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    Chapter 70: Judgement of the Blade

    Sunny looked at the wounded demon, a grim look of resolve on his face.

    At this point, there was no reason to argue. They had no other choice but to face the guardian of the island themselves. Sunny's bag of tricks was all empty anyway — in the end, their fates were still going to be decided by sharp blades.

    Someone was going to get killed, and someone was going to be the killer.

    "How are we going to deal with his armor?"

    Nephis weighed the sword in her hand and glanced down.

    "I will break through the armor. Can you create an opening?"

    Sunny nodded, not wasting time on unnecessary questions. If Changing Star was certain of her ability to cut through the demon's carapace, he had no reason to doubt it.

    Creating an opening… that was not going to be easy. Even though the monster had suffered terrible injuries, he was still a force to be reckoned with. His size alone was going to pose difficulties. They would have to bring the behemoth down to his knees before even thinking of carrying out any sort of an effective attack.

    And he was not just going to stand still under their assault, either.

    But what else was there to do?

    While Nephis was tying the golden rope to the branch, Sunny walked over to Cassie and lightly squeezed her shoulder.

    She tried to force a smile.

    "I take it that the Carapace Demon is still alive?"

    Despite the heavy, cold, dark feeling gripping his heart, Sunny tried to make his voice sound relaxed and carefree.

    "Yeah, but just barely. Don't worry too much. This whole thing will be over in no time."

    'One way or another,' he added inwardly.

    Cassie's smile weakened. She was clearly not convinced by his clumsy attempt to reassure her.

    Sunny hesitated.

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    "Hey. Have you ever eaten demon meat?"

    The blind girl was clearly surprised by his question.

    "What? No."

    Sunny grinned.

    "How about a demon steak? I'm an excellent cook, I'll have you know. Uh… I think. Neph had sort of monopolized the preparation of food, so I had no chance to put all the knowledge from the Wilderness Survival course to practice."

    Teacher Julius had indeed spent a lot of time teaching him how to cook all kinds of seemingly inedible things, as well as meats of all sorts of Nightmare Creatures, in preparation for his journey into the Dream Realm. Here, hunger was as much of an enemy as the fiercest of monsters.

    "As soon as we get our hands on some demon meat, I'll make you a steak. It'll be the most delicious demon steak you had ever eaten… I promise!"

    Finally, a real smile appeared on Cassie's face. She gave him a courteous nod.

    "Alright. That's a promise then."

    Meanwhile, Nephis was done with the rope. She threw it down without hesitation and glanced at him.

    "Are you ready?"

    Sunny sighed and close his eyes for a second, feeling the strength of his body being enhanced by the shadow.

    "Yes. Let's do this."


    As soon as their feet touched the ground, Sunny felt a heavy gaze burning a hole in his chest. Glancing up, he saw the crippled Carapace Demon staring right at him, a dark glint shining in his one remaining eye.

    The other one was gone, leaving only a bleeding black gap behind.

    At this distance, the damage dealt to the demon's body seemed even more debilitating. Its carapace was fractured in several places and covered in cracks, each seeping with azure blood... sadly, none of the cracks were near the vital organs. His horns were shattered, as was one of his front legs — in addition to several rear ones that were either broken or torn off completely.

    The stumps of his two severed arms were pressed tight against his torso to stem the heavy bleeding. The other two were hanging to the ground, almost brushing against the ashen sand.

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    The giant monster looked broken and tired. However, it was still terrifying, perhaps even more so than before. Because, despite the horrible wounds, his gaze was still firm and full of evil intelligence. It was still radiating madness and bloodlust.

    Which was now concentrated on Sunny and Nephis — the architects of his sorry state.

    The first beams of the rising sun shone on the spikes covering the demon's once lustrous carapace, painting them in shades of burning crimson.

    Sunny summoned the Azure Blade and glanced at Nephis.

    "Be careful. He's lightning fast."

    He was the only one who had seen the terrible creature in action. As such, only he knew how dangerous the demon really was.

