Book 2, Chapter 76

The First Visit(2)

The blade flew through the air without pause, halting only when it was buried into the opposite wall upto the hilt.  Richard maintained his stance, finally letting out a deep breath that he’d saved up. Immense fatigue flooded his body, nearly drowning out his consciousness. Sweat poured out of him like a torrent, instantly drenching his clothes as he swayed on the verge of collapse. Were he not holding tightly onto the hilt of his sword, it was likely he wouldn’t even be able to stand in place.

He’d used up all of his energy to deal those two blows, bringing out his fullest in the face of impending death. However, this meant that he had drained practically every bit of his strength to do so.

*THUD!* Gangdor suddenly shuttled through the room’s door, and Waterflower who was a step earlier stood silently against the wall. The two of them looked at the chaos in the bedroom, but for a moment they didn’t understand what exactly had happened. They looked at the window simultaneously, as if in sync with each other. That was the only exit, but the window was half-closed and the curtains were not drawn. Everything looked perfectly intact, and it didn’t seem like any enemies had fled the scene. There were no traces within the room either.

Flowsand rushed into the room right after, and as she took in the surroundings her face instantly fell. She squatted down, looking at a few inconspicuous scratches on the floor before reaching out to touch them. They resembled the claws of a beast, and these ones had come from the nightmare panther. There were still remnants of shadowforce left behind, something she clearly managed to notice.

“Nightmare creatures?” she asked, her tone sombre for once.

Richard nodded, before lowering his head to look at his own chest. The clothes covering his chest had split open, revealing three long cuts. Fine red lines had appeared on his bare skin, eventually splitting apart to reveal the flesh underneath. The incisions were extremely even and smooth, penetrating all the way through his body and only stopping at his ribs.

A moment later, Richard collapsed on his back amidst a spurt of blood.

A day had passed by the time Richard eventually woke up. He was laid on his bed, his chest wrapped snugly with bandages. The bandages were tight but not painful, a display of outstanding technique that could only have come from Flowsand.

He tried to move but his chest immediately started hurting, so he had no choice but to lie back down. This was another distressing thing about nightmare creatures: spell resistance. Shadowforce lingered on in the wounds of those they injured, able to counter the healing energy of magic and divine spells and diminish the effects of even greater heals. Those injuries inflicted by powerful nightmare creatures could render such spells useless until one found a way to disperse the shadowforce. Otherwise, one could only wait for the power to dissipate on its own. The only choice would be to use herbal medicine to boost the body’s natural healing, trying to recover normally. As a result, many who sustained serious injuries from nightmare creatures ended up dying helplessly or being crippled due to the lack of treatments.

Dim light began to seep into the room, indicating that it was the crack of dawn. Everything outside was quiet, with no movements at all. Most people were still sound asleep.

Bedridden as he was, Richard couldn’t help but think back to the battle with the nightmare panther. Nightmare creatures had no physical presence, relying on their powers to advance or retreat. The crouching was only to confuse the opponent, the attack had already begun.

Richard had read up as much as he could about nightmare creatures once he found out about his situation, and his powerful intellect clearly retained all the information he had acquired. Thus, he immediately launched his own attack when he saw the nightmare panther crouch. Had he delayed any further, it wouldn’t have been as simple as getting clawed in the chest.

Since they had no physical presence, regular attacks did not affect nightmare creatures. Fortunately, he could still draw upon Alucia’s power in this plane. The damage the moonforce inflicted upon the creature was evident as well, and this calmed him down a little. He knew now he would not be completely helpless in any future encounters.

Nightmare panthers were amongst the weakest of nightmare creatures. Since one had already appeared, more would be soon to follow. In the future, the battles would not be as simple as this one was. Lying quietly on the bed, Richard began to recall every detail of his battle with the nightmare panther over and over again.

The fight had ended in a short instant, but Richard knew better deep down. He could feel himself being pushed forth by the formidable power of the blue moon, moonforce bursting forth from the edge of his sword to boost Annihilation to the next level. The explosive power had thoroughly shattered all the shadowforce the panther had managed to gather.

And despite all that, the panther’s claws had reached his chest before it was destroyed. The blades of energy that came from its paw had made their way right into his body, leaving a strange icy sensation coursing through him as his flesh was sliced apart. Any deeper and the creature would have cut his ribs open, stabbing into his heart. With the spell resistance of shadowforce, the rupture of his heart would have been incurable. Flowsand, only level 9 still, definitely would not be able to salvage the situation.

His soul shuddered at the prospect of another close shave with death. Richard wasn’t afraid of risk, but that did not mean he didn’t fear death itself. Death was the end of everything. He had many hopes to fulfill, and boundless prospects ahead for him in the vast future. If he died, all of that would boil down to nothing. Far too much in the boundless planes was still undiscovered; there were a lot of exciting and wonderful moments he had yet to experience in his mortal life.

The more important a character was, the more unwilling they would be to die. This was not simply due to fear. They held responsibilities, worries, and a great deal of unfulfilled wishes in their hearts.

And thus, Richard savoured the fear of his brush with death repeatedly to strengthen his endurance. He hoped to overcome this fear one day, and face it with ease. The calmer he was when coping with death, the greater his chances of survival would be. Although he wasn’t afraid of risk, risk without any assurance turned courage into foolishness. One who charged forth despite a slim chance of victory were not wise.

These two days had been unsettling. He’d endured the will of Bloodstone, witnessed Waterflower’s breakthrough and her new skill. He’d also gone through a life and death battle with a nightmare creature, employing two secret swords in succession alongside Eruption to eliminate the first of many that would arrive from some foreign place. He had suffered a close shave with death once more.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hestia

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA