Book 2: Chapter 39
Hearing that the meeting was over, Nodiesop was the first one to rise to his feet. He bowed to God and left without saying anything more.
Sedi was the same. However, just before she left, she made eye contact with Lukas once again.
When Lukas was about to follow them, God spoke.
When Lukas narrowed his eyes, God simply shrugged.
[Relax, I’m trying to give you some advice. Why are you making that face?]
“Then tell me quickly. I don’t have time.”
God laughed at that.
[Hey, Lukas, don’t you ever think of your home universe? It’s been a while since you left. It wouldn’t be strange if you felt homesick or something like that. There are always some sentimental guys like that. Well, most of them get used to it after a few thousand years.]
Lukas knew the way God talked. He would always speak in a roundabout manner without getting to the point easily.
He knew that, but… Lukas wasn’t in a very relaxed situation at the moment.
“Get to the point.”
[Answer my question first. It’s related to what I want to tell you.]
His tone was soft, but Lukas could tell that he definitely wouldn’t speak if he didn’t give him an answer.
In the end, Lukas would be at a disadvantage as more time passed. Therefore, holding back a sigh, he answered the question.
“My homeworld is always in my heart. There are people waiting there for me, and I promised them that I’d return.”
If it was possible, he would have loved to return to his homeworld at that very moment.
But he knew that it was impossible. At least for now.
Therefore, while he engraved it in his heart, he tried not to think about it. He forcefully dulled the feelings he had and buried them deep within his heart.
But God had rudely dug them up.
“Is that answer enough?”
“Then what’s your advice?”
[There might be someone you know in this universe.]
‘This universe’ that God mentioned wasn’t the personal space. Instead, he was referring to the universe he had just come from, where Min Ha-rin and Leo were. The universe where the Great Game would soon take place.
He knew that. He knew, but he didn’t understand.
[My hint was a bit vague. So I’ll make up for it with this…]
The words he said next were definitely the most shocking things that Lukas had heard in nearly tens of thousands of years.
[In this universe is a being from your homeworld.]
* * *
The fight was supposed to end quickly. Or, at least, that’s what Gerard thought.
He didn’t look down on Leo Freeman. He fully acknowledged his combat capabilities when facing other humans. In the first place, he wouldn’t have even looked at him twice if he thought he was trash.
Leo was Gerard’s stress outlet. And this outlet naturally needed to have a certain standard. That’s why, to some extent, he acknowledged Leo’s strength.
Nevertheless, he had never been worried about this confrontation. Because he believed that his strength was beyond Leo’s.
Gerard grit his teeth and swung his sword again.
Just like with his previous attacks, Leo avoided this one as well. The tip of the sword only barely touched the lobe of his ear. Some blood spilled out, but it was a minor injury.
‘What the hell is this martial art?’
The attack just then had been light. Nevertheless, considering the average range of a sword, it wouldn’t have been strange if his entire right ear was sliced off.
But it wasn’t. It wasn’t even really cut by the sword. A small wound only appeared on the spot where the sword grazed his ear.
How many times had this happened by now?
Meanwhile, Leo once again widened the distance between them.
He had many large and small injuries on his body, but anyone could tell that none of them were serious.
Gerard panted. His eyes became cold.
At some point, his initial goal of cutting off his left arm had disappeared. Now, his sword was just filled with bloodthirst.
‘I was wrong.’
He didn’t think that Leo would avoid head-on confrontations so thoroughly. It had to be a strategy that he’d prepared from the start.
But now that he thought about it, Leo knew his combat style. He’d seen him hunt Demons dozens of times, so this was natural.
On the other hand, Gerard didn’t know much about Leo. They had fought several times, but he had easily won all of those fights.
He never had the time to observe Leo’s fighting style.
Gerard knew that he wouldn’t be so tired if he hadn’t fought with the thought of easily cutting off one of Leo’s arms.
No, that wasn’t all.
Leo had also provoked Gerard from the start. He didn’t use facial expressions or words. Instead, he ticked him with his actions and tactics.
But there were other problems as well.
