The sight unfolding before him was just too ridiculous. Has the Mask really been weakened? Was he really trying to make himself look beatable? Six sent out a punch toward the Mask, his fist armed with photon spikes. A hit would surely crush through him, body and armor.
And hit it did with the Mask’s very own black fist, yet none of what he imagined came to pass, the photon spikes on his gauntlets merely dispersing into tiny fragments as his fist was deflected. But Six wasn’t done just yet, and he swept forward with the claws of photon of his other arm. The Mask leaped away and touched the ceiling, then a moment later, kicked Six right on the head, staggering him before landing behind him and sending another kick to his back. Six found himself in mid air.
『But then again, it wouldn’t be any good either for people to think I’m too weak, lest they come up with a plan to try and beat me. 』
It was quite the dilemma. Six fixed his posture midair and kicked off against the wall to appear before him again. At the same time, shackles of golden light appeared throughout the black mist. That was either a crowd-control skill or a debuff, but whatever it was, as Masquerade wasn’t wearing an exoskeleton, such a Skill would surely take effect on him fully.
Then Six moved. In his hand, was a solid sword with a short yet broad blade, resembling a gigantic cleaver. With the force of a gust of wind, he swung it as though he were trying to ram the Mask straight through.
『After all, if I’m not strong, no one will fear me. 』
Yet all he got in response was a calm voice. the shackles of golden light melted away into particles, while the cleaver-like weapon was shattered with a knife hand strike.
Six was incredulous. The mask seized that opportunity to grab him by the chest with one hand and slammed him into the floor.
Unable to even break his fall, and perhaps also because his wounds have yet to heal, Six threw up blood. Despite that he still rolled away because he saw the Mask’s foot stomping down on him. The floor where his head was just awhile ago broke.
As someone who was most likely the first person to have fought Masquerade in this world, Myuhi could say without a doubt that Masquerade was weaker right now.
His movements were slower, lacking their usual brilliance, and his reactions were sluggish too.
His strikes weren’t as powerful too. Normally, it would be impossible for him to be stopped just because his fist met with the opponent’s and broke some spikes. Were Masquerade in good health, Six would have had to say goodbye to his gauntlets right there and then.
Even taking into account that he was holding back, the throw and the stomp was weak too, as normally, he would have left a humanoid figure on the floor or a hole leading to the ground below.
He seemed concerned about getting hit too, as he bothered to defend against that slash. And from the way he was only attacking physically, he might not be able to use his other abilities either.
─In that sense, he was certainly weaker, but…
『He’s still so strong that one could at most hope to beat him after many casualties!』
Indeed, it was another story altogether if they could beat him just because of that. Six managed to stand back up after rolling around, but he tottered, full of openings, and the Mask rushed toward him again.
Though he wasn’t in his best condition, the Mask was still fast enough to close that distance in one go and strong enough to deliver a powerful blow that could easily destroy Garestonian equipment. True enough, his palm strike pierced through the armor.
Although the armor wasn’t thick, it was strong enough to withstand even tank shells. Yet as though it didn’t matter how durable the armor was or the barrier covering it, that attack ignored everything as though none of the defense mechanisms of the exoskeleton mattered.
──We’ve yet to understand his mysterious abilities.
“Gu, ah, *Cough *Cough!?”
It seemed as though Six had just been pushed a little, but in truth that palm strike had delivered enough damage to make him throw up blood. But the Mask was far from done, and without any mercy, he sent another strike through the same hand, causing Six to stagger and throw up more blood as he fell into a crouch and clutched his stomach.
Despite being able to see the Mask, and despite the Mask being weaker because of the song, the Mask was still too strong. At the very least, he far outstripped the warriors of the underworld. The fight just now making it clear that they wouldn’t even be able to come close to beating him.
──Am I supposed to fight with that too?
Myuhi couldn’t imagine herself surviving that. The Mask snapped his fingers and slowly approached Six. The tension in the air was palpable. Myuhi could tell that the finger snap was meant to make them think the Mask had done something, but as to whether he actually had or hadn’t was a question that remained in the air.
『If you spill everything you know, I’ll spare at least your life. 』
“Even if it’s a lie, you ought to at least say that you won’t hurt me!!”
They knew about the fate of those that the Mask attacked – about how they were turned into invalids and how they were merely surviving on a bed. Obviously, Six wouldn’t accept such conditions, and he jumped up. With a photon knife in his hand, and the force of his entire body, he struck out for the face of the Mask, only for him to hit his own shoulder instead.
Six’s face contorted in shock and pain. It was a momentary reaction, a split-second maneuver, yet his arms were still bent by the Mask, his own blade turned against himself, and it effortlessly tore through his armor, causing fresh blood to splatter.
But as if that attack were a signal of sort, the other enemies moved. The soldiers that had woken up simultaneously rose, surrounding and launching an assault on Crimson.
This time they were equipped with just the usual Garestonian weapons. Myuhi couldn’t rely on the mysterious protection of the Mask anymore, so she had to confront them the normal way. But when she saw the shadow moving by the corner of her vision, she clicked her tongue.
『Masquerade, get Venom! 』
Myuhi swung her spear and swept aside the five enemies that jumped at her. Venom had donned an exoskeleton, and on his shoulder was a Bazooka big enough that he had to put it on his shoulders. It was aimed at the church outside.
“Fuhaha! Watch me blow everything away!”
“You fool! Can’t you just do the job quietly!?”
Six angrily spat with an expression twisted in agony. This last gambit needed every second they could get, yet Venom, with his finger still on the trigger, actually celebrated before anything has happened.
It was curious if the Mask had noticed what was happening around him or not, but Six rolled over like a ball upon being kicked, while a golden light emitted from that head-sized-muzzle of Venom’s.
The energy released was enough to easily blow away a house. The window frames were sent flying, and shockwaves swept through the room and scorched the garden.
Venom didn’t care anymore what method he used. He would get rid of that annoying Songstress one way or another.
Venom laughed. “Ahahaha—Ha?”
Or at least he did until a black shadow stood before the light. The Mask might have gotten slower, but he still had a wealth of options on him. For one, he also had a foster. He knew techniques that could bolster his movements, and he surely had more cards he was keeping to himself. Of course, it was also possible that he was able to make it purely by just moving, but regardless, he made it in front of that light. And that meant, there could only be one ending to this story.
As he exhaled, an arm struck out and met that cannon of light. It was a simple blow, yet before it, the light of destruction dispersed, and the impact rebounded onto Venom and the others, causing everyone in the room to be thrown everywhere.
Only Myuhi was able to remain unaffected, for she had quickly anchored herself to the walls and floor to maintain her posture.
『…Sigh, what a mess.』