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Chapter 284 – Followers of the End (3)

    Chapter 284 - Followers of the End (3)

    At Nagma Riverbank, the armies of the two powers faced each other again approximately one month after the engagement on Karul Plains.

    Unlike before, this area was too narrow for a full-scale war. Therefore, the commanders of both armies advanced by selecting ~20,000-30,000 troops respectively. The beasts of the land, as well as the birds, had all fled. Thousands of troops moved as one, shaking the ground with their steps and the air with their shouts.

    Kung! Kung! Kung!

    There was a magnificent drumming sword as the horses moved and the swords flashed brightly. The blades deflected the noon sunlight, and their helmets shone.

    Indeed, they were the empire of swords.

    However, the Meltor army that opposed them were also tough. The victory their hero had gained at Dofun Castle had ignited a fighting spirit in them; its influence on the battlefield wasn't lacking at all.

    'Not bad,' Orta judged as he moved at the forefront on his horse. 'Thanks to Theodore, the number of shields has been significantly reduced. Of course, we can't afford to install a tactical magic circle here, but this level is worth a try.'

    The Andras army had lost a few of their titanium shields, which were the annoying things that greatly reduced the destructive power of a magician. So, a gap had appeared. If Meltor attacked that spot, they could sweep away at least 5,000 people.

    As the distance between the two armies decreased by half, Orta calculated it in his head. If the reins of the horse were shaken, they could cover that distance within 30 seconds.

    The two commanders raised their hands in the air.

    "Charge from the first row―!"

    "Raise the flag of fire! Wipe out all of the enemies!"

    The knights emerged from the Andras camp, while fire and lightning flew from the rear of the Meltor camp. It was already too late to turn the horses around. The bombardment poured down. The knights abandoned the retreat, gathering aura around their body and rushing forward.

    It was a showdown between the knights' breakthrough and the magicians' firepower.

    Kwarururung!

    The sound of horseshoes drew near. Then a ball of fire fell from the sky, burning one horse and a knight in armor. The knight's body was turned to charcoal. He couldn't even scream, only letting out smoke.

    This was a firepower that even the specially treated armor couldn't endure. It was a simple magic spell amplified by the magic power of a 5th circle magician. Lightning boiled the brains of a knight, while fire pillars burned half a dozen knights at once.

    In a moment, a hundred cavalrymen were turned into lumps of charcoal.

    Puhwaak!

    Nevertheless, there were dozens of survivors. They had seared skin and burned lungs, but the group of knights came to the front of the Meltor army.

    "Ohhhhhh!"

    They fell from their dying horses and used the last of their strength to swing their aura blades. Their bodies were already half dead, but their souls were still attached, so their auras responded to their request.

    It was truly a mad loyalty! As the Meltor soldiers took a step back, the blades in the knights' hands flashed.

    Chwaack! Hwaaaaack!

    Several bodies lost their heads and collapsed. Bloody rain fell from the sky, while the knights attacked again.

    Kakang!

    However, the magic soldiers blocked them.

    "Don't back down! Fight the opponents!"

    "Stand firm! For one minute-no, 30 seconds!"

    It was a fearful decision to ignore the threshold of life and death, even if the knights were in the worst condition. Somehow, the magic soldiers had to receive the sword, even if it meant self-destruction. They didn't fight to win. Instead, they concentrated on hanging on. The magic soldiers were able to do that, even if they were relatively lacking in combat power.

    The real test came with the 2nd row of the Andras army.

    From then on, the command system was meaningless at the forefront. Destruction magic fell toward the enemy from the sky, while the soldiers were drunk on madness and killed the enemies who came before them.

    They stabbed their spears until they couldn't feel anything, then they lay on the ground, with blood dripping from their bodies. This was a battlefield, a place where human life was trampled on like weeds.

    In the middle of this, two men encountered each other.

    "We meet again, Rat. For you to not be threatened after our first match... this isn't bravery. I have to praise you if you've come here directly as a sacrifice," the empire's 3rd Sword, Prince Fermut, said.

    He wore a set of luxurious armor and held a sword which shone with a red light. Clearly, they weren't ordinary equipment.  Orta felt an unknown energy from the blade, causing him to increase his concentration.

