God of Thieves

by

Kageko

Chapter 23 - What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger

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A note from Kageko

I'm experimenting with chapter titles. Can't always have them be one to three words.

Kayden could see Brandon charging straight toward him without pause, while his lackey stayed behind and watched. Since he was facing off against a B-ranked adventurer, he had to fully focus on a single opponent and thus, cannot afford to even spare a glance at the man at the back.

“Ezekiel, I’ll leave it to you to make sure that the lackey at the back doesn’t interfere,” Kayden dropped down on one knee and got into a ready position. “While I won’t be able to defeat my enemy without any help, looking at the playing field, I shouldn’t need to tell you what my plan is.”

“I understand, I’ll provide fire support. Don’t get conceited, run if you have to.” Ezekiel nodded firmly, “Also, you got my name right.”

Kayden grinned as black tendrils poured out of his body and started enveloping him. Ezekiel’s words had just reminded him of his master, who he was sure had given his two foes the beating of a lifetime.

“Hah! Don’t mention it! Running is my specialty!” he said, as the black tendrils now completely encapsulated him. “Flickering Form!”

[User is using tier 2 spell: Flickering Form]

Spell Name:

Flickering Form

Tier:

2

Description:

Allows the user to turn invisible and visible at will without chants or cooldown for a duration but consumes mana continuously for the duration.

 

“Hey, you’re back! What happened?” Kayden spoke to the air, leaving Ezekiel very confused. Before, the System had thrown a small hissy-fit over a small comment he made and refused to appraise the enemy, but thankfully everything seemed to become normal again.

“Ah! Sorry about that Kayden, it just accidentally leaked out for a while… Don’t worry about it! I’ll help you win this fight the best I can.”

‘What?’

Now Kayden was confused, his expression much like the ranger’s beside him.

“What do you mean ‘leaked out’?”

“I said don’t worry about it!” The System sounded flustered, the emotionless voice from before was nowhere to be heard. “Kayden! Look out! He’s about to reach you!”

Brandon had now sprinted more than halfway across the distance that separated them during their chat and was rapidly encroaching upon their location. In a bid to gain some distance, Ezekiel leaped backward and fired an arrow simultaneously.

The arrow was easily intercepted and cut in half by Brandon’s mana blade, but it exploded into a black cloud of fire and smoke.

“Stop talking to yourself and focus on the fight, you lunatic!”

“I’m not crazy, EEZEEKEEL!” Kayden yelled in reply, before vanishing on the spot.

A swing of Brandon’s sword generated enough wind to completely disperse the smoke. The explosion had put a stop to his charge, but the damage dealt to him looked negligible… No, it empowered him.

[Target has taken 15 damage!]

[Target is using ability: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger]

Ability/Passive:

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger

Type:

Blessing

Description:

The more wounded the user, the more power the user will gain. Increases Strength, Agility, and Endurance for every point of Health lost.

 

“Hmm… that’s a tricky ability…”

Brandon could hear a voice to his left and immediately swung his blade in that direction.

Clang!

His blade found its mark.

Kayden successfully blocked the blade with his knife but was sent skidding backward a few meters. Looking down at his knife, he was shocked to discover that it had been sliced through halfway, the part that deflected the blow was now red-hot and melting.

‘His strength is not easy to deal with, and a good hit can completely severe my arm off. Brandon the Barbarian… He sure lives up to his name.’

“Well then, let’s try this again. Appraise!”

Name:

Brandon

Title:

Brandon the Barbarian

Level:

26

Health:

361/515

Mana:

170/212

Job:

Swordsman

Status:

Scorched

 

“Ugh, are you sure your numbers are accurate? This seems very unfair.” Kayden felt a slight pain in his heart upon seeing those numbers. They were incredibly high!

Brandon could once again hear the voice talking and he was sure he could land a blow this time. He raised his sword high up in the air, the light from the evening sun filtering through his pellucid blade, casting an ominous, purple glow to the ground beneath.

“I GOT YOU!”

