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Published at 14th of May 2022 05:37:46 AM


Chapter 342

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342. Champion Part Two




A giant blade of light tore the sky asunder. It cleaved through the pillar of smoke rising over the city. The ground shook as it ripped apart the earth. I produced my Pendant of Greater Protection, clutching it tightly as my clones fled the scene. Above them, Belzu watched them go.

He didn’t move. His bulbous eyes fixated on them from every angle. My second, third, and fifth clones escaped in every direction. They could’ve faced him all at once, but I knew that was pointless. They would lose. I had to delay him. Delay him so that the adventurer army— including Jaakko and his team— could leave Westshield. They were already pulling back, albeit rather slowly.

I focused on my first clone for a moment, watching as a woman shouted orders at the army for a retreat. Then Belzu’s head snapped. He faced my third clone as she dipped into the city’s street. His face warped into a smile as he slowly descended.

It looked terrible. Like the wrath of all the bugs I’d eaten was bearing down on me. He came, and my clone ran. She ducked through the city’s streets, wading through the flames and the fumes. Smoke billowed past her, and she used that blanket of opportunity to leap into a nearby building. 

I waited. She hid right by the broken doorway. There was a crackle as the flames all around her ate away at the wood. I took in a deep breath, and my third clone poked a fraction of her head out, peeking into the city street. 

Belzu had been right behind her. But now he was gone. He vanished, no longer there. The third clone wiped at her forehead, sighing without sound. I grinned. We lost him, I thought as she spun around—

And she stared at the bug-eyes of the Primeval Demon. He stood right behind her as she stared. There was a crack— a crask. A wooden beam fell from the ceiling. My third clone screamed silently as she unleashed a [Barrage of Cinders] at Belzu.

He barely moved. It was like he was standing still, making infinitesimally small movements— minor adjustments— to avoid my attacks. Then he raised the Sword of Alexander, and my clone leapt back. She was off sprinting in an instant. She escaped the building as it collapsed onto Belzu. 

She weaved down an alleyway, breaking out into a market street. She ran and ran and ran as the world moved around her. Past a burning food stand, around a shop, into another alley. She sprinted through the alleyway before quickly exiting the other side into a main street. 

A market street.

My clone didn’t slow, although I noticed something was odd. She sprinted past a burning food stand. Around a shop. Into another alley. Then she weaved down the alleyway, breaking out into a market street. Past a food stand. Around a shop. Another alley. Through the alley, into a market street—

And I made my clone stop. She blinked as she took in her surroundings. It was the very same market street. The very same burning foot stand. The very same shop. And yet, she was certain she hadn’t been running circles. No, this was something else.

From up above, the clouds of smoke parted. Belzu slowly lowered himself from the sky. The third clone stared with wide eyes as the Primeval Demon loomed over her. He looked far larger than he had before. The Sword of Alexander grew in size like it’d been affected by [Mass Particulate Modification]. 

She turned and ran, but the ground wheeled under her feet. It was like she was running on the spot, unable to move any further away from Belzu as he gradually brought the giant blade up. She looked back up at him as she screamed a silent scream.

No matter what she threw at him, it missed. Flaming swords, spears, and even Nebular Arrows. She couldn’t strike her target— it was like he had an invisible barrier of air around him, gently guiding the projectiles away from him. 

Belzu brought the Sword of Alexander down, laughing maniacally— almost a buzzing sound. The third clone cowered for a brief moment, before accepting her fate. And with that, she was crushed.




 

—--

 

My fifth clone glanced up from the belltower as a golden light illuminated the sky. A cross-like explosion that shot up, breaching the clouds above. She looked on, sensing the third clone’s death. It was worrisome. Three of the clones were already dead. Now it was just her and the second clone left. They wouldn’t be able to delay Belzu for long with just the two of them.

At least Belzu was far off. As long as the fifth clone could find a good hiding place— 

“Found you.”

A voice echoed behind her. She whirled around, swinging a flaming scythe at Belzu. He chuckled, somehow dodging the attack. Leaping back, she tossed a Sickle Grenade at the Primeval Demon. The explosion took out the top of the belltower, causing the rest of the building to collapse. 

She eyed the smoke carefully, watching for any subtle movements. It dissipated as Belzu emerged, flying forward. He sneered. 

“There you are.”

What? My fifth clone stared at him, puzzled. And the image vanished. The Primeval Demon was gone. No— he hadn’t even been there in the first place. Another illusion. But now he knew where my fifth clone was. 

She hopped between the city’s rooftops, hurriedly trying to get away. But as she crossed over an alleyway, Belzu emerged from the darkness below. He sliced up with the Sword of Alexander, and my clone dove out of the way.

He slashed and slashed and slashed and slashed. My fifth clone flew up, barely navigating around the flurry of attacks. She conjured a Nebular Bow as she spun around and returned fire with a volley of Nebular Arrows. 

Belzu harrumphed, vanishing as the explosions engulfed him. My clone’s gaze snapped to the side. The Primeval Demon was flying low, keeping to the ground as he held his sword behind his back. He aimed carefully at the clone before swinging. The blade flashed in the sky. But she darted out of the way again.

