Book 7, Chapter 39

True Martial Art

Neither Sharon nor Apeiron held back, both terrifying beings intending to use the collision to judge each other’s might. Space itself started to collapse as their fists met, cracks spreading out everywhere like it was shattered porcelain. A black wave rippled out from the epicentre, devastating everything within a hundred metres.

Apeiron gasped and fell back the entire hundred metres before bringing herself to a stop, but Sharon still remained in her original position with hair flying in the wind and eyes glowing brightly. The exchange was nothing fancy, a direct test of strength, and it was a clear victory in her favour.

It didn’t take long for the Empress to regain her neutral expression, silhouette flickering for a bit before she suddenly appeared behind Sharon and delivered a swift kick. It was so quick that Sharon didn’t have the time to dodge or even retaliate, barely putting up a hand to block the attack. The unexpected contact elicited a low groan as the legendary mage fell back ten metres.

Sharon quickly regained her balanced and frowned at Apeiron before charging straight over, causing the Empress’s heart to sink; a full-power attack had barely done anything even though Sharon was supposed to be a mage and not a warrior. Just what was she made of? However, she didn’t get much time to continue on that train of thought as Sharon was right upon her, coming in with a barrage of blows.

While the legendary mage was strong, her speed left quite a bit to be desired. Her fierce attacks were all dodged easily, only striking air, and after a few jabs Apeiron even found an opening to get in close and attack herself. As someone without much martial arts ability Sharon was at an obvious disadvantage, starting to lose ground very quickly.

Both sides fought a tough battle from the ground to high in the sky, their afterimages causing tidal waves in the bay and fissures in the earth nearby. The clouds they passed through were blown away, causing a thunderstorm over Floe Bay.

Apeiron was perhaps one of the best martial artists in all of Norland, something that put her on par with an epic being despite not having reached that realm herself, but Sharon proved to be much stronger than expected. She couldn’t tell whether the legendary mage’s punches and kicks were powered by mana or internal energy, but there seemed to be little strategy to these strikes. It was just that Sharon was using the power of laws to compensate, every punch feeling as heavy as a planet. Whenever the Empress managed to land an attack of her own, it felt like she was hitting a mountain.

It was a simple yet brutal battle, one where even legendary beings were of little help. Mere contact with the ripples of energy would result in injuries, and someone like Richard who didn’t focus on defence would be crippled after a few exchanges.

However, he had his own opponent. Julian was flying over, smile showcasing his pearly white teeth, “It seems like centuries have passed since I last saw you, kid.”

Richard unsheathed Moonlight calmly, “I don’t think you’d forget the sacrifices so quickly.”

However nonchalant Julian pretended to be, the mere mention of the sacrifices caused his smile to fade into anger, “There aren’t any altars to the old dragon here.”

“There’s still timeforce all around. Norland obeys the laws of time controlled by the Eternal Dragon, you can’t use your full strength,” Richard said calmly.

Julian’s gaze turned icy, “So what? I still have no problem dealing with legends, and you’re not even close. You have a reputation for being unbeatable below the legendary realm? I’m still a legend; killing you is child’s play!”

Richard pointed his sword forward, “Let’s find out.”

“Hehe, I won’t bully you; I’ll kill all three of you at once!” Julian’s eyes flashed with cunning as several phantoms appeared around him, quickly solidifying into figures that looked no different from himself. They varied in strength; while he was still at the legendary realm, three of the clones were level 16 while two were level 18.

The level 18 clones headed for Waterflower while the others moved towards Nasia, with Julian himself standing in front of Richard with a devilish grin, “Don’t think of running back to gather with your followers, fight me like a man!”

“Why would I?” Richard countered, “Those clones took up a lot of power. You’re barely stronger than a normal legend now.”

“That’s still enough to kill you, haha! Do you really think the great Julian who survived the Outlands is an ordinary legend? Those greenhouse flowers are just there to get trampled!”

“We’ll see. Nasia,” Richard calmly waved at the faceless paladin, who immediately bathed him in golden rain. The drops coagulated around his body to form shining gold armour. Julian’s eyes immediately twinkled with a cold glint as his aura surged; he immediately realised that the buff wasn’t minor and would strike immediately.

Once the armour and helmet were fully formed, Richard suddenly felt his body pulsing with energy as his strength directly tripled. However, that wasn’t the great boost that Nasia had described; once his physical abilities stopped increasing, he felt internal changes as his mana coagulated into blue crystals running through his veins. The blood in his vessels started gushing like a river!

All three of his hearts started pumping blood in tandem, every beat generating a number of energy crystals that spread throughout his body. It felt like there was no limit to his energy reserves, the sheer feeling of everything being under control leaving him in bliss. Raising his left hand that was now glowing, he saw some enormous numbers; his blessing of truth was showing that his fist had the power to destroy mountain peaks.

Even a saint would be unable to withstand a single blow from him! Richard inhaled deeply and muttered, “So powerful…”

The greatest shock didn’t come from War Fanatic’s sheer power; he had felt similar things when under the effect of Flowsand’s Outburst. However, this energy was flowing evenly through every part of him without any dissonance; it didn’t feel like it came from an external source at all. He had been boosted straight to level 21, the realm of legends; outside of not having a legendary ability, he was no different from a true legend.

He stared at Julian and brandished his sword, “It seems like we’re only one level apart now. Get ready to die.”

Julian let out a high-pitched laugh, readying his bare arms, “What kind of place do you think the Outlands is? I’ll show you the true art of battle that someone who can survive it learns!”

The man’s hands glowed an earthen yellow as he blocked Moonlight’s blade directly, but Richard flicked with his wrist and aimed straight for the head as he unleashed a flurry of attacks. It sounded like metal striking metal as blade met palm, but Julian immediately started sweating as his eyes went wide with shock. Even though he had been wary of the golden armour, he hadn’t expected a mage to have such close combat ability.

His sweat vapourising due to the abundance of energy, the legend thanked his stars that he had come in prepared; he was forced to use all his might to block the attacks, and even so he was forced to retreat a hundred metres.

Richard didn’t rush to follow, instead looking at the edge of his blade that was stained with traces of blood. Sending it all flying with a swish, he didn’t even look at Julian as he said, “The Church is what has the true martial arts… You should see a skilled priestess fighting.”

He had spent years analysing the martial arts of the church; although they were so deceptively simple that Flowsand had managed to teach him “everything” when they were both fairly low level, he had found them to be a rabbit hole that just went deeper and deeper until they even touched upon the power of laws. His close combat skills were now as good as Flowsand’s had been, and it was not something ordinary martial arts could compare to.

Floating in mid-air, Julian looked at Richard with contempt. However, his coat and shirt suddenly burst open to reveal a few light marks on his chest; these wounds quickly spread apart and sprayed out a fog of blood. The man’s face immediately flushed red; if he hadn’t managed to suppress the effects in time, the attack would have cut straight to his heart. Only then did he notice a striking red at Richard’s fingertips starting to fade away.

Julian flashed a twisted smile, hoarse voice ringing out, “I’ll kill your companions first then; I can wait for my clones to gather before I come around to killing you!”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA