V2 Chapter 56: The Shape of Strength

Laughter is heard. A shrill laughter that goes, “Hehehe, Hehehe.”

A voice that is both hideous and unpleasant. Ever since Wisteria began hearing this voice in her dreams, she lost her peaceful sleep.

Frankly, her perception hasn’t changed much since she became aware of the existence of Anima. The thought of whether this thing truly represents another version of her constantly drifts in Wisteria’s heart.

Even now, the demon god is laughing. He is laughing at the sight of the devastating storm wreaking havoc in the Catalan desert.

When a horde of monsters approached, they were trapped by a terrifying storm of ice, and immediately after, a massive stream of light swallowed the ice storm, coloring the field of view silver.

Wisteria doesn’t understand what’s happening. But there’s one thing she knows. The intense battle of the divine domain is unfolding before her eyes. If she were to step outside of the invisible barrier that Sora created, even for a moment, Wisteria would surely be annihilated instantly.

All she can do is watch in silence. She needs to at least not interfere with Sora, who is fighting.

The swordmaster spills a self-deprecating smile at her own disgraceful appearance. Perhaps the demon god is laughing at his pitiful host. If that’s the case, then this might be the first time Wisteria has been able to communicate with her Anima — such were the negative thoughts that captured Wisteria at that moment.


“Yes, yes!?”

Suddenly called out by Sora, Wisteria hurriedly lifts her downcast face. Since she hadn’t anticipated it at all, it may have sounded like a “huh!?” depending on how you heard it.

In contrast to the flustered Wisteria, Sora asked calmly.

“I have a question. Do you have any way to handle this attack? Specifically, I’d appreciate if you could take over for about ten seconds.”

Hearing this, Wisteria, while stunned, took another look at the scene before her.

Sora was raising his left hand to build a wall of magical power, holding back the silver turbid flow surging from the west. It was like a dam holding back a flood, and Wisteria’s vision clearly projected the two energies fiercely clashing.

A deafening roar. The magical spray scattered by the aftermath of the collision.

Just being exposed to this spray would probably melt Wisteria’s body like candy. There’s no way she could take over. She would have to muster all her strength and it would be an achievement if she could endure even half a second.

When she told him this in a trembling voice, Sora nodded as if deep in thought.

“I see. In that case, we’ll have to play it straight.”

“Straight…you say?”

“Yeah, we continue closing the distance.”

Sora says that while blocking the enemy’s attack, he will walk towards them. For the umpteenth time, Wisteria was speechless.

Perhaps anticipating her reaction, Sora continued his explanation.

There’s no guarantee that the enemy’s power will run out if we simply endure. We could try to deflect the enemy’s beam like a shield deflecting a spearhead, but the effective range of this enemy’s attack is too wide to deflect properly. If we make a mistake, the balance might be disturbed by our attempt to deflect it, and we could be blown away.

Therefore, it might be the best strategy to close the distance with the enemy while absorbing the attack head-on, without resorting to tricks like deflection – Sora said so.

Not only did he say it, but he put it into action. As he repelled the unimaginable energy head-on, he moved forward, stomping on the ground with each step.

It goes without saying, but the enemy is in the far-off desert. It’s so distant that it can’t even be seen in Wisteria’s field of vision. How much time would it take to close the distance with this enemy by walking?

And it’s not just about time. The amount of magical power needed to ward off the enemy’s attacks during that time would be tremendous.

Moreover, even walking in the current Kataran desert is difficult. The high heat is causing the surrounding sand to melt. If one steps in it, their foot would be burnt to the bone in an instant.

Sora’s “straightforward” method was obviously a reckless attempt in anyone’s eyes. Probably, even Sora understands that. Yet, Sora acted, perhaps believing that, even if reckless, it’s better than standing still.

It’s better to act recklessly than to sit back and wait aimlessly for the situation to improve. This is also to prevent giving the initiative to the enemy.

“I thought… he’s strong.”

