““Let’s speed up. Try to dodge.””
From that point on, Nick/Sem played with White Mask, drawing a path like light reflecting off a mirror. Their movements were absurd, in contrast to Olivia’s precise technique.
White Mask missed a sword swing, and rather than punching him in his wide open chest, Nick/Sem sped up, went around him by moving diagonally upwards, and attacked his back. These phantasmagorical attacks continued, and now it was White Mask who was covered in wounds.
““It looks like that’s all you have, so how about we finish this?””
“Don’t make fun of me boy…! Enemy Search!”
White Mask extended his hand in an unexpected direction, and chanted a spell.
“There… Guided Fireball!”
About ten fireballs were shot from the palm of his hand. They started gently floating, but suddenly flew upwards quickly and in different directions.
““Ah, this isn’t good.””
Suddenly, small explosions occurred when the fireballs seemingly hit something invisible.
“I knew it… You created something similar to Thought Armor and spread it around. You’ve been using it as a foothold to make it seem like you were floating.”
““…Good job figuring it out. And to add to that, I’ve made it so there’s recoil when I step on them. It’s a simple trick really.””
“And what controls it… It’s that sword!”
White Mask glared at the Sword of Bonds as it hovered in the air, raised his sword, and jumped.
““Dammit…! Just kidding.””
“Hmph, we knew you were going to target me sooner or later!”
Said Bond before he started spinning in place, so fast it became hard to see, looking like a disk of light.
The sound of the Sword of Bonds cutting through the air echoed throughout the factory.
That was when White Mask fearlessly slashed.
When the two swords clashed, a light so bright and hot that it almost seemed as though it could burn the eyes of the people watching was released.
The speed was so high and the impact so strong, it was no different than a bomb exploding.
““Don’t forget about me.””
Nick/Sem did not miss the way White Mask’s posture crumbled as he was pushed back by the impact of the swords clashing, and attacked his limbs and elbows with the same force as a cannonball. The moment White Mask’s attention was turned to Nick/Sem to try to evade their attacks, the Sword of Bonds drew a parabola and attacked him. Nick/Sem’s range of attack was 360º, and no matter how strong White Mask was, he could not hope to handle this.
Nick/Sem’s heel hit the crown of White Mask’s head, White Mask cracked the factory floor as he crashed onto it, and remained sprawled on the floor.
““Is it over?””
A brief silence fell over the abandoned factory, as Nick/Sem were torn between hopes of victory and the feeling that it could not possibly be over already.
And then, White Mask’s laugh echoed, confirming that the latter feelings were correct.
“Kukuku… I’ll have to give it to you, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been in such a pinch…!”
White Mask said as he slowly got up.
Red light started leaking from the gaps in his black armor, and then, like a balloon being inflated, he started swelling up.
““Bond, what’s that…?””
“…If that truly is a sacred garment, I believe he activated the emergency evacuation mode.
His speed will double, but that is not all. His cerebral nerves will be accelerated, and you can expect his skill with the sword to also double.”
““Hey hey… You sound way too non-nonchalant about that!””
“Ready yourself… I’m holding nothing back now!!!”
From that point forward, it was a total stalemate.
With the sounds of a thunderclap, a bright light painted the abandoned factory. The walls and floor were all cracked, and it looked as though the building could collapse at any moment. The battlefield remained contained inside the magic barriers, but it felt as though if even just the shockwaves of their attacks slipped through it, it would blow away surrounding buildings and people.
This dangerous deadlock was about to end.
“Fufu… What do you think…!? You should be proud of having kept up with me this long!”
Nick/Sem were starting to get pushed back.
Their Thought Armor was popping off due to the pressure, the light coming from the Sword of Bonds was becoming dimmer, and they were starting to feel their magic energy being depleted.
““Most people wouldn’t endure my attacks for so long. You’re pretty good.””
“Hmph. I don’t need some kid’s compliments, but I will remember you.”
““As will I… Well then White Mask. You were defeated because you focused too much on trying to outlast me.””
“Ah? What are you…”
White Mask stopped, and suddenly there was an unnatural swelling in his chest armor.
“Gaha… Wha… You…!?”
“Not bad for an impromptu combination, if I may say so myself.”
The pressure coming from White Mask’s back spread throughout his body, and exploded through his chest.
The source of this pressure was a blow that Olivia delivered with all her strength. She pretended to retreat, but instead recovered, refined her magic energy, and waited for the perfect opportunity to deliver one final blow.
““I know the smart move is to stand by and watch until the fist fight is over. You’re covered in a magic item, locked your enemy in a magic barrier, and made absolutely sure the conditions would be overwhelmingly favorable to you, so you really can’t say it’s not fair.””
Nick/Sem had the same mean smile that could sometimes be seen on Sem’s face.
“Here I go! Nick…Hum, Sem?”
Olivia landed several blows on vital areas and, as if to make sure he really would go down, Nick/Sem punched a stumbling White Mask in the jaw.
The mask shattered, and its pieces made a quiet sound as they landed on the floor.
The reddish-brown area… The barrier created by white Mask, vanished. Tianna and Karan ran towards Nick/Sem, just as Union was undone, and their bodies collapsed on the ground.
Both had their stamina and magic energy completely depleted, and were gasping for air.
“I-I’m so tired… I thought I was gonna die.”
“This time I really was ready for death as well… “
“You over-did it.”
Said Karan as she extended her hand towards Nick, who struggled to get up.
“Sorry… But it’s not over yet.”
Nick looked at the man that was completely immobile and appeared dead.
Beneath the white mask, was a bearded man with black hair. His very masculine features were dirtied by blood, and he seemed to be on death’s door.
“I thought he was a monster or something, but he’s actually just a regular human. Wait no… He’s dying isn’t he?”
“Let’s remove his equipment and magic items and heal him. Gag him too so he can’t chant any spells…”
Sem was about to move, when something happened.
With incredible speed, something flew while making a high pitched noise.
Something pierced the area around Nargava’s heart, leaving a very small hole.
Without anyone realizing, a strange iron pipe stretched from White Mask’s sleeve, seemingly tempered iron with no gloss.
It did not even have a jewel like a sorcerer’s staff.
“I can’t believe I had to rely on such a cheap trick, but this is my contract.”
White Mask’s voice sounded not like someone who had completed their duty, but instead was overflowing with disappointment.
“He’s alive! Everyone, shields up! Sem… Is out of gas… Dammit!”
“Here! Ice Shield!”
After being startled by this strange attack, Nick mustered his strength to give directions, Karan jumped in front while holding her sword as a shield, Tianna cast an area defensive shield, and Sem approached them to use healing magic, only to discover he had no magic energy left in him.
Everyone was impatient as they saw the situation turn sour once again, but White Mask did not follow-up with another attack. Instead, a strange, androgynous voice came out of his mouth.
“Heroic Soul 【Soemon Kataoka】’s abrasion confirmed. Initiating disposal.”
At the same time, the face of the man that looked as though he could die at any moment started simmering, and disappeared behind smoke.
When the smoke was cleared, all that was left was a skull.
Everyone watching was in a state of complete confusion, but in the middle of this confusion, White Mask stood up.
“W-what is this guy… Is he dead…? Is he actually a monster…?”
“Who knows? I’m not sure myself. In any case… It seems my turn as White Mask is over. Goodbye, strong adventurers.”
A voice filled with anguish spouted from the skull’s mouth, but its movements were very unnatural in contrast to the emotion that was felt in its words. It could even be said it was like an insect.
The fluent movements that could be seen from top to bottom during the fight were nowhere to be found now.
“Self-destruction will now be activated to enforce secrecy.”
White Mask opened the chest portion of his armor, and a white jewel could be seen inside.
He turned it with his finger, and it was lit with an ominous crimson color.
“Self-destruction… Is that…”
“What do you think it means!? This amount of magic energy can very well blow up the entire building!”
Said a panicked Bond.
Tianna pointed to the collapsed iron pots, and everyone rushed towards them. Nick and Sem carried the fallen Nargava where Tianna pointed.
“Stop… It… I’m already… Dead…”
“Shut up! If you die here we don’t get our reward. You can die in a cell after we get paid!”
Shouted Nick before jumping behind the pots.
Seconds later, a tremendous roaring sound was heard.