What is the most important thing in a 1-on-1 match?
Equipment and strategy, perhaps. However, if Roel had to choose one answer amongst many others, it would be ‘attributes’.
In the Sia Continent, the concept of attributes wasn’t as simple as water beats fire and lightning beats water. It was a complex reality he was living in, not a game with a simplified combat system. A transcendent’s spells could come in many different forms, and their bodies would also be enhanced in some ways depending on their Degree of Assimilation. Fighting in this world wasn’t about kneading fireballs and sending waters of tsunami—it was far more dynamic than that.
It was no exaggeration to say that transcendents could use anything and everything as a weapon in a fight. Even that bunch of lazy asses at the Puppetmaster Guild had enough physical strength to defeat a tiger barehanded. The conventional idea of elemental attribute advantage from his previous life really only amounted to very little in a real battle.
Instead, what Roel was referring to here was positional attributes, which could be seen in the current situation he was in.
A deafening reverberation echoed in the clearing in the forest as a massive skeleton collided with a lance, stirring up a powerful swirling wind around them. Fallen leaves and twigs rushed into the air, and before they could fall back down to the ground, another wave of shockwave pushed them even higher up.
Roel was currently standing on the ground, fighting against an armored enemy whose face was concealed behind a metal helmet. His clothes made it clear that he was a knight transcendent.
Roel was able to see the name of this ex-Ringbearer of the Saint Freya Academy through his spell. It would appear that luck was on his side given how he encountered a strength-focused Ring Guardian. It just so happened that he was adept at dealing with enemies who dished out physical attacks.
Their intense clash shook the forest, causing the rocks on the ground to shatter into pieces. So far, the skeleton giant and the knight had already exchanged dozens of blows with one another, but neither was able to best the other. Through observing the other party carefully, Roel was able to roughly assess the other party’s fighting prowess.
Just looking at it in terms of strength, the Ring Guardian was indeed at Origin Level 3. However, his overall prowess was far beneath that of a real Origin Level 3 transcendent due to his lacking intelligence.
A battle between transcendents wasn’t just about pitting ‘combat power’ against one another. To put it in an analogy, spells were the gun whereas mana was the bullets. The specifications of the gun and bullets were indeed crucial, but the most important of all was the ability and wits to put them to good use. If a transcendent was dumb, there would be no saving him no matter how powerful the tools he had at his disposal were.
The knight also seemed to have realized that it would be difficult for him to make a frontal breakthrough here, so he pointed his lance toward Roel and started channeling a destructive congregation of mana.
Roel’s golden eyes narrowed as his expression turned a little complicated.
“Should I say that those who are able to become Ringbearers all possess something amazing in their own rights?” murmured Roel to himself.
“It looks like it’s starting to get a little interesting,” remarked Grandar in agreement.
Looking at the heavily armored knight before him, Roel found himself filled with internal retorts.
Please, you dress yourself up like a tin can, but it turns out that you’re a bloody spellcaster?
Roel still hadn’t gotten enough information to evaluate Rodrick’s background and identity, but he managed to get a rough grasp on the other party’s personality.
He’s a conniving little schemer.
A huge physique paired with heavy armor and a mount—these were all his feints.
The best to determine whether a transcendent was more inclined toward spellcasting or physical prowess was the speed of his mana channeling when casting powerful spells. The proficiency of Rodrick’s mana channeling hinted at long years of training, at least far more than that of Roel’s.
This person’s true identity should be a spellcaster from the Energy Guild.
Energy Guild was one of the oldest Scholar Guilds, specializing in the research of the fundamental destructive nature of spells in order to improve their destruction per mana cost’s efficiency. Or to put it in layman terms, they produce glass cannons.
Their formulas could roughly be simplified as this: Gather your mana and blast it forth. The less complicated the spells are, the lower the loss in energy arising from state conversion. It’s only normal if you can blast your enemy to bits, but if not, it only means that you aren’t using enough mana.
Of course, the Energy Guild also had quite a few secret skills that made them an adversary to be feared. For example, the renowned skill ‘Depository’ was a powerful trump card that allowed one to silently release a furious onslaught of stored mana in the midst of a battle.
“That person’s physical prowess is an effect of his bloodline, right?”
“Yes, he’s a physical enhancement bloodline possessor. Quite a powerful one at that,” evaluated Grandar.
A destructive beam of light suddenly burst forth in the next moment. It zapped several hundred meters outward in the blink of an eye with a deafening sonic boom, inducing massive explosions around Roel and the forest behind him.
In the face of the blinding light produced by the explosions, the knight stood silently for a moment before abruptly raising his head to the sky.
In the dark night sky, a golden hint of light glimmered conspicuously in the starless nightscape, soaring diagonally toward the aerial space directly above Rodrick.
Taking a closer look, it was a black-haired young man with a pair of unfurled light wings. This was the effect of Angel’s Gift, one of the abilities Roel obtained through the incubation of Ascendwing. Other than removing the effect of undead reanimation, which he often incurred when summoning Grandar, it also granted him the ability of flight, though he rarely used it.
As Roel headed higher up in the sky, the surrounding temperature plummeted correspondingly, leaving him feeling a little cold. He lowered his speed a little and gazed down on the ground. By this point, Rodrick was no more than a little dot.
A smile curled on Roel’s lips as his golden wings of light abruptly dissipated, marking the beginning of his transformation into a crimson star of demise.
“It’s about time. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time now,” he murmured under his breath with a chuckle.
As his body began to descend under the force of gravity, the crimson aura shrouding him began to manifest as a massive demonic god, a harbinger of calamity. He could hear the deafening howl arising from the wind pressure battering on the swiftly plummeting giant as he fell upon the world like a meteor.
Under the massive looming shadow of demise, Rodrick started taking countermeasures against Roel’s offense. He raised his lance up high and fired yet another destructive beam of light, but something of that extent couldn’t hope to threaten Roel in his current state anymore.
The descending fist of white bones swiftly grew larger in Rodrick’s line of sight as it rammed right through the destructive beam of light and struck down on him with terrifying momentum.
The whole dungeon rattled under the force of Grandar’s meteoric fist. Dirt, stone bits, wooden splinters, and all sorts of things in the forest were blasted into the sky as a deafening explosion and blinding light shook up all living beings in the surroundings—provided that they hadn’t been obliterated by the explosion yet.
Under this tremendously powerful offense, Rodrick’s clone shattered into countless pieces.
It took a while before the dust finally settled. Roel walked up to the crater in the middle of the clearing, where the corpse of the knight lay. A pale blue ring lay amidst the dust with fiery-red brilliance.
“Is this the Rose Ring?”
Roel gently picked up the ring that signified honor and glory as his heart trembled in excitement. He was just about to celebrate the wonderful academy life he would have ahead of him when intense disorientation suddenly consumed him. It was the Crown Origin Attribute abruptly rattling inside of him. At the same time, the surrounding scenery suddenly extinguished like candlelight before the wind, changing right before his eyes.
Damn it. I knew that misfortune has a way of knocking on my door.
Roel sighed as he reached for the wooden bottle in his pocket, but before he could even touch it, he suddenly froze up.
“Wait a moment, this is…”
A blurred figure had appeared amidst the fog. It was hard to make out his silhouette given the limited visibility, but the red name that glowed conspicuously above his head was in full view.
Reddit Link: https://www.reddit.com/r/StarveNovels/
Discord Link: https://discord.gg/ATHVehx
Tip me off at Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/starvecleric
Please do not leave any spoilers in the comment section! Feel free to join my Discord if you want to get spoilers~