"Werewolves are strong and resilient, and their ability to kill is terrifying. Humans were once their slaves in the Ancient Era, and were only kept as livestock. That is until we discovered Holy Water." Joseph explained, "Holy Water greatly weakens the werewolves, reducing their strength and vitality to a level us humans can handle."
"You mean… this?" Annie held up the pouch Joseph gave her earlier.
"Yes, that’s it, keep it safe. Now that you’ve seen all these, won’t you believe me?" Joseph wanted to let his close friend and girlfriend truly believe in him. Only after seeing it with their own eyes will they believe in something this ridiculous. The Demon Hunters1; well, that was a coincidence.
"The strength of humanity comes from our ability to utilize tools." Joseph whispered, "Okay, now that the Demon Hunters are here, we should retreat."
It was Johnson and Annie’s first encounter with so many corpses at the same place, both of them were pretty shaken up, so they didn’t protest.
Slowly, the trio started pulling back.
In that exact moment, a silhouette charged past them toward the battlefield between the werewolves and the Demon Hunters.
In the blink of an eye, another silhouette chased after the first one, dashing past the three.
"You want the Golden Sword Throne? You’ll have to catch me!" A deep, gravelly voice challenged. It was from the first silhouette.
"Hmph!" The second silhouette snorted with disdain, then accelerated abruptly.
"Oh? You’re faster than the last time we met!" The man with the gravelly voice had a hint of surprise.
Joseph and his companions looked on, stunned by the two silhouettes who rushed toward the battlefield.
"Are they Demon Hunters too?" Johnson asked, as softly as he could.
"No, they’re not. They don’t have the fragrance of Holy Water on them! They are human fighters." Joseph furrowed his eyebrow.
A werewolf with black fur howled and glared at the newcomers, Duskdune Shura and Garen.
"Fighters? Heh heh, I haven’t had fighter flesh for a long while now! You must have a death wish to come near here without Holy Water." The werewolf blitzed toward the two fighters.
In the same moment, Garen caught up with Duskdune Shura.
They collided and dashed forward together.
Garen parried Duskdune Shura’s attack with his arm.
"Single Shot Form! Swing!" Garen shot his right arm, aiming at Duskdune Shura’s chest, like a cobra lunging for its prey. As soon as he closed in, Garen’s arm jerked upward into Swing Form, stabbing at Duskdune Shura’s chin with five fingers kept straight in the shape of a cleaver.
Duskdune Shura diverted the attack with a slap, and returned an attack with his other palm, to which Garen met with his own.
Garen grunted and fell back, just as the black-furred werewolf pounced at him in a bloodlust.
"Out of my way!"
The black-furred werewolf was torn into two halves, spilling blood all around the ground. Without wasting a breath, Garen rushed at Duskdune Shura again.
A sound of a heavy thump echoed. Both Garen and Duskdune Shura landed on a patch of grass. After regaining their balance, they hacked at each other again, echoing thuds and thumps and thwacks, like the sound of shotgun blasts reverberating throughout the woods.
The battle between Demon Hunters and werewolves was stopped by the two newcomers in the centre. There were stray bullets that hit both of them, but every single bullet was repelled, creating golden sparks.
Every creature around the area was astonished beyond comprehension.
The werewolves stopped attacking, as did the Demon Hunters. Including Joseph’s group, all three parties were blankly staring at Garen and Duskdune Shura’s fight.
The two people in combat ignored everyone else, fully focusing on attacking each other. Whatever that got in their way was destroyed.
One by one, pine trees thicker than a human’s embrace fell, leaving behind holes and craters of different sizes, as if it had been hit by bombs.
A figure got hit and swooped across a tiny glade, only dissipating his momentum after he hit another pine tree. It was Garen. His shirt was torn and shredded, and even the trunk of the pine tree he landed on cracked, but he looked as if he wasn’t hurt at all.
Scoffing defiantly, Garen leapt toward his opponent. The two engaged in another round of combat.
Whenever Garen hit anything, he would leave behind rips and intense shaking, meanwhile Duskdune Shura would slash everything he touched in half. When they clashed, it’s as if they were armored to the teeth, wielding extraordinary weapons of their own.
"Excellent! You deserved your title as the Champion of the era! I approve of your strength." Duskdune Shura leapt backward and landed softly on a fallen tree trunk more than ten meters away.
"If you want the Golden Sword Throne, come to the Dahl Falls. I will be waiting for you there."
"Don’t you dare run away!" Garen’s eyes was wild with excitement. During his battle with Duskdune Shura, he felt his mastery over Red Jade Palm growing. If he had continued using it for the fight, he has no doubt he can master it in no time. Granted, the fact that he had affinity to special abilities on top of his understanding in Grandmaster of Combat techniques helped, but undeniably, only actual combat experience can deepen his mastery over combat abilities.
