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Chapter 45 – The Grand Priest part 3
Left! Right! Above!
The moment Tetsuko sensed the attacks, Alonso reacted. There was no need for words between them.
As the swordsman defended, the better faster his reactions became. It had been a while since he had felt the blade of the naginata touching him.
“I must commend you, my Lord. To be able to fight me in this darkness,” the Grand priest said in a low voice. Even so, it echoed around them. “I thought someone as ignorant as you would succumb to fear.”
We can’t just defend forever… Alonso will grow tired soon. But it’s really impossible to find her through the sound, Tetsuko thought. Thanks to all the living metal dampening her senses, she couldn’t find the worshiper unless she attacked.
In that profound darkness inside the atrium in the mines, the only moment Alonso and Tetsuko could see her was when the blades met for an instant.
It was only for a brief instant as the sparks flew, but it was enough for them to see the worshiper’s face, who still had a mysterious smile.
“We can’t just defend,” Alonso whispered. Though his grip was tight around her handle, Tetsuko could tell the fingers were numbing with each impact. “We need to attack…”
I know, I know, Tetsuko projected her thoughts to her wielder. But I can only sense her when she’s attacking.
“You have too much faith in that special sword of yours, my lord. Just like the wretched king.”
Just like before, the Grand priest’s voice became full of rage.
She really hates you king, Alonso…
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the swordsman said, stalling as he tried to recover his breath.
The laugh echoed around them. “I never thought of you as a liar, my Lord. I don’t know how you got it, but that sword is the same as your king used it to bring the end of the Era of Rebirth. The True Gods are whispering to me. But there’s something strange… I can sense a soul in that blade. And right now, that soul is whispering to you, helping you… saving your life…”
Alonso shifted the upper half of the body and threw the sword aside. Though barely, he managed to deflect the naginata’s blade.
“Even for someone who chose to stay in the bliss of Ignorance, your skills are amazing, my lord. I’ve never seen an unbeliever like you. If only you’d open your eyes to the Truth…”
“To the demons you worship?”
Alonso reacted, but an instant too late. Though he avoided the fatal attack, the naginata sliced his arm before retreating back to the darkness.
Don’t let her words get to you!
“I know, I know!” Even though the wound wasn’t deep, it was bleeding. But Alonso didn’t take his hands from the sword to check it.
At this rate he’ll by blood loss or that monster will get to him first… I need to find a way to fight instead of just defend…
If not for this poison in me… The place where the worshiper had grabbed and poured his energy into her was still throbbing. I need to ignore it…
While still sharing her senses with Alonso, she focused on the source of the ripples. I need to find the moment before the ripples appear…
When the Grand priest attacked, Tetsuko tried to keep track of her faint energy.
It’s like trying to catch water with your bare hands… If only there was something to focus on her…
Then Tetsuko knew how. We need to hit her, Alonso, she transmitted those words to her wielder.
“I know. That’s what I’ve been telling you,” the swordsman said through gritted teeth.
For us to defeat her, I need her blood… If I devour a piece of her energy, I might be able to sense her better.
“Her blood…?” Alonso whispered, his eyes glancing down at her for a moment. Then he nodded. “Then I’ll get it… Just have no idea how…”
The blood on his wounded arm soaked his glove. He took the hand off the sword, tore the glove with his teeth and grabbed the handle with his bare hand, closing the fingers in a firm grip.
Tetsuko felt a rush as she absorbed her wielder’s energy. We’re more connected…
Trusting in her wielder, she shut all her senses, focusing only on the ripples of energy around her.
There was nothing. And then a disturbance.
Another stab was coming.
She could see as the naginata came rushing at them at an amazing speed.
So could Alonso. The moment the swordsman sensed it, he moved forward. Instead of defending with the sword, he slammed the right arm against the weapon.
The naginata’s blade sliced the gauntlet as if made of paper, the edge cutting, the lord’s arm.
The Grand priest’s energy wavered a bit, as if surprised. She recovered soon enough, pulling the weapon back at the same speed she had attacked.
Alonso didn’t let her though. He grabbed the shaft of the naginata and stabbed Tetsuko at the darkness, hoping he would hit her.
For the first time, Tetsuko’s blade pierced the Grand priest. Though it wasn’t fatal, it was enough to make her grunt and jump back.
