SETP Vol. 2 Chapter 12
Chapter 12 – Shadow Sword
A magic circle glowed with a faint golden hue.
From the circle, ashen wedge-like objects emerged, pulling out chains they were attached to, jangling and rattling.
“Lock him down.”
The chained wedges started coiling around the man, just like snakes.
They wrapped all around the man’s body, rattling and grinding, emitting painful sounds.
“…ha, haha. I see, I see…”
The man, however, rather than trapped appeared to be observing: he continued grinning and chuckling, while looking at “Phaeresia”.
For Welles, however, such a reaction was very welcome. He didn’t know if the man was looking down on them or was arrogantly drunk on his own power, but he couldn’t hope for a better opportunity.
Thus, he did it again.
While looking at his target with spite, Welles called his engraving technique one more time.
Over the man’s head, one more golden circle appeared.
At that moment, for the first time, the man’s eyes showed a sort of restlessness.
His confident expression cracked, ever so slightly— then twisted.
The man started concentrating his strength to break out of “Phaeresia”’s hold, but Welles wouldn’t just stand there and let him.
From the newly appeared golden magic circle other chained wedges appeared, which too wrapped around the man’s body.
Two, three, four, five—
Countless chains bound the man, gradually hiding him completely.
“That was quicker than expected.”
Welles drew the blade at his waist.
A simple sword, without decorations. Its blade, however, had a bright luster that suggested it had to be a product of a talented smith.
Welles had drawn his sword to be ready in case anything happened, but nothing could be heard from the amassed chains. Welles then concluded it wasn’t necessary and was about to return his sword to the scabbard.
“It isn’t over yet!! Prince Welles!!!”
At the same time as Rowle shouted, the “Phaeresia” chains cracked.
The cracks then spread more and more—
“….This isn’t funny…”
“Phaeresia” was a secret rite of the Rinchelle royal family.
The man had received the full brunt of its power and yet—
“Not bad, not bad at all! You need more power to restrain me, though!!”
The man acted like Welles’ attack wasn’t even a minor setback. His fighting ability was truly unfathomable.
The man’s eyes, however, appeared a shade darker than before.
“Sorry man, but you’re getting off the stage now.”
As soon as the man finished speaking, his silhouette blurred and vanished.
New chains started coming out of the magic circles, but they couldn’t wrap around a target they couldn’t locate. With their target lost, the chains moved around aimlessly.
Then, preceded by a gust of wind, a sword slash approached at extremely high speed.
Welles dodged the attack at the last second.
The attack had properly come from behind him, but Welles avoided it completely.
A dumbfounded voice could then be heard.
The man, frowning after unexpectedly cutting through the air, looked at his sword. There was no trace of blood on the blade, naturally. He then decided to strike with his kicks and raised a leg in order to attack, but—
“Who are you trying to hit, you braindead fool.”
Every single blow was effortlessly avoided.
Welles dodged each and every attack, almost as if he could see the future. Maybe, because he witnessed the man’s absurdly powerful attacks from very close, sweat started trickling from his forehead.
A feral grin on his lips, the man continued his relentless offensive, using his sword, legs, and knees, with no signs of stopping. Welles, however, managed to dodge them all.
“That’s what you call a genius.”
Grerial continued, happy as if he had been praised himself.
“He has a sort of animal instinct that lets him avoid attacks like that. I’ve known him for a long time, but I can count the times I actually hit him on the fingers of one hand.”
Rowle then joined the battle, making it two against one.
In terms of numbers, Rowle and Welles definitely had the advantage.
One might think that the situation would soon turn in their favor…
But that balance was shattered very soon.
Welles’ dodging required him to hold his breath and focus on the nerves throughout his body.
Even with such a “godly” ability, he would eventually run out of energy.
One single mistake would be fatal in battle: his mental fatigue was surely reaching its limits as well. A glare of spite in his eyes, Welles moved away from the man.
After mere minutes from the start of the battle, Welles was already breathing heavily.
For Welles and the others, defeating the man did not mean victory: buying time was their goal. There was no need to defeat their opponents at all. Welles thus used his magic again, ideal for buying more time.
However, the man seemed to have been waiting just for that. He quickly closed in on Welles, probably aiming to take him down once for all, as he completely ignored Rowle in the process.
“Too bad for you— ”
The man focused more power in his transparent blade, whispered some sort of chant and-
“—I’m sick of seeing that spell!”
The man swung his sword at full power.
The sword carved through the ground, followed by a roaring blast of wind.
But Welles avoided it effortlessly.
Welles was unscathed, but the man still cackled loudly, a euphoric smile on his face. Welles couldn’t help but be doubtful.
These doubts affected his thinking; he instinctively turned around and noticed that there was something where the slash was headed, and his legs moved before his mind.
“Dodge it, Greriaaaaallll!!!”
A shout, a scream, roared in the surroundings.
Welles had a flash of the possible future and shouted as loudly as he could.
Welles and Rowle’s bodies moved instinctively, but— they couldn’t make it in time.
Such a word spontaneously appeared in their minds.
Feli realized the danger, quickly interrupted her healing and tried to carry Grerial away, but even her quick thinking was a moment too late.
Half of Grerial’s body would be slashed…or so everyone feared.
The shadow sword hanging at Feli’s waist slipped and fell on the ground. It was such an unnatural movement that it looked like it fell on purpose.
Feli knew she couldn’t reach it, but stretched her hand towards the sword nonetheless.
The next instant, something shook her eardrums.
The sword changed shape.
First it turned into a sort of slime-like liquid, then grew larger like a blazing flame, finally turning into a crescent-shaped shadow.
She had seen that silhouette somewhere before.
It was all too clear who was responsible.
The crescent shadow clashed against the approaching slash: after a few seconds of attrition, they both dissipated in thin air.
Everyone present stared wide-eyed at the unexpected event.
No matter how much they thought about it, they couldn’t figure out what happened. Eventually, the man spoke first.
“….what the hell did you do?”
No one could provide the answer to that question.
However, two people had reached a conclusion very close to the truth.
One of them, Rowle, started laughing merrily.
His voice jumped in joy, the joy of seeing one of his expectations fulfilled.
“I knew it…”
Rowle looked at the ground carved by the “Spada”.
“It really was…the real one.”
He then recalled that night.
The question Rowle asked “him”.
The “Spada” Feli carried was probably given to her as insurance to protect her.
A sword possessing such power was surely given to her after learning what circumstances she was likely going to be in. If a single sword was that powerful, another theory also gained more credibility.
The identity of the person who managed to defeat Idies Farizard the “Game of Illusions,” said to be one of the most troublesome “Heroes,” during the conclusion of the war in Afillis, shrouded in mystery. Rowle felt he could picture the “Hero” who led Afillis to victory despite their overwhelming disadvantage in terms of troops.
“Kahaha, is that so…if you aren’t going to answer then— ”
The man was also surprised by the unexpected event, but it passed soon. His expression turned into a feral smile again.
“I just have to do it again!!”
Rowle realized before anyone else what the man was about to do and shouted. In response, Welles focused his power, in order to activate “Phaeresia”.
The golden magic circle appeared again.
Chains equipped with wedges emerged from it, clanking and rattling, and wrapped around their target.
“I told you—”
The man drew his glass-like transparent sword and—
“—I’m sick of this already!!”
—cut through the approaching chains and the magic circle that created them.
“This guy is just insane…!!”
With a sour expression on his face, Welles took in the reality he was facing and raised his voice with a tinge of distress. Even so, he looked behind the man. There was no despair in his expression as if he knew what was going to happen.
“But if you look away just a second, it’s our win…!”
The man’s attention had focused on “Phaeresia” for a moment.
Taking advantage of that time, Rowle had approached him from behind, without being noticed.
He pulled back his right arm and, without any hesitation, delivered a powerful blow, but—
“I said!! You’re!! Too slow!!”
The man spun around with good momentum and countered Rowle’s punch with a roundhouse kick, as if he had seen it coming all along.
The man’s kick dug deep in Rowle’s abdomen, before the latter’s fist could even reach. Rowle felt something breaking with jolts of pain running through his body. The kick’s impact pushed the liquids in Rowle’s body upwards, reaching his throat and making him cough as he was blown away.
Seconds later, the sound of his crashing impact could be heard.
A sound that clearly stated how their attack sequence had been unsuccessful.
Welles still tried activating “Phaeresia” once more. At the same time, another unexpected event occurred.
The first one to notice was the man.
A feeling of pressure impossible to put into words.
Gradually, something changed in his field of view.
“What the— ”
Something made of shadows.
Countless objects were flying closer, filling the man’s field of view more and more.
It happened in the blink of an eye.
In the short time it took for the man to recognize the incoming objects, they had already come very close. The man swallowed his breath. No words would come out.
The speed at which they were approaching was absurdly fast. Their quantity and density was akin to a flood.
As the shadow-colored things approached, their actual nature was revealed.
They were long, thin objects.
Objects that all seemed to share a certain shape.
They looked just like—
Their numbers easily exceeded 100.
The man looked left and right, looking for their creator. But could not find anyone.
Just one thing.
He could only see a sort of misty mass, approaching at inhuman speed.
The first possibility that crossed his mind was that of a monster.
But the man could not think of any monster capable of moving at such high speed.
The distance grew smaller and smaller.
At first, he could only see a black mass, but moment by moment, that information changed.
Little by little, more details became visible. A silhouette he could recognize.
Hands holding a shadow-colored sword.
He could tell it was the same as the swords approaching like a raging wave.
There was no time to utter even those two words.
Fragments of information gathered in his mind, pushing his comprehension to its limits.
Eyes burning like flames.
Striking blonde hair.
The man recalled tossing away someone like that. Thus he concluded that there had to be another member of Rowle’s party.
At the same time, sword tip-like objects rose from the ground, all around the man.
The man’s voice betrayed his restlessness.
He bit down his lower lip, growling escaping from his teeth.
He probably realized that even he was at a disadvantage against the overwhelming approaching quantity.
The man stepped back, to put more distance between himself and the swords, but a voice reached him before he could. A cold, dry, yet powerful voice.
Words spoken without mercy, which commanded the black wave of violence to rain down on the man.