Power Punch - Chapter 26

Published at 23rd of December 2022 05:27:54 AM

Chapter 26

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Beholder's Eye, all in all, can be divided into the completely unexplored center and five rings around it. From the edge of the island they are outer forests and dark forests, two rather weak areas where high silver or occasionally gold monsters chased out of inner forests are the strongest you will find. Inner forests, they are the next ring. Gold monsters are common here and the strength increment becomes much higher. This is also the largest ring in width and second largest in area, after outer forests.

Closer to the center start the mountains. Fourth ring is called Highlands, but in reality it consists of many hills, small mountains and plateaus divided by valleys and rivers. I mean, the mountains are small comparing to the giants behind them, but they are already multiple kilometers in height. In this area high gold monsters are common and you can find even low white ones, which are... extremely strong things. Saying that most of them could kill me before I could react properly should be enough to imagine their strength.

The last part of the island, save for the unknown center, are tens of kilometers tall Dragon Mountains, the smallest and the most dangerous of the five rings where you can find only white monsters, including, you guessed it, dragons, the strongest of them all. There has been only a handful of people who ever went there, and great majority weren't warriors or mages, but scouts.

We, that is I and Levia, are now in the dark forests and I see very well why they are named as such. In the outer forests there are huge trees blocking a lot of sunlight, but here the definition of huge is a bit... different. The trees are at the very least two hundred meters tall and despite being quite far away from each other, their crowns block almost all sunlight that shines from above. What isn't blocked by the trees is blocked by smaller vegetation, and smaller is in this case a few meters at least and usually over ten.

What we are running in is a maze of tunnels between plants and trees of various kinds, made by the monsters roaming in these parts, and this maze is dark. And by dark, I mean it's dark like in a cave. I with my eyes don't have particular problems, but Levia needed to turn on her nightvision because her normal eyes didn't cope with the complete darkness and tangles of leaves, vines and branches that might as well be a dark-grey-black noise to her eyes.

I meanwhile have little problems thanks not only to my eyes and demonic energy, but also my magic sight. The mana density I can sense here is already significantly larger than it was on the edge. It's not a huge difference, a bit over one and a half the amount and steadily increasing till it passes two times close to the edge of inner forests, but it's still a very much noticeable difference. Thanks to that I can make out every shape within close to twenty meters from me with ease.

Speaking of mana... I whip my leg outward on the run and slam it into a small shape creeping up on us from the side without any sound and concealed so finely it's barely noticeable. To my eyes, that is. To my magic sight it's an annoyingly small, shining like a lightbulb in dim lighting orb of mana that thinks it's stealthily approaching us.

"These things are seriously annoying." I mutter, continuing to run. "Weak as fuck, numerous, and it's completely no fun fighting them."

"And even if it hit, its poison won't work on either of us." Levia adds from the side and I nod lightly, humming in approval.

"How far do you think to inner forests?" I ask a while later.

"If I'm not wrong, we have passed half of dark forests a while back. So it would be two hours or so still." She replies.

As a side note, there is a good reason why we are not flying above the forest, which would be both much faster and easier. Especially because we wouldn't need to follow the paths that are, needless to say, far from straight. The answer is simple, but not obvious.

I needed to actually slam into some sort of barrier above the island to realize it, appearing like a thick film of mana twisting in certain pattern to my magic sense. And above island doesn't mean above the trees, but for some reason it's a constant more or less two hundred meters above ground. I could probably bypass it with ease with my Stellar Flame, but I have no idea how strong this barrier is or how long in either direction it stretches. After a short discussion with Levia we have decided it's not worth trying to poke holes in it, risking pissing off whatever made it, and instead we can just go under it. That is, after we reached the furthest point we could by flight.

And this way we also get some monsters to fight, which I didn't and don't expect to be any fun till we reach inner forests, but will at least increase our soul's sizes a bit. That is, there will be no fun in it unless we find a Beisvart or other strong monster here.


We stumble upon the first monster of considerable strength over an hour later when we are already quite close to the border of dark and inner forests.

We are running through the tunnels, noticeably wider than they were at the beginning, exchanging occasional small talk, when I hear something unusual with my empowered ears and stop in place almost in an instant, focusing on the... whistling sound. Levia stops sharply a moment later and turns to me with question mark above her head.

"I hear something." I say and she opens her mouth to ask something, but closes it as she realizes she shouldn't disturb me when I'm listening to something.

What I hear is a bit... strange. It sounds like... like wheezing, sharp breathing, but it's kind of muffled. "I'm not sure what it is, but definitely not a Beisvart." I say quietly and start walking again. "Let's continue."

