Moonlight Challenge: Tenma

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February 17, 2022


“Kufufu! I knew it! A clash of power is the essence of battle!”

Nocturne smiles broadly as she strikes Sukuna using only her limbs.
This exchange of blows left the Sukuna with very little damage.
She is evading while hitting the attack to offset or parry it off while inserting a counterattack in between.
In any case, Nocturne’s attacks are extremely easy for Sukuna to read.

(After that first high-speed move, all she’s done is to attack at a speed that can be seen.)

Her tension is high, but her heart is calm.
And Sukuna will foresee and anticipate each move.
It looks like an easy task from the spectator’s view, but in reality, one wrong move can destroy the little advantage Sukuna had.

But even knowing this, the current Sukuna had plenty of room to move.
Nocturne’s HP had not yet been reduced to even half of the first gauge.
But thanks to this, Nocturne’s attacks continued to be nothing but heavy and fast blows, which both a good and bad thing.

The moonlight sanctuary Nocturne had been deployed hat yet showed its effect, except for a thin fog floating around her.
It may serve as visibility interference, but that kind of physical ailment is almost useless against a Sukuna.

(Although, you will never know if there’s more to it.)

Sukuna believes that it’s unlikely Nocturne’s action pattern consists of only physical attacks.
She had shown her ability to deploy mystical realms such as the Moonlight Sanctuary, and Sukuna has seen her Curse Dispelling skill firsthand.
Is it only meant for a spell breaker, or could it be used as a means of attack? That much suspicion should be reasonable.
It would have been more satisfying to hear that the ability was originally intended to be used as an attack that could be altered to dispeller.

(And everyone seems to hesitate to attack…)

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While Sukuna and Nocturne were engaged in a brawl, the other three were also inserted their attack in between.
However, perhaps because they were careful not to take hate away from Sukuna, Drago and Arthur’s attacks were quite moderate.

The only exception was Rou.
She literally disappeared and reappeared from nothingness and always stabbed her rapier with pinpoint accuracy just before Nocturne was about to unleash a big swing.
Each time she did, she would take away the hate for seconds, which helped Sukuna keep her concentration level stable.

After another ten minutes of such tightrope equilibrium, the battle reached its first turning point.

“Guhhh! ……!”

The full swing from Sukuna’s body released through the attack and slammed into Nocturne’s stomach.
This attack caused Nocturne’s HP bar to drop below half of the first bar.
Nocturne, who was pushed back a few meters, let out a laugh without any intention to return the blow.

“…fufu, it’s more than I ever imagined.
I never thought that I could be so unilaterally suppressed in the last few hundred years.”
“Are you enjoying this?”
“YEAH, very much! And it seems that you all not so weak that physical attack alone can overpower you…”

Nocturne claps her hands together, her cheeks flushing red.
At that moment, the fog that had been filling the area cleared away.
Replacing it, a dense magic aura could be seen floating over Nocturne.

“This is [Moonlight Sanctuary, Tenma{Heavenly Demon}].
Unlike Oboro that only nullified all status decrease… this one will let me present you the magic of the Moon!”

With the moon wolf’s declaration, a number of magic formations manifested without a chant.
The magic ball of fire and water that floated in the air attacked not only Sukuna but everyone present.

“You’re kidding, right?”

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Arthur couldn’t help but shout when she saw more than 20 magic balls coming towards her.
In this place, Drago is the only one who has the means to defend against magic without consumable items.
Sukuna can also cancel out the magic using [Oni no Mai] ‘s third form [Mikagami no Mai], but apart from that, her weapon, the [Sandatsu Heiso – Ouma], has no attribute.
It was useless in front of this magic barrage.
The necessary conditions for canceling out magic attacks are to have an attribute of the same element or higher clashed or to have the ability to [guard magic attack].

For Sukuna, that has learned all [One-Handed Mace] skills, she did have the means to use one lower attribute at a time, but in the front of diverse attribute attacks like this, the art’s downtime has become Sukuna’s enemy.

(Of the talisman I bought from Sekka, only eight can protect against magic.
Well, I don’t need to use those talismans if it is only this much.)

Sukuna dodges dozens of incoming magic balls with minimal movement and sees Arthur desperately running away to avoid the magic.
And then a thought occurred to her… “A-chan is really Himiko’s sister….”

Her confidence, backed by her strength and skill, is evident in her demeanor, and at first glance, you will assume she’s some important figure.
However, in their time together, Sukuna learns that Arthur is also an interesting person to watch, to the point where Sukuna is convinced that Arthur and Teppen Himiko are blood-related.
Seeing Arthur complains while sloppily evading the magic, Sukuna felt that feeling once again.

Aside from that.

From what Sukuna can predict from watching Arthur’s fight with Kokuyo and leveling with her, Arthur is probably the type of person who specializes in fighting against [people], and more specifically against swordsmen.
Her skill with a sword is nothing less than transcendent, so much so that it is impossible for Sukuna to imitate it perfectly even after careful observation.
On the other hand, her fighting skills were quite underpowered against non-humans.
Not that there was anything wrong with that.
It’s simply that the technique Arthur possessed is that much specialized.