    Countermeasures had been devised, but the relationship between the two people hadn't changed. When it was the same type, Aura Ability was absolutely superior to Sorcery. If Orta lost his concentration for even a moment, his breath would be cut off.

    "I thought you were sharp, but I guess it was just a rumor."

    "...Hoh?" Orta met the provocation, "I don't know what to say to you, foolish prince. You call Meltor your enemy, but you don't understand what a magician is."

    "Don't you run when disadvantaged?"

    "No, we learn from the unknown. In that sense, your surprise attack was wonderful. If an ally hadn't arrived at the time, I would've died on the spot."

    The Aura Ability, Refraction, was Orta's natural enemy. It deflected any attack, and any unique maneuvers would be blocked. Using an analogy, it was like cutting the limbs off a knight and putting them on the battlefield.

    Fermut wasn't an opponent whom Orta could win against without preparation. However, Orta was different today.  He opened his arms wide and raised his magic power. "Regret it. You should've killed me last time."

    "Don't worry. Today, I will kill you."

    After a few passionate words, a brief silence covered the two masters.

    Wiiiiing!

    The space between them was bent. Immediately, there were 36 space cuts aimed at Orta, while Fermut smashed through three attacks.

    This was the difference between the two people.

    Space magic couldn't be defended against with normal aura, but Fermut was different. His aura twisted the three-dimensional space around him to override physical interference. Its utility was in both attack and defense.

    "What is there to learn? There is nothing different from before, Rat!" Fermut drew his red aura around him like a tail and rushed toward Orta.

    The principle of Fermut's Aura Ability was similar to Zest's, but it wasn't comparable.

    Fermut bent space to shorten the distance he had to move. In some ways, Fermut's application of it could be considered close to Shukuchiho. Narrowing dozens of meters in one breath, Fermut's red blade distorted the empty space.

    Fermut Style, Refraction Sword.

    Sleeping Moon.

    Break the Seams of Space.

    It wasn't easy to catch Orta when he used Blink, but on the other hand, it meant it would be easy if Blink was blocked. Fermut's aura pulled at the space, causing Orta to stiffen in the air after using Blink.

    "Die!" Fermut cried out with a desire for slaughter.

    Fermut Style, Refraction Sword.

    Round Decapitation.

    The sword clearly curved to cut at the neck. The space around Orta's neck shrunk. There was no way for Orta to avoid this as his space movement was blocked. A space cut which couldn't be blocked with physical strength... This wasn't a trick that was used often, so Orta wouldn't have known.

    However, he did know.

    "Bend," Orta spoke in a voice that couldn't be heard by anyone.

    Kiiing-

    There was a difference of exactly one inch as the red aura circle took on a curious shape, and Orta escaped from the noose of death. For Fermut who had been certain of his victory, this was a bolt out of the blue. "H-How could you?"

    "Over Bound." Orta's shockwave hit Fermut's body that wasn't being protected by aura.

    Unable to use the power of refraction, Fermut coughed up blood due to the great damage to his internal organs. "Cough, t-this rat...!"

    In the meantime, Orta opened the distance again and ridiculed Fermut, "Do you feel a sense of crisis now?"

    "Don't be arrogant just because of luck!"

    That was a valid rebuttal since the damage wasn't that big. The explosion in Fermut's body calmed down, and aura increased around him. The place where the blade touched proceeded to distort, twisting and turning into a whirlpool of chaos. It was a spiral sword which would tear at anything it touched.

    Fermut held it and rushed forward again. 'I won't miss this time!'

    It had been his mistake to have let go of his aura before, but this time, his sword would definitely cut that rat's neck. His fury caused his blade to become even sharper. Space was bent without any errors, and his sword extended in a perfect orbit.

    Fermut had never been so focused ever since he obtained the 'Refraction' ability. So, why didn't his sword reach its target?

    Jeeeong!

    Fermut was hit by another shockwave, and he roared angrily.

    "...You!" He shouted with anger and shock in his eyes, "What tricks are you using, you coward?!"

    "Are you calling wisdom cowardice? Indeed, you wouldn't be able to understand it with your dumb intelligence. I'll teach you personally."

