Chapter 17:

Decisive Battle!

Battlefield Restart: Mortal God

There were two ways to increase the effectiveness of Arts and Spells. It had to do with imagination…

Anyway, the first was by improving the quantity of Mana that was being loaded into the technique.

This was the way that most chose in order to create larger versions of their Arts.

The second way was by improving the overall quality of the magical technique with complexity.

My own 'Blue Fire Bullet Shots' Spell was the example of that. This was because it was an upgraded version of the 'Fireball' Spell. However, I couldn't use that at the moment since Jack wouldn't let me to use a Spell in this situation.

Time was too strict…

Controlling Ether or moulding Mana into a Spell took a little bit of time and concentration. If I was to hesitate in blocking for even a mere moment, he'd smash my body with his wooden spear and send me flying out of the arena's boundaries.

There was only one way out of this, and that was to try to test that Secret Art I had thought of.

I hardly knew if this would work, but now it was all or nothing!!!

[Lightning Art- Cognitive Drive!]

I focused Lightning Mana into my brain and nervous system. My reinforcement was augmenting them using both the enhancing and 'Charge' quality of my Lightning Affinity.

My iris dyed purple…

The world around me slowed down…

It wasn't that I stagnated time, but instead it was that I used my Lightning Burst to strongly enhance my cognitive perception of the world. I activated it through my cognitive brain functions and nerves.

It was a really complicated process indeed…

I had no time to enjoy the feeling of seeing the world in this new light. My inner self used it's effects to plan my next move cautiously. Having enhanced cognitive facilities didn't mean I could stop time. It was only natural I'd rush a little.

I couldn't handle the stress of concentrating my mental power in this purple world.

My mind felt like it was in for too long…

I manipulated the rest of my Lightning Mana to focus itself into my hand, causing my mind to race.

A feeling of weakness overcame me…

The technique executed could be considered a pseudo-Spell. It used my own Mana for activation.

Creating something out of nothing using Burst Manipulation used a lot of Mana.

That kid called Jack was able to create Earth Armour due his high talent and Earth Affinity, but I couldn't do anything like that. I needed a stable foundation and time to concentrate my power.

However, my heart didn't feel this was a waste of energy. I could increase the firepower by altering the 'current' of even small sparks of electricity. A technique that was most dangerous in my hands.

This was one of the greatest assets of the newly created 'Cognitive Drive' Secret Art of mine!

It allowed me to complete Arts and Spells in an extremely short amount of time. This was by allowing me to control Mana in the slowed world through my enhanced amethyst-coloured eyes.

Although the Lightning Spell completed was small compared to the thumb-size Fireball Spells, my mind used the extra cognitive ability it had to continuously increase my new Lightning Art's overall firepower. The 'charge' kept on going up.

The purple spark on my hand gradually changed size to become a bolt of natural Blue Lightning.

It started covering the entirety my hand!

I then sent out a fist towards Jack's armour after charging my Lightning Art enough.

The near-stagnant world seen in my cognitive vision started to flow faster with each step.

My hand touched his chest…

[Lightning Art- Azure Impulse!]

A fist smashed into his Earth Armour!

It destroyed his strong defences with a singular, impactful explosion of natural Blue Lightning!

Jack's eyes widened in disbelief. He saw I'd pierced his manifested Earth Armour. It was then his face twisted. He tried to dodge by stepping backwards, but how could I just let him back away?

I changed my grip to point my my wooden sword towards the gap I created and stabbed into his Earthen Armour. The wooden knife was once again tucked away into the belt around my waist.

I didn't want speed or unpredictability at that moment, but pure and overwhelming power.

It was only natural that I held my sword with two hands instead swinging it with one.

[Earth Spell- Mountain Toppling!]

Without warning, Jack stabbed his spear into the ground and hurled up the floor underneath me by controlling Earth Ether. He probably knew he wouldn't be able to fix his armour in time…

The talented prick created a distraction by throwing the floor I was standing on up into the air.

I wasn't able to stop him from using this Spell since he was decisive enough to waste extra amounts of Mana to forcefully finish the move quicker. The spear moves were also out of my expectations.

