Power Punch - Chapter 71

Published at 17th of May 2023 12:58:29 PM

Chapter 71

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LilRora For those who haven't read chapter 70, which was posted the previous week, you would want to go back and catch up. I think many of you might not have received a notification because that was the chapter I accidentally published some time ago, so Scribble probably saw it as just making it public again.

On another note, I had my most important exam on Friday (which was weirdly easy), and it's mostly routine now. Gonna focus on real world matters for a while longer.

We're walking through the forest in the direction of Riverside when I hear a specific ding indicating I've a new private message that makes me jolt a little in surprise... and a little because I was thinking about something and not paying attention to just about anything.

"What is it, Helia?" Letty asks, noticing my reaction.

"Just got a message, gimme a moment." I mumble, opening the menu and going to unread messages.

I don't manage to see the first properly before I hear a ding indicating another message that pops up in a separate window. Huh. I check the first one before looking at the fresh one.

Xethu: Helia! Have you heard about Demon Hunter? He came to us in VOW and killed me! Where are you now?

My eyebrows rise so high up they might as well be touching my hairline as I read the message. Like, seriously? I feel like Xethu skipped some details there, but it's still pretty... interesting.

Lemme check another message, this one from Daria, before I reply.

Daria: Helia, if you are free, come to VOW to Black Swan as fast as you can. There is a guy threatening to kill us all if you don't show up. He probably wants to kill you, and he is extremely powerful. You know about VOW, don't you?

I blink. Wait, what? I reread the thing and groan, dragging a hand over my face. And yes, I know about VOW. That this not merely a game, or at least I assume that's what she means.

"What is it?" Letty asks from my side in concern.

"I... Xethu just got killed by someone. In Black Harbor." I reply and both my girlfriend and her mother turn to me flabbergasted.

"In town? In broad daylight?" The former asks in confusion.

"Apparently." I shrug lightly, thinking about my options. "Daria said the guy is threatening to kill them all if I don't come. I'll probably pay him a visit."

"Alright. We should be in Riverside in an hour at this rate, so let's meet there?" Letty smiles. A dangerous smile, encouraging not to hold back.

"Hugrlbh-!?" Dragha lets out a weird sound as her throat starts to bubble, and she takes a moment to rebuild her vocal cords before looking between us two in incomprehension. "Fuck! Wait! You'll go there just like that!?"

"Yeah. Not like he can kill me." I shrug with a grin. "Even if he could, he won't manage anything more, so there's no harm going there. And he's pissing me off already, and I haven't even seen him." I mutter, narrowing my eyes.

"...Alright. Cool." She nods her head and looks at me with strange face, like she had something she really wanted to ask but didn't know if she should.

"Kick his ass and come back quickly then. We'll continue going to Riverside." Letty says quietly, stepping up to me and giving a quick hug I happily reciprocate.

When we separate I give her a small kiss to her lips. "I'll be back soon, love." I mutter and watch with a smirk at her face reddens a little at the new use of this word, then raise my wings and beat them once, shooting up into the air with a massive shockwave that sends Dragha to the ground in a formless blob. Ooops.

I spin around and use energy affinity to change my course at Black Harbor almost instantly, then beat my wings a couple times to accelerate.

When I'm a bit closer, I slow down and adjust my direction to Black Harbor's centre, since Black Swan is really close to the central square. When I fly above the city, I notice that just like before there is a significant amount of knights and soldiers around, plus I can spot a large number of tents on an empty swath of land inside the walls. The lesser soldiers are probably there, because I doubt powerful knights would pass a night in an inn in favor of sleeping inside a tent. Unless they are obligated to? Dunno how army works here.

I quickly locate Black Swan, not only because I remember where it is, but also because the people around the place do one of two things. Either peep inside the building through the windows, or quickly walk away. There is a significant crowd of the former, and more than a few of the latter.

I glide down and land heavily on the street in a cloud of dust, making the people around the windows jump up in surprise and fear and either run away or huddle closer. Mostly the latter, and amidst screams of a demon and hushed whispers of Demon Hunter.

I look inside the building with my magic sense, but don't wait to assess the situation and quickly walk up to the door. I open in and walk inside to a scene I would expect from a criminal movie. Well, maybe not that bad, but it's bloody.

There is a lot of food left behind on the tables and in the booths, and many chairs have been knocked to the ground, most likely by escaping guests. Plus one of the tables is bloodied all over, and... oh you fucking bastard.

Xethu's head, cut off from the rest of her body. Laying askew on the table and hanging off the side.

I feel my Wrath waking up from its slumber and blazing in my core, but I grit my teeth and reign it in. Instead I look at my group and another person sitting leisurely on the counter in front of an unconscious barkeeper. Thankfully there seems to be no dead people apart from Xethu.

Everyone from the group has anxious expression, apart from Daria and Catherine, who is laying on the ground unconscious next to Daria. The spirit is healing the Wolfkin's battered body and glancing at the man with aghast expression.

