Chapter 40 Facing The Superhuman
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TF Chapter 40 Facing The Superhuman 

"Contesting her in the strength department will be our loss, but we will still need some sort of countermeasure. Your sword managed to leave a mark, so we will be relying on you for heavy damage." Bora spoke her strategy as we entered a stalemate...well, not exactly, as Celeste was simply giving us the chance to prepare, grinning all the while, with something like a glow building up within those eyes of hers.

"Danny, your boxing technique has the flaw of being too rigid, and requiring stability in your footwork, meaning that your movements will be slower than ours. Will you be able to handle yourself?" 

He really was plenty fast, but slower than Bora. I had already known of that fact, so I wasn't surprised at her query. In fact, it was warranted, considering our opponent.

"You underestimate me, Bora! That isn't a very nice thing with the battle that we went through recently." A vein was about to pop out of the side of his forehead, even with the grin on his face. He was pissed!


It came out quietly, but the both of us managed to hear it clearly. It seems that Bora had the decency to admit her wrongs, something I had trouble with, since I only offended people within my mind, with my thoughts.


"Are you done?" The sound made by her finger joints was already a telltale sign that our opponent was getting impatient, not to mention that unnatural gleam in her eyes, the one which said that she couldn't wait to start!

I took a moment to calm myself, a deep breath, then attacked! If this was a virtual game, I would be one of those front liners, Bora, the assassin, and Danny...the tank...?

Anyway, I pumped strength into my feet, the momentum from the force causing my body to accelerate towards Celeste at a very high velocity. Since forgers could create armors from particles, they had the ability to manipulate said armors into increasing their physical capabilities. A level one forger lacked the power to have a comprehensive control of their body, making the armor, the only viable way to increase their abilities above us...the normies. As sad as it was to hear, many forgers felt superior to us normal humans, most often using derogatory words when describing us, as if they were an entirely different species from us. I hadn't known before, only having learnt of it after arriving here.

Even in my greatly excited state, I was still not foolish enough to make the same mistake, so the moment the edge of my sword clashed with her gauntlet-covered fist, I used less force than before, instead moving the sword back to strike again with great dexterity. I had to admit, the sword giving me an instinctual level of sword skills was cool, though sometimes, it was a pain as my body wasn't adapted to some of the postures.

Clang! Clang! Clang!

As I held her off, keeping her occupied, the others weren't idle as Bora appeared at the left of Celeste, her leg poised to sweep Celeste off her feet by targeting the back of her knees, causing me to inwardly marvel at her suitable timing and strategic mind, if not a bit too vicious for my taste. If this was what a true assassin was adept at, then it was terrifyingly underhanded!

Danny appeared on Celeste's right, poised to take advantage of the moment when she tried dodging. Our perfect teamwork was born out of our specialities...which didn't conflict with each other in any way.

As Bora's kick made its way to the back of her knees, she pumped force into her feet and pushed towards me during my next clash with her, the force causing me to be pushed back, but saving her from Bora's clutches. The force of her gauntlet impacting my sword caused vibrations that almost threatened to cause me to drop the blade. She was strong! I already knew that, but it still made me scrounch up my face.

I didn't let that minor failure let me down, even as I steadied myself in an instant before jumping back into the fray. We were facing a damn forger! Even if she was holding back some of her abilities, keeping up with her was going to be a pain and a chore, but I had to do it, as our victory hinged upon the fact that I was the one most suitable to keep her occupied. Danny would have been the better choice, but his low agility made me the perfect meat shield.

At the moment Celeste had accelerated towards me, Danny had taken the chance to appear at her back, his fist pulled back, a punch about to me launched. My vision was blocked because of Celeste, but I knew that I had to double my efforts in keeping her occupied, so I increased the tempo of my assault.

My hand moved with speed and finesse, comparable to a true swordmaster, creating sparks and an esoteric musical score as my sword collided with her metallic gauntlets. She was either parrying or defending against my attacks. If it wasn't because of her full control over the metal atoms, the poor armor would have collapsed long ago, as with every strike, I managed to leave a gash, only for it to mend itself in an instant. I was also making sure that none of her attacks connected with me as I was sure that just a single move was enough to incapacitate me.

As we each attacked and the other defended or parried, I started to get into a rhythm. Excitement, nervousness and a myriad of other emotions had been occupying my mind, yet now, I was calm...calmly waiting for Danny's strike to be dodged, yet, this time once again, Celeste refused to go by the script, taking the attack head on, to once again propel herself towards me, wanting to close the distance.

When the force of the punch pushed her towards me, her blows became even more flurried and faster, causing me to go on the defense, my calm and almost enlightened state breaking, and panic taking over where it had settled. She was most definitely increasing the strength of her attacks. Would she really increase her strength to the level of a true stage one forger? I was surprised that instead of fear, some part of me wanted to experience it, that superhuman strength!

With every punch or elbow strike...or even knee attacks and kicks, I felt a powerful force that threatened to push the sword out of my hands, but I simply gritted my teeth and held on. She had even manifested her armor on the lower torso, to add more variety to her attacks. From her moves, I deduced that she was a martial artist, in the vein of pure melee. And I felt that her moves had touched upon the concept of finesse, even in their savagery.

"I haven't even gotten serious, yet you are about to crumble?" Her words caused my heart to skip a beat in anger. Why was she belittling me? She was a forger, while I was simply a normie! I doubt I could even survive if she decided to attack me with all her strength!

Clang! Clang! Clang!

A burst of metallic sounds, unlike mine with Celeste's, echoed in the room. Bora had finally caught up, unleashing another burst  of splendid vicious strikes. Even I inwardly shivered at some of the places she had aimed her attacks at, yet Celeste's copper-themed armor materialized entirely on her body, just in time to defend against the strikes. It looks like we were finally going to witness the full strength of a forger.

For a moment, her attacks towards me stalled after the appearance of her armor, then, in a burst of strength, she leaped and spun around in place, launching a multitude of attacks that pushed us back, even Danny, who had been about to reinforce us.

"Its a pity that my mastery of close combat doesn't allow me to take on multiple opponents, or else you wouldn't have managed to push me into manifesting my armor." She spoke upon finding ground once again.

Her entire head had been covered in a bronze helmet, preventing us from seeing her expression, but her tone expressed her regret in full. The helmet only exposed her eyes, while feather motifs rose out the sides of it, as if she was a figure from legends, a Valkyrie.

After being pushed back, my wariness increased exponentially upon catching such a sight. It was like looking at a god as a mortal, a truly overwhelming feeling. Even my heart had betrayed me and sped up at the sheer epicness of the scene.

"Even though you can't control particles to form armor like me, you should try to surround your skin with your spiritual senses, so that by the time it has grown to the point of allowing you to have a degree of control over your cellular activity, easily allowing you to master the second stage..."

"...record how every muscle fiber, every muscle group on the surface of your skin moves. It will also allow you to have better control over your body, preventing you from wasting energy."

I did as she said and felt everything that my skin was sensing. It was honestly weird, like being inside an organism...?! I couldn't explain it, but it was weird and somehow disgusting, as if my hands were caressing worms...eeeeehk!