686 A Peerless Swordswoman

 Nana had mostly kept to herself ever since her return to Ferde.

Other than carrying out the occasional missions she received from Link, Nana had kept such a low profile that almost everyone had forgotten she even existed.

However, she was first to step up one of Ferde's defenders when the city was once again under threat. She always had a habit of making an appearance at the most critical moment, just like the time Link had his back against the wall back in the Black Forest.

Razer stopped in his tracks at the sight of Nana.

He did not stop before her out of any lingering respect he still had for her as a former guard of their saint. Rather, it was her power that he feared. As the leader of the Fire Sect's Lava Knights, he was privy to all the well-guarded secrets in the sect. However, only one person had remained largely shrouded in mystery. Due to how little he knew about said person, he could not help but feel a certain wariness towards her.

And now, that person was standing before him.

"Nana, you betrayed the sect!" shouted Razer. He was gripping his sword tightly in his hand. Every muscle fiber of his body was now vibrating rhythmically as he began optimizing his current physical state for combat.

Though he had a schedule to keep, Razer knew that blindly rushing in would not be the wisest course of action.

Throughout the centuries of strife between the Aragu Empire and the Yan Empire, countless Level-17 and Level-18 masters had existed. However, someone had begun picking off these masters one by one. In the mist of history, each time one of these masters mysteriously perished, there had always been evidence of Nana's involvement.

On the surface, Nana's power level was only Level-13. No, she was now close to reaching Level-15. Razer did not know what Nana had encountered in Ferde. However, he was certain that Nana was now an even more formidable figure than before.

Nana stood before Razer, clad in black leather armor. She was holding the single-handed sword that Link had forged for her, the Last Nightmare sword. Upon her return to Ferde, it was on the verge of breaking apart. However, Link had fixed it up for her and even revamped it. The sword was now a shade of blue. Around its four-foot-long blade swirled a mysterious blue aura.

Seeing Razer, Nana gave him a faint smile. "It's been a while, Razer. I see that you're now leading the Lava Knights. Not bad. However, you've made a huge mistake today."

As she spoke, the blue aura now crept across Nana's entire body. From time to time, blue-white points of light flashed out in it. Beyond that, Nana remained as inconspicuous as ever before Razer.

However, upon seeing this, Razer immediately activated his realm as if he was in the face of a powerful enemy. Black fire broke out in the heavens, and a horrible wail filled the air as if the souls of hell had been unleashed into this world. The sky gradually darkened with the encroachment of dark fog.

Night had fallen upon Ferde!

Razer's realm instantly reached Nana, who did not make any attempt to resist it. Curiously enough, the blue haze around her did not dim in the slightest amid the darkness.

Back then, in the Black Forest, Nana had also displayed this same blue-white power. With it, she was even able to break through the Dark Serpent's defenses and kill the Divine Gear's user.

Even as a Level-8 master back then, she was already capable of accomplishing this much. Now, she was a Level-14 pinnacle master whose power had become even more refined after having undergone countless changes and improvements.

On the outside, it did not seem as impressive as Razer's realm. However, what Nana's power lacked in range, it made up for in its purity.

"Razer, I'm coming for you!" announced Nana. Even though her surroundings had transformed into a literal hellscape, she still retained a casual tone in her voice.

Without even thinking, Razer rushed towards Nana with his sword pointed straight at her!

The attack came with the fanfare of wind and lightning in the background. The black fog began swirling around Razer until it settled into the form of a giant snake. The snake then lunged Nana at a frightening speed, threatening to swallow her whole.

However, no matter how fast the giant fog snake was, Nana was even faster.

The snake finally reached the bell tower where Nana had been standing and took a bite out of the building, reducing it into fine dust. However, amid the confusion, Nana had disappeared without a trace.

In the Mage Tower, Eliard and the others were all spectating the ongoing battle in a mingle of horror and surprise.

"Where's Nana? I can't see her."

"Don't tell me she's already dead?"

"I don't think she would be able to survive a Level-16 master's attack!"

All of them had completely lost track of Nana.

Razer was the only one who had only managed to catch a glimpse of Nana's blue-white aura.

Just when the snake bit into the bell tower, he saw an indistinct blue silhouette leaping out of it at an unimaginable speed. A shiver ran through him.

Sensing that his life was now in danger, he immediately switched to a defensive posture and swung his sword to his side.

His sword came in just in time. He suddenly sensed an overwhelmingly sharp power running through the length of the blade. A sharp ting echoed in the air. The sound was so piercing that Razer had half a mind to cover his ears against it.

His eyes could barely track the blue-white silhouette that glimmered around him like a phantom. Consecutive attacks came at him without any sign of letting up.