If it was simply a one-on-one physical fight, Arthur might be able to hold her own against Nocturne with her improved sword sharpness.
However, Arthur was very weak against the flying magic projectile that was currently unleased.

And unfortunately, Arthur did not possess the same level of Sukuna’s clairvoyant-like dynamic vision.
She can fight one-on-one utilizing her experience, reading, and natural intuition, but she can’t see the trajectory of the many magic balls flying at the same time at her and avoids all of them by barely moving from the spot like Sukuna.
So, even though Arthur knew it looked ridiculous, she had to run as fast as she could to avoid them.
This is the best way to avoid it, even though it looks so wasteful compared to Sukuna, who is avoiding everything where she stands, or Drago, who is effectively using her big sword as a shield.
And Sukuna thought it was interesting to observe Arthur’s predicament.

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“I see… this much is not enough? Now, now, how about this?!!”

The magic power around Nocturne gathered above her head and flared up.
Its size is about five meters in diameter.
And everyone present was astonished at the sight of the supermassive mass of flame.

“This is [Luna Fire].
Please try to prevent it.”

Along with Nocturne’s finger flicks, the mass of flames began to move.
{tn: Freiza!?}
Currently, Drago was the one who became the target of the attack.
Even though it was a reasonably large predicament, Drago’s thoughts froze when the 5-meter magic ball approached her at the speed of a running car.

“Don’t just stare at it.”

Before anyone knew it, Rou appeared behind Drago as she quickly swiped away Drago’s greatsword and carried her away from the flaming mass’s attack range.
The [Luna Fire] landed a moment after the two left and caused a huge dome-shaped explosion with a radius of about 10 meters.

“I’m sorry.
Thank you.”

“Don’t let your guard down.
I can’t have you turning into a wooden doll right now.”

When Rou said that and disappeared again, Drago once again put a question in her mind.

(When she enters that state, Rou doesn’t seem to gather hate… But it also seems that in order to interfere with something, whether it’s attack or support, she has to materialize.
It’s an unbeatable skill for assassination, but… I wonder why is Rou only using that skill for support?)

Not only does it turn her invisible, but it also blocks hate from monsters and probably blocks any detection type skills; Drago was pretty sure of it since Rou’s skill managed to avoid Drago’s detection skill.
And judging from Sukuna’s reaction, she may even be able to escape from sensory perceptions such as sound and smell.
To put it bluntly, the skill performance is too abnormal.
Even though any action cannot be used without first materializing herself, there is no more ideal skill for dungeon crawling.

“Don’t worry!”

Without needing to receive a call from Sukuna, Drago caught the flying magic ball with the body of her sword, which she had already picked up after Rou left.

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The lump of flame was now pointed at Arthur, while Drago was still thinking about Rou in the corner of her mind as she watched Arthur messily avoid it.

Rou was a PK player who was known as the [Murder Princess] and most likely had killed hundreds or more players in just a month and a half.
She is a girl with an unknown tendency to appear and disappear from the frontlines and even sometimes hunt the beginners around Dualis.
Her name is well known among frontline players, but what people know about Rou as a whole was only that much.
A PK player in a gothic lolita outfit who uses a Named rapier.
That’s all; that’s really everything people know about her.

Anyway, this WLO also has a report function for abusive behaviors caused by players.
For example, if a player repeatedly PKs a certain player every time they leave town or repeatedly interfere with a player, they can be reported and have their account permanently suspended even if they don’t PK.

The thing with Rou is… for better or worse.
She is indiscriminate.
She never targets specific players; she just kills them as she encounters them.
No other pattern of behavior can be seen on her.
There may be unlucky players who have been killed multiple times as a result, but there is no trace of malice on Rou’s part.
As a matter of fact, Rou has been reported many times, but she has not had her account suspended.
This was proof that Rou was only PKing within limits allowed by the game.

Drago also wonders what kind of relationship was between Rou and Sukuna before.
From what Drago picked up earlier, they must have fought somewhere when Sukuna was still a beginner.
It was a huge feat for Sukuna to fend off Rou, who must have been leveling like a crazy gamer, but since it was Sukuna, Drago was somehow convinced.
And it was rather surprising that the same Rou had come to help Sukuna.
To help a once missed prey.

It’s not hard to imagine that Rou has the same level of dedication as Drago, and there’s no doubt that Rou is dependable, but Drago just doesn’t understand why she came to aid Sukuna.
She had no obligation or gratitude towards Sukuna, and Drago feels that she definitely did not come with malicious intent.
Anyway, Rou is right.
Right now, she should concentrate on the fight.
Drago looked at Nocturne, who had changed her fighting style to elemental magic attack, and regripped the hilt of her greatsword.
When you think about it, a 5-meter diameter mass of flames is pretty impressive.

Duh, Rou is just a gamer; there’s no need to be salty when you lose.
It’s fun to challenge someone strong.
It’s a bit bitter when you lose, but in the end, having fun should be the ultimate goal of all gamers.

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