When Nyx entered the golem’s range, its eyes flashed to life again and the barrier returned. She watched with a distant look as her foe slowly stood up. Without batting an eye, she put her hands over her stomach and stayed still as if she was waiting for something.
When the countdown finally hit zero and the golem threw its attack like every other time. Nyx’s crimson eyes glowed and a massive veil of darkness emerged from her body and shrouded her figure along with the magic puppet.
The spectators could only wonder what was happening under that darkness but they didn’t have to think about it for long as it disappeared after a few seconds.
Nyx was already turning her back to a tall shadow construct in the form of a humanoid-shaped cabinet with its doors closed, and a head depicting something akin to a screaming banshee.
“[Iron Maiden – Wraith,]” Nyx intoned and as she walked away from her magic, the barrier went down and she exited the arena. Right after, the Iron Maiden clicked open to reveal the golem that had been pierced by hundreds of spikes and crushed into pieces.
Nyx returned to her spot next to Flavia and Rakna as everyone made sure to get out of her path.
“Well, I guess five seconds is the new record,” Allan quipped sarcastically.
Nyx shrugged and leaned against a wall of the ruins with her arms crossed. Flavia giggled and turned toward Rakna. “Do you want to go first?”
“Go ahead. I’ll go last,” he replied and she nodded before walking up to the Trial.
She breathed in and clasped her hands together as the golem readied itself. Rakna could feel with both his Soul Core and instinct that she was gathering two distinctly different natures of mana.
When the countdown was over, she immediately released a magic that raised the arena’s ground and trapped the golem’s fist. She then smiled and tapped the stone creature’s fist with one finger.
Its body began to crack all over and a second later, it broke apart completely as literal trees came out of its body.
“…all right. Four seconds it is,” Allan deadpanned and Flavia playfully flashed a victory sign at Nyx who shook her head with a small smile.
“My turn then,” Rakna said as Flavia came back. “Little guy, you stay here. I’m going to experiment a bit and you wouldn’t want to get caught up in it.”
Pronos stared at him with a blank face expressing something along the lines of ‘Again?’ but he certainly didn’t want to stay around if his master decided to do something dangerous and so he jumped off his shoulder to land on Flavia’s chest instead and comfortably lied down.
Rakna snorted at that and started pondering as he approached the golem. He actually had many things he wanted to test. One of them was the Tier 0 spell he had gotten from awakening his magic; another was the mystic version granted by his race; another was to see precisely how powerful his wings could be, and a few more things.
But in his opinion, most of these were quite compromising to show in front of a big audience like this. If it was just his friends and Gray, since he had joined his guild for that very reason, he would not have minded but it wasn’t the case.
He could also just rush up to the golem and cut its every limb with Sonata but that wouldn’t be anywhere near as significant. He had to take every occasion possible to get used to his skills and improve them.
So, he just chose to play around with something he had revealed earlier but would not give away his magic element too blatantly. A good thing about owning a magic element never seen before is that it was very hard for anyone to recognize it, no matter what he did.
While walking to the golem, he extended his left arm to the side and opened his hand as if he was about to grab something. Then, an icy blue light flashed and formed a certain weapon in his hand; a longbow almost as tall as he was. Both the bow’s body and string were made of Cold Star Energy.
“What is he doing?” Vera wondered out loud. “An energy bow against a stone golem? With cold-type magic at that?”
Quill stayed silent but shared her opinion.
Gray wasn’t an exception but rather than confusion, it was more curiosity and excitement that filled his mind. If he wasn’t wrong, Rakna was about to show the true potential of Star Magic.
Rakna stopped a few meters away from the golem and a System window told him of the beginning of the countdown and that he couldn’t attack in the meantime. Then, for the umpteenth time, the golem flared its eyes to life.
On the other hand, Rakna faced his right palm to the sky as a whirlpool of cold energy materialized above it. While the energy was gradually taking a certain form, Rakna reflected on his magic.
‘Contradictive energy; pure cold force. If my assumptions are right, if this is truly an energy, then it can also be overloaded,’ he thought and the star-construct in his right hand solidified with a cold mist accompanying it.
❮◈❯ 5 ❮◈❯
It was entirely dark blue in contrast with the bow. Everyone watching was somewhat expecting it to be an arrow but it was quite atypical. In fact, it looked more like a sword with four edges and a thicker tip. The handle was deformed in a way that made it look like feathers and the end of it had a small indent to welcome the string.
❮◈❯ 4 ❮◈❯
‘Overload implicates a discharge.’
Rakna slowly nocked the projectile on his bow and his eyes started glowing. His entire body started releasing cold air at unbelievable pressure, nearly plunging the entire arena into a fog.
❮◈❯ 3 ❮◈❯
He pulled the string and the ‘arrow’ became thinner and sharper. It glowed stronger and the tip let out a trail of pure cold energy.
At that point, the audience couldn’t help but shiver at how badly the temperature had dropped. It was baffling to see a fellow new Host create that kind of effect. Though, a few of them noticed how much mana he was putting in that arrow and bow of his.
❮◈❯ 2 ❮◈❯
‘And a discharge…’
Rakna gritted his teeth and fought the pain as he injected his soul’s force along with his mana. At the same time, his pupils twisted and the depiction of a cold star appeared in their depths.
