent even as he watched her writhe in pain. Then, he kneeled before seizing her hair and forcing her to meet his gaze.
Her eyes brimmed with pain and tears, but also an undeniable fear.
The man stared into the trembling woman’s eyes and spoke.
“What makes you think I’m afraid of something like the Yurdinas?”
There was not an ounce of fear in his voice.
Even as Delphine’s mind became overwhelmed with pain and fear, a realization dawned upon her.
This man was not afraid of the Yurdina family.
Not even in the slightest.
She turned pale as her complexion drained of color.
Then, as if on cue, he swung his hatchet once more, cutting deeper into her leg.
More screams rang through the forest as the air was painted crimson with blood.
Delphine Yurdina didn’t know — This was only the beginning.
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