Levia nods in response and turns around. "Can you tell how far away it is?" She asks, starting to follow me.

"No, but definitely quite close. It's a quiet sound, quite like breathing. It's not a mammal from the sound of it, but I have no idea what it is."

"Okay." She nods again and we stay quiet while advancing along the road, a short time later arriving at an intersection of three tunnels, the third one leading to the left. The noise gets louder and louder and at some point my eyes widen as I notice something with my magic sense, not magic sight.

A long, very dense string of mana laid directly on the ground hidden beneath the foliage. When we are ten meters from it, which is a tad over half of my range, I extend my arm and place it on Levia's chest, stopping her from walking further. I mean, I mean above her chest! I'm not so indecent!

"Levia. We have guests." I whisper. That string of mana can belong only to two things. First is a monster that would weave it, most likely spider. Second is a human who infused a string with mana. Judging by a huge web composed of exact same strings around ten meters further directly behind a corner I would say it's a spider. Judging by a vague due to distance humanoid, but definitely not human silhouette standing directly behind them and from the looks of it preparing a spell, the situation is more complicated. "Actually, we are the guests here."

Levia looks warily into the tunnel and turns to me questioningly as I watch the humanoid sihouette finishing the spell. The mana inside it spreads around the body in a particular pattern, noticeably doing something to her core, and seems to empower her, not like I can do more than guess in such case. And then starts preparing another tiny spell.

"Humanoid, it has webs over the tunnel. I think it's a monster, but I'm not sure." I explain quickly to Levia. "We sh- careful!" I spot something moving quickly in my magic sense and jump to Levia, swinging my leg at an incoming projectile and swatting it aside. I thought so, at least. I feel sharp pain in my leg as something embeds into it and I immediately adapt more serious attitude.

I reach to my Flame to empower my body and- shit! I quickly wave my hand at another projectile closing in on my neck, just barely managing to deflect it, this time successfully, and look to the tunnel to see what's launching them, but I have no idea what it could be.

Wow, that's dangerous~. I need time to think. And to react.

I look to the side and see Levia creating a large, pitch black shield from her nanobots and covering us with it from the front. Good, we're safe for a while.

Can I... eyes won't work. I still guide energy to them to see sharper and more clearly, but it does nothing to increase my speed of reaction.

Brain, then?

I guide demonic energy to my brain... and everything stops. Huh?

I turn my eyes around, but I can't turn my head around. I almost start to panic before I realize with embarrassment that I can move, and my head really turns, but it's so slow it might as well be moving through tar from my perspective.

Holy shit, that's... scarily useful. I didn't even know it was possible to slow time so much in VR. Or is it VR? Fuck, the more I get to know about this world the less it resembles VR and more another, magical reality.

I shake my head, uh, metaphorically, because I can't exactly do that from my current slowed down perspective, and focus back on the issue at hand. That is, an unknown enemy stronger than anything I have ever fought. Maybe not exactly stronger, it is likely a glass cannon considering the size and shape, but definitely more dangerous. Any normal person, or Wayfarer for this matter, wouldn't even know what killed them if they received an attack like those two. Speaking of...

I first turn to the ache in my leg and see a... needle? Kind of. Looks like the spikes of a hedgehog, just pure white in color. It's embedded in my leg and if I had to guess it would contain a poison. Not like that's any problem. I will my flames to burn it, cleanse the wound and restore it and watch in satisfaction as the thing burns slowly, though in reality it's very fast, and the small wound regenerates within moments.

Now to the enemy. I focus on my magic sight and notice the monster... probably monster, finishing preparing another tiny spell that flies off somewhere to our back and out of the range of my magic sense. That's...

I extend my arm quickly and catch the needle sailing through the air to Levia's neck from the back, distinctly feeling the weak friction between it and my fingers. Shit, what's shooting them? I haven't noticed anything out of ordinary when we were walking there, so the attacker must be actively preparing them.

I almost giggle at the visible recoil of the humanoid shape just after I catch the needle, but then turn sharply to my side as I hear a low... humming sound. I look at Levia and see her emitting it with slowly moving mouth. Duh, what? Oh, she's speaking, right, right. But... Can I?

I guide the demonic energy to my ears to... shift the sounds... higher... to frequencies understandable for me? I guess...

Oh, it... kinda works... I can understand what she is saying with some effort, but the letters are still incredibly long and stretched out. I get what she is saying though, and this is what matters, not like I really understand how I did what I just did.

And what she's saying is to go forward and she'll support me from the back. I mean, that's the meaning. In reality she said barely three words: "Go, I'll support."

