The fight against another Grand Priest level worshiper
Faela met the bald worshiper while Anna blocked the other with her katana. The master held her ground, but the disciple was sent back flying.
“You don’t have time to worry about her,” the worshiper said, kicking her on the ribs.
Faela jumped to the side to lessen the blow but wasn’t fast enough. “Urgh!” she grunted but clenched her jaw and swung her sword at her enemy despite the pain.
He raised his forearm and blocked it as if it was nothing.
Strong! It’s like hitting iron. As expected of someone the same level as the grand priest, Tetsuko thought, smiling in her head. But you’re not stronger than me!
When they arrived in the area, she was already circling her energy along the edge. When they saw the worshiper, she flowed the Celeste faster. By now, she was as sharp as when she fought the grand priest. Even so, all she managed was a superficial cut on the worshiper’s skin.
Faela used the kick on the ribs to roll and avoid more damage. Then she sprung to her feet, ready to attack. The worshiper was already before her, striking with the open palm.
She dodged and hit his stomach with all her force. It was enough to send him backwards, but when he stood, she saw only his clothes were cut.
It’s like I hit him with a dull edge, Tetsuko thought, more shocked than she would like.
“Can you get sharper?” Faela muttered, panting.
I need time.
“We don’t have much.”
Behind the man, Anna was struggling with the other worshiper. Though she dodged the attacks, it was by a hairsbreadth. Any mistake and she would die. And just like Tetsuko, her blade couldn’t cut the enemy.
There was nothing Faela could do though. Not while she was facing a deadly foe herself.
The bald worshiper tried to punch her.
She dodged, feeling the air pressure passing by her.
At once he changed stance and attacked her with his elbow.
Faela barely managed to block with Tetsuko. Even if she reacted in time, she was pushed back. Using all her strength, she twisted her body, redirecting the elbow away from her and escaping.
Without wasting a single instant, she struck her sword on the worshiper’s ribs. This time the edge dug deeper into the man’s flesh. Even though she drew blood, it was barely enough to cause real damage.
Even so, the worshiper jumped back and put some distance between them, checking his wound. “That sword is indeed troublesome. Even if it’s a relic from the past, that tool getting sharper in the middle of a fight shouldn’t be possible. No one in this world can use Celeste better than us, the worshipers of the Truth. Unless there’s something in there,” he narrowed his eyes at the sword.
I’m not a tool, you fool, Tetsuko projected her thoughts to him.
“You were upset about that?” Falea muttered, flashing a wry smile.
The worshiper widened his eyes. “What kind of monster is in that sword?”
Despite the situation, the swordswoman couldn’t help but laugh. “Did you hear that? A worshiper called you a monster. That’s saying something.”
Tetsuko didn’t answer. She was entirely focused on sharpening her energy and her edge. I’m already sharper than when I fought the Grand Priest. I need to go beyond that!
As she flowed the Celeste faster and folded it like a katana, Faela charged.
The worshiper blocked with the forearm, but when he realized the blade was sharper, and the edge digging deeper and deeper, he stopped blocking and started dodging. The few openings he saw, he struck with an open palm or elbow. He managed to dent Faela’s armor, but that was all. The swordswoman avoided the blows, countering right away and not letting him go on the offensive for too long.
However, that couldn’t last for long. Tetsuko knew her wielder was giving time for her to become sharper, but the soul in the sword realized something. I reached my limit… I can’t get sharper…
No matter how much she imagined the Celeste inside her folding like a katana and flowing like a river during a storm, it didn’t get sharper. What can I do? What can I do?
If I can’t become sharper, I won’t be able to cut him!
I won’t be able to call myself the strongest sword!
Before she could find an answer, Anna grunted when she was punched in the stomach.
She rolled several meters until she stopped. Though her coat of arms saved her life, when she stood, she was wobbly. She grunted and coughed blood.
“Anna!” Faela shouted.
It was only for an instant, but that moment of distraction was enough to create an opening in her defenses. Though she blocked the punch with Tetsuko, she couldn’t redirect and the impact sent her into the small lake in the middle of the area.
The lake was shallow and Faela couldn’t drown in it, but she still swallowed water and coughed when she stood up.
That’s it! This other Celeste! Tetsuko shouted in her heart.
If she couldn’t become sharper with the physical energy, she would use the other, the one to use magic. Hope I can use that one…
No. I can use it… It’s part of me.
I will control it!
