Volume 8 Chapter 177 - Mirages of the Great Mythra Desert (5)
Jin intentionally didn’t use Bradamante for this moment.
‘If I used my blade from the start, her battle style would have been drastically more defensive.’
In that case, fighting Valeria would have been more difficult.
Her defensive stance was essentially impenetrable.
Initially, he threw away his sword to ‘respect’ their battle.
However, after engaging in battle, he concluded that he made a wise decision.
He merely obeyed what he learned from his master: ‘Do whatever it takes to trick and lower the enemy’s guard.’ That would truly be showing admiration to Valeria and her teachings.
The battle had reached its final moments.
Valeria frantically reinforced her barrier.
She wasn’t absolutely clueless about Jin’s hidden tricks.
However, she never would have imagined it to be a melee weapon instead of magic.
Jin planned to go all out from the start.
He lied about fighting her only with his magic to show his respect.
That so-called respect.
She knew damn well of the vehement admiration.
Valeria gasped the moment Jin threw the dagger.
If Jin played his trump cards, his swordsmanship, and his spiritual energy earlier… When the chains of fire grasped his ankle, when Tess died to the lightning spear, when he confronted the flurry of lightning spears…
He had all those opportunities.
Yet he waited all this time, until now.
Valeria didn’t dare to blink.
With her widened eyes, she stared at the black dagger flying towards her.
It had already reached her barrier.
Like thin ice breaking apart, the barrier shattered.
As soon as the dagger-point touched it, fragments flew everywhere.
It didn’t even alter trajectories.
The same fate befell the staff that was swung on reflex.
She was no warrior; she was a magician.
She didn’t have the physical capabilities to deflect the projectile.
Instead, the lightning spear charged towards Jin.
A spear and a dagger.
Regardless of which would hit its respective target first, Jin already guaranteed his victory.
While the dagger aimed straight for Valeria’s throat, the spear did not aim for his.
One last shot.
Valeria was already taking her last breath.
And the lightning spear missed Jin completely.
The dagger broke through her collarbone.
From the impact, Valeria flew and tumbled backwards.
Blood flew in an arc through the air.
The two fell to the ground, right next to each other.
The mana in her staff quickly extinguished, the lighting spears evaporating into thin air.
They vomited blood.
Neither of them could stand.
Jin’s legs had been pierced by the lightning spears, and Valeria struggled to even vomit the blood creeping up her throat.
“...Your excessive trust is your downfall.
I’m sure that I mentioned that I would beat you with your own tactics.”
“Is that why… you didn’t use your sword”
“I know you more than you think.
If I didn’t take lethal damage, you would have never believed me.”
Valeria breathed heavily.
He didn’t turn his head.
Even if she were a mirage, he felt an ache in his chest, just like when he killed his own brothers.
He refused to continue the conversation.
He wanted to ask why it had to end this way, but he held back his tears.
Jin merely fought an enemy and won.
That was Valeria’s way.
“You’ve gotten stronger.
By a lot.”
Her body slowly disintegrated into dust and flew away into the horizon.
The holes in Jin’s thighs slowly sealed up.
His ripped earlobe also recovered, and his charred ankle regained its true color.
As if nothing had happened.
Jin stared into the sky.
He felt molten lava broiling within him, but he had to keep on going.
Jin stood up and picked up Bradamante.
The final mirage awaited him.
* * *
Translator – jhei
Proofreader – yukitokata
Join our Discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics
* * *
The third mirage came that night.
He swore it was midnight, but the flaming sun lingered atop the horizon.
A midnight sun.
Beneath the surprisingly bright night sky, far away, stood a man with the sun to his back.
His sword was stuck into the sand.
Two of his hands were on the pommel of the sword.
Jin first thought it was Cyron Runcandel.
No one other than him could create such pressure throughout the entire desert.
It felt like the field of sand was a dark forest.
He felt as if he would die immediately if he wasn’t cautious.
Jin then stopped dead in his tracks, the pressure constricting his body.
If the sun fell on top of Temar, he could split in half.
‘No, that’s not Father…’
He couldn’t see the man’s face at that distance, but he knew who the man was after some thought.
A thousand years had passed since his death.
Although Jin had never seen his face, he recognized him.