Ting, ting, ting, ting... Razer could not afford to waste any time planning out a counter strategy. Any delay in his reaction time would cost him his life. He was now defending himself against Nana's attacks by instinct.

This was the first time he had experienced such a life-and-death situation ever since he became a Lava Knight. He had always known that Nana was a formidable figure in the Fire Sect who had chosen not to reveal the true extent of her power to the world, but he had no idea she would be this powerful.

The saint definitely did not know about this. Otherwise, she would not have sent him here on his own.

Ting, ting, ting... In just three seconds, Razer managed to block 70 blows from Nana's sword. A numbness was now spreading across his arm. He then realized that his ears were no longer functioning properly. His cheeks felt warm, and he could feel a bit of blood flowing out of his ears. His eardrums were completely ruined by the piercing sound of Nana's sword striking repeatedly against his.

Razer now felt cornered like a wild beast being hunted by a seasoned hunter.

If said hunter could not bring down his quarry with a single strike, he would simply need to resort to other methods, methodically forcing it into a trap that he had already set up in advance.

Right now, Razer felt as if he was about to step into a death trap of Nana's design. Worse still, despite knowing the existence of this trap, he could not see a way out of it.

She's too strong! If this goes on any longer, I'm going to be killed by her for sure! This thought ran through his head like a jolt of electricity. He had to do something. Otherwise, he would soon be dead.

The only advantage he had over Nana now was the overwhelming power he wielded!

Razer let out a roar. At that moment, power began to boil in his body. Hellfire flowed out of his body in waves, covering a 15-foot-wide area around him.

This was his maximum range.

In an instant, Razer's hellfire burned everything to a crisp in its path. The incredible heat even managed to burn a hole in the space around him.

At that moment, Razer felt the flurry of attacks around him beginning to slow down. He immediately searched his surroundings for Nana's blue-white form and saw that it had begun making its retreat. Though the hellfire was rapidly spreading out, it was still not fast enough to reach the blue-white figure, which managed to keep a 0.1-foot gap between itself and the encroaching flames.

This 0.1-foot gap was the only thing standing between Nana's life and certain death.

Razer sighed inwardly, knowing that there was little to no chance he would be able to kill Nana now. He decided that there was no reason to linger on in Ferde any longer.

He had failed in his mission to assassinate the lord of Ferde. However, this was fine. He was still alive. There would still be another time.

All this time, he was still under the impression that the lord of Ferde was hiding somewhere in the Mage Tower.

Like a bolt of lightning, he fled the scene and soon arrived at Scorched City's barrier. From there, he continued on his trajectory across the sea until he finally reached the Silver Storm Sparrow battleship.

Half a second later, he was already on board the Silver Storm Sparrow ship. Drawing a long breath, he said, "Let's go back to the Isle of... Dawn."

Suddenly, his foot gave way beneath him, and he fell to the ground on his knee. Then, he felt a sudden pain gripping his chest.

Groaning, he lowered his gaze and was dumbstruck by what he saw.

The black-gold scaled armor that he was wearing was Level-17 equipment of the highest quality. It was forged by the Inferno Archmage especially for him, the leader of the Lava Knights. However, Nana's attacks had left a thumb-sized hole on the left side of its chest area. Blood was now flowing profusely out of it.

A few High Elves leaped to his aid. "Master, you're hurt!"

A High Elf doctor immediately inspected his wound. A few minutes later, he frowned. "Master, one of your ribs are broken, and your heart has been punctured. I could also sense a mysterious power lingering around your heart. It may take a while to dispel it completely, I'm afraid."

"Just tell me everything!" barked Razer. There was not a hint of panic in his voice. Injuries were to be expected in any duel between two masters. Razer was lucky to still be alive. I've never seen swordsmanship like hers, he thought to himself.

He realized that there was no way his own swordsmanship would be able to rival Nana's. He would need to use his area-of-effect techniques in order to deal with someone like her who obviously specialized in close quarter combat. Today, he underestimated his opponent. This defeat was well-deserved.

Immediately succumbing to Razer's imposing air, the High Elf doctor fell to the ground and stammered, "Master, I'm afraid that you will not be able to fight at your full strength for a month."

"A month?" Though he did not trust the doctor's diagnosis, he was well aware of his current physical condition. He decided that the only thing he needed to do now was to focus on his recovery.

"Forget it, let's head back to the Isle of Dawn!" This was all they could do for now.

Just then, a High Elf pointed at the southern sky and shouted, "Look, there's a golden cloud in the sky."

Razer turned around. In an instant, his face went pale.