Chapter 142 – Leo’s Turn
Daichi had been staring at her every movement, but even so his body couldn’t keep up with her speed as she evaded his punch and could only watch out of the corner of his eyes as her palm with a white glow surrounding hit came down towards his face.
His right right eyelid twitched even before her palm made contact with his cheek. Daichi didn’t even feel the moment he’d been slapped all he could feel was the vibrations from the ringing in his right ear.
He stood there in shock as he stared down at his body. All of his mana had been forcefully dissipated and he felt as if he was standing there naked before Lydia.
If he’d been facing an opponent who wanted to kill him with the same skills as Lydia he’d have been long dead and he realized that. He felt completely defenseless.
Although he had a variety of different attacks he could utilize and a few he hadn’t even tried but had been waiting for a chance to do so, because of how complicated they were and his lack of practice. He couldn’t utilize them at the same time, he was left with options that could only be used separately.
It was in that moment that he felt like he was standing in front of Tael again all those years ago. Despite all of the improvements he’d made he felt defenseless and utterly incapable of fighting back. It gave him a hollow feeling he hadn’t felt in a very long time.
Lydia didn’t say anything and Daichi simply waited all the while his right check had already swelled to three times the size as his left.
“Who taught you how to fight? My little sister who’s not even twelve could put up a better fight than you.”
Daichi heard the words and wanted to say something to refute her insult but the words just didn’t come to him.
“What’s the use of having powerful techniques if you can’t even touch your opponent. Do you even realize how much slower your movement became once you utilized that technique” Lydia asked with some pity in her eyes.
“I… I taught myself. I fought for my life. That is how I learned!” Daichi said through gritted teeth.
“Well then you’re lucky you name came across anything strong. Leo you’re next!” Lydia held some sympathy for him but didn’t waste any more time as she stepped past Daichi and moved forward to where Leo and Damien were.
Daichi didn’t look back as he felt himself wondering whether her words were true. At this moment all of his built up confidence was on the verge of collapse as he began to question himself. ‘I shouldn’t have lost so miserably… In the end I could barely watch see her movements and couldn’t react at all. I’m not even sure what she did… Is she right?’
Daichi wasn’t about to lose himself in pity, but he did want to become stronger and he wasn’t above questioning himself and his abilities, especially after being defeated so miserably. Instead he was instantly thankful that his opponent wasn’t aiming for his life but confidence instead, he didn’t care at all if that she’d embarrassed him. That was meaningless in the face of death. He began to recall his fights and her words rang true, he fought for his life and all of his opponents were stronger than him at the time… But in the grand scheme of things they were far from strong.
Moreover, whether it was the orcs, goblins, trolls or other creatures. Virtually all of them had a low level of intelligence and didn’t utilize mana. He’d killed some demons earlier on, but those fights were won due to dumb luck, lucky coincidences and poor judgment from his opponents. The first creature that could utilize mana were the Bull-Spawn whom he’d had to run from. Tael was a mountain he still hadn’t overcome. He never fought the mare himself. He’d killed one human before entering the mist and that man had been weaker than himself. After the mist he’d killed humans out of self-defense, but they had been weakened and Daichi thought to himself how in many ways he’d taken them by surprise. Most of them were weaker than himself anyways.
There was a light that suddenly shined his eyes as he realized how truly lucky he’d been… Moreover, he battle practices had truly changed… Most of his previous fights had been utilizing two moves, to stun and kill with a weapon. Now he’d suddenly changed his tactics and expected a similar result, while not taking into account his opponents abilities. He felt like a novice as he turned around and stared at Lydia’s back.
Damien walked over and stood a bit away from Daichi to give Leo and Lydia space for their spar while briefly looking at him like some sort of monster which Daichi didn’t even notice. His eyes were glued to Lydia.
‘I know my insight is far superior to most people… The fact that I’m better than two disciples who are near the top of the food chain after weeding out the majority proves that… That still doesn’t make up from learning things properly. It seems I have a big stick but don’t know how to use it properly.’ A grin appeared on Daichi’s current lopsided face as he ignored the 100 year advantage he’d had over these other students.
