Chapter 64: Blood-Stained Fangs
Injured or not, Heroes remained heroes.
The Hero roared as he approached, his knife ready to swing downwards. There was barely a sliver of the Hero's magic left. I narrowly avoided the swing, its movement already dulled by his pain. I brush off his hand and push him down to the black floor.
Seeing that we'd come this far, it was fair to a.s.sume that we were evenly matched. Both the Hero and I were risking our very lives in this battle. It was now merely a question of who would strike first; whether I would dig my fangs into his windpipe, or whether he would use that knife to stab me in the neck before I had the chance to do so.
The well of physical strength the Hero held was just barely greater than my own, but he did nothing to hold me down. Was he being vigilant, wary of the surrounding personal guards? The Hero had purposefully forgone slaying the guards, instead opting to use them as a means to hinder the Demon Lord's movement. Now, however, the very same guards had become the shackles that bound him.
While the conditions were optimal and could be nothing but advantageous, I had finally come this far and was now finally standing on even ground. Apart from the single lunge with the fangs that boasted the acme of my might, there was nothing I could do that would connect to the Hero.
On the other hand a single punch, a single kick from the Hero would be more than sufficient to deal immense damage to me. If my focus wavered for even a single moment, I would be knocked out and this would all be settled.
But there was no way I could stand the thought of losing. A big Hero, so what? I would never accept someone like him. I feigned a lunge, my fangs aiming for the Hero's throat, then sunk them into the wrist of his right hand instead as he attempted to defend himself.
My teeth chomped down on the joints of his wrist. His right hand was useless now.
At that very moment, his left fist slams into me with all of his strength behind it.
His strength was equal to a giant's. For a moment, I could feel my consciousness starting to dim.
Coming back to my senses with sharp breath of air, the first thing I noticed was that the Hero was pinning me down. Lost in his own rage, his face had contorted into a grimace.
This wasn't good.
He had pulled his left fist backward, as far as it would go. If I were to be on the receiving end of a punch with that much force behind it, there was no doubt that it would all be over.
The Hero had grabbed me in a mounting position. I couldn't move a muscle, almost as if I was being pinned beneath a slab of rock. The guards around me were readying their spears, but it was clear that they couldn't make it in time.
Was this it?
While I had long since prepared myself for the eventuality of death, my vain struggle pushed me to cast sorcery to counter him.
I was utterly incapable of using any sort of attack spells. Unlike the others, the only forms of magic available to me were those that reinforced and healed the body.
So I used them.
I somehow managed to cast my spell a split second before his fist came flying.
It was a healing spell borne of my desperate struggles. One that had been stripped down to its bare, rudimentary elements.
The Hero let loose an anguished scream, unlike anything he had let out before. In pure agony, he alternated between cradling his right wrist and then his shin.
For a mere moment, all of his movements ceased.
The magic I had cast was of a sort that amplified one's naturally-given regenerative properties, a kind of sorcery that gradually healed wounds. It was the same magic that my master had used on that dog, the head commander of the h.e.l.l Beasts. It could be utilised with barely any amount of magic, but until the wound had fully healed it would accelerate the process of cell division to an abnormal degree, causing the wounded area to become incredibly painful.
It wasn't a spell meant for practical use, and was instead regarded as nothing more than magic required to move on to the next stage.
The pulpy mess of a wound, courtesy of the fangs of a proper werewolf, coupled with this unnatural healing process was sure to bring about a pain of unimaginable magnitude. Any normal man would have fainted in a heartbeat.
The virtue of being a Hero was enough to keep him from losing consciousness, but it seemed that even he couldn't bear to endure the sheer pain.
Giving my thanks to my master, I used this moment to my advantage.
I pushed the Hero's body to the side, then weighed him down and pinned him to the floor. This was the one moment that gave me even the slightest chance of victory.
I was going to end him.
I bit down on his windpipe. I let my werewolf fangs dig into his neck, then ripped out more than half of it. Blood gushed from the wound and sprayed about, clouding my vision in pure red.
I didn't even hear a scream.
I barely managed to prop myself up, almost smothered by the stench of the spouting geysers of blood. My breath was entwined with the metallic scent of blood.
I wiped my face clean and was greeted with the sight of the Hero as he writhed in an ocean of blood.
The most horrifying thing to see was that he was still attempting to rise to his feet. But as it so was with the loss of these large quant.i.ties of blood, his movements became duller by the minute. Needless to say, the healing magic I had cast earlier was no longer enough to be of use to him.
Drowning in the ma.s.sive sea of his own blood, the hero was close to drawing his final breath.
His eyes were forced wide open by his own fear and shock as they regarded me. He heaved, blood escaping from between his lips. They moved as if he had something to say to me. His left hand shook as it rose, the tip of his finger pointing towards me.
I wondered what he was trying to say. I had no idea myself.
That was when I remembered that I had yet to introduce myself to him.
"My name is Vaito. A simple aide."
I had no idea if my words had reached him. The man's hand dropped and sunk into the puddle of blood, and the light in his eyes vanished. These were the final moments of the Hero Arshes.
Having survived this ordeal, I stood there with the guards, basking in a while of silence. I staggered and leaned against the crumbling stone pillar.
Now fatigued, I was unable to further maintain my form as a werewolf. I found myself returning to my original human form against my own will. This was the first time this had ever happened to me.
My field of visions grew more and more narrow, then started to turn dark. I was starting to feel the recoil from the Fanatic Burn.
Still staggering, I made my way to the fallen Demon Lord. My body felt heavy. It was as if I was pulling along weights of pure stone.
Her Majesty didn't move. From what I could see from her magic, the light of her life had been completely snuffed out. No matter how skilled a sorcerer there was, it was impossible to treat her now.
I had wanted to at least be able to offer her some parting words.
But fact of the matter was that even I didn't know what would happen to me now. I could feel my entire body shrieking in pain, an after-effect of the excessive boosts brought about by magic.
In the end, the words I offered the Demon Lord were in j.a.panese.
"I've avenged you, my Lady."
Demons no longer needed to fear the Hero. So I could only ask that they rest easy now.
My surroundings went dark. This was the first time since my transformation into a werewolf, whose eyes could pierce through the blackest darkness, that I truly found myself in the embrace of the shadows.
My surroundings were plunged into a world of dark.
If I died here and now, would I be able to meet the Demon Lord?
Those were my last thoughts…
…before my consciousness ceased to be.