Herbert opened by making a regular sword attack, one where he didn’t have a field of mana around his body. Due to Herbert being slower than Marlon, his attacks were easier to deal with. As such, while Herbert was swinging his sword downward, Ignoa launched a counterattack.
Herbert distanced himself from the demon in order to avoid the counterattack. However, Ignoa was intent on not letting him get away and tried to get behind him.
In response, Herbert immediately used a fire spell to keep the demon back. That made it clear that Herbert would have to rely on his magic many times to keep the demon in check. If their exchanges were to follow this pattern, Herbert would definitely use a large amount of mana too quickly.
Herbert was unperturbed though. Unlike Marlon earlier, Herbert’s goal right now wasn’t to break the impasse they were in. He was just looking for an opportunity to land good, solid attacks. Moreover, Herbert had significantly more mana than Marlon thanks to his lineage and magic training. In other words, Herbert still had breathing room for now.
However, considering the next 3 points of his strategy, he wasn’t in a position to waste too much mana either.
And so, Herbert switched to a style where he didn’t mind getting hurt as long as he could land attacks of his own. Naturally, this lead to more wounds for Herbert. He suffered not only more cuts but also more pain from kicks that the demon mixed in from time to time.
But support from Marlon couldn’t be expected at the moment. So, despite his switch in fighting style, Herbert must avoid making critical mistakes now more than ever. This was all on top of finding the best opportunity to use his greatest weapon, his spacetime magic.
As for Ignoa, he was clearly looking down on Herbert after their initial exchange. Confident they could fend off Herbert’s attacks, the demon set their eyes on Marlon. Marlon has stopped moving and wasn’t even offering support, so it was easy enough for Ignoa to tell that he was preparing some grand attack. Similarly, it was also obvious that Ignoa wanted to be rid of the nuisance that was Herbert as soon as possible and then rush Marlon.
Thanks to that, Herbert was able to devise a plan. He stopped blocking the way toward Marlon and started to act like all he cared for was to defend himself.
Ignoa launched an attack aimed toward Herbert’s neck. However, Herbert—thanks to Rodeo’s intense training—could tell that the incoming attack lacked the intent to take his life. In other words, it was a feint. Even so, Herbert took a defensive stance. When he did, Ignoa grinned…and turned toward Marlon.
But because Ignoa was only really paying attention to Marlon, the demon failed to notice that Herbert was also just pretending to take a defensive stance.
Herbert formed a spherical field of mana, entered it, and charged alongside it toward the distracted demon. Herbert also prepared for the latter parts of his strategy by forming another mana sphere but one without any spacetime magic yet. He made sure the sphere always floated near him.
I have to land a good attack here!
He held back a shout along with his indignation toward Ignoa for underestimating him, and instead used it to encourage himself to dash faster. For Herbert who has began to lose weight and was moving at 3 times his usual speed, catching up to Ignoa was easy.
Herbert swung his sword down and made a cut in Ignoa’s back, all the way up to their hips. He managed to slice through the demon’s tough carapace and revealed their flesh. The flesh in question was eerie in that it was purple. The blood that gushed out was eerie too due to its green color.
Thanks to that surprise attack, his enemy’s posture was broken.
Great! Now I’ve accomplished the first step!
In order to do a follow up attack on the now-collapsing Ignoa, Herbert moved to make a thrust at the demon’s open carapace—