"That's right, I'm Alissanda," he said as he patted Leguna's shoulder heartily.
Leguna was speechless. Geoffrey liked to put on airs, but Alissanda seemed rather approachable. How had the two grown up in the same environment? They were nothing alike.
"You can get to know each other in hell!" Saron yelled impatiently as he flung another fireball their way.
"Careful!" Leguna couldn't believe Saron could fling another one of those fireballs so quickly.
He immediately dashed away, dragging Alissanda with him. The two just barely made it out of the way in time.
"What's his deal? How is his magic so powerful?!" Leguna snapped furiously, rubbing the mud off his face.
"He's Saron, Saron Norton. He's a high-order Stokian magus. He's known as the crimsonflame fiend," Alissanda answered, still calm.
"Is he a fire gifted?"
"Yes, but also--"
Leguna was already up and roaring.
"Damn it! You're a gifted too, so why're you the one beating me up? Hmph, do you think this is all I've got?!"
Leguna immediately willed Host of Darkness into action, all the way up to the third stage and charged.
Saron's eyelids twitched.
This brat had just 14 strata a moment ago, now he has 15 and can keep up with my attacks?... It's gone up again? What the hell?! Can he turn his foul mouth into energy or something?
Saron couldn't take his time and figure out what was going on. Leguna's boots, Lightness, activated and he instantly shot out like a wild mutt. It took him just have a moment to appear next to Saron.
Lighteater in his right hand, Ebony in his left, the boy swung wildly.
Saron stared at the little barbarian incredulously. His stupor lasted only the slightest moment, however. He quickly regained his composure and breathed Ignited Hand.
Saron had two gifts. His second probably had something to do with enhancing fire-aspect spells. He only used a level-one spell, but its destructive power was beyond what any level-one spell should have. The rhombus-shaped flame projectiles fired at Leguna were more like level-five dragon-breath spells.
Leguna was forced to pull back and dodge the attack; he could not take it head-on.
"A shadow dancer, huh? You're a passingly interesting brat." Saron teased.
He did not increase his defenses despite knowing what his opponent was. Little could mock as effectively.
"Hah, you've only seen the tip!" Leguna smiled.
He activated Shadow Blink, vanished, and reappeared behind Saron.
Was it speed, or teleportation? Saron didn't know, nor did he have time to ponder. Leguna shoved Lighteater at his back. The tip pierced towards his heart, rearing to split it in half.
Saron half-laughed half-shouted the moment Leguna started feeling smug. An irresistible force burst out of his body and flung Leguna away like a paperweight.
"You managed to surprise me again. Not bad." Saron snickered, wiping the cold sweat off his forehead relaxedly.
"What's your deal? That wasn't a spell!"
Leguna knew half a thing about defensive spells thanks to Annelotte, and that was not a spell.
"It's a gift."
Alissanda shouted, rushing over grim-faced.
"You were really too brash right now but luckily you survived."
"A gift? How could a fire-aspect gift generate a forcefield?!"
"It's not a fire-aspect gift. It's a wind-aspect gift!"
That was impossible. He'd seen the youth eat flames to restore mana. It was definitely a fire gift. But now he could shove out a forcefield, a wind aspect ability? Did he have two gifts?!
"You must have just come to Chino, right? I mean, if you'd been here for a while, you would have known about Saron."
Indeed, Saron Norton was famous. He was a member of Stok's magic council and recognized as the most talented magus on the continent, possible in the entire world. The empire's intelligence suggested he had two gifts, and from two different attributes.
He was born a farmer's son. But he couldn't control his power in his early years and destroyed his house with a mana storm. The massive outburst caught the magic council's attention and they took him in. Nobody heard of him for several years.
He reappeared about two years ago and started getting involved in everything. He was just 16 years old, but he was already many people's idle, some had even begun to think he was too good to be an idol to mortal men.
He'd won battle after battle with his shear strength alone. He even one wiped out an entire thousand-man regiment of knights on his own, and walked out without a so much as a tear to his clothes. He was known for leaving bloody fields, which, together with his crimson hair and flames, lead to his sobriquet: the crimsonflame fiend.
Saron stared at the idiot of a boy, whose mouth flapped like a dying fish's. It pleased him greatly to watch someone from his generation that could also be deemed a rare talent so flabbergasted by his achievements. If not for his amusement at the little brat's reaction, he'd long have killed the two while they were blabbing.
"... Is he here to kill you?" Leguna asked, glancing at their opponent.
"I think so, yes. I am royalty, so my death would wound the empire's pride greatly."
"Still have some energy left?"
"I'll be fine, I just need a few more minutes."
"Alright. I'll hold him off. We'll take him together once you've caught your breath."
"Of course! I want to survive too!"
[Teacher, I'd like to use Host of Darkness a bit more,] Leguna said.
[It's your choice. I'm not the one who'll suffer,] Gahrona replied.
It was only fair to let Leguna use his gifts since he was facing another gifted.
[The arrogant bastard pisses me off. I don't mind moaning a bit to smack his smug face.] Leguna released another portion of his impetus. His power burst through to the equivalent of 16 strata.
Saron frowned when he sensed the brat's power increase again.
What's with that brat? How is he making his strength grow so much, so fast?
"Here I come!" Leguna yelled as he charged.
With Lightness, Speed Eruption, and Host of Darkness, Leguna's speed soared to unimaginable heights. His body shot forward like an arrow, leaving shadowy afterimages in its wake. He almost couldn't be picked up by the naked eye.
The magic barrier on Saron broke instantly. He was forced to rely on his repulsive field again. It successfully stopped his opponent and he soared into the sky, his body glowing slightly from the flight spell.
Leguna watched Saron agitatedly. His last attack had contained almost everything he had, and yet he had done nothing to his opponent.
"Shadow Blink!" Leguna shouted and appeared next to Saron.
"Right on time!" Saron shouted as his field spun into motion again.
Leguna had no surface on which to leverage control, so he was flung away like a wet rag. He slammed into the snowy ground, Saron floating ten meters above him. His hand glowed, and another fireball darted for Leguna.
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