Wow… Look at my body…
Isn’t this too much?
I slowly got up and checked my leg’s condition.
It is completely busted.
I think it will be hard to move my leg right away even if I drank a potion.
That means I’ll have to drink an elixir.
However, I don’t think my opponent will let me have the chance.
The opponent utilized both archery and magic. She was constantly trying to keep at a distance, and I was constantly dashing into close that distance. This cycle repeated itself again and again in the battle.
I’ll end up with an hole in my head if I carelessly tried to drink an elixir.
Wait, maybe it won’t end with just an hole in my head?
I looked at the arrows that were stuck on the surrounding.
They were the arrows that I dodged so far.
They all had blasted the ground with terrifying impact, leaving a one-meter crater in its wake.
Does that make common sense? Those?
Is that really an arrow? Even a cannon won’t be able to make a round crater like those on the stone floor.
Anyway, what’s even more surprising is the arrows that are still stuck at the centers of these craters.
What are these arrows made of?
There was mana swirling around the arrows. It seemed that the arrows dealt damage over time even after its initial impact.
I’ll definitely die if I get struck by one of these arrows.
I can see the woman bringing another arrow toward the bow.
Let’s try to buy some time.
“… That’s odd.”
I was half gambling at this point, but the opponent responded.
I’m so grateful that you did.
It looks like she is interested in having a conversation.
Let’s drag this on and formulate my plan while she talks.
“No matter how I think about it…”
Kiri Kiri definitely said that 17th Floor would end quickly.
Did she say that because 17th Floor stage only has a short duel against one individual?
It is odd.
The difficulty is off the charts; it is excessive.
Even the Master Monk at the 13th Floor was not this hard.
It is even weirder that Kiri Kiri didn’t give me any advice despite its incredible difficulty.
It looks like I’ll need more information about this.
If this happened simply because Kiri Kiri made a mistake, then I shall have my revenge.
This time for sure, I’ll purchase each and every kind of cake and eat them all in front of her!
“I don’t remember you, yet…”
That woman knows me.
She definitely knows me.
She is familiar with my skills and attack patterns.
Not only does she know recognize my Blink ability, which is a power skill, she has accurate knowledge of my physical strength and speed and had been responding accordingly.
On top of this, she had been preparing things as if she knew what I was going to do ahead of time. This cannot be more trickier.
I could understand it if she is a special kind of opponent who can find out about my stats. In addition to that, she could be quick at figuring things out or possessing a cheat-like power skill of premonition. In such a case, they would make sense.
It is a ridiculous idea, but just how many things in Hell difficulty were not ridiculous?
However, it was hard to accept the look on her face before the battle when she looked at me.
I am pretty good at reading people’s faces.
To read the opponent’s face and make preparations, I trained myself by practicing. I got used to reading faces so I could understand various non-human beings that I was going to continue to run into in the future.
That woman was definitely glad to see me, or she was happy.
However, right after that, she panicked. She looked a little disappointed too.
She seemed a little petrified during the battle, but well, I’ve been seeing such faces all the time, so I don’t find it surprising.
Anyway, I don’t know how, but that woman is not just able to see my stats.
Somehow, directly or indirectly, she knows me. That is highly likely.
I wrap my head around this.
How does she know me?
Is she like a manager?
Like Kiri Kiri, had she been watching the challengers and entered as the boss monster at the 17th Floor?
If she is someone related to the SYSTEM, then Kiri Kiri probably could not tell me the information about her.
I’ll need more information regarding this too.
Instead of Kiri Kiri… it would be better to hear from her directly.
At the moment, it is not important to know how she knows me.
I can ask after the battle is over.
What’s important now is babbling on with keywords that work well with her responses and buying myself more time.
What should I say next?
I collected my thoughts for a moment and decided,
I heightened my focus even more.
Before I finish this sentence, I should think of as many things as I can.
I don’t think I’ll have the time to think about things besides the battle after this.
