RADIANT DRAGON SPEAR
Lino sat calmly, leaning against a slightly warm stone as he watched the bearded, muscular man play around in the forge. He came to learn that the man’s name is Rog, and that he and Fae have been living in the City of Mercenaries for over a year, searching for clues about Ella’s and Eggor’s whereabouts. However, as the latter two basically hid away and did nothing of note, they always came up empty with their search. While Rog battered the spear’s shaft with hammer in a swift and precise manner, Fae was sitting next to Lino. For three hours straight. Continuously talking and asking about Ella. Although Lino truly wanted to slap the woman silly, he didn’t dare. After all, he couldn’t even read her Level! That meant that she’s at least Level 141, even stronger than Ella! And, despite her young appearance, Lino knew she was far, far older than him. So he simply remained silent, as though focused on Rog’s every action with ineffable attention. However, Fae never gave up. Eventually, seeing as Lino didn’t give her any answers, she began making her own answers up. Some really caused even Lino to nearly cough up some blood. Such as how maybe Ella and Eggor turned into two secret Masters and are currently controlling the twenty surrounding Kingdoms secretly. While Lino can’t claim he knows everything about those two oddballs, he can with certainly claim that they can’t even control their own shop, let alone the whole twenty goddamn Kingdoms.
“… how flexible do you want your shaft to be?” Rog asked. The man was quite impressed by youth before him, if for nothing but withstanding Fae’s onslaught for three hours straight. Even he couldn’t do it despite hundreds of years of experience.
“Hmm… even if it’s forced into a crescent shape by a heavy sword, it won’t snap.”
“I asked for flexibility, not endurance.” Rog’s eyebrows twitched; the reason he promised he’d craft a spear for this odd youth was because Lino promised he’d tell them where Ella and Eggor are as well as what’s their living situation. Otherwise, why would he – one of the greatest blacksmiths in the entire Qe’ll clan – bother crafting a weapon for some country bumpkin.
“Meh, you’re the master, you do you.”
Rog hated this type of a person the most! Fickle! Uncaring! Aloof! He could clearly see in Lino’s eyes that he didn’t give a whiff’s ass as to what kind of a spear he crafts! It’s like he wasn’t even expecting anything and merely asked for a spear on a whim! Suddenly, slightly dimmed fire inside Rog’s heart flared, and his competitive spirit was roused. However, had he known that this was exactly Lino’s intention, a whole different type of a fire would probably be flared. It didn’t take Lino even ten minutes to realize that Rog was almost exactly like Eggor – straightforward, honest to a fault, competitive, proud – all the finest of qualities… that Lino can easily exploit. Heh, Immortals are naiver than kids… he he…
Had Lino simply asked for a spear, Rog would probably craft something competent, but not too good. But, this was a rare opportunity. How could Lino possibly let it slip? Eggor had only ever crafted the pyramid-shaped necklace for him, yet it played the key role throughout his entire journey. And this guy was clearly at Eggor’s level. If he was to craft a weapon with all his might, Lino would naturally be overjoyed. That’s also the reason why he was able to endure Fae’s besiegement that truly held nothing back. The whole process of crafting took up entire six hours, after which came three hours of molding, additional four hours of array-inscription and one more hour of final touches. When Lino saw the finished product, his eyes bulged slightly.
The spear’s shaft was 2,4m long, taller than Lino himself, and its thickness appeared perfect for Lino’s hand. Although Lino didn’t recognize which material Rog used for the shaft, it clearly wasn’t cheap; the shaft gave off faint, copper luster, with its texture surface dancing between the black wood and tough, pig iron. Further up was a double-edged blade, deep crimson in hue with faint, golden sheen at its keenly sharp edges. The blade itself was 30cm long, split down the middle from top to halfway point. Although it didn’t have additional needle atop meant for piercing, Lino didn’t complain as he actually recognized the material Rog used for crafting it. One time, he stumbled upon Eggor’s library and managed to flip through a book or two before being caught and kicked in the butt, and the material Rog used happened to be one of those Lino immediately memorized: [Blood Dragon’s Bone]. Incredibly, it was a Level 160 material at minimum! Wow, this bastard is really easily riled up… he’s even worse than Eggor… or, wait, perhaps I never riled that bastard up enough? Hmm, when I get back, I’ll have to play with Ella a bit more… he he…
“Oh, not bad.” Lino faintly nodded; all throughout his inspection, despite whatever his thoughts were, his expression remained indifferent. “You’re almost as good as Eggor.”
