Chapter 39 – Duel in the shadows

 

The first thing I did was to draw out shadow tentacles from my back. I was aware of Arcadeus’ abilities to some extent. I knew he could use Cindril very well and he had the ability to teleport around as well – without using any kind of warping to another world, unlike me. In order to not be taken by surprise like last time, a perfect defense was needed. This was lucky for me because with Wahnsinn by my side, I had no blind spot this time.

 

I casted a few『Shadow Cuts』to see his reaction. Arcadeus dodged them swiftly by using his mastery of Wind Magic and moved towards me with an『Earth Spike』in each hand. He imbued the spears with Magic and tried to stab me when he managed to get close enough to do so. However, Wahnsinn had reacted fast enough and had already spread『Shadow Skin』all over my body, absorbing Arcadeus’ enchanted spears.

 

“Ha, you’re predictable, Joker !”

“Wha-”

 

The air around me suddenly started constricting me as I disabled『Shadow Skin』to try to counterattack and as I tried to cancel it with my own mastery of Wind, Arcadeus jumped back and I was hit by the full blast of one of his shockwaves. The shock was so strong that I hit the wall behind me which broke a few of my ribs.

 

“Ughh…”

“Give it up. I have much more experience with Magic than you do. It will be less painful if you stop struggling.”

“Ha, ha, ha… I’m not done yet.”

 

The cell we were currently in was restraining my movements. I believed that one of my main forces was my high mobility so I needed to leave the room as soon as possible.

 

“Let’s change the scenery, shall we ?”

 

I used『Shadow Dome』all over the room and teleported both Arcadeus and I outside, in a deserted field, where I had previously left a beacon on a stone.

 

“Ahaha, fighting in the open is not a disadvantage for me. Now I can use my full strength !”

 

Arcadeus then unleashed his real artillery with a multitude of『Firebolts』and other colourful spells that looked mainly like fireballs and thunderbolts of very high level.

 

I erected an『Earth Wall』but it quickly got destroyed by the power of the Fake Sage. I used『Dragonfly』and dodged most of them but I was starting to weaken because of my broken ribs. I countered Arcadeus by hitting him with some nice『Phantom Fireballs』but he healed himself immediately, sustaining no subsequent damage. As I thought that the fight was not going my way, Wahnsinn reached out to me.

 

“The eye that Alae transplanted contains Jerius’ Healing attribute. Even though it is nowhere near as good as an actual Elf’s healing ability, you should still be able to fix your broken ribs if you focus.”

“Ha, ha, ha. I see. I’ll try. Take over my body for a moment.”

 

The problem is that it was difficult to focus while dodging Arcadeus’ relentless attempts at bursting me so I had Wahnsinn move my body for me, just like back when I escaped the prison, while I was channeling the Mana in my left purple eye and redirecting it towards my ribs.

After some time, I managed to heal myself to some extent.

 

“Now, time to turn this around.”

 

I had an idea while I was focused on healing. Darkness was my element after all, so why not make full use of it ?

 

I used『Shadow Dome』in the sky and covered the artificial sun that I had created when I made this world habitable.

 

Then Void became filled with darkness once more.

 

“… I see you’re cutting off the source of light in this world… I can’t see a thing but neither can you. I don’t think you’re getting anything out of this, Joker. Besides, I can just turn the light back on, immediately.”

 

Arcadeus spawned his own artificial sun and sent it in the sky. But the light died out quickly and the sun was absorbed by the darkness. He tried again, with the same result.

 

“What the… how !?”

“You’re in my world now, Arcadeus… a world filled with darkness. Darkness is what I use as my beacons so now that the world is nothing but black, I have total control over what happens around here. I don’t need to have vision of you. Wahnsinn can still see everything in here.”

“Tch…”

 

Arcadeus started casting Magic in random directions but it was all useless and everything died out without a sound. This was the true nature of Void. A lifeless world. Pure naught.

 

Meanwhile, Arcadeus started being slashed from all directions, by invisible『Shadow Cuts』that shred through his skin. As he was constantly healing, the slashes got faster and the number increased by the second.

 

Arcadeus finally understood the hopeless situation he was in. His Magic – his only source of damage – had been neutralised.

 

“Ah… I see there is nothing I can do but endure your attacks… I think it’s about time for me to go back to Sigmas.”

“Ha, ha, ha. If you think I’ll let you, you’re really a hopeless fool.”

 

Before he could do anything, I pierced Arcadeus with all of my tentacles. Since he could not see anything, he did not notice me approaching him. Arcadeus screamed but managed to teleport back to the world of Sigmas.

 

“It’s too late to run, Arcadeus. You’re already bound to this world.”

 

When I stabbed Arcadeus with my tentacles, I dropped a gem made of shadows inside his body. As his wounds healed immediately, the gem became trapped inside of him, allowing me to expand that gem from a distance and warp him back here. This was the same strategy I had used against Spades to threaten him and later teleport him from the Dorua continent to Naxus.

 

“What !? Why am I back here ? This makes no sense !”

 

He tried to teleport to Sigmas again and once more he was sent back to Void.

 

“You cannot escape the shadows, Arcadeus…”

 

I stopped Arcadeus from moving by chopping off his legs and arms with『Shadow Cuts』and turned the gem inside him into a giant star that pierced holes through his body from his insides. Even with his Healing Magic, there was no way Arcadeus could survive that.

 

I spawned an artificial sun again to turn the light back on.

 

Arcadeus’ bloody corpse was lying on the ground. His limbs had already grown back but the damage within his body was probably too high.

 

But despite sustaining mortal wounds, Arcadeus was still moving.

 

“Arg… this is not the end yet… I still have some Mana… I can recover… you shouldn’t have turned the light back on, hahahaha…”

 

Arcadeus stood back up and a giant fireball five sizes bigger than my artificial suns was created in his hand.

 

“Even you cannot absorb this amount of raw power, hahaha ! Now die, Joker !”

 

He was right. I had made a fatal mistake…

Right before he launched that fireball though, he fell on his knees.

 

“Ugh… no way… I should still have some control…”

“What’s happening ?”

“Arg… looks like you win, Joker. After I healed myself, Master Ox intensified the burden on the tattoo… But with this much Mana going into my fireball, I don’t have enough left to contain him… Urg… Lizabeth… at last… we can be reunited…”

 

The fireball that was floating just above his head fell on him and he started burning in silence.

Arcadeus had died.

 

And… nothing happened. I was expecting the one known as Ox to come out of the tattoo on Arcadeus’ back but as I waited, nothing seemed to happen.

 

Was it because the fireball had burnt his skin, destroying the tattoo ? Either way, there was nothing more I could do about this matter so I used Magic to destroy the body.


Full of uncertainties, I headed back to the castle where Alae and the twins were waiting for me. From what I knew, the last obstacle was finally out of my way.

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