Episode 63 – Out of Control
Both of the men stared at the girl in front of them that popped bubbles one after the other while seemingly dancing inside the danger zone.
“Is this even allowed??” Deora let out a raspy breath, his eyes glued to the slim figure in front of him. Zerel’s eyes also never left her figure as he shrugged. “Why not?”
“But she’s…she’s…” Deora stumbled for words. “What is she doing?”
Zerel smirked and whispered. “I think she finds the cubes easier control the closer they are to her. Therefore, she decided to approach the bubbles instead of staying out of the range of the apparatus.”
Deora frowned. “But that makes no sense!” He had never heard of such a thing. Controlling a spell was exactly the same no matter the distance. The only thing the distance impacted was the travel of mana. If the distance was larger, then the mana needed to travel for a longer time. But a few meters of distance made absolutely no difference.
No matter how he looked at it, the redhead was only making it harder for herself.
This way, she didn’t even have a clear view of the bubbles, and she also needed to constantly avoid touching the tentacles.
Elaru flipped and twirled very expertly as if she wasn’t doing anything difficult at all. There wasn’t a single drop of sweat on her, yet she continuously kept popping bubbles, very rarely leaving the proximity of the cactus.
- 20. 22.
Zerel’s eyes darted left and right with profound interest, trying to capture every detail, studying the movements of the girl as if she was a most fascinating creature.
Deora’s face became redder and redder. The girl’s clothes weren’t revealing or tight fitting at all. But somehow, when she moved and danced about gracefully, it had an inexplicable beauty and charm to it.
- 26. 28.
By the time the 30th bubble popped, Deora’s face was completely red, and his hands were covering his eyes. However, they weren’t doing a good job at it, revealing many holes for his eyes to see through. It wasn’t that he wanted to see this spectacular show, it was rather that he, as the examiner, had to see it. Whether he liked it or not.
He kept grumbling “Indecent.”, “Scandalous!” and “Improper.” the entire time. His face was so hot that he could have fried an egg on it.
Zerel, on the other hand, was having a blast watching the show. The only reason why he refrained from cheering and clapping was because the examiners weren’t allowed to do anything that might distract the examinees from doing their best in the exams.
While Deora looked as if he was watching a stripper dance, Zerel looked as if he was watching a fascinating arena match, his face not showing any reddish or pinkish tint.
- 34. 36.
Deora caught the expression on Elaru’s face which was perfectly calm and focused. The cubes around her moved in perfect harmony, not hesitating a single moment to pierce the bubbles. It seemed as if Elaru wasn’t using her eyes to see at all. It was as if everything happening around her was perfectly captured by her mana sense. Therefore, she needed not see it.
- 40. 42.
Deora’s breath caught in his throat. Even Elaru’s face wasn’t as calm as collected as before. Her eyebrows furrowed into a frown. Crystalline beads of sweat glistened on her forehead.
Elaru gritted her teeth, her eyes involuntarily turning fierce, as if she hated these pink bubbles the most in the entire wide world. Come on. Come on! Come on!! Elaru chanted inside her head. Just a bit more. Just a bit more!
When the 47th bubble popped, the entire fleet of 50 bubbles appeared almost instantaneously.
Their position made Elaru’s pupils involuntarily shrink. Some of them were close to the cactus, some of them were at the absolute edges of the tentacles.
Finally, what she dreaded the most happened.
Several tentacles stretched to their utmost limit, creating bubbles which were on the absolute outer edge of the field of tentacles. Since the bubbles appeared on the diametrically opposite edges of the cactus, even if she hugged the cactus, they would still be…
No! Elaru’s eyes flashed dangerously. I won’t give up now! I need just an instant! If I can do it for just an instant that would be enough!
Her eyes turned bloodshot, and a vein could be seen pulsating on her neck, but the cubes around her all honed in on the bubbles. With utmost accuracy, they collided, not wavering for even a second.
The popping sound of 50 bubbles reverberated inside her head like a gong beat.
In that split second of elation, her tightly stretched control relaxed. It relaxed for only an instant. But in that instant, the rapidly moving cubes slipped past the edge.
Exactly 6 cubes surpassed the 1-meter radius from her own body.
It was only an instant; it was only a single centimeter. Yet, at that moment, the Light spell cast on the cube seemed to come alive.
The glittering symbol seemed to grow frantic. It started wriggling and twisting as if in agony, struggling left and right.
It lashed out like a whip in all directions, deforming completely out of shape.
The reality-altering phenomena around the cube didn’t even have the chance to dissipate when the deformed Light spell slashed through the center of the cube – around which, the enchantment powering the cube was still revolving peacefully.
It would have been fine, it wouldn’t have mattered, if only Elaru had not opted to weave her Light spells denser than normal. If her Light spell were less dense than the enchantment, it would have been her Light spell to suffer the consequences. Yet she knew from the start that the task in front of her wouldn’t be simple, therefore, for the sake of increasing her own control over the Light spells, she weaved them especially dense.