“Not bad?” when he heard that, Rog’s eyebrows twitched. “Almost as good as Eggor?” however, when he heard that, his eyes flared like two suns as he quickly took the spear away and headed back over to the anvil, taking out one precious material after another and beginning a whole new process of refinement.
“… you’re really bad.” Fae whispered softly as Lino sat back down, startling him slightly.
“Hm?” Lino feigned innocence and glanced at her.
“He he, do you think he crafted all the items I own because he felt like it? He he, whenever I need something, I just mention Eggor and off he goes…”
“… oh, you’re not as dumb as you seem.” Lino accidently let his true thoughts slip, immediately regretting them as the cold sweat broke out of his back. “Khm, I mean, by dumb I mean irreparably intelligent, meaning that you’re not just heavenly intelligent but, uh, right, ethereally, cosmically intelligent. Yes…”
“… you sure have a glib tongue,” Fae said, smiling strangely as her deep eyes scrutinized Lino deeply. “At least you can tell me how did you meet the two of them, right? He’s going to take at least ten more hours before he’s satisfied, so you may as well talk.”
“… ten hours? Did I sting a really bad nerve?” Lino said. He just mentioned Eggor’s name on the offhand chance that Rog might pour in some more effort. He never expected he roused a beast that was eternally in slumber.
“He he, you of course don’t know,” Fae said, sighing lightly as she glanced at the working Rog. “But, him and Eggor actually hail from the rival villages. Ever since they were boys, the two of them displayed immense talent in blacksmithing, and became two shining stars. Every step of the way, they bumped heads. Sometimes, the winner would be Rog and sometimes Eggor and sometimes they would tie. When they turned thirty and their skills were spreading throughout dozens of Kingdoms, they suddenly got invitation of Qe’ll Clan. Their new Maiden required a personal weapon,” Fae’s voice contained a trace of absolute reverence as she spoke. “It wasn’t just the two of them… hundreds of blacksmiths from all corners of the world swarmed the Clan’s grounds in attempt to curry the favor. And, among the masses, the two of them rose together. At the last day of the ‘competition’, the two were tasked to create a weapon right before the Maiden’s eyes.” Fae took a short break as her thoughts lingered back on those distant memories. Back then, she was merely a calf, not even ten years of age, yet even back then she held nothing short of worship toward the Maiden.
“Ella… she’s the Maiden, right?” Lino asked. As bits and pieces of Ella’s and Eggor’s mysterious lives began being unveiled to him, he realized that they were truly far from simple.
“Hm,” Fae nodded, jolted back to reality. “Both were immediately smitten by her, as you can imagine. Back then, Ella was only twenty years old yet she had already stepped into Eximious Realm. Her talent was simply… beyond measure.” Lino’s heart twitched, but he dared not ask; Ella was currently ‘just’ Mystic Realm cultivator. Although Lino had no clue what ‘Eximious Realm’ entailed, he was certain that it was far, far above Mystic Realm. So, however brave inside his heart he was, he dared not ask. “And her beauty unmatched. Not only that, she was kind, loved by every Clansmen far and wide. The two then poured their blood, heart, soul and every fabric of their being to craft a weapon worthy of her. For ten days and nights, without stop, they worked without food, water or rest. In the end, two magnificent weapons came into existence. Rog crafted [Falling Moon], a Divine Artifact ranked sword. Its might was equivalent to a Defensive Artifact our Clan possessed, its beauty truly matching Ella’s grace. However, when he glanced at Eggor’s creation… he knew he’d lost. It wasn’t that Eggor’s weapon was stronger than his. Rather, it was at least three times weaker in terms of efficiency. However, [Heartseeker] embodied every ounce of what made Maiden stand above the mortality. Shape, size, every curve, every nook, every cranny, every inch of the sword… Eggor not only poured his heart into it, but entombed everything Ella was… is… and will be into the sword. In response, from within the blade’s depths, a Soul was born. He… created a Soul Weapon. Something that has been lost since Skyhaven Era.” Fae paused yet again as a soft sigh escaped her lips. Lino was simply shocked stiff as he kept listening. If [Falling Moon] Rog crafted shocked him silly, then when he heard [Heartseeker], his heart nearly leapt out of his chest. He read about that weapon… he saw its stats… it was heralded as one of the greatest weapons ever created… and that old bastard was actually the one who created it… Lino’s entire body shook.
