MTY: Chapter 132

I feel the crisp cold air on my face as I watch the sun rise over the buildings and the great wall surrounding the city in the distance. From the top of the arena, the city certainly looks beautiful, doesn’t it?

Even though I know that I should have spent last night resting and preparing for today’s fight… I just couldn’t fall asleep. With how instantly sleep has come to me since I came into this world I had forgotten how horrid it is to toss and turn in the anxiety of something horrible happening. For some reason, my body simply would not rest last night… and yet I don’t feel the least bit tired.

I started to wander the streets through the night, thinking to myself, trying to prepare myself. I’m not stupid, I know that the Yuusha probably won’t kill me today. As ignorant and childlike as he is, he probably wouldn’t kill without a good reason. All the same… I’m scared. This fight is probably the best chance that I will get to end this. If I were to kill him within the rules of the tournament I would be free from suspicion.

know I’ve trained harder to him, I know I’ve gained better equipment than him, I know that by all rights I should win. Logically it only makes sense. With the way the Yuusha gains power, every second I delay is a greater gap in our power. Without the power held within that wisp, that gap grows even further in his favor, and I’m still not even sure if I can even handle the power within it yet.

Regardless, even if not all the cards are stacked in my favor, this is the best hand this world is likely to ever deal me. Knowing that… if I fail there is a good chance there is no coming back. If even his complete lack of focus or effort has made him more powerful than me, then what hope will I ever stand?

Even at night, the streets had people wandering about. I felt the need to be alone with my thoughts, to try to process the facts that I had been refusing to face up to this point. Eventually, I decided to head to the Arena. When not in use it was always such a quiet place. I waited out the morning from the top of the stands, where I had first met Reese.

Staring out onto the dimly moon-lit city I pondered one question.

“What do I do if I can’t win?”

I must have imagined a million scenarios, but in none of them did I end up happy. Not wanting to run away from it anymore, I refused to trick myself and thought about things logically. Perhaps the fear made me pessimistic, but if my fate wasn’t to defeat the Yuusha… then I couldn’t think of a future that ended without pain.

What do you do when you know every path leads to pain? How do you pick between bad endings?

It’s weird… despite the fact that I can’t remember anything specific, I still remember the line that always used to show up in anime.

“Considering how to handle losing before the battle has even begun will always result in defeat!”

I can’t help but scoff at that line now. Is there no way to fight without blindly charging ahead without considering the consequences? If that line is true, then fate truly is a cruel entity.

These thoughts carry me throughout the night. Before I know it the sun begins to rise, and I am met with the final day of the tournament.

There is one thing I can think of that will give me an edge over the fight that is now just a few hours away.

As I walk the deadly silent streets, that are slowly filling with those that have just pulled themselves from bed at the crack of dawn, I begin to wonder if I am making the right choice. After my last encounter, this place scares me almost as much as facing the Yuusha. I simply have to remind myself on several occasions that there is no reward without at least some measure of risk.

I breathe deeply before walking into the front gate of the Royal magic academy. The courtyard and halls both seem to be even more empty than the streets outside. I suppose of the students that are left, none are diligent enough to be awake at this early hour. The last time I was here most of them seemed to be using this place as more of a hangout spot than a place of learning so I might have been more surprised to see people working hard this early.

Unable to find the boy that greeted me before, and still not knowing my way around, I begin to wander throughout the halls of the building looking for someone to direct me. If there is anybody here at this hour it should be a quick job to find them. This place is quite large from the outside, but most of its grounds are made up by the courtyard in the center. The courtyard is surrounded on all sides by one large connected building, that seems to be almost entirely classrooms. Opposite to the entrance seems to be where various offices, meeting rooms, and what little student housing they offer is located. To walk the entire grounds would take less than 20 minutes.

The halls are silent with all but the echoing sound of my steps across the hard wooden floors. The entire building feels almost eerily quiet as if completely abandoned. I must admit that there is a level of relief when I finally notice a light pouring out of a nearly closed door when I make my way to the office area.

The mood becomes eerie once again however when I begin to notice weird mumbling as I approach the door. Cautious of the origin, I peek through the opening to see what the source is before entering.

