Dominating the opponent.
This meant completely immobilizing and crushing the opponent using superior powers or skills.
To stay true to its meaning, Vulcan had to think of something that would literally stomp and crush the opponent to the point he will not even think about fighting back. Vulcan wondered about what would be needed to demonstrate such a significant difference in abilities.
As a first condition, Vulcan figured that it was necessary to bring out the full strength of the opponent.
‘I must not let him have any afterthoughts.’
If the duel ended with the opponent thinking, ‘If I used the full strength earlier, I could have won,’ or ‘Only if I had the opportunity to use the certain-kill move…’, Vulcan would had been better off not having fought the duel at all because now the defeated opponent will challenge Vulcan again and again until there were no more afterthoughts.
Because of this reason, Vulcan chose to wait.
To bring about Horune’s full strength, Vulcan demonstrated his dodging skill, which was his greatest ability.
It was to show everyone that he is absolutely invulnerable to ordinary or half-baked attacks. It was also to give the opponent the time to prepare his most desired ultimate attack.
In the end, Vulcan’s prediction was dead-on.
Horune used the most powerful magic that he could cast. Gigantic tidal waves towering above the sky was approaching rapidly in order to obliterate Vulcan’s body.
‘Now, for the second condition!’
Now that Vulcan brought out the opponent’s full strength, he had to crush that strength and make it certain for everyone to realize it.
Attacking the weakness in the technique or the opponent’s mind was no good. That would have only resulted in the opponent having afterthoughts, and when he figure out a way to compensate for the weakness, he would certainly come back running, possibly even tomorrow.
That’s how the battle maniacs in Asgards were.
Because of this, what Vulcan needed was something that was simple yet would most certainly reveal one’s strength.
In Vulcan’s case, pure and incredible magic!
‘Of course, when it comes to the mana capacity, there probably won’t be a big difference…’
Horune’s level is 411.
Vulcan’s is 302.
Compared to others with the same level, Vulcan had superior mana capacity, and he even had great equipments from Jake. However, Vulcan speculated that he couldn’t have more mana than Horune, who had a level that was higher than him by over 100.
Still, a battle of magic was not fought by the capacity alone.
Factors such as how much of the full capacity could be utilized at once, and how much mana could be spent in a certain period of time, were important.
Also, through the SYSTEM, Vulcan could launch magic attacks voicelessly and indefinitely without any mental strain or focus as much as his mana capacity allowed. To Vulcan, there was no other strategy that was more advantageous than this.
‘Wasting mana is not my style, but…’
Vulcan cast Super Heated Inferno, his strongest magic, which he had not used in a long time.
Fierce flame flowed from underneath Vulcan’s feet.
Still, it was a little lacking.
It was certainly a great magic, but in comparison to the Water God’s Wraith that Horune cast, it had shortcomings. It almost looked pathetic.
However, that was not the end of Vulcan’s magic.
‘Shall I get started.’
Vulcan the Player’s SYSTEM was fully activated.
Above the surface covered by the Super Heated Inferno, countless number of flame magic started to overlap.
Horune, who was controlling the Water God’s Wraith, had a changed look in his eyes.
It was because he felt a huge mana from Vulcan who was standing in the center of the approaching tidal waves.
Horune was wondering if Vulcan would give up resisting, but now he formed a smile on his lips.
‘There is no way someone without grits would hold the second place in the Rookie Ranking.’
Horune didn’t know much about Vulcan, but he figured that Vulcan must have reached where he was through excruciating trainings that Horune himself had gone through.
Out of concern for the possibility of unintentionally taking the opponent’s life, Horune had been holding back so far, but now he chose to erase the thought.
Now Horune believed that, even if Horune fought with all of his might, Vulcan must possess the ability to survive at least.
Horune focused his mind and poured in even more mana into the Water God’s Wraith.
It was then.
A gigantic circular wave of flame rose up around Vulcan.
Its intensity gradually increased. The way it looked, how flame was burning high all the way to the sky, looked incredibly impressive.
It looked as if a giant pillar of flame was established to connect the ground to the sky. It was an awe striking sight to behold.
Horune’s smile thickened.
‘The Fire Wall? No. It is bigger than that. He cast the Fire Field to its maximum power.’
A lot of people think it is water that neutralizes fire, but in reality, the two elements were on equal standing.
Just like how a large amount of water could put out a fire, an intense flame could also evaporate water.
Horune knew exactly what Vulcan’s plan was.
