Chapter 104: Unstoppable Laughter

My body is hot.
It feels like it’s on fire.

My kei is still surging like the water of the sea, spreading throughout every corner of my body.

A feeling of omnipotence, akin to being drunk, envelops my mind and body.

I’m confident that I can beat anyone now.
Whether it’s a dragon, a demon god, or a sword saint – my heart is filled with such conviction.

Before I knew it, I was laughing loudly.


It’s unbearable.

Somewhere in my head, a calm voice is admonishing me not to be overconfident.
Somewhere in my heart, a cautious voice is warning me not to let my guard down.

But I didn’t feel like listening to those voices.
I didn’t think about them at all.

When you have the power to kill a god if you so desire, how can you not be overconfident?

Careless? That’s just fine.
After all, if I don’t show even a hint of carelessness, then there would be no chance for the dumbstruck Klimt in front of me to win.

It’s just the right handicap!

“Hahahaha! Klimt, how long are you planning to stand there so carelessly?”

I swung my soul equipment in a straight line.
It didn’t reach Klimt’s body since it was out of range, and I didn’t use a fast flying strike.
I just lightly swung it, just as the words indicate.

However, even with that light swing, the kei gathered the wind and burst out, pushing Klimt’s body away.


After regaining his senses, Klimt’s face twisted as he flew backward.
His form was full of openings, and I could have pursued him relentlessly, but I deliberately chose not to.
It was part of my carelessness and arrogance.

I watched with a faint smile as Klimt frantically regained his composure.
Seeing me, he let out a groan.

Sora, you…”

“What’s wrong? Your face looks pale, Klimt.
You wanted me to teach you the truth you didn’t know, the difference in our abilities, didn’t you? Or was it hard to understand?”

Klimt gritted his teeth with a clear expression of contempt.

I could have sliced through him with a direct cut or attacked him from outside his range with a swift strike.

Klimt was so overwhelmed by my power that he couldn’t avoid either attack.

He recognized that I had held back, and his expression betrayed that realization.

Against such an opponent, I launched a follow-up attack with my words.

“I’m glad you understand my intentions.
So, do you have something to say? It’s not just Klimt, if Claira or Gozu have something to say, I’ll listen.”

With that, I glanced at the other two besides Klimt, and Claira, already pale, responded in a trembling voice.

“Sora-dono, what is your anima exactly? You alone defeated a mythical creature, so I understand that you’re leveling up.
But to unleash such kei and kei pressure, it’s impossible even for animas at the level of Hakké or Shishou…!”1 2

“If it’s impossible with Hakké or Shishou, then it must be at the level of Ryōgi or Taikyoku, right? Well, you can find out for yourself starting tomorrow.”3 4

“What do you mean…?”

Claira looked puzzled, but I shifted my gaze to Gozu without paying attention to her.

As expected, it seemed that Gozu had already discerned my power and had no intention of using the Juzumaru’s abilities.

Juzumaru’s power nullified the effects of soul equipment, and it had been used to seal away the power of the Soul Eater in our previous battle.

However, Juzumaru’s power was ineffective against the current Soul Eater.
He couldn’t bind it.
Gozu also knew this, so he didn’t unsheathe his sword.

After all, he had no choice but to use Void Armor.
I laughed mockingly at Gozu for having to resort to using it.

“Now, Gozu, hurry up and use your Void Armor.
If Berch’s two can also use it, then let them.
If you can’t, then enhance your Soul Equipment to the limit.
As thanks for holding back Stampede, I won’t attack for the first minute.
We couldn’t have obtained this much power without you guys.
The next minute is my expression of gratitude to you.”

“…Sora-dono, does that mean you have taken the power of the mythical creatures? Like what you did to me in Ishka?”

“What, are you gathering information now? Yeah, that’s right.
During the three days when you guys were holding back the monsters of Titis Forest, I was able to devour the Hydra to my heart’s content.
This power is the result of that.”

“Thank you very much,” I said politely, expressing my gratitude.
Of course, it was partly sarcasm, but half of it was sincere.

