Damn Reincarnation - Chapter 125
Divine Tree was cast without any incantation. It only took a few seconds for the soil of the square to gather to Jeneric and transform into roots tightly wrapped around his legs.
An Archwizard’s casting speed was very fast. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that, as long as it was a spell from a Circle below their own, an Archwizard could cast any spell near instantly.
But casting speed wasn’t the only thing that was fast in this duel. While Jeneric was casting his Divine Tree, Eugene immediately began operating the Ring Flame Formula. A match of speed? That was something that Eugene also held confidence in. His talent for mana control that he had shown even in his previous life had also been enough for Sienna to click her tongue in amazement.
Both hands were inside of his cloak. His left hand was holding Akasha, while his right hand held several daggers. When the Ring Flame Formula was operated at its highest setting, a brilliant white mane of mana formed around him.
‘Mer,’ Eugene called out her name in his head.
Mer, who was crouching in the depths of his cloak, responded to the unspoken voice.
There was no need for her to stick her head out of the cloak. Mer was able to share Eugene’s vision from inside the cloak. This was because Mer’s control formula was transferred to Eugene himself rather than Akasha.
Sienna had hoped that the familiar she had personally created and cherished would be of help to Eugene. In place of herself, who had yet to be released from her seal.
Eugene silently chanted the name of the spell. ‘Chain Leap.’
The spatial coordinates that he hadn’t yet grasped for the spell were instead calculated by Mer. While the roots of the Divine Tree were lifting Jeneric into the air, Mer had already finished calculating the spatial coordinates. Once calculated, these coordinates were immediately transferred into Eugene’s head.
As Eugene’s right hand was pulled out of his cloak, the daggers that he was holding disappeared. At the same time, Eugene’s body also disappeared.
Daggers that were suddenly thrust at him from all different directions collided with Jeneric’s mana shield. Paying no attention to this, Jeneric continued relaying his instructions to the Divine Tree. Roots speared out of the earth and concentrated on a certain location in the air.
‘Such cheap tricks only show his mediocrity,’ Jeneric sneered to himself.
It seemed like Eugene was trying to open up some space between them by first teleporting those daggers, then teleporting himself away while Jeneric was distracted. Jeneric snorted in derision and examined the ends of the roots.
But there was nothing there.
Jeneric had clearly predicted that Eugene would Blink to that location. Had his senses mistaken him? No, it couldn’t be.
‘While Blinking he actually cast a Dispel on himself, and then Blinked once more?’ Jeneric realized in shock.
Such a fake-out shouldn’t be accomplishable at Eugene’s level. In the first place, a teleportation spell like Blink was just as risky as it was convenient. Casting a Dispel right after Blinking, then picking some other coordinates to jump to wouldn’t be an easy task for even the most battle-hardened wizard.
As such, Jeneric told himself that he had to have made a mistake.
Meanwhile, Eugene just thought, ‘You were the one who told me to use everything that I have.’
It was true that he had dispelled Blink right after casting it. As for the resulting mana backlash? That didn’t matter. If there was a backlash, then all he needed to do was redirect it. Archwizard Jeneric hadn’t spotted this because not even a speck of the dispelled mana had escaped Eugene’s control.
Eugene’s mane of mana flared outward. Blue mana light was mixed into the pure white flame. He had appeared elsewhere on the wide open square, the noise of his arrival being masked by the sound of the crowd, only the vibrations of his mana revealing his position. In his right hand, Eugene held Akasha. The vision it granted allowed Eugene to understand just how high-level a spell like the Divine Tree was and realize that Jeneric kept a dense field of mana around him under his own control.
‘It’s impossible to approach him stealthily,’ Eugene judged. ‘The moment I approach, I’ll make contact with his mana.’
From there, it would depend on the difference between their reaction speeds. Even if Jeneric noticed his approach, Eugene just needed to be faster than any attempts to keep him out of reach.
He kicked off the ground with a forceful burst. Shortly after that, the roots wrapped around Jeneric’s body sprang into action. It looked as if all the land surrounding Jeneric was now trying to attack Eugene.
‘I’ve made contact,’ Eugene immediately realized upon seeing this reaction.
Even if the difference in reaction speed was only as thin as a piece of paper, it still worked out in Eugene’s favor. Before the roots could take a swing at him, a jagged sword with an edge like a saw blade thrust out of his widely spread cloak. It was the Devouring Sword Azphel, a sword that could cut through spells. While rotating his body like a spinning top, Eugene swung Azphel.
