The nerves in his eyes and his entire brains were fiercely hurting, as they always did during training.
But what was different this time was, Ayrin felt the surrounding darkness suddenly vanish. Everything became clear; everything in his surroundings seemed to have slowed down.
“The pressure from a powerful enemy like this really turned out to be useful! Haha!”
Ayrin couldn’t hold back a proud, hearty laugh.
“You can still laugh? Ayrin, what’s so funny!” Charlotte was shouting like this in her mind, but her inner fear also seemed to vanish like clouds along with Ayrin’s laughter.
“Here I come!”
Successfully invoking the “Eyes of the Dark Goddess” in the midst of battle filled Ayrin with confidence. Laughing, he stopped Dragon Scale Assimilation.
The light glinting from his golden scales vanished. A ghastly red light flashed in its place. His entire body started to melt into a puddle of blood.
His hands still hanging at his sides, Lotton looked down at his feet.
A puddle of blood was also oozing out of the ground at his feet.
But then, he suddenly backhanded his right fist behind him. At the same time, a layer of pale-white particles appeared all along the surface of his right arm.
“Did he find out?”
“He can actually see through the secret of this skill and find where I’m hidden?”
Ayrin’s genuine body was behind Lotton at this time. Lotton’s hand slapped at Ayrin with incomparable accuracy, the pale-white particles on his arm seeming to carry a terrifying corroding power with them.
But Ayrin wasn’t apprehensive in the least.
Because the only reason he’d launched this skill was to get closer to Lotton so he could rely on the Eyes of the Dark Goddess to fight with Lotton at close range!
Lotton’s hand was so fast he would never have been able to react in time usually. But now, his body was already on the move the instant Lotton sent his hand slapping backward!
Lotton’s hand flew past him, almost grazing him. With a “Bang,” his punch landed viciously on the middle of Lotton’s back.
Ayrin and Charlotte were both overjoyed when they heard that bang.
However, Ayrin suddenly felt something wrong.
His eyes met with Lotton’s eyes just at this moment, their gazes clashing. There was only a pensive and confused expression in Lotton’s eyes, but there wasn’t even any expression of pain whatsoever.
Lotton hand that’d grazed past Ayrin suddenly pressed down, sweeping on Ayrin.
Ayrin directly crashed to the ground from the slap, then bounced back up.
A row of pale-white particles sank inside his clothes and penetrated into his skin. Traces of corrosion started to appear on his skin.
Ayrin had told Charlotte to attend to her own defense and nothing else, but how could she care about that at a time like this? The war avatar in front of her leaped forward, charging in Lotton’s direction.
Disregarding the Ayrin he’d sent flying with a slap, Lotton’s figure flashed and immediately appeared in front of the soul avatar. He clutched the avatar’s head with one hand.
With Charlotte’s command, the war avatar dispersed into a silvery metallic fog.
Lotton’s arm swept through the silvery fog.
As though it had been corroded, a great patch of thick, silver fog transformed into black powder, scattering on the ground.
Charlotte’s face turned white as snow.
The reassembled war avatar was only a third of its previous size.
With one strike, Lotton had worn away more than half her avatar’s arcane energy.
Fallen heavily on the ground, Ayrin suddenly shouted like a madman.
“Do you know now the taste of fear?”
Lotton fell back more than a dozen meters all of a sudden, as though he didn’t feel like bothering with Charlotte’s avatar. His gaze fell on Ayrin just then.
A shadow appeared on Ayrin’s back.
But what made Lotton’s breathing stop was, the shadow raising from the Ayrin’s back vanished once again.
Ayrin immediately leaped from the ground and charged wildly in Lotton’s direction.
“Even the Evil Blood Corrosion is… useless? Why!”
Lotton’s eyes widened.
He realized that the traces of corrosion on Ayrin were not only not enlarging, they were shrinking instead.
His state of mind imperceptibly changed as he watched Ayrin charge his way. His mind was filled with the thought that he didn’t want Ayrin to come anywhere near him.
Along with a quiet chant, the patch of ground Ayrin was stepping on suddenly caved in.
But just at this moment, Ayrin’s breathing suddenly became extremely intense. The ups and downs of his chest were enough to make one’s heart shiver in palpitation. It seemed he was going to inhale all the air in front of him.
At the same time, Ayrin’s strength flared explosively once again. When pitfalls were forming on the ground, he’d already dashed his way over.
A huge, white block of ice appeared in front of Lotton. It transformed abruptly the next instant, becoming a crown of ice and snow charging his way.
Lotton’s figure flashed, reappearing away from the sharpest tips on the crown.
The Crown of Ice and Snow Ayrin launched with the assistance of Holy Body Ignition failed to hit its mark.
“Ah!” “Ah!” “Ah!”
However, like a madman, Ayrin once again hammered the Crown of Ice and Snow with his fists.
This crown immediately split apart. Countless fragments of ice shot away like sharp blades.
“Puff.” “Puff.” “Puff.” “Puff…”
Countless ice fragments struck Lotton.
“He’s gone crazy…”
Looking at the crazed Ayrin, Charlotte couldn’t even untangle her chaotic feelings any longer.
“Why?… Fear, isn’t it an emotion no one can overcome?… Why is my strongest skill ‘Greed—Beast of Fear’ completely useless?”
Lotton’s figure suddenly vanished in front of Ayrin just then, but his absent-minded self-mumbling still floated to their ears.
The next second, Lotton appeared against a wall to the side. There were several wounds on his forehead, on his cheeks, blood was flowing down from them.
Ayrin’s body was already nearing the limit of the burden it could bear. He was trembling non-stop.
“You simply have no idea what true fear is.”
Still, he braced himself and straightened, looked at Lotton, panted fiercely, and yelled, “Fighting the enemy in a sealed, secluded underground passage, it’s far from being the most frightening thing, even if the enemy is the Grim Reaper himself. The most frightening thing is when you have no idea at all what you have to do, when you have no idea at all what you can do to change the situation. If you had to fight in a place like this day after day, fight against the Grim Reaper, unable to change anything at all as days pass by one after another, if the only thing you can do is to barely survive in a place like this no matter how desperately you struggle, if you can’t even see the light of hope, then that would be a truly frightening thing… I already fought against the Grim Reaper in a place similar to this one for seven years. I endured and persevered. Even though there was no trace of hope for any better tomorrow to be seen anywhere, I still never lost the courage to fight… The little bit of fear coming from your skill, what do I care about it!
“In Cororin, even studying was a luxury. There was no hope anywhere. Now, I can join Holy Dawn Academy and study, I can participate in the national tournament, I can fight for the sake of my dreams. What would I be afraid of? Why would I ever give up?!”
“You, however, you’re already so powerful, but do you really know what true fear is, do you know what you have to do? A traitor like you who’s turned his back on the beliefs of an arcane master!”
“So he’s led such a life…” Ayrin’s roar sent Charlotte in a daze. Her eyes strangely became red.
Against on the wall, Lotton didn’t move at all. Then all of a sudden, he repeated Ayrin’s words: “What true fear is?”
All of a sudden, like a scared child, he huddled himself and started shaking. Kept shaking.
“A traitor who’s turned his back on the beliefs of an arcane master?
“When did I ever believe?
“From the moment I opened my eyes to this world, when did I ever feel hope?
“In a similar place…I had to kill others, even kill my own family, eat their corpses so I could to survive… I merely want to survive.”
All of a sudden, the trembling Lotton shouted again with dread, “Don’t!! … Your shadows, don’t appear in my mind!”