From what I could tell, each of the fighters on standby were able to observe the previous matches. At least, that was my assumption when the second round began, given how the attitude of the second Fert was so different compared to the first. Unlike the first fighter that had an air of arrogance around him, this one launched a berserk charge immediately.
The Templar, still on the stage after the previous fight, seemed to be caught off guard by the sudden charge. He lifted his shield to block, only having time to release the faintest golden light before a white furred fist impacted against the shield. His body lifted off the ground, flying back against the wall like an arrow fired from a bow.
I couldn’t help but wince as I saw him crashing against the wall of the arena. Although he had managed to preserve his life with the hasty defense, I could see that his shield arm was hanging limply from its socket, clearly unable to be used.
By the time that he pulled himself off of the wall, the Fert practitioner was performing a strange movement at the position that he had launched the Templar from. His furred hands came together in front of his chest, as if praying, and then began to slowly rotate his arms out in wide opposing circular motions. Bihena clenched her fists against the edge of the stage as she watched the rabbit-like fur shift from white to a bloody red.
“That luck…” She muttered, before shaking her head. Once the shift in the fur was complete, the Fert began to emit a red cloud from his body like smoke. For a moment, it reminded me of the Martial Spirits back on Earth.
“Is that…?” I couldn’t help but ask towards Bihena, who simply shook her head in response.
“No, he’s not combined his ki with his spirit. This is one of StarKiller’s profound laws. Everyone’s ki is different, having an affinity similar to elemental ki. Sometimes, the difference is pronounced enough to get things like this. In our last match, she only had one person like that, so she explained it after the fight.”
“I keep telling you to call me by my name!” StarKiller shouted from the other side of the stage, stomping her foot again.
Bihena continued on as if she hadn’t heard her opponent’s words. “Anyways, this guy looks like his ki has a blood affinity. The one last time was lightning, so I’m not sure what special abilities to expect here. Either way, we can’t get involved in the fight anymore.”
“Muuu….” StarKiller’s shoulders sagged, before she turned to look at me. “You’re her Keeper, right?! Can you tell her to call me by my name! I’m Balu, Balu!”
I gave a small chuckle as I watched the exchange, though I saw a corner of Bihena’s mouth rise up slightly. It seemed that she did find some enjoyment in teasing the Fert Keeper. However, my attention was quickly drawn towards the stage, as I witnessed for the first time the effects of the ‘Profound Laws’.
The red mist around the Fert’s body twisted and distorted, lashing out in strands as he sent one fist forward. Although there was no force behind the fist itself, the red mist quickly launched at the helpless Templar. As soon as it made contact with his body, the blood dripping from the Templar’s left arm seemed to rise up to meet it.
After that… nothing seemed to happen. In fact, it was hard to tell if the battle was still going on or not, as both parties stood there motionlessly. Only Balu across from us laughed happily. “Puppet, puppet! So he’s a puppet master!”
It was hard to properly understand her words until another figure suddenly appeared on the stage. This time, it was elderly female wizard. However, the templar from before was still standing… “He’s already dead.” I muttered under my breath, understanding that that was the only reason why the game would continue on to the next round.
“Come on, snap out of it quickly! She’s about to kill you!” Balu suddenly shouted out while a blue mana spread from the wizard’s feet. However, both the practitioner and the templar seemed frozen in place.
This was my first time seeing a genuine spell of what should be the fourth tier. And I was only able to recognize the difference because of the visual disparity between it and what I know. There was no circle, no grand confinement for the spell. Symbols floated around the mage’s body like runes before settling at her feet and expanding.
Within the symbols, I could see intricately detailed spheres and cubes, pyramids and cones, and even some shapes that were hard to classify, each with their own geometric shapes carved along them. Although none of them appeared nearly as complex as the spell that MeanGreen had fired off in our last match, it was still a sight to behold.
It took several long moments for all of the shapes to fall into position around the woman’s feet, before they began to shift in size and position, overlapping with one another. Just looking at the finished product and trying to understand it was enough to make my head hurt, so I could only imagine the strain in casting such a spell.
Once the spell was apparently complete, the collection of shapes collapsed in on itself. Finally, it formed into the shape of a golden ball of light. The female wizard smiled affectionately at that light before it shot off at the still-frozen practitioner.
As the light shot towards him, the practitioner seemed to finally break himself free of whatever state he was in. However… by then, it was far too late. He had only the briefest moment to move his head before the light slammed against his chest, seeming to… dig would not be the right word. The flesh that the light hit seemed to be erased.
As the little golden orb passed through the Fert’s body, he seemed to simply collapse, the life immediately drained from him. However, the golden light did not disappear. Rather, it flew back towards its caster, circling around her like a tamed pet.