“In turn, the moment Rog grasped just what Eggor managed to craft, he immediately snapped [Falling Moon] in half and admitted defeat.” Fae said, smiling bitterly. SNAPPED DIVINE ARTIFACT?!! FUCK YOUR MOTHER!! “Since then… the two simply couldn’t sit in the same room without competing. However, neither managed to create another Soul Weapon ever since. So, every time someone mentions Eggor in his presence… he no doubt remembers that day.”
“…” Lino remained silent as she slowly began to comprehend what he had just learned. From learning that Ella used to be far, far stronger than she is now, to learning that Eggor’s creation entered into the compendium of the greatest items ever crafted… every single bit of news was enough to shock his heart. However, after a short while, his lips curled up in a strange smile. “Heh, that old bastard… I really can’t hold a candle to him…”
“Right,” Lino shook his head as he regained his vitality. “I suppose, with you having shared that story, I may as well share some of mine. Senior Sister.” Lino grinned mischievously as he said that.
“Senior Sister?” Fae tilted her head in confusion for a moment before her eyes suddenly bulged like two eggs and her lips parted into a massive ‘O’ shape. “Y-y-you’re Master’s… you’re her Disciple?!!” Fae screeched.
“Ha ha, indeed,” Lino said proudly as he stroked his chin. “When she saw just how gallant, unparalleled I was, how could she not take me in her as her Disciple? She even made me her last Disciple, heh!” however, after realizing that Fae wasn’t replying, he glanced at her only to see a solemn, bitter, heart-breaking expression on her face. Lino immediately realized he said something he shouldn’t have, but it was too late to take it back. “Ah… so there really was something, huh,” he mumbled, smiling bitterly. “However, whatever it is, don’t tell me. If I will ever learn of why the two decided to live in this backwater Kingdom, I’ll learn it from their lips.”
“… you’re a rather shameless kid,” Fae said, smiling faintly. “But you’re not so bad in heart.”
“… what do you mean shameless? Humph! This Junior Brother of yours is a dragon amongst men, one destined to soar to tenth heaven and conquer all living beings under the thumb of his hand! Humph! How can a great being like that be shameless?”
“He he, how indeed…”
After that, Lino stopped talking yet again, and Fae stopped asking. Both had simply too many thoughts to sort through. Judging from Fae’s expression when he mentioned that he was Ella’s disciple, Lino realized that whatever happened to her had something to do with one of her Disciples. However, he didn’t dare probe… nor did he truly care. To him, even if Ella and Eggor had slaughtered billions of people, he wouldn’t as much as look at them strangely, let alone anything else. Whatever’s the reason she came here, far away from her Clan and her blood, Lino didn’t care. That pair of oddballs had shown him kindness that he never felt before. Warmth that he never thought existed in this world. Love and care that he had braced himself to never attain. Whether it be a city… a county… a kingdom… an empire… a dynasty… or whole wide world, he’d turn his back on them all if he had to stand next to the two. Perhaps, in their eyes, what they did was truly little, merely granting a starved brat a place to stay and a bit of their incredible knowledge. However, that shred of kindness had pulled Lino from the depths of despair wholly, and lit up a road for him that was shrouded in complete darkness.
Lino had already braced himself for whatever would come his way. Even unleashing Demonic plague upon the entire Kingdom couldn’t crumble his resolve. He knew that the mountain he set his goal toward was incomparably tall, so tall that he may never even catch a glimpse of its summit. However, he would keep climbing. Although he hadn’t even taken baby steps so far, he would keep climbing. Step by step. He knew that neither Ella nor Eggor want him to do that. Rather, if he mentioned what is in the depths of his heart, he has zero doubts that the two would scold him for a month straight and try to change his mind. Nonetheless, that was his resolve. For a year that he stayed with the two, it slowly entombed itself deep into his heart, bones and marrow. If he had to become mad to achieve his goal, he would. If he had to become insane, he would. If he had to abandon the last ounce of his humanity, he would. Although he only caught a whiff of them a few times, he did nonetheless glance beyond their glassy eyes and stare at the depths for a moment. Grief, sadness, agony… whoever pushed them so far and so deep into the pits of despair and for whatever reason, Lino didn’t care. If it was a person, he’d kill them. If it was a group, he’d kill them too. If it was an entire Clan, he’d massacre them all. If it was tens of clans, he’d commit a genocide if need be. He perhaps may not be worthy of such aspirations, but he’d never abandon them. Not until the day he dies.
