Chapter 108 Abyssal Serpent
The massive wrym let out a deafening roar, and the battle began.
Xuan moved first, wanting to strike at every opportunity he had. Charging up his blade with the space energy he'd filled it with inside the void earlier, he cut down on the serpent's thick hide, and relished as it dug into the translucent creature's flesh.
The snake hissed and screeched, but Xuan was not done yet. Narrowing his eyes and keeping his grip on his sword firm, he dashed across the arena, all the while keeping his blade lodged within the beast's hide. The Abyssal Serpent spasmed; kicking its tail up and throwing Xuan high up into the air. Then, it opened its mouth, revealing what looked like a peerless black hole.
"Impossible… is this not an infant?!"
The serpent was using its signature move—the move that allowed its species to devour entire stars whole. However, this should be something only adult, fully-grown Abyssal Serpents were capable of. Why was this one, whose size was far smaller than its mature variant, able to use it?
Xuan, gritting his teeth, quickly attempted to cut through space to re-emerge elsewhere, but it was no use. He couldn't muster the concentration to cut through spacetime with everything that was going on, and the Abyssal Serpent was just about done preparing.
Dreadfully, Xuan felt himself being sucked towards the creature's mouth.
There was no escape. No counterplay. He didn't have time to use any techniques, and Xuan found himself on the verge of death as he stared into that deep hole of nothingness between the serpent's gaping jaws—but in that instant, something triggered inside him.
'… Hah. I see now.'
It was a glass—and all of a sudden, it shattered. Xuan's realization that he did not want to leave the world in such a way had triggered him to finally see with two clear eyes—that is, the next layer of the Law of Space: the Aspect of Bladework.
He knew what it was, of course. But only now did he truly comprehend it.
Unlike normal sword attacks, these ones served to cut apart space itself. There were multiple submoves to it, and the next few layers of the Law of Space up until the ninth were all simply variants of the Rift Sword Technique. In fact, even the first law, the Aspect of Travel, had an upgraded variant with the use of the sword technique.
As the Abyssal Serpent's gaping jaws closed around Xuan's body, everything around him went black for a brief moment. The massive creature swallowed, having successfully devoured its prey and finished the job it was sent here for.
Or so it thought.
Within the deadly silent space of the cosmos, a single whisper could be heard.
"Rift Sword Art, Form One: Sunder."
Within the darkness, Xuan lightly traced his sword across the air—but it was no gentle swing. All of a sudden, from the blade came bursting forth a crescent-shaped attack of mysterious quality, black in nature but surrounded by an animated glow made up of every possible color in the spectrum.
The Abyssal Serpent, thinking it had already won, was completely taken by surprise as its belly suddenly burst open, and its large figure was cleanly cut in half. Crawling out of the void was Xuan, stained with some kind of dark purple energy that slowly dissipated after a short few seconds.
"… Tch. One more second in there, and the void's corrosive power would've gotten me," he muttered, sparing a glance back at the Abyssal Serpent, who had already pieced itself back together and regenerated. "… As expected. You're no simple infant, huh?"
Even though there technically shouldn't be any way for it to regenerate here as the two were confined in some kind of mysterious, unbreakable box, it had somehow managed to do so anyway. It looked like the battle between the two was not quite over… but it was far more evenly-matched now that Xuan had comprehended the Rift Sword Art.
Bladetip still glowing with the power of space, Xuan tilted his head both ways, cracking his neck's bones. The Abyssal Dragon let out a shriek of anger in response, enraged by the humiliation and pain it just endured at the hands of this puny human. The cry shook the entire glass box as the sound waves reverberated on the transparent walls, but Xuan was not fazed in the least and instead simply tilted his sword towards his opponent.
"Show me what you're capable of."
Infuriated that it was being looked down upon, the Abyssal Serpent immediately surged towards Xuan. This time around, however, he was ready for the colossal beast's incredible speed, and dodged upwards with a fleeting jump. Elegantly drawing a crescent in the air with his sword, Xuan pointed his blade's tip downwards, and whispered.
"Rift Sword Art, Form Two: Judgment."
All of a sudden, from his sword's tip shot forth a deadly beam of space energy that surged downwards and tore through the Abyssal Serpent's ethereal flesh, leaving behind a hole that led directly into the void.
Letting out a high-pitched scream unsightly for a beast of its caliber, the Abyssal Serpent twisted and churned as the corruption of void energy stung at its body. Xuan, seeing this sight, smirked before returning to the ground.
"A tiny taste of your own medicine… but I'm not finished yet."
The source of this content is n/ov/elb/in[./]net'
Preparing his sword yet again, Xuan swung it seemingly at the air. The Abyssal Serpent was a good 20 meters away, but—
Suddenly, the wound it just healed burst open again, this time in the form of an incredibly long cut that followed the shape of its snake-like body.
"Mm, yes. The third form—Reach. This may turn out to be quite fun to use on people," Xuan mused as he looked down at his sword. "But alas… as amusing as it was, I believe it's time to bring this performance to a close."
While the Abyssal Serpent lay completely vulnerable, screaming at the gaping cut that lined its entire body, Xuan menacingly began walking closer. Then, stopping a mere foot before the massive creature's spasming figure, he cut upwards at the speed of light.
There was a pause.
Then, the Abyssal Serpent's body was lopped into a thousand pieces, torn apart by the powerful cuts of the void itself. Even for a being as powerful as this… regenerating from that was impossible.
"… Rift Sword Art, Form Four," Xuan muttered, holstering his sword. "Sever."