Alonso let go and his arm fell limply by his side.
“Hope it was enough,” he muttered, his face wincing because of the pain.
As the tainted blood spilled from her blade, Tetsuko felt her metal body absorbing the evil and poisonous energy.
It wasn’t like before, when it was forcefully injected into her.
This is way worse than a normal worshiper’s… It’s like her energy is dense and… ancient…
Even so, Tetsuko forced herself to absorb part of it and make hers.
As the ancient energy mixed with hers, she began to sense something different around her. Then it expanded.
How didn’t I sense this before…? It’s so close…
The energy from the Grand priestess was like a calm and powerful storm. An evil storm ready to take everything in its path the moment it wished.
Alonso… we need to kill her now!
As she projected those words to him, she shared everything she could sense through his bloody hand. Then she realized the fingers on her handle were cold.
Are the wounds finally catching up to him?
Neither one of them had the time to find out. I don’t know if you can the death of that monster’s energy, but even you can tell if we don’t stop her here, your kingdom will face the most dangerous threat so far.
After those words, the swordsman relaxed his whole body, taking deep breaths.
Tetsuko couldn’t feel any tension in him. He’s not afraid… He’s concentrating everything he has in the next attack… He’s betting his life…
Just like her wielder, Tetsuko concentrated her energy, making it flow inside her. I’ll follow you, Alonso!
As she sharpened her edged, she sensed as the evil storm coming towards them.
Alonso dodged the naginata and stabbed at the darkness again.
The worshiper reacted and wasn’t where she was supposed to be.
She was expecting!
However, the swordsman could sense her through Tetsuko and swung the sword in the monster’s direction.
That, the grand priest didn’t expect.
As Tetsuko’s blade struck the woman’s arm, she made her edge sharper. Before the worshiper could leap back and retreat to the darkness, the sword slashed through the bone.
The scream was deafening, the echoes so loud it hurt even Tetsuko, who had no ears.
But to the sword and to the wielder, that scream was like a beautiful song.
Tetsuko couldn’t help but smile. So did Alonso.
However, as the screams died, the soul in the sword stopped smiling.
If before the monster’s energy was a calm evil storm, now it was raging. And focused on them.
“How dare you hurt the vessel of the True Gods?” the Grand priest shouted, holding her maimed arm. “For a crime like this, death is not enough! Even you can’t hide in the veil of Ignorance anymore!”
Something is coming… Kill her now! Tetsuko projected to Alonso right away. There was something wrong in the monster’s energy.
The swordsman didn’t think twice and ran towards the worshiper.
But it was too late.
Even in the darkness, Tetsuko could see. And she wished she couldn’t.
Alonso stopped moving.
As the ancient and evil energy focused on the maimed limb, the arm grew back.
It’s like the claw of those high priests back in the surface… No… it’s not made of energy… It’s real… She grew a new arm…
It wasn’t a normal arm though. It was red and black, with a strange leathery like fur, much larger and longer than a human’s. The vein pulsed as the energy filled it. The fingers were thick, powerful and with sharp claws at the end.
It’s a demon’s arm… A real demonic arm…
That what she means by vessel, Tetsuko realized, her metal body growing cold. That’s why they get enraged if we hurt their bodies… They’re only vessels for those demons they worship to come back to this world…
The Grand priest panted as the arm was completed. But soon her breathing became normal and she flashed a wild smile at Alonso.
Even without Tetsuko saying anything, the swordsman felt it and jumped out of the way.
Instants later, the arm came crushed down where he was standing.
And it was still coming after them when the worshiper swung it.
Alonso raised Tetsuko, who gathered her energy to meet the arm. Her blade didn’t even scratch the red and black thick leather like fur.
The swordsman flew with the impact. Before he hit the wall, he stabbed Tetsuko at the ground, slowing until he stopped.
The moment he pulled the sword, the Grand priest was attacking again.
Alonso rolled forward, dogging the arm and trying to get closer to the worshiper.
The woman jumped back and was out of Tetsuko’s reach. Even in the air, she brought the demonic arm down.
The swordsman dodged as the claws left deep marks on the ground.
“How the hell are we supposed to fight that?” Alonso said as he panted.
I don’t know. I don’t know… But we have to find a way…
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