    Despite Orta's ridiculous insults, Fermut listened carefully. It was possible that the rat had found a weakness in his ability. He would kill the rat as soon as he heard the story. A large number of large blood vessels popped up on Fermut's arm as he desperately suppressed his anger.

    Then Orta finally opened his mouth, "It isn't a big deal. Your Aura Ability is to 'bend' space, not erase or make it. Based on my observations, I calculated the index of refraction and changed the magic formula accordingly."

    "―What?" Fermut immediately refuted it with a face that was filled with fury. "Don't make me laugh! As a magician, don't you know the principles of magic? The density of my refraction is always changing. You can't possibly read it in real time and use magic to match it!"

    "Ho, it looks like you are slightly better than I thought. That's right. It isn't possible for ordinary magicians," Orta confirmed and denied it.

    Then Fermut was surprised by Orta's unexpected behavior.

    Click. Orta untied his mask and removed it. "But I can."

    His exposed features were quite attractive. The wrinkles made his face more dignified, while the large and small scars covering his cheeks proved he was a veteran. However, the most unique part was his pair of eyes.

    "...What are those eyes?" Fermut forgot his anger and asked with confusion.  It was because Orta's eyes were different from those of other people. Putting aside the pupil, the whites of the eyes didn't exist.

    Orta's eyes were recessed in their sockets, embodying the concept of 'emptiness.' Anybody who recognized it would be full of praise. They were eyes that the magicians from the Age of Mythology had yearned for and desired.

    They were called the Empty Mystic Eyes.

    "Well, I don't know the details either," as he replied to the question, Orta touched his eyes and looked back on the distant past. "One thing is clear. I was born blind, with eyes that were unable to see. Since childhood, I learned the shape of things using my ears. I was fortunate to have talent in magic."

    He was downplaying it. Orta was a genius. He solved complicated formulas in his head, analyzed what wasn't detectable by sight with his hearing and touch, and learned everything.

    One day, he had hit the 'wall' of the 6th circle and lost his way for a while. He had forgotten the self-confidence which had sustained him in place of his missing eyes, and he had struggled every day.

    "I wasted 10 years."

    The answer to his wall was these pair of eyes that shouldn't exist.

    "I realized it the first moment I saw the world."

    To be honest, he didn't even care about the 7th circle. He just gazed at the scenery in front of him. A world that no one could see stretched before him.

    "My eyes can penetrate the 'world.' I see beyond the three dimensional walls and gain insight into indescribable concepts."

    "T-This is ridiculous...!"

    "Space refraction-I understand it after seeing it once."

    Fermut's body trembled as he understood what this meant. It meant that he couldn't do anything in Orta's presence. It was no wonder why Orta was so sure that he wouldn't die.

    Unlike the first unexpected battle, the current Orta could see through Fermut's ability. No matter how quickly Fermut changed his refractive index, it would still be slower than Orta's movements. It was impossible for Fermut to gain the advantage in this situation.

    Orta was firmly convinced of his superiority and asserted, "The reason for your defeat is simple. You have abused that power."

    In response to the cold declaration, Fermut poured all his aura into his sword and shouted, "-Don't be foolish, talkative magician!"

    Born as the successor of the strongest empire in the continent, Fermut had never tasted frustration. To Fermut, Orta's declaration was an insult. Fermut's patience ran out, and he used a hidden technique that he hadn't shown yet. "I won't leave a single piece of flesh left on that cheeky body!"

    There was a burst of light from the dark red sword.

    Fermut Style, Refraction Sword.

    Final Hidden Technique.

    End of the World.

    The space bent all around him, slaughtering anything in its grasp! Even the 2nd Sword, Zest, admitted that it was wonderful. There was no way a magician could survive it except by running away.

    ...No, there was one way.

    "You lack the ability to learn. Didn't I say it was futile?" Within the whirlwind of bloody aura, Orta walked forward and declared, "This is the end."

    Orta pointed at Fermut in an expressionless manner, and a brilliant flash emerged.

    Paaang!

    Immediately afterward, a large hole was drilled into the middle of Fermut's chest.
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