“Unrelenting Path of Slaughter!” Snow Flopsy shouted and raised her sword into the air. She was actually a spirit warrior? It did make sense considering Bryant was a high-ranked warrior. But judging by the usage of her path, she was only a low-ranked spirit warrior at most. She hadn’t incorporated any of her techniques with it, but it was a bit unnerving an unknown beastkin had a prefix attached to her path. Even I didn’t have one.
“Lan, be careful,” Gae Bulg said as he took the spear out of his mouth and stood up on two legs. Though he didn’t show it, he must’ve been sore from the repeated unsummoning and summoning. But it was worth it to catch up to the prey. “She’s extremely strong. I think her body may be a divine one.” Gea Bulg’s hackles were raised, but his eyes were clear. How strong was she? It took a lot to smack Gae Bulg out of his berserk state.
The squirrelkin girl’s expression turned from one filled with desperation to a calm one. Her eyes became completely white as she exhaled, lifting her sword. Her posture, which was slouched over before, relaxed even further as her knees and elbows bent while she leaned forward. Why was I giving her time to adjust to her path? Strike while the iron is hot! “Path of the Spear: Lightning Stab!”
Lightning Stab, my fastest long-ranged attack, combined with Gae Bulg’s harassment from the side, I don’t believe she can defend herself from this—path or not! But she didn’t even try to defend. Snow Flopsy charged forwards with no regard to her life, narrowly evading my spear qi. The tip cut off some of her hairs as it brushed by her head, but her expression remained unchanged. Gae Bulg moved in front of her way and thrust his spear downwards, aiming at her abdomen. She didn’t flinch as the spear pierced through her stomach, and she exchanged blows with Gae Bulg, swinging her sword diagonally upwards, cutting off Gae’s left arm and head.
“Gae!” My weapon spirit dissolved into mist before flowing back into the shaft of my spear. He wouldn’t die from something like that, but he’d be out of commission for at least a month—most likely more. How dare she! “I’ll kill you!” Since Gae disappeared, his spear embedded in Snow’s stomach had disappeared as well, but there was no way she was fine after taking a blow like that. Gae gave up a month of his time for my victory, I won’t let him down.
“Path of the Spear: 1,000 Talons!” My most prided technique, 1,000 Talons. It took me four years of harsh training every day to perfect it, and when I did, I broke through the barrier of high-ranked warrior to spirit warrior by unlocking the Path of the Spear. With this strike, I’ll avenge Gae’s pseudo death!
Dozens of holes instantly appeared on Snow’s body as she recklessly charged into the barrage of spear strikes. At this rate, she’d die without a complete corpse. But why was I feeling so uneasy like my older brother was watching me? I ignored the feeling and pushed through with my technique. With Durandal in my grasp, I wouldn’t have to worry about Algar even if he was spying on me right now. Wait. Durandal? Why hadn’t she called him out? Was she waiting for this moment?
Snow’s mouth opened in a silent scream as she lifted her sword despite the numerous holes in her arms. No words came out, but I could tell she was shouting, “Breaking Blade!” as qi surged into her sword’s edge. When had she gotten so close to me? How could she move with injuries like those!? My stance shifted from an offensive one to a defensive one, and I held Gae’s weapon body horizontally in front of myself to block her strike. It was then that I remembered the words of my first teacher, a famous mercenary with one arm: Never underestimate someone’s final struggle for life. Even rabbits will fight back if they’re cornered. And never underestimate a dying beast’s death throes.
Snow’s blade crashed against the shaft of my spear. My arms creaked and felt like they were going to break. My shoulders popped out of their sockets as I was forced to my knees. Her strength really was terrifying! Gae Bulg and her blade continued to shriek and shoot out sparks as she pressed down harder. As if a mountain had descended on me, Gae Bulg’s weapon body crashed into my chest, my arms breaking, unable to support my spear any longer. My vision turned yellow as Snow straddled my torso and lifted her sword with a reverse grip, pointing it at my head. The lines of my vision blurred, pulsing with a black light. I barely managed to choke out the word, “T-teleport.”
As a scion of the royal family, I was given a ring that doubled as a magic tool. Embedded in it was the seventh-circle magic, teleport. A safety net in case anything ever went awry. I’ve experimented with it a few times, and I always felt nauseous after every use, but what was worse, death or nausea? But the familiar sensation of needing to vomit didn’t come. Snow was still straddled on my torso and her sword was plunging towards my head. Why? Why wasn’t it working?
It’s funny how time moves so slowly when you’re about to die. Dozens of thoughts can flash through your mind that would take you a minute to process under normal circumstances. Almost like a dream. Now that I think about it, Bryant also had a ring of teleportation, didn’t he? Yet he still died, most likely to this very person. Why did I think I would escape the same fate? I was too rash. Arrogant. Did I underestimate Snow from the start based on her appearance? How could I declare myself the paranoid prince? …It was Durandal. The thought of obtaining the Godking’s legacy, ending the stress of competing for the throne, was too tempting. I gambled, and I lost.
And Snow did say she wanted to talk. If I had accepted her offer, would I still be in this situation? No, I would’ve made the same decision if I was given another chance. I couldn’t trust her. If she had tried to kill me after I lowered my guard, then that would’ve been even worse. This might be too much to ask for, but I hope she’ll take care of Gae Bulg. After all these years of living with the constant threat of death looming overhead, I can finally rest.