It was stable.
It was sophisticated.
There were no gaps, and it was a balanced swordsmanship that showed traces of long hours of agony. That was the impression he got from seeing Bratt Lloyd for the first time. Apart from being annoying, the Clown admitted that the other party was skilled.
Sometimes it was soft and gentle, and sometimes it was fierce. It spread out like a fog, disturbing his senses, and the energy was breaking through very quietly. It was a fighting style that had changed drastically from before.
The Clown was feeling burdened by this young man.
Instead of a head-on battle, the Clown Devil was trying to execute a sly plan. It succeeded in turning its opponent’s heart impatient through its great evil and skill of deception.
But… the way that things turned out was completely unexpected.
“Kuak! Ack! Kuak!”
The storm kept coming at him. Each and every single hit was powerful enough to take down a mountain. Of course, it wasn’t perfect yet. It felt crude compared to the swordsmanship he was using before.
But so what?
‘There are a lot of gaps. But…!’
The Clown couldn’t exploit any of them.
It just couldn’t stab out. Bratt’s spirit was fierce enough to make the Clown Devil feel that way. It was hot. The Clown felt the heat rise around it, and anger spread in its body as it faced the attacks of the human.
‘How did this happen?’
He couldn’t understand.
Bratt Lloyd was just another human. The Clown had accepted the human’s attacks and had felt them. There were some occasional risky moves, but they were done with the calculation that it would bring the Clown greater results. The Clown realized that this man was a noble of a nation, and a high-ranking one.
Those who have a lot to lose cherish themselves.
Creatures that possess many things often turn selfish.
So, he didn’t worry. He was never worried. Sometimes there would be those who regarded the task of others as their own, those who were willing to sacrifice themselves for others…
Furthermore, although the Clown Devil knew that there were humans who would use their power for others, it didn’t think that the human it was facing would just come at him ready to die.
‘J-Just how did this happen!’
The Clown swung its fists in anger. The strategy of defense it previously employed was now thrown away. The Clown’s attack flew at Bratt with pure anger and killing intent. But this action was calculated.
It would exploit the moment of Bratt’s indecisiveness to give up his own life.
Because humans had a lot to lose.
Because humans were creatures that weren’t ready to give up on life.
The reason Bratt had been running around like this wasn’t because he was worried about his friends, but out of fear and anxiety that the Clown might achieve this.
‘That is how it is. This one has to be of the same kind!’
The glare that permeated through the mask from the Clown’s eyes was terrifying. There were thick, red blood stains in its eyes.
Bratt didn’t panic.
He wasn’t scared. In fact, he didn’t even care what the Devil looked like. Because he couldn’t care.
‘Focus the mind.’
‘Concentrate the anger.’
‘Focus on the aura.’
‘Not too fast. If I am too late to extend the sword, I will take huge damage.’
A huge force that was not in his control would rip his body apart.
‘But that won’t happen.’
Bratt’s sword touched the opponent’s chin, and at the same time, the Clown’s fist also touched Bratt’s face.
After a second, a roar that seemed to devour the heavens swept through Devildom.
Confusion spread all around. The dense darkness was torn to shreds, and then a night mist spread all around. The body of the fallen Clown had piled up in small pieces.
The Clown’s upper body shook.
Black blood constantly came out. Fortunately, it wasn’t fatal. The Devil, which had almost seen the end of its life, used some of the magi to cure its body. Although pieces of it had become crushed and shattered by Bratt’s attack, the dark energy had done its work. It still had the strength to fight.
But the Clown didn’t want to.
‘I am scared!’
It was afraid.
‘It is too painful.’
The Clown was gripped in fear.
‘What do I do? What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?’
The situation wasn’t good at all.
He had witnessed it. This was a one-sided situation; his fist had hit the human and caused damage. But because he moved at the last moment, he didn’t take a huge amount of damage.
The survival instinct within him was telling him that he had fallen into a trap. Because of that foolish action, the Clown couldn’t overcome its fear, and the opponent had a greater advantage.
‘He is coming!’
He could hear the sound of the ground breaking. The Clown hurriedly got up and took its stance. Its mind was struggling to stay calm. The Clown felt dizzy and wanted to cough, but it held on.
It calculated the ways it could live.
‘…now, I need to risk my life!’
There was no other way. The Clown Devil knew that if it continued to get caught in its opponent’s pace, it would experience a one-sided defeat regardless of who was stronger.
The Clown Devil didn’t want to die.
