A few minutes later, Yuria entered the arena in equipment that was even more extravagant than Jaaron. However, her face was pale as paper. According to the rules of battle, she would have to stand at a fair distance from Richard until the battle began.
She flashed forward with the referee’s first syllable, trying her best to get as close to Richard as possible. A fight between a mage and a fighter normally only started in proper when the mage cast their first spell, but she couldn’t care less about breaching tradition. Having witnessed Richard’s barrage of fireballs just now and knowing just how calculated each one was, she knew that letting him begin would be her death sentence.
For his part, Richard didn’t protest at all. He simply smiled as he raised his left hand with his fingers spread apart, electric light flashing around the tips of his fingers as it gathered in front of his palm. The crackles almost sounded like music, but his hand had left afterimages behind with how rapidly it moved.
Just as Yuria was within ten metres of him, the gathering lightning burst forth into a thick pillar of energy that crashed into her before she could dodge. The beam immediately stopped all of her momentum, and before she could move again another was shot right towards her face.
The magic item that powered Yuria’s first shield broke apart in an instant, quickly followed by all the others. One could barely recognise the sheer terror that swept across her face before another beam blew it apart, but it was an expression that many in the audience would remember for years to come. Before her corpse could even fall to the ground, another wave of fireballs from Richard burnt her into nothingness.
She had managed to get within ten metres of Richard, but from the moment he launched his first spell that distance did not reduce at all. Some of the electric pillars even rammed into the magic shield with their residual energy, almost breaking it apart and killing a number of minor nobles sitting in the stands. However, those nobles were so dumbstruck that they couldn’t even react to that brush with death. A great mage nearby had to pour all of his energy into the magic array node in the location to stabilise the shield.
Richard slowly lowered his left hand, sparks still visible on his fingertips. The referee took an entire minute to be able to speak, even then barely croaking out a declaration of victory before looking towards what Yuria had left behind.
“Lord… Richard… Your equipment was inferior to the opponents’, you can choose any two of these as spoils…” the man stuttered out. Yuria had left behind two pieces each of legendary and sub-legendary equipment alongside an exquisite scroll. With the standard rules for a duel stating that the victor could take away one piece of equipment from the deceased so long as they were the more poorly equipped of the two, combined with the fact that he still hadn’t picked something from Jaaron’s death yet, Richard could potentially pick up two pieces of legendary-grade equipment.
However, Richard was in no hurry to select his trophy, instead turning to face the Mensa platform in the distance, “Your Grace, do you wish to send any more challengers? I still have half of my mana left.”
Hushed whispers immediately broke out amongst the audience. Both battles had ended within minutes, and the lack of corpses showed just how much energy Richard had over-invested, but he was saying he still had more than half his mana left. Just how did he pull this off? Was it just his grand mage ability?
Patiently waiting for the Duke’s answer, Richard casually started playing around with some spells in his hand. Beads of fire, lightning and ice were interspersed with miniature whirlwind and the green glow of nature magic. All of them danced around on his hands like mischievous spirits with a life and soul of their own.
The nobles and powerhouses in the audience had seen and experienced a great many things, but none of them had ever witnessed something so extraordinary. Even as they watched in admiration, an elderly mage suddenly walked out to the edge of the Anan platform, leaning across the railing as he asked with a trembling voice, “Lord Richard… is this the Manacycle?”
Chaos erupted amongst the stands once more. Those who had heard about Manacycle immediately started sharing what little they knew about the ability.
Manacycle was in the same category of abilities as Manaforge, something so rare that it had once been considered a myth. A mage with this ability had full control of the mana requirements of a spell, capable of turning a fireball into either a kindling or a raging inferno as the situation called for it.
Manaforge to boost one’s mana pool, Manacycle to reach the pinnacle of control, and Manaflood to maximise output, the three abilities combined would lead to the perfect mage. Having spent three years training in the Land of Dusk, Richard had unlocked the second of the three. Combined with Richard’s blessings and original fighting style, this ability was even far more effective in his hands than with almost anyone else.
A lot had been written about Manacycle, but nobody had ever witnessed it in person. Seeing the hypnotising power it had, one couldn’t help but marvel at Richard’s abilities.
However, the person in question could only think of his own master. It was said that Manaforge could increase one’s mana pool by half a fold, giving a grand mage the ability to cast one more grade 9 spell, but for Sharon this became a doubling instead. Her original mana pool was already absurd, turning her into an inexhaustible machine. Compared to her, his control meant nothing.
Richard felt rather wistful. Only one thing was constant in this ever-changing world, and that was his distance from Sharon. No matter how far he advanced, he only realised that her power was just far greater than he had ever imagined before.
Of course, nobody could tell that from his expression, nor were they inclined to. Everyone was focused on the sheer humiliation on Duke Mensa’s face as he wondered how to answer Richard’s question.
The three legendary mage abilities were labelled as such not for their might but for the fact that their effects were proportional to the user’s existing strength. Richard had already mastered Manacycle to a great degree in the few days since he had advanced, so it was clear just how much more powerful he would become in the future. However, even now the Mensas didn’t really have a saint or grand mage capable of besting him in combat.
Mensa’s face almost went purple as he looked around, only to find Satch missing. The youth had run away the moment Yuria had fallen in her duel, knowing that victory was impossible even before Manacycle was revealed.
The Duke finally stood up and walked towards the railing, trying his best to maintain an air of authority, “My family had the advantage in this battle but we still lost. We will not subject ourselves to more humiliation; we accept defeat. Master Richard, please pick your trophies. Hehe…”
Sighing in disappointment, Richard walked over and picked up the exquisite scroll, completely ignoring the two pieces of legendary equipment. The snickering Duke almost choked on his own saliva, but soon after he almost fainted as he saw Richard pick up a sub-legendary necklace that Yuria had worn.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Hazel
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA