He had let his guard down a little too much, but luck was also on his side. Sajators had sustained no other injuries than a light abrasion from being scratched up by branches. On the surface at least.
His body wavered as he attempted to stand on his own two legs. He managed to parry Sungchul’s blow with his demonic hand, but the recoil he had received at that time had delivered a blow to his internal organs unseen to the naked eye. It was a fearsome strength.
‘It’s enough to make Daltanius with his strength that has almost hit 1000 look like a child…! How does someone like that exist?’
Honestly, he had been confident. Sajators was a Mage, but he was proficient in dueling and enjoyed them. He was born with vast reserves of mana and a mind capable of memorizing a great number of spells. It was difficult to find anyone on the continent who could face against him after he unlocked the secrets of casting multiple spells at once. It was to the point that even Desfort, who later became the leader of the Seven Heroes, had only a slight advantage over him. And for a man such as Sajators, Sungchul was the first opponent of his kind. He was simply too fast and too strong. One proper hit from this opponent would be the end of him.
‘It’s frustrating, but it looks like he’s an opponent that’s out of my league.’
Sajators changed his mind. His character flaw was his arrogance which led to frequent mistakes, but he was also one to carry out his task regardless of who tried to stop him once he set his mind to it.
He set two hard rules on facing Sungchul. First, avoid a fight. Second, do not allow him to approach regardless of circumstance. In short, he had decided to flee.
Sajators was well versed in this manner of duty as well. He was different from the average mages as he was quite mobile with his everchanging movements and possessed peerless instincts.
Sajators ruffled his mantle with his hand after organizing his thoughts. 3 of the 6 Soul Stones hidden underneath it each had different magical formations upon it. The first soul stone had Invisible, a transparency magic from the School of Illusions, cast upon it while the others had the general purpose Fly and Magic Shield cast on them. The three Soul Stones were cast almost simultaneously granting him the ability to fly, protection against magic, and an invisibility effect. The rest depended on Sajators’ wit and his movements.
After casting Invisibility he flew through the tall grass, heading towards the river. The reason why he chose to head towards the river was because it lacked distinct geographical features around the area. He could have flown through the open sky, but the risks were too great.
Sajators maintained a height just barely above the meandering murky waters and continued to fly forward at breakneck speed.
‘Let’s make some distance first.’
His best option in terms of survival was to just immediately cast a Long Distance Teleport to break far away from the battleground, but his pride did not allow him to resort to that. He had gone as far as to kill Vestiare’s miniature form who had warned him against combat, so he would be mocked if he were to choose to flee and fail to complete his objectives.
‘I have to awaken the Giant no matter what.’
Sajators’ eyes grew cold, but he suddenly noticed a wave that was approaching him. It was a massive torrent of water.
‘Hm? I was definitely downstream.’
The rapid torrent of water was heading upstream like a tidal wave. It was clear that he would suffer heavy losses if he was caught up in the waters.
Sajators raised his elevation slightly to barely evade the oncoming wave. However, the area below his feet became dark at the very next moment.
The moment he lifted his gaze to look above, he saw it. The object that was descending from the direction of a rather large tree aiming directly at him.
A Soul Gem flashed as Sajators made an elegant gesture with his hand like he was pushing something away. As he did, the object descending from the massive tree seemed to bounce away with a powerful force and changed its trajectory to land beside Sajators causing him to fall headfirst into the river below. However, that wasn’t the end.
Sajators then discovered the silhouette of a person running toward him like a whirlwind by the riverside. The figure had his head shifted to the side looking directly at him. Fear rose in Sajators’ eyes.
‘That bastard… He can see through my invisibility?!’
He wasn’t aware that Sungchul had the Soul Contract known as the Eye of Truth. Sungchul immediately drew Fal Garaz high into the air as he made eye contact and struck at the gravel piled up on the riverbed. The ordinary stones rolling about the mud had become instilled with godly strength and turned into fearsome tools of murder.
Two of Sajators’ Soul Gems lit up. It had only flickered for a fraction of a second but Sungchul, conditioned through hundreds of battles against Mages, was able to grasp the general spells being cast by the crystal in Sajators’ Soul gems.