“Ai-Yon-Fera, Fikbon-Fa-Tera, Hien-Ko-Fira, Rakan-Koyu-Fa”

What I saw was an entirely different kind of stunning than I had prepared myself for. The boy I met before is the only occupant of the room, sat at a desk with a single candle lit next to him. Surrounding him are numerous books, well more than a dozen, all of which open and within reaching distance. The boy is jumping between books, following random lines with one of his hands as he reads out strange words. For some reason he is holding his other hand away from himself with his wrist extended were his palm faces outward.

He looks haggard. As if he hasn’t slept in days.

“Niji-Ko-Fira, Reya-Te-Aera, Jaryu-Te-Aega, Fa- WHAH!” Suddenly amidst the garbled words, his hand begins to glow as papers begin to fly up around him, and the book pages start to flip wildly about

Wait, is that air hitting my face?

“Of all ones to work, why did it have to be this one! Grandma is going to kill me!” The boy says as he places his other hand on his wrist, and aims the outward stretched hand at the window

Just as I begin to understand what is going on, snake-like vortexes begin to wrap around the boy’s arm before blasting outward into the window. The impact is destructive. Not only does it easily shatter the glass, but much of the surrounding window frame has also been taken.

 

Advertisements
Posted in Maou the Yuusha | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hiatus

Sorry, there will be a short Hiatus (a few weeks to about a month or so). I injured one of my hands pretty badly, and it has been slowing down the writing of this chapter massively. On top of that, I’ve had a 103 fever for several days. After just about pulling my hair out trying to write this chapter, I’ve decided to put working on it off until I’ve fully recovered.

Posted in Author's comments | 3 Comments

MTY: Chapter 131

Several moments pass between us as I try to comprehend her statement.

“You’re not… angry at me?” I ask, finally breaking the silence that encased us

“Angry?…Why?” Afeuro asks as she pulls her head out of my chest, and tilts in slightly with a confused expression

“I knocked you out of the tournament, I hurt you, I!… I…” The words catch in my throat as I try to say them

I grasp for the right words, but none will come out. There is no way to describe how I’ve wronged her without feeling this guilt that chokes me.

Finally giving up I simply lift one of her arms and reveal the burn marks left.

“I did this to you… and I can’t fix that,” I say

She looks between her arm, and me, and stares at me with a confused expression again

“Proof of… battle… pretty.” She says while showing off her arm

Although the look on her face is devoid of expression, the huff she lets out makes it look as if she is proud of the wound.

Are you kidding me? Does she actually like the wounds?! She is definitely just a battle junkie, right? She is definitely not an M, right?

She continues staring at me while showing me her arm as if waiting for my answer.

sigh “How exactly am I supposed to react if you act so proud of them? Gah! Now I feel silly for worrying so much!” I say cracking under her gaze as I run my hand through my hair

It’s not like Afeuro’s reaction to the wounds were the only consequence to consider. With wounds like that left on a little girl, the opinion of the one that left them is bound to drop considerably. If my identity ever got revealed, then I’m sure this would become damning evidence against me.

…at the very least though, I can’t say that I’m not relieved that they don’t bother the person in question too much. That being said I still can’t shake the feeling of guilt that I have for leaving such gruesome wounds on someone. Even if there was little choice this time, I should put some efforts into less harmful ways to incapacitate in the future.

“Hey… can we… fight again?” Afeuro asks as she tugs on my shirt, bringing me back to the conversation

!!!

“Why?!” I ask out of surprise and no small amount of fear

barely won our fight, and it put me on death’s door to do so, and as soon as I wake up she wants to go again?!

“Fun?” She asks while tilting her head, and staring at me as if I were the weird one

Is the only thing rattling in that little head of hers fighting?!

“…I’m afraid I will need to decline. I can’t risk worsening my condition right before my fight with the Yuusha.” I say trying to put on a polite face

I really just want to deny her outright, but she seems a little… unstable. I would rather avoid upsetting her if possible.

“The Yuusha… stronger than Afeuro?” She asks with a twinkle in her eye

“I don’t know. I’ve never fought him before myself. People keep telling me that he is insanely strong. Some even say he is unbeatable.” I respond after a moment

It’s hard not to let my emotions mix into my answer, but with every pessimistic word Afeuro grows more excited.

“Mano… thanks. Gonna… find him.” She says before rushing off

Wait… does she intend to fight him now?! That… doesn’t sound too bad actually. I can’t imagine he could be strong enough to fight Afeuro without at least some injury. If she can’t outright kill him, she should at least be able to weaken him for tomorrows fight. Maybe with this, I will have the leniency to “accidentally” finish him tomorrow.

