Chapter 237, A Fierce Battle
Bathym raised its hands and swung them down like a hammer, which Asley guarded against with his arms.
Asley groaned from the impact.
Bathym seized this chance to kick Asley’s abdomen, blowing him away.
Asley managed to land safely, albeit with a slight aching in his stomach… and he had no time to rest, since Bathym had also unleashed a Zenith Breath at his position.
“Gah! Gimme a break!”
Asley deflected the blast with an energy wall, and while keeping it up, started to draw a Spell Circle with one hand.
“Rise! Earth Control!”
The spell started clumping together rocks and dirt, but Bathym nullified it by stomping the ground, breaking it apart.
“Over here, big guy! Rise! Double Dragon!”
Dragon-shaped energy masses bared their fangs and bit Bathym’s arms, rendering them immobile… but then Bathym proceeded to open its mouth wide and swallowed the dragon auras whole.
Seeing Asley utterly baffled, Bathym let out a hearty laugh.
“haHaha! VErY goOD, yoUNg Man! veRY good!”
“Should’ve known that magecraft wouldn’t work against his kind! …Aha…!”
As he said that to himself, Asley realized…
It was the original magecraft that the Devilkin had given to the humans and Elves.
Magic, on the other hand, had been created by themselves based on magecraft knowledge.
“TimE TO ShOW yOU MY tRue pOWER! kAAAhhH! True Dark: First!”
That very moment, Asley’s vision turned pitch black.
[What! It’s not a blinding craft… I KNOW I can still see, but it’s like… all light just disappeared from this world]
“True Dark: Second!”
[Now I can’t move…!]
“haHahA! Final Abyss!”
Suddenly, the darkness around Asley turned into countless claws that proceeded to tear away at their target.
With each cut, a little light returned to Asley’s vision… and by the time he could see normally again, the claws had vanished.
Bathym, thinking it had slaughtered its enemy, grinned ear-to-ear as it looked for Asley’s remains in the ensuing dust cloud.
“Man… that was close! So you implemented a formula that converts light to darkness, huh That’s really clever, you know – no wonder why it’s so effective.
Well, the claws looked lame as hell, but that’s not important – substituting light like that really opens up a ton of options!”
He emerged unscathed, dusting his mantle as he walked out casually.
“…hOw Are YoU aLIve”
“So I saw that you used three Craft Circles to cancel out the original attack’s disadvantages… call darkness, absorb light, expand – that’s nice.
Makes it a bit too close to magic, but hey, still magecraft, and it worked.
“WHat ArE yOU BAbblING On AbO- WhAt!”
Bathym noticed a mass of light behind Asley.
To be exact, it was a cube – opened like a door on the side that Asley had just walked out from.
“Is THAt thE… Unyielding Bulwark!”
“And you won’t believe how quickly I managed to draw its whole Circle! Really, I’m even surprised myself.”
“hOW DId you even MakE A wHOlE BoX oUt OF a SmAlL sHiElD MAgECraFT”
“With basic maths, that’s how.
Just think about it – box has six sides, cast Unyielding Bulwark six times.
The rest is just reinforcing the seams with energy to keep them together.”
“HoW COUld a foOL LIke yoU…!”
“Stop calling me a fool already, dammit! I’m trying, all right! I’m trying!”
Asley started moving all his fingers individually, each of them wrapped in energy.
As they squiggled around, ten hexagrams patterns were formed.
Bathym, upon realizing what those movements were for, was visibly disturbed.
“IMpossiBle…! OnLY MY King SHOUld knOw HOw To dO tHat!”
“Get with the times, old man! Rise! Transient Blades: Count 10!”
The next moment, the ten Craft Circles flew from Asley’s hands and activated, unleashing bladed light blasts – tens of thousands of them.
The light filled Bathym’s field of vision and engulfed even the monsters in the vicinity as they continued to rain down.
“There’s more where that came from! Rise, A-rise! Lightning Call: Count 10!”
Ten more Craft Circles appeared.
What appeared this time was an all-covering lightning storm.
Weak monsters were instantly scorched, and even ones above Rank S did not last much longer.
Light blasts and lightning strikes continued to rain down on Bathym.
“Rise! All Up: Count 5 & Remote Control! Rise! High Cure: Count 5 & Remote Control!”
In the meantime, Asley opted to heal his allies instead of adding more to the attacks.
“gah! What tHe Hell JuSt hApPeNED!”
Now Bathym was down on one knee, his head throbbing from the electric shock.
“Damn, you’re tough.
Didn’t think you’d hold for so long…”
“YOuNG MAN… You ARE BEYOnD whaT a Holy Warrior ShOUld Be!”
“Like I said! I’m a Philosopher!”
“nO wAY In hELl WIth tHaT **OOth brAiN of YoURs!”
Getting that retort from Bathym, Asley puffed up his cheeks not unlike how Pochi would often do.
…And then he knelt down, prompting Baythm to tilt its head in confusion.
“YOu… aRE FOoLish in eveRY way IMAgiNaBLe…”
“AHHHHHH! Stop calling me that, dammit!”
“HehEhE! hAHAhA! I dIDn’T SAY thAT’S a BAD thInG! iT’s BEEn lOng sINcE i lAsT felT My BLood bOIl! A shAmE thAt A HIsToRIcAL fOoL LiKe You Is oUR EneMY! SO HOW aBoUT IT! wHY Don’T you jOiN uS”
Asley’s eyes narrowed at the sudden invitation.
