First Outer World Story Series: The Black Mist that Devours - Chapter 101
Translator: MadHatter Editor: MadHatter
Through Lady Ryo’s ≪Heal≫, my broken bones were attached together accompanied by moderate pain and heat.
“I’m sorry. Thank you.”
“More importantly, I’m counting on you to be the vanguard. I can only perform a surprise attack.”
Hesitation or doubt was absent from Lady Ryo’s eyes as she said this, but rather, her eyes were brimming with anguish as if she was prepared for whatever may arise.
I am certain that Lady Ryo has already recognized that Houki-san cannot be saved anymore.
As I wordlessly re-created the weapon in my right hand, I positioned myself in front of Lady Ryo and braced myself so that she can react at her convenience behind me.
And while we were getting into position, Houki also rose and held her bamboo broom as if it were a naginata.
“Just in case, I have to ask you. Do you know how to return Houki to her original state, Ichiko-san?”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t. Besides, I don’t think that thing would leave room for such a thing in this circumstance.”
Her disappointment was momentarily apparent at my words, but she quickly regained her composure. It seemed that Lady Ryo had grown much sturdier over the past ten years.
However, it was very saddening to realize that she had become stronger on such an occasion.
“That ‘thing’ you’re referring to… is about Shigan, right? What exactly is her true identity?”
“Kurokiri and I call her the God of Calamity. The details will have to wait for later.”
After saying that, I assumed full combat readiness. Lady Ryo then followed suit and began to take action.
“I understand. Then, Ichiko-san.”
Under Lady Ryo’s ≪Command≫, my body rushed towards Houki with great vigor.
Houki silently swung down her bamboo broom as the wind howled.
By using ≪Sword of the Formless King・Weak≫, I evaded Houki with my two-handed sword, and from there, I slashed at her back.
However, Houki avoided my maneuver by using the bamboo broom that made contact with the ground as a pivot point and tried to swing it down again as if to repay my action.
Now, until a while ago, I would have had to teleport to the rear or some other direction to escape in order to terminate the loop. But now, while I was parrying the blow…
Lady Ryo can attack Houki, whose offense had been stopped and who was now unable to move!
Houki was clad in more mist than usual and was blasted away by Lady Ryo’s attack, the same as before. But this time, she landed on the ground, taking a passive stance.
“This seems to be working somehow.”
“But Lady Ryo, you are a healer by nature. Please don’t make a move unless there is a chance that you can exploit with certainty.”
“I understand. It seems that ≪Mantle of Mist≫ is effective against Houki as well, so I won’t do anything rash.”
≪Mantle of Mist≫. It was one of the skills she acquired after parting with me. The effect, according to Kurokiri, was an enhancement skill limited to Kirijin. In other words, the fact that Houk was a Kirijin remained intact even after she took on that form?
If so, that means there was a possibility that she may use a race-specific skill, which she has not brought out at the moment. That would be something to be wary of.
“Tch! Not again!”
“I’ll stop it!”
When we observed the power building up at the tip of Houki’s bamboo broom, Lady Ryo and I rushed off.
Right before the ray of light was about to be discharged, I managed to get under Houki and wielded the long sword in my right hand to knock the bamboo broom upward.
Yet, the instant the sword brushed against the bamboo broom, instead of being met by a solid metallic sound, there was a wind noise followed by an absent sensation, signaling that I had struck in the air.
If I was to look at Houki, I will find that Houki was standing next to me before I know it, clad in ≪Mist Cloak≫.
Apparently, she had applied the effect of ≪Covert Proficiency Ⅰ≫ to ≪Mist Cloak≫ to mislead us about her location.
The cluster of power had already peaked at a critical point, and the tip of the bamboo broom was aimed at me.
I began to witness the release of the power in slow motion. Even if I teleported, I will not make it in time at this stage.
And then, just as the light hit me, I was thrust sideways, and the flow of time restored to its original course.
“Somehow, I managed to make it in time.”
After being shoved aside, I was sent flying by the blast originating from the recoil of the projectile. When I glanced around, Lady Ryo was hurling a strangely ornamented sword at the spot where I had just been, and I can see what looked like a hand growing out from around the location where she flung it.
Judging from the circumstances before and after, that hand must have been the thing that pushed me out of the way.
While I was mulling this over, the sword was shattered into powder, and Lady Ryo was beginning to charge towards Houki.
Nevertheless, the disparity in strength between Houki and Lady Ryo was too steep, and the battle will wind up being a defensive one. If things continued as they were, a few more exchanges would be our limit.
I hastily got up and rushed towards Houki.
Houki’s assaults were evidently more efficient than they were at the outset of the combat. Simultaneously, the emotion that I can perceive in her eyes was also transitioning to one riddled with pain. It was likely that the God of Calamity’s control was gradually intensifying.
Once this happened, there was no time to dwell on the consequences, nor was there any sense of caring for Houki so as to finish her off with as minimal pain as possible.
The only thing she needed now was to be liberated from the God of Calamity as swiftly as possible, and that was what I have grasped now.
Therefore, I will utilize it.
“‘I am the one who leaps through the void, the sword with boundless forms. I seek the head of my adversary, the flower of life, the fountain of blood. Leap, O blade. Until I reach what I seek, cast this blade down upon my foe’. Lady Ryo!”
I approached Houki and recited a chant at once.
Whether they detected something unsettling in the chanting or not, Lady Ryo jumped back, and Houki attempted to escape too, but I drew even closer to her by teleporting.
I closed the distance to zero.
“‘Cut! Slice! Sever! Outer Skill Senkiri-kaishaku’.”
Then, with the proclamation of the skill’s activation, I conjured a long sword compounded of a copious amount of the outstanding metal I had amassed over the last decade and drove it towards Houki’s neck.
Houki’s stance got thrown off by the initial hit. From the second blow, a faint cut appeared on her neck. With the third blow, it left a definite wound.
“I’m sorry, Houki-san, but this is the only way I could save you…”
I can’t help but offer an apology even though an apology would not have sufficed.
Then came the fourth blow, and I saw the edge of the blade sinking into her neck.
The aftermath of Houki’s death is revealed in Outer World Story: Pumpkin Sorcerer
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