Without hesitation, he dashed toward his enemy.
Duskdune Shura promptly dropped into the crowd of werewolves.
Whack! A soft clap.
A werewolf stumbled out toward the pursuing Garen. Even he was in bewilderment about his action.
The werewolf was whipped away with a Swing Form and fell at least ten meters away, half his body was torn apart, leaving his flesh and blood in a gory mess. The werewolf could only whimper on the ground.
The werewolves, and even some of the Demon Hunters shuddered.
"Do you really think you can stop me with this pile of garbage?" Garen had a flash of fury in his eyes.
"How dare you!" The werewolves, and even the elder werewolf was angered by this show of arrogance. "Without Holy Water, you are but-"
He couldn’t finish his sentences as Garen shot him a glare. He only felt a pressure made of fear forced upon him.
Garen’s eyes flashed red, the space around him bent, unfolding a gigantic red-eyed mammoth tens of meters tall. The air around him wheezed loudly, as if it was going to swallow everything within dozens of meters.
The elder werewolf turned pale and trembled uncontrollably, unable to hold his werewolf state, he collapsed on the ground kneeling.
"We are… the great… Thukk Tribe!" The elder struggled, trying to stand up, but he couldn’t move a single hair. His bones cracked under the pressure.
To other people, Garen only glanced over at the elder, and he immediately reverted to human form and kneeled on his own, as if he’s being bound by some invisible force. He looked like he’s trying to get up but completely lost his strength.
Duskdune Shura hid underneath his cloak, shielding his facial expression. He kept lobbing werewolves after werewolves toward Garen, like they were cargo unworthy of cautiousness. At the same time, he’s swiftly retreating from the battlefield area.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
Garen kept swatting werewolves aside, growling, trying to give chase, but at critical moments another werewolf would appear in his path, significantly slowing him down. In addition to that, he was already slightly slower than Duskdune Shura. It wasn’t long before Duskdune Shura completely disappeared into the darkness.
"Grr!" Garen hit a tree with his palm out of frustration. The trunk crackled, and without a warning, wooden slag started pouring out as though it was sand. A white notch appeared on the thick tree trunk where Garen hit it, and it started to lean toward the other direction and fell with a loud bang.
Most of the Thukk Tribe was hurt in Garen’s pursuit of Duskdune Shura. As werewolves, they have accelerated healing, so by now, some of the lightly wound had already healed. Silently, they retreated to the far end of the woods, taking the elder werewolf and the bodies of the other werewolves with them.
At some point during the chaos, Celine and Su Lin sneaked beside Joseph’s party, stayed till the aftermath of the battle.
Gawking at Garen from afar, Su Lin smiled wryly. "Garen is even stronger than before, he wasn’t that fast just a while ago."
"He’s a monster!" Celine is speechless.
"Duskdune Shura seemed to have acknowledged Garen’s capability as a fighter; none of them used their full power though. Who would win if they did, I wonder?" Su Lin shook his head.
Joseph and his companions dared not move, in case they were found out by the two newcomers. They were so shocked at overhearing Su Lin, Joseph even swallowed his saliva.
"If this isn’t their full power, what is?"
Joseph lightly kneaded the water pouch they brought, questioning the truth of the world for the first time.
"Didn’t granddad say it was impossible for humans to fight the evil creatures without Holy Water? Was I hallucinating or has the world gone mad?"
"You three have been observing for a while, didn’t you? Don’t you want to come out and say hi?" Su Lin turned toward Joseph unexpectedly with a knowing smile.
Most citizens from Sin Gerro and some smaller countries around it commonly use the Confederation language, barring some minute differences in accents and dialects. To be more precise, the Confederation language is the lingua franca of the whole Stonecliff Continent.
Joseph finally stood up, forcing a smile to his face. Johnson and Annie followed.
Once Garen accepted the fact that he wouldn’t be able to keep up with Duskdune Shura, he unwillingly turned back heading toward Su Lin.
He wasn’t expecting to keep Duskdune Shura down anyway, he just wanted to test his improvement in his fighting ability.
As he thought, if he weren’t using the first and second stages of Body Hardening Technique, instead relying only on his normal state to fight Duskdune Shura, he would have been at a disadvantage, but not hurt. Red Jade Palm made up for the weakness in his fighting technique. Even if he couldn’t use the more precise skills during the fight, he was starting to get a grasp on the technique used against him.
Frankly speaking, if he decided to kill Garen, Duskdune Shura would not be able to get away unscathed.
Duskdune Shura was also aware of this fact, which is why he left as soon as possible.
More importantly, Garen finally confirmed that the Golden Sword Throne was indeed with Duskdune Shura, as well as the many potential uses the Antique of Tragedy has! Garen completely verified that in this battle.