She really is a ridiculous opponent.
She is superior to me in each and every aspect. It seems she even has information about me.
Still, I think I can beat her.
She appears to be impossible to beat only when stats are concerned, but now that I have fought her, I think it is feasible.
If it was me from the usual days, I would have died a long time ago.
However, I’m facing a life-threatening danger now. It’s been a while. It feels like the senses that were asleep for a long time are waking up.
As I thought, a human being needs danger in their lives to reach greater heights.
Lately, I had not experienced any danger in particular.
Let alone danger, I didn’t even feel nervous.
When I was fighting the doppelganger at the 16th Floor, even then, I was no more nervous than how it was when I played rock-paper-scissors with Kiri Kiri.
I mean, I was not nervous at all.
Despite me saying to myself frequently that I should not become complacent and let my guard down, it was only natural that my attitude became loose with the lack of challenge.
However, now that a life threatening danger was breathing down my neck, my old senses are coming back online.
Desperately wanting to survive, I was analyzing and planning.
In less than five minutes, I was able to achieve growth that were more than what I gained from the training in the past few days.
I was able to use the Aura Blade with greater stability. I was able to feel the cores inside the summon monsters that the woman summoned and successfully destroyed them.
Through mental tactics, I was able to predict her next move and survive.
Not only that, I was able to even counterattack.
All right, all right.
I sure sound like a crazy bastard, but really.
It feels amazing.
“… you know me?”
I have more than enough chance for victory.
That woman is not able to fully utilize her power.
Even with that, she is overwhelmingly stronger than me, but…
I am awakened from the danger of the situation; adrenaline like no other is pumping through my veins. Even though her overwhelming power skews victory toward here, her unfamiliarity in her own powers is greatly affecting my chance of victory.
Even her shockwave, which destroyed my leg, was an example of her unfamiliarity with her power.
If I didn’t turn the leg at the last moment, I would have been more heavily injured.
Actually, if I didn’t partially dodge the arrow, I would have been open to further attacks and lost the battle.
The shockwave was that powerful.
What if that woman could adjust the shockwave’s angle at a precise moment?
Instead of destroying the leg, it would have cut off my leg.
That woman definitely possesses incredible power, but she is lacking in finesse.
Usually, those in a hurry to try out new powers that they just acquired show these kinds of weaknesses.
Many challengers in Tutorials were like this.
I should aim for this flaw if I can.
Also… Oh I forgot.
I need to continue to talk.
If I don’t, she will think something is up.
I must not let this conversation’s flow be interrupted.
I said the wrong words!
Word selection was completely wrong!
Disappointed? What’s disappointing?
That does not even sound relevant to what I was talking about earlier.
Due to this mistake, I felt like I was about to roll off a cliff. At that moment, I saw the look on the woman’s face.
She was panicking.
Someone so strong is unnerved from me saying I am disappointed?
Wouldn’t it be more becoming of her to snort and say I am pathetic to say such a thing against her?
Anyway, let’s go with it.
“You possess great powers, yet is that all you can do with them?”
The woman’s face is crumpling.
She is more shaken up than I thought she would be.
Anyway, I gained time, shook up the opponent’s mental game and even grabbed the lead.
The conversation was a success.
Now, let’s try it.
There are three wolf monsters left. However, they are not able to catch up to my speeds.
The distance between me and the woman is not significant too.
As for my leg… It is not healed yet.
From what I feel, I think my bones are completely shattered.
I think it would be best for me to fight assuming I don’t have one of my legs.
The woman was moving her mouth. It seemed she wanted to say something in protest.
I don’t have a reason to listen to what she has to say.
Actually, I should aim for the right timing instead.
When she is about do something irrelevant to the battle; when she is focused on something else, I should aim for that moment.
When she started to talk, I used Blink.
I moved to the front of her and swung my sword. However, the sword was blocked by her wrist band.
It sounded like metals clashing, and there were sparks.