Satisfied to have dumped my problems on the Yuusha I head back to my companions. Upon returning to the Inn I am surprised to see that everybody that I sent ahead of me had begun celebrating in the dining area.

“What is all this?” I ask with concern as I approach Kiel

They weren’t that worried about me, right? I get that mana depletion is a big deal, but this much of a celebration is a bit overkill.

“Well, since you immediately collapsed like that, none of us got to celebrate the fact that you actually progressed to the final round. Around here people consider that the same as winning the tournament outright when a Yuusha participates.” He explains with a happy look on his face as he stares fondly at Tea talking enthusiastically with Kera

I pause for a moment, as I try to feel proud of how far I’ve come, but it just doesn’t feel right.

“And what do you think?” I ask

“I think you plan to win the whole thing. If you were smart you would stop here… but you won’t.” He continues, the look on his face grows more serious for a moment, but still, his gaze seems fond somehow

“You just called me stupid, didn’t you? I would hit you for that… but your right. After fighting Afeuro I’ve lost all of my confidence that I can win tomorrow. Something deep down is just telling me that he will be stronger.” I explain

I’m thankful that the others seem too caught up celebrating to hear what we are talking about.

“All the same, regardless of why I am fighting, I’m driven to fight him. I can’t seem to fight the urge or scratch the itch to face him. I can’t help but agree that it is stupid, but I can’t bring myself to back down. I’m going to fight him tomorrow, and I’m going to give it everything I have.”

“I wouldn’t expect you to do anything else… just… don’t die okay?” Kiel responds, and on his last words his happy expression wavers for a moment

Posted in Maou the Yuusha | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

MTY: Chapter 130

I was released from the clinic almost as soon as the rest of my party arrived… Well, it would be more accurate to say that I was kicked out. Apparently, we were making a bit of a disturbance. I was met with quite the surprise as we exited the building, however.

“It’s dark already? Did I sleep all day?” I ask as I stare up into the night sky

I had planned to spend most of this evening resting for the big fight tomorrow, but I had hoped I could at least go speak with that boy from the mages college to see if he could give me some insight on that black lightning skill. I’ve never had a skill suddenly change like that while I was using it. Even when I’m using chantless casting I still have to think of the incantation to use a spell, so how could a spell different from what I original cast come out like that? It might be risky to ask about it, but it would be even riskier to not understand it and have it happen again.

“What, no, you’ve been out cold for three days princess.” Kera snarkily responds

“THREE DAYS?! What about the tournament? Wait… what about the expedition?!” I find myself yelling out in response

“Sorry to tell you, but you missed that expedition. They headed out already. I managed to get the king to postpone the final match until you woke up though.” Juire answered

The look on his face as he talks about the tournament speaks to how annoying the king must have been to deal with.

So that means the expedition party will clash with my wisp without me there to run interference. In that case, things are going to get a bit annoying from here. The way I see it there are only two real possible ways this could go, and they are both bad. If they end up finding some method to kill it, then I will lose a significant portion of my power. On the other hand, if they don’t then it will be deemed an even greater threat and become even harder to retrieve without drawing attention.

I wonder if the undead horde could take out the expedition party? It would save me some trouble if they didn’t manage to report back any new information about the wisp.

At the very least I need to do something about the wisp before the Yuusha is sent to take care of it. Thankfully he isn’t any more able to go after it right now than I am. It would be an entirely new level of bad if I not only lost that power, but he was to gain it in turn.

“Hey, princess? Before you get too lost in your own little world there, there is something else you should probably know.” Kera chimes in, rudely waving a hand in front of my face as she does

“And what would that be?” I ask trying to restrain the urge to hit her

I feel like I’m starting to give her brain damage, it would certainly explain why she never seems to learn her lesson.

“Well, as soon as she woke up she has been hovering around you,” Kera says as she points at the corner of a building a few streets back

When I squint my eyes through the darkness I am able to see a familiar, and now far more frightful face.