Compared to Wisteria, who was crushed by the demon’s laughter and her own powerlessness, and could only muster a self-mocking smile, there was no comparison.

There could even be the option to abandon Wisteria, who is a hindrance, and fight. If so, there must certainly be countless ways to fight.

But Sora didn’t abandon Wisteria. Probably, he didn’t even entertain such an option.

Upon considering this far, Wisteria felt like she understood another reason why Sora chose his reckless method.

He probably thought that if they simply endured the enemy’s attack without doing anything, Wisteria might start thinking of something strange. Wisteria’s original objective was to lay herself to rest before being taken over by an evil spirit. And as mentioned before, the power to reduce Wisteria to ashes is now rampant outside the barrier.

He probably thought it was dangerous, Sora did. That’s why he indicated a ‘future’ by taking action. He also distracted her by talking to her. Perhaps he even noticed Wisteria’s self-deprecating smile.

In this critical situation, how could he care for a weak, hindering person like her?

“I thought… he’s strong.” Strong not just in power, but in heart as well.

And then she thought that this might be the answer to her previous question – how can one maintain a human form despite possessing such power?

No matter how immense the power one harbors, they don’t warp, they don’t get swallowed up, they don’t flinch.

Wisteria felt a dizziness-like envy at this way of being that contrasted so greatly with her own, which was easily unsettled by a single laugh from Pazuzu.

Then, at that moment, a change occurred in the deafening roar that had been pressing on her ears.

At the same time, Sora slightly furrowed his brow and opened his mouth.

“The power has increased another notch… No, it focusing its attack? It seems it getting impatient over there.”


“Since an enemy who would usually be blown away immediately is not being blown away no matter how much time passes, it’s trying to concentrate its power in one place. It’s a surprisingly short-tempered mythical creature. There should still be plenty of magic power left.”

Sora suggests that this might also be the reason it cannot sustain the attack for a long time.

“Like, it might end up involving their own allies in the vicinity because of the extreme heat, for example.”

“…If your conjecture is correct, it would mean that there are newcomers among the enemies.”

“Hmm, indeed. Well, regardless of the reason, it’s a fact that the enemy has changed their tactics. This is where we should strike – Wisteria.”


This time she managed to answer properly.

“By principle, if the power is restrained, the attack range will narrow down. If done right, we may even be able to deflect the enemy’s Breath. When I divert the Breath, ride on the Clau Soras and let the people in the Reero Oasis know. The enemy is Behemoth.”

“Behemoth… do you understand?”

“Yeah, the Anima told me. It seems there was some reaction on your side too?”

It was clear he was referring to the Demon Lord Pazuzu, and Wisteria inadvertently looked down.

“I can hear the laughter… but nothing else…”

“I see. Well, there’s no need to panic.”

“In response to Wisteria’s drooping spirit, lamenting her inability to be useful in a crucial moment, Sora responds without a hint of blame.

“I’ve told you before, each anima is unique, and the way to master the Soul equipment is different for everyone. You should take it slow and steady.”

“But in this moment of crisis, I’m of no use at all—”

She begins, but realizing that she’s repeating a futile complaint, Wisteria closes her mouth.

Seeing this, Sora wears a slightly troubled expression for a moment, but soon seems to come up with an idea, deliberately lifting the corners of his mouth in an exaggerated manner.

“If you want to be of use to me, how about this? If we manage to survive this crisis together, promise to grant me a single wish. That might give me a bit more motivation.”

“…? Well, if that would help, I’d grant you not just one wish but as many as you want.”

As Wisteria responds with some confusion, Sora looks troubled again.

Immediately after, the roaring sound intensifies, and the pressure of the enemy’s attack strengthens. Sora ends his conversation with Wisteria and turns back towards the west, where the enemy is. His face seems momentarily relieved, though Wisteria probably imagined it.

As evidence of that—

“Start moving ten seconds after I do. Get ready.”

The next words from Sora are resolute, showing not a trace of disturbance.

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