Chapter 538 Izroth“s Tale Variation Part 2/2
"I'll leave Prime to you. In the meantime, I will try to find a way to take care of those archers and the other knights." Venare said.
Venare sheathed his sword and removed six throwing knives from the holster on his leg, holding three in between his fingers within each hand. He lowered his stance before kicking off his left foot to accelerate towards the building that housed the archers on its rooftop.
"Stop him! M-" Prime ordered as his comrades followed after Venare, but he was interrupted.
Suddenly, a blade of sharpened cold steel descended upon Prime as he moved his sword to intercept the blow.
"Annoying pest..! If you're in such a hurry to die, then just say so!" Prime grumbled as the sword he wielded locked with Izroth's.
"Unfortunately for you, I don't intend on dying here," Izroth replied with a carefree smile.
"You speak as if it's your choice to make!" Prime roared as the silver aura around him spiked and became increasingly dense. If previously it resembled a thin layer of liquid, the silver aura was now similar to a malleable layer of ice.
Izroth's Soul Sense went off the moment Prime's silver aura changed, warning him of the impending danger.
"Sword Arts: Soaring Silverclaw! Carving Talon!" The silver aura around Prime receded as it morphed into a concentrated version of its original form. Simultaneously, an orb of silver light manifested in the middle of where Izroth's and Prime's swords met.
The orb of light flashed brightly and was accompanied by three deep cuts in the earth at Izroth's position. These cuts resembled Prime's early attack on Venare; however, they were much more ferocious and unrestrained.
Just before Prime's attack fully developed, Izroth executed the Four Steps of Death to avoid it. He used a charge of the skill to dodge instead of attack as Izroth sensed that he could not allow himself to be struck head-on by Prime's sword arts.
But, even though Izroth successfully evaded the blow, three shallow cuts could be seen on the right side of his torso.
'Aura... In many ways, it reminds me of Essence or the strange energy that lingers around a Domain. That being said, their core principles of control seem to differ greatly. If Essence and a Domain can be seen as internal power sources, Aura can be equated to an external one. However, if there is an external force at play, where is he drawing the power from?'
Izroth scanned the environment with his natural senses to see if there was anything out of place. But, on the surface, everything appeared normal.
"Can you afford to place your attention elsewhere?" Prime's voice reverberated as the light finally settled.
Prime waved his sword at the air as the silver aura around him fluctuated.
Izroth, who was at least seven meters away from Prime, dodged as if he was right in front of the blade.
Right after Izroth propelled himself sideways, three deep cuts tore into the earth where he once stood. But, it did not stop there. Every time Izroth's feet touched the ground, Prime was already launching his next attack. This forced Izroth into a defensive state without a chance to counterattack!
'The second strongest attack of my sword arts was unable to fully penetrate his Aura; nonetheless, it did manage to leave a flesh wound. This proves that while it's sturdy, Aura does not make one invincible in the dreamworld. Since that's the case—I'll just have to shave away at it until it collapses.'
After evading Prime's barrage of attacks, they suddenly stopped when Izroth arrived thirteen meters away from Prime.
'Is this the limit of his attack range?'
Izroth had numerous shallow cuts on multiple parts of his body and one concerning wound on his left arm. If not for Izroth's vast combat experience and Soul Sense, he would not have lasted for more than two or three attacks given the less than desirable strength of his role.
In the end, Viselo's role was not meant to exchange blows with someone of Prime's level in this tale. But, Izroth understood that creating his own tale variation by forcibly altering a major turning point in the story would not be simple. In fact, having someone of Prime's level present at this part of the story was never mentioned within the tale itself. Izroth believed that it was likely a safety measure to prevent or discourage the Dreamer from influencing significant turning points. Of course, this was only speculation.
"You can't win. You should have realized this by now. The gap in our strength is too great a distance for you to close in this lifetime. Eventually, your luck will run out, and my sword will claim your life." Prime stated.
He then continued, "But, let no one say that I, Prime, am a heartless person. Since you've survived this long against me by relying on your meager strength, I am prepared to show you mercy. Surrender quietly and state your purpose. If you comply, I can consider letting you off lightly by crippling both of your arms. You will never wield a sword again, but that is a small price to pay in maintaining your life—do not allow my generosity to go to waste."
"Indeed, in terms of raw strength, you are several steps above me. If we were to continue fighting head-on, I would last another minute or two at best." Izroth acknowledged as he stabbed his sword into the ground at his side.
"But, despite our difference in strength, I do hold one clear advantage over you." Izroth clasped the hilt of his sword.
"You? An advantage over me? Interesting. Then, let's hear it. After all, it will be too late to speak when you're dead." Prime scoffed. He was clearly superior to his opponent in every way—what advantage could they possibly hold over him?
"I have not allowed an external source of power to become a crutch in which I lean upon," Izroth said as he yanked his sword out of the ground and instantly utilized three charges of his Four Steps of Death to quickly erase the distance between himself and Prime!
"A crutch? Ha... Hahaha! So what?! If the power is there to obtain, only a fool would ignore it! You call it a crutch; I prefer to refer to it as a pair of wings!" Prime growled as the silver aura around his body thickened once again.
Prime slashed outward in an arc the instant Izroth stepped into his attack range.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The pressure generated by this swing caused the solid ground in front of Prime to explode and produce a sinkhole as the surrounding earth fractured.
As the dust cleared away, Izroth was nowhere to be seen. All of a sudden, a sword rushed out from behind Prime and grazed his neck!
The sound of grinding metal echoed throughout the battlefield as the sword came into contact with Prime's Aura. However, Prime remained unharmed as only a small portion of his Aura was chipped away.
Prime swiftly turned his body and waved his blade, forming a long fissure on the ground. But, when he looked in the direction of where he had just been attacked, there was no one there!
Prime was struck twice in the same spot as the last blow, and when he reacted to the strike, Prime was met with the same results as last time.
"You..!" A look of rage soon found its way onto Prime's face. Every time he tried to lock onto his opponent's position, their presence would suddenly vanish into thin air. However, what truly annoyed Prime was that Izroth kept attacking the same exact point every single time without fail!
'If one attack isn't enough, I'll just use two. If that still isn't sufficient, then five, ten, fifteen—however many it takes. I want to see just how long your Aura can protect you.'
Izroth realized that while Prime's sword arts was fast and powerful, it lacked control and flexibility. When one could merely overpower their opponents with raw destructive force, they tended to neglect those two key factors. Izroth discovered that Prime was no exception.
Izroth was rapidly going through charges of his Four Steps of Death.
17 charges remaining...
13 charges remaining...
5 charges remaining!
In the blink of an eye, Izroth had gone through almost twenty charges of his Four Steps of Death! However, when he was down to five charges, Izroth heard the sound of something shattering, followed by a smooth feeling at the tip of his blade at the spot he had continuously been targeting.
The silver aura around Prime lost its brilliance as it slowly faded away—Izroth had broken through his Aura!