"Now this a fight that I can enjoy! I won't go easy on you just because you're a kid, Eight-tails! I'm gonna go all out! As a fellow A-ranker, give me a good fight!" the Demon Princess loudly shouted as she gripped her legendary-rated greatsword and grinned towards Rachel.
Everyone knew that the Demon Princess was only seventeen-years-old while Rachel was twenty-one, so the small Foxkin was upset about being looked down upon because of her appearance.
"I'm older than you!" Rachel pouted and activated her flame aura, turning her entire body into a Foxkin-shaped ball of fire.
The Demon Princess smirked and rushed towards Rachel. Her movements were sloppy, but she was far more adept at physical combat than Rachel was, so without any effort, she was able to swing her blade down and she was clearly aiming for Rachel's shoulder.
Turning into a wisp of fire, Rachel raced through the air to dodge. "Like I'd let you hit me with that, you clumsy blockhead!" the floating fireball shouted.
"Tch, then how about this!" The Demon Princess clicked her tongue and raised one of her hands before a dark-red, almost black, flame, appeared in it. "You're good at using fire magic, right? Then see if you can handle my dark-flames!"
Below the stage, Lone shook his head and sighed. Eko noticed this and asked, "What's wrong, Lone?"
"That Demon, she's done for unless she has another ace or two up her sleeve," Lone explained.
"Hmm?" Fep had a curious look on his face along with Eko after he'd heard Lone's statement.
"Rachel's fast enough to dodge her sword attacks and using fire magic is useless," Lone replied with a shrug.
Exactly as Lone had said that, the Demon Princess launched her dark-flames at Rachel with a speed that far surpassed that of her sword swings. Quite clearly, she was notably more skilled at dark-flame magic than she had previously let on.
She was greatly surprised, though, when Rachel chose to not dodge and actually dared to disable her flame aura! However, the Demon Princess' face quickly shifted from being surprised to being one of utter terror.
Rachel had eaten her dark-flames and a satisfied smile appeared on her lips. "Not as tasty as Lone's, but still really yummy! I'll use my full power to beat you as thanks!"
"...What? Your... full power?" The Demon Princess' face paled mere seconds later.
Rachel had reactivated her aura, except this time, it was pure blue and had a strange feeling to it. Before the princess could think about it or try to come up with a countermove, Rachel began floating in the air and several pure mana fireballs appeared behind her. Not a second had passed before she had launched all of these extremely powerful and dangerous balls of magic at the Demon Princess.
"Tch. I may not be stronger than you in a fair fight, but don't look down on my sword!" the princess yelled. She then used the flat side of the massive greatsword as a shield to absorb the impact from the mana flames.
Lone, below the stage, shook his head and sighed, "My magic isn't that easy to block. It specifically destroys the first thing it touches unless I cancel it first."
"Look again, Husband," Eolande urged from Lone's side.
"What?" Lone was dumbfounded when he saw the sword wasn't burnt to a crisp, in fact, it was absorbing the mana kindlings! "... As expected of a legendary weapon, I suppose. Well, that puts me in my place."
Fep's observant eyes were able to discern exactly what had transpired so he chose to fill in the clueless Sophie, Eko and Swind. "That sword can nullify all magical attacks with its flat side, or so it would seem. What a powerful weapon. I wonder how the Red-skinned Demon King got his hands on such a thing, and why he was willing to give it to his daughter?"
After that, the fight ended up becoming a heated exchange of Rachel's attempts to hit the princess while she did nothing but defend. A solid thirty minutes later, Rachel had to forfeit purely due to the fact that's she'd almost ran out of mana.
"Her fighting style, the Demon, it reminds me of you with your bone shields, Lone," Sophie commented from his lap.
"What are you talking about?" Lone looked down at her. "My fighting style when I'm on the defensive side is far more shameless than hers, hahaha."
Sophie giggled lightly, "I suppose you're right. You can get quite unbearable to deal with considering your stock of mana orbs, can't you?"
King Ele'hunda had a thoughtful expression on his face as he watched the fights go on. 'There are a lot of talents this time, aren't there? I'm glad. With this many promising youths, defending the tree should be far easier in the future. If only one of them could cure Lipsilk... I dare not assume he can repair the tree, but that Nine-tails... If he's truly a talented soul oracle, then maybe my old friend still has some hope...'
He raised his arm and gently held his scar-covered face. A grimace couldn't help but surface on his expression. Her Highness looked back and asked in a low voice, "Father, are your wounds flaring up?"
The king shook his head and smiled. "I'm fine. Luckily I didn't get corrupted much by Ythmagobla, remember? I was just thinking about Great Elder Lipsilk."
"Mmm, I'll make sure to ask Lone if he can do something without revealing too much information, father. Trust me, he is an amazing healer on top of the fact that he's a soul oracle. He might be the most talented healer on the entire continent." Her Highness truly held Lone in a very high regard after seeing what he had accomplished in the Crimson Foxkin Clan and upon witnessing his healing abilities during the skill test.
"I hope you're right, darling, I sincerely do," the King replied without using any power and it was clear that there was very little optimism in his voice.