And those dense Light spells, like hot knives through butter passed right through the enchantments, splitting them in half.
Luckily, active spells were resilient entities with a high degree of self-recovery. Breaking spells wasn’t an easy task at all. One had to know exactly where to aim, for only if the weak points of the spell were hit would the spell be damaged beyond repair.
The first cube, which got its enchantment split into two, dropped almost to the floor before its enchantment recovered and it stabilized, several centimeters above the ground.
Even the second cube and the third suffered the same fate, staggering for a moment before recovering and slowly drifting to the ground.
The fourth and the fifth cube were even luckier – they weren’t affected at all; the wriggling Light spell fell apart before it managed to come into contact with the enchantments.
This unfortunate incident would have been resolved without any damage. Everything would have been perfectly fine, and Elaru would have gotten full points of the exam. If only there were 5 cubes.
But there were 6.
Perhaps it was just bad luck, or perhaps it was fate, but when that 6th Light spell wriggled and twirled, it sliced through a very peculiar point on the enchantment spell.
It sliced through the bridge between the main enchantment and the limiter fragment whose purpose was to limit the maximum movement speed of the cube.
The wriggling Light spell was already falling apart, its reality-altering effect was chaotically pulsating between releasing no light and releasing an extremely intense light. However, the cutoff limiter evaporated into smoke much faster.
It took only a single moment, before any of the present people could react, the already fast moving cube turned into a blur. It shot out of control like an arrow and collided with the floor with a loud resounding crash.
In only a blink of an eye, with speed hardly discernible by the eye, the cube rebounded off the floor, and like a bouncing rubber ball alternated between hitting the ceiling and the ground. Leaving craters in its wake.
By the time a 4th crater was smashed into the floor, the hard corner of the cube had broken off, altering the movement path of the cube. Instead of hitting the ceiling once again, it lodged itself straight into the large glass tank filled with the red liquid standing in the corner of the room.
The sharp sound of breaking glass didn’t even register in everyone’s ears when the cube once again rebounded and crashed through the window above Deora’s head.
Deora’s mouth wasn’t even done dropping to the floor when a sound of a soft yelp and a thump reached their ears. The cube hit something large in the courtyard and caused it to unceremoniously fall over.
Deora’s jaw almost dislocated, his bloodshot eyes looked through the cracks of his fingers, that were protectively shielding his face, at the floor, where several conspicuous craters had formed. His eyebrows started twitching violently, especially when he noticed that a bright red liquid started pooling inside those craters.
His eyes followed the rivers of red until they landed on the big hole in the glass tank, from where a bright red healing potion was spilling in large quantities.
Since the hole in the tank was actually in the lower regions of the tank, the pressure of the liquid above the hole caused the healing potion to spray out of the hole in jets as if it was a fountain.
Elaru stood rooted to the spot with her mouth pressed tightly into a line. Her few crystalline sweat drops suddenly turned into a river. Her mind was already coming up with many disaster recovery plans.
This situation had surprised even Zerel, and his usually nonchalant and relaxed expression was nowhere to be seen. His eyes were wide with surprise but unlike the horror that was slowly showing in Deora’s expression, Zerel’s mouth twitched into a smirk. He found the entire situation incredibly funny, or perhaps, satisfying in some strange way?
He looked at Deora’s comical expression and snickered slightly. He then proceeded to scribble down a score next to Elaru’s examinee number.
That’s when a miserable scream finally broke out of Deora’s throat.
That wail was so soul crushing that anyone would feel deep sympathy for the poor lad.
Well, anyone but Zerel. His smirk only widened into a grin.
Deora’s eyes darted between Elaru and the glass tank, between murderous intention and panic. After a few short moments of indecisiveness he finally made his choice and like a mad person dashed towards the ruptured glass tank.
He slid to the floor and tried to patch the hole with his fingers, like a desperate man in the middle of an ocean with a leaking ship.
However, his efforts only managed to change the trajectory of the spraying liquid. It splattered over his shirt and pants making him a miserable sight to behold.
“What are you waiting for?!?! Quickly! Morph the hole away!!” He screeched at Zerel. All he could think about was the monetary value of liters upon liters of high-grade healing potion that was literally slipping between his fingers.
Zerel, however, showed no intention to get over there and have his expensive clothes soiled. He even gave him a look clearly saying: “You can’t be serious? Do you know how hard it is to clean a potion stain? There is a reason why alchemists wear lab coats.”
The first one that couldn’t bear the sad sight of Deora was Elaru. She might be a lot of things, but she wasn’t heartless, and she felt extremely guilty to have caused such an incident.
She completely disregarded her own “safety” and made her way next to Deora.
She placed one hand on the glass tank and grabbed Deora’s hands with the other, removing them from the opening so she could morph the hole away.
Deora yelped from the touch as if he had been seared by it, quickly snatching his hand away.
It didn’t take Elaru long to shift the glass around and patch the hole, but by the time she was done, the glaring red liquid had soaked through her white shirt and puffy sleeves.