Bihena’s smile grew as she saw the result of the fight. “It should be over now…” She said confidently, as another Fert appeared. Once again, the golden light shot out from next to the wizard, who seemed to be casually standing in the center of the stage.
Having seen the result of being hit by the spell, the Fert practitioner immediately began to dodge at an insane speed. In fact, his speed was far greater than what the light could keep up with, which allowed him to immediately appear next to the wizard that cast the spell. Rather than fighting the terrifying light, he seemed more prepared to fight the frail woman.
At the moment just before the Fert’s fist landed on the wizard, the golden ball blinked out of existence, appearing in front of the advancing fist. Rather… it was better to say that the golden ball of light and the wizard had exchanged places. Yet the result was the same, as the Fert’s power was focused entirely on offense.
With no time to pull back or raise his defenses, his fist collided with the light, being erased just like how the previous one’s chest had been. What was even worse was that the spell seemed to cling to his body, staying on him even when he explosively launched himself backwards. “Oh, that’s just not fair!” Balu shouted out from across the stage, glaring pitifully towards Bihena.
Bihena could only shrug as she heard that. “Don’t look at me, I’m not even sure what that spell is.” When Bihena admitted that, Balu turned to look at me instead, but I could only shake my head helplessly. This was my first time seeing such a terrifying spell as well.
“Well… if they can’t avoid it, surely they can crush it!” Balu convinced herself with a nod, though I had a feeling that there was more to it than that. Given how long the spell had taken to prepare, it couldn’t be simple, even among fourth tier spells. I’m sure that the wizard had other cards she could have played if her opponent was active at the time, but the fact that she chose to use this means it should be her ultimate trump card.
A destructive spell with intelligence, and the ability to instantly swap places with its caster. In the next round, it showed one more ability as well. Just like Balu had said, the next competitor aimed to simply destroy the golden ball with overwhelming power. And sure enough, it was shattered into specks of golden light when struck by an all-out attack from this practitioner.
However, those golden specks did not disappear. Rather, they turned into needles of light that stabbed into the Fert’s chest. And when he fell… the golden ball once again appeared. “I give up.” Balu said, helplessly shaking her head. “That spell is a total cheat. From looking at it… it would take specific magic elements to break it, right? But none of my guys are magic users, or can nullify magic.”
Bihena shrugged her shoulders at that. “I don’t know. Maybe an area attack that would hit both the ball and the wizard could kill her and end the spell?”
Balu gave a sad smile at that. “No… that shouldn’t be the case.” As she spoke, the stage darkened, showing that StarKiller really had given up the match. “Spells like that… I think I saw one before. It wasn’t this system of magic, so naturally it looked different.”
Her tone sounded different now compared to her childish self before, as if she was revealing a bit of her experience. “When a spell is given life… it’s not tied to its creator anymore. That thing would have just killed everyone that appeared in the ring without discrimination. Or maybe it was set to only attack my people, I don’t know. Either way, this is your win.”
Bihena blinked in surprise as she saw this new side of StarKiller. “Balu?” She asked, her voice laced with concern.
However, at that moment Balu suddenly lifted her head to stare at Bihena, a wide smile on her face. “You said my name!” She shouted out, hopping into the air happily. “No taking it back now, you said it!”
Bihena groaned, shaking her head. “Why did I even bother..” She muttered quietly, though the clacking of pointed feet briefly distracted me.
“She is… weird.” Kathy said behind us, her presence practically forgotten in the midst of the game. “And I don’t think I like this game. It wouldn’t be very good for me.” Her head shook back and forth while the companion hosting the event approached.
“Alright everyone, let’s give a round of applause for EarthForceOne for taking home the prize in this round.” She approached Bihena, extending one taloned hand to her with a toothy grin. “As promised, five hundred points to the victor.”
Bihena nodded her head with a small smile, extending her hand to accept the prized handshake. Applause erupted in the room, though most of it was from the rabbit girl and the spider girl, who seemed especially excited about the turn of events. Balu actually jumped over the stage, hopping to stand next to Bihena. “So, where to next? I could teach you how to race, or maybe some treasure hunts?”
Bihena gave a small laugh, shaking her head before turning to look at me. “Sorry, but we’ve got to be going home now.” She answered, turning to look at Balu again.
The pair of large rabbit ears drooped down pitifully. “Aww… leaving already? Well… maybe you could invite me to your Admin Room so we can hang out?” Her words were not directed at Bihena, but rather me.
“Once we get qualified to do so, sure.” I answered with a brief nod, which seemed to take Balu by surprise.
“Huh? You aren’t actually in the Games yet? Ohhh, no wonder! I thought you looked familiar! You were a noobie in last year’s meeting! Sure, sure, just let me know when you qualify and I can make time to come over!” Balu nodded her head happily at the revelation. I would definitely be speaking with Grimor about her once we got back… She didn’t really seem to be so simple anymore.