It wanted to live even if it meant it was among a pile of garbage.
Belatedly, darkness came out of the Clown’s body again.
From that moment, the pace of the fight changed. Neither of them cared about the future. They only focused on their current situation and how they could kill their opponent. They didn’t care about living. The moment they showed such weakness, they would be eaten by the other. Death and ruin passed by each other in an instant.
Damage piled up on Bratt. The Clown’s soul was also wounded. The Devil wanted to cry. Its body was telling it to run back to its place and live like the dead, but it knew that it wouldn’t be able to live like that if it ran away now.
‘And… it is too late.’
The Clown smiled sadly.
Right. It was already on the wrong side. Although it chose the best option to live, it didn’t mean that the best outcome would come. The aura of the blue-haired kid was still gnawing into its body. Even if the fight was stopped now, the Clown knew that its chance of surviving this was less than half.
It was the same for the other side. The human body had darkness within it. It was comforting to see that the Clown’s darkness hadn’t been purified despite all these years. In addition, the Clown’s desire to live made it work well.
‘I must kill him.’
’The kid has to die first. ’
The Clown took a deep breath and gathered its strength as it looked at the opponent.
The human in front of him was also staggering, but he did not retreat… rather, the swordsman even took half a step forward as if showing that he wouldn’t give up.
‘Is it because he has given up on his own future?’
Despite the miserable physical conditions of the two, the force between the two didn’t die down at all.
A being who could change the whole situation appeared.
Bratt called his lover’s name.
It was a voice filled with joy and regret, but he couldn’t help it. It was because he realized very soon that this was just the Clown’s deception.
‘No. It is my fault. I was too emotional.’
Like an idiot, he had fallen for it.
But he was one.
The moment Judith’s safety looked compromised, his judgment had gotten thrown out of the window. His expression changed. It was hard to hold back the smile at the thought that he had made a mistake here.
The good news was that his lover was still safe.
Reassured at her arrival, Bratt passed out as he stood… his mind gave up as it hit the limit after seeing Judith.
And it wasn’t just him.
The Clown felt the same. No, it reacted even more sensitively.
The Clown could have given Bratt the final blow it had prepared.
Or it could’ve grabbed hold of Bratt, who had fainted.
But it couldn’t do any of these things.
Feeling the force of the red-haired human, the Clown didn’t dare resist it and just knelt where it had been standing.
‘I’m going to die.’
‘I’m going to die.’
‘I’m going to die.’
‘I’ll die. I’ll die. I’ll die. I’ll die. I’ll die. I’ll die.’
The Clown couldn’t think of anything else.
It couldn’t even think of the fact its life was running out since nothing had changed.
The Clown had even more fear than when it had faced Karen Winker. The Clown Devil just bowed its head as it quietly waited to die. It was just waiting for that fateful moment in fear.
A completely unexpected word came from the human in front of it.
“I said get lost. Move.”
‘She would spare me?’
‘Why? For real?’
The Clown was shocked. It couldn’t understand this since it was too difficult to accept. It didn’t dare raise its head, and in an instant, the Clown’s expression changed.
However, the Clown was determined.
‘I have to live.’
The Clown might be being played around with, but if it managed to get out of here safely… the Clown Devil knew that it had to seize this chance of survival.
The Clown stood up.
With a polite bow, it quickly retreated.
Judith watched the Devil go for a long time before she turned.
Her lover caught her eye.
“It is fine,” she nodded.
These weren’t just empty words. Closing her eyes, she recalled the past.
She had been jealous of Ilya.
She had been jealous of Bratt Lloyd.
However, the most jealous she had ever been of was Airn Pareira.
She needed it more.
Her heart was desperate. The least she could do was not fall behind. Why didn’t she obtain a sorcery miracle? There were times Judith couldn’t sleep because of that thought. Perhaps even to this day, she couldn’t change her thoughts.
And now she realized.
That wish had finally arrived.
The moment she controlled this energy that had been penetrating her forehead, she was convinced that she would be reborn as the strongest swordsman. One that surpassed even her teacher.
It wasn’t needed.
No, to be honest, it wasn’t necessary. But there would be no regrets. Judith approached Bratt as she put her sword in the sheath.
She let go of her lifelong desire to get revenge for her teacher. Even the slightest amount of power had to be spared to take down the Clown.
Flames rose on her hands.
There were warm, soft embers that couldn’t hurt anyone.
Judith smiled as she looked at her lover and touched his lips.
A miracle happened.
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