222 Ivy Song  - Beyond
“Mana domain.” Her words reverberated throughout the air like a calling upon the very planet.
Silas felt it echo… It was a weird feeling.
How could something echo when there was nothing around them?
One would expect an echo within a closed space like a cave. Yet, it was as if her voice had bounced off mid-air…
And that was when Silas finally understood what she did. Or, to be specific, he saw exactly what was happening around him.
Every single mana particle froze. Silas could even feel the control over his own spells being ripped away from him.
Without thinking twice, he dawned his armor that quickly replaced his clothes, but it was too late by then.
Suddenly, the runes around him turned into dust and flew in a certain direction.
His eyes followed the dust-like particles and saw them circle around Ivy’s palm.
“Shi-” Silas couldn’t even finish the words coming out of his throat as a beam of bright light illuminated before him, and in the next moment, all he could feel was tremendous pain.
Alex was training with Aka, the old man in the young man’s body. They were both in a field outside of the academy’s grounds. It was a plain land that would have had almost nothing in sight if not for the towering academy behind Alex, and the three cities they could see from where they were.
Aka was teaching Alex about the efficiency of spells, but not in the same way Silas had taught Alex about it.
Aka realized that the mana efficiency of Alex’s spells was possibly even better than his own… Or at least that was the case before he had seen Alex’s magic circles.
After seeing them, Aka realized the flaws in his own spells and fixed them quite quickly, making his spells not only more efficient but also profoundly more powerful for their tier.
So, instead of teaching Alex about mana efficiency, he taught him about strategic efficiency.
This, while being one of Silas’ expertise, was not something he could teach to Alex.
Silas relied on his mind to not only see the best outcome, but also to create the best possible scenario.
That was not something he could teach. It was an inherent talent that he had honed throughout his years.
“Treat me like a toki user. Sure, I can use spells, but I wont use the against you right now. How would you fight me? Use your head.” Aka spoke with a calm tone while walking toward Alex.
At the same time, he stopped suppressing his mana aura, allowing the sapphire energy to erupt out of his body. The aura had several multi-colored threads within it as it released out of his body, but the prominent color was gold.
Alex’s hand shot forward as a magi circle appeared before his palm. In the next moment, a flame bolt formed before his magic circle and shot forward with a speed that could be compared to that of a sniper rifle.
Aka didn’t hesitate for a moment. The instant he saw the incoming bolt of flames, toki exploded out of his body, completely destroying the sapphire energy around him and replacing it with a golden one.
In the next instant, his body blurred forward and appeared before the flame bolt.
His hand moved in the blink of an eye, tearing through the air with so much speed that it looked like his hand had caught on fire.
It all happened so quickly… For Alex, it was almost too quick.
The fire bolt bounced off Aka’s arms like it was a rubber ball before flying to the side and exploding in the distance.
Alex’s eyes flickered with shock before he got into position again.
This time, he created five different magic circles, all with the same runes within them.
Suddenly, five loud bangs rippled through the air as the flaming missiles shot toward their target.
Aka’s golden aura pulsed with an intensity that pushed back the air around him. His eyes remained fixed on the incoming barrage of fiery missiles, each one hurtling towards him with a fierce determination. His lips curved into a faint smile, a testament to his confidence in his abilities.
As the first firebolt approached, Aka’s body became a blur of motion. With a speed that defied natural limits, he weaved between the fiery projectiles effortlessly. It was as if time itself bent to his will, allowing him to avoid the flaming onslaught effortlessly. The firebolts whizzed past him, their heat licking at the air in their wake.
Alex watched in awe as Aka’s movements seemed almost surreal, his body a symphony of agility and precision. The seasoned toki user’s steps were graceful, each motion deliberate and calculated. The firebolts that were meant to be his projectiles were rendered insignificant in the face of Aka’s expertise.
One by one, the firebolts were dodged with a fluidity that bordered on the supernatural. Aka’s movements were so precise that he seemed to anticipate the path of each firebolt before it even left Alex’s hand.
The last firebolt sailed towards Aka, its fiery tail a streak of determination. But even before it could come close, Aka extended his hand casually. Threads of golden toki extended from his palm, intertwining with the firebolt’s trajectory. In an instant, the firebolt’s momentum was disrupted, and it exploded harmlessly in mid-air, its flames fading into the wind.
As the echoes of the explosion faded, Aka turned his gaze back to Alex, a knowing smile on his lips. “Impressive, Alex. Your strategic thinking is evident in your spellcasting. But remember, a battle is more than just spells and agility. It’s about understanding your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.”
Alex nodded, his respect for Aka’s prowess deepening. “I see it now. To fight against someone like you, I need more than raw power. I need to anticipate, to outmaneuver, to think on my feet.”
Aka’s smile widened. “Exactly. A mage’s strength lies not just in their spells, but in their ability to adapt and overcome. Now, let’s continue. You’re making remarkable progress.”
With renewed determination, Alex squared his shoulders, ready for the lesson. Yet, it was just then that they both felt something that made their stomachs drop.
It was a fierce power that rippled through the very air and reached everyone in the academy. The students shuddered, but because they were weak, they didn’t understand why they had shuddered.
On the other hand, the teachers and the special students could not help but be covered in a layer of cold sweat.
Their brows trembled when they felt the mana around them get siphoned at such a quick pace that they doubted anyone within the sapphire core could do such a thing.
On the other hand, Toki users felt their connection to their toki suddenly weaken. As if they were slowly losing the amount of energy they could muster.
The barriers, despite having a portion of their mana siphoned, did not falter in the least. They had more than enough energy to stay active even if 90% of their energy was taken away, so the small portion that was siphoned was almost nothing compared to the repositories they held.
Suddenly, a flash of light came from a certain direction. When people looked to see what it was, they saw a beam of light pierce descend the heavens like a meteor focused on destroying anything that stood in its way.
Ivy, who had just used her mana domain to take all the mana out of the air and create it into a beam of light magic, was left panting mid-air.
Her hand was pointed toward the enormous crater that formed after her attack and slammed into the ground.
Of course, she had aimed away from the academy and the cities around it, and instead aimed toward the plains in the distance.
And that was when her face flickered with an ounce of panic.
‘Oh no…’ Dread filled her heart as a possibility came to mind.
Her eyes suddenly turned white and blazed with radiant luminance.
“Gilea… Is he okay?!” She asked with a worried tone.
Nothing happened for a few moments. Complete silence permeated the air, and tension was evident on Ivy’s face.
However, after a few more excruciating seconds, an almost transcendent voice spoke, its words rippling through the fabric of reality itself to only enter the ears of the one that had called upon it.
Dread filled Ivy’s heart, but now, instead of holding an ounce of hope in her heart, she was filled with despair.
“I-I didn’t know. I got carried away. P-Please save him. I’ll give you anything. I can’t let ‘him’ die. Not after last time.” Ivy stuttered with tears in her eyes. If one were to look closely, they would have even seen obsession in her eyes.
*”You misunderstood, child.”* The ethereal voice spoke once more; however, it was filled with a particular emotion this time. The voice didn’t speak anymore, leaving Ivy confused and angry.
Yet, she quickly understood the words of the ancient being…
Because, now that her eyes had tapped into Gilea’s very essence, she saw something that would have sent a shiver down the spines of even the strongest people on the planet.
Within the dust cloud that blocked her normal vision, stood a figure formed out of a billion screaming souls, trying to scratch their way out of the vessel.
And at the very center of that vessel floated an emerald green wheel.
“W-What is that…” Ivy muttered. She couldn’t see the thing properly. It was as if her mind was trying its best to veil it from her sight.
All she could see was a blur that became distorted every few seconds. Yet, despite being unable to see it properly, a horrible headache was taking over.
But, she couldn’t look away.
No, that wasn’t all. She couldn’t move.
Her body stood still, not wanting to budge a single inch.
“Have you heard of the saying…” A distorted voice came out of the dust cloud with almost the same amount of transcendence as Gilea’s.
The dust around the figure slowly dissipated, and eventually, Silas’ unscathed figure appeared through it with his armor dawned and his hair having turned into an otherwordly white.
His hand stretched forward and let off some smoke, while his other hand held an axe.
“Do not challenge the forces of nature.” Silas smiled. Slowly, his eyes peeled open, allowing the searing emerald flames of his irises to shine upon the world around them.
The souls that Ivy saw earlier receded in the blink of an eye, while the green wheel suddenly disappeared from her vision.
You won’t win.”
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