Chapter 36: Cold Blood [3]
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[(Brian's POV)]

'...What is this guy?'

Dodging the flaming halberd coming down with heavy pressure, I quickly put some distance away from the flaming demonkin.

His strike once again broke the ground, creating a small crater in it's aftermath. It was such a ridiculous show of power.

I look to Shivan who was about to collapse from the searing heat coming from the assassin's body.

Donovan wasn't any better, he wasn't even engaging the demonkin headfirst. He should be the one to tank his attacks, not me.

And when he did try to block one of his attacks once, his shield was actually chipped, not to mention that it  blew him away by the impact.

Truly useless, these people.

Even I could feel the heat everytime we clash our weapons and everytime, he overpowers me.

The bulging muscles and veins seems like it wasn't just for show. Although I can see that his fighting style is very barbaric to the point it seems like he's just wildly swinging his halberd.

In addition, all of my attacks have been ineffective against his hard body, even my [Absolute Pierce] doesn't work on the bastard, he just shrugged it off like it was nothing.

However ironically, I've observed that the flame covering his body was actually burning his skin off. Although it doesn't show on his frenzied face, his body is starting to become charched.

I initially thought that was a good thing but instead of making him weaker, his overall strenght seems to increase the longer he fights in that state.

When at the start, his blows weren't that heavy but now, I would risk breaking my arms if I confront him head on.

'...Tier 4-...No...upper Tier 4 perhaps..' I assessed.

After a few minutes of fighting, I could certainly assess that he's way beyond a mere tier 4 for that matter.

Even with the three of us here, we have no hope in defeating this monster and any matters of escape might be impossible.

I have my suspicions but I can conclude that we were basically trapped in this layer.

Judging by Shivan's wounds, he should have been transported already by that beastman professor but he hasn't or....he can't.

I don't have an idea how they're keeping us here but I can't hope that help will come anytime soon.

So that leaves me with no choice but to fight although I measure it's more likely I would jump to my death by doing so.

The blood on my arms flowed as my wounds burned in the process of being slashed by his weapon.

It was painful, like my flesh bring torn apart and eaten away every second that passess. 

I clenched my chest as my heartbeat was racing from a feeling that I have been dreading to ignore.

I thought I wouldn't feel this way again now that I was in the academy away from her but for the second time in my life, I...felt-

I then heard laughter escaping the bastard's mouth as he looked at my eyes directly.

Weirdly enough, sound had already returned when the fight had started. I figured it was somebody else's skill that activated that soundless zone.

"...Is this it? C'mon show some guts why don't you?"

Smiling further he spoke once again.

"From what I remember, your Brian Silvious right? You have the trademark silver hair so there's no doubt" he then hanged his halberd on his shoulders as the flames on his body still burned.

"Here I thought I could have some fun but it seems that even the prodigy only amounts to this much.." He paused then smirked.

"...Maybe we should have just targeted the true genius in the family but it's a shame that she's still not here ain't she?"

"!?"

It felt like my hands suddenly stiffen as I desperately tried to hold myself back from recklessly charging ahead.

My whole body trembled, my teeth grinded in utter frustation. It felt like my mind was about to go blank from such a blatant provocation.

I knew that it was just that, a provocation but it felt like if I let this slide right now, I myself would be admitting to his cheap words.

And to me that's-

"...You lowlife..I wi-!?"

"B-Brian stop!"

Being called out and grabbed by the shoulder so suddenly, I turned my eyes to see Shivan trembling while holding me back.

"....Shivan..." 

His body trembled, maybe he was afraid I would lash out in anger like usual but I was also-

'..I'm....trembling..' I realized.

My spear shook with the way my hands hesitated to lift it in retaliation.

It seems that even when I dared to attack in blind rage, this feeling was overcomig my whole being.

Becoming so desperate because of the situation, my mind was so clouded that it gave in to that brief and easy way to confront my problem.

However I knew what this feeling was, I had just tried to ignore it becuase it had relapsed in me after confronting such-

'..An insurmountable wall..an overwhelming power..'

My eyes wandered around as sweat started to fall from face. In my vision, everyone was fighting for their lives.

A mana dome from my right and clashes of blades sparking through.

A giant wolf in the front and spells and explosions ringing out.

A girl with ice scattered all over mixed with blood and the sounds of gunshots.

It was a hopeless sight yet it wasn't pitiful nor something to avert my eyes on.

I then looked at my myself.

There was me. The sight of which was remiscent of what I was in the past.

A kid that was afraid and...a weakling who can't properly grip his spear.

"...I'm..." I gritted my teeth, forcibly trying to tighten my hold on my weapon and perhaps...myself.

Seeing me stop in place, Shivan also regained some calm even for a brief moment.

"...Dissapointing, you're just a coward afterall. If you're not going to move then....I will!"

Letting out such a shout, the demonkin charged once again with bloodshot eyes but it wasn't towards me and Shivan.

"What?!" Shivan shouted in a panic.

Looking further at the backlines, a pathetic sight awaited me. Even Shivan was surprised to see what was happening.