“Afeuro?! Why in the world would she be following us?!” I ask loudly in surprise

I sincerely hope she doesn’t want a rematch. I doubt there is anything that could convince me to go against that little terror again

“Your guess is as good as mine. We’ve tried asking her, but she won’t speak a word to us. Honestly, I was kind of hoping you would know, she kind of gives me the creeps.” Kera says as she looks at Afeuro and shivers

sigh

I suppose I should go and figure this out.

I ask everybody to go on ahead so I can speak privately with her. Tea and Mana both looked angry at me, and I can understand why since it was my fight with her that put me in that state, to begin with. After assuring them for a while that I would be fine however they conceded.

Seeing us pointing in her direction, and the others separating from me, Afeuro seemed to gather what was going on and came out of her hiding spot to approach me. I gathered myself as I walk towards her in turn, but little could prepare me for what I saw when I drew near.

Her face was covered in symmetrical tree-like patterns from the lightning. Hand shaped burns covered her skin, creeping out from nearly every place skin was visible. Worse of all, however, was her own hands, which were so badly burnt that they were difficult to look at.

In one fell swoop, I was no longer scared of this little girl but rather terrified at myself. These were wounds that I had inflicted. The part that terrifies me most of all, however,  is that I felt no remorse for doing it. I watched as these wounds etched themselves into Afeuro, and I thought nothing of them at the time.

Silently I cast restore on her, trying desperately to remove the evidence in front of me, but while a pale light covers her body none of the wounds fade.

My eyes grow wide and I begin to panic.

Why isn’t it working?! Restore has always worked in the past! The only other time was with Gero’s gem… but I’m stronger now! Burns should be no problem for me!

I begin pumping more and more mana into the spell, and while the light grows brighter, Afeuro remains unchanged. Angry and in a panic I pump in even more, forgetting about the limits that had threatened my life so little time ago, and yet still no change.

Why?! Why isn’t it working?! Maybe if I go to the mages college they can give me a better spell to use… or maybe I could create a monster that spe-

“Thank you!” Afeuro says with the smile of a delighted young girl

I’m left stunned as I try to comprehend her statement, and my spell fades away. Why would she be thanking me, why wouldn’t she be scorning me for the damage I’ve done, or for beating her in the tournament? I can’t even heal her wounds…

“I’ve never… lost before. It was so much… fun!” She continues punctuating her statement by slamming into me with a hug

 

Posted in Maou the Yuusha | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Delay

The next chapter is about halfway done, and will likely be out sometime in around the next week or so. I apologize for all the delays as of late, but with the Christmas season and me starting college soon I am more often busy than not. I should have my placement testing all taken care of in a day or two, and then I will be back on focus for this chapter. Starting the chapter after things should start speeding up again. As thanks for you all being so patient I’ll try to write a bonus chapter here soon as well, one that I feel most of you will enjoy.

Posted in Author's comments | Tagged , | 1 Comment

MTY: Chapter 129

It wasn’t long after that, that Tea and Juire came out to carry me out of the Arena. The whole way they were excitedly talking about something… but as soon as I knew they were taking care of me, I allowed myself to lose consciousness. Running out of mana again after so long hit me hard, and it was a struggle to stay awake once the adrenaline faded.

After passing out from sheer exhaustion, I expected my sleep to be more sound. A dream, a moment of fogginess as my consciousness returned, a grogginess that makes me want to stay in bed, anything at all. Instead, however, I wake up in what feels like a mere moment full of energy in a strange room I’ve not seen before surrounded by a white curtain.

“Hello? Is anyone there?” I ask out as I start to rise from the bed

I wave of pain shoots from my chest, which stops my attempt.

Oh, right, broken ribs.

I cast restore on myself, and slowly begin to feel the pain fade. As I do I begin to hear a commotion growing louder.

THUMP THUMP THUMP

“Lass! Are you alright?!” Tea yells as he storms into the room and pulls back the white curtain

When he does so I finally understand what room I am in. After I passed out they must have taken me to a clinic, as there are several other beds surrounded by white curtains in the same room. It is possibly even one specifically for competitors as I recognize two others who are resting on the beds as those I saw in the waiting area.

“Ya, I’m fine. I had a few broken ribs, but I just healed those up.” I say as I begin to get up from the bed

After running out of Mana I didn’t have any left to recover from the final blow Afuero gave me. I suppose I must have looked pretty busted up for him to be this worried.

