Episode 110 – Sparkbloom
Zor had created a spatial barrier, sealing off the region of space around him. Besides the metaphysical things such as mana and the mind, other things couldn’t pass through the barrier.
Reflection barriers targeted objects which touched them, preventing them from proceeding, which made it so they couldn’t target objects which were protected by foreign mana. However, Zor’s spatial barrier was different. Zor wasn’t targeting objects which touched his barrier, he was targeting space itself. By changing space itself, the change would affect anything and everything that entered that space.
This was the principle that the majority of protective barriers used. Even the magical egg Elaru had given Kiel was based on the same principle.
And so, Rhur’s and Kiel’s attack was thwarted before it even began.
Both Rroda brothers realized instantly that blindly chucking things at the barrier would not work and halted their assault. Spatial barriers couldn’t be broken by brute force. It was like trying to shatter space itself. Or it would be more accurate to say that doing that would be like trying to cool down an object by repeatedly hitting it – there was basically no correlation with what they were doing and what they wanted to achieve.
To continue their assault, they needed to bypass, overpower or break the barrier first.
To bypass it, they would either need to use spatial magic to teleport their attacks inside the barrier or use metaphysical attacks, neither of which the two of them were capable of.
Breaking a protective barrier wasn’t any easier. Kiel had experienced this fact first hand 12 years ago, when he almost died because firefighters and peacekeepers couldn’t enter inside the barrier shielding his house. They had even thrown many mana bombs attempting to cause irreversible damage to the spell making it fall apart, yet still failed.
Attacking the spell pattern with mana denser than the spell itself wasn’t enough to break a fully formed spell. Once a spell formed a reality-altering effect, the spell pattern and the reality-altering effect would form an intimate relation, reinforcing each other. If a spell pattern was damaged, the reality-altering effect would repair the spell pattern, and if the reality-altering effect was negated, the spell pattern would try to recreate it.
This self-recovery process wouldn’t fail as long as there was enough mana to power it, which was not difficult considering the fact that the recovery was very mana efficient.
If one wanted to break the spell, one would need to sever the connection between the two by damaging the critical points of the spell pattern or destroying the entire spell pattern in one go.
The critical points of the spells were like invisible strings connecting the spell pattern and the reality-altering effect, and one needed to accurately slice them all off at the same time for the spell to crumble. Unfortunately, not only were those “strings” constantly moving along with the spell pattern, but they also couldn’t be felt or seen. It was no wonder that Spell Breakers were an extremely rare and sought after variety.
Regrettably, neither one of the two Rroda brothers knew the critical points of Zor’s spell, but even if they did know, they would find themselves unable to locate those points because they couldn’t feel the Zor’s spell pattern at all – he was still concealing it.
If one didn’t have Aethernea of Sight, it would be impossible to feel a concealed spell and thus impossible to pinpoint the weak points even if one knew their location on the spell pattern.
Of course, they could attack the spell blindly, attempting to drain Zor’s mana, but they would use up far more mana in their dense mana attacks than Zor’s spell used up to repair itself.
Their only alternative to spell breaking was to cause spell interference, attempting to overpower Zor’s spell. If two spells attempted to create conflicting changes in reality, such as one trying to cool down a certain area while other was trying to heat it up, the two spells would cause destructive spell interference with each other, making the two spells wrestle for control over reality.
In such a scenario, if the difference in level between the two spells weren’t too large, the weaker spell would get overpowered, allowing the stronger spell to overwrite the effect of the weaker spell with its own. This was what happened to Kiel’s first opponent who had strengthened his skin. The strengthening on Kiel’s attacking spikes was stronger, and it overpowered the spell the man had cast on his skin.
If a spell got overpowered, its reality-altering effect would be negated, however, the spell pattern wouldn’t get broken. Once the spell interference passed, the weaker spell would be able to reinstate its reality-altering effect, regaining control over reality.
If one wanted to completely break the spell through overpowering, then it could be done only if one of the spells was much more powerful than the other one, making it so that the losing spell couldn’t even struggle before getting crushed. Like a dragon stepping on grass, it would be impossible for the stronger spell not to demolish the weaker one upon contact. This was known as dominating the spell.
It was a rare occurrence that could only happen if the two opponents were on entirely different levels, such as if a master mage was fighting against someone who just started learning magic. The other possible scenario was if one of the opposing spells was an enchantment. When mages enchanted a magical artifact, they would have a lot of time to perfect their spell, so the spell levels of enchantments were higher than spell levels of spells cast on the go.
It was almost impossible for a non-enchantment to overpower an enchantment, which was actually good news for Kiel. For he was the one with an enchantment – he had Elaru’s magic egg which worked in a similar way to Zor’s barrier. If he used its power, it should be enough to overpower Zor’s barrier, at least for a while.
Rhur Rroda wasn’t aware that Kiel had a way to salvage the situation, therefore his face was turning paler and paler by the second. He didn’t know any spatial spells so he couldn’t cause spell interference with Zor’s barrier. He figured Kiel didn’t know any spatial spells either, otherwise, he would have used them in his previous desperate fight with Deora.
And thus, no matter how Rhur thought about it, it was impossible for the two of them to break Zor’s barrier. They had already lost the fight!
While they were struggling, unable to break through the barrier, Zor could take his time to slaughter them like slaughtering clucklings!
Rhur stopped his approach ten meters away from the barrier, his face falling, his eyes hesitating. What to do? What can I do?
It didn’t take Rhur long to run through all scenarios and realize he had no way to fight with Zor.
