417 CH. 433-434: Clash (I-II)

As soon as Asahi stepped through the rift, something triggered his instincts. Great Red's roaring fist ambushed him, which he dodged with a simple sidestep. Her punch howled past him, rending the air itself.

"How did you react?!" Great Red was shocked, to say the least.

Her new vessel wouldn't have reacted to the attack that had its intent concealed in the dimension gap.

Asahi turned around with a grin that only irritated the dragon god. "That was a great attempt. I would have taken a fatal hit if it weren't for my autopilot-like instincts."

"You always have an answer to everything I do. Where did this kind of god even come from?"

"He isn't a native…" Ophis answered in Asahi's stead. "I… can sense it."

Ophis, who had traveled the world in search of strong allies, could tell someone's race based on their scents alone. In such a world, Asahi was an irregularity she never saw coming.

Asahi patted her head for guessing correctly. "Yes, I came from a different universe."

Even Biblical God wasn't aware of this. Based on God's innate perception, he would have guessed something similar after Asahi's abnormal growth.

Great Red stared at Asahi as if she was looking at a gold mine. "Can you get naked? I want to see how your body functions. Then I'll create a vessel superior to yours."

"Stop! I won't let you take the evil scientist route!"

"Why would I be evil when I do things for my own good?" Ddraig shook her head. "Let me test my vessel. Here I come!"

Ophis sat down on a nearby rock and watched the battle unfold. Great Red seemingly teleported to Asahi's back and swung her leg. The scale-covered leg tore through Asahi's afterimage as he appeared behind Great Red and struck her head. His casual punch made a clang as if he hit a steel wall.

"She evolved into a musclehead…" Asahi muttered.

(She has extreme resistance to physical attacks on top of having 650 defense.)

Great Red whirled around and threw a punch at him. It was an ordinary punch lacking any enhancements like dragon aura. Asahi, however, didn't underestimate her. He respected his opponent's wish to clash head-on and hurled a fist of his own.

With a deafening sound, his straight right punch made contact with Great Red's plated gauntlets. At the instant of contact, Asahi's shirt erupted and disintegrated, so did his shorts. The veins on his right arm bulged, nearly exploding from the impact coursing through him.

The collision unleashed a devastating shockwave that sent Asahi flying. A massive area, nearly the size of a city, turned into debris. The one exchange had devastated this abandoned dimension.

Ophis, who was sitting nearby, groaned at the loss of her seat.

Asahi forced himself to stop in the sky and checked the damage on his body. To nobody's surprise, he only had a lingering numbness in his right arm.

(You are so reckless! …I love reckless Asahi…) The goddess was stuck in a dilemma.

"He underestimated her," Ddraig pointed out. "You… could have died there."

Rather than underestimating, he miscalculated the raw power of Great Red's 850 strength points. He came out unscathed because of his 'Flawless Physique' skill increasing the effectiveness of his defense.

'Ddraig, you look worried for me?'

"Y-Yes… my fate is tied to you."

'Haha, sure.'

Great Red arrived at Asahi's side. With arms crossed, she sized up his naked body, her golden eyes glowing menacingly. "More… perfect than I imagined."

Asahi returned a blank stare and quickly put on his clothes. "It was one hell of a punch."

He couldn't use Ddraig's Boosted Gear under the bet. With the full limit of his 'Flawless Physique' and numerous reinforcement spells, his strength could barely rival that of Great Red. In a sense, she had achieved her goal of surpassing Asahi.

Great Red laughed. "Yet you came out without suffering any damage. Makes me wonder what your body is made of."

"You're being creepy."

"I'm just interested in your body~."

"That's even creepier!"

"Haha, I'll get your body one day. For today, let's break each other." Great Red brandished her fist. "Come!"

Asahi raised his hand. "Wait. I need a timeout."

Ddraig stared at him in confusion until she felt a surge of energy. Violet lightning bolts came down from the sky. Sparks surrounded Asahi's body as they incorporated into his body. He became one with thunder in his lightning elemental form.

"Baal, lend me your strength."

"As you wish."

Baal's ability materialized as a spear, the weapon he was most skilled with.

"Lightning form. Another bizarre ability." Great Red scratched her chin in contemplation. "I'll have to rely on my aura now."

He didn't become one with lightning for the resistance to physical attacks. Lightning attacks were the best way to harm Great Red's flesh inside her armor. It was worth a shot. After all, Great Red would absolutely destroy him if he fought like this.

Asahi clutched the spear crackling with divine lightning. "I'm serious now, Red. Don't hold back. It's a fight for the rights of the Dimensional Gap."

Great Red nodded. "I know. Don't die. You're a precious resource."

"Haha, I'm not allowed to die."

The battle restarted.

Great Red's eyes failed to keep up with the thunderous speed of Asahi. By the time she pinpointed his location, he teleported behind her and slammed his knee in her spine, sending her tumbling through the sky.

'She is tough.'

