It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (105/116), enjoy~
“Did you get any satisfaction from exposing people’s emotions?”
“I don’t know, but I think I know a little bit more about you than I expected.”
“Now that you understand, what do you want? You and I are incompatible.”
“Maybe you’re right…”
Liz replied regretfully.
“Then let’s kill each other, shall we?”
The corner of Luca’s mouth lifted to the point where her lips parted, and the mucous membrane extending into her mouth was cut off by the wind.
“Just like Eagle ― give me your head!”
Luca kicked at the ground and flew through the sky.
The hammer fell from the sky, emitting a sharp sound.
As Liz jumped to the side to avoid it, the ground caved in fiercely, sending up a cloud of dust.
Luca, who had penetrated the dust cloud, immediately gave chase.
“Hate, hate hate, hate hate hate!”
Although she laid down the red blade to catch the hammer, Liz could not kill the impact and was slammed into the ground.
“I need to rip off that beautiful skin and give it to Eagle!”
She swung the hammer down with a force that would not leave a speck of dust, regardless of her complexion.
Liz punched the ground, sending up a cloud of dust.
Deprived of her vision, Luca’s weapon deviated its trajectory and crashed into the ground.
Clicking her tongue, she swung the hammer down again, but there was no sign of Liz at that spot.
“I can’t afford to lose here.”
Liz, who was behind Luca, wielded the “Flame Emperor.”
Luca turned her body sideways to avoid Liz’s attack and swung her right leg up to counterattack. She put all her strength into her foot, stepped through the ground, and threw herself back with vigor.
The sole of Luca’s foot, roaring with air, went past Liz’s nose, but out of the corner of her eye ― from the right side ― she saw a giant hammer flying at her.
Liz gritted her teeth and twisted her body to intercept it with her “Flame Emperor” at full force without adjusting her stance.
A clash ― the red blade and the hammer bounced off each other without any struggle.
Both of them quickly adjust their stance to reap the life out of the other and collide again.
One, two, and three… slash at each other as they hit each other with all their might.
Sometimes they went for the legs, sometimes for the fists if they missed, and sometimes for the abdomen with a frontal kick.
Liz attacked with all the strength she had.
However, Luca saw through all her attacks and dodged them with quick movements, and then she launched a constant counterattack.
It was an exchange of irregular attacks and varying quick attacks.
The air roared, the wind swirled and pulled in, and the sharp blades attacked both sides.
Cheeks slashed, cuts heated up and forgetting even the aching pain, the two of them put all their strength into each other’s fight. They fought with all their might until their physical strength was exhausted, until their energy was depleted, until one of their souls shattered.
But finally, the time arrived when the balance was broken.
As if out of breath, Luca opened her mouth to the sky and took in some oxygen.
Liz decided to take advantage of the opportunity and quickly flashed her sword.
Luca’s snickering voice said.
Liz replied in a sarcastic tone.
She intercepted the blows with a slash and swung her right hand up to scoop up the “Flame Emperor” from the lower position. When the hammer swung down from above her head, she shifted her body half a step to the side to avoid it.
The reaction caused the trajectory of the red sword to shift as well, and it ended up only making the wind roar.
There was no room for pessimism. When she saw that the hammer was still buried in the ground beneath her feet, she shouted, not wanting to miss this opportunity.
She let out a breath of air and took a step forward.
“It’s too late.”
“Eh ― buh?”
There was no sign of anything. There was no premonition of any kind of discomfort. And yet, the tremendous shock that pierced through the five organs of the body, the sound of bones cracking all over the body reverberated within the body.
She put all her strength into her legs to avoid collapsing, but a large amount of fresh blood spurted out of her bitten mouth.
Dripping speckled blood on the ground, Liz fell to one knee, holding her right side.
“Wha… what is that?”
When she looked up with a shocked expression, she saw Luca above her, looking down at her with vacant eyes.
“Sorry. Didn’t I tell you that…?”
Stroking the handle of the giant hammer affectionately, Luca said without a hint of malice, despite her words.
“I’m the holder of one of the World’s Five Greatest Treasured Swords ― the holder of Five Destructive Holy Principle Swords, the Vajra Mallet.”
Liz groaned and stood up, although she had never thought of Luca as an ordinary person.
Still, Liz was convinced that she was better than Luca in terms of ability.
That said, there was no such thing as conceit, no such thing as pity, no such thing as carelessness.
She tried to ask Luca a question, but she couldn’t formulate the right words. All that flowed out of her mouth was fresh blood.
“Ah, I see. So you’re confused as to why you’re in this position?”
Luca took one look at the Vajra and then looked at the confused Liz.
“The Vajra’s blessing is called the Holy Offering. There are several conditions, but in exchange for offering your power, you can slow down the perception of your opponent.”
