Nick/Tianna smiled daringly, as they played with the cards in their hands.
“Ha, and what exactly do you plan on doing with that toy?”
““It has a lot of uses.””
“Do not make me laugh! Leon!”
Leon started moving in response to the Mad Moon Sword, and the golden shine attacked Nick/Tianna.
““Don’t even try to stop it. You pretty much can’t use magic of the opposite element, fire, while 《Ice age》 is active, unless you can use magic of the same level.””
Leon charged at Leon/Tianna, who attacked once again with Ice Spears.
“Idiots, do not be careless!”
Sharply shouted the Sword of Bonds, as the Mad Moon Sword started emitting an unnerving shine, reminiscent of a full moon.
“Leon, take my full divine protection!”
Leon’s arms, legs, and chest region were covered in a shell, much like that of a crustacean, and the rest of his body was covered with white fur.
Basically, he looked like a white bear wearing metal armor.
His appearance was getting further and further away from that of a person.
“You can now move freely in intense cold, and have armor that protects you against ice spears. I wanted to do a little more but… Without using fire magic, this is the optimal way to break through the ice.”
After transforming into a different beast, Leon attacked fiercely, easily destroying the ice shield, and ran towards Nick/Tianna.
“I do not know what you were scheming, but I believe it is safe to assume it will not work anymore.”
“Yes, what are you doing!?”
They were locked sword to sword, and the cards that Nick/Tianna were playing with became scattered around them.
Leon used his big body to slowly push them back
“…It seems that it’s true that when the user is bathed with the light of the Sword of Evolution, they evolve, or rather, are forced to evolve. That divine protection can also be dangerous.”
Mumbled the Sword of Bonds with an annoyed voice.
“It is misleading to use the word forced, all I do is grant what is necessary. Strong enough muscles to repel attacks for those who were cut by swords, a body that can withstand low temperatures for those who are unable to move due to cold… Can you really not call this a blessing?”
“It is no different than using bait to fish is it?”
“It seems we have different opinions.”
“What is that awkward form in the first place!? All you do I senselessly combine different animals!”
“Interesting, coming from something that can do nothing but combine different people. How foolish you are, to think you can beat me by simply increasing magic energy and using more powerful spells.”
“What did you say?!”
Meanwhile, Nick/Tianna fearlessly smiled.
““We could do without all this arguing. There!””
Nick/Tianna skillfully threw their last remaining card towards Leon. The moisture and ice acted as an adhesive, and it was stuck right on top of Leon’s eye.
“Guh… That’s not fair…!”
““Who cares about fairness at a time like this!?””
Nick/Tianna used this distraction to get close, kick up a sofa that was turned over, and cut it.
The cotton stuffed inside rained upon them like snow.
“I don’t know what you’re doing, but this isn’t a game…!”
Leon peeled off the card stuck to his face and glared at Nick/Tianna, but they paid no heed, and pulled cotton from the sofa to freeze it, and make an ice spear.
“Mu… Leon, this does not look good! Defend!”
It was vigorously shot out, much like the ice spears from earlier, the only visible difference being the muddy white color caused by the cotton inside.
Unlike the last spears, this one pierced the shell on Leon’s arm, and fresh blood started dripping.
““I don’t know why, but ice with cotton inside is really tough. It won’t break even if you hit it with a hammer. Did you know?””
The cotton fibers become entangled with the ice, and display surprising toughness.
Furthermore, the ice spears created by Nick/Tianna incorporated magic energy in the ice itself, so they maintained incredible low temperatures and hardness.
This synergy made the ice spear strong enough to easily rip apart steel.
“Tch… You savage scraps of the ancient civilization…!”
It was the Mad Moon Sword’s turn to mumble in an annoyed manner, to which the Sword of Bonds happily sneered.
“Good grief, it is that condescending attitude that leads you to failure.”
“Quiet! Both the cards and the cotton are but petty tricks that showcase how weak you are! Leon… Harder! Stronger!”
Once again, the Sword of Evolution emitted an enchanting shine, and with an howl, Leon’s fiendish evolution advanced further.
But suddenly, the Sword of Evolution said something with a puzzled tone.
“Mu…? What is that on your back Leon?”
There were cards stuck on Leon’s back, and not just one or two, there were cards entangled all over his fur.
They were the cards that were scattered when they were locked sword to sword.
Leon showed no signs of stopping, and attacked Nick/Tianna, violently swinging his sword.
“Kuh… Leon, listen! First we need to understand what the enemy is… Did I raise his combat instincts too far…!?”
Nick/Tianna, boldly dealt with the attack, using an ice shield with cotton to block Leon’s violent attack.
“Dammit stop moving…! Don’t run…!”
““You’re in no place to say that!””
Nick/Tianna did more than just run.
Nick/Tianna quietly cast a spell, which was the most elementary of wind spells, and created enough wind to lift fallen leaves and kick up dust.
There weren’t any leaves inside that room, but there were plenty of cards.
“W-what…? What are you planning…?”
More cards clung to Leon’s body, and before he knew it, he was covered in them.
““Continuing to make the skin harder backfired. Having armor like a steel wall that can’t be hurt means his senses aren’t very sharp.””
“Uu… W-what is this…?”
“H-hey! What is the matter Leon!?”
The more cards became stuck to his body, the slower Leon’s movements became.
It was as though his strength was fading.
““Mad Moon Sword correct? You said the moonlight that messes with the user’s body is the power of evolution didn’t you?”
“C-correct, that is my function.”
““Every time the sword shines Leon evolves, so the light is the source of his power, right?””
“W-what are you trying to say…?”
““What if the light can’t reach?””
The Mad Moon Sword let out a foolish sounding voice.
“N-no, wait! There is no way a paper defense can block moonlight filled with magic energy…!”
““You’d think so right? This is a casino, and the cards use nice paper and ink to prevent cheating. The cards repel magic energy.””
“W-what did you say…!?”
The Mad Moon Sword was shocked.
“W-what is the point of using such a thing for something as trivial as gambling!? Even in the age of the Ancient Civilization, anti-magic ink was a prized item! Do you not find the existence of gambling dens immoral in the first place?”
““Why is something that controls people and makes them go berserk talking about ethics?””
“We do have a code of ethics, we cannot gamble or attend sexual related entertainment unless instigated by our users. For all its cunningness, it does seem ignorant about the world around it does it not?”
Said the Sword of Bonds with a sigh.
“I-ignorant… Me…!? Unforgivable…!!!”
The enraged Mad Moon sword intensified its shine, but rather than Leon’s body reacting to it, it seemed to shrink further.
What stood before them was no longer a wild beast, but simply Leon, the tiger person.
Nick/Tianna approached the weakened Leon and swung their sword upwards, aiming for the Mad Moon Sword’s guard.
With a sharp flash, the Mad Moon Sword was sent flying.
Nick/Tianna’s magic sealed the Mad Moon Sword in ice. It was a magic barrier created with ice and magic energy.
Like Ice Age, this was usually very difficult magic that required several people to cast, but Nick/Tianna could perform it on the spot.
““And that’s that.””
“Y-yes. To be honest, I did not expect you to be able to do this much…”
The Sword of Bonds was impressed.
““Really? For an artifact, its thinking was very shallow.””
“You say that but… We do not know much outside of the research facilities where we were developed. We did not have any combat experience outside of testing facilities, and…”
“The strength of the sword is important, but the strength of the user is much more important.”