A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 303

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 303. Praying (6)



*Clash*




The swords from both sides struck incessantly in the air. As of just moments ago, the one-sidedness of the battle had slowly reversed. Pram began to hold his own grounds against Pierrot Mask, and soon reached the point where he could attempt genuine counterattacks. This sudden situation left Pierrot Mask slightly shocked.




‘This is… ’




The reason why Pierrot Mask had been able to gain an overwhelming advantage over Pram so far was simple.




There was a clear difference in ability.




Pierrot Mask was able to detect not only the timing of Pram’s attack but also any counterattacks by observing the changes in Pram’s breath and the involuntary twitches of his muscles. With his cold reading, he could stay one step ahead of Pram’s attacks and return them with his own.





That alone was enough to declare Pierrot Mask the victor in this fight, but it was not his only advantage.




Unbeknownst to Pram and Romantica, Pierrot Mask held an Inheritance of his own. At first, he was limited to flickering in and out of shadows, but with time and practice he learned to not only create shadows, but could even turn himself into one. Doing so created an insurmountable defense, but the utility of being a shadow allowed him to move unhindered; he could pop in and out of the myriad of shadows on the battlefield as he pleased.




Despite that, the once wide gap was narrowing at a rapid speed.




*Boom*




Whenever a silver trajectory was drawn, an ear-splitting noise would ring out and engrave a cut on Pierrot Mask’s body. After being struck a few times, he realized the cause of the sudden change.


‘Is he putting his ability into every single blow?!’




Pram’s signature attack was an unrecognizable quick blow. He would land three strikes at the exact same time, resulting in a lethal attack that was impossible to evade or deflect. Between its speed, low wind-up time, and close range, the attack surpassed the reaction time of even the strongest King-Class swordsmen.




Nevertheless, it had been useless against Pierrot Mask. So long as he knew when Pram was going to attack, he could activate his Inheritance before Pram even started to swing, rendering the invincible attack worthless. But somehow, Pram was managing to make all of his attacks move in such a fashion.




As far as he knew Pierrot Mask was invincible while he used his power. Unfortunately, the technique only allowed him to disappear for a few moments. If he failed to recognize the exact timing of any attack, it would be impossible to avoid taking damage.




‘I have to hurry up and end this.’




He readied his daggers after that thought took the center of his mind. A black aura rose like a soft mist and spread all over


his body. He struck out at Pram with all of his might. The speed of his attacks may not be on par with Pram, but they certainly had enough strength.




*Clash*




Pram’s attack was displaced and his defenses were left wide open. Without missing the opportunity, Pierrot Mask stepped into his opponent’s blind spot and jabbed his dagger towards Pram’s exposed neck.




‘If I don’t fall back, I will die.’




A nauseous feeling rose from Pierrot Mask’s stomach as some voice within him screamed to retreat.




‘Was that a feint… !?’




He rushed to back off, but before he could move far, silver aura crashed onto him like a waterfall, covering his escape from all sides.


*Booom*




The shock of formidable power swept dozens of meters in all directions.




“Ok, now that… that was a proper blow!”




Hundreds of meters from where such an attack was shot. Pierrot Mask walked out of the alleyway between some abandoned buildings. Contrary to his condescending attitude, he had incurred some fairly serious wounds. One notably large gash ran from his shoulder blade to the base of his back.




“I never thought you’d be capable of moving even faster. Honest. I didn’t even consider it!”




That was the first time Pierrot Mask had sustained a serious injury since realizing the true nature of his ability. Despite the bad situation, he thought he was lucky to get away with what he did.




‘I was only able to avoid half those attacks… No, only forty percent?’





In the end, his survival instincts had been what saved him. Something more primal than intuition had guided him to safety. If Pram had poured all of his overwhelming might into that attack, the fight would have been over.




At that moment, Pierrot Mask was sure of one thing.




‘A new Grand Master has been born.’




At last, Pram had reached the peak of his craft. Not only had he reached King-Class, but in his battered condition he was still able to suppress Pierrot Mask. Upon realizing the fact, Pierrot Mask stifled his excitement and let a wicked grin take its place.




‘If I let my guard down even a little, I could have died there.’




His voice was filled with creepiness and carried an ominous melody.




“How long has it been since I felt this feeling?”


This was the battle he really wanted. He was here for this kind of fight, whether it came from Desir or not.




“I’ll retract my earlier remarks, Pram Schneider.”




Pierrot Mask gathered his aura with all of his might. The black-colored smoke rose rapidly with unparalleled energy.




“You deserve my whole strength.”




The ferocious aura stretched encompassed everything around him and soon permeated the shadows created by the remaining rubble.




When Pierrot Mask raised his dagger and smashed it into the ground, the shadows fluttered in unison and gathered towards the shattered remnants.




*Kying*




The ground was nothing but black. It was a grotesque sight, as though an eldritch horror was consuming the world around


him.




*Boom*




An explosion rang out. Feeling something dangerous approaching, Pram launched himself towards the source. He had gained an instinctive control over his aura, one that easily surpassed the frightening control he already held. By imbuing it directly into his legs, he was able to move far faster than before, despite not activating his Cloud Walkers; the artifact was slower than him.