To defeat the Hydra, which repeatedly regenerated, I had to continue devouring its soul until regeneration became impossible.
There was no other way to defeat the dragon species that would not fall even if its head was cut off or a hole was made in its body.

And for that, I needed three days and three nights.

It was undoubtedly thanks to Gozu and the others that I was able to concentrate on the battle with the Hydra for that long.

I don’t spare one or two words of gratitude, or three or four pieces of information.
On the contrary, it would be easier for me to do various things from now on if I could tell the details of how I defeated the Hydra, including the ability of the Soul Equipment, to Demon Island.

I have already finished hiding my true strength.

“I’ll say it again.
Release your Void Armor quickly, Gozu Sima.
I’ll crush you in your full strength, and surpass you.
I won’t allow you to pity me again.”


“Phantom Blade Style, Inferno!”

Klimt was the first to charge forward.
A fierce blaze swirled around him, approaching with terrifying force.

Klimt’s Soul Equipment, Kurikara, was a flame god sword and naturally had a good affinity with fire-based techniques.
The Kei technique he released was imbued with enough power to be effective even against the Hydra.

However, as previously mentioned, Juzumaru’s ability nullification didn’t affect me, so all of Klimt’s Kei techniques were no more than fodder for me.
I held my Soul Eater in my right hand and braced for Klimt’s attack.

Then, a powerful cry of “Phantom Blade Style, Whirlwind!” erupted from Claira’s direction.

Multiple, thundering blades of wind were unleashed at once.
Just as Klimt’s Soul Equipment had a good affinity with fire, Claira’s Soul Equipment, Kusanagi, had a good affinity with wind techniques, and their power was intense.
A direct hit would easily blow off the Hydra’s head.

The timing of his attack was perfect.
She guessed that her technique would not be nullified while I was taking Klimt’s attack, and deliberately delayed the activation of her kei technique.

No, maybe Klimt also used a flashy technique in his first move to let his sister land this blow.
This kind of coordination was probably unique to siblings.

Well, it doesn’t really matter.


If I can’t block it with the Soul Equipment, I’ll use something else.
I released a kei blast and dispersed the wind that Claira had sent my way.

The Kei Blast I just fired is equivalent to a cannonball as its name suggests.
The blade of the Whirlwind that came in contact with my Kei momentarily tightened the space as if resisting my Kei pressure, but it didn’t last long.

Berch’s siblings twisted their expressions as they watched the scattering wind blades.
Seeing this, I was about to ridicule the two of them, but I noticed that the third person was nowhere to be seen.
Then a heavy voice resounded from above my head.

“Phantom Blade Style’s Secret Art――”

As he lifted his face, he saw an armored figure that reminded him of Gozu Tennō, the ox-headed god.
Gozu, who had already deployed his Void Armor, raised his crescent blade high and――5

“Shock Form: Divine Thunder!!”

He struck down fiercely.

His thunderous blade shone like lightning, and its impact felt like a thunderbolt piercing through my body.
With unstoppable pressure and speed, a divine thunder blade approached.

I had no time to release a Kei Blast.
Even if I did, it would have been pointless.
The situation was the opposite of when Claira attacked me; it was clear that I would be overwhelmed.

So I raised my free left hand above my head–


—and took Gozu’s lightning strike head-on.

No matter how strong the Kei defense was, it couldn’t fully prevent the attack.
Blood splattered and the blade pierced between the thumb and index finger.

Flesh tore, bones shattered, nerves were severed, and excruciating pain spread throughout the body.
The crescent moon blade reached here in an instant, up to the wrist.
Although it was better than being cut off, the left hand was now useless.

To be honest, I thought I could repel most attacks with just my Kei, but it seemed like I was too overconfident against Gozu’s true power.

I recognized that fact and couldn’t help but burst into laughter.

“Hahaha! Amazing, Gozu! What was that just now? A secret technique? The Shock Form? I’ve never seen such an attack! It’s a splendid attack! Is that your full strength?! That Gozu…the one who always looked at me with pity on the island…is now seriously fighting me! He’s come at me with full force! Hahaha, Ahahahaha!!”

