(A/N: Hajime no Ippo soundtrack seriously is too good, I kinda want to punch someone now)
Chapter 107: Payback
Hearing the goddess' question, Aspen became wide-eyed and looked at the goddess with a surprised expression on his face. His fists tightened, and for the first time in years, a confused and dubious expression appeared on his gaze.
For the first time in a while, Aspen felt indecisive on what to do. Sure, he hated that world to the core, but that didn't mean that he hated everything in it as well.
The people he had met, the memories he has made, and all the hard efforts he had put inside that world just so he could survive actually made him reluctant to leave.
Sure, in this new world he could probably become an invincible existence that could obliterate any monster that came on his way, and he could probably enjoy a very calm and peaceful life there without problem... But was it really worth abandoning everything he had accomplished and everyone he had met just for the sake of living a peaceful life?
But the more Aspen thought about it being the best option, and the more he set himself on moving towards a new world, the more the uneasy feeling inside him could grow.
For once in many years, he turned around and looked directly at the many graves in the ruined village. More specifically, towards the graves of his parents and Harry, as if looking for an answer.
|"Look deep inside your heart young soul, there you will find your answ-"|
"Shut up for a minute, alright?"
Aspen looked at his palm and started remembering everything he had lived in this world. Not because he wanted to remember the power of friendship, and sacrifice this new opportunity of his just for the sake of those he knew. But rather, because he wanted to know if there was anything in this world worth risking this opportunity.
Everyone he once loved was dead already. And honestly, the lives of others weren't even that important to him.
"What are you doing?"
However, at that moment he felt as if someone touched his shoulder and shook it briefly. After that, he heard a small chuckle coming from beside him as if laughing softly at his indecisiveness...
Somehow, he felt as if the wind was once again pointing in the direction where he had come from as if telling him to go back already, and stop thinking about useless things.
"Maybe my schizophrenia is worsening after all... But whatever..."
Aspen then turned to look once again at the Goddess and grinned slightly before raising his voice to announce his decision.
"I want to stay"
|"... Are you sure about your answer? Once I send back your soul to your body, there will be no way to go back in your decision..."|
"Yeah, I have some unfinished business back there. So I might as well go back and get it done"
|"... Very well...Then as a compensation, I will grant you two more blessings that will aid you in the battles that you are about to face somewhere in the future"|
"Hmmm... two? Why not ten though? I mean, two is a little bit stingy don't you think?" Why not make me immortal while you are at it? That way I won't care anymore about receiving fatal damage. And if you don't mind, maybe adding infinite mana and a 10 times stronger body isn't really a bad idea"
|"Your human body and soul are already reaching their limit on how much they can handle. These two Blessings of mine will develop your full potential and allow you to become as strong as you can be. The only way of becoming stronger is to heal your shattered soul. However, that will take time, as you need to find happiness in your life for your soul to start repairing itself"|
"Tsk, whatever, two of them is good anyway... So, what do these new blessings do?" Aspen raised an eyebrow and looked at the goddess with a suspicious look in his eyes.
'She won't scam me right? Divine beings don't do that right?' That was what was going through Aspen's mind right now. Despite the misunderstanding between them being somewhat resolved, some doubts still lingered inside his mind. At this point, he no longer held any respect or reverence to these higher beings.
Seeing Aspen's reaction, the goddess smiled a bit before she then proceeded to touch Aspen's forehead with her finger, and surround his body with a golden glow that seemed to shine as bright as the sun itself.
|"This time, you will rise from the ashes of your own past self, and will give birth to a new path in your existence, young soul"|
Soon, the whole area started shaking crazily while Aspen's body continued shinning without stop. The heat around his body wasn't a joke either, it was as if a volcano was starting to erupt, but instead of causing destruction and chaos, it was instead producing such an enormous amount of light and energy, that the light he was emitting could be seen even from outer space.
|"With this last meeting, I hope you can truly achieve happiness this time... I will also make sure Chaos doesn't interfere with you again, so don't worry about him"|
The soul of Aspen which had been shining without stop until now, suddenly set flight and started moving at an incredible speed towards the battlefield where his body was on the verge of perishing.
This time though, he had a much brighter soul than before.
As the Sand Elemental smiled wickedly after seeing that one of her attacks had finally got the annoying human and killed it, she noticed that the two other Humans that had been fighting alongside the one chosen by the goddess were now running towards her with their weapons ready to attack with all their might.
((("It's over for you darn pests, this time no one will help you to escape from my attacks")))
Seeing that victory was finally on her hands, she dashed towards the man that had used those dangerous weapons on her, as she considered him the biggest threat until now.
Her hand soon took the shape of a giant axe and moved rapidly towards Delbere ready to cut him in half right at that instant. However, soon an enormous explosion covered her face and blocked her vision completely.
Suddenly an enormous explosion struck her ribs and destroyed a good part of her body almost instantly. The Sand Elemental just shrugged this attack aside and tried to locate the man while her body regenerated from that attack. However, at that moment she finally noticed that although her body was indeed recovering the lost part that was destroyed by Delbere's attack, her size was shrinking while doing so!
Furthermore, she noticed that slowly but surely, her size was constantly shrinking while repairing internal damage that was repeatedly striking her insides.