The golem straightened its body, totally unaware and unbothered of what was happening, and was already prepared to punch forward. But it was an attack that would never meet its target.
❮◈❯ 1 ❮◈❯
‘Implicates an explosion.’
❮◈❯ Begin! ❮◈❯
Before the magic puppet could even try to land a blow, Rakna let go of the string and the bladed arrow pierced its head in the split of a second.
The golem reared because of the shock but otherwise almost ignored the projectile. It couldn’t die from being stabbed; stone didn’t possess vitals.
However, this wasn’t just some simple projectile. Rakna exhaled and lowered his bow. The arrow that was lodged into the stone golem’s head then produced a muffled sound; something that was incomparable to anything he had heard before; as if something was being smashed, melted, and thrown at the same time.
Then, it happened. The sound suddenly got louder and became ear-piercing for a brief second and a blinding light hid the golem’s figure. At that exact moment, the Trial seemed to have been deemed over as the barrier was disengaged. But the ‘explosion’ wasn’t over yet.
Instead of a shockwave of some sort, Rakna felt the opposite. His eyes widened as something tried to pull him toward the light. He crouched and held onto the ground with his claws. After several seconds, the light died down and what lied before him was a golem devoid of an upper body.
There was nothing left but its legs and the section that should have been connected to the rest of the body was releasing weird particles as well as being completely blue in color.
Rakna raised an eyebrow and soon enough, the legs tumbled to the ground and he dispelled the bow in his hand with a sigh as he glanced at the virtual prompt to his side.
❮ ◈ ❯
First Plateau: 1/3 Trials Completed!
Mana Control has leveled up!
Mana Control has leveled up!
Cold Star Magic has leveled up!
You have performed a unique skill with nothing but your aptitude and imagination. A new sub-spell has been added to your Star Make. Please input a name.
You have channeled your very being into an attack and managed to attack with your soul for the first time.
Eyes of the Soul has leveled up!
Soul Core has leveled up! You now inflict passive spiritual damage. You will drain 1 MP from your opponent every time you attack. Stamina and Mana Consumption reductions increased to 12%.
❮ ◈ ❯
Rakna looked over everything with a sense of accomplishment and cracked his neck as he came up with a name for this spell. “Hm, name it Dáinsleif.”
❮ ◈ ❯
The Sub-Spell Dáinsleif has been created.
Dáinsleif (T.7): The user summons a bladed arrow with four edges and a feather-shaped handle made out of raw Cold Energy. It can be used with a bow made of the same energy or a normal one strong enough to resist the strain.
Once shot, the arrow will momentarily possess an outstanding sharpness capable of piercing most materials. Then, the projectile will explode into a Cold Implosion. The very molecules in close range will cease to move before being compressed all at once and implode due to their inability to sustain themselves anymore.
Cost: 70% of the Host’s mana pool. (Soul Core Correction: 58%)
Attack: User’s Magic Attack multiplied by 5. The attack will be increased by 2 for each additional mana point infused other than the initial cost.
Note: This sub-spell’s attack value is only accurate at the epicenter of the explosion.
❮ ◈ ❯
Rakna read the description as he made his way back to everyone else. This had proved his theory.
Meanwhile, the spectators were shell-shocked into silence. Even Quill had his eyes wide open. It didn’t help that when Rakna walked out of the arena, a System window appeared before them.
❮ ◈ ❯
This is a Targeted Missive to all nearby Hosts.
The Battle Trial has sustained damage beyond simple reconstruction. Please wait a minute until it is restored before you can attempt the Trial again.
❮ ◈ ❯
“…I haven’t seen this one in a while,” Gray uttered dumbfoundedly.
Trials that are forced to take some time to repair themselves tend to happen in cases where the Host’s strength is considerably higher than what the Trial was made for. But it was still a very rare occurrence.
Generally, the cause of this comes from the fact that a Host stayed in a single Plateau for the entire duration of the three years given to them, training. It was certainly not something that a new Host who had just finished the Tutorial the day before should be able to do.
“I suddenly feel like stealing your new member, clown,” Vera said with a grin.
“Heh. You can try,” Gray sneered. “I believe this kid has the necessary honor to not go back on his decision.”
Meanwhile, Allan grabbed Rakna’s shoulders firmly as he came up to them. “Dude… teach me.”
“I can’t. You can’t even copy my magic.”
“Aaah! Fuck! That was rhetorical, dammit!” Allan shouted and cried at the unfairness of the world.
“You win this one,” Nyx said to him with a faint smile. “You killed the golem in two seconds. Minus the time it took for the explosion to finish, that’s how fast the barrier went down.”
Rakna almost wanted to snicker at that. “Was there ever a competition on how many seconds it would take us?” He asked as Pronos returned to him.
“Well, it’s only us three that made it under ten seconds,” Flavia commented. “Why not compete for fun. Since Nyx took the longest, how about you buy us a meal?” She said with an impish smile and the former goddess shrugged.
“You guys…” Allan muttered and crossed eyes with Pronos. He then realized that he might not be the only one in the group that couldn’t beat the golem in under ten seconds.
Sadly, he had no idea that Eion Poison was corrosive for even stone and that Poison Magic could produce fog that was similar to acid. Pronos was aware of that himself but in a moment of pity for the blond, he hissed softly with a nod. Allan would most likely live his life without knowing he had been pitied by a small three-year-old snake.