“Here, brat.” Rog’s voice jolted him from his thoughts. Surprisingly, eight whole hours had passed since Fae’s and his conversation ended, and Rog was done with ‘enhancing’ the spear. Although its general shape hadn’t changed much, its height grew to 2,6m and its blade seemed much sharper and deadly. The sheer aura of brutality its edges displayed caused shivers to run down Lino’s spine. Gulping, he slowly got up and grasped the spear from Rog’s hands, holding it firmly.
Although this was practically the first time he held a spear properly in his life, an incomparable similarity flushed down to his very bones, as though the spear always belonged to him, being an indispensable part of his body. The spear was slightly on the heavier side, but for Lino it was nothing. Even if it was ten times heavier, he’d still be able to use it with ease. It fit perfectly into the palm of his hand. With a casual swipe downward, he caused a loud sound to echo throughout the entire room as the dust rippled outward like a storm. Both Fae and Rog were slightly shocked upon witnessing the casual attack; this finally dispelled their doubts that the brat was simply playing around. It was only then that Lino took a look at the weapon’s stats.
[Radiant Dragon Spear – Legendary]
Magic Damage: 460
+100% Speed while attacking
Special effect: A bloodthirsty aura resides within the blade. Bathing it in blood of powerful foes can upgrade the weapon. Current progress: 0/1000
Special effect: Pouring Qi directly into the shaft consolidates the element of Fire and Light into blade’s tip. Each attack deals double the damage for as long as there’s enough Qi. In addition, each attack is capable of unleashing arrays of Light and Flame, with maximum reach of 20 feet.
Special effect: Due to extreme flexibility, spear’s accuracy is slightly lowered, but its speed is doubled while attacking.
Special effect: (???) [Slay a ‘Dragon’ species to unlock]
Note: Incomparable at its level, a Divine Master Blacksmith condensed his knowledge and talent into a level-appropriate weapon.
Lino sighed slightly as the corners of his lips curled up into a smile. It’s truly as he imagined – the spear was out of this world! Lino was certain that even if he worked for an entire year, with even better ingredients than what Rog used, he’d still have been unable to craft something of this level! What’s more, it’s as though Rog knew what Lino wanted from the spear – speed! Even if accuracy suffered slightly, as long as there was speed, gaps could be filled. And this was taking into account the sheer, absurd size of the spear! Excluding heavy swords and similar, exclusive weapons, Lino was certain that nobody could attain the reach he’d have with the Dragon Spear in his hands. As his grip tightened, a strange sense of familiarity surged from his fingers and spread throughout his entire body. As he poured a slight amount of Qi into the shaft, it went upstream like river and gushed into the two halves of the blade. One blazed in crimson fire for a moment while the other exuded holy, golden light. Although Lino was unable to externalize Qi, using the spear as conduit, he could attack from range – especially because of the spear’s special effect.
“Alright,” Fae’s voice jolted him back to reality as he glanced at her. “As my main weapon is spear as well, how about a light spar?”
“… every time Ella mentioned ‘light spar’, I’d feel my poor life edging toward death.” Lino said as his entire body shook. “You’re the same, aren’t you?”
“Yup.” Fae didn’t even bother to hide it as she smiled lightly. “There’s a special area on the backside, we can go there. No matter how loud we are, nobody will hear us.”
“… compared to her,” Lino looked at Rog as cold sweat broke out of his back. “You’re like a little puppy.”
“… aah, don’t be surprised,” Rog said, sighing bitterly. “There’s a very famous saying from… khm, the place we live: to Quell the Qe’ll woman’s heart is harder than killing Death itself. That should tell you enough.”
“… that just tells me that your homeland has shitty sense of humor.”
Underneath the Rog’s angered roars, Lino followed Fae to the back side of the house. There, as though by miracle, a massive platform spanning over five kilometers lingered on in the air, hovering roughly fifty meters above the ground. Lino immediately looked at the floor and saw various kinds of runic characters that he was unable to recognize. It was definitely some sort of the profound formation – on a much, much larger scale than what Lino inscribed into the shield’s surface when he crafted it.