The roots wrapping around Jeneric were sliced apart. Jeneric’s eyes widened in alarm.
They shouldn’t have been cut so easily. These roots were made of earth bound together with mana. Their earthen structure should have been hard enough to be a match for upper-level barrier magic.
‘The mana — no, the spell formula itself was sliced apart,’ Jeneric realized.
However, the attack was too shallow. The roots had been sliced into, but the cuts weren’t deep. The strands of the spell formula that had been cut apart just needed to be woven back together and the damage would be restored. Pursing his lips, Jeneric began chanting an incantation. There was a limit to the level of the spells that he could use, but Jeneric didn’t care about that. In the first place, he hadn’t felt any sense of crisis from the prior situation, he had just felt slightly surprised.
‘Too shallow.’ Eugene had also sensed the same thing.
As he’d suspected, was Eugene really being too unreasonable to immediately try and comprehend a spell’s structure and cut at its core on his first time seeing it? Without feeling any disappointment, Eugene pulled out Akasha.
‘Mer,’ he silently called.
Without any distraction on his part, the spell that Eugene wanted to use was cast with perfect timing.
Eugene’s body was yanked backwards. The roots that had just been flying towards him, narrowly brushed past him as Eugene was pulled out of reach.
[Sir Eugene,] Mer called out in warning.
‘I know,’ came Eugene’s short reply.
The attacks didn’t just stop at just the roots. As Melkith had warned him, flying into the sky just because the earth was under Jeneric’s control was a blind path to defeat. When battling against wizards who flew freely through the sky, the type of spells that were designed to bind their feet or send them plunging back down to the ground were innumerable.
The dense field of mana that was under Jeneric’s control transformed into a heavy ‘weight’ that pressed down on Eugene’s body. Then the ground shook as if responding to the weight.
Roots surged up from below, forming a jaw full of sharp teeth that tried to swallow Eugene.
Would Eugene be able to escape this using his strength?
‘Do I even need to?’ Eugene scoffed.
Without having mastered any magical speciality, Eugene should have been left with no choice but to escape by using force, but he soon proved that there wasn’t any need for that.
Akasha’s Dragonheart shone with a red light. Mer accelerated the formation of a spell and Akasha amplified the spell’s strength.
‘Blast,’ Eugene chanted silently as his eyes were fixed above his head. His spell blasted away the mana that was weighing down on him with an explosion of air.
‘Frostfield,’ Eugene uttered his next spell.
An ice magic spell of the Sixth Circle, one that Eugene had learned from the Hall of Freezing Chill, slowed the movement of the roots. This was only the start of the spell. The rapidly spreading frost stopped the movement of the roots in their entirety.
Then, the flames of the Ring Flame Formula engulfed Eugene completely. This was an ability that had nothing to do with magic. He was just covering his body in sword-force. This was a conversion of a warrior’s defense technique known as the Aurashield into a more offensive version of itself, the Hamel style—
[…Sir Eugene? What exactly is the Poltergeist Aegis?] Mer asked.
“Shut it,” Eugene snapped as his face twisted into a scowl.
His foot slammed down and shattered the frozen earth.
However, the shattered roots were immediately reconnected and Jeneric was now looking at Eugene with a frown. All of the spells that Eugene had used just now were from the Sixth Circle. Even though they were above Eugene’s apparent level, the flow between the different spells was unbelievably smooth.
‘The sword that sliced my spell must be the Devouring Sword Azphel… and that must be the Lionheart clan’s White Flame Formula. Fine then, it’s no fun if the ending is too one-sided,’ Jeneric thought as he expanded his field of awareness.
By doing so, he was finally able to cast his magic in earnest. The reconnected roots all began attacking Eugene as one. There was also movement from the ground below the roots. Each individual grain of soil became sticky and tried to cling to the soles of Eugene’s feet.
Flames surged forth.
The burst of fire pushed Eugene off the ground. Eugene quickly checked above him, only to see countless bullets of mana were now aimed at him.
They weren’t just simple bullets either. Even without touching them, Eugene was able to tell what they were. The way that the bullets were aiming at him from every direction, they formed a prison meant to constrict his movements and force him back to the ground.
‘Blink,’ Eugene ordered.
[I can’t. The space has been locked down,] Mer reported.
‘Then can’t you just open it back up?’ Eugene asked.
Mer couldn’t understand what Eugene meant by these words. How was she supposed to open up a space that had been locked down by an Archwizard?
But she soon got it. At the same time, Mer realized that she might have been underestimating Eugene quite a lot.
[Isn’t that too barbaric?!] Mer shouted.
‘So what?’ Eugene shrugged internally.
Eugene tore his foot completely off the ground, ripping the sole free from the grains of soil clinging to it. His Ring Flame Formula reinforced his mana, turning the flame blue.
His foot slammed into the ground as he cast the Fifth Circle spell Earthquake. Well, it was normally a Fifth Circle spell, but considering the power it was cast with and the effect it showed, Eugene’s version was clearly beyond that.
Jeneric’s cheeks trembled from the amount of mana and the precision with which he pushed that mana into maintaining his spell. Thanks to this, the land under his control wasn’t damaged any further by the spell.
However, the Earthquake’s shockwave disturbed the mana locking down space for a moment. Ordinary wizards wouldn’t have even been able to feel this vibration, let alone seize the opening, but Eugene was different. He quickly inserted the formula for the Blink spell into the opening that he had created.
And with that, he teleported.
Jeneric reacted too slowly to pick out the coordinates for his sudden Blink.
A hurricane of cold air formed into a bundle of long icicles that all fired at once. The attack appeared from Jeneric’s blind spot. Jeneric clicked his tongue, and drew on his magic.
The icicles slammed into a raised shield of roots.
Eugene, who had come flying in together with the icicles, twisted his body. His two feet slammed into the end of an icicle, plunging it even further into the root. Soon, frost began to form all over the roots.
‘What is he doing?’ Jeneric couldn’t understand what Eugene’s moves were meant to achieve. ‘The flow between his spells is smooth. The power behind his spells is also impressive. However they still won’t be able to reach me.’
Wouldn’t it be more effective for Eugene to try and swing Azphel like he had before, or make use of his physical skills?
Jeneric realized something. ‘…For him to stubbornly stick to using magic… this cheeky brat…!’
Could it be, since he was dueling with a wizard, Eugene had decided to persist in solely using magic? Jeneric’s eyes grew bloodshot with rage.
The frost that had spread over the roots was shaken off.
The whole square shook as all the soil under Jeneric’s control transformed into roots that rose up like a nest of snakes. At the same time, all kinds of spells began taking form in midair. They were all attack spells that wouldn’t exceed the limit of the Sixth Circle. So even as he manifested all these spells at the same time, there was still a lot of spare capacity left in Jeneric’s mana control, allowing him to maintain control of the spell he had already cast.
The nest of snakes — no, roots began to dance, a wild dance where they seemed to be flailing at random. While mixing flight, jumps, and sprints into his movements, Eugene wove his way through the roots.
He wasn’t just dodging them. With each step that he took, Eugene left a burning footprint behind.
Jeneric knew this spell as well. It was a Sixth Circle fire spell that was stored in the Hall of Scorching Heat. Engraving a seed of flame into the ground with each step, it was a spell that was meant to set a wide area on fire when all these stamps resonated together at once. The power of the Blaze Stamp varied depending on how many footprints the caster had left.
‘What a one-dimensional plan,’ Jeneric sneered.
Because his opponent was large, he had decided to use Blaze Stamp. This was an idea that anyone could have come up with. And since he was dealing with roots, he should just use fire? He couldn’t really be that stupid, could he? The Divine Tree might be a tree, but it wasn’t really a tree. In other words, this meant it wouldn’t burn as easily as a dry branch would.
‘He really is as fast as a rat. Just how long will he be able to keep jumping around? Do you really have the mistaken belief that I can’t catch you?’ Jeneric thought as he held back a grin.
The spells that Jeneric had prepared in the air prevented Eugene from leaping above a certain height. The thrashing roots seemed to be attacking randomly, but they were actually directing his movements into certain specific directions. Whichever way Eugene decided to approach, Jeneric was fine with it. The moment that Eugene had gotten deep enough, Jeneric would capture him without giving him a chance to escape.
‘Should I just smash him to pieces instead? That might be more convenient,’ Jeneric thought idly.
Jeneric was confident that he could kill Eugene instantly. However, that was something that should be avoided. Even Jeneric was aware that he couldn’t afford to go that far.
‘Or else, should I wait until he gets deep enough and tries to open up a path with Azphel? But does he really think that I’ll get hit by something that I’ve already seen once before?’