[Elementary Wind Magic]
[Elementary Destruction Magic]
There was an explosion in the gravel ahead of where Sajators was flying towards and another sound of impact which caused powerful winds to kick up in the area.
‘One is a strike and the other must be something that performs a similar function.’
Not much was known about Wind Magic so it was not clear as to what magic was used, but the purpose of both spells was clear. The two rounds of artificially created explosions, or gusts of wind close to one, were used to weaken the momentum of the gravel. And as intended, the gravel was greatly slowed and harmlessly bounced off the Magic Shield surrounding Sajators’ body. It was a degree of adaptability that was rarely seen among mages.
Sajators didn’t stop after deflecting Sungchul’s assault. He flipped his body midair to reorient himself and activated several spells simultaneously. Six magic formations cast upon his Soul Stones rose upon Sajator’s body simultaneously. Sungchul’s eyes were able to grasp the meaning of the overall seven magic formations in an instant.
Sajators [ Medium Destruction Magic]
Soul Stone 1 [ Fly ]
Soul Stone 2 [ Magic Trap: Flame Attribute ]
Soul Stone 3 [ Inferno ]
Soul Stone 4 [ Mutation School of Magic: Transform ]
Soul Stone 5 [ Magic Shield ]
Soul Stone 6 [ Dimensional School of Magic: Large Scale Summon Magic ]
Admiration appeared in Sungchul’s eye as he saw all this.
‘This is what they call a Multicast Mage.’
Each spell had their own casting times and usage, but they all had to be arranged very carefully. Aside from one Soul Gem that was maintaining the flight magic Fly, the first aria to be completed was Medium Destruction magic cast by Sajators himself.
The air around Sunchul was immediately being sucked away. It was the sign of an explosion. The moment he moved away, a powerful bang occurred where Sungchul had stood. The second Soul Stone’s magic trap and the fifth Soul Stone’s Magic Shield were prepared even before the heat from the explosion had faded.
Another protective veil of magic enveloped Sajators’ body and the afterimage of a magic formation shining with the various different forms of a magic trap was installed at his front. There lied a fairly painful trap between Sungchul who had retreated from the explosion’s explosive force and Sajators.
As Sungchul was confirming the location of the trap with his eyes, the aria for Soul Stone 4, Transformation, was complete.
A dark liquid with a pungent stench similar to asphalt was spread around Sungchul’s vicinity. It was the same one that had been spread around the pyramid before it was burnt down.
Sungchul swiped at the ground to evoke a dust storm in order to repel the black liquid that approached him. It was at this time that the aria for Soul Stone 3, Inferno, was completed by a hair’s breadth and a destructive wall of fire was laid out around Sungchul.
Sungchul heard sounds of explosions in between the flames swallowing up everything in its path, and the dust storm scattered in all directions. It was the sound of the sand and earth that had been thrown up by Sungchul exploding due to the black liquid it had absorbed.
Sungchul retreated before the searing wall of flames could overwhelm him. A frontal assault was possible, but the magic trap bothered him. It might blacken his clothes.
Sungchul was not a man with nothing else to wear, but he was someone who wore clothes that he liked until it faded.
He reorganized his thoughts on Sajators as he retreated.
‘This bastard could be very annoying when he decides to be a thorn at my side.’
It is easy to visualize the common idea of a powerful Mage as someone possessing a lot of magic power and seeking out high level magic, but Sungchul felt that the true measure of an excellent Mage was his battle instinct, and adaptability. This was the truth he discovered for himself after battling countless Mages. Sajators appeared to be in both camps, and so he had to be killed before the other Seven Heroes could gather.
Sungchul evoked an adamant intent to kill in his otherwise callous eyes. He circumvented the wall of flames caused by Inferno and entered through the riverside catching a glimpse of Sajators. Sajators was attempting to flee through the riverbanks away from Sungchul after laying his flame traps. It looked as though the aria of his sixth Soul Stone, Mass Summoning, was yet to be completed.
