༺ Gillie (3) ༻
In his previous life, the crimson light—the mark of the Demon King’s absolute reign that came to be known by every living being on the continent.
An eldritch incandesce that was the manifestation of death itself, as it edged nearer, it elicited a primal fear. A harbinger of doom, a reminder of the impending apocalypse that loomed ever closer with each passing moment; the light of the end, an omen of calamity.
Vera was certain.
That was the light that the Demon King and his followers were covered in. It was the light that emerged when the monsters who had lost their humanity arose.
However, he still didn’t understand.
Why has someone emitting that light already appeared?
There were still several years remaining before the Demon King would descend upon these lands.
It’s not possible for someone to radiate that light at this point in time…
It wasn’t impossible.
It made sense if the Demon King was already preparing, secretly spreading his influence across the continent.
Vera straightened his sword and scanned the aftermath of the exploding light. Fortunately, the light didn’t spread beyond the Sanctuary and the damage was contained within.
The scene before him displayed Gillie standing tall, and the Neuters crumbling into ashes.
Vera narrowed his eyes at the staggering Gillie and stared at the dagger lodged in the center of their chest.
Perhaps that dagger is the cause of this.
‘I’ll think about it later.’
First, he had to take them down before examining the dagger.
Vera drew a deep breath, gathering divinity behind his Sword Veil, which he had been working on until two days earlier, and stormed at Gillie.
His divinity erupted. It engulfed his entire body, enveloped his sword, and released an oppressive cry.
With both hands gripping the hilt, he drew the sword closer to his body before swinging forth in a crescent pattern, unleashing the divinity.
It collided against Gillie’s right arm, generating an explosive roar. The resulting sound was not one that was produced from a blazing skin.
Vera clicked his tongue and shifted his body back, directing his gaze towards his sword. The Demon King’s light was piercing through the veil of divinity enveloping his sword, causing the blade to rust.
As Vera shifted his gaze once more, he witnessed the land encircling Gillie wither away, reduced to nothing but dry ashes.
Vera recognized the possessor of this ability. It was a doubt that had lingered in his mind, one that he could not put off any longer.
The Devourer of Life, Marcia. One of the commanders of the Demon King’s army.
Gillie couldn’t possibly be Marcia. Those who caught sight of Marcia in his previous life described her as a mermaid who surfaced on land.
As his suspicions grew, a frown soon materialized on his face. Then, a short breath escaped from his lips.
It was a power that couldn’t be dealt with through ordinary means.
Vera recalled that thought and was trying to devise an alternative way, but at that moment…
Gillie stomped on Vera’s foot.
The movement was fast and fluid. Vera’s eyes widened. His sword moved on its own, purely out of instinct.
A fist flying towards him. A sword blocking its path.
Another explosion soon resounded.
In the midst of the daze, a twisted smile materialized on Gillie’s face due to the feeling of omnipotence that permeated their body.
They were incapable of feeling any sensations in their body, including their heartbeat. Yet, they were overwhelmed with excitement.
If this is possible.
This Apostle, the siblings behind him, and even Friede in the midst. They can all be sliced into pieces. After the Saint is captured, I will depart for Aedrin.
The end of this long wait is finally in sight.
Gillie swung their hand again. The Apostle’s sword was steadily being eroded by the crimson fingernails that were constructed by drawing the life that coursed through their body.
He swiftly dodged it, but in the end, all for nothing. The one who will emerge victorious is myself.
As they stomped their foot, they felt the life of this land flowing into their body.
The wails of their deceased siblings penetrated their ears. Gillie surmised that the enraged cries of their siblings were due to resentment they held for their Mother, who had forsaken them.
‘Ah… Despicable Aedrin.’
Pitiful siblings. This Gillie will break all the shackles binding us, and rebuild the land anew.
Gillie launched themselves at Vera once again.
Renee completed the divine art she had been weaving throughout her prayer, and questioned Norn.
“How is it proceeding?”
Norn was caught off guard by Renee’s question, and his entire body tensed up.
How would he explain this situation? A sudden burst of crimson light reduced the Neuters to ashes, leaving only Gillie and Vera standing. And Vera seemed to be losing.
