Chapter 320, Dallas’ Secret Move
A few moments had passed since Dallas readied his sword.
“Man, you’re talking a damn long time for someone so ‘excited’ to go, ol’ Dallas!”
Jennifer’s voice came echoing from behind me — from where Lina and the others were watching.
And Dallas… the impression he’s giving off is quite different from all the other opponents I’ve faced today.
Could it be that he’s waiting for me to attack him
I took a step forward, and his sword moved subtly in response.
There it is — he IS waiting to counter my move.
He’s totally committed to this move.
I’ll admit, I AM quite eager to experience the ‘strength that’s not tied to levels and numbers’ that he’ll be showing.
It’s quite possible that this man I’ll be fighting is much more skillful than all the other people I’ve faced before.
“……Here I go!”
I held one end of my rod in my left hand, and then released it to boost its power as I swung it with my right hand.
Dallas pulled his front foot and stepped back, dodging it with minimal movement.
At the same moment, I jumped up and did a front flip, sticking my left leg out to drop an axe kick on Dallas’ head.
Dallas avoided this blow, too.
Then, the moment I landed, I swiped my Drynium Rod to the side.
But then Dallas instantly disappeared from my sight.
Before I knew it, Dallas had reappeared behind me.
But why would he announce that He could have just stayed silent and attacked–
“Ngh–! Hah! Hah! Hah!”
“You’re strong, but unskilled! Your movements are too linear! You have your magic figured out, but your martial arts still need work!”
By insisting on waiting, Dallas had made me choose to attack.
I HAD to choose to attack.
Dallas is a warrior — he’s taking advantage of the fact that I’m standing my ground and taking on everything my opponents throw at me.
It’s a special skill in itself to bring me out of my approach and have me go on the offense instead.
That first surprise attack right when Jennifer walked away was probably the preparatory step for Dallas’ strategy.
…Yeah, he’s good.
Goes to show how long and intense his career as a warrior has been.
But there’s still something I don’t understand…!
“Where are you looking at! I’m over here!”
“What! How! How do you keep… disappearing!”
Again and again, Dallas has been vanishing right before my eyes and then announcing to me where he is.
Is he just messing with me because he has the high ground No, that can’t be right.
I haven’t known Dallas for very long, but I don’t think he’s the kind of guy to do that.
“Hey, Master! Stop messing around and fight properly!”
“Shut up! What’d you expect me to do, just hit him! He just keeps disappearing!”
“He’s not disappearing anywhere, you fool!”
Is Pochi saying that she can see Dallas… when I clearly can’t
Well, Dallas did say that he’ll show me ‘what it means to possess strength that’s not tied to levels and numbers’.
He’s trying to teach me something — trying to show me something that could be considered his secret move.
Think, Asley, think… Why is it that can Pochi see him while I can’t At this point, there is probably little physical difference between Pochi and me.
And I’m up against Dallas — and in this era, the level cap of most people is still a hundred.
Dallas’ movement speed is bound to be limited by that level bottleneck — thought it’d be a different story when I finally offer the Limit Breakthrough to the Resistance.
What is the difference between Pochi and me, then
Well, one thing that comes to mind is… how close we physically are to Dallas, I guess
With that in mind, I hopped away from Dallas.
But then Dallas followed me closely to maintain the same distance between us.
“–! It’s the perception of distance!”
“That is right… But still not the full answer!”
He’s not attacking — still staying on his generally defensive stance.
Wait, wait… there must be some kind of formula to this defensive approach of his.
I gotta smoke it out…!
“Hah! Ha! Hup–! Damn it–!”
…Aha! This is it! I understand now!
Forcing my body to make irregular movements, I managed to graze Dallas with my rod, leaving a slight burn mark on his cheek.
Dallas tapped on it and smiled.
“Well, I suppose the level difference between us is too great for it to matter.
I figured that it’d be a matter of time before you caught on… BUT I did not expect to you figure things out so quickly.”