The blade hit the ground hard enough to split the ground. Small cracks began to form in the crater left behind from his attack, the crunching sound it made was pleasant to his ears, but something was missing. There was no screaming man, no splattering of blood.

“Phew! That was close! Thanks for the warning!”

Brandon spun around to see an unharmed Kayden, scratching his head as if he was embarrassed. Brandon lunged, only for Kayden to wink out of existence.

“Who are you talking to? Have you gone mad from fear?” He growled, his eyes shifting warily for any sign of attack.

Slash!

A tearing sound could be heard, followed by the splattering of blood. Brandon could feel a hot liquid trickle down his back, and he was certain it wasn’t his sweat.

[Target took 12 damage!]

[Target has been inflicted with the ‘bleeding’ status.]

“Okay. First off, I’m not crazy!” Kayden insisted. “Secondly, I’m not talking to myself!”

Ninety degrees to his right, Brandon could see the man with a knife in hand, blood dribbling down the edge of its blade. There was noticeable frustration on his face as if he was extremely offended by being called crazy.

Brandon thrust his blade sideways in an attempt to catch his foe off guard, only to find his blade pierce nothing but air.

Slash!

[Target took 14 damage!]

Brandon could feel a stinging pain on his back now, and it was slowly getting worse. He was getting infuriated by the petty tricks being played on him.

“Heh. Nice try.”

“Stop hiding, you coward!” Brandon howled, “Fight me like a man!”

Slash!

[Target took 15 damage!]

“Look, I don’t get why people keep calling me a coward. I mean, what do you want me to do?—”

Slash!

“—You want me to fight you without using any magic? Doesn’t that make you the coward,—"

Slash!

“—Since you get to use magic! While I cannot?”

The constant buzzing of words was getting on Brandon’s nerves as the direction of the voice kept jumping from one place to another. It was to the point that he wanted to rip out Kayden’s throat just to get it to stop. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted Kayden, whose face was now covered with blood. Brandon’s blood. With an ear-piercing battle cry, he swung his sword again.

“AAARRGGHH—"

With his ability to grow stronger the more he took damage, his sword cleaved through the air, sundering the ground apart with his newfound power. Elation could be seen in his eyes, as he felt that his attack had finally collided with something. Raising his blade, he could see what he had hit, and it was a—

Slash!

[Critical hit!]

[Target took 26 damage!]

“Kayden, repeating the damage notifications are getting tiring, can I just shorten them?”

“Well, I never really needed them in the first place. Do whatever you want, it won’t affect me!”

Brandon had just retreated a few steps due to the sudden impact upon his back when those words made their way to his ears.

“Do whatever you want, it won’t affect me!”

Do whatever you want, it won’t affect me…

“ARE YOU TAUNTING ME!” he roared, “You’re just a C-ranked adventurer! Don’t even think for a second that you can beat me—”

Slash!

“Look. Just because you’re a higher rank doesn’t guarantee your win.” Kayden was now nearly drenched with blood. He didn’t think that so much blood could come out from just one person, he had to really take a bath after this.

“The difference between C and B ranks is not nearly as bad as B and A ranks. A C beating a B is highly unlikely, but it is still possible. I mean, look at us!”

“It ain’t possible. The weak will always lose, no matter what!”

Brandon now saw Kayden standing at a distance away, waving cheerfully at him with a wide, mocking grin on his face. Like a bull that saw red, he charged headfirst at him. Just as his sword was about to plunge into his target’s heart, the target disappeared. In a desperate bid to at least land this attack, he swung in a wide arc, but still to no avail.

Kayden reappeared once more, only this time, a good few meters away. He shut his eyes while shaking his head, acting like a mom disappointed in her child.

“You see… the thing about the weak is—”

“I got you!” Brandon pulled his arm back, getting into the position to hurl his blade. With the target’s eyes closed, there was no way he could see it coming. Before he could release the blade, however, three arrows streaked straight towards him out of nowhere. Two impaled his shoulders while the last hit him square in the chest. He was lucky, for they didn’t manage to puncture any vital organs.