This time, she turned to look at the woman who was using magic on her body and understood everything.
Although the damage she was dealing with her was not that great compared to the Scarab Bomb from Delbere, or Aspen's tree attack series, the damage she has been dealing to her body since the start of the battle has been accumulating all this time, and now it was surely making her lose power.
((("It is too soon to be happening! Damnit!!")))
Her natural regeneration had finally stopped working, and now the only thing that could repair the injuries in her body was the very own sand of her body.
Thus, the more sand she lost, the smaller she could get, and the less time she could continue being in her physical form.
Yuuki also seemed to have noticed this, as she grinned wickedly seeing the troubled look of the Sand Elemental. This of course triggered the anger of this being and filled her mind with killing intent.
Unfortunately for this Elemental, Yuuki wasn't alone in this fight.
From behind her, many small explosions struck the Sand Elemental's back and charred it slightly due to the power behind those small explosions.
However, the Sand Elemental didn't stand still receiving those attacks. At that moment, her body suddenly exploded in an enormous sand explosion and created a giant dust cloud that blocked the vision of Yuuki, Delbere, and the human army who had been firing small arrows from the side whenever they could.
((("Then I will make use of the few time I have left to kill all of you")))
Somewhere on the battlefield, the cries of pain and fear reached the ears of Yuuki and Delbere and shocked them slightly.
'To think that the Sand Elemental could target the army first... Damnit!!' Yuuki gritted her teeth and dashed rapidly to where the screams were coming from in order to help them.
However, right when she was about to reach that place, suddenly the figure of the Sand Elemental appeared above her with its hand raised high into the air with an axe-like shape, ready to finish Yuuki in just one strike.
Yuuki, although with a superhuman psyche, was obviously not able to dodge an attack from this distance, and at the speed, she was going right now. Thus, her death became something almost definitive. If not for a certain man that struck the body of the Sand Elemental in the last second with a powerful spear that released lightning bolts, and sent it flying away several meters.
"Sir Jeffrey!" Yuuki obviously widened her eyes in shock. After all, he was supposed to be guarding her father right now.
Jeffrey moved rapidly the Storm spear in his hand and bowed slightly at the princess with a grim expression on his face.
"I'm sorry for following all of you here, but I had a bad feeling when I saw all of you leave. Thus, I couldn't help but follow after you all some minutes after you left... However, it seems like I arrived too late to protect Aspen... Now I won't be even able to repay by debt against him...!"
"..." Yuuki simply narrowed her eyes while thinking about it, but still gritted her teeth and shrugged the matter aside. They were not in a situation to care about the dead, that Sand Elemental could appear at any moment if they got distracted, and the lives of thousands were in their hands.
And as expected, soon the Sand Elemental appeared beside them and tried to behead Jeffrey right away. However, due to the experience in battle he had, he somehow managed to block the attack with the Storm spear and survived the incredibly powerful attack of the Sand Elemental.
However, he still got incredibly injured on his arm due to the terrible strength the Sand Elemental had and got knocked off several meters away into the distance. Something that the Sand Elemental used to her convenience to end Jeffrey's life just like she had done with Aspen.
Unfortunately, Delbere appeared from her side and knocked her away by using a few grenades he had on his belt. Saving like that Jeffrey from death.
Yuuki soon dashed towards the group, and helped Jeffrey stand up before looking at Delbere with a grim face, and nodding her head to him.
They knew that this time, it was the three of them against the monster that was hiding inside the dust cloud surrounding them. Whether they could survive long enough for her to disappear, only time could know.
But at least they could make sure to delay her enough for the Kingdom to be safe. As her time in a psychical form seemed to be shortening, and probably if they held her enough time, she couldn't be able to attack the Kingdom.
Jeffrey gritted his teeth, and also grabbed the spear on his hand while shrugging the pain on his arm aside. For him, if at least one of them survived even at the cost of his life, be it Delbere or Yuuki, then that was enough for him. They were the only hope of the Kingdom after all, and he was but a mere warrior.
((("Not only have you wasted my time enough... But you have also dared to injure me to such a degree... This time I will make sure to end all of you, even if it means that the destruction of your Kingdom must wait!"))) Suddenly from somewhere inside the dust cloud, the voice of the Sand Elemental echoed with fury and resentment.
Without them knowing, the Sand Elemental was actually just gaining time for her magic to finish casting using the last bit of mana she had left. An attack that could surely kill or at least immobilize them if it were to hit.
And seeing that none of them had actually noticed the small tornado forming between their group, a devilish smile appeared on the face of the Sand Elemental, as her voice resonated through the whole battlefield with an air of confidence and arrogance, sure of her victory.
However, at that moment, suddenly a giant chainsaw made out of wood appeared from the side without her noticing, and severed her weakened body apart easily.
Everyone present widened her eyes in shock. After all, there was only one person that could use that magic, and to such a high degree.
From inside the dust cloud emerged the figure of the man that had supposedly died minutes ago, now standing proudly and looking from above at the Sand Elemental with a wide grin on his face.
Suddenly, he lifted his middle finger in direction of the Sand Elemental and smiled mischievously while glancing with obvious satisfaction in his gaze at the shocked face of the Sand Elemental.
"Sup, I'm already recovered"