By sacrificing an arm, I created an opportunity to attack.
If I don't take advantage of this opportunity, it'll spell my defeat.
My life rests on this single strike.
I have to land the finishing blow with that attack.
I have to pierce through the Demon King's maelstrom of mana, as well as his sturdy body.
However, I'm confident.
I'm confident that I can pierce through the Demon King's defense.
I drew the dagger that was strapped onto my belt.
I was more familiar with a shorter weapon than a longsword-styled weapon, even more so when considering that my left hand was relatively clumsy compared to my right hand.
I raised my left hand that grasped the dagger and the dagger flew towards the Demon King's left chest, the area of his injury.
The dagger instantly pierced through the Demon King's protective barrier and the blade continued to fly, unperturbed by any obstacles.
On the 16th floor, the knight had taught me a key factor to his swordsmanship that led to a killing blow: the finishing blow wasn't a technique that required the sword or the feet to move.
Instead, you would manipulate your mana to manifest an explosive aura.
That was the finishing move of his swordsmanship.
Immediately after I had lost my right arm, I took an ambiguous stance.
There was only a moment of time to attack.
Everything was unfavorable for me, but I succeeded.
The blade of my dagger which was filled with my blazing aura, precisely lodged itself into the prior wound on the Demon King's left chest.
It only went as deep as finger.
However, that was enough.
It had been a injury that I had dug deeper into, bit by bit; it had all been for this one opportunity.
The dagger definitely pierced the Demon King's heart.
After I confirmed the sensation that I felt in my hand, I used my skill.
I used my blink to move backwards and widen the distance.
I saw the Demon King's beam as well as an attack from his tail pass by the space I had previously occupied.
Along with my dagger that had lodged into the Demon King's left chest, the standing Demon King's appearance was…
The Demon King's chest was on fire.
I don't know how much resistance to the fire attribute the Demon King has, but the injury was definitely fatal.
Since the dagger, the source of those flames, should have pierced all the way to the central part of the Demon King's heart.
I heard the Demon King's inaudible scream and confirmed once more.
* * * * * *
I lifted my right arm that had dropped onto the ground.
I roughly put it to my shoulder.
I swallowed down the elixir that I had held in my mouth.
I wonder how long it will take before it all reattaches.
It shouldn't take longer than a minute.
I looked at the enemies in the surroundings that had been watching the fight between myself and the Demon King.
Seregia was still hiding in the same place.
Conversely, the demons were descending the mountain.
I was pondering whether I should chase the monsters that were scared out of their wits.
I decided not to.
I turned my head and looked at the Demon King.
The Demon King was dying whilst standing.
The dagger was still lodged inside his left chest and from there, the flames were burning the Demon King's body and slowly spreading.
Despite that, the Demon King didn't look like he was stricken with grief.
Is he thinking that he'll just be unsummoned?
Since he'd received plenty of living sacrifices already, he had a peaceful attitude.
The Demon King suddenly opened his mouth and said something.
I didn't hear anything in my ears this time either.
However, the Demon King continued to move its mouth.
The Demon King said.
I responded flatly.
"Why are you feeling malice right now?"
"Did you say malice?"
"I can feel a human's emotions. Since the energy from their emotions is great raw energy. However, I can feel dark emotions right now."
Is that so.
That may be the case.
"It was right after you defeated this body, and achieved a heroic deed. To feel malice at that very moment, I'm surprised. Human. Shall I tell you the reason? The reason that you're frustrated?"
Frustration you say.
I don't think it's to the point of frustration.
"It's definitely towards the human bastards with their unique and dirty competition for positions. They will praise you but also be envious of you. They will create and cover the streets with false stories in order to defame you. It'll probably be accompanied by threats as well. With your strength, you'll be free, but what about the people around you?"
The Demon King was talking excitingly.
This bastard doesn't just fight with martial arts; he's the type of demon that deceives others through words, a type common in fairy tale books.
"Hoh. You seem to be feeling a bit better. It's really just as I say. Human. Hehehehe."
"It's not, though."
Of course, I did feel disappointed.