“It’s called <Battle Arena Formation>,” Rog explained seeing Lino’s shocked reaction. “It’s nothing special, actually. It merely creates a profound platform made up entirely of Qi elevated in the air and obscures it from the eyes of the curious, isolating everything within. You two go and have a blast.”
Fae had already jumped up at the platform and was standing on one end. Lino sighed bitterly and leaped up; although he was unable to fly, with the strength of his body, jumping fifty meters in the air was rather easy for him. He was already Level 40, and with his body’s strength, he was fairly certain that it’d be hard to find someone underneath Soul Realm who’d be able to kill him. However, Fae wasn’t just Soul Realm, nor was she Mystic Realm… rather, Lino had no clue just how strong the seemingly teenage girl before him was, and he did his best not to ask such question. At the very least, he knew he’d survive. As for his dignity that would no doubt vanish underneath her spear, he couldn’t give rat’s ass about that.
“As you’re my Junior Brother,” Fae said in a faint voice, but Lino heard it clearly, alongside the light bitterness within. “It’s beneath me to bully you. So, I’ll only use the first segment of my <Heaven Piercer> art, and will limit myself to Level 50. Satisfied?”
“… yep.” despite the supposed fair treatment, Lino held zero joy. He had about two months of proper fighting experience, while Fae had probably killed more people than he’d seen in his life and gone through many things he couldn’t even begin to fathom. At the very least, though, he’d finally experience a spear of a proper Spear Master, which would help him in processing his own skills.
“Here I come, then!”
As her voice resounded, the entire platform shook underneath her feet as she sprinted forward, leaving behind only a massive gust of wind and dust alongside a sound boom. Lino immediately knit his brows tightly as he took in a deep breath. Not to be undone, he bulged his calves and burst forth, holding the Dragon Spear vertically as per the basic stance of the <Peerless Empyrean Spear Scripture>. Fae was slightly faster as the two meet within the Lino’s half of the platform. As the two were within ten meters, he was able to clearly see her focused expression down to the very last pore. She swung her spear sideways, slashing in a massive arc as she blasted forth a tyrannical wind. As a reply, Lino poured a blast of Qi into the spear’s shaft alongside the Tri-Spirit Flame, igniting the crimson flames which held a hint of three colors atop the blade, slashing in a downward matter. Two spears clashed almost instantaneously, causing platform beneath them to shake and a screeching sound of metal to blast open a deafening sounds.
Lino felt incomparable might gush against his muscles but he forcibly endured gritting his teeth and using the flexibility of his spear to break the deadlock almost immediately. As the storm of Qi was birthed between the two, both were blown backward, landing on their feet within two breaths’ time. Lino flew slightly more, but he didn’t pay any attention to it. The very familiar urge was birthed deep within his soul, so overflowing he was unable to suppress it any longer. His lips revealed an excited grin as he flashed forth, his entire body coated in wind. At the speed surpassing what a human body should be capable of, he reached Fae within a single breath, startling the latter. She immediately pierced her spear forth, aiming at his chest, while Lino flexed his body sideways, actually allowing the spear to pierce his shoulder directly. As though unaware of the pain, he bundled his arm over and grabbed the shaft while using his right arm to fling his own spear in a beautiful arc, aimed directly at Fae’s throat. His eyes blazed in crazed light, causing Fae’s expression to grow solemn. She jerked the spear in her hand, forcibly pulling it out as crimson red blood spurred out in droves. She then immediately ducked, avoiding the incoming attack by hair’s breadth. Yet, before she even had a chance to take a breather, she saw foot’s sole before her face, slapping her directly across the nose’s bridge.
A mountain’s weight descended upon her face, blasting her backwards like a cannonball. Storm of Qi crushed the tiled platform beneath into smithereens as dust and rubble rose up. Fae immediately stabbed her spear downward, ignoring the pain, piercing the platform and using her spear’s rigidness to halt her backward momentum. From within the dusty clouds, a figure’s shadow approached like an uncouth titan. Yet, Fae realized that she had greatly underestimated Lino – especially his determination. He took a clean hit that would startle even the bravest of men just so he could strike right back.
