Episode 107 – Flashcast
A glass dagger enlarged in Deora’s vision, and he forcefully twisted his upper body to dodge the fatal blow aiming for his neck.
His twirl almost sprained his back, but he managed to dodge the fatal blow by a hair’s width.
Deora hurriedly jumped back, too disturbed by the close call to even remember to curse.
Kiel had intentionally filled his earth dome with mana to confuse Deora’s mana sense, so he wouldn’t be able to tell that Kiel was no longer within the dome.
He had then concealed his own presence and dug an underground tunnel towards Deora. He even chose the perfect moment to launch a sneak attack, all for the sake of this all or nothing shot. Even Deora’s explosions were used to cover up the tremors of the ground caused by Kiel’s digging.
Unfortunately, although his attack could be said to be flawless, Deora’s reaction time was the cream of the crop. Before his mind could catch up with the events, his body had already reflexively dodged the blow.
Deora rubbed his back with a dark face. Fury burned brightly inside his yellow eyes. “Congratulations! You’ve successfully pissed me off!” He spat between clenched teeth.
…haven’t you been pissed off from the start? Are you saying that you’ve been raging the entire time without being pissed off? Deora’s absurd declaration made Kiel’s eyebrow twitch, but it didn’t slow down his actions in the slightest.
Seeing that his attack had failed to kill Deora, Kiel didn’t linger inside Deora’s high-temperature field. Instead, he quickly made a split-second decision to go for Elaru’s magic egg.
He darted like the wind towards the egg artifact, accelerating to the best of his ability.
Deora gave chase immediately with just as much speed, rushing towards Kiel like a rabid bloodhound in pursuit of his next meal. Conserving mana was not even in his vocabulary. All he thought about was not letting Kiel escape his heat field.
He would destroy him even if he got defeated by someone else right after.
Both men left dust in their wake as they chased each other.
Deora’s eyes were getting more and more bloodshot, the muscles on his limbs occasionally twitching, clearly nearing their mana tolerance threshold.
He had stopped shooting out fireballs, concentrating his full power into his heat field, wanting nothing more than to just melt Kiel where he stood.
Kiel didn’t look any better than Deora, his face was pale, and his each and every movement caused him to break out in cold sweat.
Or maybe it was just regular sweat, for the temperature around him was sharply climbing.
His cooling spell was struggling like a small ship against the stream, getting rapidly overpowered by Deora’s heat field.
Just a bit more!
He was almost there!
50 meters left!
He was flying so fast that he couldn’t even keep his eyes open against the violent air currents hitting his face. His protective goggles had melted in the explosion, and now they were obscuring his vision instead of protecting his eyes.
He could almost hear his spell screaming, hopelessly struggling to overcome the heat field. Yet, it was nothing but futile effort.
A little pechuh couldn’t escape the jaws of a lupax. All it could do was delay the inevitable.
Still, he persevered, and he ran.
He ran so fast. So very fast.
Yet he was not fast enough.
His originally pale flesh got redder by the second.
Steam was rising from his body, cloaking him in a veil of smoke.
Every burning, agonizing second seemed to last forever.
Kiel’s lips cracked, his jaw clenched so tightly it had turned stiff.
The remainder of Kiel’s clothes caught fire, his thin, already charred hair started curling up from the heat.
The air hitting his face felt like a stream of boiling water.
Yet he still refused to scream, he still refused to give up.
He could almost touch it, he was almost there!
Kiel lunged towards the egg with his arms outstretched.
His thin red fingers were desperately grasping towards the egg without any hesitation, even though he knew that the surface of the metal egg was probably even hotter than the molten air around him.
Knowing that touching it would bring him even more agony than he was currently in. Knowing that touching that little egg would probably turn his hands unusable.
Still, he felt no fear of pain.
On the contrary, he felt grateful.
Grateful that the egg didn’t melt.
Kiel forced his eyes open to find the ring on the egg that he needed to twist, however, he couldn’t see a thing.
His vision had already turned dark. His whole body had already turned stiff.
His acceleration magic was the only thing keeping him moving.
So close, yet that distance seemed infinitely far away.
Each step, each inch closer took an eternity of agony.
The particles of sand slipped through the hourglass slowly, like floating snowflakes.
Kiel’s fingers touched the cool surface of the egg.
He grasped it with both hands, feeling for the middle ring, and then forcefully twisting his fingers with magic to rotate it.
He rotated it arduously, managing to reach half way to the target position.
His movement halted.
His fingers moved no longer.
In fact, his entire body had stopped moving.
Deora, too, stopped his charge.
He stood frozen on the spot, his hand touching his cheek.
Only now did the stinging pain on his face register.
Deora’s gaze landed on the red blood staining his fingers.
His eyes glazed over.
There were originally two fingers, but they suddenly turned into four and then six.
The swear word Deora intended to shout got stuck in his throat.
The world started spinning, and Deora lost his balance. His body felt heavy, he felt himself falling.
A cloud of dust rose into the air when Deora’s body hit the ground.
The dagger Kiel had thrown earlier in his sneak attack on Deora didn’t manage to slit his throat, but it managed to graze his cheek.
Kiel’s intention was never to kill him with that shot.
His goal was to leave a single poisoned cut.
Yet, who knew that he would barely manage to live long enough for the poison to take effect?
No wonder Deora Thayn ended up as an assistant Muni professor. His fire and temperature manipulation magic was state of the art.
Without Deora’s conscious control, his magic slowly dissipated.
The scorching heat in the air around Kiel gradually returned to normal temperature.
Yet, even before that, Kiel’s struggling cooling spell had already managed to stage a comeback and shield Kiel from the heat. Without the heat field to suppress it, it had no trouble cooling down Kiel’s pink flesh.