"Sure, watch your back." I say much slower than I would normally, but still without accelerating my perception and trusting her Mechanical side to understand these words spoken within a small fraction of a second.

I strain my legs, guiding additional energy to them, and take a careful step to the side around the shield. In reality it is a dash that sends the dirt under my foot spraying into the air, and I still underestimate the momentum I can get in this way. I almost hit the wall of the tunnel and I plunge my hand into it. I push myself forward, willing some flame to cover my hand to have stronger grip and increase the friction between...

Oh, shit. I've a... stupid idea. What friction? I don't need friction. I need grip, like people climbing mountains.

I let some of my demonic energy from my feet flow into the ground and spread a bit, all the time keeping it firmly connected to my legs, and I push myself forward. Hoooly shit, it works! It works!

There is no dirt flung around from under my foot, it stays firmly in place as I use my whole strength to rush forward. I quickly pull the energy back into my body after I stretch my legs to the limit and I extend one leg forward, preparing to change direction at the intersection. And I start reconsidering this idea when I realize I'm moving through the air at similar speed to these needles and start hearing wind whistling in my ears. And... I notice the wavering mana in the air around me that indicates my movement just created a shockwave. Holy~ shit, that's some power I have, but...

No, fuck, focus. I have Energy affinity, I can cope with movement on this level.

I arrive at the two meters wide intersection, extend my leg as far as I can and slam my foot into the ground, and spread a lot of energy into it to have good grip. So good so far, now I focus on my Energy affinity and will myself to turn quickly and shift my momentum sideways, at the same time pushing with my leg, and holy shit, how many more surprises I will get today!?

I change my direction almost in place and barely have enough time to pull back the demonic energy back into my leg before I sail above the ground at completely unchanged speed.

I look up at the enemy for the first time and with amusement notice her, because I now see it's a she, making a horrified expression in slow motion. Her mouth and eyes open wider in shock and fear, but she doesn't react. Yet.

She's the source of the sound from before. I wasn't able to see her properly earlier because my magic sense wasn't so accurate at a distance, but she's some beautiful... spider, uh, spider girl? I would call her an arachne since she's a spider... something, but she has human legs. And no large abdomen above her butt, or anything visible on the surface that would hint she's a spider past her arms and unnatural colors.

Her skin and hair are completely white, her ears pointed and her eyes dark red with strange irises that seem to have four small black and moving dots instead of one like it would usually be. Her face looks young, more like a girl than a woman, and... soft. Alluringly soft. Add to that plump light pink lips and small nose and you get a face that's entrancing in this scary way with monstrous, inhuman features appearing to only add to her allure instead of making her repulsive.

Looking down, her figure is very slim and her skin spotless and smooth, at least where it's visible. She has a sort of thick fur covering her back and modest chest in a layer that looks basically like a furry coat stretching from her cleavage to her midriff and exposing belly as smooth as the rest of her body. I think the needle comes from the thicker and stronger... fur or whatever it is on her back. And important thing, she has two pairs of arms. Her shoulders are exposed just above the fur, but there is another pair of arms directly below it, more or less on the sides of her midriff on her lower ribs.

Below that she is covered by a white skirt that is most likely made out of her threads. And her legs are smooth and slim just like the rest of her body. She doesn't seem to have much muscle on her, only to the extent she doesn't look thin, but if I had to guess she would be incomparably stronger than any ordinary human. And, in terms of strength, the amount of mana in her body seems to be almost five times higher than Geru's, so around two times that of Madella, Black Harbor's Guild's branch master.

Now, what to do with her. To be honest, I was prepared to give her one good fist to the face that would splatter her brain matter on the surrounding vegetation, but seeing how she is humanoid and clearly intelligent I don't think I should do that, at least not yet. Let's incapacitate her for now.

First I extend my arms and use some flame to burn all the webs blocking the passageway in a few small, accurate bursts. I hope it's not a trap that triggers when destroyed, but judging from the large amount of mana inside the threads and the fact they are almost invisible it's more likely they are supposed to restrain. I fly a bit further and approach the girl that starts to take a step to the side painfully slowly.

I extend my hand slowly, balling it into a fist and covering in a small film of flames like I did earlier with gauntlets, and, uh, from my perspective I lightly place it on her solar plexus and push forward for a moment. From her perspective, well...

I stop in place, straining my legs planted firmly on the ground and flaring my wings, and look at her body momentarily caving in and visibly shaking after taking the hit. She floats up from the ground and I watch her slowly flow through the air in what's an at least fifteen meters long journey as she makes an expression being a frankly comical combination of shock, pain and a few more emotions. Kinda... disappointing. I didn't really feel the... thrill of battle here.

