「Fuh. You sure are impatient, trying to end the match right away like that.」
「Was just taking advantage of opening.」
「Haha. I never expected you to be this good a Magic Warrior. I’m impressed. Have you been holding back this whole time?」
「Back at you. Suddenly more magical energy?」
Fran wasn’t kidding. The amount of magical energy evelopping Colbert’s body had undergone a drastic increase.
Class: Iron Fist Fighter
Status Level: 41/99
Barehanded Combat Techniques: Lv 6
Barehanded Combat Arts: Lv 6
Crisis Detection: Lv 3
Divine Fist Arts: Lv 2
Fist Techniques: Lv 9
Fist Arts: MAX
Combat Qigong: Lv 4
Herculean Strength: Lv 8
Blink: Lv 9
Swimming: Lv 4
Greater Water Resistance: Lv 2
Throwing: Lv 4
Life Magic: Lv 3
Dimitris Style Martial Techniques: Lv 8
Dimitris Style Martial Arts: Lv 8
Physical Barrier: Lv 4
Magic Emission: Lv 5
Drowsiness Resistance: Lv 3
Paralysis Resistance: Lv 4
Cooking: Lv 2
Lesser Strength Boost
It looked like he’d undone his seal. He’d suddenly gained several skills, namely the Dimitris Style ones, Physical Barrier, Magic Emission, and Thought Division. Both Herculean Strength and Blink had also had their levels boosted a bit. That, of course, wasn’t all; he gained a pretty massive boost to his stats. I recalled they used to be.
In other words, all his stats had risen by 50, save for magic, which had gained a whole 100 points. That, combined with his newly unsealed Dimitris Style skills, made it so we’d practically be fighting a whole different person from here on out.
『Be careful. He’s undone his seal.』
「…So you noticed?」
Colbert’s expression seemed to waver in unease as he signed, an action that demonstrated that he hadn’t actually been too willing to undo his seal. I decided to try probing him, given that his current state was clearly the result of self interest.
『Hey Fran, repeat after me for a bit, alright?』
That is, I decided to try attacking him mentally instead of physically, as it seemed like we’d be able to profit from it.
「Won’t be excommunicated for unsealing for self-interest?」
「That… does happen from time to time, yes.」
「Colbert, won’t be excommunicated?」
「I might be.」
「Then why undo seal?」
Fran’s words caused Colbert to look down and make a bit of a troubled face before returning his gaze to her and shaking his head.
「You’re right. Undoing my seal like this might get me excommunicated, but, I don’t care. That’s not what matters most to me right now!」
Colbert raised his voice as he once again took a stance.
「Then what matters most?」
「The answer to that question is a simple one. What matters most to me right now is upholding the Dimitris Style’s pride.」
His declaration came with a really cool sounding line.
「Getting serious and undoing seal against opponent with child’s appearance for pride?」
Heh. Looked like we hit the sucker in a sore spot.
「Sorry… I was just saying it that way because I was trying to make myself sound cool.」
「Ugh… Yeah, you’re right. I was trying to make it sound much better than it really was.」
Uhh… shit. I realized that we’d pushed him a bit too far, as our words had ultimately led to an effect opposite that of what I’d been hoping for.
「Sorry. You’re right. I didn’t undo my seal out of something as propossessing as pride. I did it because I wanted to, because I, as a practitioner of the Dimitris Style, wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for losing this easily to a C ranker. That just isn’t something I can allow to happen. I have always looked up to the Dimitris Style, and known it to be the world’s most powerful.」
The magical energy Colbert emitted began wrapping its way around his body. It only took a matter of moments for it to grow so dense that it’d effectively become a suit of armour.
「That is why I cannot allow myself to lose. I will not let myself be the reason people look down on the Dimitris Style! I would much rather be excommunicated than put the style to shame!」
That was just how much the Dimitris Style meant to Colbert.
But despite his passionate shouts, Fran managed to retain her calm. Likewise, I’d done the same. This, him going all out, was within the realm of my expectations.
Fran fired off an AOE projectile at him in order to keep him as pinned as possible as she rushed at him. His stats had risen, but his Divine Fist Arts had remained unchanged; he still possessed the exact same amount of skill with his hands. Hence, I suspected that Fran would retain the upper hand in terms of technique.
Or at least that’s how things were if I didn’t factor the Dimitris Style in. I was on guard for what would happen, but apparently not nearly as on guard as I should’ve been.
「Dimitris Style Martial Art — Asura!」
Colbert allowed Fran to slash at him, but immediately followed with a counter and sent her flying back. He then kicked off the ground in attempt to chase her down and follow up his attack with another before she could regain her balance.
His strategy, taking a hit and then countering, was similar to Kurusu’s, but he was much more skilled, and hence, his application of the tactic had been much more effective.
The first major point of deviation was the fact that we hadn’t even been able to actually pierce his defenses; Colbert managed to remain unharmed despite the fact that Fran had attacked him with my element-cloaked blade. His martial art allowed him to condense magical energy and use it in the same manner as he would his arms. These four newly created energy-based appendages stayed close to his body and, in doing so, almost made it him truly resemble the six armed God the technique was named after.
