“It really is the Thought Armor. That means it’s like Bond…”
“It’s an aura blade type magic sword. The color is kind of garish, but it’s without a doubt a magic energy blade.”
Tianna confirmed what Nick said.
Everyone was intimidated by the strange knight’s appearance, or rather, his presence itself.
“…What do you want, White Mask?”
Mumbled Nargava to the mysterious knight.
“Call it an after service. Do you need help?”
“Well that will be a problem. You still haven’t finished your job, have you mister priest? There are still plenty of criminals in that filthy dump that must die. If you don’t harvest the wheat for me, what reason do I have to keep lending you that magic item?”
“…My objective is almost complete. I don’t care whether or not people die, and I never made any definite promises either.”
The man Nargava called White Mask sighed, but it was unemotional, almost inorganic.
Even his breathing felt more like exhaust from a duct or air vent.
“I would like to review the contents of our contract… But it would be impossible to have a quiet conversation here.”
And then, the knight’s body flickered, and Karan and Tianna took action.
Karan used Fire Breath and Tianna Lightning, both aiming at the knight.
But the knight was no longer there, and from the space that he occupied, magic came flying.
Karan and Tianna’s screams echoed behind Nick.
“Not bad reactions. Superb for timed lives.”
Nick turned around, and saw Karan still holding her sword, laying on top of Tianna. In just a split second, Karan moved in front of Tianna to protect her.
“Your name is Survivors if I remember correctly. You’re just as stubborn as your name implies. I see why it took a while for him to get the Dragon King Orb.”
Nick couldn’t move. One false step and he was done.
Compared to the knight, the amalgam golem was nothing more than a baby. He was above Leon when he had the Sword of Evolution, and probably even outclassed Nick’s master, Argus.
Karan and Tianna survived thanks to Karan just barely managing to protect them with her Dragon Bone Sword, but Nick would die if he received a direct hit. Nick had to find a way out.
“So… You’re the leader aren’t you?”
When their eyes met, Nick had a strong feeling that he was about to die.
He focused, and everything around him seemed to move slower.
“Sem! Go to Karan and Tianna…”
He screamed as he used Light Body as hard as he could.
Become a feather, he thought. Become a running current.
Become so soft and flexible that even being in the eye of a storm couldn’t scratch you, he thought.
He saw a flash, and before he knew it, the white masked knight was in front of him, swinging his sword downward. However, Nick managed to slip below the blade.
Nick moved with the assumption that this would happen.
He could not follow him with his eyes and could not match this speed that far surpassed his, so all he could do was gamble. Coincidence and luck were on Nick’s side for a second.
He undid the Light Body spell…
Grabbed the knight arm, and cast the opposite spell.
The building could be heard creaking as he stepped firmly on the floor, and used his entire body to throw the knight as hard as he could.
There was a tub used for washing in the direction where Nick threw him, and a dull, heavy sound was heard as he crashed into it.
For Nick, that was the best attack he could muster at that point.
He raised his voice as he held back the shaking that came after he accomplished what he was trying to do.
“We’re getting out of here… All of you…!”
“Hmph, interesting. You can move like Nargava.”
But he was careless, and made the knight turn serious.
He secured five seconds, maybe ten, and through the corner of his eye, saw Sem reach Karan and Tianna.
If they focused solely on getting away, it should be alright.
“As a reward, I’ll send you to the other world painlessly.”
His speed was peculiar.
It was not like his approach or his swing were fast, all of his reactions were fast. Nick knew he could not hold the sheer level of concentration necessary to stand against him.
“Hou, did you give up?”
Nick decided to walk the fine line between life and death once again.
However, he was not planning to dodge like before, he planned to counter-attack with the assumption that he would be hit, or rather, die.
He let his arms dangle, completely limp, and focused solely on the moment when the blade would move towards his neck.
Would his attack succeed? He felt some regret about not being able to see the outcome.
[It’s fine], thought a strangely calm Nick.
“That’s the spirit.”
The black blade started giving off a strange shine, and Nick thought it was it for him.
A strange war cry that resembled the cries of a strange bird echoed, and a woman’s heel hit the back of the knight’s head.
“It doesn’t matter who I am, fix your stance!”
A mysterious woman with loose sleeves and a hood covering her head stood in front of the black knight, composed and completely unintimidated by him.
“I didn’t know you were that strong Olivia! You saved me…!”
“Sem! Olivia is here to help!”
“Didn’t I say it doesn’t matter who I am!?”
“Eh, ah, sorry. Was it supposed to be a secret…”
As they talked, the knight stood up.
“Who… Are you?”
“We haven’t met before haven’t we, mister White Mask. I’ve heard about you.”
“White Mask…? Now that I think about it…”
Nick felt he heard that name somewhere, and Olivia had the answer.
“White Mask. He’s said to be a thief that only steals from high ranking nobles and corrupt merchants. In reality, he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he steals from to acquire magic items and perform questionable rituals as an agent of the worshipers of the evil god. Sometimes, when it’s convenient for him, he’ll give weapons and treatment to criminals and darkness dwellers, so they call him things like ‘Dark Saint’, and ‘Saint of the South’.
“Eh… I don’t see where this is going…”
In contrast to Nick’s confusion, Nargava seemed to understand completely.
“Is that why you helped me? Because you knew more people would die? Are you the one that’s been trying to steal corpses too… Do you plan to use them as sacrifices or something?”
“It’s better if you don’t know. Are you developing a conscience now, after killing so many people? You make me laugh.”
White Mask snickered while swinging his sword.
Olivia blocked his attack and a metallic sound echoed. It seemed she had some sort of defensive equipment under her sleeve.
“I don’t know who you are, but you’re very fast. However, your physical strength is lacking.”
“Obviously! I’m just a delicate girl!”
As Olivia said this, she suddenly became blurry.
With speed surpassing White Mask’s, Olivia delivered precise blows.
The moment her opponent stepped forward she kicked his knee, when he dropped his head, she elbowed his chin, and when he tried to swipe with his sword, she hit him three times on his open flank.
White Mask reflexively back stepped, and Olivia took a low posture, almost as though she was crawling, and once again closed in on him. White Mask attacked with his sword, but Olivia dodged as lightly as petals floating in the wind.
After he missed a big swing, Olivia hit him five times in his median line.
“Da… Damn you…!”
The black Thought Armor cracked, and an ominous bright red light could be seen coming from the inside.
However, the light slowly disappeared, as the crack repaired itself.
“As expected from a sacred garment of the ancient civilization… It looks like more than I can handle.”
Nick was mesmerized by what he was seeing.
Olivia probably used Stepping like himself and Nargava, but she did not seem to be using any other special techniques. Her movements all seemed to be a product of going beyond mastering the basics.
Her movements flowed as though she was dancing, exactly what everyone that had an interest in hand-to-hand combat hoped to achieve.
“What do you mean wow? Come here and help me! It’s too tough for me to do anything about it!”
“Well, even if you say that…”
“So, you think you can just stand there and chat!”
A strange aura emerged from White Mask’s body as he screamed.
This reddish brown aura spread in a spherical shape, and cracked the floor beneath it.
“Dungeon create: Red Spot!
The aura spread quickly, and covered Olivia’s body.
Her glasses cracked, and blood oozed out of her ears.
“Within this area, gravity, atmospheric pressure, temperature, and various burdens have been increased. This is an experimental barrier spell originally meant to control the environment for training purposes but… By shortening its range, it’s strong enough to kill someone, as you can see.”
“T-this… Is really rough… Sorry, we shouldn’t have wasted time talking…”
“Idiot, stop talking! Dammit… Hey Nargava! You have a rope don’t you!? Hold on Olivia, I’m pulling you out!”
“No, it’s alright.”
Olivia smiled boldly, with her face still covered in blood.
“I think I’ve bought enough time for him to get here.”
Right as Olivia finished speaking, a sword came flying right before Nick’s eyes. It shot through the factory’s entrance like a bullet, but stopped just before hitting Nick.
“Sorry… For being late…!”
“You really are late!”
“I cannot return to my blade form unless I gather all of my bodies! It was not my fault!”
“I know! Thanks!”
It was the Sword of Bonds.
Nick grabbed it without hesitation.
“There’s a ton I want to say and ask but… Sem! I know this wasn’t part of the plan, but let’s go!”
Sem, who was healing Karan and Tianna, stood up and ran towards Nick.
And then, both yelled.