Against multiple large-scale water element magic, Vulcan was intending to fight head-on by casting fire element magic.
Using his own flame, Vulcan was trying to triumph over Horune’s Water God’s Wraith.
‘A battle of magic power… Ha! He is more arrogant than I thought!’
“Your challenge, I shall accept it!”
Excited, Horune could feel the blood rushing through his entire body. The exhilarating sensation felt like it could fry his head, and it enabled Horune to bring about more power beyond his normal output.
Having utilized 120% of magic power that he could use at once, Horune started to bleed from his nose. It was because he overworked his brain in order to apply large amount of mana beyond his normal capability.
However, it was worth it. The Water God’s Wraith became even bigger, and with an even more fierce intensity, it rushed toward Vulcan.
Horune from before the duel, the man who promised to avoid taking each other’s lives, could no longer be found.
In his stead, there was just a lunatic mage who was in way too deep in the thrill of the battle against a young and promising mage swordsman.
‘Now, what’s your move? Super rookie!’
Watching the tidal wave and the pillar of flames about to collide, Horune laughed violently.
“That, that! That lunatic!”
“He is totally trying to kill him?”
The swordsman and the mage with the mustache coughed out voices of disappointment.
They couldn’t help but to feel that it was a shame. They couldn’t hide their disappointments over this, that a super rookie with a bright future up ahead of him will be losing his life over some pointless duel.
‘He looked like a promising young man that could certainly go past the Act 1 if he trained diligently…’
The way Vulcan moved was not the kind by a rookie who had been in Asgard for only a few years.
Horune was a Zenith-Rank mage. His water magic was famous for being difficult to dodge because of its incredible speed and firing rate.
The fact that Vulcan managed to dodge them all without a single hit meant he had amazing talent.
‘It is such a shame.’
He wasn’t sure exactly since when, but the mage with the mustache started to think of beating Act 1 as something of a very distant future.
He had been getting vicarious satisfaction from when super rookies, also known as ‘graduates in training,’ defeated Sarantis. Watching Horune fighting with all of his might against a rookie out of his misguided excitement, the mage with the mustache thought Horune was being petty.
‘That little runt. I knew he was going to cause an accident someday. If he kills a guy in middle of a duel in an obvious way like that in the open, he won’t even be able to make excuses to the patrol… Huh?’
The mage with a mustache turned his gaze toward a blaze that was formed with Vulcan in the center.
At first, the flame looked like nothing but just a candle in front of a whirlwind. No. It was the same as just a candle below a bucket of water being poured down. However, then he noticed that the Fire Field was gradually increasing its intensity.
It appeared that Vulcan was continuously casting more magic to overlap more on to the Fire Field.
However, its speed was abnormal.
The Fire Field’s blaze was intensifying at a rate that could not be imitated by First-Rate or even Zenith-Rate mages.
’10… 15… 20… 30…!’
The mage with the mustache gave up on distinguishing the number of Fire Field magic being overlapped.
At the same time, he also stopped thinking about it. A murmur could be heard from his mouth,
Fire Field was a high-level magic that even a grand mage from a lower dimension could not dare to cast more than three at once.
Anyone that could cast even one Fire Field would probably be showered with respect and envy from many mages.
What would they think if they saw a super rookie casting over 30 of a high-level magic like that in less than a second?
The spectators could only watch with blank faces as the Water God’s Wraith and Vulcan’s flame magic collided in mid-air.
Incredible amount of steam was generated from the tidal wave colliding with the giant pillar of flame.
A scene straight from an old legend about wars of ancient Gods was being recreated in Asgard’s east gate field.
All of the people watching the battle were the strongest from their own dimensions, but they could not feel confident about themselves in light of the scene brought about by Horune and Vulcan’s battle. They could not dare to.
They couldn’t predict the outcome of the battle either.
The people gathered here to watch the duel ranged from First-Rate to Second-Rate.
They were all a little lacking in experiences to predict who would be the victor.
In one side, there was a powerful mage with a Zenith-Rate title, which was said to be held by about 500 people in Asgard.
On the other side, there was a monster rookie that, surprisingly, was fighting head-on against the certain-kill move of that Zenith-Rate mage.
To the spectators, the two were like a sky above the sky. The spectators could not dare to even form an opinion.
They could only hold their breath and watch.
It had been about a minute since the collision of seemingly endless barrage of tidal wave and the pillar of flame standing with relentless might in the center of the tidal wave. The thick mist formed by the collision of the two magic gradually faded away. It was just about when things could be seen inside the battle again.
