Volume 1 Chapter 5—Battle of Inheritance (Part 2)
Translator and Editor: SaltyTank
Loki knelt on the ground with one knee and raised his mithril dagger to parry Mithian’s piercing strike with some difficulty. The sharp, cold blade whizzed just past his ears.
It was a great chance for him. Loki slid his dagger along Mithian’s rapier and locked his weapon against the rapier’s guard, then delivered a punch with his other fist. With Mithian inferior in terms of power, she could only drop her weapon and step back to avoid the punch.
The two paused their duel again, this time not because they wanted to talk. The elements dwelling in the classroom had almost been depleted by their rapid exchange of spells. If they wanted to use magic, they either have to leave the classroom or wait for elements to refill the space.
Elemental Fine-tuning… Loki squinted as he recalled the previous spell she had cast. She must have used Elemental Fine-tuning to break through my defence in such a strange way.
While all inheritance mages learnt similar general magic knowledge, the fine details differed greatly for every archmage lineage. Every mage had a different interpretation and understanding of the fine details of magic after all. After they become archmages, they would pass down their own style of interpretation to their students in the form of practical spells and techniques. These techniques are often unique and cannot be reproduced unless taught directly.
Just now, Mithian had used a technique which was exclusively passed down her inheritance lineage. Loki had read about Elemental Fine-tuning in a book, thus he had basic knowledge on the technique. It was a technique which involved making adjustments to the final arrangement of elements before releasing them to achieve effects that are different from their untampered equivalent. Generally speaking, the elemental arrangement of a particular spell could be said to be a constant identity equation, meaning a mage would arrange the elements in the same way every time he casted it. By using Elemental Fine-tuning, the caster could alter the arrangements to a certain degree that would allow additional effects to the spell. This, however, did not classify as creating a new spell as the caster was merely inputting different variables into an equation.
The moment Mithian’s altered Wind Slice impacted onto his stone wall, Loki immediately noticed the minute differences of her spell. The spell consisted of multiple blades of wind which did not travel in a straight line, meaning Mithian had altered the directional control variables of the spell. If he had not been alert, he would have died already.
Loki got back onto his feet. Sensing that elements are flooding into the classroom, he gathered them to cast a spell. Despite his efforts, Mithian still managed to attack first, using her altered Wind Slice again.
This time, Loki dealt with the attack with a completely different method. Mithian had her own unique technique, but so did he. He extended both arms as a magical glow consisting of different colours shrouded over his palms. The magic instructor’s jaw dropped to the ground again upon witnessing the technique: What the hell IS THAT?!
It was common knowledge that a mage could not cast two different spells simultaneously. Even Multi-cast, a technique that some inheritance mages could use, could not overcome the barrier. The technique could only put a completed spell on hold while the mage cast another spell, after which the two spells could be launched together. But right now, it was clear that Loki was in fact casting two different spells on his palms.
Loki clasped his fingers, two thunderbolts dashing out from his hands. Right before they reached Mithian, they exploded and scattered numerous Converging Thunderbolts all over the place, weaving a net of lightning. It almost felt like air itself was burning.
Multi-cast, Multi-detonation, Delayed Casting; these were all techniques that could only be used by inheritance mages. It was even more amazing to see them all used in conjunction with one another. With his skillful casting, Converging Thunderbolt turned into another spell—Curtain of Lightning.
The massive net of lightning devoured Mithian’s Wind Slice. Even with Elemental Fine-tuning, it could not withstand the overwhelming destructive power of Loki’s spell and was forcibly dissipated. As if nothing had happened, the Curtain of Lightning retained its full power even after destroying Mithian’s spell and charged to devour the female mage.
Mithian’s only defensive measure available was to drain all the gathered elements to cast Stone Prison and cover herself in walls of stone. This was a desperate move; even if she could block Curtain of Lightning, she was completely vulnerable after that. With her rapier out of reach, Loki could leisurely cast another spell and kill her.
Thunder elements and earth elements clashed against each other once again, and the outcome this time was completely different than the previous bout. It was a given, considering that Curtain of Lightning had significantly greater power than Converging Thunderbolt. Mithian could barely block the spell after exhausting all the elements she could gather. As the sizzling net roared on, she could only powerlessly protect her head with her arms as chunks of rocks pierced into her arms. Fresh, red blood drizzled down her flawlessly white skin. It was an unbearable yet oddly beautiful scene.
Mithian braced herself, but the next spell did not come. Loki stopped; she was the Pope’s daughter after all. There was no way he could kill her.
The classroom was oddly silent. The magic instructor had fled the scene while Loki was casting Curtain of Lightning. The only ones who remained were Loki, Mithian, and Alice.
Loki stood there emotionlessly. His robe and shirt was tattered, his body was full of cuts, but still he stood strong and held his ground, seemingly unaffected by pain at all. Mithian’s gasps were the only sound resounding in the classroom. She pressed her hand against her bleeding left shoulder, stood up slowly, and looked at Loki with complicated feelings.
