With the moonlight pouring down from above, the night sky shone brightly, thinly illuminating the place.

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The scenery it reflected was an unrealistic one.

It was a gray landscape that had been gruesomely gutted and torn to bits and ashes until there was no trace of its surface left.

 

A gust of wind blew…

An unnatural wind, as if it had been generated by someone else, blew toward the two adventurers who were running to the source of it— Lilea and Lowe.

 

“…Hey, hey, hey… come on now.”

 

A world of darkness with only a little light to rely on.

Lowe’s voice was trembling as he saw what was going on.

His eyes were peeled back in disbelief.

 

“Just as I expected.”

 

What existed in the reflected world was a mass of flesh, in addition to blood that would make anyone who saw it gawk.

The smell of iron rust blended in there, creating a uniquely sinister spectacle.

 

“What kind of sick joke is this…?”

 

As Lowe uttered such words unintentionally, he saw a boy who looked like a ghost, with his right arm hanging limp and powerless, and another being who looked like a monster.

One of them was an ogre that had lost one arm.

Perhaps because they were only eyeing each other, they did not even once make a pretense of turning their attention to Lowe or Lilea, who had joined the scene.

Only the sound of breathing and the aftermath of their sword blows echoed through the air.

There was neither the energy to howl nor the space to talk lightheartedly. 

 

They understood this more than anyone else.

Their hostility, squeezed to the limit, permeated the area.

The pressure was relentless to the point that the hairs on one’s back began to stand on end but…

 

“……”

 

In contrast to Lowe’s blinding stare, Lilea remained eerily quiet.

Normally, this would have been considered uncanny, but Lowe understood this nature of Lilea better than anyone else, and hence, he was convinced.

 

Lilea was a seeker of the way of the sword.

She loved the sword to the point of idiocy… No, you could say she was crazy about swords.

She was probably trying to burn the scene in front of her eyes deep into her memory.

There was certainly no way for her to devote her energy to talking.

The way her mouth was stuck in a straight line seemed to indicate just that.

 

And while Lowe was having such thoughts, it echoed once more.

The sound of furious swords striking each other… began to roar again.

 

* * * * * * * *

 

Time went back a little.

 

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(“Time is definitely broken…”)

 

I stared at my right arm, which was hanging down helplessly.

My face twisted in anguish, and I grumbled in my chest in spite.

 

…Shooting Star.

 

A special killing blow polished only to slash through all things, the power produced by this strike could be estimated to be delivered in only a split-second gap.

All that with a mere piece of stick.

 

“Gah…!”

 

The ogre’s right arm was cut in two.

A section of it still peeked out.

He grunted in rage and spat out blood.

 

The load from the “Shooting Star” had caused my muscles to tear everywhere, especially my broken right arm, which had been the most heavily burdened.

I had originally intended to make my first blow the finishing one.

But nevertheless, the ogre, probably using its natural instincts, turned its head away just before it touched his neck.

Because of that, I swung at him in an exaggerated manner, slashing only his right arm— cutting it in two.

 

I could still move my left arm and both legs.

Albeit painful, I was able to cut off the ogre’s right arm in exchange for a reasonable burden on mine.

Anyone other than me would have hailed it as a huge milestone… but a killing blow, executed with no regard for the physical burden, was ultimately evaded.

All the more reason why I couldn’t help but frown.

 

“But… if it ended like that, it would be a bit of a letdown.
That would be such an easy wall to overcome.
Yeah… It has to be like this.”

 

My frown soon turned into a smile, telling those words to myself while desperately suppressing the desire to writhe in pain.

I forced myself to act stoutly, as if nothing had happened, and shouted vigorously.

 

“IT’S GOT TO BE THIS MUCH IF I WANT TO BE STRONGER, HUH?!”

 

If I went on the defensive, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to beat the ogre. 

The difference in power was obvious.
Furthermore, my injuries doubled due to the “Shooting Star” technique that I’d used.

The moment that I received a blow from his huge frame… would be the moment my defeat is decided.

Therefore, I had no choice but to keep on the offensive.

I had to find a way of winning by relentlessly attacking without any pause.

And so, I kicked at the earth, scattering dirt behind me as I threw myself toward the ogre.

Swinging with the power of my wrist alone wouldn’t even inflict a scratch against him.

I had to use my body, my whole body, to the fullest in order to strike a decisive blow, so I twisted my body as if I was bending a spring that had been stretched to the limit.

 

“RRAAAAAAAAAGH!!!”

 

I swang the stick as if I were making a backhanded fist.

Judging me to be a dangerous person, the ogre held his position.

 

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Then sparks scattering with the sound of a metallic clang followed suit.

The stick’s cut overlapped with the rusted iron sword that it hurled down, and unable to bear the load of the force applied to it, it crumpled up. 

However, a trace of the stick still remained.

It could still be used.

As soon as I realized that my attempted blow was blocked, I immediately reversed my grip and attempted to stab him in the head with my stick, but…

 

“Ah— Ggh…?!”

 

The ogre threw a kick, and I took it all.

A sharp leg blow to the abdomen.

I didn’t notice it until after my ribs were already screaming.

There was no way to avoid it.

The damage was immeasurable, perhaps because I had no proper defense.

***

Reaper Scans

[Translator – Niel ]

[Proofreader – DVN-L ]

Join our discord for updates on releases! https://dsc.gg/reapercomics

***

 

But I was not so naive as to allow that for free.

I held the crumpled stick in my hand, one that became sharply pointed due to its distortion.

 

“…Fly away—!!!”

 

I quickly drew back my left hand and threw it as hard as I could.

 

“Gghaa…h!”

 

Spewing blood and vomit, he was launched vigorously and slammed into one of the many tree trunks that were growing behind him, to which the ground responded with a big rumbling noise.

 

(“I’m still conscious, but…”)

 

There was no time to even speak.

If I relaxed even for a moment, I would have lost consciousness immediately.

But if I let go of my consciousness, everything would be over…

Then, maybe—!

 

I crashed into a tree trunk and fell flat on the ground.

I clenched my teeth and tried to stand up somehow by thrusting my fingertips into the earth.

I tried to force myself to hold on to my consciousness even though it caused me pain, and perhaps as a result, I slowly felt a sensation in my mouth.

The sensation of blood dripping from the edge of my mouth.

My right hand was immobile, and my body was as heavy as lead.

It was as if it wasn’t my own body.

But still, I lifted my gaze from the ground.

 

“—!!!”

 

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My stick was still stuck in him, and yet, a shadow loomed.

What I first saw was the ogre closing in to finish me off.

There was no time to spare.

The more I stayed on my feet, the more the Reaper’s scythe scathed my neck. 

My skin was already in contact with the scythe, and I was in such a predicament.

 

“…This is… bad!”

 

Leave the pain.

There was no time to worry about it.

If I let the pain stop me, the only thing that awaited me was death.

…is what I said to myself, and threw my body out to the side.

 

Crash!

A small cloud of smoke rose from the ground as a large sword struck the spot where I had been lying down just before.

I managed to avoid it once, but I didn’t think there’d be a second time.

I knew in my head that I had to avoid the follow-up attack that would come, but my body would not move.

A pain had seeped into my body.

In addition to the leg blow earlier, there was the impact of the collision.

The pain had paralyzed my body.

 

Yeah, I figured it out.

I was sure it was just a foolish act of determination, so there wouldn’t really be a second time.

 

“This is… the end.”

 

There came my faltering words.

A large sword stuck in the ground rose to the surface and was swung to the side. 

Engulfed by the roaring wind of the sword, it caught me without missing its aim.

A rusted great sword appeared in front of my eyes.

Just before the sword sliced through me, somehow, the time inside me stopped, and I had to make sure that I would be able to catch my breath.

The speed of his attack, which must have been wielded with that single-mindedness, was the fastest in all of this battle.

What was I missing?

As I gazed at the approaching blade, I was struck by such a running sensation, and I was lost in thought.

I lacked the skill, the experience, the strength.

I began to ask myself these questions, but for some reason… I was not satisfied.

 

What was the reason?

Well, without anyone pointing it out to me, it was obvious.

My gaze had been fixed on the stick that was stuck in the ogre all along.

If I could, I would have liked to face him with a sword.

Such a thought was set at the base of my mind.

I lacked everything, but that was not a big problem.

The most important thing to remember is that I can’t just have a sword and use it to fight.

What more could I be missing?

But that was inevitable.

The sword that I was desiring was nowhere to be found, I thought to myself.

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I heard myself making excuses and complaining about it.

Because the sword was nowhere to be found?

Then I had to compensate from somewhere to make up for what was missing.

Was that still no good? Then…

 

Why don’t you try and create it?

What’s your magic for?

 

I heard a voice.

Create it using magic, he said.

It was a bolt out of the blue.

Everyone was capable of magic.
However, most people were unaware of their talent and ended their lives under the mistaken impression that they were incapable of handling magic.

Most people did not have the right opportunity.

And the opportunity to be able to use magic… I thought I didn’t have it.

I had assumed that I didn’t have the gift of magic, but there was a voice that I didn’t remember telling me to create it.

I had no evidence, no proof, no anything— just a voice.

This may be the opportunity that I was looking for.

 

(“Ha, ha, ha…”)

 

A dry laugh broke out.

It wasn’t a question of whether I could do it or not.

If I couldn’t do it here, I would die, and that was just it.

There was no choice for me.

If that was the case…

 

(“I’ll… create it…”)

 

I was winning in technique, but it was myself who was losing.

It was already decided.

Time began to move slowly, and my left hand barely moved.

It should have been empty, but for some reason, it was glowing.

Particles gathered and overlapped to form a shape, something slender and sharp.

And I remembered what I was looking for… A sword.

A simple sword that specialized only in cutting through.

Yes, just like—

 

“Ha- Hahaha…”

 

A clang of metal against metal struck my eardrums, spilling sparks into the chattering, trembling atmosphere.

The force of the blow pushed me backward, but I was able to block it with a broadside swipe. 

I smiled at my relief and at the sword, which felt good in my hand, even though it was the first time I had held it.

 

Just the thing that I was looking for.

 

A sword just like the one I now held in my hand— a sword with a silvery-white blade that reflected the moonlight.

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