Just as our blades clashed, I suddenly felt my back grow cold. I’m not sure what sort of attack he used or how he did it, but this one was truly effective in the sense that it instilled a great amount of dread in me. I jumped back to make some distance between us and looked around to check where it came from.
“What is… the matter? I fight you… as a warrior. No petty… tricks here.”
Hearing his tone, it sounded like he felt insulted that I’d think he tried to one-up me. Magic also wouldn’t work on me, so it couldn’t have been mana-based. How odd…
Well, no matter. I could feel Fenril’s aura getting stronger and possessing greater volume than before so something good must have happened. I could also sense the girls’ mana signatures so I can tell they’re at least holding up against whatever they’re facing.
Facing Himalgrim head on, I noticed that he was very skilled in fighting in a duel despite his half-horse constitution. You’d think he’d have trouble maneuvering himself once you get around him, but being undead allowed him to fight in unconventional ways such as his humanoid torso being able to contort a full three hundred sixty degrees. He almost got me when I swooped from above trying to hit his horse half.
The bigger issue is… he’s a way better swordsman than I am. Putting what my pops taught me to practice, this guy is definitely the most skilled fighter I’ve ever fought. Not once in the fight did I have the advantage despite me being physically stronger. He didn’t take my swings head on and seemed to be able to manipulate the power behind my fierce blows and turn them against me. If I didn’t have scales, my body would have been riddled in cuts. That didn’t mean his sword didn’t hurt though. If I were to compare, being struck by it is like being a normal guy getting hit by a lead pipe.
Another problem is that magic doesn’t seem to work well against him. Although I just managed to learn how to efficiently manipulate mana, something surrounding him seems to be making my hold on it weaker, as if I was back to how I was before Astranir showed me how to use mana properly.
To be honest, I’m not sure how to deal with this guy quickly without going out of my way to blow this place up with my draconic breath. I’m already using my best sword and aside from my broken elven super bow, the rest of my unique arsenal are nothing short of weapons of mass destruction. This is why I wanted to make a “normal” gun fitting my size to be able to deal with guys like these who’d take forever to fight head-on.
As I was racking my brain for a quick solution, all my thoughts stopped when I heard a familiar scream.
That was Vai…
I sensed that she was still alive, but hearing her scream suddenly made my head blank out. Sudden near-uncontrollable rage surged from within my depths and it took everything I had to keep myself together.
“Oh?... It seems… you’re finally going to fight… properly.”
I focused my glare towards Himalrgrim. I won’t waste anymore time. With the knowledge of mana I’ve recently come to learn, I focused all the power into my right palm. Magic being ineffective doesn't mean it won't work, so this time I'll concentrate all of it into a single concentrated attack and simply brute force my way into his resistance. Inefficient, but I'm past the point of caring.
Himalgrim seems to have sensed the buildup of energy and charged to stop me. But it was too late.
I aimed the consolidated energy of what should be my draconic breath in my hand towards him… and fired.
The outburst of energy was near instantaneous. When it struck the labyrinth wall, it completely erased all mater that stood in its way, leaving an opening with an unseen end.
With regards to Himalgrim, he got lucky… I only managed to take out almost his entire left side.
Slowly, the giant half-horse dullahan started falling apart, crumbling like ashes, from where it was struck. He knelt on the ground clutching his left as he slowly raised his upper body to face me.
“…Impressive. I have… no regrets.”
I prepared to charge another attack, but a booming voice stopped me as I heard its call from within my head.
The voice was deep, old, and… powerful. I could almost feel the weight of the owner’s power through the voice alone.
HIMALGRIM. DO NOT OVERREACH YOUR AUTHORITY. ONLY I WILL ALLOW YOU TO DIE.
The voice now sounded from everywhere. I was worried if I had to face an even more powerful entity, but the dullahan suddenly stood and made a bow.
“Forgive… my actions… my Lord. I… was simply… excited… from feeling… alive again.”
With his remaining right hand, he snapped. Suddenly, the oppressive aura of death receded from the region. Once the cold aura disappeared, I looked towards the others and to my relief, found that they were all alive.
Vai appeared hurt though, so I immediately rushed towards her and looked at the injury. Sorena already made the necessary first aid, but it seems that death aura may have caused a little too much damage. Her skin was cracked and a black tendril seems to be reaching towards the rest of her arm from the wound.
The thing with Decaying Corruption was that it was different from mana and the taint of miasma. Miasma simply fed and altered the state of mana, while this actually causes living tissue to transform into something of unlife.
One of the best ways to be rid of it is using Holy types of magic with purification properties of any of the elements, but since I still lack the power to formulate actual magic spells, the next best thing will have to do.
With the direct use of mana, I goaded the corrupting taint to move away from her body by surrounding it with my own lifeforce. Slowly, I lured it out through the injury it came from. Once it was out, I isolated it in a ball of mana and crushed it, erasing it completely.
Since my pops was undead, I had to live close to the corruption most of my life, so he had to teach me on how they used to deal with it back then. After all, I can’t exactly roar at a living person and expect them to be cleansed of corruption while getting out of it with simple ruptured eardrums. The only problem with this trick is the success is proportional to the amount of corruption and the density of one’s lifeforce. That’s another upside to being a dragon.
Seeing that she’s fine, I felt relieved, but she then started looking down on the floor while shying away. I guess she’s still hurt from what I did back in the pavilion.
Sorena cleared her throat, however, and pushed her towards me. Catching her in my arms so she wouldn’t fall, she looked up towards me, turned red, then suddenly embraced me. I guess she was just being shy, so I hugged her back.
“If all of you are fine… then please follow me. My Lord… wishes to meet you, Camus.”
You’re definitely undead alright. Talk about killing the mood.