Laughing like a maniac, I activated my Soul Equipment.
With the power of Soul eater, which can even restore severed limbs, it was easy to heal torn flesh, shattered bones, and severed nerves.

It was excruciatingly painful to pull the blade out, but even that pain felt good to me now.
I couldn’t stop laughing.

The fact that Gozu had shown his full strength against me was so satisfying.

The fact that his full-strength attack couldn’t even cut off one of my arms was hilariously satisfying.

I realize once again that I have surpassed Gozu Sima.

Honestly, I didn’t think I had such mixed feelings about Gozu.

Certainly, I was fed up with his pity from good intentions, but I thought I understood it because he treated me as his ward.

In fact, I didn’t have such strong emotions when I fought in Ishka…no, that’s not it.
At that time, I was still weaker than Gozu.
Even though I was able to turn the tables and counterattack in the latter half, I couldn’t get the feeling that I had surpassed Gozu because the fight was interrupted by the appearance of Hydra.

Now I had finally come to that realization.
After fighting Hydra, I was convinced that I was above Gozu, and my past frustrations had boiled over.

My left hand, with the blade still embedded in it, clenched around Gozu’s crescent moon sword with a rasping sound.

Gozu’s cow-headed helmet, which had until then silently watched my frenzy, now trembled slightly.
It seemed like he was trying to pull his weapon back to him, but the crescent moon sword didn’t budge even an inch.


Gozu groaned.
I grinned with joy and tightened my grip on the blade even more.

I continued to put more and more force into it.

Creak…Something creaked.

“You… young man…”

With that voice, it seems like you’re sweating under your helmet.
I can’t wait to see the face behind it.”

I applied more force, and more force, and more force, until…

With a crackling sound like shattering crystal, the crescent moon sword in Gozu’s hand produced a small yet sharp noise.

It was the sound of a crack running through the blade.

“You fool…!”

“Ahahahaha! How fragile, how fragile, Gozu! Is this all that the realm of phantom burial can do? Is this all that the essence of the Phantom Blade Style can do?! And where did that smug face, who claimed to be able to overcome my arrogance, go!?”

With that, I concentrated my kei in my left hand and shattered the crescent moon sword’s blade with even greater force than before.

As soon as my left hand was released, I quickly spun my body around and delivered a spear-like mid-kick to Gozu’s stomach, likely leaving him dumbfounded under his helmet.

Receiving the strike strengthened by Kei, Gozu’s massive body wrapped in armor soared through the air.

Gozu’s massive body, covered in armor, flew through the air after taking a blow strengthened with kei.

I lifted the corners of my lips and smiled.
The minute we promised to hold back our attacks had long passed.

In this chapter, I came across some power levels called Hakké, Shishou, Ryōgi, and Taikyoku.
While I have a general idea of what each level means, I’m not entirely sure how they fit into the narrative.

Despite my confusion, I’ve decided to stick with the original terms for now.
I’ll do some more digging to figure out what each level signifies within the context of the story.
If I learn more, I’ll be sure to update you.

Hakké refers to the use of the eight trigrams, which can be used in martial arts or meditation to gain knowledge and understanding of different aspects of reality.
A character who has mastered the use of Hakké could possess great insight and intuition. Shishou represents the four mythological creatures and is associated with power and authority.
A character who has reached the Shishou level of power could be a ruler or leader who wields great influence. Ryōgi represents the concept of dualism and the balancing of opposing forces.
A character who has attained the Ryōgi level of power could have great control over their own inner balance, as well as the balance of the world around them. Taikyoku represents the ultimate reality and the unity of all opposites.
A character who has achieved the Taikyoku level of power could possess immense wisdom and knowledge, and be able to see and understand the connections between all things. Gozu Tennō is a Japanese deity associated with both disease and healing.
Originally from mainland Asia, he was believed to cause and protect against epidemics.
He is depicted as a fierce-looking man with an ox head, holding an axe and a lasso.
In Japanese Buddhism, he is also one of the demon generals who guard the gates of hell.

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