Above the wrist band, it seemed a transparent circular shape blocked my sword and stopped the attack.
From what I feel, it is a small round shield.
It was a surprise attack, but it was neutralized because of this strange wrist band.
Instead of drawing distance, I used Blink to move to a half a step closer to her to take the lead again.
Now, I was using Blink to close the distance, and the woman was trying to put distance between us again. The cycle was repeating itself, just when I thought I had broken it.
I didn’t know for certain how many ways the woman had to avoid my attacks. I had no reason to play along with her battle of attrition.
I saved the Blink and continued another attack.
I used the shield on my left hand and smacked her.
After that, I turned the sword on the right in to a short sword and tried to stab her stomach.
It sounds like metals clashing.
It was not by a layer of mana.
The sword was blocked by something that closer to a magic shield.
Damn it. She sure has all sorts of abilities.
Instead of falling over from the shock, she maintained her stance.
She threw a counter right away.
With the center of weight pulled to her back, her kick came at me like a whip. I blocked it with my right hand.
My stance was not sturdy at the moment, so this was the best I could do.
I was pushed far back.
My right arm was done for.
From that move just now, I confirmed that she was superior even in raw physical strength.
The problem is the next one.
The problem that was bigger than my right arm was the fact that I could not move my left leg.
I was pushed to back, and I could not move one of my legs. This meant I could not respond to the next attack.
However, it seemed the woman didn’t realize this. Instead of continuing to attack, she retreated.
It was the skill where an invisible object lifted her and moved her back.
I must not let this drag on.
I saw the wolf monsters charging at me.
I changed the shield on my left to a sword.
With the flight effect of Talaria's Wings and the right leg, I dashed forward, and while I was in the air, I used another skill.
It was going to have a direct effect on the opponent. I hoped to draw her attention away with it. However…
There was a strange magic response from her body, and the Soul Steal’s effect was nullified.
The woman saw me leaping, and she started to form a barrier in front of her.
She used a barrier instead of avoiding. It seems there is a waiting time until she can use her dodge skill.
However, that’s not a good move for her.
In a time like this, she should aim for melee combat instead or move her body to dodge and buy herself more time.
She is physically stronger, and she is faster, so that is far more effective.
It seems her ability to make right decisions is struggling because I took command of the battle’s flow.
Against the barrier that was forming rapidly, I swung my sword layered with Aura Blade.
The incomplete Aura Blade that I created has a special response when it collides with a defensive measure such as a barrier that’s strengthened with magic.
When it collides with another’s mana, it explodes.
Promptly after the explosion, I used Blink to the top.
I think I’m going to die, seriously.
My body is wounded all over.
The woman was also within the explosion’s range, but she was standing behind a barrier, so she was probably protected to some extent.
In other words, the attack just now was really close to a suicide attack.
After using Blink to teleport above her I looked, and the woman had her eyes closed.
Was she not able to keep her eyes open because of the explosion?
Perhaps she didn’t expect the explosion, or she had a slow reaction time. It is one of the two.
Anyway, thanks to that, I think this will work out easily.
I quickly recited a magic incantation, desperately hoping it would work.
I got a feel for it from feeling the sensation from the magic that the woman used and the cores that the monsters had. However, I’m trying this out without any practice.
I don’t know what’s my chance of success.
As I fell from towards the woman from above, she looked at me.
She was lowering her stance and moving her arm. It seemed she was going to block it with the wrist band like earlier.
With that, a wind arrow was shot. The woman blocked it by opening a magic shield from her wrist band.
However, because she was stopping the magic attack, her guard had a gap.
That was enough. The wind arrow served its purpose.
The blade on my left hand was already enhanced with Aura Blade.
Unlike earlier, it was completely calm.
The blade was quickly swung downwards, and it cleanly cut off the woman’s shoulder.
Blood gushed out from her shoulder like fountain, and the dismembered arm fell to the ground. Watching this, I became certain.