Just when I see her struggling to land properly with pained expression and cloudy eyes I almost fall over as a wave of exhaustion hits me without any warning.

I take an unsteady step forward, noticing the world around me accelerating to its normal speed and a cacophony of noises assaulting my ears, including a shockwave that sweeps through the area, ruffling everything in the tunnel.

"Helia~, What the hell!?" I hear an affectionate shout from behind me and I stumble forward, trying to look there. Only a quick wave of my wings keeps me standing. What happened to me? Is it some poison? Impossible, my flames wouldn't lose with some poison.

I dizzily open my character sheet, hoping to see the cause of my state, and, honestly, I would have facepalmed if I had the strength to do something so unnecessary. My reserves of demonic energy have ran out. I have never really expended my whole energy and, as much as it was obvious there is a limit somewhere, it didn't really sink in. Come to think of it, I have never paid particular attention to my character sheet. It was probably the perception acceleration that took such toll on my reserves. I guess negligence comes back to bite me in the ass now.

"H-helia!?" I hear another shout from behind me, this time alarmed, almost panicked. "Are you alright?" I turn around to look at Levia running closer and my face instantly gets beet red... or rather glowing gold in embarrassment.

"Uh, I ran out of... juice." I say, struggling to spell the words correctly. And to stand straight for that matter. "I'll be fine in... a moment."

It's fortunate that my Demonic Flame constantly produces demonic energy, unlike mana core that needs to absorb mana from the air to refill itself. I already feel a bit better, but the dizziness in my head remains.

"But you're clearly not fine now." Levia says, flapping me lightly on the head, and I lose with gravity and fall over to the front, my unsteady balance and dizziness further worsened by the hit ever so slightly shaking my head. "Hey! See!? You're not fine!" She shouts alarmed and... I stop in place sideways. Her face is very close to mine. Huh? Oh, she caught me? How... romantic.

"Luv uuu." I say and slip into unconsciousness in her safe embrace.


I regain consciousness in something perfectly soft and meaty and I open my eyes only to close them as a wave of dull pain crashes through my head and I curl up on the meaty something. I try to feel what's around me, but before that I feel my legs burning as if after a long sprint.

"Ow, ow, ow." I say eloquently. It's all because of perception acceleration, isn't it?

"Helia! Are you alright?" I hear Levia's wonderful yet concerned voice above me and her hand landing on my head and starting to rub it soothingly. Oooh~, I love it. Uh, wait, let's answer her.

"Mostly." I say quietly. "I overexerted myself. I'll be fine in... a while." I hope. The pain in my legs and dull ache in my head seem to be lessening, but it might be just me accustoming to the pain.

"Okay." Levia says from above me and then I realize where her voice is coming from and what it entails. If her voice is above me, and I'm laying down, then my head should be somewhere under hers. So that soft, meaty somethings are her thighs. Wonderful~.

Uuuh, I can't look at my character sheet. Lemme look inside myself then. How is my Demonic Flame? Hm, I can't tell for sure if it's full without reference, but I definitely have quite a lot of energy in me. Can I speed up my recovery then?

I experimentally guide the energy to my legs with the purpose to relieve, relax, to heal and to restore and I feel the ache disappearing magically within a few seconds and my legs slump down, the tense muscles relaxing completely. Maybe more than they should, because I can't lift my legs up. Ooops. No matter, not like I'm going anywhere.

I look at my reserves of demonic energy and... I don't really see the difference. Is there less of the energy? I think a bit, but it's not any significant difference.

Now my head, uh.

I guide my energy to my head with the same purpose as before, merely try to reduce the relaxing effect, and the dull ache in my head disappears slowly, wonderfully freeing my mind and allowing me to think fully straight. I open my eyes, this time with nothing interrupting me, and I feel something leaping and turning in my chest as I realize I'm looking directly at Levia's belly, largely exposed by her peculiar dress.

I reach out with my arm and pull myself upwards to Levia's chest, then look upwards and my eyes meet hers. I smile lightly and quickly kiss her on her lips, then lean back on her chest with a smile. "I'm fine now." I say softly, my voice firm now unlike how it was a few moments earlier.

I close my eyes in contentment as Levia continues to run her hand through my hair. "My demonic energy ran out back there." I say lightly.

"Mhm. What did you do, by the way? You were so fast I could barely follow you with my eyes." She asks curiously and in amazement.