The Runcandel Clan’s first patriarch.
The man, the myth, the legend.
It had to be him.
‘So this is the last test.’
An absurdly strong opponent.
Although he just stood there, Jin felt his entire body soak with sweat.
If someone could cut the entire desert in half with one swing, the only person who could do such a feat would be Temar.
Jin could feel the insane strength even from a distance.
He felt like he would be immediately decapitated if he made one wrong move.
‘And he really isn’t a god, but a human.’
Compared to the Tona Twins and Valeria, Temar wasn’t someone who existed in Jin’s memories.
He conjured Solderet’s ability in order to give himself a physical form, returning from the dead.
And yet, he managed to suffocate Jin from afar.
Jin had to continue.
Through the millions of unseen blades.
It wouldn’t move.
It wasn’t because of the certainty of death or the fear of being attacked the moment he moved.
He couldn’t move due to Temar’s radiating energy.
Jin’s body didn’t listen to him at all.
‘What do you want me to do I can’t even move because of you.’
Temar said nothing.
He just stood like a mountain and looked down upon Jin.
He wouldn’t be able to pass the final test at all.
He stood as if his feet were nailed to the ground.
His body wouldn’t even move forward or backward.
It was driving him crazy.
Not even his vocal cords dared to vibrate.
He felt as if he were a rock that sunk at the bottom of the sea.
‘Wait… this is a trial.’
Jin remembered something.
Everything he experienced in this desert was a trial.
He slowly went through his experiences the past few weeks.
The first hallucination was the Tona Twins.
The second was Valeria.
They all had something in common.
‘If I didn’t fight, I wouldn’t advance.
If I didn’t have the gumption, there was no way to proceed.’
When swinging the sword, there was something more important than swordsmanship.
The desire to swing.
The strong will to cut through anything.
Without it, there was no reason to wield the blade in the first place.
Just as Luna—with her 10-star swordsmanship—couldn’t kill Taimyun, Jin couldn’t finish off Dante.
That wasn’t because either of them were weak, but because they were affected by emotion.
They didn’t have enough will to swing the blade.
If Jin hesitated when slaughtering the mirages of his own brothers, he would have never made it past the first trial.
The same applied for the second trial with Valeria.
‘Temar Runcandel, I will walk towards you.’
With only that much courage, he didn’t stand a chance against this final challenge.
‘I will defeat you.
I can defeat you.
Even if you can cut the sun in half, I will defeat you.
I will slice him in half.’
Repeating those words in his head like a mantra, Jin convinced his mind and body to move forward.
His legs that were once rooted to the ground began to lift.
The best warriors should be able to do anything with will.
Jin was one of them.
However, he needed something much more than just that.
The moment he lifted his foot, his knees forced to bend.
As if a cold knife was shoved deep into his leg, a shocking pain coursed through him.
Not a single drop of blood was shed, but his fear ripped him apart.
If controlling one’s will was the qualification for any great warrior, then the strength of that will was what made a legendary fighter.
This was what differentiated between warriors who were famous and those who were legends.
There existed those who never held a sword but were the epitome of pure tenacity, and there were those who wielded a sword but couldn’t take a single life.
To pass the final trial, Jin needed the strongest will that he had ever mustered.
An eternal fire that would never extinguish.
‘If I didn’t have that urge, then this life wouldn’t be any different, Temar!’
While gritting his teeth, he broke his own molar.
Struggling to stand, Jin spat out the broken tooth, and then took another step.
At that point, Jin’s vision was black.
Beneath the blue sky and midnight sun in the great desert, he walked alone in the darkness.
A dark smoke appeared beside Temar.
The black dragon who had been hiding in the desert, Misha, stood next to him.
“Temar, did you just… smile Are you okay”
She spoke as if Temar had never smiled in his entire life.
The ancient king didn’t answer.
Misha reached for Temar’s shoulder.
Her hand passed right through Temar.
Misha lost balance and fell to the ground.
She stared into the sand and scoffed in disappointment.
‘Was I mistaken No, he definitely grinned.’
As for her, it had been a thousand years since she saw a loved one smile.
Misha turned her head to Jin.
The boy who made Temar smile was only dozens of steps in front of the mirage.
She quickly shook off the wetness in her eyes.