It was precisely this technique that allowed him to avoid taking any of the damage we would’ve otherwise inflicted. It seemed to have both boosted his reaction speed and the range of his field of vision, as he’d used two of his magical arms to catch me mid swing. As the arms were constructed entirely of energy, the few scratches they did get from the act immediately regenerated and were made moot.
Naturally, all of his magic hands were also capable of attacking. Colbert being a martial artist meant that, the number of attacks he could execute was purely limited by the number of limbs he had, which, in turn, led to the conclusion that he’d become way deadlier than he’d been before.
One of his many attacks eventually ended up breaking through Fran’s defenses and digging straight into her lungs.
I managed to get Fran healed up immediately, but I couldn’t stop her from momentarily flinching because of the hit. The bit of a stagger that resulted allowed Colbert enough of an opening to follow up with a third flurry.
One of his hands even ended up grabbing onto me. It tried tightening its grip in order to hold me in place the moment it did, but I managed to escape by using Telekinesis. Though I did indeed manage to retreat, I wasn’t able to stop him from momentarily restricting Fran’s movements, which, once again, caused Colbert to gain yet another shot of momentum.
Fran was still avoiding his attacks and returning fire, but she was doing so with her face warped in pain. Erza had mentioned before that some of the Dimitris Style’s practitioners were capable of performing attacks that would permeate into one’s body and destroy it from the inside out.
Colbert’s attacks were in fact all of that precise type.
Even the ones that struck me instead of Fran carried through my blade and assaulted her hands with shockwave upon shockwave upon shockwave. I attempted to block the effects of his attacks by deploying a series of barriers, but to pretty much no avail. They passed right through them; even the lightest touch would cause Colbert’s Qi to flow into her body and damage her internals.
Having Fran continue holding her ground like this was a bad idea. Simply patiently waiting for a chance wasn’t going to work.
『It doesn’t look like his attacks are just physically based, but I think it might be best for us to point both Physical Damage Resistance and Physical Barrier regardless.』
（Nn! Got it!）
I executed one of the contingencies I’d discussed with Fran earlier and threw 18 points into each of the two skills.
Fran and I had come into the tourney with more than just a few cards in hand. We’d pushed ourselves as hard as we could in order to farm magic stones so I could rank up as quickly as possible — which I did. I’d then just held onto all 66 of the points that we had, just in case we ran into any situations like this one.
Hoarding points and using them in the middle of a battle was much more effective than using them up ahead of time, as having them available meant being able to adjust to our opponents.
〈A new skill has been unlocked as you have fulfilled all of its prerequisites. Your Physical Barrier and Magical Barrier skills have been merged into the Perfect Barrier skill.〉
Perfect Barrier seemed to be a pretty damned good skill. Its level 1 output was equivalent to the two other skills’ max level outputs combined. The term “perfect” initially led me to believe that the barrier could prevent any and all damage, but I was wrong, as it clearly wasn’t completely impregnable. The “perfect” part of its name instead seemed to describe that it could at least attempt to mitigate all types of attacks.
〈The Physical Damage Resistance skill has reached its maximum level and evolved into Physical Damage Nullification.〉
And… we also ended up unlocking a skill I’d been expecting, but not really all that keen on getting.
『Let’s go, Fran!』
「What!? How are you suddenly no longer taking damage!?」
Colbert’s eyes widened as Fran began stepping forward while completely ignoring all his attacks. He didn’t stop, and continued to assault her, but she didn’t mind his strikes at all. At first, it seemed like she was trying to take damage in order to dish it out, but that wasn’t the case at all. Our two newly obtained skills made it so she didn’t have to to force herself into a trade.
It’d almost looked like she’d become flat out invincible.
But I was panicking nonetheless.
『Shit, Rumina was right! That nullification skill is eating my mana ridiculously quickly! 』
Only a few moments had passed since we’d gotten the skill, but it’d already eaten up a whole 1000 mana. That was just how much energy it took to completely negate Colbert’s incoming attacks.
Again, the skill’s ridiculous mana consumption was something that Rumina had warned us about. Specifically, something she’d warned us about just before the tournament began.
「Master. That ability of yours is quite the powerful one, but warn you I must.」
『Warn me? About what?』
「I ask that you beware of skills capable of nullification. Some magic beasts carry them, and thus, I believe it very likely for you to one day obtain them. You must take utmost caution in their application.」
「Skills carrying effects akin to nullification bear the tendency to consume a great deal of magical energy to actualize their effects. Moreover, the skill’s function is automatic. You will not be able to stop them from activating, and thus, it is quite possible for you to quickly lose all your magical energy should you fight a foe capable of a vicious assault.」
In other words, Flame Invalidation would drain one’s mana pool extremely quickly if one decided to sit in a sea of flames or something.
The one Rumina emphasized as the one we should be the most careful with was Physical Damage Nullification. It was a skill typically possessed by monsters whose bodies were made of energy, so she wasn’t sure exactly what would happen if we were to acquire it. There was a chance it’d end up activating every single time we so much as took a step.
