Host of Darkness.
This was Leguna's second gift. Leguna could release dark-aspect impetus and re-assimilate it, allowing his body to be filled with the power of darkness. The ability didn't have any effects during the day in bright areas, but in dark corners where light couldn't reach, Host of Darkness could truly bare its sinister fangs.
His body contained dark energy, so he could almost merge with the darkness. In the shroud, his speed, power, reaction time, vision, senses, and impetus would be greatly enhanced, the last so much he rose several strata.
He could also control the ability's intensity. Before this, he could at most release and assimilate two-tenths of his impetus. But that alone was more than enough to provide a huge boost in power during the night. This time, however, he released four-tenths of his impetus in his berserk state and doubled his might!
The process of re-assimilating dark-aspect impetus was excruciatingly painful and the lingering darkness in his body caused him to be really sensitive to sunlight. He would feel like he was doused with hot water every time he was exposed to it. He thus used the gift sparingly.
Apart from the pain, there was another reason he didn't like using it. It was a deep-seated and instinctual sense of rejection. He wasn't really sure what it was, but he could feel an abhorrence and fear when he used the gift, as if something horrible awaited him. Apart from using it very rarely, he didn't tell others of its existence either.
Today, these people had to be punished! They absolutely had to be judged, even if it was by a bloody mercenary! No matter the pain or the cost, he would not allow them to continue existing in the world, even if he lost his life! They had to accept their fate and die!
Leguna rubbed the blood in the corner of his mouth off before standing up and look at Nabir coldly. The high-order magus was greatly horrified but he was neither a coward nor an idiot. After seeing the boy cough up blood, he gradually calmed down.
"Hahahaha!" Nabir laughed suddenly, "You're injured! You're hurt!"
Leguna took out two throwing knives. They soon flew, not at Nabir, but towards Riddie, who was trying to escape.
They accurately dug into Riddie's knees. The impetus contained within shattered his kneecaps and made the young master cry out like a pig awaiting slaughter.
"Don't even dream about escaping, I'll deal with you later. The next knife will dig into your throat if you do," said Leguna to the screaming Riddie.
Nabir mocked, "Deal with him later? Do you think you're a match for me?"
"We'll find out in a moment."
Leguna wasn't in a hurry to attack. He stalled for time while he tried to regulate his breathing.
"I admit your performance was beyond of my expectations," Nabir praised, "Given your prowess, it is indeed probable that you killed Farsi. I'm not Farsi, though, neither are you in peak condition. You aren't my match. Kid, if you had fought against me along with that girl, you might've stood a chance. I didn't think you'd be stupid enough to shoo her away! You're a blind fool!"
"I already said we'll find out soon enough!"
Leguna sheathed Flameblade and tossed out a smoke bomb. When the resulting smoke dissipated, his figure had vanished. Using smoke as cover to enter stealth was a common assassin tactic. While Nabir panicked because he couldn't see any trace of the boy. it wasn't the same this time around. He was covered in layers of magical barriers -- completely protected. He was confident he could even take a full-force strike from a saint-order warrior. The high-order magus calmly started dictating, a disintegration spell manifested on his fingertips. He believed that, as long as he could complete his spell, the boy's life would be over the moment he showed himself.
But Leguna naturally wouldn't let things go his way. He launched Lighteater at the magus from behind. There wasn't much flair in the strike but the impetus and force contained within were pushed to their limits. A few lesser physical barriers were cut through. Nabir managed to nullify that attack only with the help of a stoneskin spell.
Though the strike didn't cut through thanks to his defenses, he still lost his balance. With but a stumble, the disintegration spell completely dissipated. The magus didn't lose his cool so easily, though. The reason he dictated a disintegration spell in the first place was to force the boy to show himself, and his goal had been achieved. Baiting an assassin's surprise attack with a level six spell was a pretty good bargain.
After the disintegration spell dissipated, Nabir hurriedly began dictating again. The spell dictation didn't last long and when it was complete, golden dust fell from the sky and covered the two. It was a level two glitterdust spell. The spell would cause large amounts of shiny specks of dust to fall over the target area, rendering a magus's shroud spell or a rogue's stealth useless.
Leguna didn't mind getting sprinkled with glitterdust. He drew Flameblade and kicked the ground to propel himself forward. After the glitterdust fell, Nabir hurriedly dictated another stoneskin spell. Seeing Leguna's approach, he hurriedly used a blink spell to increase the distance between them and hurled a fireball at the horrifying assassin.
The crimson ball of flame gave off a wave of heat. It seemed that, no matter which magus it was, they all would continuously refine even a basic spell until it was near perfection. Leguna tried to avoid it, but single-target spells had an element of homing. If it were a throwing knife, he could've evaded it easily, but this wasn't.
The ball grazed his side and landing on the ground beneath him, setting off a loud explosion. The heatwave enveloped him as he steeled himself for the injuries he would sustain. But surprisingly, he didn't feel even an ounce of pain.
The magical barriers she had dictated before she left had taken effect. All the aspect effects of the spell were kept outside the barriers and Leguna was only sent flying and exposed to its heat without actually being burned.
Leguna rolled on the ground when he fell to soften the impact, but it didn't stop him from letting out a growl of pain. Kratt's impetus had damaged his innards and the shock from before had tugged at his injuries. He stood up and spat out another mouthful of blood. But his body didn't stop. He rushed forward, Lighteater and Flameblade in hand.
Nabir's second attack spell was ready. Icicles rained in Leguna's direction en masse.
The kid made another dodge attempt but was struck by a number of icicles. Thanks to the effects of Annelotte's barriers, though, he didn't suffer any damage.
"That cursed wench!" snapped Nabir with grit teeth.
Had it not been for Annelotte, his two spells would've been enough to end the brat. But because of her involvement, he had yet to break the barriers protecting the boy. The youth rushed straight for him and sent both Flameblade and Lighteater flying in elegant arcs. Nabir began dictating again with the intent of using a blink spell to withdraw again. Leguna knew what the magus was up to and intensified his attacks.
The stoneskin spell finally crumbled. Flameblade arced straight for Nabir's throat. But the magus managed to complete his blink spell at the last moment. All Leguna's dagger had to show was a few drops of blood. It didn't cut through Nabir's throat completely.
The distant Nabir could be seen clutching his throat in pain. Leguna's Flameblade not only pierced his skin, the sizzles caused by the burns agonized the high-order magus to no end.
Without hesitation, Leguna resumed his assault.
Savagery flashed across Nabir's eyes. His mana had been mostly expended. The wound on his throat also prevented him from dictating fluently. It wasn't practical for him to face the assassin anymore.
He had no choice but to risk it!
Resisting the searing pain, he clearly articulated each and every syllable of his latest dictation. This was his final spell. Mistakes couldn't be tolerated! Death awaited his failure! Terrifying levels of mana coagulated on his fingertips. It was Death's Finger!
It was his final spell; his final choice, the strongest attack spell he knew, Death's Finger. If the brat was hit by it, he would die without a doubt. Leguna could also feel how terrifying the spell was. He ran frantically and tossed out throwing knives to interrupt the magus.
Fortunately for Nabir, the projectile barrier he had erected beforehand finally kicked in. While it couldn't stop blades or swords, it was effective against arrows or throwing knives launched from a distance. The knives slowed and fell to the ground. He was unharmed.
Leguna didn't give up hope. He forced himself to run faster.
Twenty meters, fifteen, ten, five!
The moment Nabir was right in front of him, the high-order mage let out a cruel snicker. He raised his finger and shot the dark-red stream of energy straight at him.
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