Tianna heard Bellocchio until the end.
It was hard for her to believe his plan. She could not help but question if such a thing was even possible.
However, she had no time to waver. Tianna made up her mind and looked at the battlefield, where Alice and Karan fought.
Karan unleashed an attack carried by pure physical power. The way she shook off the fear of a deathly attack sent a shiver down Tianna’s spine. She wondered how Karan could fight on with no hesitation when the previous White Mask took her out with one attack.
Alice from the Order of the Sun attacked at strategic points to keep White Mask in check, but that should not be enough to make facing White Mask any less scary.
Tianna thought Karan was incredible.
(…Now is not the time to stand here and think about that.)
Tianna was vexed by her own powerlessness. There was nothing she could do.
If she moved carelessly, rather than creating an opening she would probably be rebuffed and put Sem and Bellocchio in danger as well.
So she waited until she saw the best possible moment.
“The way you handle that sword really is nice to watch. I even want to show it to my subordinates.”
Karan ignored Alice, as it was not the time to think of a polite reply.
It would not be strange if her head flew off at any moment, but still, she swung her sword with all her might.
They exchanged blows twice.
Karan was in tatters, and looked as though she would collapse at any moment, but did not allow herself to do so.
She was out of breath, and when her movements became duller, Alice stepped in to cover for her.
Alice’s sword was short and thin. Just one of many found on Thousand Sword Peak.
However, her precise technique and strange pressure was able to fend off Garosso’s attacks.
“…Good. I made the right decision when I put this on. I would’ve been done for if I didn’t.”
“Who knows? Have some pride in your own sword skills. Your technique is great. It is dirty and cowardly, but there is something to be said about using such a dirty technique so unashamedly.”
“You’re not hiding your bloodlust very well.”
But as they exchanged blows, Alice’s sword was deteriorating quickly.
Karan had recomposed herself, and joined in again.
“You’re annoying… It’d be easier for you if you just went down at this point.”
“Doesn’t looking at that pure and honest display of swordsmanship make you feel anything Garosso? Or are you no longer a swordsman?”
Said Alice mockingly to a clearly annoyed Garosso.
“…I’m not a swordsman.”
“Then as a follower of All Martial Arts. Don’t you feel anything?”
Garosso’s sword caused an explosion. His black sword was fast, heavy, and crudely strong.
A huge crater was left of the ground.
With just a swing of his sword, White Mask carved a hole and sent the two women flying with a shockwave.
“Eh, you have a lot to learn too. Does it look like you’re in a position to have a chat?”
A crude laugh very much unlike the featureless pure mask it came with an echo, and a big cloud of dust covered the area.
“…Hey. Are you alive?”
Asked Garosso with a dull voice.
When the dust settled, he saw Alice and Karan covered in wounds.
“…You’re alive. Being stubborn is a nice quality.”
“Stubborn? I would say nimble.”
Garosso on the other hand had not a single wound on his body, despite receiving so many attacks.
His black armor shines more brightly, and seemed stronger than before.
“…You’re not much.”
Garosso’s overwhelming power surpassed even Ushiwaka, but Karan did not despair.
“The other White Mask was faster, stronger, and more ruthless. He was the real deal.”
“Ehh… So what does that make you if you can’t hang with me?”
Karan did not respond, instead spitting out a mixture of saliva and blood with an unpleasant expression.
“Where are your manners?”
“You can’t even beat me. The other one did it in a second.”
“You’re half-baked and awkward. I thought you were just playing, but no. You’re not used to your own body and you’re afraid of it. You’re not even using Stepping or anything when you attack.”
“You’re like someone that sucks at riding a horse. You’re so scared that you can only walk slowly. You scared good-for-nothing coward.”
“…Be careful little Karan!”
An attack filled with rage descended upon Karan.
She somehow managed to avoid this super heavyweight sword swing, but right after dodging, she was kicked at full force in the stomach.
She was sent flying high into the sky while spitting blood.
“What do you know!? Yes I’m scared! I was running away from my fate and got caught! Thanks to my damn ancestor and this armor, I have to be a slave to demons for hundreds of years! But I’ve gone through hell! Who are you people to say anything!? You’re just idiots that trusted people without a second thought and got together to lick each other’s wounds after getting betrayed!”
After he stopped yelling, Karan hit the ground with a thud.
Her body twitched, and if left alone, she would surely die.
“Ah, dammit, it makes me sick. I didn’t even want to kill Nick… No, it’s too late. My objective. I have to fulfill my objective… What’s my objective… Damn, my head…”
Although it looked as though he would start screaming again, Garosso started lamenting in a confusing manner.
He had incredible power, but his spirit was unstable. This combined with the fear in his eyes made this the perfect opportunity.
A blade rotating up high chopped Garosso’s arm off.
Tianna loaded her magic bow silently and moved under the cover of the dust, waiting for the perfect opportunity, and the time had finally come.
“You… How dare…!?”
His voice twisted with rage.
“Ah, I’m dead… I knew this would happen, that’s why I didn’t want to do anything. I can’t do anything now.”
Said Tianna with a dry laugh.
Garosso turned to her, thinking he had to kill her now, which meant he turned his back on Bellocchio.
“Nicely done Tianna…
“《Dungeon Control: Snake Whip Sword》!”
Thousand Sword Peak was a very strange labyrinth, where blades grew everywhere.
People could not hope to meddle with something so mysterious.
Although they could pick swords and spears off the ground, that function itself was for the monsters. People could not dig swords before they popped out, or create ones that fit them personally. Only monsters could interfere with the labyrinth in this manner.
However, this mechanism would become weaker for a moment, when the boss was defeated.
When Bellocchio was younger, this labyrinth was his hunting ground, and after spending a lot of time experimenting, he found a secret technique.
Using magic energy on the ground, he could freely control swords before they popped out as actual swords.
Since this could only be used after the boss was defeated, it had little to no practical use.
What use was there for a powerful technique that could only be used after the biggest threat of the labyrinth was no more?
“Wha… What is this!?”
Strange chains appeared from the ground beneath Garosso as if they were plants, and began to twist their way up his body.
This sharp metal was actually swords and spears connected together before they were given shape.
Bellocchio recognized the delicate situation before him, and after being cut down began to slowly kneed magic energy through the ground, permeating to the sword ‘eggs’.
“…Even I am surprised about this technique being useful in this manner… Guh…”
“Master! Don’t overdo it!”
“I cannot hold back here…!”
Tianna caught Bellocchio before he fell, while the metal wrapped around Garosso.
As Garosso’s lost arm started to regenerate, the chains became stronger, as if digging into him, and eventually got inside his armor.
“Wha… What is this horrible technique… Uoooo…!”
Garosso squirmed and yelled.
Tianna felt happy as she saw what she thought were his final moments, but she was wrong.
Smoke rose from the armor, and an intense heat was released from his body.
“A-are you trying to melt the metal…!? Just die already…!”
“I can’t die even if I want to. This is…”
His cracked and muffled voice did not sound human anymore.
The red hot metal melted off his body and fell to the ground. The moment the drops of metal hit the ground, they caused a spark as they rapidly cooled off, leaving dull looking clumps of metal.
Just as everyone thought they played their last card, a single flash of light penetrated Garosso’s body.