Sungchul felled a large tree nearby with a swing of Fal Garaz and sent the entire thing flying toward Sajators like a javelin. Sajators who had been flying at high speeds evaded the tree with a zigzag movement, but Sungchul was actually aiming for the flame traps.
The flame traps laid out by Sajators were triggered by the large tree automatically causing the tree to be burnt to a pile of ash in an instant. Sungchul charged towards Sajators once again after the bothersome obstacles had been dealt with.
It was at this moment that the Mass Summoning Magic cast upon Sajators’ Soul Stone was now complete. A massive magic formation was cast in his vicinity causing golems made of stone and steel to pour out from within.
“Huh? Aren’t those made by papa? Why does that man have it?”
Bertelgia shouted in anger. Sungchul pulled out and held the Demonic Weapon Cassandra with his left hand and proceeded to thoroughly destroy the charging golems with both the whip and Fal Garaz.
While Sungchul dealt with the golems, Sajators was initiating new spells on five of the Soul Stones. Sungchul caught sight of the magic being cast while crushing one of the golem’s head with Fal Garaz.
Sajators [ Thunder Break ]
Soul Stone 1 [ Fly ]
Soul Stone 2 [ Slow ]
Soul Stone 3 [General Purpose Magic: Physical Barrier Technique]
The rest of the Soul Stones looked to be out of commission. The only one among them that was concerning was Thunder Break which was known to be the most powerful magic within wind attributed magic. It might not be enough to kill him in a single blow, but it would inflict significant damage onto him.
Once the aria began, storm clouds formed above Sungchul and Sajators’ heads as though it would immediately rain. Just then, the aria of Soul Stone 2, Slow, was completed causing an aura of malice to envelope Sungchul. However, it was a low grade magic and was nullified after it bounced off the protection of Sungchul’s Soul Contract, Thunder Shield. All that was left were the small number of golems, the magic shield, and the unknown physical barrier technique whose aria was still in progress.
‘So you’re going to do it that way?’
Sajators appeared to have not fully comprehended the extent of Sungchul’s power. No, it was possible that he wasn’t able to consider the possibilities because he was so overwhelmed by Sungchul’s oppressive strength. Sungchul wrapped around the final golem with the Demonic Weapon Cassandra and threw it toward Sajators utilizing the centrifugal force.
Sajators who was now surrounded by Magic Formations evaded to the side and attempted to finish his final aria. His face was fearful but unshaken.
Sungchul rushed toward Sajators with Fal Garaz in hand. Sajators’ Physical Barrier Technique was being completed. It was intended to resist a single blow so that he could counter-attack with Thunder Break as it was normally very difficult to evade once Thunder Break was cast.
However, the situation quickly changed. The quiet jungle was suddenly filled with the cry of something massive that was impossible to describe, before tree roots from some distant place began to swallow up everything in its path.
‘Is the Tree Mother responding to the battle?’
Sungchul gave no heed to the change in his surroundings and delivered his prepared attack. He first attacked with the Demon Weapon Cassandra in his left hand. Cassandra flew like a snake and coiled around Sajators, peeling off the Magic Shield wrapped around him. Next, he swung a blow with Fal Garaz.
Thunder Break’s aria was in its final moments of completion. Sajators watched the hammer unblinkingly putting all of his faith in the Physical Barrier Technique that he had cast on himself.
The hammer struck the barrier that negated all physical attacks. Sajators body shook, but he received almost no impact. A smile formed on Sajators’ lips. Thunder Break’s aria was complete.
Unfortunately, Sungchul’s finger was pointed toward him at that very next moment.
The beam of light from the School of Cosmomancy shot out toward Sajators.
It struck Sajators’ body directly causing a black smoke to form. But, that wasn’t the end.
[ Echo x5 ]
Five more beams of light shot out from the finger continuously, piercing his body mercilessly. Once the aria had ended, the perfect shape of the magical formation was torn to shreds. Sungchul grabbed the shaking Sajators by his collar.
“I told you didn’t I?”
Sajators glared at him.
“That I’d definitely kill you.”
Sungchul leaped down to the ground with Sajators in his grasp and smashed his face against a massive tree.