‘What the?! He got a power-up?!’ Shin dropped his jaw as he watched the fully summoned Bangeo Rhinoceros snort out a mist of vapour from its illusory nose. Shin had investigated Danroy for months and never had heard that the youth was capable of such a tremendous feat.
‘Calm down, let’s just calmly re-evaluate the situation…’ Shin quelled his racing mind as he thought of the possible reasons for Danroy’s drastic change. ‘Initially, Danroy was only capable of summoning out the head, but now, he has the capability to bring out the whole animal. Not to mention, the amount of mana being released by him is crazy! There’s no way that he could supply that form with Rank 18 Spirit Apostle mana…’
Taking one hard look at Danroy, who was right smack in the middle of the Bangeo Rhinoceros cranium, Shin used his brilliant mind to quickly find holes in Danroy’s new power-up. ‘Adding to the fact that I had punched his thick, fat body for so long… There’s no way that this match would last for much longer…’
Shin was right. A full-incarnate summon was one of the mightiest moves someone like Danroy could employ. With it out, the youth was perhaps in the most transcendent defensive fort that existed in Imperius Academy. Even with a legendary-grade spirit armament, it would be somewhat tricky to bypass Danroy’s defence. However, with great power, came a great cost.
When Danroy summoned out the Bangeo Rhinoceros head, the mana flow out of his body was like a leaky faucet. It might have been irritating, but it wasn’t anything that Danroy couldn’t handle. On the other hand, with the full-incarnate summon, Danroy’s mana flow was similar to that of a waterfall trying to escape out of a paltry tap. Even though it gave him tremendous amounts of power, it wasn’t a sustainable ability for a mere Spirit Apostle.
‘I’ll just wait for a bit before I fight back…’
Doing the smart thing, Shin jumped all the way to the end of the arena, hoping that Danroy would exhaust himself. Unfortunately, there was no way the obese youth would simply let Shin escape.
“HARGHHHH!!!” Roaring out like a pent up lion that had been kept in a cage for aeons, Danroy bolstered up all of his might and charged forward. The apex horn on his Bangeo Rhinoceros head gleamed in a vicious light as it wanted nothing but to feast on Shin’s tender flesh.
‘His speed increased?!’ Shin was alarmed. Using the Lightning Swallow Steps, the youth circled around Danroy and created twelve orbs of water once more as an added defence. Naturally, that didn’t sit well with the enraged Danroy.
“Fuck you!!!” Taking an about turn, Danroy’s Bangeo Rhinoceros charged once again and destroyed Shin’s mediocre defences as if they were paper blocks being ripped to shreds. However, thanks to Shin’s agility, he was able to dodge the oncoming onslaught.
“The tables have turned… The Black-Haired Tyrant is being pushed back!” One spectator cheered.
“Finally, we get to see some action! Do you think the Black-Haired Tyrant can fight his way out of this?”
“Unsure… Haha, anyways… Danroy sure is a piece of work. Allowing himself to get beat down only to explode with such power at the last minute. Only someone of his calibre could pull off something like that.”
Initially, when Shin was mowing down on Danroy like the broken doll that he was, the audience were all jeering the obese youth. However, when Danroy switched gears and fought back with a vigour that was never seen before, the song of the birdies changed in favour of the Frithron household heir.
“Shin…” While others were thoroughly enjoying the twist and turns of the match, Shin’s closest friends weren’t all that thrilled. Ella and Emma were biting their nails in anxiety while Isadore’s face turned grim. Bearing the knowledge that he has, the silver-haired youth knew how difficult it was to fight against a full-incarnate summon.
‘Tch, he’s becoming aggressive again! Change of plans!’ Shin had long expected Danroy to be extraordinarily combative. After all, that was his nature. However, after pummeling the passive obese youth for some time, Shin sort of forgotten that side of Danroy. ‘Time to go on the defensive!’
Shin crouched down while one of his water spheres broke into two, covering both his feet in the process. His senses heightened, Shin’s eyes were fixed on Danroy, who was safely tucked inside of his full-incarnate summon. The moment that Danroy acted, Shin would make his move. And thankfully, Danroy took the bait.
“DIE!!!” Thinking that he had Shin cornered, Danroy charged at the unmoving youth, who was like a sitting duck. The Bangeo Rhinoceros horn shone in an earthen light as the pebbles on the floor vibrated violently around it. In a bright flash, the Bangeo Rhinoceros blitzed through space and once again tried to end Shin’s petty life. However, Shin was long prepared.
“Hiyaa!!!” Leaping twenty metres into the air, Shin easily evaded the horn of the incarnate and continued to float upwards until gravity caught up to his momentum.