Ddraig's scales would have been crushed multiple times with one of his attacks. Yet, his knee couldn't budge the hard scales on Great Red's armor. This toughness wasn't shown in her stats as this came from her armor alone.

"You overcame my scales once… now do it with her. If you give up, I'll hate you… forever."

'That won't happen.'

Great Red's retaliation was instant as she reappeared before him and lodged her aura-covered fist in his stomach. He just dissipated into lightning and flanked her with his spear. This time, Great Red was ready to dodge. Even so, Asahi chased her down with his thunderous speed and stabbed her spine with his lightning spear, Ayamur.

Great Red stopped and crossed her arms. "You can't harm me. This armor was made with Ophis's power in mind. You lack the means to penetrate me."

"I'm not going to penetrate you in that body." Asahi shook his head. "And you are being delusional if you think you won."

Asahi transformed into lightning and emerged above Great Red's head, gripping a giant hammer in his right hand. Dark clouds roared above him, submitting to the might of Yagrush, Baal's Level 8 spell.

With a yell of his own, he brought down Yagrush on Great Red's head. Great Red just stayed there, hands crossed as if she had no desire to dodge. Countless lightning strikes poured down as the hammer blew Great Red down to earth.

Asahi didn't let her crash peacefully. He chased her in his lightning form and bashed her again with his hammer.

Ophis watched as Great Red flew from one place to another with the hammer strikes. She realized Asahi wasn't joking about being serious. He was thrashing Great Red around like she was a ball.

Ophis's lips twisted into a small but noticeable smile. The dragon who used to bully her all the time was getting tossed around. She was being bullied.

Ophis pumped her fist. 'He will win!'

Great Red twisted her direction with her wings and kicked Asahi before he could swing the hammer. Asahi ducked under the kick and swung the hammer in an arc.

"I had enough of this!" Great Red grabbed the hammer with her left hand. Her scales had started to crack under the constant barrage of divine hammer. If this went on, she would undoubtedly lose her armor. "Fight me like a man."

"Alright." Asahi abandoned the hammer and wielded the Ayamur spear. "I'll fight like a man. I'll beat you down and convince you to leave Ophis's place."

Asahi cast every reinforcement, including the skill that came with Flawless Physique. His strength soared through the roof.

The terrifying rush of power in his body made Great Red tremble. She had to rely on creating a new body to achieve this power. He, on the other hand, did so on his own. There was no external source of power here in this deserted dimension.

"You're… special."

She acknowledged his existence in her own way. For the briefest of seconds, she had a glimpse of her previous loss in the Dimensional Gap. She was utterly beaten in the battle of dreams. Now, it looked like Asahi would overwhelm her even in a fight of pure strength.

"Ridiculous," she scoffed.

Flames whisked out of armor and reinforced her armor. She was going to fight his thunder with her fire.

"You won't take the Dimensional Gap from me," Great Red declared and rushed forth.

The crimson and violet streaks clashed, the force shaking the core of the world. Earthquakes of magnanimous levels started happening.

They hadn't fought seriously, yet this small world began to crumble.

"Take this!" Great Red's punch broke through the wind with a howl.

With his instincts at full throttle, he easily dodged and stabbed Ayamur in Great Red's chest. The spear's tip pushed past the flames and exploded into fragments of magic power.

Great Red didn't wait for him to summon another spear and unleashed a combo. To Asahi, these attacks were easier to predict than Rini's punches. Great Red's attacks drew an outline around Asahi, never hitting him. After dodging the combo, Asahi quickly summoned Ayamur again and stabbed Great Red's chest.

Asahi effortlessly read her attack pattern and found openings. Every opening he got was used on only one thing—stabbing Ayamur in her chest. He precisely stabbed the one spot that was weakened under the ultimate hammer beatdown.

The cycle continued, and Great Red was forced to realize the difference between her and Asahi. She couldn't touch a strand of his hair even after upgrading into a better vessel. It was Great Red's first time in a humanoid vessel. The moveset she 'inherited' from a renowned martial artist couldn't show its full potential when she couldn't fully grasp the micromovements of her body.

In such a disharmonious state, how could she contend with someone with superior martial art skills on top of insane instincts?

The answer was obviously no.

Great Red had been too cocky to accept Asahi's invitation to battle just after emerging from the egg. She should have adjusted to her new vessel first.

'It's okay. He won't be able to break my scales so soon… I can use this pressure to learn.'

It wouldn't be a lie to say that the dragons were the most adaptive creatures in the universe of DxD. As the one standing at the peak of her race, she excelled in every trait her race had to offer. Those traits had dulled over the course of countless millenniums. The pressure of losing her home reawakened those traits.

Asahi sensed a change in Great Red's movements. Her eyes also changed, from desperation to calmness. She went from 'single-minded' to dynamic in a couple of seconds. She was grasping the basics of fighting in the heat of this battle. She did so too calmly as if she had forgotten the desire to win this battle.

Asahi halted his operation to win and decided to train the dragon.

"I don't understand what's happening here," Ddraig said, feeling lost.

'Just shut up and enjoy the show.'

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