“This will be our last fight before the start of your ceremony. Are you ready?”
“I am, don’t forget our deal. If I succeed in breaking your sword or wounding you in a place that should have been fatal, I win. Once I win, you will listen to one of my demands.”
“Breaking my sword would mean that your intent was stronger than mine, any warriors need to be rewarded. So I will listen to any requests from you.”
Sol and Lilith stood apart on the clearing that was repeatedly bathed in Sol blood during the span of those forty days.
Perhaps in the future, he would look back to those days with fondness, but currently, he just shivered at the thought and decided to lock those days behind a wall.
Lilith was wearing her usual ridiculously revealing purple Qipao, a glowing blue large sword in her hand, while Sol stood in his trousers and a glowing golden long sword in his.
This was a pure mana construct. Few if any used intent in such a crude way in a fight. Each hit would cost too much mana to maintain the sword and the intent necessary to maintain the form would mentally tire the user. But it was perfect for training.
At first, he thought that he could easily beat Lilith since this kind of fight was more demanding on the mana quantity.
He was both wrong and right.
Mana was necessary to maintain the shape and as such people with more mana had an edge. But people like Lilith were different.
She had ten times less mana than Sol, but she could use each unit of her mana hundreds times better than him. When paired with her firm will and her superb skills, Sol found himself outclassed in every way possible.
But today, he would win.
Silence settled between the two of them. Their mana, rising slowly from their bodies and sharpening their swords. Even though they didn’t add the intent to kill in their sword, it didn’t mean that it wasn’t dangerous. At the very least they could wound themselves quite badly.
To avoid any dangerous situations, Edea was seated further aside under her parasol with Freya, the two of them elegantly sipping some expensive tea. Edea could simply rewind time and avoid the danger.
–Having a time mage next to you was always damn useful.
They didn’t have to say anything, they didn’t have to prepare a signal. As if they were of the same mind, they moved exactly at the same time and crossed their sword exactly in the middle.
Body-wise, Sol was stronger than Lilith. But, mana wise, she was way outside of his class. This created a rather equal situation as they fought each other to get the edge.
They stared at each other’s eyes, their intent to fight clear in them.
A smile lit up Lilith’s eyes as she took a step back and kicked him in the stomach, taking out the air from him.
Using the moment his breathing was disrupted, she twirled on herself and used the centrifugal force to bring her sword even faster on him.
Since they were mana constructs, they logically shouldn’t have weight. But adding different intent such as cutting and crushing, Lilith could make something similar.
Dust rose, obscuring Sol from her sight. But she was in no hurry.
Using the cover of the dust, Sol rushed toward her at full speed, wind stirring behind him before he crashed into her, but she calmly avoided him with another twirl before kicking him in the side.
There were no rules in their fight. No limits everything hit was allowed and Sol knew that if he did not use his racial traits to his advantage, he would simply lose.
‘She is incredible.’
Humans were physically the weakest races in this world. Even goblins had more strength than them. Sol on the other was half-dragon and had many innate advantages. Despite that, he was still unable to completely overpower her. What more, he knew she was holding back, limiting her capacity to his level.
‘Well, let’s not stress.’
Discarding those distracting thoughts, he used her kick to take some distance from her and focused on himself.
Slowly, he began to change. He became taller, his white skin became bronze, and two glowing golden horns formed on his forehead.
Immediately, Sol felt the difference. It was like all his stats were immediately boosted tenfold. Still, he didn’t let this power go to his head, because,
‘As I thought.’
The moment their sword greeted each other again, Sol was unsurprised to see that they were once again equal.
The simple fact that she could so perfectly gauge his power was a proof of the gulf that separated them. But, it didn’t matter. In the first place, he never thought he could win against her using conventional ways.
They were so close, they could feel their breath and it was like that, while looking at each other, that Sol talked.
“Aunt. You know, I really really love you.”
Her flabbergasted and blushing look at his confession was so cute, but he had a match to win.
Kicking her in the stomach like she did, since he was all for equal treatment between men and women. He grabbed her feet as she was about to fly away and brought her down hard on the ground.
This wasn’t enough to break her defense, but since she was still a little stunned, he immediately sat on her and put his sword against her throat.
*Huff* *Huff* *Huff*
His rough breathing was the only sound in this oppressive silence. He felt a little pathetic how he was the one tired when she was the one down, but it couldn’t be helped. What was a hell training for him was just a normal workout for her. The difference was simply too much from the start.
If it had been a true battlefield, he had no illusion that she would have cut him down in an instant. Perhaps so fast that he wouldn’t even have been able to escape in his mirror dimension.
Still, this world wasn’t determined by what-ifs. The reality here was that no matter how sly he acted, he was the one with a sword on her throat. It was a fatal wound, so he won.
Searching his gaze, their eyes locked for a short while before her mana sword vanished.
“Indeed, you have won. Congratulations.”
She didn’t seem particularly dejected, but Sol could feel some disappointment in her eyes. It wasn’t disappointment in the way he won. Lilith had told him many times that war and battle had no places for silly honor. If you could win by playing dirty then you should do so. This was also why she always wore those clothes when fighting. Men had a hard time giving their all while watching her and she used it to her advantage each time.
“Just so you know, I was serious with my confession. I am aware that now isn’t the time and you may not share my feelings. I just wanted to make it clear.”
Saying so, he got up from her and stretched his hand toward her to help her up.
He had acted on the spur of the moment, but he did not regret it, one should always be honest with their feelings. In this life, he refused to be wishy-washy.
Lilith’s cheeks reddened again, but Sol did not point it out. He knew he didn’t let her indifferent, but it was hard to equate it to love.
“Fufufu~! To think you would be flirting with another woman in front of Edea, you are really bold?”
Sol was a little startled as he felt Freya behind him. He had to force himself to not use a sword in reflex. It seemed like Lilith had beat many good habits necessary for survival in him.
“Why do you think so? I am doing nothing wrong. In fact, acting behind her back would have been the wrong thing to do. Me acting in front of her is more a mark of respect than acting all sneaky and insulting her intelligence and trust in me.”
A harem wasn’t the easiest of the situation. Even though it was the norm in this world, few women would be truly happy to share their men. That’s why, for a harem to work, Sol thought honesty was necessary. Well, it was a necessity in any relationship. Even the normal one.
Of course, he did not have the illusion that everything would always work out. It seemed that all the women he was attracted to had some rather problematic past. Sooner or later something would go wrong, some people would be hurt, but he believed that they could go through everything together.
Ignoring the dumbfounded Freya, Sol faced the now fidgeting Lilith.
“Since I have won, I will make my request now.”
Lilith, who was previously blushing a little, had her face pale at the speed of light the moment she heard his words.
“Please, tell me your greatest secret.”