The people that were watching the duel all turned their eyes toward one place. Without being able to hide their surprise, they all opened their eyes wide and watched the scene.
There was a pillar of flame.
Despite the tidal wave that looked like a natural disaster sent by a God, the pillar of flame stood still, not diminished. It looked strong and triumphant.
It was only a possibility, but now that it became a reality, people were speechless.
They each dropped their snacks and beer, but people didn’t even realize it. They were all in a state of shock.
In this place, where the strongest of the past dimensions gather, Horune was one of the strongest at the top 2%.
There was nothing to fault about Horune the mage being given the title of Zenith-Rate.
It was unfathomable for a newbie mage swordsman, who had not even been in Asgard for ten years, to defeat Horune.
‘On top of that… It was not by a trick or ambush tactic. It was by a head-on battle of magic!’
“Looks like this is a birth of another super comet.”
The swordsman said as he picked up the beer bottle that he dropped to the ground. He took a sip from what was left of the bottle, cringed and tossed the bottle. Because of the heat, the beer got warm and it did not taste good.
Even without that issue, he already lost the appetite for beer. He was feeling a bitter taste.
‘I wonder if people in the lower dimensions felt like this when they saw me. There were geniuses that made others’ life work achievements look trivial in comparison. Even among all of those geniuses, I showed the greatest talent, so I came this far, yet… Even among the geniuses… is there one who is vastly different in caliber?’
The swordsman looked at the mage with the mustache who was standing next to him.
The swordsman could not observe any confidence in the man.
In light of incredible brightness from the super rookie, the super comet, the swordsman felt like he was watching knight apprentices who envied him in his past.
The swordsman turned around without saying any words. There was no strength in his steps toward the pub.
‘I think I will be drinking a lot today.’
In light of a sense of hopelessness that he hadn’t felt in a long time, the swordsman’s shoulders sunk a little.
The pillar of flame, which perfectly neutralized the Water God’s Wraith, sustained it self for a while longer.
It was a kind of a showmanship by Vulcan to show it off to the spectators.
It was a necessary step since the goal was to let his power to be known.
Vulcan checked his remaining mana. Quite a bit of it was spent at the moment.
He used the SYSTEM and consumed a mana potion without anyone noticing.
He felt the mana gradually filling back up. Vulcan disengaged the magic.
In a slow pace, Vulcan walked to the front of Horune.
He didn’t seem to be in a good condition.
It wasn’t that he spent all of his mana, but it appeared that he paid a high price for controlling a huge amount of mana at once.
However, the expression on his face was in a good spirit. It was enough to eliminate Vulcan’s worries about potential arguments on the outcome of the duel.
“… Looks like the outcome has been decided.”
“Right. KULUK. KULUK.”
There was blood mixed in Horune’s coughs. Horune stabilized himself by supporting his faltering body with his staff. Horune looked at Vulcan and said,
“I have something I’m curious about.”
“It seems everyone who fought me want to ask questions.”
“KUUK. If they were mages, anyone would feel compelled to ask.”
Horune coughed for a while, and then, with a serious face, he asked Vulcan,
“What method did you use to operate mana? If you poured in that much mana… there is no way that your body’s condition would be all right. Instead of the fact that I lost, I am more surprised by the fact that you walked all the way here looking completely fine after having spent and sustained such amount of magic power.”
“I am not asking for the core details of the operation method. Just an explanation to satisfy my curiosity… That would be enough.”
Vulcan firmly closed his mouth.
It was because he had nothing to say.
‘If I told him I used the SYSTEM and fired the magic without any concern for physical or mental strains, would he understand that?’
It didn’t appear to be the case.
Still, to just ignore him and not say anything in response, Horune seemed to be quite fixated on the subject.
“Is it a detail that’s difficult for you to say?”
Vulcan agonized over the issue for a moment, and he decided to just say whatever that came to his mind.
“… I just did it.”
The serious look on Horune’s face was ruined a little.
Vulcan felt uncomfortable and too sorry to look at his face like that, so Vulcan stared at the sky instead and continued,
“As I trained, naturally, I was able to do it.”
In silence, Horune looked at Vulcan for a while, and he plumped down.
He looked like a puppet that just lost its soul. It made Vulcan feel uneasy.
With one of his arms, Horune supported his upper body and looked at the sky. He murmured quietly,
“… A real prodigy was right here all this time.”
Vulcan smiled awkwardly.