"Um, I accelerated my perception, and I think it made me misjudge the amount of energy I was using. I think it caused me to ignore the limits on strength and speed my body imposed on itself so I wouldn't hurt myself." I explain and hear Levia's small gasp from above me.

"You are hurt now?" She asks in alarm.

"No, no, I'm fine now." I quickly reassure her. "But I think I damaged my brain a bit with the acceleration. And my legs, because I used my full strength without regard for anything."

"Oh." She replies. "Please don't do it again if you can."

"Mhm. I'll try." I mumble with happiness in my heart stemming from how she cares about me. "But it's a great tool against significantly stronger enemies. I think I'll need to experiment a bit to be able to accelerate my perception by a smaller factor. If I manage to get it to two or three times, I should be fine even if I use it continuously."

Levia stays silent for a moment and asks uncertainly. "Uh, two or three? How... how much did you get this time?"

"No idea." I move my shoulders lightly in what would be a shrug had I not been leaning on Levia. "But, hm... How fast were those needles?"

"Um, around eighty meters per second. What about it?" Levia asks and I suck in deep breath in surprise.

Oh, holy shit. In that case I reached speed close to that with one push from the ground with my both legs. Doing quick calculation, that would be solid one thousand meters per second squared of acceleration. Or, in other words, good few tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands newtons of force. I'd like to note that a thousand is already very much for a normal human, at least not without significant genetic modifications or other enhancements. So I'm... like, at least a hundred times stronger than a human if I push myself?

That's, like... I knew I'm strong here in this body, but that's a far crazier value than I expected.

Hm. Maybe it was my movement that burned so much of my energy? I'll need to check.

Though going back to my initial question, if that needle had eighty meters per second of velocity, then my perception acceleration would be... somewhere around a hundred times boost, I think? If I got that question earlier, I could answer this with far more precision.

"Uh, so, I think it was somewhere around a hundred times acceleration." I say after a while of silence and I hear Levia sucking in a deep breath at this revelation.

"That's... crazy. Kinda hard to imagine, to be honest. I'm not surprised you hurt yourself then." She says with exasperation. I can kinda agree with that.

"Mhm." I say and almost jerk upwards as my thoughts about perception acceleration remind me of an enemy that should still be there, though likely unconscious. "Uh, Levia, what about the spider girl?" I ask.

"Out cold." She replies and I relax hearing she hasn't been causing problems and is still there. "By the way, I wanted to ask, how do you improve your body so much with demonic energy? I tried and couldn't do much."

"Um..." I begin and stop as I need to think a bit. "...I think... you might be unable to do that." I say after a few moments.


"Yeah. It's like... it's Primordial Energy, right? So it might be, I don't know, much better adaptable, much more versatile, omnipotent or whatever. But your Nihility, it's like... it's Nihility, nothing, nil. It must work somewhat differently. I think you need to find your own ways of using it." I explain.

"Oh. You... might be right." Levia says a while later thoughtfully.

"Did I tell you that my skills have been disappearing?" I ask and I feel her shifting in surprise.

"What?" She asks alarmed. "What happened?"

"Don't worry, it's nothing bad." I say quickly and raise my head, pulling myself upwards to rest on Levia's shoulder and look at her face. Beautiful.

"...What?" She asks, getting redder on her face and averting her eyes. Oh, did I say it out loud?

I blink and shake my head. "Uh, sorry. My skills disappeared when I learned how to get their effects by myself with my flames. I think you can get some hints from your skill trees as to what you should be able to do with Nihility. Like with the swords. I think you should be able to create them without using the skill itself. Have you tried it?" I never got to it, to be honest.

"Oh, okay... I haven't tried it yet." She says with thoughtful expression and is just opening her mouth to say more, but we hear a groan further into the tunnel and her head snaps to the back. "She's waking up. You wanna talk with her?" She asks quickly.

"If possible." I reply and reluctantly let go of Levia's waist and settle only on her hand, and stand up, pulling her to upright position with me. "We'll get back to your Nihility later." I add and turn around to see the figure of the spider girl, now moving a bit and curled up with hands on her stomach. I wonder why, duh.

"Did you hit her with all your power?" Levia asks from my side and I turn to her with one sarcastically raised eyebrow.

"Levia, I reached good sixty meters per second there. Do you think she would survive a fist moving at a hundred and fifty, because I could do that without problems?" I ask and she snorts lighlty.

"I guess not."

"Well, let's see what our spider has for us." I say and walk forward.


I've noticed my chapters are getting longer lately. I'm not sure if it's a good thing, but I'll try to keep them down, save for special cases. This one has over 5000 words.

Please report us if you find any errors so we can fix it asap!