Donovan was supposed to be guarding the rear like Shivan was, that was my consideration of sorts when he couldn't stay as our vanguard.

This time however was too much because he was too far away in the back to provide any aid or back up.

In short, he bailed out when the cultist tried to provoke me. 

"Why are you coming for me!? Brian, Shivan Help me?!"

Donovan shouted at the tops of his lungs while still running away from the blazing berserker behind him.

"Donovan!?" 

Shivan quickly sprinted to help him out while I on the other hand, prepared to throw my spear.

Even with disgust for Donovan was at the highest, it was the perfect time to exploit that gap.

I couldn't care less what happens to that traitor because all I see is an exposed back.

"[Extension]!"

Adding an invisible attachment to my spear, I threw it towards the blazing back of the cultist.

Drawing a perfect curve in the air, my spear stayed true to it's mark. Although I knew that the chances of inflicting damage was close to none.

But even knowing that, I will still fight for that's the only answer I could come up with.

And as such, my feet moved to face the flames of a berserker.

-----

"[Reload Belt]!"

Two revolving belt of mana bullets appeared on my wrist once again.

I shot without pause towards the two ice claws approaching fast. Four bullets were used which leaves eight more.

However maybe because she's starting to get used to my style, I couldn't break her ice claws like before.

She intentionally made it form fists at the same time I fired my shots which lessened the power of my attacks.

'..Damn it, I can't waste more bullets like this..!?'

Sensing danger from behind, I quickly rolled aside and retaliated by shooting three more shots.

Her third ice claw shattered when it swiped from behind which leaves her only three more left.

After the two ice claws were obliterated from before, she took her sweet time in making two more.

Judging by the speed in which she recreated those claws, I can concur that she wouldn't be able to make another one without ample time in her hands.

Which means this was her last set of ice claws and I could only reload two more as my last set of mana bullets.

Any more than this and I would become a sitting duck with just toy guns in my hands.

With these conditions present, I had only one thing I needed to do.

I could still hear the howls of Fenrir and the loud explosions from Alice. If I take too long in this, the worst case may happen.

I looked ahead, Marie still had a calm and uncaring look while also being aware of the battle.

'[Penetrating Gaze]'

"...[Reload Belt]" one bullet each from my two wrist revolved in place and without loading it in, I shot out my last assualt.

Unleashing three bullets towards the third claw shielding Marie, I had successfully destroyed her guard.

And in an instant, I dashed forward once again. 

Having learned from my unusual attack pattern, Marie effectively placed her two remaining ice claws in wait instead of attacking me head on.

However, I never intended to do the same trick twice. Jumping on top of one claw, I leaped over it's cold surface.

Even with that move, Marie had already use her [Synergy] skill as she adapted the traits of her pet.

Worse than that, she must have expected I would use that route as my legs was slightly sliced by my jumping platform.

This attack made my form falter in the air while I struggled to hold in the pain of frostbite.

The last ice claw awaited in midair to tear me apart and as it approached my face, I shielded myself with my two wrist.

I made the two mana bullets revolve in fast speed in that moment.

*Ting Ting

The ice claw was blown away upwards while I was blown away downwards to the ground.

I've practiced using my reload belt as a guard but it always knocked me back in the process, especially my arms.

But being in the air, that would be exactly what I would want.

Saving my fall by rolling, I quickly unleashed my new skill from Tier three. I had to hold off from breaking through Mystic Tier 2 until I had Silver made.

Well this was the perfect time to use it although for the wrong intended target.

"[Alter Burst]!"

One bullet shot from Sixth as pulses of mana left from the bullet's track, it showed faint circles from the left shot trail.

Noticing the weird pattern of my shot, Marie strenghtened her [Synergy] which made her actual claws sharper.

She then once again successfully intercepted my shot towards the orb but Marie felt something out of place because she had not felt any force behind my attack at all.

(<Critical Trigger> activated)

A robotic voice resounded inside my head as Silver vibrated in my hands.

Aiming once more, I shot my last bullet, my last chance and in that few seconds, one of her ice claw had pinned me to the ground.

It gouged out the side of my back as I felt the freezing cold entering my bloodstream.

"Gaahhhh!?

I screamed in pain but had faith that the bullet would find it's mark.

The bullet that was travelling in the air was much more bigger and faster than my normal bullets.

Staring at the much faster and bigger shot, Marie immedietly maxed out her [Synergy] which took most of her mana.

However she wanted to make sure she defends the orb and by doing so, she was sure it couldn't break through her claws.

"...Futile"

Crossing her claws, she intercepted the bullet in an instant but all she saw and heard was the shattering of the orb.

"....What?.."

She looked down to see that her hands were bleeding profusely and that her claws had crumbled as soon as the bullet came into contact with it.

'...Delan, you're....a fucking genius' I praised my favorite blacksmith as my innate skill shut off from overuse.

I felt like I was going to pass out anytime soon from my blood freezing over because of this ice claw pinning me down 

But I knew that we were already in the clear, my eyes kept open as long as I could.

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