When she reoriented herself, she stared down at an army of Primeval Demons. A hundred Belzus flew at her. Her eyes widened. They moved in synchronicity— all at once, they brought up the Sword of Alexander. My fifth clone rapidly loosed Nebular Arrow after Nebular Arrow, bringing down these images one after another. But she never found the real Belzu. Because he wasn’t there.

Directly below her, the real Belzu emerged. He grinned a terrible grin and unleashed the power of the Sword of Alexander at my fifth clone. She watched the attack come. Her eyes were wide. She needed to escape. She couldn’t get out of the way— 

And there was a flicker. A fissure in space. My fifth clone barely teleported out of the way. She gasped without a sound, already flying away from Belzu. The Primeval Demon focused his gaze on my clone’s back. She was halfway across the city. He wouldn’t catch her. She’d be able to escape and go back into hiding.


Belzu shook his head, pointing at her.

“Very well then. [Desecration of the Mind].”

A black aura appeared around my clone. She tried to wave it off, but it coalesced around her head. She froze. And there was a dark flash.

 

—--

 

I recoiled, stumbling back as my Pendant of Greater Protection flashed. Daniel and Saffron caught me before I could fall. They hovered over me as a few faces in the room turned my way.

“Did something happen, Salvos?”

Rana Alyras asked, peering at me curiously. I sighed as I slumped into a chair. 

“I’m down another clone.”

I spoke and focused on the battle once more.

 

—--

 

My second clone was all who was left. She kept moving. She didn’t remain idle. The other clones had been hunted down because they thought they could get away by hiding. But they were found either way. So, she continued to move.

Belzu didn’t know where she was. She’d be safe as long as she didn’t alert him of her location. She let out a silent chuckle, darting into an intersection. That was right, she wouldn’t be caught— 


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And she paused. She stared at the horde of monsters led by Mindreapers. They fixed their gaze on her. Then they screeched. My second clone rolled her eyes.

This sucks, she thought before burning them into ashes. But it didn’t matter. They’d found her. And that meant Belzu did too. There was no longer any point running. Once Belzu caught a glimpse of her, it was over.

His curses and his illusions were too much to overcome. The world grew dark, engulfed by an endless void. She tried to take a step back, but skeleton arms burst out of the shadows and caught her by her legs. Where the ivory fingers touched, her skin seemed to shed— peeling off and revealing her own bones and flesh within. I stared at it. At this illusion. And I saw through it.

My clone was made entirely of flames. That was not real. Even though all of my senses screamed at me in terror and pain, my clone calmly took a step forward. She tore through the illusion. The blanket of darkness fell apart, revealing Belzu hovering right before her. 

The second clone stood her ground, producing a rainbow-colored scythe. Belzu didn’t waste any time. He flew straight at her, slashing with the Sword of Alexander for her head. 

“Die.”

She charged back at him, screaming silently. Unafraid of the Primeval Demon. The Divine Nebular Scythe glowed bright black. She swung back at the Sword of Alexander with a [Radiant Slash]. There was a clash of light. Black and white. My second clone was thrown back as a white energy pulsed out. 

Belzu paused. He stared at the rainbow-colored scythe. 

“That is…?”

Shaking his head, he continued as he raised the Sword of Alexander once more.

“So you choose to fight. Tell me: what makes you think you stand a chance?”

The second clone dragged herself back to her feet. She saw through the first clone’s eyes. The adventurer army was finally beginning to pull back. Slowly. So slowly. They’d gotten the last of the survivors of Westshield out. And they moved as they held the army of monsters back.

I couldn’t answer Belzu. Nor did I care to answer his question. Instead, I ordered the second clone to fight. She twirled the Divine Nebular Scythe, smirking. The Primeval Demon just tilted his head.

“So it is for the Human’s sake? Of course. Very well. Then I shall end this now.”

I wanted to protest, but he appeared before my second clone. It was as though he’d just teleported to her. But no— he’d tricked me. He feigned dialogue to close the distance. He was already mid-swing with the Sword of Alexander when I registered what happened. My second clone brought the Divine Nebular Scythe, barely parrying the swing.

She was knocked back a dozen feet from the attack. Belzu harrumphed. 


“Do you really think your weapon can stand up to the Sword of Alexander? Once I am done with you, I shall destroy that worthless Human army.”

He swung at her once again. She parried it a second time, this time managing to keep her feet on the ground. The pavement broke off as she blocked the attack, only for Belzu to swiftly stab at her. She was thrown into the air as the edges of the Divine Nebular Scythe were chipped off. 

The second clone crashed into a nearby building before the weapon landed next to her. She stumbled up, barely picking up the Divine Nebular Scythe. Belzu crept closer to her. Like an insect crawling its way up an arm— each step a gnawing sensation on my skin. The flames of my second clone flickered as she prepared for her last stand.

Belzu’s face twisted sadistically as he brought up the Sword of Alexander once again.

“It appears you have lost—”

He started, only to be interrupted by a flash of lighting. It zapped down at him, crashing into his back. The Primeval Demon was smashed onto the road. Swatted to the ground. He swung back with the Sword of Alexander, but the bolt of lightning zipped out of the way.

That was when I realized it wasn’t a bolt of lightning, but a person. Mori Gladius, leader of the Remembered Order Company and Elite adventurer, landed next to my second clone as electricity crackled around him. His spear glimmered as he pointed the tip at Belzu.

The Primeval Demon paused.

“Greetings, Champion of the Human Lands.”

 

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