Leo was staring at Lydia who was walking towards him with a slight sense of dread. Instead of fear, it was rather a sense of defeat as he glanced at Daichi over Lydia’s shoulder and started rubbing his own right cheek. Although he was confident in his swordsmanship, after watching Daichi use one amazing skill right after another and being beaten down with one slap each time, he felt his ‘spar’ with Lydia was already a forgone conclusion. Although he felt defeat from the get-go there was still a hint of competitive spirit in his eyes. He knew Lydia was far above him in every way, but that didn’t mean anything to him. He was going to take this opportunity to measure his progress and use it as an opportunity to grow.
After all, unlike Daichi he didn’t have an ingrown sense of arrogance of his own abilities. He understood that he was incomparable to any senior within the Academy. This was all due to the reason he came to the academy. It wasn’t for wealth, acknowledgment or some grand position. Leo came because he knew how weak he was, and came here to become strong.
Instead of bothering to spend anytime wondering whether he could win, he focused his thoughts on what his best course of action could be.
‘My strengths are using my mana to enhance my body in tandem with my swordsmanship. I know I can’t win, and in a situation where I can’t defeat my opponent and I can’t flee… The best option is to buy time!’
Solidifying his goal, Leo focused on how to stop Lydia from defeating him. His goal in this battle would be to display his strengths to the best of his ability and hold out as long as possible!
Lydia watched Leo’s slightly dazed expression turn into a determined one that looked quite good on him. She watched with a caring smile as she looked at him far differently than she had Daichi.
Leo raised his sword and held the hilt with both hands at his waist in a defensive gesture. Lydia was a little surprised by his meaning but her expression didn’t waver much. She looked on at him with a passive smile as her expression betrayed her personality.
Lydia produced a short sword out of thin air, but they could all tell that she had some sort of spatial item on her person. Then began her attack!
She dashed forward, and used a horizontal slash which Leo believed he’d be able to block with ease but was only momentarily surprised as the force behind her slash was blocked but it smashed his arms and sword to the side as it sent him backwards. Instead of trying to lessen the power of the blow, Leo allowed the force to push him back as far as possible as his body tried to adjust to the force and step backwards gracefully. Before he even had a chance to steady his steps and posture he was met with another blow from Lydia!
Within moments Lydia had produced numerous attacks all of which sent Leo in one direction or another, it seemed as if he couldn’t take a single attack from her but she understood his intentions from the first attack. Instead of trying to end the fight with one attack, she approved of his tactics and slowly began wearing him down.
Instead Leo’s eyes were ablaze as he recognized he was being played with. He was being smacked sideways everywhere like a ragdoll but his eyes didn’t lose any hint of his passion. He was going to withstand as many attacks as possible and seize the opportunity he could find to show his skills! Already he’d been using the force of every hit to create distance so he could think for a moment in-between every attack. He already knew Lydia was strong but he hadn’t expected to find himself knocked around so easily due to her physical strength alone. Unlike Daichi, Leo had already recognized that she was using some sort of technique to amplify her own mana and then slowly infuse it into her own muscles. He knew this because it was something that he himself did.
In under a minute Leo’s arms were so numb from block slash after slash that he was having trouble holding up his sword. Although he wasn’t tried, he was still panting from the amount of effort it took him to withstand every blow she dealt him. Even more terrifying was that he could tell that she was taking it easy on him. She used the same horizontal slash, the only thing that changed with each attack was whether the attack came from the left or right.
With his stamina draining at an alarming pace, Leo’s his darkened as he considered using her simplistic tactic against her. There were so many openings that Leo was tempted to make a counterattack while he could still hold his sword, but his eyes flashed in alarm as he temporarily took a moment to steady himself after another blow pushed him even further. In that moment his eyes briefly made eye contact with Lydia’s and he could immediately see the daring look in her eyes!
‘She wants me to attack!!’ he instantly understood. His mind reeled but he’d already known that there was no possible way that she could reach her level and have so many openings! It was a dare on her part. A heavy force pressed down on him as his nerves were tested as he realized ‘She wants me to attack so she can counterattack like she did with Daichi!’