“You think escaping to the air is the solution?! You’re done now!!!” Danroy bellowed out in laughter and brought his attention heavenward. Locking down on the levitating Shin, Danroy launched himself as if he were a cannonball being fired. The air trembled as the spiritual energies of the world cried out. This was Danroy’s strongest attack yet. If it hit Shin, which it seemed like it would, death would be the least of the boy’s concerns.
“Shin!” The twins cried out in horror but were unable to lift a single finger to help the youth. Even if they summoned out their Ice Bows and unleash a flurry of attacks to Danroy’s ascending body, the barrier protecting the arena would block all of their arrows as if they were a summer’s breeze.
“Damn it!” On the other hand, the teacher refereeing the match had summoned out his own Spirit and was ready to save Shin should Danroy’s vicious attack hit. Naturally, the medics on standby also feared the worst.
“DIE SHIN!!!!” Danroy continued to move upwards at a speed that would even make falcon’s cry. Bit by bit, millisecond by millisecond. Danroy’s Bangeo Rhinoceros horn was edging closer to its prey. With nowhere to run, the only thing that Shin could do was huddled up in a ball to protect his internal organs, and pray that he wouldn’t die from the impact.
Or so it would seem…
Right before Danroy’s attack could land on Shin, two aqueous melodies echoed out, launching Shin dozens of metres to the side in an instant. With no target in sight, Danroy felt his Bangeo Rhinoceros being propelled high up into the sky as if he were a rocket trying to break through the atmosphere.
“How in the-?!” Danroy was stunned. He thought that he had the winning strike but as it turned out, he was just taken for a ride, and he wasn’t the only one who was taken aback.
“The Black-Haired Tyrant he…”
“… changed directions mid-air?”
“He learnt to fly?! That can’t be! Only those at the Spirit Spectre realm can learn to fly! How the hell did he do it?!”
Hundreds in the audience cried out, unaware of how it was possible for Shin to accomplish flight while he was still in the Spirit Core realm.
“That bastard… So that was how he evaded my finishing blow…” Natasha Aldana, the Starlight Blade, smiled wryly as she watched Shin slice through the air like a fish back in the water. In her bout with the youth, Natasha had launched an all-out attack, similar to what Danroy had done, while Shin was still levitating in the air. Unfortunately, the boy somehow managed to evade at the last second, even though there was no way for him to do so. Well, no way unless he could fly…
Seated not so far away from her the two top students in the second-year cohort both had dropped jaws while they watched Shin spin through the air.
“Hey, Angie… Isn’t that your Dance of the Valkyrie? The spiritual ability that allows you to fly?!” Lyanna slapped her friend’s lap and asked with a voice that was on the border of screaming.
“T-T-T-T-That! How is that possible?! It took me so long to learn that technique! H-H-H-He copied it?! No way!!!” Angie stuttered. “T-The principle is the same, but instead of using air as I did, he used his created water. Oh my lord, so he could use his created water that way!!!”
Shin’s ability to fly was exceedingly simple. First, he would envelop his feet with an orb of his created water. Next, Shin would cover himself with mana strengthening and his spiritual body enhancement, so that his feet were toughened up to its maximum. Finally, while he was in the air, he would explode the orbs in his feet, giving himself enough thrust to move wherever he wished. It was a concept that he had taken from watching Angie and Lyanna fight during their exhibition match at the beginning of the year. Adding in a few improvements, Shin had made the ability his own.
“What? So that’s how he did it… Tch, what a monster.” Lyanna grumbled. “Now the match is over…”
“What do you mean?”
“If Shin can remain in the air perpetually, there’s no way that Danroy could reach him. With no way of fighting Shin, the only thing that Danroy can do is stare into the skies while his mana runs out.” Lyanna explained with a despondent sigh. “As much as I hate to admit it, Shin is on another level compared to us… Hah, why is the world so unfair? To bring monsters like Shin and Kanari into our lives?”
“*Gulp!*.” Angie swallowed a mouthful of saliva, trying her best to recover from the shock that she had been administered. “At least they were born a year under us…”
As the two second-year honour students were thanking their lucky stars that Shin wasn’t in their year, the person in question was still happily in the skies, careful not to descend.
‘Now’s a question of how long Danroy can hold out… Judging from his facial expression, he should be out of mana soon.’ Shin watched as Danroy’s face turned crimson, whether it be from anger or mana exhaustion. ‘I should give him a little push…’
Shin knew that it would be bad for him to just stay in the sky while Danroy furiously glared at him from the ground. If they waited too long, the referee might even be tempted to call it a draw, as controversial as it might be. Therefore, Shin knew that he had to do something.