“Not that! I mean that sounds pretty incredible, but they tell me you ran out of mana?! I thought you might never wake up! How could you be so stupid?!” Tea angrily yells as he tries to stop me from getting up

I’ve never seen Tea angry before. Looking at his face full of anger and worry I freeze in place. Guilt begins to well up inside me.

Right… Gero said that running out of mana can be fatal.

My thoughts are thrown into a jumble as I try to find the words to apologize. Although I’ve run out of mana before without dying, there is no guarantee it will be non-lethal every time. I did put my life at risk here, and there is no way I could tell Tea why.

As I sit there silently, grasping for the words to say, Juire walks in behind Tea and places a hand on his shoulder.

“Oh leave the poor girl alone. She clearly looks like she regrets it, though if I know her at all she still hasn’t learned her lesson.” Juire says in a rather strict tone as well

“The important part is that she seems to be okay now. Come, we should let her companions know that she woke up. I’m just glad it happened before they ended up doing too much damage.” Juire continues as he begins to pull Tea out of the room

“Wait! What do you mean?!” I yell out, but neither stop to answer me

They leave me alone in the room with several others who are resting on their beds, while giving me strange glares and stares.

Why couldn’t they have taken me with them? I already told them that I was healed up. I feel like I lost my opportunity to leave now… I hope they get here soon.

“MAAAANOoooOOoo~” I hear suddenly down the hall in a young girls voice

As it grows louder, Mana comes busting into the room and slams into me with a hug.

“They said you were hurt! Mana didn’t know what to do!” She says into my shirt refusing to release me from her hug

Stunned, I try to find the right words or actions, and instead end up frozen there.

“You know, we all know you are a special case, but you shouldn’t be so reckless,” Kera says as she walks in the with the rest of the group

The imps scamper in and rush to my side. Gero stands in the doorway, not moving at all.

“You can come in now,” Kiel says to him, and almost as soon as the words leave his mouth Gero appears at my side

…I still couldn’t even see him move there. Just how fast is Gero?

“Strange. I figured if anybody was going to be waiting here for me to wake up it would have been Gero.” I say jokingly trying to break the tension

“He would have been, but he was starting to freak out some of the other patients. He was super protective of you, and wouldn’t move at all while he was waiting. Eventually, I told him it would be a bother to you if he kept waiting there, and that he should wait outside.” Kiel explains

“… You all didn’t need to worry this much about me. I’m not that easy to kill.” I try to joke again, but everybody’s mood turns sour immediately when I do

“How exactly are you going to say that after the stunt you pulled? Even Gero thought what you did might seriously hurt you, and the whole time you were out you were beaten so badly that the best healer in the capital couldn’t even fix you up! You’re not powerful, you’re just stubborn!” Kiel lets out in an insulted tone

As soon as the words come out of his mouth he seems to regret them. He grows silent and looks away.

“Kiel is right. You have been far too risky lately and ignored nearly every warning you were given. For someone who claims to be fighting to survive you sure seem ready to throw your life away.” Kera continues

Looking around the room, I remember something I seem to have forgotten lately, or perhaps something that simply hadn’t fully dawned on me yet. People have started to care about me.

I had simply been thinking of things from the perspective of “someone that was going to die anyway if I couldn’t defeat the Yuusha”. As afraid of death as I have been, I had begun to accept it as the most likely ending. Whether I died by the Yuusha’s hand, Afeuro’s hand, or even in battle with a monster it would all be the same.

If I throw myself into every gauntlet along the way, however, I’m inevitably going to hurt those that care for me… Perhaps getting companions was the wrong move. Not only am I endangering them, but I’m quite literally destined to hurt them. After the tournament is over maybe I shoul-

Mana begins to squeeze hard enough that it becomes difficult to breathe.

As I look down at her, she looks up towards me. In her eyes, she seems to be begging something of me.

…I let out a deep breath as I make my decision.

“I’m sorry I worried you. I promise to be more careful from now on.” I say in a comforting tone as I pat her head

 

Posted in Maou the Yuusha | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

MTY: Chapter 128

I hardly have enough time to even ask myself where she could have pulled such a massive sword from before she begins to free herself by stabbing each of the now glowing red hands still attached to her. She works quickly and efficiently despite the burns that have begun appearing on her. As each of the hands falls away they leave a dark hand-shaped mark on her skin.

As injured as she is I expect to see a look on anguish or anger, but instead, she looks about ready to hum with pleasure.

“What an incredible fight! I have never seen such clever usage of magic before! To think that the surprise victor against the Kolossaal was a mage this whole time! However, will magic be enough to stop Afeuro now that she has drawn her signature weapon? What do you think Yuusha-sama?” The Announcer excitedly breaks down his thoughts about the fight

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Don’t be fooled. Mano is actually far more skilled in the art of the sword than magic! Now that Afeuro has drawn her sword the fight is about ready to finally begin!” The moronic Yuusha barks in response

As he says this suddenly I can see anger suddenly wipe across Afeuro’s face. Now free from her bonds, she begins to slowly walk towards me. However, what’s odd is that she isn’t brandishing her sword. Not wanting to let this battle become close-range I begin to panic.

“That is close enough!” I yell out as I prepare another fireball above my head

Not wanting to waste mana on an attack I’m not confident will hit, however, I use the bare minimum to maintain a threatening appearance.

She stops dead in her tracks and begins to stare daggers into me.

“You… why haven’t you… drawn your sword?!” She angrily yells, her voice cracking as she tries to raise its volume to reach between us

“…I’m not nearly the swordsman that idiot claims I am. I just got off a lucky strike in front of him the first time we met.” I answer honestly

Is she insulted? I suppose if you thought I was some great swordsman, then refusing to draw my blade would be as if I wasn’t taking her seriously.

“You’re… lying!” She yells as she begins rushing towards me readying a strike

She’s fast! I can see the attack coming, but there is no time to dodge!

I quickly throw up a small barrier between me and her large sword, with only a moment to cast it however it cracks as it absorbs the blow.

There is hardly enough time to react however as she whips the sword around as if it were weightless and begins a flurry of blows from every direction. I dodge what I can, but I’m forced to block most of the attacks.

I repeatedly cast barriers, each time breaking instantly, but with every strike, the delay between attacks grows faster. I can feel my reaction time begin to slip as my barriers begin to fall behind.

If I don’t do something quick her attacks are going to begin to land!

“Fine, I give up! You want me to use my sword so badly, then here it is!” I say as I quickly draw the sword from my side and lunge towards her

As I do she deftly avoids my strike with a small leap backward.

The anger clears from her face, as she is clearly happy to have gotten her way.

I take up the stance beaten into me be Shishou. He always seemed so indomitable when he took up this stance, as he would toss aside my heavy strikes as if they were nothing. I need that more than anything right now.

Afuero takes up a fighting stance as well. I brace myself for another assault, but instead, there is silence between us. We stand there on guard, reading each other, and waiting for an opportunity to strike.

I want to spend this time setting up traps, but if I get distracted she will pounce for sure.

“…The tension down there is legendary, as possibly the greatest swordsman of our generation size each other up. I fear even commentating for fear of breaking their concentr-” the announcer says in a low voice

“You can do it swordsman lady! Ma? Mano? Right! You can do it Mano!” The reprehensibly Yuusha yells out interrupting him

“You forgot my name?! And stop ruining the mood, you moron!” I yell out, unable to control my rage at his stupidity

For a moment I think my rage has started to blind me, as a darkness sweeps into my field of vision.

“Distracted,” Afeuro says plainly as she brings down a strike towards my off guard self

I jump backward in a desperate attempt to avoid the strike but to little avail. The strike lands across my chest and creates a large gash that instantly starts spewing forth blood. Although landing with such a wound hurts, I jump back again immediately to gain some distance so I can heal.

That’s it, I’ve decided, I will kill that idiot someday. For now, however, I would be delighted if he could shut up before he gets me killed!

I immediately start casting restore on my wounds, but upon seeing my wounds begin to close Afuero rushes towards me yet again.

“I…won’t…let…you!” She says between massive swings of her weapons, that I can barely stop with my barriers at all

As I block her relentless attacks my wounds quickly close, but I can already see her attacks beginning to grow in power and speed. It seems she still isn’t warmed up yet, as her attacks grow more ferocious by the moment.

It isn’t long before the barriers cease to even stop the blows, instead only managing to slow them down on impact. I am forced to dodge the remainder of each strike.

Not wanting to be backed into a corner again, I repeat my previous strategy of lunging at her with my sword whenever I find an opening. Much to my surprise, however, she simply lets me do so. Unless the blow is aimed at a vital location, Afuero simply takes the blow without so much as flinching and continues her assault.

