I could tell.
Yamato had been holding back.
If he had wanted to, he would have been able to deal a lethal wound to me at any time.
So, why hadn’t he done it?
“…You. You’re really holding back?”
At least for the early part of the fight, he was probably just watching me.
Just to see how far I would go.
That was fine. After all, it was my second fight in a row.
I had wanted a short break after fighting his men. So it was perfect.
At the same time, I was able to set things up so that I could absorb his mana. And I had used my time effectively.
And after that, I was able to really press in.
The fight should have continued with me having the upper hand.
But even now, Yamato was the same as before.
Nothing had changed.
While he would dodge or block my attacks, he never used any techniques that surprised me.
“Am I holding back?”
“Yes! Don’t tell me that you aren’t. …Surely a Lesser High King can do more than what you’ve shown.”
A Lesser High King would be able to destroy a town with a single breath.
And if hit by such an attack, I would die, and there would be nothing left.
I would be obliterated. Gone without a trace.
“That’s what you mean… In that case, I think you misunderstood something.”
“The power I use to maintain this world is not insignificant. Maintaining this Other World is so difficult that no one else could do it.”
Now that I thought about it, he had said it many times.
This world would vanish after his death.
While it had been made using Zeus’s body, he was still the one who maintained it.
Indeed, I could only imagine how hard it would be to maintain an entire world. It would take an incredible amount of power.
In other words, currently, Yamato could not use all of his power…or perhaps his maximum power had been lowered.
But that was also strange.
He had not used magic even once during our fight.
And it was unthinkable that he was only capable of simple attacks now.
What was he trying to do?
“But that doesn’t change the fact that you aren’t fighting seriously. Is it so amusing to save your strength now?”
That’s what it seemed like. He was enjoying this.
That would be humiliating.
I was using all of my power, and he didn’t even break a sweat.
“I see. So that’s what you think. …Very well. I will go all out then.”
“So, you were holding back!”
“Of course, I was. That vessel you are using—I did not wish to break it. After all…”
They did not have many of them left.
However, that just meant that they were valuable. It wasn’t something he absolutely could not do without.
But he would want to recover it without damaging it if possible.
And there was another reason that he had been holding back.
“I want to see how the vessel has changed after you have used it.”
My soul, which had come from the Demon World. Now that I was in a Personification, perhaps there would be some differences between me and those who had lived in the Other World for a long time.
Yamato wanted to know.
“You certainly are a passionate researcher.”
Knowing that this was his reason just annoyed me even more.
“However, if things drag on for too long, I will have to make a compromise.”
He said plainly.
I was about to answer with an ‘Eh?
But then I learned what he meant by ‘compromise.’
I felt the impact on my stomach.
When I looked down slowly, I saw that a big hole had opened up there.
I didn’t understand what it was that Yamato had done.
There had been no windup at all.
It had to be some sort of magic then.
My guess was that he had fired off a magic bullet.
Blood gushed out from the hole, and my strength seeped out of my body.
I tried to cover the hole with my hands, but it was pointless.
The wind was blowing right through me. I thought dumbly…
“I gave up on trying to recover it without damage.”
His voice could hardly be any calmer.
(He really is a monster!)
He had been able to turn the tables as soon as he wanted to.
The only reason he had taken his time was to save power and to protect the vessel.
“It would waste too much time to try and recover it undamaged.”
He repeated, after seeing that I did not respond.
Yes, he just said this fight was a waste of time.
“…What did you…”
“The hole can be repaired later. …Also, did you know that…”
I couldn’t talk properly.
“Unless you concentrate, mana clings to your blood and flows through your body. So if you lose a part of your body, it reduces the amount of power you can use.”
You lose mana when you lose blood.
And mana would leak out from the part that had been cut off.
Apparently, this could be overcome with training.
It was a bit too late to learn of such things. But if I survived this, I would try it out.
“Not yet…not yet.”
I used Mana Absorption to take mana from Yamato.
He just watched. He didn’t resist.
Once my mana was replenished, my vision stopped shaking.
I see. Even though I had lost blood, I could hang on if I had some mana.
“Yes, yes… It’s quite an honor that even now, they remember me in the Demon World.”
A chill ran down my spine.
Yamato was going to do something.
I didn’t know what. But it was clearly something bad.
“Whether you are a human or a resident of the Demon World…or the Celestial World, there is something that you cannot escape…and that is death.”
That was obvious. What is he going on about?
“Through death, the soul is freed from the flesh, and as the laws dictate, the soul descends to the Under World.”
I gathered what was left of my diminishing strength and attacked Yamato.
He blocked it with ease. Damn it. It was no use.
“And so this technique alone would remain unknown…after all, everyone I used it on has died.”
I felt as if all of the blood in my body had turned into ice.
I was going to die if I stayed here. But I would die if I tried to escape as well.
Thinking this, I made a desperate charge.
Yamato continued to talk.
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on anyone equal or stronger than me…but what about this time?”
Equal? Doesn’t work? How many people like that could there be in all of the worlds combined?
He was talking nonsense. I glared at him.
Yamato put both hands together as if praying, and then he raised them above his head.
“The body and soul are bound firmly together with chains. But I will remove them from you. I wonder, where will your soul go after that?”
“That is one of my special abilities. As everyone I showed it to has died, no one knows of it… At least, I think that’s the case.”
Yamato swung down with his hands.
There was the sound of metal being cut.
Immediately, the world stopped.
No, it felt as if time had stopped for me alone.
“This is Connection Severance. A technique to cut apart the flesh and soul. There is only success and failure. The ultimate technique… Can you hear it?”
Life or death.
A technique to bring either one.
And with those last words…I could feel my soul leaving the Personification vessel.
“Ahh…so this is death.”
And then my consciousness crumbled.