Chapter 51:

The showdown #2

What Clichés has this World Wrought? [ Volume One: Another World ]

 Olivia blinked, and the world slowly came to her senses. Her neck ached, sore from the straining position her head was swiveled on. Her skull throbbed with probably concussions, the loud sounds being made underneath her feet not aiding in her comfort.

She blinked, trying to stretch her sore limbs, only to find herself firmly restrained, bound by tendrils of pure magic power. The mage looked at her arms, held above her head, cuffs made of smoke-like chains– visible and physically there, but hazy like a mirage produced by exhaustion.

Olivia looked down at her feet, seeing them in the same fate as her limbs. Her bindings were excessive, almost precautionary– a needless worry. She couldn’t muster up her magic power even if she wanted to, her spirit far too broken and weakened to even think about fighting back.

Her fiance just died– her lover, peer, partner, friend, first love– gone. It did not feel real, but she knew that was just her heart speaking for her, her logical mind completely aware of reality. Kaiser was dead, butchered in one fell swoop of the demon’s arm, his heart perfectly carved from his chest.

“What…is…going on…” She blinked, puffy cheeks caked with hardened tears. The mage looked at the battle unfolding underneath her, from her suspended position above the battle.

It was mayhem incarnate, the stage set portraying a chaotic scene of a struggling formation encircled from all sides. The mages formed a circle, all surrounding an old priest whose cross-decorated staff beamed, a steady pillar of warm magic upholding a dome-shaped barrier around them.

They were surrounded by their fighters, defending them as they pushed back against the opposing enemy. Soldiers clad in dark armor clashed tirelessly with their weapons, and their shields, deflecting blows, and parrying spells and attacks.

Olivia strained her eyes to focus, despite them screaming in protest, too tired from the crying and wailing. Constructs made of magic power manifested physically with the assistance of the four elements.

Their foes consisted of towering golems, made of sand, gravel, or solid rock. Each golem was intricate and unique, and despite consisting of the same element, performed differently. The hulking masses of rock would slam the ground with their crumbling, jagged fists, pounding the ground with their massive feet while the golems made of gravel or sand would fling blades of concentrated earth or conjure spikes out of the ground.

Boom! Thud! Crash!

Summons of condensed wind would constantly pelt the dome with balls of wind, or combine into one enormous mass– throwing the whole battlefield into chaos with lowered visibility and gusts of wind threatening to force them off balance.


While they did so, the blazing entities amongst them grew in size, like small embers growing bigger with the presence of fuel and oxygen. The blazing warriors would be reinforced by the earthen golems, combining, and twisting into fierce enemies made of magma or metal– impervious to arrows or weak spells.

Clang! Shink!

While these three forces worked together, the fourth element supported them from afar. Fountains of water, springs made from their bodies, and humanoid gusts of water would stand on the outskirts of a battle. These units would gather up the water they produced into various shapes, spears, whips, arrows, swords, or building-sized projectiles– fired in volleys like catapults and trebuchets in war.

Their combined efforts were effective, with numerous wounds appearing on the bodies of the fighters, albeit momentarily. Their flesh wounds were healed almost instantly by the powerful magic circle of the priests inside. The mages would shoot spells to support them, intercept the boulders, or outright rip the earth with the help of giant icebergs.

“Takumi…” Olivia blinked groggily, watching the Ice-mage fight with everything he had, producing units of allies made of ice as his two slaves shielded him from the surrounding carnage.

“Masashi, Haruto…” The mage turned to the foremost part of the battlefield, spotting a regiment of black-clad warriors akin to that of chess pieces. The two rooks carrying lances charged in straight lines, abruptly criss-crossing into zig-zags around the class’s resident berserker; while the well-trained knights with horse-head-like helmets dueling with Haruto with impeccable synergy.

Olivia could feel blood slowly trickle from her nose, her brain struggling to keep her awake. She gathered the last of her strength to watch another pair of their most powerful students.

Ayama dutifully fended off a pair of tall, priest-like warriors, each wielding staves whose silver designs were bloodied, all the while he gave his back to Akiro, who was dueling the most vicious-looking enemy of them all. If Olivia could describe her, she would be a mannequin dressed in horrific-version of stimulating clothing, sporting blades and spikes, all the while dripping blood endlessly.

Olivia slowly faded back into rest, mumbling in whispers, “Please…please…survive…for……ke…”

The staves were hard as steel, and they rang like it too, each recurring blow chiming the bells attached to the chains. The bishops danced, spinning and twirling along with their staffs, their blows beating in tune as cathedral bells in the hymn they ominously hummed.

Bam! Blam! Pow!

Two strikes came from the left, one strike came from the right. Ayama clutched his right side with a free hand, “My ribs are fine…good.” He felt the tender flesh, “How are you doing back there!? I’m getting my ass beat here. I can tank hits– but it hurts like hell!”

The assassin behind him met his back, “You try fighting this psycho bitch!” Akiro spat back, strongly but without malice, “Her whip is way too quick. I can barely keep up, but the damage is stacking.”

Snap! Snap! Snap!

Akiro glared at the silhouette of the army’s ‘Queen,’ taking in all of her features, in hopes of finding an opening. She was taller than him by at least two heads, her arms themselves longer than his legs, and the long whip. “Most of my skills barely scratch them— I only got lucky with the pawns because they were weaker in comparison.”

They were bleeding, in all sorts of places, held in place to be observed by the demon. Ayama huffed, his breath turning into clouds from the reduced temperature. “Jester’s still waiting over there. I can feel his unholy aura, even if my back is turned. He’s toying with us– he has been from the very start!”

“Ayama, I need a favor…” Akiro grits out, steadying himself, forcing his brain to forget the pain of his body, “Switch with me…She’s too bad of a match-up for me.”

“Can’t handle it, hotshot?” The Hero smirked, elbowing him, “Did you run out of gas after showing off earlier?”

Despite his lackluster answer, the blonde agreed without saying another word, already turning to change opponents, allowing Akiro to face the two bishops. Without a signal, the two boys departed from each other, charging separately, trusting each other with their backs.

The demon squinted at the human hero jumping into the air, his greatsword over his head. Ayama bellowed a war cry, something to ease his nervous lungs and relax his muscles– only until it was time to tense for contact.

As he did months ago on the tenth floor, feather wings of light partially appeared on his back, a ray of sunshine extending from his sword. Unlike the first time he had displayed this skill in public, it was more refined, tempered, and concentrated into just a layer above the blade– not wasting even a drop for more.


His raised sword became the source of a brilliant light, harmful to most of the people clad in black. Jester himself had to squint and raise a hand to cover the light, even commanding his most powerful puppet despite it being designed to do so automatically.

“Mary.” Jester cringed, at the light and at the words he just spoke.

The puppet quickly sped to intercept the glowing attack. The queen gripped the handle of the whip, dark blood bleeding from in between the links of her armor, splashing some about with each large movement.


The long, viciously equipped weapon cracked, the sound loud enough to shatter glass. The chess piece ignored the human’s weapon, instead, she aimed for the center of his chest– landing an effect hit on his solar plexus.


The blow retracted back to the floor as fast as it landed, the insane speed being the reason why even Akiro’s eyes couldn’t catch up. Incredibly wide rage, well-placed blows capable of disabling or disarming, and hair-width accuracy– at their current level, it was impossible to even come close without sustaining severe, life-threatening injury.

Akiro, an assassin, is not built for fights like that; but a hero destined to lead from the front most line, is. Ayama bit down hard, his teeth nearly grazing his tongue, keeping the blood inside his system to allow him to speak.

“Urk–Ultimate Skill: “Let there be Light”—[ Yehi ]


The outline of the wings blazed, no longer a pair of feather wings, but flaming embers in the shape of teardrops. Like the dawn of the first light, brightness turned into warmth, warmth turning into heat. The sword turned hot, the surface of the metal scalding like lava. The slice descended, but the puppet did not at all flinch or falter, it merely held its whip, raising both arms in the sky to receive the blow.

[ Passive Skill: [Indomitable Spearhead] has activated ] [ Passive Skill: [Taunting challenge] has activated ] [ Passive Skills: [Indomitable Spearhead] and [Taunting Challenge] are harmonizing! ]

[ The creature is a summoned construct, there is no intelligence to influence ] [ The creature is a summoned construct, there is no soul to influence. ]

[ Because of your creed, the Mother of Life smiles brightly toward you!] [ But her smile cannot reach you, for the sun is not blazing in the air. ] [ You have been strengthened, and your injuries slowly healing, but your allies are vulnerable ]

[ The Mother of Life watches over you. ]

Ayama blinked, his calluses grinding against the hilt of his longsword as he pressed down, but as hard as he did, he was only met with solid, unwavering resistance from the puppet.

“S-Solid, aren’t you?” Ayama coughed, his blood searing in contact with his flaming sword. Although appalled, he was not unnerved. “Ugly, too.”

The light being produced by the weapon illuminated his opponent's face, and Ayama preferred to have not seen such horror nearby. The woman looked beautiful if it weren’t for her twisted face. It was no longer a queen, but a tortured soul forever damned to cry and vomit tar-like blood.

“Don’t worry, I’ll put ya’ outta’ your misery.” Ayama tried to be snarky, but the desperation in his voice was easy to spot, naturally so. “We got surrounded the instant Akiro offed’ those pawns, and while we were distracted– Jester’s Queen managed to get a cut on Akiro.”

Ayama jumped back, his flaming sword clashing with her demonic whip, “We were lucky that they didn’t get us thanks to the old man’s quick thinking, but our formation was broken and Akiro and I were separated.”

Crack! Crack! Snap!

“Damn it.” The Hero raised his arms, gritting his teeth as the wretched coil etched his armor in three quick slices, “A slug-fest it is.”

He assumed a stance, aiming to connect the first movement with the next. Yellow light extended the already long blade in his hand, cleaving the foggy air in two with ease. Ayama followed the motion by twisting his arm, reaching forward, and slamming his foot against the ground.

“Ultimate Skill: “Heaven above–” – [Shamayim]”

The sword’s tip arched quickly towards the construct, slicing diagonally from the right. The tortured soul reacted by coiling her lash into a shield, raising it towards the incoming weapon to block.


The magical edge of the blade shattered into pieces after the slice, but neither was her weapon left unscathed. The bloodied puppet sprang into action, twisting and uncoiling the weapon, snapping and cracking faster than ever before.

Crack! Crack! Crack! Snap! Crack!

Ayama couldn’t block everything. He didn’t need to, after all, much of the weapon’s integrity was at an all-time low, and its damage output plummeted along with it. The gust of wind produced by the artifact was strong, strong enough to cut his cheek as he assumed the next stance.

The hero switched his footing, stomping the ground with his right foot, a small wave of tremors originating from it. He raised his left arm and a bulwark of magic power grew from his wrist, and it began to radiate, the heat making the surrounding air hazy. Ayama pushed with his left foot, twisting his body in tandem– the air compressing against his front angled slightly to the ground

“Ultimate Skill: “--Earth Below” - [Adamah]”

Like a supernova, the concentrated power imploded into a small sphere, just before hitting the ground– exploding with a violent tremor, and waves of pure kinetic energy shattered the ground.


Mary did not have a choice but the block, incapable of leaving her master behind or running out of the blast zone, so she used her body as a shield. The dust settled quickly, and her form was revealed.

Standing on shaking legs, the dark construct’s form suffered greatly from holes and deep lacerations– her arms falling to the ground, mutilated from her body. She looked like a sponge or a block of cheese, bleeding tar in waves, but Ayama did not stop there.

Ayama pulled back on his sword, turning sideways, the point of his nearly-broken great-sword pooling magic power. “This is the end, bitch.”

“You’re right. This is the end, for you.”

Startled, Ayama jumped back from the voice, aborting his fourth attack. Ayama gripped the sword tightly, swinging with all his might, but his strength failed him. Any power he once had in his limbs vanished into nothing as cold spines of black pierced his chest, cleanly in between his ribs and around his sternum.


“Guh–” Ayama gagged, lungs punctured by long nails. He dropped the sword, grasping the demon’s wrist with rage etched with desperation, “N-No!”

Jester grinned devilishly, “Oh-ho-hoho! Yes.” He sneered, “That is for reducing my favorite puppet– my magnum opus– into such a state.”

Jester sunk his claws deeper into his chest, piercing his back around his spine, but a burning pain forced him to pry his claws from the Hero’s body, the shock rendering Ayama unconscious.

Sssss! Thud!

“Consider this my farewell– Arghh!” Jester screamed, dropping the hero. “You blasted— what did you do to me?!”

His claws burned with a mysterious power, like acid etching through his gloves, his skin, his muscles, and then his bones— all the while causing unimaginable pain. The pain was difficult to handle, almost impossible to think through, but Jester managed to recall where he felt such agony.

“T-This!--- Divine power!?” His eyes shot wide, panic fueling his adrenaline. He took his other hand and sliced the burning appendage off in one motion, sighing in relief at the moment of respite. “The Gods!? They’ve intervened? After eons of silence? T-Then the prophecy– This boy is the Dying Star! I-I-I—”

Jester’s eyes widened in greed, “The Emperor’s blessing will be mine!” He preened, smile stretching from ear to ear, even amidst his arm continuing to burn, the flame not quite expunged. 

But as he blinked in realization, a blade touched his throat, grazing only a drop of blood as he dodged away.H e turned to the suspect, who was bleeding from all over. “He killed the twins in that short amount of time? Or were they already weakened? Nevertheless…”

“You’ll die…for that.”

“This is dangerous.”