LTBE - Chapter 430.2: Castling (2)
Roel had known from the start that the battle wouldn’t be to his advantage.
Be it in terms of abilities or physical condition, he was in his weakest ever state ever since he reached Origin Level 4. If his enemy was the same Felder Elric from the March Turmoil, he might have stood a chance, but that was clearly not the case.
From the moment he saw Bryan, he noticed a sinister apparition shadowing the other party. Others might have seen it as a manifestation of gray miasma, but what he saw were countless fragmented souls existing in a mishmash of wriggling limbs, innards, and body parts.
It was a sight that would have rattled even the bravest of souls.
Roel would be lying if he said that he wasn’t fazed, but he was able to quickly regain his composure since he was aware that Bryan was concealing some kind of secret.
Two centuries was a long time even for high-level transcendents. It was theoretically possible to achieve that level of lifespan, but that was easier said than done.
Far too many things in life could lead to a premature death, and Felder Elric had most definitely died in the wake of the March Turmoil. There was no way the Xeclydes and the Ascarts would have slipped up on that.
The only possible explanation was that Bryan had come back to life, but that was an ability that surpassed even the means of the evil cults. The only ones who might possess the power to pull that off were the gods.
Roel suppressed his nausea and insistently kept his eyes on the floating mutilated corpses before him. For a fleeting moment, he caught sight of a familiar face.
That was the name of the young man who had lost his life when the trajectory of fate changed several years ago. Before his downfall, he used to be one of the representative figures of the Theocracy’s young scions, leading the Elrics Youth Faction. He was also one of Bryan’s many children.
Roel was witnessed Bron’s death with his own eyes. Bryan had personally taken his life to appease the infuriated crowd.
What could the presence of his soul in this disgusting gray miasma mean?
Roel’s guess was that these fragmented souls came from those who had died in Bryan’s hands. They were probably the reason why Bryan was able to come back to life and remain alive for many years afterward.
A fight between transcendents was more than a clash of power; it was a battle of wits too. If he could deduce his opponent’s abilities, he would be able to take pre-emptive measures.
The moment Roel realized what Bryan’s true abilities were, he suddenly felt a strong ominous premonition. Perhaps having sensed something, Bryan made his move right after.
He drew his blade and focused his intent and will on its tip. He activated his bloodline and absorbed mana intp his flesh and blood, granting him extraordinary explosive prowess.
The Elrics were a powerful house of warriors known for their physical strengthening bloodline. Roel had personally experienced it during the March Turmoil two centuries ago, but it would be naive to think that Bryan was still at the same level as before.
It all happened without warning.
Bryan was still calmly walking forth a moment ago when he abruptly accelerated explosively. What was terrifying about this maneuver was how quickly he accelerated and the lack of transitory movement when he sped up, making it nigh impossible to guard against. His sword was directed straight toward Roel’s heart as he sought to end the battle in a single strike.
Roel quickly channeled his mana, and crimson bolts of lightning began raining down around him. The sheer destructive might of the crimson lightning forced Bryan to flit around in order to avoid them. It ended up delaying him, causing him to take a split moment longer to charge through the cloud dust raised by the crimson lightning to get to Roel.
But what he found himself faced with wasn’t a black-haired man but a massive fist harnessing tremendous strength that threatened to shatter the earth.
Grandar’s skeleton fist pummeled downward at a speed faster than the sonic boom, crushing the man beneath it almost instantaneously. The sheer impact of the strike raised powerful shockwaves that blew up the surface of the ground.
Bits of dirt and rock covered the surroundings, obscuring one’s vision. Countless cracks crept outward in all directions. Most of the heretics, inquisitors, and evil cultists were caught in the shockwave, forcing them to temporarily halt their fight. They subconsciously turned their sights toward the center of the battlefield, wondering if it was all over.
To the crowd’s shock, Bryan wasn’t reduced to smithereens by the overpowered, though he didn’t walk out of it unscathed either. He had suffered grievous injuries from the attack, and his sword had shattered into pieces, but nevertheless, he was still standing.
Bryan raised his hand, and gray miasma swiftly converged to form a malevolent gray sword. The gray miasma that made up the blade wriggled and squirmed, almost as if it had a life of its own. It surged toward its owner, and for a moment there, pitiful wailing could be heard echoing in the air.
A moment later, Bryan’s injuries started to recover, and his hastened breathing soon reverted to normal.
Roel’s eyes contracted at that sight. He murmured a vulgarity, frustrated at how his premonition came true.
Bryan was an attrition-type transcendent, which was the worst kind of match up for Roel right now. The angelic power rampaging within him meant that he was growing weaker with each passing second, not to mention that he had the disadvantage in terms of Origin Level.
This battle was going to be dragged out, and it was almost impossible for Roel to outlast Bryan.
Roel looked at the swirling gray miasma and let out a frustrated sigh. He knew that his chances of victory was nearly null, but even so, he had no plans of backing down. There was someone whom he had to protect at all costs.
All he could do now was to try his best and wish for the best.
Determined to protect his loved ones, Roel began channeling his mana toward a Crown’s Stone to light it up. Frost aura started seeping out from his body, then an ancient calamity suddenly manifested with a furious roar.
Dense frost aura began gushing out at a frightening rate, forming a dome around Bryan to cage him in. The moon and stars vanished from sight, obscured by the dome. The surrounding temperature also swiftly plummeted, causing white frost to form on weapons and armor. Even the fresh blood flowing on the ground froze up.
Panicked screams echoed everywhere in response to the sudden arrival of a calamity. The gray miasma hurriedly backed away in fear, and Bryan’s face turned grave.
Roel wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip by. The ancient calamity and skeleton giant immediately launched a new wave of attack so as to deprive Bryan of any opportunity to recover his momentum.
Grandar pulled back his arm to gather his might. Crimson mana swiftly gathered in his fist, crackling with devastating power. Like a demonic god laying waste upon the world, he smashed his fist down with a force as heavy as the mountains.
This was an all-in attack from Grandar.
It looked humble compared to his usual punches—there wasn’t even the usual sonic booms—but the punch was imbued with a brightness comparable to a shooting star. The Strength Origin Attribute roared in resonation with the Crown, bestowing the skeleton giant with might far surpassing what he could tap into at Roel’s current level.
The combined assault from Grandar and the frost aura alarmed Bryan. He let out a wrathful bellow and swiftly condensed all of the gray miasma he could control into a sinister palm, which rose against the giant’s attack. This attempt at resistance didn’t faze Grandar in the least.
Countless souls surged up from the gray miasma, but it was all futile against the crushing momentum of the skeleton giant’s fist. The gray miasma dispersed like a popped balloon amidst wails of agony, allowing Grandar’s fist to push through. It finally collided with the gray miasma sword, which also swiftly shattered without putting up much of a resistance, and Bryan was sent flying into the distant shadows.
“I’m not done yet!” roared Roel.
His gleaming golden eyes were firmly locked on Bryan. He raised his hand, and the surrounding frost aura immediately converged into a wave and knocked Bryan downward.
The frost-covered Bryan crashed heavily into the ground, causing parts of his then already frozen body to shatter into fragments. Without any hesitation, Roel darted toward the fallen Bryan, intending to end things there and then.
The evil cultists flew into a fluster whereas the heretics and inquisitors raised their weapons and cheered loudly. Everything was going to be over soon…
… or it would have been if not for the dying golden-haired man suddenly opening his eyes, revealing a calm gaze.
“You did well.”
A sudden compliment had Roel halting in his footsteps.