646 I Will Give You a Most Honorable Defeat 3/4

 Nozama smirked when he saw Link blocking a hit from his sword. He then asked, "Link, you barely knew the man. What's the point in saving him, anyway?"

Link was already prepared to die at this point. Even when he was about to be crushed under the weight of Nozama's sword, he still managed to smile as he said, "I've always been there to stop you at every turn since the day I entered the Firuman realm, haven't I? Why stop now?"

Nozama nodded, somewhat stunned. He did not expect such a reply from him, given the circumstances. "Indeed. You are also my daughter's husband, which naturally makes me your father-in-law. If you ask me, you kneeling down before me is something that is long overdue."

He uttered every word calmly, confident that Link would not be able to retaliate from such an awkward position even if he wanted to.

He's not wrong, I guess, thought Link. "A shame really, that I wasn't able to give you a grandchild."

Anger slowly began to rise in Nozama. He pressed his sword down even more, making Link bend over backwards awkwardly beneath him. He then said coldly, "Who knows? Maybe you already have planted your seed. When the time is right, I might bring both mother and child to my palace. Don't worry, I'll make sure to take good care of them."

Link was still able to maintain a calm exterior. "That's not too bad. Regardless of whether they end up good or evil, at least I'll have a descendant. They also won't have to live out their lives as mere commoners when I'm gone. Maybe when they're of age, maybe they'll even replace you as the Lord of the Deep."

"Enough!" Nozama exerted even more pressure on his sword. There was now a manic glint of bloodlust in his eyes. "No one can replace me! No one can defy me! I am the Abyss' eternal king, and soon, I will claim all the realms in existence as my own! As for you..."

The Lord of the Deep lowered his gaze at Link as the latter struggled to hold out against the weight of his sword. He smiled cruelly. "I won't kill you. I will grant you the pleasure of experiencing eternal torment as the God of Destruction's prisoner. I'll even let you watch me subject your wife to every horrendous form of torture I can think of as I march on to glory!"

"You're out of control, Nozama," said Link. He now had difficulty saying his words. The power Nozama was exerting on him through his sword had reached an unbearable point. However, he was still able to remain calm inside. It was as if he had transcended the physical concerns of the living and no longer felt any fear towards Nozama's threats on his life.

Seeing the crazed look on Nozama, Link went on, "During the ancient times of Firuman, masters like you used to be a dime a dozen. A wise man once told me that the physical is simply an extension of the mind. Pain is merely an illusion. A person's rise and fall is as transient as any other experience in one's life. If I fail now, there will be others who will succeed me. There will always be a new Lord of Ferde to replace me when I'm gone. Nozama, you will never win."

Nozama was stunned. His grip slackened considerably around the handle of his sword. Through the silvery glow that Link's eyes were giving off, Nozama could see that his eyes did not waver one bit. Link was not saying all this in an effort to put on a brave face. He actually meant every word.

"'The physical is simply an extension of the mind.' Have you really reached that state of mind? How is that possible?" Nozama was now too surprised to maintain a firm grip on his sword.

He had lived far longer and seen more than the average mortal. Though he had come across countless metaphysical concepts in his lifetime, he had yet to enact even one of them. He simply could not even if he wanted to.

For instance, the state of mind that Link mentioned was something Nozama had been trying to achieve for a long time. Unfortunately, all his attempts had always ended in failure.

As someone who was always quick to resort to violence and aggression, Nozama never could keep his emotions in check. His material desires had made him who he was today. However, they also constituted the greatest obstacle in his quest for enlightenment.

Seeing the tranquility he had long coveted in the eyes of a twenty-year-old man before him took Nozama completely by surprise.

Nozama was able to regain much of his composure at this point. He looked at Link. The glint of bloodlust now flickered uncertainly in his eyes.

"You do have a remarkable gift, I'll give you that. There is a certain limberness to your mind which allows you to stay calm and focused, something my mind can't seem to manage. A shame really, that you have to meet your end here. Otherwise, you would have been the first mortal ever to enter the divine realm. Such a shame..."

Nozama shook his head as if he was actually regretting what he was about to do to Link. "I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised about my daughter choosing you to be her spouse. After all, her bloodline ability allows her to make the best possible decision in any given situation. Oh, what a shame indeed..."

Nozama then took a step back, pulling his sword away from Link. He then looked at the young man before him and said, "Someone like you deserves an honorable defeat. Come, I'll give you a chance to come at me with everything you have!"

Link planted his Ode of a Full Moon sword into the ground, leaning on it as he tried to stay upright. "Nozama, do you know why I'm able to stay this calm?"

"Hhm?" Instinctively, Nozama felt that something was not right.

In the next second, Link suddenly splayed his palm out behind him. A streak of light spread out from it, enveloping the Protector Romeon and the two unconscious demons. Link had cast a teleportation spell on them.

The most surprising thing happened. When the white light subsided, both Romeon and the demons had disappeared. They had been successfully teleported away.

"Impossible! I've sealed up the space here. You shouldn't be able to do that!" said Nozama in disbelief.

"True, I wasn't able to cast any spatial spell just now. But you were prattling on for so long I just didn't have the heart to interrupt you!" There was a look of satisfaction on Link's face. He was now ready to fight it out with Nozama to the bitter end.

"Oh, I see. So that's how it is!" Nozama finally figured out what just happened. "It's that Protector. He took on some of the Dimensional Rejection that had been weighing you down. He's a Legendary master as well as a Protector recognized by this realm. By vouching for you, the realm naturally stopped rejecting you. If that's the case, I assume you are now at your full strength?"

Pristine Realm Essence Power now flowed within Link. It then formed a thin crystalline layer around his body, giving him the appearance of a deified being.

His power had returned to the mid-stages of Level-13, while Nozama's was around the early stages of Level-14. There was still a noticeable power gap between them, but Link was familiar with his opponent's strengths and weaknesses. There was still a chance for him to come out of this victorious.

"So it would seem," replied Link. His voice had taken on a metallic quality as a result of his return to his full strength. "We probably can't cast any spells on each other from where we stand. It all comes down now to whose blade is quickest, mine or yours."

Nozama's face did not show a hint of fear. He gently twirled his Heroic Calamity sword in his hand, tracing out a silver line in the air.

He let out a terrible laugh. "Hahaha, very well. As promised, I will let you experience a most honorable defeat!"