V2 Chapter 108: Remnants

Suddenly, a towering castle wall loomed before him — that was the only way Utsurui could describe the feeling he had in that instant.

The young man in black exuded an overwhelming combat intent.

He was the other Soul Equipment user who had just defeated Dark bees. The pressure emanating from him was suffocating; even standing before him made Utsurui’s skin crawl. The Kei energy flowing out from him was so dense that it seemed bottomless. Whether it was Kei quantity or Kei quality, he surpassed Ursula in both.

This young man was on par, if not superior, to Kagari, the younger brother of the King of Nakayama whom he had fought earlier. This meant that he was one of the strongest opponents Utsurui had ever encountered in his life.

Utsurui didn’t bother asking who he was. This wasn’t an opponent he could afford to take lightly.

Being on par with Kagari meant that Utsurui’s Gero prison technique wouldn’t work on him. The only chance of winning was to make the first move.

In less than a blink of an eye, Utsurui processed all these thoughts.

Then, without hesitation, he redirected the Holy Devouring attack he had aimed at Ursula toward the young man, unleashing a slash of purple lightning.

The young man, prioritizing protecting Ursula over countering Utsurui’s strike, was slow to respond. Instead of blocking the attack with his Soul Equipment in his left hand, he tried to catch it with his bare right hand.

Perhaps the young man didn’t react slowly but judged that he could easily fend off Utsurui’s attack barehanded. He was, after all, an extraordinary user of Kei, and the shield enveloping his body was as strong as a diamond.

If that was the case, it was an unfortunate miscalculation for him and a stroke of luck for Utsurui. No matter how much Kei he used to armor himself, it couldn’t defend against Holy Devouring.

Indeed, Utsurui’s blade effortlessly sliced through the young man’s right hand, which was enveloped in dense Kei, deeply severing it. His blade cut through flesh, shattered bones, and broke the right elbow.

Now, the young man’s right elbow was hanging by a thread, almost only skin keeping it connected. Naturally, wielding a sword was now out of the question; his combat abilities were presumably halved.

At least, that’s what Utsurui thought— until he looked into the young man’s eyes and realized he was mistaken.

There was no surprise, pain, or anger in the young man’s eyes. All Utsurui saw was a terrifyingly sharp combat intent.

At the same time, Utsurui noticed an unmistakable feature on the young man’s face when he looked closely. A faint voice murmured “Shikibu.”

The next moment, the young man’s mouth opened wide, and a shout erupted, resembling the sound of a cannon.



That was a Kei technique known as Kei Blast, activated by voice alone.

Had Utsurui’s blade been free, he could have sliced through the invisible artillery of Kei Blast. However, having just severed his opponent’s arm, there was no way he could guard against the Kei technique unleashed in the next moment.

—So that’s why he chose to catch my preemptive strike with his bare hand, instead of repelling it with Soul Equipment!

The young man hadn’t overestimated his own Kei; he had sacrificed his right arm as part of a calculated move.

The moment Utsurui realized this, an impact like being hit by a mass of steel surged through his body, shattering the demon mask covering his face.

Instead of resisting on the spot, Utsurui opted to propel himself backward. By doing so, he hoped to at least lessen the impact of the Kei Blast.

It was the best decision he could make under the circumstances, yet the pressure that struck him still made his body creak. On top of already being severely injured by Ursula’s blade, this new impact was more than he could bear.

Utsurui spat blood as he soared through the air before crashing into the wall of the fortress. A moment later, he coughed up even more blood.

The extensive blood loss clouded his consciousness, and he was on the verge of blacking out. However, right before he lost consciousness completely, Utsurui gritted his teeth and forced his head up.

What he saw was the young man holding the Soul Equipment in his right hand—not his left. It was the very right hand that Utsurui had almost severed moments ago.

The leader of the Fangxiang clan inwardly groaned, “Impossible.”

But reality would not change on account of his disbelief.

The young man swung his Soul Equipment and released another Kei Blast, not at Utsurui, but at the Dark bees swarming from the sky.

The slashed Dark bees scattered fluids as they spiraled in the air. The young man’s movement and the potency of his Kei Blast were not those of someone injured. He had managed to heal his severe injuries in the incredibly short span since Utsurui being thrown against the wall by Kei Blast.

It was probably due to the power of Anima, but it was absurd nonetheless.

Utsurui smiled through his blood-soaked lips.

Between Kagari, Ursula, and this young man, why had such exceptionally skilled users, who defied their apparent age, gathered here at this time and place? If it was coincidence, then his own luck—and that of the Temple of the Light God—was extraordinarily bad. Such was Utsurui’s conclusion, tinged with the irony of the situation.

Just then, another swordsman appeared from the building where the earlier conflict had taken place. She joined the young man in fighting the Dark bees. Although her skill was evident, what caught Utsurui’s attention more was the newcomer’s appearance.

Striking white hair visible even from a distance. It closely resembled that of Kurt, the Green Woods banner soldier whom Utsurui had recently cut down in this area.

This fact made Utsurui recall a conversation with his deceased friend Shinto.

“But Kurt is actually here! During this period when Mount Ganzan is in rebellion, it’s too much of a coincidence for a Green Woods banner soldier to suddenly come to Taikouzan. I can only think it’s by Shikibu’s orders!”

“It’s not entirely coincidental. Likely, Shikibu’s will is involved in some way. However, it can be done without revealing any secrets. Look back, Shinto. Were this young man’s words and actions truly those of someone who knows the secret?”

When the words he himself had uttered—that Shikibu’s will is involved in some way—overlapped with the scene before him, a flash of insight ran through Utsurui’s mind.

“…I see. So that’s how it is, Shikibu! If everything is according to your plotted design… then the key would be that…ugh!”

As he tried to rise impulsively in response to his own realization, Utsurui collapsed back onto the ground, unable to stand. Accumulated fatigue and repeated injuries had drained him of even the strength to stand up by himself.

Feeling his vision being enveloped in darkness, Utsurui still thought of Mitsurugi Shikibu, who continued to stand in his way, filling his heart with regret.

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