Kiel’s head rigidly turned back towards Deora, and then, he let out a suffocating breath of relief.
It’s about time!! What kind of a shitty slow acting poison is this?!
The entire VIP lodge was eerily silent.
The faces of the examiners were showing a mix of emotions. Solemnity, shock, and respect being the most prominent of them.
Deora had put Kiel Rroda in a sorry state.
Yet, not one of the examiners looked down on Kiel.
On the contrary.
The youth with the pale blue eyes had left them feeling a mix of admiration and awe.
Admiration of his unyielding nature.
Respect for the way he managed to persist through the agony, not losing his consciousness. Without even thinking about giving up.
It was one thing to be unafraid of death, there were people who could suppress their instinctual reaction of fear, especially within the Replica Dungeon where there was no true death.
But how many of them could persist through having their flesh burned off of their bones without letting out any shrieks of pain, without shedding a single tear?
How many could unhesitatingly follow their convictions even if it meant burning off their own limbs or twisting their own fingers?
How many could retain that unyielding look of determination that left no room for defeat?
Kiel Rroda could die in this battle.
But his spirit would not be defeated.
None of the people present could find it within themselves to consider it as a “defeat”.
Originally, they weren’t too absorbed into the battle.
Deora has created a large explosion.
The flames consumed Kiel Rroda.
Yet, they could not devour him.
The examiners didn’t even get enough time to recover from the shock that Kiel Rroda survived the flames when another hit shook their hearts.
“Flashcast…?” The solemn, gray-eyed man spoke a single emotionless word that somehow managed to incite a chaos in the minds of all people present.
The word sent out ripples of shock into the minds of all examiners.
Flashcasting was the closest mortals could come to replicating how gods used magic.
An instantaneous spell casting without a need to weave mana.
A task that mortals found near impossible to do.
Even Arites, as godlike as they were, could not Flashcast.
No matter how good of a mage one was, no matter how flawless their mana or spell control was, no matter how talented or knowledgeable they were – they would never be able to learn how to Flashcast.
Because Flashcasting wasn’t something that could be learned.
No matter who one’s parents were, no matter how illustrious and powerful one’s bloodline was, it would not help one gain the ability to Flashcast.
Because Flashcasting was not an innate talent one was born with.
Flashcasting couldn’t be sought or found, couldn’t be learned or taught.
No books could help those that couldn’t do it.
And those who could do it needed no books.
Flashcasting relied on the mental state of the user and was activated by something intangible that mortals had never managed to define or pinpoint. Even the legendary figures who had previously managed to successfully Flashcast were often times unable to reproduce it.
Perhaps gods were the only ones who could truly understand how Flashcast worked. Perhaps for gods, seeing mortals Flashcast would be like seeing children play in the sandbox, turning a bucket of sand upside down and calling it a castle.
As for mortals, even hearing of the term “Flashcast” was rare, let alone witnessing it in action.
Out of all the examiners present, not even one had previously seen Flashcasting in action.
Seeing it for the first time left their hearts unsettled, their lips panting.
What followed was their blood boiling, caused by Kiel’s creative usage of magic, deception, and tactics.
And they weren’t the only ones whose blood was left boiling.
There was one more person whose blood was very much boiling at this moment.
He looked at Kiel, who was lying on his back breathing heavily, and frowned, irritation flashing in his eyes. “Tsk.”
Kiel was in bad shape, but somehow, that brought Rhur Rroda no pleasure.
Rhur had thought that he would enjoy watching Kiel struggle, but this spectacle… it wasn’t enjoyable at all!
On the contrary, it left him feeling uncomfortable.
He felt no pity or sympathy for his younger brother. So how come Kiel’s suffering was so hard to swallow today?
Perhaps it was because the battle didn’t turn out how he had wanted it to turn out?
Perhaps seeing Kiel in such a miserable state didn’t make the spectators feel as if he had lost?
Whatever the reason, it made Rhur’s aura steam with suppressed anger.
In a fit of unjustified rage, he stopped dodging Nelaira’s attacks and decided to take his displeasure out on her.
He waved his hand towards Nelaira, and suddenly a lightning snake darted from the tip of his index finger drilling into her in a blink of an eye.
Nelaira’s movement paused, her body painfully jerking.
It wasn’t just her body that halted, even her thoughts momentarily went blank causing her spells to pause as well.
Rhur took advantage of this short moment of weakness and slashed down with his sword towards Nelaira.
His slash was so abrupt, so sharp, so powerful, that the air left in its wake was enough to separate Nelaira’s body into two.
Slicing through her protection spell, slicing through her skin, slicing through flesh, and even her bones.
The two halves hit the ground with a wet crimson splash.
Her black eyes widened, staring with disbelief, before they glazed over.
The thin lightning flashed by too fast. One could not defend against it unless they were expecting it.
Even though Rhur’s slash was also fast, the difference in speed between it and the lightning was as large as the distance between the sun and the moon.
If Rhur had chosen to use his slash before paralyzing Nelaira, she, with her great battle capabilities, would likely have managed to dodge it or even guard against it with her transmutation magic.
Even though the force of his attack was powerful, Nelaira’s defense was even tougher. Not to mention that she refused to let him close in on her, constantly moving around and obstructing his movement with her spells.
Initially, Rhur intended to drag out the fight until Kiel’s fight was over, and then finish Nelaira off with an onslaught of razorblood petals. He was saving his trump cards for his battle with Zor.
However, after seeing Kiel’s fight, in a fit of rage, he changed his mind, revealing both his magic specialty…
…and his divine artifact.