How was he supposed to say all of that?
Norn’s lips moved slightly, but no words emerged.
“It’s not looking good.”
The response came from Friede.
Friede’s face became mired as they narrated the situation blankly with a subdued voice.
“…Gillie used a trick. It seems as though they did something by sacrificing the siblings. None of the siblings survived. Your escort and Gillie are fighting, and from what I see, Gillie currently has the upper hand.”
An explanation that only mentioned the key points of the battle.
Friede spoke in such a way to implore Renee into giving the order for their escape.
They hoped she would declare that they should abandon Vera and flee, that she would choose to sacrifice that escort and prepare a future strategy.
“We can win.”
Renee never uttered such words.
Friede’s expression contorted wretchedly.
The divinity that Renee had woven from dawn to dusk rested on the palm of her hand.
‘I can do it.’
She didn’t want to feel as powerless as the day she fled from her pursuers approximately three years ago. Therefore, she practiced and honed her divine arts so that she would never again feel that same helplessness.
She may have been blind, unable to fight at the forefront, unable to protect others from enemies, and yet… she firmly believed that there was a way she could help out, and she refined her divine arts as a means to do so.
“…What do you want?”
“Please prepare a bow for me.”
Friede’s face was riddled with doubt.
“What are you trying to do?”
“I’m going to help Vera.”
It was a response mixed with emotions. Nevertheless, there was a strong basis behind it.
Friede could feel a compulsive authority that bound the faraway Sanctuary. The golden regulation that lingered above the ashen space was absolutely impenetrable.
“It would be impossible to land an attack on Gillie from here, the winds are too unsteady. And the moment you enter that space, you must fight the sole survivor of the two. It would only cause trouble if you entered.”
However, that wasn’t the only predicament.
“…Moreover, isn’t the Saint blind?”
What would a blind person do with a bow rather than a knife?
Friede displayed a faint smile with that thought in mind.
“It’s fine, I won’t go.”
“Will you prepare the bow for me?”
Friede remained silent. They simply clenched their teeth and transferred the bow they were carrying on their back to Renee.
A bow supplied with the intention of observing how Renee would utilize it given her disability.
Renee accepted and stood up.
“Norn, please tell me the direction.”
“…Saint, you need to turn approximately 15 degrees to the right from where you are currently facing.”
Renee rotated her body, extended the bow in her arm, and placed an arrow into the bowstring.
The arrow was imbued with the culmination of all the interweaving of divinity that she has performed over the course of three years.
She heaved a deep breath.
Renee drew the arrow in a straight line, and recalled her prayers once again.
‘An arrow that will hit its mark without fail.’
The blind person, who didn’t know how to handle a bow, was certain that the arrow would land on its target without fail. An arrow riding the wind, aimed in the target’s general direction, and just coincidentally piercing Gillie.
What Renee created was, quite literally, a blind arrow.
The arrow wasn’t meant to strike down the enemy. Renee knew. Such a small arrow couldn’t possibly threaten the enemy who cornered Vera.
However, she wished.
She wished that this arrow would create a small opening, and that Vera would use that opening to sever the thread of Gillie’s life.
By weaving together coincidences, the result inevitably leads to a miracle.
Thus, she wished for that miracle with all her being.
She wasn’t even concerned about Vera getting hit by the arrow.
After all, the prayer already engraved upon Vera will safeguard him from this arrow.
Renee held her breath and drew the bowstring with all her might.
In an instant, she released the bowstring.
Vera parried Gillie’s maelstrom of assaults and counterattacked, moving his feet nimbly without pause.
The last thought on his mind was his divinity being depleted and his stamina being worn out.
There were still enemies remaining, so he had to keep standing firm.
He had something he had to protect, he couldn’t fall here.
An explosive roar erupted again.
A stroke of his sword coated with divinity drew a crescent across the center of Gillie’s chest, but the wound healed in an instant and vanished. Vera charged forward.
Once again, he coated his blade with divinity. It was an imitation of a knights’ technique. As the aura penetrated his body, he began to circulate the explosive aura within his core.