Raising his hands, Shin created gallons of water and congregated them into two humongous spheres that were easily the size of a small apartment. Waving his hands, the youth rapidly spun the two orbs until a torrential current was created, one that could even drag several oxen to their deaths.
‘While you struggle to keep maintaining that form, I’ll just tire you to death!!!’
Sending one of the rapidly spinning whirlpools down onto Danroy’s full-incarnate summon, Shin smiled as he saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Even though Danroy’s current state was nothing short of invincible, it didn’t mean anything if he couldn’t land a single blow on Shin. Furthermore, while Danroy’s mana pool was being eaten up at an exponential rate, Shin could continuously produce water orbs as if they were spit.
“BOOM!!! BOOM!!! BOOM!!!” Deafening claps broke the eardrums of many spectators as the whirlpool crashed violently against Danroy’s summon. However, when it came to the Bangeo Rhinoceros, that measly attack was no different to a raindrop.
Shin’s ability to create and manipulate water came with little mana cost, but that, in turn, meant that it wasn’t as potent as conventional spiritual abilities. No matter how much he hit Danroy, the youth would continue to move unharmed.
‘Let’s see how long you can last then!!!’
Shin’s bombardment continued on for two minutes straight. Bringing out tendrils, spears and even, more whirlpools, Shin mowed down upon the arena until it was flooded to a grown man’s chest. If an outsider were to see Lucha Amphitheatre in its current state, they would think that the stadium was an indoor pool instead of a fighting arena.
At this point, the Bangeo Rhinoceros had started to turn illusory while its source, Danroy, was heavily panting within his barrier. Shin, on the other hand, was in the pink of health. Even though he had been continuously attacking Danroy, he still had at least half of his mana left.
“Danroy… Give in. There’s no point in continuing this anymore!” Shin screamed out unwilling to continue on this farce. “We both know that you’re at your breaking point! Do you want to die of mana exhaustion?!”
Shin wanted to win, but he didn’t want to kill his opponent doing so. If Danroy continued on fighting, complete mana exhaustion was a real and imminent threat, given how mana thirsty a full-incarnate summon was.
“Hah… Hah…” Danroy continued to pant.
Shin’s words were unable to reach him, with his mind foggy and body trembling. Any moment now, Danroy would collapse as his consciousness was waning. If nothing were done, he would collapse the moment his mana pool hits zero.
‘Tch, he’s not fully lucid so he can’t surrender… And based on the rules, the referee can’t intervene unless there’s an obvious threat to his life.’
As much as Shin wanted to end the match, it wasn’t in his means to do so. ‘I guess I have to get creative!’
Closing his eyes, Shin gathered his mana into his right leg and allowed his body to fall from the skies. After bombarding the full-incarnate summon for a while, Shin had located the potential weak spots. Now, with the summon at its most vulnerable point, Shin should be able to break open the barrier and send a finishing blow Danroy’s way.
Diving down like an eagle striking its prey, Shin aimed straight for the Bangeo Rhinoceros neck. Sensing danger, the delirious Danroy looked up and boosted his Spirit’s defence instinctively. That, in turn, made his mind even more muddled, blurring his vision entirely.
“Time to end this! Seismic Step!!!” Shin hollered out as he broke through the defensive barrier with the strongest seismic step that he had ever used.
“*Crack!*.” Feeling some of his leg bones being broken, Shin gritted his teeth and endured the pain. The earthen barrier that Danroy had created started to crumble like broken glass, and eventually, the force that Shin’s seismic step managed to bring managed to break the impregnable full-incarnate summon.
Once he was through, Shin used the Dance of the Valkyrie to get close to Danroy and executed the Divine Needle Binding, sealing all of Danroy’s mana flow in the process.
Without mana, the full-incarnate summon immediately disappeared, and Danroy’s static body to fall into the flooded arena. Naturally, with his enemy movements sealed, there was no need for Shin to bear anymore animosity to Danroy, and he immediately moved to catch the youth. As the person who created this pool, Shin had free reign over every single water droplet that existed there. Allowing Danroy’s body to float while he sat right by his fallen competitor, Shin meekly called out to the referee.
“Hah… Hah… Senior… Announce it.”
“…” The referee stared at the two youths for a brief moment before deeply sighing to himself. The match that they had shown far exceeded anything at the freshmen level. Heck, it might even be superior to the majority of fifth or sixth-years battles. So it begged the question, why the hell were they still in the academy and not out making a name for themselves on a much bigger stage?
“What’s the matter?”
“No… It’s nothing…” Shaking his head, the referee smiled as he flew closer towards the two youths floating about in the arena. Inhaling deeply, the referee prepared his announcement with the loudest voice that he could possibly muster:
“The winner of this match, Shin Iofiel!!!”