Seven Circles was a height in magic mastery where a mage was capable of creating a natural disaster level calamity with just a sweep of a hand, and it was the height that Astroa, a human, had reached.
‘That insolent bastard, he dares to come here!’
Certainly, Astroa may have had his guard down during the past encounters, but still, the foe that beat him twice was here.
‘You bastard. You may have ran away after making a fool out of me twice, but… This time, it won’t happen.’
His white beard and facial muscles started to shake out of fury.
It was to the point that air surrounding him was starting to show distortions and haze.
The grand mage was in a state of rage.
‘If you think I’ll fall for your tricks like before, you are seriously mistaken.’
It looked like his head was about to pop open from all the anger, but unlike his appearance, Astroa was thinking calmly. He was only focused on how to slice, dice and fry that masked man.
Before Astroa could think about his plan for more than ten seconds, Solia Castle’s royal guards took stances again and launched arrows.
“Ugh, these small fries…”
All of the arrows collided with the barrier that Astroa had prepared earlier and fell down.
Although the attack ended up a failure, it appeared to have succeeded in making Astroa more annoyed because he gritted his teeth as he glared toward the direction where the arrows came from.
‘I don’t have time to deal with you bastards!’
Astroa assessed that the unidentified masked man was far more dangerous than the castle’s royal guards. It was because, to Astroa, the masked man was a bastard that managed to threaten his life twice, the life of a mage who had reached the height of Seven Circles magic. He may have had his guard down during his past encounters, but the masked man could not be taken lightly.
Astroa decided to make sure that the small fries were neutralized and cast Blizzard, which was a Seven Circles level magic and the highest level ice element magic he could cast.
“This is, god damn it…”
The captain of the royal guards definitely heard what spell Astroa was reciting. The captain immediately started to have his subordinates fall back.
“Fall back! Everyone! Retreat! It’s a large-scale magic! You must fall back!”
Ha… [TL: I’m sure you can tell, but this is not laughter. This is a sound effect as in how one would breath out during a cold winter and notice the breathe is turning into white mist because it is so cold.]
It was supposed to be spring right now, but somehow, the breath coming out of the captain was turning into white mist.
The wind was initially blowing gently, but soon, it started to generate fierce noise that was sharp enough to tear apart people’s eardrums. With the cold wind, the atmosphere was changed to the point that it was slowing the royal guards’ movements.
A royal guard froze completely before being able to finish his word. The true power of the Blizzard, a Seven Circles magic, was starting to take effect.
The captain barely managed to get out of the blizzard’s range. He covered himself by raising one of his arms. He scrunched up his face. It was because some of his subordinates didn’t manage to escape the blizzard.
A royal guard that was standing near the center of the effective area didn’t just freeze. He was turned completely white and beyond recognition.
A royal guard crawling from the effective area put out his arm toward the captain. The expression on his face was desperate and trying to tell the captain as he was pleading to be saved. However, with a tear hanging on his face, the royal guard froze solid.
It was a helpless situation.
Because he couldn’t save his subordinates, out of despair, the captain was just standing there with a vacant look on his face. Meanwhile, to the captain, a shadow was being cast from above.
“C-Captain! Look out!”
Although he wasn’t frozen from the magic, the captain was standing still like a statue because he was looking at the royal guard that didn’t make it out of the range. A royal guard came to tackle the captain and have him fall back.
To the spot where the captain was standing a moment ago, an icicle, no, a large boulder of ice fell.
Its lower end had a blunt shape. If he was under the ice, it looked like it would not have ended with simply getting crushed.
The problem now was that these things were falling continuously.
‘This is a Seven Circles magic…’
The captain crumpled his face as he raised his upper body.
Having noticed the captain staring at him, Astroa snorted as he thought of the captain’s glare as just an impudent gesture. Astroa turned his head away.
There were people remaining in the Holy Temple’s side, but regardless, they were not the people that could hurt him directly.
Now that he roughly neutralized the small-fries from Solia Castle, Astroa fixated his gaze toward the distance where Nainiae and the mask man were standing.
‘The amount of mana remaining in me is…about half? Still, this is enough.’
Astroa narrowed his eyes. He had enough mana to cast two more Seven Circles level spells that were about as powerful as the Blizzard.
Also, there was his trump card, the drug that he completed after having spent a long time in experiments.
There was no problem.
‘…I shall send you to your grave.’
Astroa’s eyes bulged with deadly intent.
“Huh, look at how violent his eyes are.”
Riley shivered his shoulders as he watched the blizzard from afar.
It appeared that the blizzard was quite powerful. Even though Riley was far away from the effective range, even he could feel the cold from here. It was making his body shiver from the cold.
Despite the cold from the magic and the grand mage glaring at him with murderous eyes, Riley was looking as relaxed as ever.
Nainiae shifted her eye to the back where the child was standing. Nainiae asked Riley,
“Hey… What are you going to do?”
She asked because Astroa was floating in the air and pretty far from where they were. Riley’s skill as a swordsman was something anyone would be proud of, but from this distance, it looked like it would be difficult for him to use his swordsmanship skill against Astroa.
“What do you mean? I have no intention of letting this drag on any longer.”
Riley replied as he fiddled with the sword on his waist. He asked,
“Have you taken a deep breath?”
“I did, but…”
In light of his question, Nainiae forced herself to respond. Because Riley said Astroa will no longer run, she even withdrew the Spell Cancel magic that she had prepared.
“And the big shot?”
Riley asked Nainaie to prepare a big shot that was as flashy and extravagant as possible. Again, Nainiae forced herself to answer,
She prepared Giga Impact.
It was a Six Circles magic that didn’t have any particular element base.
It was a magic where she focused and compressed the mana to a point and forced it to be held in that state before releasing the mana in a linear beam. It didn’t have an elemental basis, but it had a flashy visual effect and incredibly violent explosion sound.
To point out a drawback, it made the caster’s arm into pulp.
“Have you prepared your mind as well?”
He didn’t need to ask that question in this situation, but he did. To his question, Nainiae responded with silence.
Riley leisurely pulled out his sword.
At the same moment, Astroa’s surrounding was starting to haze up from his energy.
It looked like he was about to launch a large Seven Circles magic.
There was no sign of Astroa letting his guard down.
“It’s been a while since I threw it seriously.”
Nainiae floated a question mark on her face as she heard Riley’s murmur from the side.
‘Throw? What are you going to throw?’
“When I give you the signal, you just need to spray it in his general direction.”
“What I’m saying is that you just need to shoot.”
Riley narrowed his eyes as he answered and confirmed Astroa’s location. Riley roughly calculated the distance, spread out his legs properly for a stance, and tightly grabbed on to the sword.
His target was Astroa, the one floating in the air.
Having heard Riley, Nainiae put strength in her shoulder and raised her arm.
Immediately, they could see a flash from Astroa’s side and a large bird made of flames flying toward them.
‘As I thought, it is a Seven Circles magic…’
Nainiae crumpled her face because she confirmed the magic attack flying toward them was a Seven Cricles level flame magic that she had seen in the past.
‘…Will I be able to beat it?’
Her magic was Six Circles magic, and her mana was gradually being extinguished due to her numbered lifespan.
When Nainiae bit her lips, Riley told her,
By Riley’s signal, as if she was murmuring, Nainiae initiated the magic that she prepared.
At the moment her low voice echoed, front of Nainiae’s sight became completely white.
It wasn’t that she lost consciousness. The magic produced blindingly bright light, and a violent sound of explosion followed.
It was like standing in front of a large waterfall and listening to its sound.
Reacting to the conditions, one of Nainiae’s eyes closed on its own.
Because of the violent sound of explosion overwhelming her ears, because of bright light filling her sight, and because her arm felt like it was about to fall apart, Nainiae was barely managing to remain conscious.
‘…What is he doing now?’
Using the eye that she barely had open, Nainiae looked to the side and watched Riley.
Riley murmured as he stared at his target,
“Please don’t be a bother to me. Just go in one shot.”
Riley dragged his feet on the ground. With strength, he pulled his arm back, and quickly threw the sword he held in his hand.
Nainiae strained her closed eye and opened it again. Her face was being filled with shock.
In the middle of violent explosion sounds, she could hear another noise that was like something cutting through the wind, and that was it.
Nainiae did see Riley taking a stance and throwing the sword, but she wasn’t able to see where the sword went. However, she realized that the intensity of the flame approaching them from the distance suddenly weakened.
“Now, that's the end… I’ll be going now.”
Nainiae was staring at Riley with her arm raised, but she opened her mouth like a fish and gave a vacant stare after she realized that Riley had disappeared in a blink of an eye.
It was like a mirage. Nainiae stood there as if she was mesmerized.
Feeling someone’s touch patting her on the back before leaving, Nainiae, who was standing with a blank face, got a grip on her focus and concentrated on her magic.
She desperately held on to the mana floating around her, and she directed all of the mana being focused inside her toward her right arm.
Starting from her right arm, the mana was starting to overflow, and she felt excruciating pain that felt like her entire body was going to explode.
Because of the severe pain, she even forgot to scream. Nainiae tightly closed her eyes.
When she strained and opened her eyes again, a black-colored light, a special light that only Nainiae could produce, was piercing through Astroa.
There was a hole.
On an old man that plummeted to Lower Solia’s sewer, on his dead body, lying down on the ground with his mouth wide open without any breath, there was a large hole in his chest, big enough for someone’s fist to go through.
“Just now, what happened…?”
On top of the blizzard, the Solia Castle’s royal guards also witnessed the giant bird made of flames, and now, with confused faces as if they were not able to comprehend what just happened, they stared at the corpse of Astroa.
Literally, all of it happened in an instant.
A royal guard asked after looking at the corpse. They had the grand mage’s corpse right in front of them, but they were still not able to believe it.
“Just…who did it?”
They saw a pitch-black beam of light that pierced through the firebird and punctured Astroa’s chest. Toward the origin of the light, people directed their gazes, and soon,
Having discovered the person that shot the beam of light, Priesia murmured her name with a vacant stare.
There was a girl standing motionless with her arm raised toward where Astroa fell.
Nainiae was the one that shot that beam of light and brought down Astroa.
She looked scary because of the scars on her face, but she looked worn out and frail as if she could be swept away by a gentle wind.
It appeared there was a breeze.
Her body slowly started to tilt to the side.
It was not certain if she only lost consciousness or if she lost her life.
Priesia rushed toward her as Nainiae started to fall to the side with her eyes closed.
“Uu, Big Sis!”
Fortunately, the child that was by Nainiae’s side supported her before she fell. Of course, she was not strong enough to keep her from falling down, but it was enough to delay the motion.
Priesia, who rushed to the scene, supported Nainiae.
Nainiae’s arm was turned to pulp from using magic, and her body was just hanging without any strength. To describe it, it would not have been enough to say she was in a sorry state.
“S-Sis from the temple… Big Sis Nainiae… Is she okay?”
Unable to stand still, the child asked Priesia.
It seemed Priesia was unable to tell from Nainiae’s appearance. Unable to hide nervousness on her face, Priesia brought her ear close to Nainiae’s face to check her breathing.
After having checked Nainiae’s breathing, Priesia realized that Nainiae was…