Tsudwali has imbued the weapons and traps with some sort of stealth magic.
Senses like hearing and sight are of no use because of this.
But if we were to compare the affinity between me and Tsudwali’s talent as Illegitimate, I would be the one at an advantage.
“It is a pain that I can’t see you at all, but I have at least had experience butting heads with people like you!”
I have experienced attacks that are hard to see like the barrier of Rakura and the transparent throwing knives of Mix countless times.
My body can also manage to keep up with the sudden evasion of Instinct-sama.
Well, I honestly can’t see it so much that the awareness I am being attacked has been dimmed, which is pretty bad in itself though.
It is true that Tsudwali’s talent to hide things is impressive. I am sure there’s no one who can stand side by side in that area with her.
But when it comes to solely the physical front, she is somewhat below Ekdoik and Mix.
I at least wouldn’t be caught lacking when it comes to physical combat which I am grateful for.
“It not like…you can see it. That…your talent as Illegitimate, huh. It as Ritial-sama analyzed.” (Tsudwali)
“I see. That guy has at least the eyes to see the talent of someone, was it? Even though there’s no point in having super good eyes if the person himself is nuts though.” (Haaku)
“—Pointless provocation.” (Tsudwali)
“Ah, you can tell? I am a pretty frugal dude, you see. I am of the policy that I don’t put my hands on expensive stuff.” (Haaku)
I can hear her voice, but I can’t see her.
She has been throwing knives as an attack for a while now, but I don’t feel like she is leading me to a trap or she is approaching.
I don’t have a way to win unless I close the distance, but just mocking her esteemed Ritial is not effective enough, huh.
“I see…but your eye value bad!” (Tsudwali)
“Eh?! It is more effective than I thought?!” (Haaku)
The way Instinct-sama is kicking me has changed a bit.
I was only moving my body a bit until now, but this time it is telling me to move a lot.
Does that mean she has switched to close combat?! Aren’t you way too easy?!
I would like to land a counter, but it won’t be possible for me to step in carelessly as long as I can’t see her.
I will strike after I have avoided the attack and—
I felt sharp pain on the back of my feet when I moved back.
Did I step on something?!
I jump with the leg that’s okay and move to the top of some stacked wooden boxes.
Damn it, I stepped real hard there!
Why did Instinct-sama not react?!
“Your danger detection ability…reacts stronger the more dangerous it is…and lessens when small danger. If you attacked by a strong deadly trap…and get hit with a small trap…you won’t be able to deal with it.” (Tsudwali)
“…Hoh, I see. You are awfully good at analyzing.” (Haaku)
What I stepped on was most likely a small sharp object that didn’t threaten my life.
I knew with Instinct-sama that Tsudwali was setting something on the ground.
But what Instinct-sama was wary of was a different sharp object. There was most likely one with poison smeared on it.
She jumped in acting like she had been provoked, directing the warning of Instinct-sama to herself, and made me step on the sharp objects she scattered, huh.
She is more skilled than I thought.
If it had poison that took away the freedom of my body, Instinct-sama would have reacted.
But I really want to be spared from small attacks like this one.
It reminds me of the time when Ekdoik punched me black and blue.
“I was ordered…to keep you in place. Of course…trying to kill you just a result of this. I will corner you…until the end of your days.” (Tsudwali)
The wound on my leg is bad.
I most likely won’t be able to run properly if I continue stepping on sharp stuff, but in this current state, it is the usual me as long as I grit my teeth.
I won’t be able to win at all if this battle is drawn out.
I have to make this into a short decisive battle even if it is somewhat forceful… Alright.
“…That sounds like a confession of love. I might have accidentally accepted it if it had been together with alcohol… Well, I am relieved after hearing that. Basically, you will come after me…right?!” (Haaku)
I jump with enough strength to send the wooden boxes flying, and head to a different door from the one I entered.
The floor can’t be used anymore because there’s already countless blades scattered on the ground. That’s why…
“Using walls and wooden boxes…as footstools…?!” (Tsudwali)
“They are normally places you wouldn’t run on after all. You haven’t set any on the walls, right?!” (Haaku)
There’s a lot of things inside the wooden box, and I have already confirmed in the battle before that it is stable enough to use as footstools.
If I just kick the walls and the wooden boxes here and there, I can advance without putting my feet on the ground.
Also, Tsudwali scattering sharp stuff in the battle before means that at the other side of this door…there’s no small annoying traps!