The nature is different but it’s still part of me, Tetsuko thought, still concentrating on sharpening herself and ignoring the outer world. She forgot about the fight. She trusted Faela and couldn’t waste any moment. Or her wielder could die. It’s like trying to catch dust with your bare hands. Not that I have hands anymore.
Even shutting herself, she felt as the swordswoman ran and struck the worshiper with all her strength. Tetsuko hit nothing, but Faela was expecting that. The instant he moved out of her way, she raced towards Anna.
Though the disciple was on the ground, and her enemy trying to punch her to death, she was doing her best to dodge. But then the worshiper landed a punch in her stomach. She screamed and lost all the air in her lungs. Despite the pain, she clenched her jaw, blocked with her katana when the worshiper tried to crush her face.
That was enough to give time for Faela to reach them and swing Tetsuko at the woman.
The worshiper barely glanced as she raised her hand to block the blade with her palm. When she realized the weapon was stronger than the katana, she tried defending with a forearm, but it was too late; she had already lost a couple of fingers from her right hand. Cursing, she jumped back and joined her partner, glaring at the swordswoman.
“How dare you hurt the vessel of the Gods!?” she shouted, pressing her hands and flowing the energy to stop the bleeding. A moment later, the wound closed.
Faela clicked her tongue. “That’s an annoying healing speed… Can’t you possess her like you did to the others?” she muttered to her sword as she helped Anna stand.
Tetsuko didn’t answer. She wasn’t even listening. She was too focused on her Celeste.
Damn it! I can only move it a little, but I can’t channel the dust Celeste! It’s completely different from the hard one I’m used to! How can I use it? How can they use it?
She thought desperately, but there was no time. The worshipers leapt towards the swordswomen, so fast it seemed as if they were flying towards them.
Even without exchanging a word to each other, Faela and Anna had decided to fight side by side. Apart, it was easier for the worshipers to kill them. They blocked the enemies’ attacks, counter-attacking the instant an opening showed up.
The man didn’t try to block; he was still wary of Tetsuko, but the woman simply met Anna’s katana with her good hand.
Flow your energy into it! It might make it sharp enough to hurt her, Tetsuko shouted to her.
Anna obeyed, concentrating and channeling her Celeste even in the middle of the fight. Though it wasn’t anywhere the level of Tetsuko, the living metal alloy reacted and became a bit sharper.
Even though they were both worshipers, their teamwork was nowhere as good as Faela and Anna’s. The swordswomen managed to completely block their attacks.
Even so, the fight was favorable to the worshipers.
Fighting like that was taking its toll on the swordswomen. Soon they would tire themselves and a deadly strike would land. And that wasn’t the only problem. Nothing they tried had any effect on the worshipers. Even with Anna channeling her Celeste on her katana, it didn’t become sharp enough to hurt their enemy.
So it’s all up to me, Tetsuko realized. If I can’t become sharper, Faela and Anna will die and I’ll be down here forever. Or worse, they’ll break me.
Think. No, don’t think. Feel it. Feel the other Celeste. It belongs to me. It’s part of me. Every life that I devoured is mine. So are the snakes and the rats. They had the dust Celeste inside them. Now I have it too. They didn’t think how to control it. It was by instinct.
With half of her focusing on circling the hard Celeste, Tetsuko used the other half to sense the dust one. It was there, inside her. Like dust floating above the water that was the hard energy. Now that she knew what to look for it, she could sense it all over her metal body.
I can’t fold it and sharp dust, she thought with a wry smile. I need to use it to refine my edge.
She had no time to think about it. Faela and Anna were panting and sweating more and more by the instant.
Then Tetsuko remembered. Like Balthasar showed me!
They add air into iron to make it stronger and more flexible. I need to use the thin Celeste like that!
Moving the dust Celeste, she forced it into the flowing and hard energy.
The reaction was instantaneous. She felt the energy burn brighter and stronger inside her.
At that moment, Faela used a faint and tried to attack the woman. Out of reflex, the man tried to block the blade, and this time Tetsuko severed his hand.
He screamed and jumped backwards, holding the maimed stump with the remaining limb.
“It was about time,” Faela muttered. Despite panting and sweating, she flashed a smile. A wild one, of someone who was enjoying the fight.
If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t even be down here fighting, Tetsuko reminded her, also smiling in her head.
“Fair enough,” she said. Then her smiled vanished as she faced the worshipers. “Let’s go, Anna!”
Thanks for reading.
Hope you enjoy the chapter.