But that wasn’t all. She’d also warned us that nullification-type skills didn’t actually provide invulnerability. Certain skills would just go right through them.
According to Rumina, the Gods had made it so that nullification skills weren’t in fact the highest order of skill one could have. They could be broken through by both skills built to pierce defenses as well as skills containing the Gods’ powers.
Rumina herself had actually bore witness to one of these incidents; she’d seen Ignius use its Godflame skill to roast and kill someone that happened to have the Flame Nullification skill.
She’d warned that it was possible that the Beast Lord’s Golden Flame of Extinction skill also counted as a higher order skill.
「Do not let your guard down. Do not rely on nullification skills should you obtain them.」
Our case was actually a bit different. We were able to choose whether or not we actually wanted a certain skill to be active, so, it was possible for us to avoid using any nullification skills we had unless we actually really needed them. They were quite perfect as far as trump cards went.
That said, I couldn’t actually switch the skill out as of right this moment, as Colbert was still in the middle of attacking us.
『Hurry up Fran! You’ll have to finish this real quick!』
Fran raised me above her head and readied herself to a massive downwards swing — an opening Colbert failed to miss.
「Dimitris Style Secret Technique — Rupturing Strike!」
He poured his mana into his fist as he twisted it as he shoved it straight into Fran’s gut. But it was rendered null. The strike hadn’t even caused her to so much as flinch.
「Shit! It had no effect!?」
Colbert’s attack hadn’t damaged Fran, but it’d contained so much force that it drained another 1000 mana straight from my pool, which, once again confirmed that Colbert was one helluva a foe. I couldn’t even imagine how much damage his attack would’ve done had we not the means to completely negate it.
Fran leapt into the air and delivered a downwards strike with every last bit of her power.
We activated two instances of Elemental Blade, popped Vibration Blade, Magic Poison Fang and Weight Boost as she drew me from a sheath of wind. Her skill with the katana, which had already been remarkable, had become even more refined because of the Sword Lord Arts skill.
Though we were basically in his face, our attack was one that was incredibly easy to read, and thus, Colbert had an easy time avoiding it.
Or at least he would have, had I not stopped him.
I bound him with both Wind Magic and Telekinesis and prevented him from moving either to the left or right. To him, that much was nothing. He easily shrugged it off, but in doing so, lost the instant he needed to avoid Fran’s incoming strike. Realizing that escape had become impossible, he instead quickly opted to use all four of his magical arms to defend himself.
But it wasn’t enough.
We not only split all his magic-made limbs in two, but also left a giant gash running from his left shoulder to the opposite side of his hip. Both his arms were still fine, but the same couldn’t be said for his internals. The majority of the damage had gone straight to his lungs,one of them had even been flat out turned to ash. The flames that cloaked my blade scorched his body and completely turned into a huge mess. The open wound was charred black; smoke wafted off of it alongside a foul, meaty smell.
It looked like he was done for, but we kept going. Colbert was strong. We knew that it was still possible for him to turn everything around despite how grim the situation looked, and so, we continued focusing on refining our magical energies.
『Keep it up! Don’t slow down!』
Fran brought me to her waist and followed up with a powerful horizontal slash.
I figured that Colbert could still fight, but I never expected him to do as he did. That is, he attempted to avoid the attack by leaping backwards and dodging despite his near fatal wound. He then focused his energies back into his magical arms and once again extended them towards us.
The situation was dire. We’d run out of mana if he hit us even just one more time. If we wanted to win this, we had to end it here and now.
Knowing that, I quickly responded by stretching my blade as far as I could.
『Reach reach reach!』
Colbert reached us right as we reached him. We managed to null his attack, but the same couldn’t be said for him; my blade tore through his gut and caused his blood to splatter across Fran’s face.
He took far too much damage to maintain his concentration, and so, his magic-made arms faded away.
The martial artist fell onto his knees before groaning in pain and collapsing, after which he didn’t even so much as twitch. He was bleeding heavily, crimson liquid leaked from his protruding internal organs began turning the stage into a sea of blood. To make matters worse, he was even badly poisoned.
Things were looking really bad.
Invalidating Colbert’s last attack had used up the rest of my mana. I was flat dry. I couldn’t do anything for him at all.
Fortunately, I didn’t need to be the one to heal him. A member of the guild’s staff immediately rushed over and did what was necessary in order to save him.
And with that staff member’s actions came an enthusiastic announcement.
「It’s over! The match has been decided! What a stunning upset, ladies and gentlemen! Today’s winner is once again, Fran, the Magic Sword Girl! It looks like she just might end up being the most terrifying dark horse in this tournament’s history!」
 This technique, in the raw, is Body Destroying Internal Organ Breaker. But that sounds like shit in English, so I just kinda put some random substitute name that kinda sounds martial artsy and has a bit of the meaning in there for now. Let me know if you guys can think of something better.
 This type of punch is called called a Seikenzuki in Japanese. Its pretty well known, and even used in a fair bit of media. It’s basically the standard Karate punch. You thrust at chest level, with your fist upside down. You then turn it at the moment of impact for that extra bit of oomph. Animoo example here.