And said man is... impressive. He is at least six feet tall, muscular, but in no way bulky. More like sculpted. His face would be rather ordinary and he would be moderately handsome if not for his black eyes. And by black eyes, I mean black eyes, not eyes with black pupils, which gives him a pretty creepy vibe. Not like I'm scared of him, even with the huge pitch black greatsword he casually holds over his shoulder.

Despite his eyes he seems to be completely human, though his mana feels somehow dark and his mana density on the level of around three hundred twenty units or so, much more than even Stone Heart, is nothing to scoff at. And it's probably the reason why no one came to capture him yet, because I don't see the country being fine with what he's doing here.

Where is Stone Heart and Xavier, if we're on that? I push my perception in the direction I remember the Inquisition office to be and find Stone Heart along with another, slightly weaker than him man. He is rather tall and slim, though I can't accurately judge his looks now, and his mana is a bit weird. I think it has something to do with life, though that's just my impression as I've never seen anything like that before.

Either way, both of them seem to be talking about something in the office. No help coming from them then, unless they are discussing the Demon Hunter.

Speaking about the Demon Hunter, his head turns to me lazily as I enter and he smiles widely, exposing his teeth.

"And here she is." He says slowly, but I ignore him, walking up to the table, looking at Xethu's head frozen in a grimace of fear and anger.

I think I can test how my domain works. Or maybe... something better.

I imbue my Primordial Energy with the purpose and intent to know and control, and guide it to my horns. They start giving off a yellow light, with the crevices in them becoming much more vibrant and appearing to sway like in a haze, of which I'm distinctly aware of because I know everything about them.


A word filled to the brim with intent and purpose, as similar as it could be to the First Ring's message with my level of power. Every single part of Xethu remaining here instantly bursts into flames and disappears, leaving nothing behind.

I pull the energy back from my horns and I turn to the Demon Hunter, who is looking at me with surprise clear on his face.

"Wow." He exclaims, raising his eyebrows. "More than I expected from the companion of these traitors."

Traitors? What?

I glance at the group briefly and notice Daria giving me a shrug, most likely indicating she has no idea what the guy is talking about.

"If they're traitors for sitting in a bar and eating, I wonder how I should call someone committing murder in broad daylight." I retort, my face scrunching up slightly in anger leaking out from my core.

"Murder? Was she your friend? I hate demons, if that's what you're asking for, and I was asked to kill one here. Though now I'm wondering if I killed the correct one. Not like it matters much, because now I know she's a Wayfarer." The man replies with furrowed eyebrows, for the first time showing any kind of emotion apart from smiling, and I raise my eyebrows.

"Well, that's a pity, isn't it." I reply, barely stopping myself from a growl. "So you came into an inn, killed a demon, and now you're wondering if you shouldn't kill another by chance. Is that it, human?" I purposefully emphasize the last word.

"A feisty one, eh?" The man smirks and I narrow my eyes. "To ans-"

"What do you want?" I interrupt him. "I'm busy, and you pulled me away from what I've been doing. If you want to babble, I can kill you and be done with it."

He smiles in response. "I heard you killed pretty many people."

"I killed three, to my knowledge, plus one Wayfarer who got reborn either way." I reply to him coldly and I distinctly notice Daria flinching. Hm. I'll need to talk to her properly later... probably when I tell everything to the others. Well, later. "All three tried to kill me first." I add.

"And what about Riverside? About Aver's Crossing?" The man asks with a chuckle and my face falls in exasperation and annoyance. "Don't you feel responsible for their deaths after bringing the monsters there?"

"For a Demon Hunter, you are very lacking in the tracking department." I scowl. "I had nothing to do with the attacks. If you are here because of them, then fuck off. If you're here for another reason, be quick about it."

"Oh? You weren't behind them?" He asks curiously. "I met people who testified it was you."

"Blue Ogre, Geru? Or that guy whose friends I killed when they tried to attack me just because I was a demon?" I ask and the hunter visibly raises his eyebrows in surprise before schooling his face back into a smile.

"Well, they were among them. I won't deny that. What would you say about a diviner though?"

"I'd say it's a shitty diviner." I fire back at him. "Even if the attack on Riverside was indirectly linked to me, and I have no knowledge of that, I don't see how I could have caused the attack in Aver's Crossing if I was on another plane back then."

"Hm? What plane?"

"That's none of your business." I scowl. "I've yet to learn of yours, and it's my third warning. There won't be a fourth."

"Okay, chill." The man raises his open palms. "I'm telling. I'm interested in you. I was going to fight you to death or a duel, but if what you're saying is true, then I probably won't do that. I'm sorry for killing her, as it seems I was too rash." He smiles apologetically and I raise my eyebrows with a smile.

"Too rash, you say?" I ask sweetly. "You expect me to overlook that with simple apology?" I gesture to the group listening quietly to our exchange. "I'd at least like to know why you killed Xethu."

