Chapter 29:

Metallic Melody

The Consequence of Saving the World

I was finally able to understand why Remus called fighting a ‘dance’. I couldn’t think of a more apt description of what I was witnessing.Bookmark here

Even in their widest leaps and swiftest swings, there was something intangible that connected them. Their movements, despite differing wildly in style, had some form of harmony to them. Whenever I started to recognise a beat to their manoeuvres, one of them immediately changed things up in an attempt to break the stalemate. Sword slash met with gunfire in a beautiful metallic melody.Bookmark here

I realised that Remus didn’t need to reload, almost as if he had an infinite supply of ammunition.Bookmark here

He simply needed to unsummon and resummon the revolver and six shots were already in the chamber. It had to have something to do with his Blessing.Bookmark here

Combined with his seemingly limitless arsenal of weapons, he could keep Sereya at a distance, away from the reach of her blade. It was obvious that he was far more cautious fighting against her than Melyeze. While the knight fought primarily with earth magic to try and restrict his movements, Sereya took the more old school approach.Bookmark here

And it was working.Bookmark here

In this back and forth dance, Sereya could answer every single one of Remus’s unpredictable weapon changes and attacks. Gradually, he was regressing into a more passive approach, forced to answer the questions asked by Sereya’s sword. Bookmark here

Despite his appearances, Remus was an incredibly intelligent fighter. Even though he laughed at Sereya having five swords but only being able to use only one, he knew that she had a plan. He was trying his level best to keep his distance, but Sereya's superhuman bladework was making it an uphill battle.Bookmark here

The pinnacle of her swordsmanship—Invisible Blade.Bookmark here

Every time I saw her perform a single swing, Remus had to block an extra four or five slashes that I wasn’t able to register. The ringing of steel informed me of how many extra cuts that she made. The falling blades of grass were witnesses to her skill, an unfortunate victim of slashes that they never saw coming.Bookmark here

It was then that I saw the severed arm of Athmadana. Remus swung it like a tower-sized bat, one of its claws leaving a scar upon the earth. It was a last-ditch effort to distance himself from her—its immense length meant that she had to retreat a fair bit.Bookmark here

Or so I thought, because instead of leaping backwards, she arched her back so impossibly low that her head was touching the grass, all while sliding towards him on her knees!Bookmark here

It was difficult to observe, but I saw blood. The demonic arm dematerialised as Remus was no longer connected to his ankles. His boots stayed upright as his body fell to the grass. Bookmark here

‘She could now close in on him’, but just as I thought of that, the massive arm was resummoned vertically. Using it as a pole, Remus launched himself high in the sky, the gun in his other hand having found its target.Bookmark here

What shocked me even more was Sereya’s response to his strategy. Turning her blade over into a reverse grip, she hurled it towards him like a javelin!Bookmark here

All I saw was a streak of silver. Bookmark here

The shock on Remus’s face told me that I wasn’t the only one who was surprised. The sheer speed of the projectile made it so that the only thing he could do was deflect it with his gun!Bookmark here

It wasn’t just a single flying sword, another was already on its way. The second projectile lodged itself into Remus’s left forearm which was controlling the arm of Athmadana. The fear in his face became even more apparent as Sereya herself flew into the air, chopping his left hand off in one clean, vertical slice.Bookmark here

What followed was a thunderous crash, its impact sending dirt flying in my direction. When the dust settled, I saw Sereya standing above Remus, her blade pointing down towards him as his body laid flat on the grass.Bookmark here

His feet had regenerated, but his left hand had not.Bookmark here

The sword that was used like a harpoon was still lodged right above his wrist. I finally realised the brilliance in Sereya’s plan—Remus could not regenerate if he had a foreign object in the way!Bookmark here

“You lost, Remus. Don’t bother trying to pull out the sword—you won’t make it.”Bookmark here

“Heh, here I thought, you had the worst luck amongst us when you lost your hand. Turns out, losin’ my axe was a lot worse. Well, what are ya gonna do, stick a sword down my neck and gimme an accidental haircut?”Bookmark here

“I want you to apologise to Evan. Swear that you’ll never put a finger on him again.”Bookmark here

“Apologise? Bwahaha—”Bookmark here

With the fight over, I walked closer to where they were, only to see half of a tongue flying off.Bookmark here

“The next one won’t miss on purpose.”Bookmark here

“A’ight, a’ight,” he said as his tongue restored itself. Noticing me, he beckoned me to come closer.Bookmark here

“Kid, c’mere. Let’s make up and shake hands like what the princess wants.”Bookmark here

“Don’t try anything stupid.”Bookmark here

I stood beside Sereya, gazing down at the one behind most of my mental anguish. Honestly, I didn’t want to make amends. Part of me wanted to pummel his face—he’d just heal back anyway, but I respected Sereya’s wishes.Bookmark here

As I reluctantly lowered my hand to shake his, he materialised a small spherical object that stopped me from gripping his hand.Bookmark here

“Apology gift.”Bookmark here

“EVAN! THROW—”Bookmark here

A blinding white flash.Bookmark here

The only thing I saw as I flew backwards was an extremely bright light, followed by the ringing in my ears. Sereya kicked me away, propelling the air out of my lungs instantly. Bookmark here

My back landed on the grass, but I couldn’t hear anything except for the constant ringing. I got up, only to see smoke where I was previously standing.Bookmark here

And Sereya hurling backwards, covered in soot and injuries.Bookmark here

“Sereya!”Bookmark here

I couldn’t hear my own words as I mouthed out her name. In my disorientation, I stumbled my way to her, praying that she was okay.Bookmark here

Thank the Goddess she was still breathing. Her sleeve was completely gone, blown apart in the blast as her arm was bleeding all over. Her sword was broken, only half of it was still attached to the hilt. Somehow, she was able to partly block the explosion.Bookmark here

“Sereya! Sereya!”Bookmark here

I shook her shoulders desperately. This only happened because of me. If I wasn’t there, she would have been able to stop Remus’s trap.Bookmark here

Slowly, she opened her eyes. As she saw me, a smile formed on her face. Bookmark here

I couldn’t hear her words, but the shapes her mouth made told me exactly what it was:Bookmark here

“You’re okay.”Bookmark here

My cheeks got wet from the tears that started pouring. That’s all that she cared about?! Me? I was the one who caused all this!Bookmark here

“—Merciful Blade. That’s the problem. You didn’t end it then and there, and I came back to bite yer ass.”Bookmark here

As my hearing recovered, I heard Remus’s voice behind me. He walked out of the smoke unscathed, his body having recovered from the damage of that suicidal attack.Bookmark here

“Evan, stay back.”Bookmark here

Sereya was already standing in front of me as she drew another sword. Bruises, cuts and burns on her arm were lined up right in front of my eyes.Bookmark here

I wanted to protest, but I knew, anything I said would fall on deaf ears.Bookmark here

My weakness was my sin.Bookmark here

All of this happened because of me, because I was so damned weak!Bookmark here

If only I was a little bit more like Melyeze or Sereya. No, I couldn’t even compare myself to Eveline.Bookmark here

Eveline…Bookmark here

She was weaker and smaller than me, yet she still fought as hard as the two of them. I was a failure of a big brother, a failure of a human being. All I could do was—Bookmark here

Wait, that’s it!Bookmark here

“Sereya, could you keep his hands busy?”Bookmark here

“Evan, what are you talki—”Bookmark here

“Yes, or no?!”Bookmark here

Her face was filled with surprise from my sudden conviction.Bookmark here

“I don’t think I can use Invisible Blade in my current state, but if it was just to occupy his hands, I should be able to.”Bookmark here

Perfect.Bookmark here

“Alright, if you want to win, focus ONLY on his hands,” I instructed as I took off my necklace. Bookmark here

“Why are you—”Bookmark here

“Sereya, trust me.”Bookmark here

There wasn’t time to explain. All I could hope was that she would have faith in me like how I had faith in her.Bookmark here

Her eyes softened as she smiled.Bookmark here

“You’re finally resembling a bit more like him.”Bookmark here

Not really. I was the complete opposite. Bookmark here

“You love birds done whisperin’ to each other yet?”Bookmark here

We both ignored him. Sereya walked towards him with her blade aimed at his throat while I circled around him.Bookmark here

“Oh! Kid! You’re finally gonna fight, or are you gonna run—”Bookmark here

“How foolish of you to take your eyes off me!”Bookmark here

Sereya rushed towards Remus, her acceleration lightning fast. She was still ridiculously agile, even with her wounds. Like she said, Remus had to focus attention on her, which was exactly the opening I needed.Bookmark here

As the metallic melody of clashing blades resumed once again, the chiming of the steel necklace in my hand marked the time for me to add my own music into the mix.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.