He was unconcerned with Gillie’s arm that blocked the trajectory of his sword and the exploding light that devoured all life encircling him.
Only one thought emerged in his mind.
Vera swung his sword, thinking only of forcing divinity inside Gillie’s body before they regenerated.
The divinity was propelled towards Gillie. The sharper, firmer divinity pierced through Gillie’s arm that shielded their chest and penetrated the scar.
At most, only a few meager drops of blood burst from the wound.
Vera charged again, swinging his sword. Gillie clasped the sword with their crimson coated hand.
The sword shattered.
Vera quickly released his fragmented sword, clenched his fist, and swung at Gillie’s face.
The sound emitted was expected at this point. The collision between the pair of flesh transmitted an unnatural sound.
It was an ineffective attack.
Vera quickly retreated backwards and readjusted his stance.
He felt pain in his fist akin to burning. When he shifted his gaze to check his wound, he noticed the skin of his fist where he made contact with Gillie was peeling off.
A heavy groan escaped from Vera’s mouth. The pain was excruciating. In addition, there was no chance of his victory in sight.
And yet, he couldn’t fall here.
It was his natural duty. In other words, it would be more correct to state that he could not fall because of what he had to fight to protect.
It was agonizing to fight for such an ignorant and clumsy righteousness, but it was the only way to walk the path he chose.
His sword was gone. Gillie had yet to fall.
Even so, he had to persevere.
Vera changed his stance to resemble the most powerful combat arts he was familiar with.
It was merely a mimicry.
The technique he had set as his goal.
Among the countless battles he replayed in his head over the past three years, there was one duel he had with an undeniable master of combat arts.
Valak, Lord of the Eastern Orcs.
Vera created an imitation of his combat arts.
There were those who stated that only someone who knew how to handle combat techniques could imitate them.
Vera’s existence negated that belief.
Vera didn’t train nor refine any combat techniques. Rather, he forged his divinity.
His entire body’s divinity had been sharply forged, causing his body to operate at full capacity.
The divinity that coursed through his body awakened his muscles and caused them to bulge.
Vera propelled himself forward once again. Gillie swathed their body with the crimson light, and responded to Vera’s clenched fist in similar fashion.
Irritation emerged in Gillie, their anger reaching a boiling point.
Their throat was parched with thirst.
If I could just get past this person, this damned Apostle, my long-cherished wish would be within reach.
However, the Apostle did not fall.
Even though he was trampled on countless times, even though his sword broke, and even though the skin of his fists peeled off, he continued his futile offense.
The cockroach-like Apostle was still standing tenaciously and blocking the path.
Gillie released the life force accumulated in the dagger that was embedded in their heart.
Life congregated at a single point.
The condensed resentment manifested as a sphere designed to eradicate a single target.
Vera accumulated all of his body’s divinity into his right fist.
Valak’s signature technique that earned him his fame. To leave oneself entirely defenseless as a means of recreating the instance when death truly loomed in his mind.
They closed the distance between one another.
Vera’s fist extended outward, and the resentment that enclosed Gillie’s hand was released.
Gillie was certain. The corners of his lips lifted into a pained smile.
No matter what the Apostle used, Gillie would regenerate instantly. Whereas, that person couldn’t fend off every attack.
In the end, they would be victorious.
Gillie felt the sweet sensation of euphoria permeating their body.
A blank expression materialized on their face in response to an incoming flying arrow.
An arrow that traveled enroute in the direction of the launched sphere’s path.
A spherical divinity at the arrowhead.
The arrow was reduced to ashes and disintegrated. The sphere vanished.
Panic and futility emerged in their mind.
In the midst of all that, the Apostle narrowed the distance and arrived in front of them.
Vera spread his legs a shoulder-width apart.
He channeled all of his remaining divinity into a clenched fist.
Then, he extended his fist in a straight trajectory and poured his divinity forward.
The ultimate technique that allowed Valak to rise to the apex of his species of fighters, obtaining the crown of the Orc Lord.
Gillie’s body came in contact with Vera’s fist and exploded completely.
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