"Ah. I was asked to kill a demon in a group of a spirit, elf, and Wolfkin. I did, and I'd say my job here is done. Hopefully you can agree with me, and I'll go question the person who gave me the job, because it stinks of something in his words."

"I don't suppose you'll tell me who the employer is?" I raise my eyebrows.

"No can do." He shakes his head in response. "I'm sure I don't need to explain the reason."

"You don't." I grunt in response. "You said something about a duel?"

"...You want to fight me?" The man asks in surprise. Not sure what the surprise is about, but okay.

"Entertain me, and you're free to go." I say in low voice, turning around, and walk out of the building. I watch with my magic sense as the guy, after a moment of hesitation, jumps down from the counter, waving his sword around, and follows behind me. I also notice Daria along the rest of the group, including Catherine freshly woken up on Vulcan's shoulder, getting up and running after the man.

I wait for a moment in front of the door, attracting a fair amount of stares, and jump into the air when Demon Hunter... I haven't got his name, if we're on that, goes through the door. I wave my hand and beat my wings, accelerating up and away, heading to a flat piece of unused land within the walls.

I land there and stand quietly, waiting both for Demon Hunter and for my friends to come here. The former quite obviously comes first and quickly spots me, then approaches slowly.

"How do you want to do it?" He stops a few meters from me and looks around casually, which in itself scares away a few curious spectators around the place.

"Whatever. I'll deal with it if I kill you." I shrug and distinctly see the twitch of his muscles. "You came here looking for me, so you'll be playing by my rules."

"So be it." He replies. "Lucief, Demon Hunter." He bows lightly, then lifts his sword from his back and takes a stance with his sword behind him.

"Helia." I reply simply, raising my arms and balling my hands into fists.

Now, let's set up the rules. Only my gauntlets, indefinite regeneration. Only force and momentum manipulation for now. First I need to feel him out, because I don't have any idea how powerful exactly he is. As Shiva said, while he has a lot of strength, I have yet to learn about his abilities.

I look at the man as he stands leisurely and feel my heart thundering in my chest. Or it's metaphorical equivalent, since I no longer have proper heart, but the point is I'm almost buzzing in excitement and anticipation right now.

I extend my arm and beckon him with my open palm, and he dashes forward, pulling his sword off his back.

His first swing comes at my nose, no further, so it's probably to feel me out. I lean back a tiny bit and deliver an uppercut to the blade, my fist slamming into the cold, black metal like I was trying to move a tree. Damn, how much does this thing weigh? A few hundreds of kilograms, most likely, because I don't see anything indicating momentum or force manipulation.

Well, well, well. I need to ramp things up then.

Lucief spins around and steps forward, this time aiming for my neck, and I step into his personal space with a punch aiming for his abdomen. He instantly jumps back to make distance, shifting his grip on the sword, and swings it at my side. I duck under the blade and kick him on the knee in the same move, then spin on my arms and attempt to sweep him off his feet.

He quickly steps away and for the first time I notice his mana moving in his body. It concentrates on his palm and explodes in a wave a moment later. I barely have time to notice what it is supposed to do before it sweeps over my body and I feel my eardrums being shattered and my eyes being dangerously squeezed as my sight is filled with black dots.

Interesting. Not like this much is going to stop me. He'd need to block my perception field, which is a tall order.

Lucief swings his sword at my shoulder and I whip my arm at it, hitting it with all my body has and diverting the strike to the ground. I dash forward and swing my arm at his abdomen again, and he steps back again, pulling his sword back and attempting a kick to my shin, which comes much faster than I expect and I barely manage to jump into a wheel kick to avoid it.

I notice him smirk in response and he lets go of his sword momentarily to confidently lean back and swing his arm at me in an extremely powerful and fast punch.

And that's exactly what I need, dear. Confidence, so he won't anticipate what I'm going to do.

I stop my leg in the air and transfer all of its momentum to my torso, catch his fist in two of my hands while folding my legs inward, and pull on his fist at the same time as I kick with my legs.

As a result, Lucief's fist passes a mere inch from my face and both my legs are slammed into his chest, one claw digging into his flesh just below windpipe, only empowered by the momentum of his punch. First hit. I let go of his arm and he steps back with air escaping his lungs abruptly, but my success doesn't last long as he manages to grab my ankle.


I feel myself being flung in the air and I slam into the ground a moment later, distinctly feeling a couple bones snapping, but I heal them quickly and push myself aside to avoid the huge sword Lucief manages to swing at me almost instantly.

I kick the sword with my legs and spin them as I roll to the side, then jump up and away using my legs' momentum when the man swings his sword at me again, this time sideways, and it passes just below me.

I land on the ground a few meters from the man and we look at each other, he with a frown, glancing at his visibly singed hand... and I with an almost ecstatic grin.

Oh, how I wanted that. Since... forever. To feel the rush, to face the challenge.

"You've much more than that." I tell him. "Show it to me."

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