The Fifth Gift
“You should be proud. You get to see my fifth gift! Worship me and be thankful as I cremate you with my flames!” Saron declared maniacally.
“What? He has another gift?!”
They had all gotten a report on Saron before they left the fort, but it only detailed four gifts.
Dragonbreath Conversion, Flame Consumption, Air Armor, and Air Sublimation they were.
Dragonbreath Conversion allowed Saron to convert all flame-aspect spells to contain dragonbreath fire. In other words, his flames were not normal flames, but dragon flames. Normal spells thus immediately became extraordinary. The dragonbreath spell he had just used was no different from a flame dragon’s breath.
Flame Consumption let Saron ingest flames, isolate the flame aspect within, and convert it back into mana or stamina. Given that his affinity with fire was really high, he could easily recover energy from swallowing flames. Even Alissanda’s Endless Source couldn’t compete with him.
The third gift, Air Armor, allowed him to form a shapeless armor from air around him. It wasn’t just a normal field either. Instead, the gift changed the property of the air, making it much denser. Whenever an enemy weapon touched the armor, it reacted like it was striking through thick dough. It could only be done to the air immediately around Saron, however, up to half a meter away at most if he pushed it. It was purely a defensive gift.
The fourth gift was Air Sublimation. Saron could gather air particles with his will and turn them into solid, shapeless fields. It was very similar to a level-five forcefield spell, but disintegration spells had no effect on the fields.
Leguna had licked his lips in anticipation when he read the fourth gift’s explanation. Not only could it provide flexible attacks, it also had use in defence. The gifts were way too overpowered when all gathered in one person. How could Host of Darkness and Shadow Blink compare? And now he had a fifth gift? Had he been hold back the whole time?
Saron stretched his body and removed his robe, stowing it in his dimensional pocket.
“Oh, I didn’t think you’d be so lean. Do you train often?” Kurdak mocked. Saron didn’t appear burly, but his muscles were quite pronounced. No one knew how much good a trained body would do a magus, however.
Saron removed his top; he had nothing but his long pants on. It was snowing, but it didn’t seem to affect him. He leaned down slightly and his expression contorted as if he were exerting himself.
“Hey, Boss, doesn’t he look like you did when you first activated your high-order impetus?” Leguna asked, trying to tease the magus.
“Oh, he does. You said I looked like I was trying to push out some shit,” Kurdak agreed.
The two laughed heartily. Their laughter froze in their throats two second later, however. The snow around Saron melted. It was as if there was an eight meter across sphere of summer air around him. The snowflakes turned into duplets as they reached the edge of the sphere, falling either onto his body or the ground before sizzling away.
“What’s he up to? Does he want to burn himself?”
Leguna’s eyes twitched.
“Guuuuuuaaargh!” Saron roared.
Impetus burst out of his body. It glowed a bright crimson and bellowed unprecedented waves of heat. Leguna and his compatriots were some ten meters away, but the heatwave struck them.
A warrior magus! Not only was Saron a high-order magus, he was also a 14 strata mid-order warrior! Not only that, his impetus was crimson, he had fire aspect there as well. The fire impetus he released was far purer; it appeared almost gaseous!
“Damn it, is he even human?!” Kurdak cursed, “A double cultivator? He’s not even 20! How did he become a mid-order warrior and a high-order magus?! Did I waste my life?”
“Enough, Boss... I feel the same...” Leguna muttered.
The fiend shot the flabbergasted pair a satisfied glance.
“You’re mistaken. Training in both disciplines is only one of my trump cards. I did say I would show you my fifth gift, didn’t I?”
“Is there an end to your tricks?!” Vera cried.
Alissanda was the only of the four that had not lost his composure, though his expression was unbearably grim. Even he didn’t expect Saron’s true might to be this terrifying. He had thought that, if he, Kurdak, and Leguna worked together with all their might, they might be able to chase him off, but now...
“Host of Fire!” Saron suddenly yelled, the muscles in his face taught.
Not only did the three freak out this time, even Alissanda finally lost his composure.
Leguna had Host of Darkness, Alissanda had Host of Radiance, and now, Saron had Host of Fire. Wasn’t this too uncanny a coincidence?!
Saron didn’t pay attention to them, however. His mind was wholly consumed by unbearable pain as the fire-aspect impetus all around him rushed into his body. Every cell in his body burned. Leguna would know the kind of feeling.
Saron’s skin slowly turned a bright red, like flames were crawling under his skin. It glowed, too, like the fire’s light was oozing through his skin out into the world, as if lava would burst out if his skin was cut.
“You’re not going to escape this time!” Saron smiled sinisterly.
Embers spilled out of his mouth when he opened it. A fiery roar accompanied his voice like he was speaking whilst standing in the middle of an inferno.
He lowered his body. His legs kicked, and he hurtled towards his first stump: Kurdak.
“You’re just a mid-order warrior! How dare you fight me close up?” Kurdak roared, waving his sword as he charged.
Leguna new what hosts could do. Saron being a mid-order meant nothing when he’d activated a host skill.
“Don’t interfere!” Saron roared, tossing a fireball at Vera like letting go of a flower.
The fireball was no bigger than the palm of one’s hand, but Leguna felt the immense power within. He dropped all thought of charging with Kurdak and instead activated Host of Darkness and blinked in front of Vera. Two shadow daggers congealed in his hands and he hurled them at the oncoming ball of fire. The daggers had hardly left his hands when he’d already turned around and enveloped Vera in his embrace, his back between here and the fire.
Saron’s fireball exploded in mid air. The force exceeded even Leguna’s outlandish expectations. He immediately formed as much shadow into armor on his back as his panicked mind could. It was just barely enough. The fire dissipated a few moments later, steam drifting off Leguna’s clothes, but the pair was otherwise unharmed.
By this time, Kurdak and Saron were moment from their clash. Kurdak swung his sword at the boy in from the side. Saron sent out a burst of air. It slowed the sword and gave him time to clasp it with his hand by the blade.
Kurdak’s fist came forward, impetus spilling out of it like water through cracks in a dam’s wall. If his weapon was no longer useable, his fists would do.
Saron smiled evilly at the sight. His free hand rose to meet the punch.
You overconfident prick! Kurdak thought.
There were just a single stratum apart, but that strata crossed the boundary between the middle and high order. The gap was not something determination alone could overcome.
Saron didn’t fight Kurdak head-on, however. His hand snaked around Kurdak’s fist and gripped the wrist instead. Such force, however, wasn’t enough to stop the punch.
A searing pain suddenly shot into his arm through his wrist, however. It lost all strength and he could only grunt in pain.
“Ahahahahaha!” Saron licked his lips and let go of Kurdak’s wrist before sending a punch into his chest.
The mail over his chest shattered and the rings flew everywhere. The rings closest Saron’s fists even glowed red.
Kurdak flew back, blood trailing behind him for a few moments before it sizzled away and the solids turned into charcoal.
Alissanda charged in, lance at the ready, at that moment, but he fared no better. Saron’s expert combination of martial and magical prowess easily force Alissanda down. A fireball soon burst into the prince’s chest.
He brought up a mouthful of blood and slumped on the ground.
Leguna froze. It took only a few moments for both his companions to be incapacitated. He was all that was left.
[Ah, how unsightly... All this in just the little while I slept? How long was I out for you to end up in this state?] a seductive, rasping female voice asked in Leguna’s mind.
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