And thus, if he couldn’t fight with Zor… all that was left…
Rhur’s eyes narrowed, and he flashed a fleeting glance in Kiel’s direction. Kiel wasn’t too far off, only a few meters away from him. He too had stopped approaching Zor and was hesitating on how to proceed.
Kiel was pondering on how to use the egg the most effectively, however, in Rhur’s eyes, his hesitation seemed to come from the same source as his.
And thus, Rhur Rroda reached into his pouch to bring out another handful of red petals.
He blew the petals all around himself, Kiel and the barrier, his eyes never leaving Zor.
On the other hand, Zor’s inscrutable gaze never left Kiel. While the two Rroda brothers assaulted his barrier, the man didn’t flinch, in fact, he had no change of expression at all. The only change on his face that Rhur thought he saw was the slight twitching of his nose.
Well, this is fine too… The corner of Rhur’s mouth quirked up into a smirk, and he snapped his fingers.
A series of loud booms once again shook the stadium.
Kiel’s pupils dilated as he flew backward like an arrow, feeling once again the same sensation of being blasted. He flipped several times in the air before his body reached the ground. Before his crash created a crater in the ground, the only thing he managed to scream out was: “You bastard!! You said you didn’t have any!”
The second batch of flower petals Rhur scattered were not Razorblood petals.
They were the highly explosive Sparkbloom petals.
However, Sparkbloom petals were white in color. Yet, the petals Rhur scattered were red – they looked no different than Razorblood petals!
Clearly, Rhur had learned from his previous battles that it was more effective if his enemies didn’t know which petal was explosive and which wasn’t! He had dyed the Sparkbloom petals to be the same color as the Razorblood petals!
This time, when Kiel hit the ground, he had landed on his feet and didn’t lose consciousness. To prevent Kiel from realizing his intentions, Rhur had limited the number of petals he sent towards Kiel. Therefore, the intensity of the explosion wasn’t on the same scale as the explosion Deora had created.
Even so, Kiel still spat out blood, his eyes venomously staring at Rhur’s smirking profile.
This shameless older brother of his had decided that he had no chance of beating Zor, and thus it was time for him to target the only remaining person in the stadium. He didn’t even give Kiel the chance to point out that he had a way to overpower Zor’s barrier!
Clearly, he had intended to eventually surprise attack him with his Sparkloom petals from the moment he denied having any! Naturally, Kiel didn’t fully believe him, however, the abruptness of Rhur’s move and the fact that the petals looked the same as the Razorblood petals caught Kiel off guard.
“I lied to make you fight the ginger.” Rhur shrugged. “But don’t blame me. I had your own interest at heart. No need to thank me. Knowing that I helped my little brother conquer his fear of flames is enough for me.”
Rhur’s derisive words agitated Kiel so much that he spat another mouthful of blood.
“I ought to thank you then, older brother.” He squeezed out through his gritted teeth. “I think the best way for me to repay your kindness is by pointing out your own shortcomings. I’ll be sure to give it my all.”
Rhur chuckled musically. “And here I was, about to suggest you forfeit. After all, you’re not even 18 yet, why go through all this trouble if you can’t enroll in Muni anyway.”
Kiel used his actions to answer him. Ignoring the agony spreading through his limbs, he glared at Rhur defiantly and stood with his back straight looking valiant and dangerous. His aura complimented the image, becoming so chilling that it pricked the skin and made it hard to breathe.
Rhur countered with his own oppressive aura full of confidence, his aura seemed light, like the air yet corrosive like acid, making one feel chilled from inside out. His smirk transformed into a full blown enchanting smile. “Good.” He purred in a husky voice. “Surrendering would be letting you off easy…”
As if Kiel could read Rhur’s mind he flashed to the left, avoiding a sudden lightning attack. He continued to accelerate around the stadium, zig-zagging and curving unpredictably. He couldn’t “avoid” Rhur’s lightning attacks because the speed of lightning was faster than his dodging speed. However, he could make Rhur “miss” him.
If he moved fast enough, unpredictable enough, Rhur wouldn’t know where to aim, and thus his chance of hitting Kiel would drop.
Kiel was too agile, his reflexes were too quick, so Rhur didn’t even attempt to use his petals to attack him. It would be just wasting effort. Unless Rhur managed to catch Kiel off guard or surround him with many petals, the only attacks of his that could hit him were lightning attacks.
And even lightning attacks found it hard to hit him, as Rhur found out after zapping several times in rapid succession.
Kiel was darting around seemingly randomly, plotting on how to attack Rhur. His current repertoire of spells was rather limited – besides Morph, Velocity, and Temperature, there wasn’t much else. Up to now, he was using the ground to launch attacks, however, this tactic wasn’t suitable for his current opponent.
Rhur was agile with great reaction speed and keen battle sense. Any earth spike Kiel launched would get sliced into pieces by his sword before it managed to reach him.
Earth spikes while powerful, were too big, too heavy, too slow. It wasn’t that Kiel’s attacks were slow per se, it’s just that he couldn’t cast the spell in Rhur’s vicinity because of the scope of Rhur’s mage armor, so the time it took Kiel to weave a spell and make it reach Rhur, even though minuscule, was enough for Rhur to counter it.
To battle against Rhur he would need faster, smaller and more flexible attacks. A type of attacks against which Rhur’s slashes would be ineffective, such as fireballs, light or lightning. Or attacks that Rhur would have difficulty countering because it would require flawless accuracy.
A limited repertoire of spells? Kiel’s eyes flashed. No. Imagination is the limit! The entire world is my clay! Morph, Temperature and Velocity is more than enough!