“…..So, I was wrong?”
“Yes, by the time you perceived it, the Vajra was no longer there.”
“I see… But why did you tell me?”
Liz hasn’t given up on this fight yet. It is a fatal disadvantage to have taught her the blessing, considering that she will be fighting for it.
“No, I’ve given you enough of my Pure Offerings in return. There’s no harm in letting you know.”
Then Luca put her hand on her chin and tilted her head in a funny way.
“But for some reason, it didn’t work on that guy, which puzzled me. Well, it seems to have worked on you, though.”
Liz’s body trembled. She knew what the words meant.
When she saw her denial reaction, Luca let out an inarticulate joy and fell into oblivion.
“Do you want to hear it? The young man’s name…”
Do not listen. She knew it would be a bad idea. Still, her body would not accept rejection. Her brain cut off the signal for her to answer.
“Do you want to hear the story of a man who hung his head on the ground in disgrace and died with his head chopped off?”
Like a manipulative con artist, Luca enjoyed Liz’s reaction with her disingenuous tone of voice. She observed Liz’s progress as she struggled, struggled with her feet, grief, and broke down in despair at the world. Perhaps that’s why Luca revealed her blessings to Liz.
She didn’t want to know, and she didn’t want to believe her, but her emotions got the better of her, and she asked.
Forgetting that she was even on the battlefield, she just wished she could hear the name.
“Hiro Schwartz von Grantz, of course.”
There was no sense of reality when she heard it. Her vision became hazy as she asked herself why she was asking.
A bitter feeling overflowed from the depths of her heart.
She felt a dull feeling spreading in her chest.
It ate up all the hope of living, and the despair of dying would not stop.
When a single tear flowed from Liz’s cheek…
“It’s too early to break.”
A moment of slackness. Luca took advantage of the opportunity to attack, and Liz’s body crashed into the ground.
Luca swung her heels down on the choking Liz. She was struck in the abdomen, and her body bent over and coughed up blood.
Even so, her heart was more painful than the physical pain.
“I’ll send you to the same place. You won’t be lonely then, will you?”
Liz’s body was blown away by a kick to the side.
Luca caught up with her with tremendous speed and swung her giant hammer down, gliding on the ground with immense force.
“Goodbye, you sweet princess,won’t you like to know a little bit of pain?”
She saw the Vajra that was about to smash her body in her hazy vision.
The approaching hammer seemed awfully slow.
In her mind, various events repeated like a running lantern. Many thoughts mixed together, and emotions that could not be settled into one ran rampant.
In a landscape that repeated over and over again, in a heart that kept breaking over and over again.
She pursued him again and again, yearned for him again and again, and tried to cling to him again and again.
――The young man’s back.
“I’m not yet… giving up.”
She had cried enough.
She had fretted enough.
She had regretted enough.
She had already made enough excuses.
Then ― there was no need to repeat it.
“Yeah….. that’s enough.”
A clear view was etched in her mind, and Liz felt her senses return.
In the midst of this, she saw the hammer approaching in front of her.
She instantly adjusted her stance in the air, put her feet on the ground, and released her fist.
A violent sound was heard. The sound that echoed across the battlefield was frightening as if she had struck steel.
Normally, anyone would have guessed that Liz’s fist had shattered. But Liz was still in the punching position, and Luca was being pulled backward by the giant hammer that had been flung wide.
Luca’s face was tinged with astonishment as she bounced back against a mere fist.
“…..I promised to hit you.”
She was about to ask him for help again when he broke her half-hearted resolve. She had told him over and over again that it would not work.
But her heart was still spoiled, and she was about to give up on walking on her own feet again.
“Don’t underestimate me!”
She said as if she was scolding herself and angrily slashed at Luca.
But Luca, who unleashed the hammer, anticipated the entire trajectory and struck first.
“Your side hurts, doesn’t it? Your attacks are lacking in finesse.”
“So, what’s the matter?”
The two sides went head-to-head in a fierce competition of sword fights.
“By the way, I am the one who killed the fourth prince Hiro. Do you hate me? Do you want to kill me so badly?”
A strong fist pierced Luca’s right cheek as she was distracted by the red blade.
Even though she was hit so hard that the ground beneath her feet exploded, she did not fall down and stopped in a tilted posture. Her eyes were cloudy, but Liz stared straight back at her.
“I believe in him.”
The “Flame Emperor” roared at the fierce will in those unshakable eyes. The clear red flames flowed down into the world, emitting blue light.
When Liz stepped forward, flames erupted from beneath her feet and shot up toward the sky.
“I’ve decided not to stray anymore.”
The blue light scorches her body as if to give her wings.
“I’ve decided not to be misled anymore.”
Liz holds the Flame Emperor in her opposite hand and raises it to eye level.
The blue flames erupted when she stroked the red blade and enveloped the world.
“I’ll use all my strength.”
With that day’s vow to become stronger, and with that day’s wish in mind…
That fire is a prison.
That flame is hell.
That blaze is purgatory.
“Bloom wildly… Flame Emperor.”
――New flowers blooming in profusion.
The Flame Emperor disappeared from Liz’s hand, and the world was enveloped in red and blue.
The change also appeared in her body.
A blue flame wrapped around Liz’s entire body, healing all her wounds in an instant.
A sweet voice came out of Liz’s throat.
It was not as brave as it had been in the past. There was no fearlessness or brutality in her voice.
There is a clean, lustrous voice, and the last thing anyone wanted was to have their brain numbed by that beautiful voice.
“Ah… Wha… Eh?”
Luca was stunned, her mouth twitching as she looked down at her Vajra. And then a scene jumped into the edge of her vision.
The skull she had claimed as her brother was engulfed in flames.
Luca jumped in dismay but couldn’t make it in time.
Without a moment of hesitation, she plunged her hand into the flames, but the skull disappeared into ashes.
“A-aah, aah, aaaaaaaahhh!”
She desperately tried to gather them up, but her hands grasped the void, and her sorrowful voice never reached them.
The red lotus flame burned through everything. Luca slammed her fist into the ground as she looked up at the blackened sky.
“Why, why, why―… why!”
When she looked up, she began to sprint towards Liz with fierce hatred, as if possessed by a devil.
“Why do you people keep getting in my way!”
Liz waved her right hand without answering anything. The flames around her shielded her as if to protect her.
With a roar like a beast, Luca repeated her tremendous attack over and over again.
But it was pointless.
Everything was useless.
The flames that writhed like a living creature refused to leave Liz and blocked all of her attacks. Even so, Luca boldly continued her single-minded attack.
“What did I do! I only wished for happiness! How dare you treat me like this! I just wanted to live happily with my brother! That’s all I wanted!”
Liz’s eyes twisted sadly as she looked at the hammer that had been caught in the flames.
“I don’t know… the answer to that question now.”
Liz held her hand over the hammer. With that simple movement, the blue flame enveloped the Vajra.
In the blink of an eye, the flames engulfed even the handle.
Unable to endure the intense heat of the scorching flames, Luca let go of the weapon with a grimace.
“But you’ll find out.”
The blue flame that wrapped around Liz began to expand. Eventually, it took shape and decorated the lion with a mixture of red and blue.
Its length exceeded that of a giant monster, and its tail hovered long in the air like a snake.
Drools of flame dripped from its sharp fangs onto the ground. The clawed flames that stepped on it gouged out the ground.
“Hah… what’s that…”
In the face of the overwhelming presence, Luca put both knees on the ground as if to give up.
“Why can’t… anyone help me?”
When Liz raised her hand to the blue sky, the lion roared and jumped on Luca.
Perhaps she was exhausted from her efforts, but she did not show any sign of fleeing as she stared at the attacking lion.
“I’m sorry… Eagle.”
Luca looked at the scene in amazement, and a single tear fell from her cloudy eyes as if she had caught a glimpse of something.
“Onee-chan couldn’t avenge you.”
The tears were swallowed up by the fire. The flames of the explosion spread all over the area.
The ground shook, and even the black smoke was wiped out as the fires of hell raged across the land, burning away all life.
Eventually, the flames weakened and disappeared, leaving behind a faint smolder.
Liz stared blankly at a point.
A woman ― Luca, who had suffered various hardships, was lying on the ground in front of her gaze.
Liz could not kill Luca.
She thought she was being naive. However, she couldn’t just kill her. But she had vowed not to hesitate.
She decided to follow her heart and go ahead with it, even if it meant making the wrong choice.
This was the first step, and Liz didn’t know what she could do to her. But now that she was alive, she had a responsibility to support her.
“First, let’s atone for your sins. Then… we can find a goal together.”
When she called out to the unconscious Luca…
“You’re going to choose that path, aren’t you?”
A clap sounded in the still isolated world.
In order to prevent outside enemies from entering, the “Flame Emperor” should have closed the area with a wall of fire.
As Liz turned her piercing gaze to the scene, she saw a man standing out of nowhere.
He wears a strange mask, a white robe, and a wicked black sword hanging from his waist.
“This is the path that not even the first emperor… not even the second emperor, not even any of the previous emperors had chosen.”
The man approaches, his voice trembling with some happiness.
“But this time, I will respect that choice.”
The man stopped in front of Liz and shifted his gaze to Luca.
“So, give her over to―…”
The man’s words trailed off as he looked at Liz again.
Liz had a smile on her face.