“I know you didn’t use your full power before, perhaps not even now,” Mithian said out of the blue. “Five years ago, back when the Auxsasies still existed, my master had already said that your talent for magic is above mine, only falling behind that of… your sister.”
“If you know that already, then is there even a reason for us to fight?” Loki asked.
“People only become strong when there is something precious they want to protect… The current you, what are you protecting? I can’t figure it out,” Mithian replied. “Don’t you want to avenge your family?”
Loki did not answer right away. He took in a deep breath to purge away his impulsiveness and said, “I am grateful for the forgiveness the Holy Church has shown me. My clansmen are unforgivable sinners who deserve worse than death… There is nothing to avenge.”
This was the same answer he had given to Principal Karm yesterday. Today, he said it again, with much conviction in his voice.
Rage and anger were nowhere to be seen in Mithian’s purple eyes, replaced by dejection. “You’ve changed a lot.”
“Humans will always change.” Loki had a peaceful smile on his face. He looked good when he smiled, but it was something that could rarely be seen, as if he had stowed it away into the depths of his heart. “When you get older, you feel that you were childish back then.”
Mithian quietly turned to walk away. Alice, with, her sharp eyes noticed drops of crystals flowing down her cheeks.
The duel was finally over. Loki relaxed his body and plopped down weakly onto a chair, staring at the devastated classroom with a blank look on his face. Alice went over and sat down beside him, then took out a bottle of salve to treat his wounds.
News about the duel between Loki and Mithian quickly spread throughout the entire campus. Almost everyone learnt that the two had fought and destroyed a classroom, but none had any idea about the outcome of the duel. Alice was the only person who witnessed the whole fight from the beginning till the end.
The only other person who might know a little more was the magic instructor, but he faithfully kept his mouth shut and did not comment on anything regarding the duel. Due to the lack of credible information, people who saw the ruined battlefield started to fill the gaps with imagination and spread imaginary rumours about the duel. Many versions of the fight circulated among the students, the most common version being Mithian easily defeated Loki and gave him a beating, but did not kill him out of mercy. The traitor Loki, seizing the opening as he knelt and begged for his life, attacked and injured Mithian right after she spared his life.
Rumours like such made Loki’s poor reputation plummet further into the void. Apparently, everyone determined that he was a sly, vicious person. The students’ opinion of him was pretty obvious, especially during lessons; the only other person who would sit on his row was Alice.
It was morning. Loki sat next to the window while enjoying his breakfast. He led a disciplined lifestyle, as though he had a clock embedded into his body.
Students who studied in the Holy Messiah Academy were either from rich or noble families. They would return to their mansions when lessons were over, picked up by alchemical cars on every trip. This did not mean that none of the students were from poor commoner families who worked extremely hard to enter the academy though. To cater for this small group of students, the school had exclusively allocated a residential area in the campus and assigned a small house to those who wish to live in the academy.
Loki and Alice lived in one of those houses. Because he did not like sunlight, his curtains were usually closed.
All of a sudden, something started to knock on his window. Alice went over to open the curtains, revealing a bronze little bird pecking the window rhythmically.
“Ehhh, seconds for breakfast?” Alice licked her lips, with ‘hungry’ written all over her face. “Too bad its size isn’t even enough for a snack…”
“Alice, do you only think about eating…” Loki said disappointedly to his contracted apostle. He opened the window and the bird immediately flew over and landed on his shoulder. “It’s an alchemical messenger, a metallic product filled with mana. I guess you could still eat it if you’re really hungry?”
Alice grabbed the bird and looked all over it carefully. It was really a bird made out of some unknown metal, powered by mana. It looked just like a real bird… but this was obviously inedible.
“Alchemical messengers got popular in the past decade or so. Not only mages, but also nobles started using them to pass on messages. They have a low grade space magic spell to store small items in their stomachs…” Loki explained as he received the bird back from Alice and took out a letter from its beak.
Loki opened the letter. It was a formal invitation with his full name written neatly on the top left corner. The words “Holy Messiah Academy” and the Student Council’s badge was stamped onto the bottom right corner.
“Dear Mr. Loki Davoral Auxsasy, we would like to send you our best regards… After days of preparation, we are pleased and honoured to invite you to the First Year Orientation Banquet that will take place at the Acer Palmatum Hall on 16th October, 323 Reiz Era. We hope that you honour us with your presence,” Alice read out the contents of the letter with her head tilted. She decided to skip the greetings because it was too annoying to read out. “16th October… Hey, what’s the date today?”
“Eh, isn’t that the day after?” Alice read the invitation letter again. “A banquet held by the Student Council… Why would they invite you… Your reputation’s a mess and you’ve got no power either, so aren’t we freeloaders? How nice of them!”
“Right, how nice of them,” Loki said as he calmly sipped his tea, his azure eyes as clear as a sapphire.