Gerard grit his teeth as he quickly narrowed the distance between them once again. This time, he stabbed forward. It was fast. The force behind his charge made it impossible to ignore this lightning fast attack.
Leo ducked, avoiding the attack. There wasn’t even a moment of hesitation.
This admirable feat caused Gerard’s expression to crumple even further.
It wasn’t an illusion, after all. Leo was getting faster.
He spat out a mouthful of blood.
The fact that he’d shown such a frivolous attitude despite the presence of the people in the audience showed that Gerard’s self-control had disappeared.
At first, he thought that he’d simply slowed down. Since he was already tired, this was a natural judgement. In fact, the constant attacks had truly worn him out.
But that wasn’t it.
Leo was growing faster quicker than he became slower.
Leo certainly had more stamina than he did, but the difference shouldn’t have been that large. All of his injuries might only have been minor, but the constant dodging should have sucked away his concentration and stamina like a swarm of leeches.
In addition, Leo had been on the defensive since the start of the fight.
Those defending would naturally consume less stamina than the attackers. As long as they didn’t get severely hurt, the attacking side would definitely consume more power.
However, those who focused on defense would naturally lose focus faster. It was much harder to withstand the pressure of continuous attacks than most expected.
Especially if it was a life and death battle against a superior opponent.
Anxiety and a sense of crisis would inevitably rise. They would increase their breathing and heart rate, exhaust their concentration, and sap their stamina.
But at that moment, it was Gerard, not Leo, who was growing tired.
‘If it continues like this.’
He might lose.
The moment he realised that, Gerard closed his eyes.
He calmed his mind and organised his thoughts.
And finally, after stabilising his breathing, he opened his mouth.
“I know what you’re thinking.”
“After my attack just now, I revealed an opening. It wasn’t fatal, but it would have been enough for you to deliver a fair amount of damage.”
The opening hadn’t been intentional, nor was it a trap. It was just an inevitable opening that appeared after his attack.
And Gerard would have been injured if he chose to make use of it.
“However, you didn’t attack.”
He’d thought about the reason.
And he could only think of one conclusion.
“You intend to finish the fight with one blow.”
A single blow.
Leo was intentionally holding himself back in order to land a blow that would decide the outcome of the fight.
At that moment, his mind should have been as dry as a desert. It might have even been worse than he imagined. And for Leo, that opening must have been like a sip of water.
That opening must have been extremely tempting to him as it was the first true opening Gerard had displayed.
Nevertheless, he endured it. He starved himself to the limit.
He was waiting for that one opening that he could use to win.
In a way, it was pretty terrifying.
A hungry wolf was more dangerous than a full tiger.
Leo had compressed his desperation into extreme concentration.
Gerard gulped slightly.
Realising this fact didn’t mean that he could reverse the situation. Instead, it only made the pressure greater.
‘…from what I can see…’
The fight was already over.
Gerard turned to look at the stands.
At the start of the duel, there had been numerous people cheering for him and jeering at Leo, but as the fight progressed, they gradually became quieter. And now, they were completely silent.
He didn’t know it, but Min Ha-rin was the only one whose eyes were sparkling.
When such an atmosphere formed, Gerard knew that he had as good as lost.
So he took a stance. His aura rose as he held his sword with both hands.
At first, he didn’t intend to kill Leo. At most, he would cut off an arm or even just a tendon.
But he’d changed his mind.
‘I’m prepared to kill you.’
Not ‘I’m going to kill you’ but ‘I’m prepared to kill you’. The words were similar, but the meanings were different.
The latter meant that Gerard was prepared to risk his life for his goal.
If Leo died, then disciplinary actions would definitely follow, even if they’d both agreed to the fight clauses. The image that he’d worked so hard to construct would also be severely damaged.
But that didn’t matter.
‘This resolution is a tribute to you, Leo Freeman.’
Cut off an arm? Cut a tendon?
He was no longer an enemy who could be confronted with such a halfhearted resolve.
He was a man who he had to use all of his might and determination to kill.
At that moment, the image of the Supporter Leo Freeman disappeared from Gerard’s mind.