Chapter 731 - Time's Up
Haazan and Neksiazon exchanged death stares as the aura around them exploded.
Haazan glared over at Izroth and said, "Don't even think about running away! If you do, I will hunt you down. And, once I get my hands on you, I'll make certain your death is not a swift one."
Haazan hated to admit it, but he sensed it from the moment Neksiazon arrived—that their strength was roughly the same. In terms of quantity, Neksiazon had a slight advantage; however, when it came to quality and refinement, Haazan held the upper hand. In the end, it would all come down to who had the better technique.
"Even going so far as to offend someone from the Netherworld... This guy must have a death wish. Hmph, well, I'll grant his wish soon enough." Haazan internalized.
If Izroth chose to run away while they were fighting, Haazan figured there was a good chance he would try to go into hiding. If that happened, he would have to delay his return and have to go through the trouble of finding Izroth. But, more importantly, if Izroth got away, he would have no choice but to report the situation to the young master, ruining the image he spent a painstakingly amount of time building up. No matter what, he understood that Izroth could not walk away from this place alive!
As for Izroth, he gave no thought to Haazan's threats. If he truly wanted to escape from this place, it would take more than mere words to stop him.
Not to mention, even if Izroth did successfully escape if Haazan lost to Neksiazon, it would only be a matter of time until he failed the Hunted By A Creature of the Netherworld quest due to the one-hour time limit. Even without taking into account the loss of levels or world fame, there was a 50% he could experience an existence wipe.
Izroth may have six points of luck, but he was unwilling to leave his fate in the hands of another, especially his enemy.
"Impudent! You should be concerned with your own life!" Neksiazon howled as his entire right arm became encased in one large obsidian ice crystal with a sharpened end.
The next moment, Neksiazon stabbed his right arm into the ground in front of him as obsidian icicles rose from the earth, rushing towards Haazan!
Haazan kicked off his back foot and jumped into the air, dodging Neksiazon's attack. However, as he was in mid-air, Haazan felt a sudden chill in the air behind him.
"Simple tricks!" Haazan scoffed as he rapidly rotated his body, deflecting several obsidian icicles that were aimed at his back his the serrated blade.
"It's not over yet, human."
Neksiazon pulled his right arm out of the earth and raised his left hand in the air as the temperature in the surroundings fell once again.
At the same time, numerous obsidian icicles started to appear out of thin air before raining down at Haazan without mercy!
"You want to defeat me with just this? Dream on!" Haazan roared fiercely as the serrated blade in his hand underwent an abrupt change.
The serrated blade split into ten thin crimson tentacles. Each tentacle was approximately one meter in length with serrated edges.
Haazan swung outward as the crimson tentacles extended and moved as if they had a will of their own, skillfully weaving through one another as they slammed into the raining obsidian icicles.
Neksiazon's icicles were destroyed by Haazan as they exploded upon coming into contact with the crimson tentacles and split into thousands of shards. However, a few seconds later, the broken shards of ice merged to form a new batch of obsidian icicles.
As the two exchanged blows and the fight grew in intensity, Izroth carefully observed their movements.
'He is using the moisture in the environment to aid in the creation of those icicles. There is an aura of death lingering within each ice shard and every time one is destroyed, the aura of death only seems to grow stronger.'
Izroth knew that Neksiazon had yet to display the true power behind the obsidian ice. But, Izroth was sure of one thing, the crimson tentacles Haazan manipulated from his split serrated blade were not inferior to Neksiazon's obsidian ice.
Even if he was at full strength with his Flickering Steps active, Izroth was not 100% confident in avoiding the crimson tentacles due to how fast they were able to adjust their position without interfering with each other. Of course, that was if Flickering Steps was the only movement skill at his disposal.
But, what truly made the crimson tentacles troublesome was their special serrated edges. The edges also resembled thorns and appeared to inflict a type of shredding effect on anything they touched. There was a good possibility that it could easily tear through one's defenses.
As Izroth watched the battle unfold, time passed by quickly. But, even after two minutes, neither Neksiazon nor Haazan was able to gain the upper hand. They were locked in a stalemate!
Haazan's expression darkened as he retreated a few steps back and halted his attacks.
"Not good. If things continue at this rate, we'll both just end up exhausting ourselves. Then..." Haazan thought to himself as he came to a decision.
"What's the matter, human? Have you finally chosen to accept your fate?" Neksiazon mocked.
"This human is more troublesome than I imagined. If this battle drags out and he calls for reinforcements..." Neksiazon internalized as he narrowed his eyes.
Neksiazon understood his position as someone from the Nether Realm roaming the Mortal Realm. If he exposed himself too long, it was only a matter of time until those stronger existences hunted him down. After all, the Nether Realm and Mortal Realm had never been on good terms.
"Alright, you can drop the act. You know as well as I do that we'll get nowhere like this. If I focused on dragging this out for as long as possible and switched to pure defense, do you truly think you can survive once your presence in this place is discovered?" Haazan stated.
Neksiazon knew that Haazan's words were true. If they concentrated solely on defending, Neksiazon was not confident in taking Haazan's life before his presence was exposed!
"Relax. Since we won't get anywhere like this, why don't we call a temporary truce? We both despise each other, that much will never change. However, in this case, our goals happen to align. I'm willing to set aside our personal differences until after that goal is achieved. What do you say? Though, truth be told, you don't have much of a choice in the matter."
'Oh? It looks like my time is up.'
Izroth expected that things would eventually reach this point; however, he thought it would take a little longer.
Neksiazon despised Haazan's show of arrogance and wanted nothing more than to tear him apart. Nevertheless, his mission took priority over everything else. But, once his mission was complete, he planned to teach that arrogant human a proper lesson.
"A temporary truce? You humans are well known for your deception and lies. Why should I trust that you will keep your word?" Neksiazon questioned.
"Who said anything about trust? I'm talking about something the two of us can agree on. Whichever one of us captures him first gets to decide his fate. And, the loser has to agree not to interfere." Haazan replied nonchalantly.
A grin formed on Neksiazon's face as he said, "Very well. I shall accept your terms. We will start when that leaf hits the ground."
"Agreed." Haazan nodded.
Neksiazon pointed to one of the nearby trees. The next moment, a cold rush of wind blew past the tree as one of its leaves fell off, slowly drifting to the ground.
The instant the leaf made contact with the grass, Haazan and Neksiazon sprung into action as they targeted Izroth simultaneously!
However, Izroth did not panic. In fact, there was a carefree smile on his face.
"It looks like your time is up as well," Izroth stated calmly.
Without warning, as Haazan and Neksiazon were in the middle of their attacks to capture Izroth, a massive wave of mana washed over the forest!
Haazan and Neksiazon were taken aback by the unexpected surge of mana that appeared in the sky.
"Deceitful! I knew you humans could not be trusted!" Neksiazon howled angrily as he glared at Haazan while releasing a high amount of killing intent.
Neksiazon believed Haazan was merely buying time with his suggestion earlier to wait for reinforcements just as he originally predicted. He had been betrayed!
"Nonsense! This has nothing to do with me!"
"Enough of your lies! I swear, if I leave this place alive today, I will have my revenge!"
"You fool!" Haazan knew there was no use trying to get through to Neksiazon, who was currently blinded by rage.
The two halted their attacks and set their sights skyward.
Then, the clouds parted as a silver streak of light descended from the sky, closing in at incredible speeds!