That REALLY was a blind spot, sir.”
What Dallas has been doing was exploiting my blind spots.
A normally negligible angle in a human being’s sense of sight that cannot see anything.
Dallas had figured out my blind spot before he joined the fight, and when it came the time, he exploited the hell out of it.
By diverting my sight and subsequently slipping into my blind spot, he was able to consistently circle around behind me.
“This is amazing, sir… I never knew that this was even a thing…!”
“I’ll show you how it’s actually done next time.
I don’t know whether or not it’ll work on the Devil King, though.”
I bowed deeply to Dallas.
He proceeded to sheathe his sword on his waist.
“Huh You’re done already, sir”
“Heh, I wouldn’t win against you in a normal fight.
But you do see where I was coming from now, don’t you”
Dallas shrugged and chuckled.
Strength that’s not tied to levels and numbers, huh… I guess I’m still lacking in ingenuity.
Man, this really is a great learning experience.
I do know some tricks when it comes to fighting as a mage, but the techniques to control the scene of battle in a short time are modern — they’re what set apart this era’s warriors from the ones in a time long past.
As Dallas walked over to where the spectators were, I sensed someone standing behind me.
“Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen you use magic very often…”
I said to the person in question as I turned around.
“Yes, Mister Asley.
It’s because you are more often with Miss Irene, taking… special lessons from her.”
“Hahaha… I think she can hear you from here, Professor Trace.”
“That is fine.
I did speak loudly enough for her to hear me.”
The way Trace whispered her words made me figure that I shouldn’t underestimate her.
“So it’ll be a battle of a mage against mages from this point on.
Isn’t that right”
I said, looking over at the other remaining combatants: Irene and Warren.
“Hehehe… Maybe, maybe not.”
Trace smiled as she walked up to me, and then… Huh She just went right past me
“Wait, you’re not fighting”
“There is something I need to do over there.”
Saying that, Trace continued walking over to the spectators.
By now, Dallas is sitting on the ground.
Hmm Does she need to talk to someone over there
As I ponder things over, SHE finally comes over and stands before me.
“I’ll use everything I have to beat you down.
And I won’t show you any mercy if you hold back!”
So if I just stand around and take all her attacks as I did to Jennifer, she’ll definitely be angry — is what she’s saying.
Man, what a cranky old lady…
“What’s that look for”
“Oh, this look means ‘I’m a Holy Warrior, you know’.”
“Hmph! You don’t look like one anywhere, at all!”
Irene let out a deep breath as if to psyche herself up, and then released a burst of some of her dormant arcane energy.
Man, she’s amazing — Gone to learn from Tūs at one point, and since then, she must’ve put herself through a lot more hell to become stronger and stronger.
Also, it’s quite worrying that only Warren hasn’t moved even a single step.
I wonder that the hell that guy is thinking…
“Now then, shall we get started”
For a second, I turned to look at Warren–
“Wha– whoa! That’s almost too fast!”
–And before I realized it, Irene had invoked a large-scale spell.
This reminds me that, when Viola rushed at me at the start of the fight, the first person to attack was actually Irene, launching a magic spell at me.
I see… so she’s been training herself to draw Spell Circles THAT much faster.
“Here I go, Asley!”
I can see a suspicious spark light up in IRene’s eyes.
Man, and she was so much cuter when I met her in Sagan’s era, too…
Well, I guess this really goes to show how much experience she’s gained since then.
“Earth Javelin: Count 10!”
“Wha–! You can’t be serious!!”
She’s using the technique I showed her once before — Split Invocation — to crank out her magic spells.
Man, it’s almost unbelievable.
She’s gotten so much stronger in such a short time!
“I can confidently say that I’ve trained more than anyone else in the last two years.
And of course… more than you have, Asley.”
Irene’s declaration sent a chill down my spine.
“Master! There’s no one but Warren left over here! Help! Get him away from me!”
Aw, hell no! I think I might need some help here as well…