    Nephis nodded, not taking her eyes off the enemy, and stepped forward.

    The two of them walked toward the waiting Carapace Demon. Sunny was slightly ahead and aiming to circle the behemoth from the right — the side where the demon had both his last remaining scythe and eye.

    Changing Star was a step or two behind him, aiming to circle the creature from the left — the side where his pincer arm was slowly rising into the air.

    In this battle, Sunny's role was to take the brunt of the enemy's attacks, letting his partner deal the lethal blow when the time was right. Through the tacit understanding that they had developed through surviving dozens of life or death situations, the two of them were able to cooperate without speaking a single word, fighting almost as one.

    This was their main advantage.

    As they were closing in, Sunny felt a slight shift in the demon's posture. Instantly, he knew that hell was about to break loose.

    He had warned Nephis about the speed of their enemy, but he also had to deal with it himself. Sunny knew that he was much slower than the giant creature, but he still had to find a way to dodge the massive, terrifying scythe.

    That wasn't as bad as it seemed. Speed wasn't everything in a fight. Take, for example, Changing Star's training fight against the proud scion of the Han Li clan. Caster possessed an Aspect Ability that made him ten times faster than the silver-haired girl — at least. However, in the end, he only won by a hair's breadth. Nephis had almost smashed his face with an unexpected elbow strike.

    She had been able to catch Caster unaware not because of her fast reaction — with that big of a difference between their speeds, no amount of reaction could have helped her. Instead, she was able to predict and manipulate the opponent's attacks, starting the strike even before Caster himself knew that he was going to end up in the path of her elbow.

    She was in control of the battlefield.

    And now, they had to repeat that feat against the ancient demon of the Forgotten Shore. Luckily, his speed advantage was not nearly as insane as Caster's.

    Almost simultaneously, Sunny and Nephis lunged forward, attacking the behemoth from different sides. He also moved, ready to tear them apart. Both his pincer and his scythe rose into the air.

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    Sunny was running as fast as he could, the Azure Blade outstretched behind him. A fire of cold resolve was burning in his heart.

    He was ready to live or die by his blade.

    However, in the next moment, his leg seemed to slip in the sand, and as his eyes opened wide, Sunny stumbled.

    Not wasting the opportunity, the Carapace Demon attacked. The terrifying scythe tore through the air, aiming to cut the helpless human in half…

    But it hit only sand.

    Sunny, who had feigned his loss of balance to bait the demon's strike, easily avoided the deadly blade by jumping to the side at the last second.

    He wasn't quite at the level where he could predict every move of the enemy. Instead, manipulating the enemy into performing a predictable attack was easier.

    After all, deceit and manipulation were his forte.

    Temporarily safe from the threat of the scythe, Sunny dashed toward the demon's legs.

    At the same time, Nephis had managed to avoid the massive pincer and was closing in on them, too. They reached their goals almost simultaneously, one from the right, the other from the left.

    Sunny slashed with the Azure Blade, feeling it hit the polished armor and bounce back without leaving even a slight scratch on it. Dull pain radiated through his hands.

    On the other side of the behemoth's massive body, Nephis achieved more success. She had attacked the already injured front leg of the monster, cutting deep into his flesh through the wide crack in the metal plate. Severely damaged, the leg wasn't able to support the weight of the giant creature anymore. It buckled, sending the demon reeling.

    At this point, a scavenger or a centurion would have lost their balance and fallen to the ground. However, the Carapace Demon was too smart and experienced. He compensated for the loss of another leg by shifting his body weight to the opposite side and thrusting his scythe into the ground to remain stable.

    'Damn it!'

    Sunny had really hoped that the bastard would fall down.

    Because then he wouldn't have had to do what he was about to do next.

    But now there was no other choice.

    Cursing inwardly, Sunny briefly looked up at the massive body of the giant demon. Heavens only knew how much that thing weighed.

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    Then, he held his breath and ducked right beneath the Carapace Demon's steel abdomen.

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