“Uh, you sure all that flashing lights didn’t turn you insane…”
“HAhaHA! it’s JuST thAT… aLl ThE TriCKs YoU’VE been pULlInG aRE UTtErly riDIculoUs! neVEr ThOuGHT ThEre’d be a foOL lIke YoU among HumaNs… sO fOolish ThAT yOu lOoP bacK tO BEINg geNIUS.
bUT EnougH jOKeS – nOw We moVe oN To The reAL deAL.”
“don’T you UNdeRstanD to figHt a fOOl, wHAt one neEDS iS To Be UpFroNt… anD go ALl OuT! KAHhhhHH!!!!”
Seeing Bathym release an even greater magnitude of arcane energy, Asley grinned nervously.
“Uh, this power boost isn’t gonna last too long… right”
The method of the release was the same as the instantaneous explosion he had accidentally done once before.
As Asley looked at Bathym’s body gradually bulking up, he saw his briefly berserk past self.
“OuR Kind cALls IT tHE Ultimate Limit.
we NEVEr USe iT unleSS up AgAiNsT One wHO poSseSS tRuE STrENgTh.
arE YOU reAdy”
“If that’s how you’re playing at, then I better go all out too, huh… Hng-!”
“sO yoU cAn uSe iT toO… tHis BETTEr Be gOOd! bRInG iT On!”
One human and one Devil clashed with their powers, each blast causing a massive explosion.
The sheer impact caused the monster army to stop in their tracks, making it all the easier for the remaining heroes to sweep them away.
The instinct-driven monsters sensed the powerful arcane energy and promptly shriveled up.
Only the ones capable of thought and reasoning could continue to move.
To Baythm, the Devil leading the Devil King’s army, this was an almost unsalvageable situation… but it could not care less about that at this point.
It had given in to its Devil instincts, and was now fixated on facing Asley with all its might.
“I AM THe Devil that wieldS tHE fLaMES Of HeLL ITSeLF! nO Devil can MATCH The pOWer Of My fIRe! nOne! Zenith Inferno!”
“Damn it! So THAT’s why I’ve been feeling hot around here!”
They threw everything they had at the other – fists, magic, magecraft – and what followed was destruction.
Naturally, both of their arcane energy pools had limits.
Bathym had left everything to its instincts, unleashing its power liberally.
Asley, on the other hand, was constantly planning the Ultimate Limit’s distribution of energy throughout his body.
During a usual release, arcane energy would spread randomly outward, but Asley controlled it by limiting the dispersal within a reachable range, only spreading it farther when needed.
The longer the battle went on, the more the arcane energy consumed by each side differed, with Asley being the more efficient side.
“Very GOoD… vERY good, younG maN…!”
Both of Bathym’s knees were finally on the ground.
“Hah… hah… thanks, you’re pretty good too.
Man, if it was me from just a few hours ago, I might’ve run away by now…”
“noW, fINISH mE off.”
Prompted as such, Asley stared drawing a Craft Circle… but when it was almost complete, he stopped.
“…WHy Do yoU HeSItATE”
“Uh, my hands just kinda stopped”
“mErcY hAs no plACe iN tHiS coNfLiCt, YOUng maN.
if YOu doN’T SToP Me HERe, ThEn You sURE aS HElL aReN’t StopPING the Darkness fROM deStrOYINg Regalia!”
Bathym’s words were quite correct – this might have devolved into an all-out duel between what could almost be considered fated rivals, but their ultimate goals had always been different.
Asley bit his lower lip in frustration, bleeding in acknowledgment of Bathym’s reasoning.
Then he slowly finalized the magecraft formula.
“hahaHA, tHis cRUmmy MAgEcRAFt CaN’t kiLL Me, YouNG mAn! lIkE i SAId, meRcY hAS NO PlaCE In THiS cONflICT! Purging Inferno!”
Using all of its remaining strength, Bathym blasted Asley’s magecraft formula, and unleashed a magecraft of its own… aimed at its own feet.
The flames melted through the Devil’s solid skin like butter.
“What the hell!”
“My King iS mOrE pOWeRful tHAn You CoUld evEr iMAGINe, YOunG maN…”
Bathym said as if trying to hint at something.
“…I’ll just dish out whatever I have!”
“now, BefOre i LeaVE tHis wOrlD… teLl mE, YOUNg man, whaT IS YOUR true NAmE”
Hearing the question, Asley was somewhat surprised.
“thE eYes Of uS Devilkin ARe SpECiAl.
NoT ThAT they’RE perfECT, but They dO HeLP…”
Asley gave Bathym a hard stare, and said nothing else.
“Asley… VErY wEll.
i aM Bathym, CLoSe AsSOcIaTe of Devil King Lucifer.
nOw I SHalL lEaVE WITH nO RegReTs IN My LiFE… wait, actUALly…”
Bathym looked at its own hands as its body fell apart.
“oN Second ThoUgHT, PERHAPs WE CoULD… waIT, NO, ThAt WouLDN’t… Oh, I see NOW…”
Then it looked down at Asley.
“youNG mAn… pErHAPS… WAlKiNg yOuR paTh… WOuldn’t Be A Bad choIcE… AfTeR aLL…”
Finally, the Devil’s body turned to ash and crumbled away within the wind.
Asley, biting his lower lip in frustration once more, clenched his fists tightly.