"It's not, you say? If that's the case, then why are you feeling so down? Go ahead and speak. Speak out that reason and deny my words, Human."
"Compared to my expectations, this was kind of boring."
"I'm saying you were too weak. You were spoon-fed so many live sacrifices. Don't you feel sorry for all the demons who sacrificed themselves for you?"
After I finished speaking, I rotated my right shoulder.
It's fully attached.
As expected of a high-rank elixir.
It was expensive, so it's effects were top-notch.
I picked up the Thousand Arms in the form of a longsword from the ground.
My shoulder's fully attached, so let's finish this and go.
"Ah, what is it?"
"You mere dirty and vulgar human! You dare look down upon me!"
Oh, he's mad, he's really mad.
Is he starting to reveal his hot-bloodedness?
Is this the part where the villain provokes the protagonist despicably and the furious protagonist awakens?
Keep it up.
"You were lucky to escape with your life, you fly! You don't even know your place!"
His monologue is long.
Normally, this is the part where the protagonist awakens in one go.
While the Demon King continues to talk on and on.
From the villain's perspective, a sense of crisis would be felt, which might make them wish to immediately kill the protagonist.
I briefly ignored the Demon King's chatter.
I scratched the back of my neck with the blade of my longsword and waited; the Demon King suddenly put up a serious expression, and spoke in calm voice.
"Run away and live! I'll give you a day! Within that time, try to run as far away from me as you can! I'll chase you and burn everything on this continent; I'll definitely catch you and show you hell right before your very eyes!"
When he was done talking, the Demon King lifted his head towards the sky and yelled loudly.
"I, as Sacrifice [......], [...], offer up all of my kin under my control to the God of Harvest in exchange for bringing out my full power here!”
The Demon King announced to the sky and suddenly the Demon King's body was engulfed in black smoke.
And I started to feel a tremendous concentration of mana from the smoke.
The Demon King had a tremendous amount of mana before, but right now, the amount of mana I felt from inside the smoke was almost incomparable.
This is the start of the 2nd phase.
My fingers quivered with anticipation for the second time.
My heart throbbed and my body became hot.
I tried launching my magic at the black smoke, but the wind arrow just pierced through the smoke.
Is it an attack nullifier?
It seemed like it had a similar effect to Idy's skill.
I briefly closed my eyes and I focused on sensing the mana.
My body trembled just from feeling the mana inside that smoke.
Motionlessly, I felt it.
They're completing one bowl.
[TL Note: It’s a Korean expression meaning that they’re combining to create one thing.]
It's not simply drawing up mana.
Something's being consolidated.
I had to guess the time when that thing would be finished.
The Demon King said he would give me a day.
However, based on the mana I feel, it seemed like it would only take a few minutes until the Demon King's completely regained his strength rather than one day.
I opened my eyes and opened my inventory.
I started to drink all of the strengthening medicine I had.
I didn’t need to drink them until now and whenever Kiri Kiri had recommended that I get them, I would buy and collect them one by one; and now, I’m drinking the ability strengthening medicine.
Next, I brought my longsword forward and concentrated.
It was the skill that the God of Dueling had gifted to me in his offer to become his disciple.
The effect would be that it would designate my foe.
Also, when I confront that foe, it would sharpen my combat abilities and my concentration.
The enhancement would fluctuate based on how strong my opponent was, as well as how threatening the enemy is to me.
Enemy targeting will change according to how I define the concept of an 'enemy'.
Therefore, it was a skill I hadn't been able to use until now.
That's because I hadn't met someone that I truly considered an enemy until now.
I used both Indomitable and Designate Opponent simultaneously because their effects stacked.
I started to feel strength surge into my body.
The excessive mana oozed from my body and shook my surroundings.
I felt like I could destroy everything with just a shake of my hand.
Once I got control over it, it wasn't easy to sit still and wait with all of this power ready.
Kiri Kiri had explained Designate Opponent like this.
It was a really useful skill for me.
Also, amongst its abilities, she said the most useful one was the fact that it would increase my concentration on the enemy.
I didn't understand it back then, but after using it, I think I understand it now.
I was fully concentrating into that black smoke.
My growth, the stage, clearing, or even other people or the gods instantly became irrelevant.
It would erase all those distracting thoughts and I would focus entirely and solely on the Demon King.
With my mind entirely focused on the Demon King, I waited for him to finish.
I also used my other skills, which not only included Talaria's Wings, which would complement my combat abilities, but also Soul Siphon and all the other skills that I could currently use.
After a small amount of time passed, I used Time Confinement.
I confirmed it within the world that seemed frozen.
Just as I had predicted, the moment the duration of Time Confinement is over, the Demon King’s transformation will be complete.
If that's the case, what I need to do is simple.
I need to match that timing and prepare my best attack.
The knight on the 16th floor had revealed several possibilities for me.
Originally, the knight had tried to tell me about the fundamentals of the swordsmanship, to a really high degree at that.
However, from what I listened to, his stories were the most valuable.
They told of his swordsmanship and the tales of the knight's past.
The connecting link between his tales that were like a children's story and the swordsmanship that the knight self-taught himself.
That was what was most valuable.
The knight's swordsmanship was defensive.
You would move less than your opponent and use less mana than them.
As you continued, you would aim at the opponent's blind spot and manifest your aura, turning things around and attaining victory at the last moment possible.
This straightforward strategy was studied and developed for centuries by the swordsmen of that world.
Also, the great swordsmen who left their names in history each possessed unique skills.
Everyone could share the defensive method of fighting, but each person's manifestation of aura would appear differently.
The techniques that manifested aura all had grandiose names.
They were filled with jargon and old names that couldn't be interpreted even with the knowledge of the time before Babel.
If you literally translate them, they generally have this kind of meaning:
Sun fall. Flame that starts from the ground and touches the sky. Lava rain that covers the sky. The flames of hell that won't extinguish for 7 days and nights.
Just by listening to them, you could tell how cringy the names were.
Also, the knight told me about those cringy techniques.
The knight himself didn't know how to use those techniques but he told me about their forms, their features, and their destructive power.
He also told me what the knights who created these techniques were like.
Using his stories as a foundation, I tried to recreate those techniques one by one.
And I had discovered a common point amongst all these techniques.
This simple swordsmanship that those great swordsmen had made, the thing that they had studied for centuries was the very thing that they couldn't complete.
The feat that the person who first invented the swordsmanship had performed was a sword that when swung once saved the empire and when swung a second time, saved the world, based on what the talkative knight said.
In his later years, when he swung his sword for the third time, a mere human was able to move a god and became a disciple to that god. The sword of that legendary swordsman.
The records had become too unreliable so no one earnestly believed in them and only the great swordsmen who had reached the stage of swordmaster obsessed over that delusion of that sword.
At the end of my long concentration, I felt my Time Confinement being undone.
Perfect timing. To add to that, I'm in perfect condition.
At this moment, I'm in the perfect position.
As soon as the Time Confinement was released, I stepped one step forward and pulled my sword back.
At the next moment, I stabbed with my sword with the entirety of my strength.
I thought it was difficult for even I, who had swung the sword, to cope with the strength that had been thrust forward.
No great swordsman could've even imitated it and ultimately, I succeeded in perfectly recreating that lost swordsmanship.
Light Sword, Type 1. Pierce.
Following the sword's straightforward movement, the world was illuminated.
The sudden thunderous sound burst forth, making my ears ring briefly before silence enveloped me.
I could barely narrow my eyes from the light piercing them, but I endured it.
With this much light, even if you close your eyelids, you'd go blind.
Rather than close my eyes, I kept my eyes open until the end, and watched as my attack struck.
It plowed through the black smoke and the blade was aimed straight at the Demon King; the blade stretched forth and towards the end, my sight which was completely focused on the blade went white.
My hearing, my sight, and my sense of touch were paralyzed, and thanks to that, I couldn't even witness the aftermath of my attack.
In my surroundings, the mana that I had discharged was still jolting around, so I couldn't even use a sensing skill to check anything.
I pushed down my curiosity regarding the state of the Demon King and myself and fainted peacefully.
[The God of Light is moved by you.]
[All the Gods of the White Holy Temple are watching you.]