I kick open the door and run into the corridor.
Judging from the reaction of Instinct-sama, there seems to be a lot of highly deadly traps everywhere.
Well, she must have at least thought I would escape from the room after all.
So…alright, over there. I will use that to make my move!
That man really does do things that betray expectations just as Ritial-sama said.
The path that he came from may be blocked, but to think he would run deeper into enemy territory.
But the path ahead is blocked, so he will be trapped in a dead-end anyways.
The exit of this place can’t even be found without the key I have.
I did say I would corner him to his death, but there’s no need for me to chase him.
I can just increase the number of traps here until Haakudoku comes back.
A thunderous sound suddenly rang deep inside the corridor.
Haakudoku is the only one there.
It is clear that he is doing something. But what?
Did he grow desperate because I am not chasing after him?
A thunderous sound rang again.
It is somewhat muffled compared to before.
What is he scheming? Is he doing something to draw me in?
You would need quite the big technique in order to create a sound this loud.
Is he wasting mana in order to draw me in?
…It can’t be helped. Let’s check what’s going on while invisible.
I go out to the corridor and move to the place where Haakudoku went to.
I advance carefully while considering the possibility that he may be hiding in a corner, the ceiling, or the shadow of something.
When I am seriously hiding my presence, I can erase not only my mana and figure, but also the sound and even my scent.
Haakudoku should be able to understand that he won’t be able to notice my approach.
In that case, he has set some sort of contact-type trap?
If it is a trap that is activated through contact like clappers, it should allow him to notice my presence.
But I wouldn’t be caught by such obvious traps.
I will be arriving at the dead-end soon.
I have not seen Haakudoku yet, so he must be at the other side of this corner.
Should I make my move? No, I should just check what’s happening, and retreat once again.
No matter what he is scheming, he can’t escape from this place as long as he doesn’t defeat m—
“—Not here…? No way…that…that’s impossible!” (Tsudwali)
There’s no signs of Haakudoku in the dead-end.
He was hiding somewhere on the way here? That’s not possible.
Even if a rookie like him were to try and hide, there’s no way he would be able to deceive my eyes.
Then, this is…!
There’s a giant hole on the wall of this dead-end.
It is a small hole that only one person would be able to go through, but it is without doubt a hole that a person dug up.
Could it be that Haakudoku dug a hole on the wall and headed to a different location?!
It wouldn’t be that difficult considering the location.
If Haakudoku and his group have memorized the map of this place, they should be able to tell immediately which corridor is connected with which.
This is bad.
If Haakudoku manages to arrive at the place of Ritial-sama… I must hurry!
I enter the hole and go deeper in.
I heard the thunderous sound less than 10 times.
It shouldn’t be that far even if it were to be connected somewhe—?!
What. Something is strange.
The inside of the hole is earth. It is obviously a different sensation compared to when I stepped into the corridor, but was earth this soft?
“—Thanks for chasing after me. Let me give you a hot embrace as thanks. Accept it!” (Haaku)
I judged I had been set up by Haakudoku once I heard his voice.
I tried to take distance at once, but an astonishing shockwave came from deep in the hole, and was sent to the opposite side of the hole while still unable to move.
I landed my trump card on Tsudwali even if it can’t be called a direct hit!
I was honestly not sure if Tsudwali was going to chase after me.
Cause you know, they all say that you can’t find the places that she has tinkered with, right?
In that case, this place might have an exit, but the chances of it being hidden by Tsudwali are high.
However, if I were to create a new path to escape, she would have no choice but to chase after me, right?
I had a part of the devil on my right arm transformed into the earth at the entrance of the hole, and made it so that I would be able to tell deep in the hole I was hiding the moment she got on it.
You got way too caught up with what you can and can’t see.
You weren’t even cautious just because it looked like earth.
Well, she would have been able to discover it in an instant if she had used detection magic, but if she were to use something like that, I would be able to tell her location too.
I judged that she wouldn’t use detection magic since she is keeping herself hidden.
I carefully come out from the hole just in case of any retaliation.
I was fine when I opened the hole, but I am now covered in scratches because I used my trump card in a cramped space to dig further in.
The attack that send Tsudwali flying was also not directly onto her, but directed on the corner deeper into the hole, so…I got hit with the shockwave so hard.
Tsudwali was smashed onto the wall at the opposite side of the hole.
The fact that I can see that means that she can’t maintain her invisibility magic due to the attack just now.
“So that’s your bare face.” (Haaku)
The outfit of Tsudwali isn’t that rare.
It is the type of outfit that a female adventurer specializing in scouting would wear.
Her face gives that serious impression just like I could imagine from our conversation, and the wound left on her face is just as I imagined.
It is different from the claw tattoo of Girista. This is a real scar she has.
Close to half of her face has a burn mark, and it looks as if it goes down her neck all the way to her torso.
Moreover, her left eye seems to have a scar made by a blade.
It looks pretty old, but…judging from the age of Tsudwali, those scars must have been made when she was a child.
“It seems like you were awfully confident in your invisibility magic, but how about putting on a cloth or something if you are going to get so angry when someone sees it.” (Haaku)
Aah aah, she must have quite the sense of inferiority about her face. You can see those types sometimes within the adventurers, you know. The type whose personalities get warped because the wounds they get don’t disappear.
“As if I would…tell you…!” (Tsudwali)
“I ain’t gonna make it into a competition of who is the most miserable. I don’t even want to talk about it. Even if we were to compare how our parents abandoned us or what they did to us, there’s nothing to enjoy about it.” (Haaku)
It seems like Tsudwali is trying to get up, but there was quite a lot of damage from my trump card, so she can’t get up well.
Well, it is the kind of technique that would blow up your chest if you were to get hit directly by it. She didn’t have a barrier like Rakura after all.
“Aah, uhm…it is weird for me to be saying this as people trying to kill each other, but…how about putting a stop to this already?” (Haaku)
“Don’t joke aro—” (Tsudwali)
“I am not joking around. You and I are in a relationship where it is either your neck or mine, but the fight is settled already. The guts of wanting to stand up even after those injuries is impressive, but you haven’t used healing magic.” (Haaku)
If this were Ekdoik, he would have minimized the pain with healing magic and used his chains to get himself up.
In that case, the battle would continue and it would be until either one dies.
There’s no sign of Tsudwali healing her wounds.
This girl must have been raising her own talent only, and didn’t put her hands on other areas.
It is kinda similar to me.
“This much…?!” (Tsudwali)
“If you are going to stand up, I simply have to finish you. There’s no point in you disappearing now, and it won’t scare me.” (Haaku)
I hold my tonfas and hit her chest.
I am holding back, but it was still pretty effective.
Her ribs and all that stuff must be snapping.
“That…your attempt…at pity?! You the same as the others! Thinking I am…ugly!” (Tsudwali)
“I am indeed looking at you as the one that lost, but that’s all. Also, you say you are ugly, but your face itself is pretty nice.” (Haaku)
She is a decent good looking woman, just that she has scars. What’s big is that she has a serious face contrary to Girista. I do think Girista is scary even without her tattoo after all.
“Don’t cry just because of a few scars on your face. Something like that…see?” (Haaku)
I sharpen the claws of my right arm devil and injure my own face.
I can’t replicate the burn marks, but the feel of the scar on my left eye should be almost the same as hers.
“Aah, it hurts. But that’s all. This is just a mere wound. It hurts right now, but the pain disappears soon after, right? It is true that it was painful for you, and it can’t be helped that you would remember the past since it is a scar, but…you were picked up by Ritial and saved, right? If you are really going to fight for the sake of Ritial, stop being tied up by the past already. Show him how you look now that you have been saved.” (Haaku)
“I have no intention of comparing who was the most tragic one between us two, but there’s no doubt that we both were saved by someone. If you were to die just showing yourself dragging your past to the person that saved you…you would have regrets, right?” (Haaku)
In the end, I don’t want to deal the finishing blow on her because I don’t want to have a bad aftertaste.
I was saved by Bro Gestaf.
That’s why I decided to use my whole life to pay him back.
I will become a right hand that he is proud of, and show him that he has saved me this much.
“Don’t just shut up… Well, you and I must have different ways of thinking, so just forget what I said just now. I am not going to be killing you today out of my own selfishness. You won’t be able to fight anymore with those wounds anyways. I will stop Ritial, but I don’t plan on killing him. If you have grudges despite that, come at me any time. I will face you at that time and kill you properly.” (Haaku)
I chuckled, but Tsudwali’s completely emotionless face is painful.
Damn it, I really suck at playing cool…
Let’s just regroup with Masetta and the others.