Battle was, in the end, a challenge of wits. Knowing how many cards that they each held in their hands and being able to see a few steps ahead of your opponent were the most important factors in a battle. Jeneric was well aware of how vital these were. He believed that he had gotten Eugene’s full measure, and that he was looking far enough ahead of his young opponent.
‘He hasn’t summoned a spirit yet,’ Jeneric noticed.
It was well-known that Eugene Lionheart was carrying Wynnyd. Seeing as how he even carried Azphel as well, he probably even had a few others of the Lionheart clan’s treasures on him.
Jeneric assessed the situation. ‘But anything else is probably too wild and unwieldy for him. He won’t be able to use them as he pleases. If he tries to force their use during a narrow opening, he’ll just get interrupted by my attacks.’
Something like this didn’t apply to Jeneric. His body was placed in the center of a solid tree trunk. The greatest advantage of Yggdrasil was its defensive power that didn’t even require the use of any defensive spells. With all that said, he wasn’t just a huge stationary target either. Even at this moment, Jeneric was still able to transfer to another root and have it serve as the new tree trunk.
‘It’s a pity that I can’t allow any flowers to bloom,’ Jeneric regretted. ‘If the limit had been set at the Seventh Circle, it would have been even more fun to play with you.’
While Jeneric was feeling such regret, Eugene had entered the trap.
With a grin, Jeneric set the Divine Tree into motion. The ground that had completely transformed into a nest of roots gathered up into a huge wave that washed over Eugene. Also, the spells that had been prepared in midair were launched, bombarding Eugene’s location.
‘Mer,’ Eugene called.
Even at this moment, Eugene wasn’t even slightly flustered.
[Yes,] Mer replied, knowing what he wanted her to do.
She withdrew to the depths of the cloak on her own volition and began calculating spatial coordinates.
The Cloak of Darkness billowed wide. The nearest root was swallowed by the cloak and then projected in the opposite direction.
The roots collided with each other, twisting around and forming a tangled mess.
This left various spells still pouring down at Eugene from overhead. At the center of this knot of roots, Eugene looked up at them. They didn’t just have numbers; in terms of variety, there were dozens of different types. Since he couldn’t use Blink… should he try and cut them with Azphel! Or else should he just break through with the Poltergeist Aegis?
Neither option really attracted him. Eugene bared his teeth in a grin as he focused.
The sudden strain gave him a dizzying headache. It felt as if his brain was on fire.
Inside of the cloak, Mer let out a shocked scream. [You want to do that now?!]
Although she shouted this, Mer still focussed her concentration. Their concentrated focus resonated with each other.
Mer felt some responsibility for this duel. If she hadn’t needlessly confronted Jeneric, then she wouldn’t have been insulted as a mere familiar. If not for that, Eugene also wouldn’t have bothered to take part in this duel.
But Mer also felt some grievance towards Jeneric. To this Green Tower Master who didn’t really respect Lady Sienna, she wanted to break — no, to snap off his long nose. So in the place of the absent Lady Sienna, she wanted to be of help to Eugene.
By doing so, she wanted to guarantee Eugene a victory.
All the mana amplified by the Ring Flame Formula was drained away. Blood began to drip from Eugene’s bloodshot eyes. Even as he cried tears of blood, Eugene processed the formulas of each spell bombarding him and grasped each of their complex spatial coordinates.
On Akron’s sixth floor, in the Hall of Space, there was a certain pinnacle Seventh Circle spatial magic spell.
The space around Eugene was cut off. Then, the space around the falling spells, or at least all that were within the range of Eugene’s vision, was also isolated. The two disconnected spaces were then linked and swapped with each other.
The roots of the Divine Tree, which were still entangled, were bombarded by the spells that appeared between them.
Jeneric couldn’t comprehend what kind of spell Eugene had just cast. No, he refused to comprehend it, even though he had definitely heard the incantation.
Reverse Rotation, even amongst the other Seventh Circle spells, was known to be of especially high difficulty. So… how? There was no way Eugene should have been able to use it!
No, he might have heard something like this from Trempel Vizardo. That Eugene had been able to use the Seventh Circle’s Scorching Flameball….
“But that’s… that’s a completely different kind of magic!” Jeneris shouted his protest in complete disbelief.
Caught in a chain-eruption of spells, the roots collapsed. Jeneric gritted his teeth as he reasserted control over his spell.
Still shedding tears of blood, Eugene now stood in the sky. He had wanted to capture all the spells that could be seen within the space swapped by the Reverse Rotation, but it seemed that he had hit his limit. Looking around at the spells that had awkwardly frozen in midair as Jeneric was distracted, Eugene pulled out Azphel.