Or so he thought. The tips of the arrows shone a dazzling orange glow, the bright light visible even from the outside through his open wounds.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

Three consecutive detonations echoed throughout the plains and could be heard from a mile away. A cloud of smoke descended upon the area, obscuring Brandon’s body completely.

“As I was saying, the thing about the weak is that they can work together to overcome the strong. At that point, who can say that they are weak?” Kayden said, casually waving away the smoke.

He had a wide grin on his face, as he stood over Brandon’s body. The smoke had lifted to reveal a body laying flat on the burnt grass, with many lacerations all over his back. There was an abundance of blood dying the ground red.

“Was that it? I suppose he would make a great hunter for those dumb monsters but against a craftier opponent, he is sure to lose.”

If anyone was looking at the current situation at hand, they would think Kayden was the villain, mocking the hero after completely decimating him. His face, his hands, and even his clothes were soaked with blood. Coupled with his grin, there was no way people would not mistake him for a vampire.

[Target is using ability: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger]

[Target is using ability: Final struggle]

Ability/Passive

Final struggle

Type:

Blessing

Description:

Activates when severely injured. Becomes insensitive to pain. Increases Strength, Agility, Endurance, and Mana.

 

“Oh? He’s not done yet? Perfect, it would be a shame not to use our trump card.” Kayden dramatically pointed at the rising figure. “Appraise.”

Name:

Brandon

Title:

Brandon the Barbarian

Level:

26

Health:

169/525

Mana:

174/216

Job:

Swordsman

Status:

Scorched, Bleeding

 

Brandon slowly got up to his feet with steam blowing out of his nose. His entire body now radiated a scarlet aura and his muscles bulged and squirmed disgustingly under his skin. Within his grasp materialized a glowing blue battle ax that was nearly the size of his body, and he let out a deep growl,

“It’s been a long time since I’ve reached this state. Now face the wrath of my true power!”

Kayden could feel a slight disturbance in the ambient mana, as if it were like a whirlpool, converging into one singular location. He looked at his stat page, trying to discern his best possible move.

Name:

Kayden

Title:

The pest of Babylon

Level:

13

Health:

138/160

Mana:

43/94

Job:

Thief

 

“Are you sure these numbers are accurate? How can he be healthier than me in his state?”

“What you see is what you get.” The blue screens of the System bounced up and down, imitating a shrug.

Kayden heard whistling sounds pierce his ears and knew that a fresh set of arrows were incoming. He immediately ducked and saw three arrows bombard the barbarian. However, with a vigorous swing with his axe, he cut them down before they could hit him, and the explosions that followed merely singed his already red skin.

[ -2!] [-4!] [-5!]

A pitiful string of numbers appeared before Kayden’s eyes, and this time they weren’t accompanied by the System’s voice.

‘This is troublesome… He takes so little damage from the explosions now, and his reaction speed is much faster than before. He is a B-ranked adventurer for a reason, and I cannot predict what his lackey would do either…'

The odds were stacked heavily against him, even with his ranged support. But was he going to run? No! This kind of person would keep coming to find trouble with him no matter how many times he gets beaten to submission. The message would never get into his thick skull and Kayden also knew that he couldn’t rely on his master to solve his problems forever.

Besides, the last time he tried to run away in a fight, he had lost easily. If he had played it smart and used his abilities to the fullest, maybe he could have won against the blessed brat. Speaking of his previous fight, Matou had been a fearsome opponent and his strength seemed comparable to that of Brandon’s.

However, if Kayden had to pick between the two, fighting Matou would be harder. After all, his abilities were far more suited to fighting big-bodied brutes rather than versatile speedsters. Even though he had been unarmed then, he still lost miserably to Matou, which left an embarrassing stain on his battle records.

Therefore…

“I will not run! I shall not cower! Heed me, brute! I am the future God of Thieves—!”

[User is using ability: Honed Instinct C]

[User is using skill: Knife Combat C]

“—And I will strike you down!”

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About the author

Kageko

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