But it was already late.




Pierrot Mask had thrown a dagger at the approaching Pram.




[Moon Reflected in the Mirror, Flower Reflected in the Water (Kyōka Suigetsu)]




*Boooom!




Shadows condensed on the dagger speeding through the air at


a tremendous speed. They devoured everything in their path.




There was no escape. In the blink of an eye, all of the surrounding area had darkened significantly.




Pram was no exception. He was swallowed up by the shadow and erased as if he had disappeared from this world.




[-Pram… !]




There had been a fierce battle, but as if it were all a lie, only silence remained.




Pierrot Mask barely managed to keep his faltering body together due to the rapid exhaustion of energy and looked into the pitch-black space. And he sighed with relief, confirming that Pram’s aura had disappeared.




‘It’s done.’




In the end, he had died in vain. Although it may seem to have ended quite simply on the surface, the attack that did it was


anything but.




The last skill used by Pierrot Mask was his ultimate skill, an attack so intense it pushed the user to their very limit. It was the peak application of his Inheritance, only possible because of the tremendous aura he poured into it.




The technique was untenable. It was not a matter of strength or speed. Aura was used as a medium to temporarily relegate reality to the shadow realm, a place without substance. Whatever was swept away by this attack would be lost and destroyed forever.




It was a technique that Pierrot Mask preferred not to employ. Though the following silence was poetic, it lacked the glorious performance only capable through knives and wires.




“A glorious ending, Pram Schneider.”




* * *




Pram had been swimming in a sea of his own consciousness, his mind focused entirely on his sword.





‘Not enough.’




*Stab*




There were innumerable skills swordsmen were capable of using, but Pram had constantly practiced just this one.




‘It’s totally not enough.’




Everything was poured into the simple movement.




Faster, sharper.




His sword accelerated with only that thought in mind. And in the end, he reached King-Class, but Pram knew that this was not the end.




‘Still not enough.’


He was reaching it little by little, but he still lacked the necessary speed to cut the opponent in front of him. Just one step further and he would likely catch them, but no matter how hard he tried, no matter how close he got, it still could not be reached.




It was not long before Pram knew why.




He could not focus on the sword itself.




The desire to be faster. The urgency of knocking down the opponent immediately in-front of him. Such things shook his mind and blunted the tip of his sword. This was the last mental obstacle that blocked his ascension.




After realizing it, Pram stopped thinking.




‘Nothing.’




Do not think of anything at all. That was the answer and the realization that Pram had found.


Forgetting his desire to be strong, or his purpose behind knocking a specific person down, he swung a sword that contained nothing. And at that moment, Pram could reach it.




The highest level a knight could reach, King-Class.




*Booom*




As soon as Pram reached that level, something lurched before his eyes.




Black space was flooding towards him at a tremendous speed. It devoured everything that existed around it greedily, and the buildings and atmosphere in its path was wiped out as if they were dissipated.




From the energy it emmenated, Pram could see that it was an ability of Pierrot Mask.




It was really powerful. There was no other word to express it. Aura stretched out and mixed with the shadow, using it as a medium, swallowing all entities that touched it.



The skill shown by Pierrot Mask was something normal people could never replicate. A transcendental blow that was completed after the delicate grafting of aura with an impossible, world-defying power. The power demonstrated by the technique was only matched by its absurd barrier to utilize it.




‘However… ’




Before he knew it, the black space beneath him suddenly surged, swallowing Pram’s toes.




‘There is a gap.’




Pram remained unshakable in the face of overwhelming force.




Like pulling a bow, he drew his sword hand behind his head, and lowered his center of gravity.




And…




*Ping*




Shot forth with the sword.




A moment when the shadow was substantial due to being laden with the aura using it as a medium. The moment when the shadow appeared to cover everything around him.




A stab that had been perfected to an unrealistic standard had been unleashed, and a clash between nearly perfect aura ensued.




*Boom*




Because of the nature of Pierrot Mask’s skill, his aura was not deeply concentrated, but instead widely spread out like morning fog. There was no way such a skill could withstand the concentrated strike of Pram Schneider, an attack will all its force compressed into a single point.




Pierrot Mask’s aura was shattered and broken. When his aura dispersed, the shadows that had been spreading began to scatter.


Beyond the scattering black shrapnel stood Pierrot Mask. For a moment a look of dismay appeared on his face, but he regained his composure and tightened his grasp on his dagger. He tried to summon his remaining aura, and moved his dagger towards Pram’s extended arm.




*Crack*




The dagger broke with a crisp sound, having been shattered by a powerful wind. Even his last counterattack had been thwarted.




Pram’s rapier continued forward, having not reached its final destination.




“… … It’s too bad. I wanted to fight with more strong people and have lots more fun. I wanted to put on a truly miraculous show… ”




Pierrot Mask looked at Pram and smiled faintly.




“Well, I’m satisfied that my last opponent is you.”



*Slump*




A dull noise marked the end of the fight.






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