Lino’s figure emerged from the dust; shockingly, his shoulder had already stopped bleeding and while his clothes were dyed slightly red, it was as though he was completely uninjured. The Dragon Spear danced like a grim reaper in his hand, causing Qi and wind to stir into a massive, horizontal cyclone. His body swayed like a shadow as he strode forth in a massive momentum, leaping halfway through and spinning into a whole circle before declining the spear’s shaft downward, aiming the blade at Fae’s head. The latter finally decided to go out; grasping the shaft tightly, she grunted and swept upward as a gigantic force of wind – infused with her Qi – crashed against Lino’s strike. Surprisingly, without any source of combustion, an actual explosion appeared, blasting the two apart from one another. Yet, as though driven by something beyond their own will, they immediately hurried toward one another once again. Their spears danced in a beautiful cycle as clashes of metal and screeches of weapons echoed across the battle arena.
Rog stared in shock at the scene unfolding before his very eyes; one has to know that Fae was one of the most renowned Spear Masters not just in Qe’ll Clan, but the whole world! While she was merely using her most basic moves, they weren’t just ‘basic moves’. Yet, Lino actually fought to a relative standstill. It was quite clear, though, that he was far beneath her when it came to the actual skill; rather, to be more precise, his spear-wielding didn’t utilize any specific form or style, at least from what Rog gleamed. Yet, every swing, slash or thrust of it carried something which far surpassed style: tyranny. Domination. Suppression. Rather than losing momentum as he traded blows with Fae, all of which were perfectly blocked, incurring more than few injuries along the way, his momentum kept rising like a storm. Every new strike was more tyrannical than the last, and even Rog began feeling faint pressure against his bones.
Meanwhile, Fae also came to the same conclusion. To call Lino’s spear mastery refined would be a mockery to the art of spear. To call his skill even passable would be a mockery to all those who studied decades just to gain the slightest enlightenment. There was nothing truly skillful or refined about the way he fought; he never used faints, he never hid his Qi flow, he never tried to hide his moves or strike from her blind angles. If one were to be light, they’d say it was a straightforward way to fight; if one were to be truthful, they’d call it stupid and idiotic. Although she was slightly startled at the very start, she almost immediately gained upper hand and merely played along, trying to see how long he’d last. Yet, Lino was already covered in wounds all over his body, but, without ever taking a breather, he kept on attacking. Thinking back, Fae realized that he defended against her strike only once: at the very start of their spar!
Much like Rog, she realized that while Lino’s spear lacked refinement, mastery and skill, it had something that Fae only ever saw in two Spear Diviners in her entire lifetime. It was a rather crude style of profound art, looked down upon by practically everyone – excluding those two figures. Because, underneath their spears, refinement, strategy, skills, forms… all of it lost its luster. They called it Absolute Domination – and, as its name suggests, the entire style revolves around simply domination over your opponent through sheer brutality and momentum. She was shocked to find out that Lino had actually already reached the very same realm those two have; while he lacked their cultivation and pure physical strength, he was actually stronger than them when it came to garnering momentum! Each following strike was twice as strong as previous and ten times as brutal! If the first strike was akin to a hill, second was akin to a mountain, while third was akin to an entire mountain range!
At the same time, Lino’s thoughts were much simpler than Rog’s and Fae’s. He didn’t try to analyze the spear style of his opponent, nor did he try to understand his own. He was entirely driven by what was seemingly an instinctual feeling driven into his bones. Accompanied by that primal urge that only kept growing stronger the longer the battle went on, every fiber of his being – down to the very last atom – held a very simple and straightforward belief: I cannot lose! It’s not that he was unwilling to lose, but rather that he thought losing was simply an impossibility. His Qi was stirred to much that if it were anyone else in his situation, there’s no doubt that their meridians would directly rapture and they’d be crippled for life. However, to him, it was an ecstatic feeling; every one of his blood vessels, veins, muscles and nerves worked at twice their maximum output, circulating Qi throughout his entire body ceaselessly. <Empyrean Writ> burned forth like a maddened dog, pulling in Qi and refining at speeds that would leave others aghast were they to witness it. They had already exchanged over three hundred moves, yet Lino didn’t feel even a whiff of exhaustion. He was cut roughly two hundred times all over, yet pain was a concept he seemingly forgot. He was entirely drowned in the delirium of the battle against a foe he could hardly defeat, as though he’d abandoned his sanity completely and fought purely to overcome a wall which seemed so high it towered the sky itself. There was only one thought in his mind, overbearing to the point of extinguishing all others: Victory!!