Jeneric was a bit too late in noticing this. Such an unbelievable surprise could delay even an Archwizard’s judgment. As he hastily reclaimed control of the spells and ordered them to attack Eugene, Eugene just kept his arm loose as he swung Azphel.
The slash of the sword seemed to be almost boneless, but even so it was unbelievably sharp and fast. The preempted spells were all shattered, and the scattered mana was devoured by Azphel. The flame wrapped around Eugene’s body grew even stronger.
Eugene knew better than anyone that a battle ultimately came down to a challenge of wits. Opponents who were confident in their own strength were actually easier to deal with. Their certainty in their inevitable victory due to their own pride and arrogance could be used in all sorts of ways to place a noose around their necks depending on the situation.
As for Azphel? Eugene had shown it off once. Then he didn’t use it after that. By doing so, he had made it seem like Eugene was limited in its use.
Jeneric had said that he would only use spells up to the Sixth Circle. However, Eugene had no such restriction placed on him. Even so, so far he had only used spells up to the Sixth Circle as well. He had also placed more emphasis on his magic than he did on his physical skills.
Jeneric had taken this as Eugene being arrogant. He had only seen the surface, just as Eugene had been hoping he would. In the end, Jeneric had drawn up a plan that had seen him drawing Eugene into a trap by allowing him to run freely then defeating him using their overwhelming gap in skill.
Eugene had drawn up a different plan.
The burning footprints still remained on the surface of the roots that he had woven his way through. Eugene willed these footprints to burst into flame. A dizzying red line was drawn through the air and began radiating heat. Shortly afterwards, it exploded into flames!
The explosion from the Blaze Stamp further magnified the explosion caused by the chain of spells that had erupted deep within the tangle of roots. The crowd surrounding the square let out screams of excitement as the heat wave washed over them. Taking a deep breath, Eugene held Akasha out in front of him.
Hesitantly, Mer asked, [Isn’t this too… brutal…?]
“It’s fine,” Eugene replied with a smirk.
As he cast Scorching Flameball, a small ember sparked to life in front of Akasha’s jewel. Eugene lightly pushed the ember forward. The heat and the flames that had erupted from the Blaze Stamp was drawn to the Scorching Flameball. The slowly flying Scorching Flameball crazily grew in size.
“Th-th-that crazy bastard—!” Melkith cried out, her face having already turned white as she blankly watched the duel take place.
Quickly leaping into the air, Melkith’s hair rose to point at the sky.
The ground where the spectators were standing shook. The Spirit King of the Earth had descended at Melkith’s call. The Spirit King of Earth received a command from Melkith’s will and began to move.
A huge wall of earth rose up in front of the crowd.
‘Will it be enough?’ Melkith anxiously asked herself.
Melkith wasn’t the only one moving to protect the crowd. It was unknown when exactly they had arrived, but the Blue Tower Master, Hiridus Euzeland, and the Black Tower Master, Balzac Ludbeth, also flew up into the sky. The two exchanged a glance, then applied their own barrier spells to the earthen rampart that Melkith had created.
Jeneric groaned, “Ugh…!”
The flow of mana was intense. Jeneric glared at the approaching Scorching Flameball as it continued to grow in size. Was a Dispel possible? No, it was too late. Now that the spell had grown so large, there wasn’t any use in trying to collapse it. He was left with no choice but to try and push it backwards. Jeneric’s lips moved quickly, while ordering any roots still able to move upwards, he also attempted to cast a spell….
“Tempest,” Eugene called out as his left hand emerged from his cloak.
Jeneric’s face paled as he saw the beautiful silver-blue sword that Eugene was holding in his hand and heard the name that Eugene uttered.
“Come here and push that,” Eugene boldy commanded.
The wind began to churn crazily as the Spirit King of the Wind descended onto this plane. As if to show off his dignified stature to everyone, Tempest appeared standing next to Eugene.
Eugene narrowed his eyes as the hot air washed against his cheek and grumbled. “Stop acting cool and push already.”
[Ahem…,] Tempest coughed in embarrassment and stretched one hand out to the Scorching Flameball.
A raging wind emerged from his fingers and made contact with the ball of flames.
The moment he saw this, Jeneric realized that it would be impossible to continue resisting by relying on the Divine Tree.
An explosion of flames soared high into the air.