And so Toshizou escaped death for the moment, but the battle was hardly over.
Sabnac was not about to back down, and he swung his greatsword down over the weakened man.
I used ‘Teleportation’ to move between them, and blocked Sabnac’s greatsword with a fist full of magic.
The sound echoed.
Sabnac looked surprised. He would never have dreamed that I would be able to block him with my hand.
“Ho-how can you block my sword with your hand?!”
“I’ve been watching the way you swing. There is a great force behind it, but you move in the exact same way every time. I was sure that I could easily pull off a trick like this with magic.”
“Bastard! You third-rate magician!!”
“Third-rate. Well, you aren’t wrong. Now, King Cat, what does that make you? Now that you are about to be exterminated by a third-rate magician? Fourth-rate? Fifth-rate?”
“Exterminate me? Fool. My body is stronger than steel.”
“Steel can be melted down and torn apart. You summoned an Ifrit with your crystal ball, but my magic is stronger than your Ifrit.”
“I guess you can just experience it for yourself then.”
I begin to chant.
“Embers of the stars that sleep under the earth! Awaken from your ancient slumber!
Burn the flames of judgment!
Burn the flames of hatred!”
And I unleashed ‘Hell Fire.’
It was really just an intermediate level of magic, but it could be much more powerful depending on who used it. With enough power, it could match the force of magma from a volcano.
The strong feline king with his body of steel would still find himself quite melted.
And indeed, Demon King Sabnac let out a scream when the spell slammed into him.
The death cry of the lion.
Sabnac ran as a ball of fire for a few seconds, but he had no way to erase the flames, and he eventually stopped moving.
The flames of hell continued to burn mercilessly even after.
It took thirty minutes for the flames covering Sabnac’s huge body to finally dwindle.
He was now a chunk of ash, his lion head and body of steel were nowhere to be seen.
In other words, I had defeated Demon King Sabnac.
And so I won my first victory against a Demon King.
It was Hijikata Toshizou who first put this into words.
He had fought until the end, even with his burns, and had to be treated by the werewolves. But when that was finished, he used his sword as a staff and came up to me.
“I am not sure what kind of king interrupts a duel, but the fault was mine. You saved me. Thank you.”
“You would have won if he hadn’t gone the cowardly route.”
“I am not sure of that. I feel like I did have the upper hand in swordsmanship, but he had inexhaustible strength and a body that could endure much.”
“You are being modest.”
“Perhaps we have that in common. I was surprised to see such monstrous power in you. I doubt that I even needed to come and fight him?”
“I wouldn’t say that. Besides, I would prefer it if my men could fight for me.”
“But, we are a small army. We will likely have to rely on your strength for a while.”
“Indeed. I pray that the day I can leave everything to my subordinates comes soon. I would much rather hole up in my castle and devise my dark plans there.”
“You want to be a tactician.”
“No, I’m just being realistic.”
I say, and offer Toshizou my hand.
It was to commend him on an admirable battle, but his world did not have a custom of shaking hands.
But he understood the meaning behind it and accepted it.
His rough hand was strong.
Strong friendships were often born from strong handshakes.
Though, I was not sure a friendship would really grow between us.
But there was one thing I did know.
The wine we drank together after that tasted very good.
Drinking wine with a man that you could turn your back to on the battlefield. And eating good food too. It felt like the biggest luxury this world had to offer.