Even a blow that she is forced to dodge does little to slow her, as she always dodges with the minimal amount of movement prioritizing keeping me under pressure.

This won’t work for long… I can hardly keep up with the mental load of trying to find gaps in her defenses whilst continually casting magic to defend myself. It’s like trying to move four hands at once, and worse… it’s becoming less effective by the second. If I don’t start setting up a finishing move then I’m toast. I don’t even know if I can cast multiple spells at once while keeping up with close combat, but it’s the only plan I can think of.

with that decision made I begin to push myself even further as I begin pouring every ounce of the mana I have left into my final gamble.

The world begins to fade away, as all I can afford to think about is “Attack, defend, refine”

I repeat it like a mantra in my head to help me focus.

Attack, defend, refine.

Attack, defend, refine.

Attack, defend, refine.

As the blows grow faster, and my dodges become more narrow, I can see death growing nearer and nearer with every strike. My mantra turns into a single word. A plea to myself to ignore my fear.

Focus.

Focus!

FOCUS!

FOC-

A surprise attack from Afeuro ends my mantra. Unbeknownst to myself, in my hyper-focused state, she had sneakily turned her blade sideways and opted to instead smash through the barrier… and several of my ribs.

My thoughts come to a halt as I am sent tumbling away, desperately trying to breathe with the air knocked out of me. When I finally stop rolling I am left gasping pathetically on the ground as I nurse my ribs.

Afeuro, now well aware of my ability to recover, begins walking towards me to finish this. The look on her face is not one of joy or victory, but one of disappointment.

In one last hail mary attempt, I drag myself to my feet, still fighting to fill my lungs with air, and use earth manipulation to create a long stone spear. I turn it into iron using transmutation before picking it up and throwing it with all of my remaining strength.

Afeuro doesn’t so much as slow her approach, and simply lifts her blade gingerly in front of her face to block the incoming spear… However, the clash of metal she was obviously expecting never came. As she lowers her massive weapon that obscured her vision she sees the spear suspended there in front of her, in a thick barrier that wraps around her.

She immediately attempts to swing her sword to break it, but her weapon is too massive for the small barrier cast around her. There is no space to swing it. She drops the sword and immediately starts beating on the walls of the barrier, cracks forming with each attack.

Thankfully she focused on the wrong part of my trap.

I thrust my sword towards her and yell out with all my might

“Ai-Fa-Aer Stun!” and as I do a stream of lightning shoots out from my blade and into the iron spear

Although I can not hear a peep through the thick barrier I created, as the lightning passes through the rod into Afeuro she looks as if she begins to writhe and scream in pain.

For a moment I think I’ve won, and she stops beating on the barrier, but with the lightning coursing through her and a new anger on her face, she resumes her assault on her prison.

What is she?!

I attempt to raise the power of my lightning, but my mana has already reached the bottom of the well. Desperate I try still, hoping that she goes down before I fall from mana-loss.

As I feel my consciousness begin to fade there is a change in the lightning. It begins to shift from a bright purple to an ominous black color. As it does Afeuro reals back in pain once more.

More desperate than before she begins to punch the barrier with all of her might, but just as it looks like she is about to escape her strikes begin to slow until finally… she falls to the ground.

Unable to keep them going any longer I release both spells, and as the harsh crackling of the lightning stops, silence sweeps the arena.

“…It’s… IT’S OVER! The upset of the century has happened, and Mano was progressed to the final round!”

Hearing the official words my strengths seeps out from me. I fall to the ground, wincing at the pain in my ribs. My mana is gone in its entirety, there is none left to heal myself.

“That was an absolutely incredible match! If I didn’t know any better, I would actually say she could give you some trouble in tomorrows match Yuusha-sama!” The announcer excitedly continues, ignoring my collapse

That’s fine. I don’t need help or anything. I only have several broken ribs and can’t move due to my lack of mana.

“Hard to say… She was clearly hiding her true strength. She hardly used her sword in the match at all after all. I’m sure she will pull out an even more surprising move during our match.

No? Nobody is going to acknowledge the fact that I’m not moving? I could be dead you know? Also, stop focusing on my sword skills so much!

 

 

Posted in Maou the Yuusha | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments