Saturday, September 16, 2023 @

Volume 2 Chapter 24 Tarim's Power

 Faith in the exposed and fervent deity was palpable. The scene of Senai, Tarim's prayer overlapped with various memories.

 "'Lisha, create a Sanctuary. Enclose the fallen people'."

 "Y-yes. Understood."

 Lisha replied. As I was about to move, a gentle yet firm touch graced my arm. Lisha spoke just one word.

 "I believe you."

 I wasn't sure what she meant specifically. When I first explained this operation, Lisha was the one who opposed it the most. Even so, she said this.

 "'I know.'"

 That's all that came out. In battle, piling on words was meaningless. If you were trusted, you carried that weight and did what needed to be done.

 As I prepared, Tarim lowered his head.

 "Well, shall we begin?"


 He thought it had already begun. But...


 Tarim's bewildered voice lingered in the air. His bizarre head danced around in the night. In the meantime, his body shifted.

 I stepped in and sliced through his neck and torso in one fluid motion.

 That's all I did.

 But if he couldn't react, a simple attack like that would settle things――If it were an ordinary opponent...

 "Ah, I see."

 His head, floating in the air, casually spoke. While he did, his upper and lower body stretch out like gum to catch each other. Then, his right hand grabbed the falling head and pressed it against his neck.

 That alone was enough for Tarim to regenerate as if nothing had happened.

 What if I sever the critical points simultaneously? He's really infused with monstrous attributes.

 "You're fast."

 As he spoke so, I'll test how long that composure lasts.

 Without stopping my movements, I slashed into Tarim's body repeatedly, further dismembering him. The gray body, already cut almost effortlessly, crumbled from the cross sections.

 But it wouldn't end here. If he could regenerate even after being torn apart, I would crush him to the point where regeneration was impossible.

 I swirled my cape, raised my left arm, and concentrated magic power in my fist.

 What I unleashed was a powerful strike meant to crush everything.

 "'War Hammer.'"

 I imbued my fist with magic power and slammed it into Tarim's disintegrating body. An explosion of impact and light erupted, forcefully displacing the air.

 It was an emerald explosion.

 The enormous energy mass crushed Tarim's gray flesh, along with the ground, into fine particles except the people inside Sanctuary.

 Tarim, shattered like a smashed tomato, seemed to be beyond recognition, but in the next moment, a sight that defied belief unfolded.

 "Good, very good. This is more exciting than I imagined."

 Tarim regenerated from the shattered body as if nothing had happened.

 Is he truly immortal?

 If he can regenerate even after being shattered, there must be some special conditions for defeating him. For example, only specific magic is effective, or his true body is elsewhere, and what's here is just a fragment.

 I'm not really good at thinking about that kind of stuff... It's not my role to look for their weak points or to make a strategy. I can't help but wish they were here at times like this.

 Well, thinking about it won't change anything.

 I'll find a way to break through in my own way.

 "Now, shall I go first?"

 Tarim asked, gradually closing the distance.

 He then raised his fist and swung it towards me. It was a simple right straight punch with a massive wind-up, like that of an amateur who knew nothing about fighting.

 Naturally, it wouldn't hit me. I avoided it and slashed at his side as I jumped up from a crouched position, severing him from the side to his collarbone in one swift motion.

 But Tarim didn't seem to care about being cut. He continued to regenerate and came after me again.

 And so, what seemed like a comedy act began. Tarim's wild attacks barely grazed me, and every time, the side that swung at me was slashed.

 However, those wounds healed in an instant. It was a complete farce.

 "Ah, I can't seem to hit you."


 I realized something while fighting. This guy's movements were getting faster and faster. His gray body refined itself with each regeneration, and each of his movements accelerated.

 The tail that I had severed earlier had transformed into a more attack-oriented form. Is it evolving, in the midst of battle?

 And so, I slashed Tarim for what felt like the umpteenth time. Unlike before, there was an unimaginable resistance on my sword, and it stopped midway. Inside his body, a dense mass of fibers prevented the blade from advancing.

 It was supposed to feel like mud just moments ago, but had he somehow transformed the inside as well?

 "Finally stopped, huh?"

 Tarim grabbed the sword with his left hand and laughed. It was the smile of someone confident in their victory. His right arm swelled, and his fist became as hard as rock.

 He seems quite pleased with himself for just catching it.

 "'Too slow.'"

 Faster than Tarim's punch, I thrust my foot into his abdomen.


 His slender body bent into a 'U' shape, and his belly caved in. Still, he didn't let go of the sword. Using my supporting leg, I shattered the asphalt and forcibly kicked him away.

 Indeed, the strength of his core had improved significantly. The sensation of the kick was noticeably heavier than before, and the impact was absorbed into layers of muscle.

 Tarim immediately regained his posture and attempted another charge, showing no signs of taking damage.

 I see, I'm starting to understand this guy's magic somewhat.

 I pulled my right arm back and poised the tip forward. Among my techniques, it was a rare thrust that emphasized speed and penetration, rather than "Cress (Moon Blade,) which mowed down a wide area.

 'Gilv (Thunder Sword).'

 In an instant, lightning streaked across. The lightning pierce extended far beyond the range and struck Tarim in the head. Avoiding it was impossible to see, as this strike penetrated any defense.

 There was a deafening crash, and a hole appeared in the center of Tarim's face.

 If it were any other demon, this would have settled it. However, with this guy as the opponent, it wouldn't be that simple.

 Gray flesh immediately gathered in the facial hole and began repairing itself. Within seconds, an entirely unharmed face reappeared.

 "Oh, even faster and stronger than I imagined. Truly wonderful."

 Tarim said with an applauding attitude, his eyes gleaming deep within his mouth as he stared at me, showing no concern for the giant hole in his face.

 Fighting this guy, the first thing to be surprised at is his regenerative ability or the creation of duplicates. However, I started to realize as the battle continued.

 Regeneration and duplication are probably not the essence of his magic. After being cut away, his tail became more specialized in offense, and his body grew heavier with each damage he took.

 "'Adaptation or evolution, perhaps.'"


 Tarim twisted his mouth into a smile at my words, his eyes gleaming deep within his mouth as he fixed his gaze on me.

 "Why do you think so?"

 "'Regeneration, duplication, direct combat capability. There's no consistency in one magic.'"

 However, if all of those were not the essence but by-products, there was something that became visible. He wasn't regenerating; he was rebuilding his body to be even stronger and more effective.

 Tarim opened his mouth wide and laughed heartily.

 "That's right, human magician. My magic is 'Myriad Transformations (KonsÄ“banka).' The mud that encompasses all elements leads to everything."

 As I suspected, it's probably a magic that activates almost automatically in response to external stimuli.

 "To escape from enemies and hide, I create duplicates. When I take damage, I regenerate even harder. When faced with defenses, I generate even greater power beyond that."

 Tarim boasted about his magic as if flaunting his toys.

 His magic was similar to mine in some ways. The Winged Guardian was only similar in type with me, but Tarim's 'Myriad Transformations' was identical in terms of adaptability.

 However, they weren't the same magic. I didn't have that kind of regenerative power. 'My True Name' didn't change my body; it created the most suitable magic for the situation.

 This was why the Winged Guardian couldn't win. No matter how many moves she made, this demon's body would just become tougher. It was a complete nightmare.

 "'Quite the chatty mouth you have.'"

 "Well, there's no problem in being known. ――Besides, wouldn't despair be greater if you knew?"

 "'Though the body changes, it seems the base nature remains unchanged.'"

 Though I had said that, Tarim's magic didn't seem like something I could handle even if I knew. If I didn't attack, I couldn't defeat him. If I did attack, it only made him stronger. It was a complete deadlock.

 Now, what to do?

 "Your attacks are truly remarkable. Thanks to you, my body has evolved to be stronger than ever."


 "Shall we raise the level of our attacks soon? The night is still young; let's continue my training."

 To declare this battle as training, he really doesn't seem to consider the possibility of losing. With magic like his, it's understandable to be a bit arrogant. However, there's one miscalculation on his part.

 "Now, shall we?"

 Tarim's tail plunged into the ground, using it as a third leg to propel his body forward at even greater speed. Just as he said, Tarim was coming at me with more speed and force than before. His momentum was like a raging storm.

 Bang! The air pressured by his punches burst, creating irregular air currents. The power was so great that it felt like it could carry my body away with just the shockwave.

 Furthermore, his tail transformed into a whip-like blade, coming at me through the chaotic air currents.

 Curved strikes cutting through the straight-line motion. Moreover, the tail's reach was terrifyingly long, and attacks could come easily from not just the blind spots but even from directly behind.

 In the midst of this storm where even blinking was not allowed, I kept my eyes on Tarim's movements. Certainly, there was something impressive about the speed and power, but that was all.

 "'Double Cress (Double Moon Blade).'"

 Emerald arcs overlapped in a cross shape and sliced through Tarim, who raised a surprised voice.


 I followed up with a spinning kick, sending him flying.

 Tarim regenerated and came at me again, but the result was always the same. No matter how furious his attacks were, they couldn't catch even my cape and just sliced through the air. I promptly countered with a swift strike to send him flying. Since cutting him wouldn't do any good, I used the flat of the sword to maintain distance.

 "Why I can't hit you? It's strange. Why?"

 He stopped outside of striking range, pondering with a look of genuine curiosity as he opened and closed his fists. He seemed to be in deep thought, despite the fact that he was facing an enemy.

 "Should I increase the number a bit more?"

 As Tarim said that, two new arms sprouted from his back.

 If two arms aren't enough, he'll just double them. How simplistic.

 Tarim moved all four arms as if they had been there from the beginning and advanced haphazardly. Despite their simplicity, the effect was remarkable. What approached was a wall of fists, a pressure that would not let even a single ant through.

 But that wouldn't change anything. He has a fatal misunderstanding.

 "'Certainly, the magic itself is powerful.'"

 I continued by disrupting his legs with consecutive thrusts and grabbing his tail, tearing it apart like he was struggling.

 "'But your magic only enhances your physical abilities.'"

 With all four limbs torn off, Tarim fell to the ground.

 "'Strength without technique, no matter how you swing it, it won't hit.'"

 That was the conclusion.

 My magic was powerful too, but that alone wouldn't ensure survival in the God-Demon War. To contend with beings with monster-like power, I had to train my body, explore magic, and refine my skills.

 Tarim was like a child with a sword. No matter how much he swung it, he wouldn't become a threat.

 Tarim, who should have been lying there, calmly regenerated his limbs and stood up, nodding.

 "So that's how it is. It's true that my attacks won't hit."

 "'You may regenerate, but your attacks won't hit me either.'"

 And most importantly, there was something vital.

 "'Magic power is finite. Even if you can regenerate, your magic power resources will run out first.'"

 With such powerful magic, it must consume a considerable amount of magic power. If we kept fighting, Tarim's magic power would run out before mine.

 "'It was a mistake to come before me.'"

 If there was a separate main body, it would be a different story, but if Tarim's claim about 'Myriad Transformations' was true, then he was undoubtedly the main body. Revealing oneself while overestimating one's magic was a fatal mistake.

 Tarim listened to my words in silence. Beings like him could have their spirits broken easily. Even if I didn't fight until his magic power ran out, once I disrupted the activation of his magic, it would be over.

 However, in the next moment, while licking his eyeball with his tongue, Tarim muttered unexpected words.

 "I see, battles can be quite difficult. In that case, it seems I have no choice but to ask you to stop fighting."


 "It's quite simple. If I can't win in a direct fight, I have no choice but to try another way, right?"

 What is this guy talking about? With no Winged Guardian, there shouldn't be any chance of victory.

 As I continued to watch Tarim, prepared to respond to any action he took, I sensed something strange. A sudden sound, slicing through the air, slower than Tarim's attacks and coming from a higher place.

 "'What on earth...?!'"

 Before I could even confirm it, my body moved. My destination was right below the building. I covered the distance from the center of the road to there in a single breath.

 Right after, it started to fall.

 I caught it; it was a young boy. His eyes were vacant, clearly not in a normal state.

 ――A parasite.

 I quickly identified its true nature. I immediately gathered magic power in my palm and pressed it against the boy's chest. Then I converted the magic power into a shock and released it into the boy. I felt the unmistakable sensation of killing the parasite.

 There were no injuries. He was just sleeping.

 After confirming that he was breathing normally, I gently laid the boy on the ground.


 Tarim watched all of this without doing anything.

 I understood it clearly, in a way I didn't want to. What Tarim meant by another way.

 "'By this, you mean to bind me?'"

 "Yes, to me, you're just a pawn with little value, but it seems you're not the same."


 "The people I've parasitized with my duplicates aren't the only ones I've brought here. There are still many more. They're all living normal lives, having ordinary nights."

 Tarim continued his monologue.

 "But if I give even a slight command, their consciousness disappears, and they march toward their own deaths. No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to save someone who's hidden."

 "'Can't you fight properly, you weakling?'"

 "You're being naive. This is a battle, you use what's at your disposal. Those who are bound by such trivial things as compassion are weak."

 Tarim laughed, and his tail, as if echoing his laughter, scraped the ground, sending sparks flying.

 He was truly going to kill them. If I continued to fight, someone would die in a place unknown to me. That someone should be important to someone other than me.

 There's no choice.

 I extinguished my sword and lowered my magic power output. I didn't completely dispel the magic, but it was clear that I was in a surrendering posture.

 "'What do you want?'"

 "You're foolish. To give up your advantage for the sake of unknown trash."

 Tarim approached, his mouth twisted in an ugly manner.

 "It's quite simple. You don't attack, you don't even dodge. That's all you need to do. You're free to defend."

 Tarim raised his fist, just like before, and continued with genuine excitement.

 "But don't break too quickly; otherwise, my 'Myriad Transformations' won't activate."

 Right after that, a powerful blow struck my abdomen.

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