It wasn't like he and the council hadn't hired soul oracles before in attempts to cleanse the tree, himself and Lipsilk, but even the most skilled soul oracle on the continent, Rakmul of the Ethereals, was helpless in the face of a Darkness Dragon's corruption.
Rachel walked back to Lone's group with a downcast look on her face and the Demon Princess couldn't be any more chuffed.
'I beat an eight-tailed Foxkin, father! I bet you'd be proud if you could see me now! I'll be sure to bring honour to our people as the best outsider keeper in history!' Clearly, the young teenager was full of pride. It was a pity that she couldn't tell the difference between winning off of her own strength and winning solely because of a weapon's special ability.
Swind exposed his jagged teeth and said in a friendly tone to Rachel, "You were amazing, Miss-ss Rachel. You were unlucky to face a weapon that works-ss perfectly against you. I admire your ss-strength."
'He admires me?!' Obviously, Rachel had chosen to hear what she wanted and not what was actually said.
"T-Thank you... Swind," she replied with a bashful atmosphere about her.
The Lemurian looked confused. 'Why is-ss Miss-ss Rachel embarrassed? How ss-strange.'
Time continued to flow after that. Since everyone that Lone was interested in had already fought, he continued to laze around with Sophie, and his attention drifted from the boring fights to more productive things. 'I wonder, can I redesign the Demon Princess' greatsword so Swind can use it?'
This thought would be seen as absolute lunacy by all of the grand master blacksmiths and enchanters on Altros. Not only was the sword made from a nigh unobtainable metal, it had obviously been enchanted by a very powerful mage or magical creature. It might have even existed for millions of years resulting in developing an ego much like Lone's forge and anvil had.
Lone decided to try it. He still had forty fully charged mana orbs, each of which contained two-hundred thousand mana. After creating so many of these orbs, Lone had learned how to better improve their structure, so these crystal balls were easily the best mana containers on the entire continent.
Lone wrapped Sophie up with all nine of his tails to hide what he was about to do. No one paid any attention to this because they just assumed that he was being all lovey-dovey with her like he was before. In fact, it even served to lower the attention that was previously being cast on him.
"Lone?" Sophie asked with curiosity in her voice.
"I'm gonna make a good weapon for Swind, or at least, I'm going to try to. I figured I'd need a little privacy?" Lone flashed a cheeky grin to his lap's occupant.
Sophie nodded her head and waited in anticipation. She, much like Eolande, was also fascinated by Lone's creation magic. "I-I'll cover us in a mana aura so no one can tell you're using magic."
"Thanks," Lone replied.
After Sophie had set up a barrier using her pure mana aura which she had obtained a year ago in Milindo, Lone took out all forty of his mana orbs and the greatsword replica which he had made after 'borrowing' the Demon Princess' sword.
Lone concentrated and began attempting to remake the blade from scratch. The original was a very wide and cumbersome weapon that weighed two-tonnes and Lone was barely able to hold it thanks to his absurd stats and his affinity for gravity magic.
Lone imagined a far thinner version of the blade, something like a bastard sword, while still retaining the same destructive power but cutting its weight down to a staggeringly low fifty kilograms.
Instantly, Lone's mana disappeared and ten of the mana orbs shattered. 'Well, fuck me! Ten, just for the blade itself with no additional boosts?! You know what, if it's gonna be that expensive, then fuck it! Let's go all out!'
Lone imagined the ability to absorb magical attacks being added to the blade and immediately ten more spheres burst into a million pieces. Lone grit his teeth and decided to go a few steps further.
He trimmed the weight from fifty kilograms to thirty and added the ability to grant the user a basic understanding of swordsmanship. Thankfully, Lone had some knowledge on swordsmanship due to sparring with Sophie countless amounts of times, so only two orbs were used for that, but reducing the weight even further cost another eight, leaving him with ten more spheres of magical energy.
'One final thing!' Lone shouted in his mind before he created a restriction on the weapon. 'Only Swind will be able to use this weapon'. This final addition consumed all of the remaining ten orbs. With this, if anyone except for Swind tried to pick up the weapon, they would suffer from a pounding headache and the bastard sword would fall out of their hands.
Lone's face was covered in sweat but a smile was on his lips. "I actually succeeded... hahaha... I actually did it! Who knew my creation magic was this powerful?! This sword might even be stronger than a legendary weapon!"
Floating just in front of Lone and Sophie, the sword was easily the most powerful thing Lone had ever laid his eyes on. It was a meter and a half long, had a cross guard and a short handle designed to be used with one hand, and you could tell that it had been crafted by a peerless master.
The blade was sharp and smooth and was covered in archaic runes. Were you to place it side by side with the Demon Princess's sword replica that was lying on the floor, you'd easily be able to see that they were completely different and it would be a struggle to see that one was modelled off of the other.
"Good job, Lone," Sophie smiled sweetly as she congratulated him. She then deactivated her pure mana aura.
Lone wiped away the sweat from his brow and stored both of the weapons and the shards of the mana orbs before he moved his tails out of the way. He gently stood up after moving Sophie from his lap and he walked up to Swind. Today would mark the day that Swind obtained his most powerful ally, that is, at least, until Lone finished designing his new arm and tail.
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