His spear had dragged across the ground…

Since we both were unable to see each other's movements, I decided that I would retreat as well.

Lunging forward without a plan was too reckless!

The Lightning Mana underneath my skin had fully shifted into an emerald Wind Affinity.

I completely gave up on using short bursts of power. The sword in my hand shone an emerald light l. I used the Elemental Swordsmanship of the Wind Affinity to focus Wind Ether into my sword.

[Wind Art- Respiratory Weightlessness!]

I jump off the big patch of earth that was thrown into the air and defended my body, blocking an Earthen Lance that thrusted out of the patch of soil below me. I couldn't see Jack's figure whatsoever!

This Earthen Lance was so fast that even I wouldn't have normally been able to dodge it fast enough.

However, I didn't panic. My body calmly borrowed the lance's power to fly higher into the air above.

What a tricky guy!

So this is what magical combat feels like...

It felt so exhilarating, and made my blood boil in excitement! So this was a 'Battle'…?

I could get used to this…

My battle instincts were on full display!

But for some reason, I also didn't quite like this feeling... Almost as if it was making me dizzy…

I was feeling a... headache...

[Wind Art- Air Walk!]

Instead of taking revenge for almost getting impaled, I casted a basic technique that anyone who grasped the Wind Affinity could use. The Mana I'd spent kept my body afloat in mid air.

The green light radiating outside my body signified how I fully changed my Mana Clad to focus solely on enhancing speed. If he couldn't hit me with his attacks, then his power would be wasted!

It only took a moment for the tossed patch of earth to fall back to the ground, revealing the silhouette of Jack. He was gasping for air. The electrical charge I used to break his armour earlier wasn't enough to stop him from trying to fight back.

From the looks of his Mana, it seemed he consumed quite a bit to ward off my 'Azure Impulse' after it pierced his armour. Though that didn't matter to me anyway… considering how I didn't expect him to go down after just one injury...!

While still in midair, I overlapped a ruby-like Fire Clad on top of my Wind Mana and started to prepare my 'Blue Fire Bullet Shots' Spell. Since wind was devoured by fire, it acted as a support.

My body started to descend slowly from mid air like a feather. Balls of flames appearing around me.

I used an incomplete Air Walk to slower my speed of descent. My mind made sure to not go too far.

It's not like I couldn't control Fire Ether. Especially with my talent as a Universal Specialist, but even someone with many affinities like myself needed to first change the Elemental Affinity of my Mana before I could have any level of 'Ether Control'.

The external energies of reality were commanded.

A bunch of small blue flames started to pile around me after I'd used my Fire Mana to create sparks.

I followed up by adding Fire Ether turn those small sparks into concentrated blue flames.

Wind Mana was fed to them to keep stability..,

My body gradually descended towards Jack, but I wasn't agitated. I had diffused a bomb in my past…

…so this much was nothing!

I calmly proceeded to create more fire bullets using diligently trained visualisations I had of this Spell.

"It seems I underestimated you." Jack said with reddened eyes, but I could tell he was all bark.

He hadn't realised but before… really…?

Maybe I SHOULD 'break' him a little…

Hah... As expected, he was still a a child… wasn't he? To think that it would only take one attack to effect his emotional stability. I didn't really care how much of unfair advantage I had right now.

Especially in mental fortitude.

He shouldn't have irritated me before the match…

"You may want to use a barrier to defend against this next Spell of mine. I'm unable to fully control its strength." I called out to him. It's not like I wanted to kill him using my upgraded Spell.

"Dream on!" He burned with fighting spirit.

Oh? It looks like my words hurt his pride...

He must have thought that I was advising him out of arrogance. Guess experience was better for him.

Instead of aiming for his body, I made sure that most of the fire bullets I prepared would hit the ground around him. Then I shot the blue marbles at him as a barrage of magical attacks. I wasn't taking pity on him, but was trying to shake his will.

Although he probably didn't understand how strong these little blue fire bullets were, he still decided to counter with full force. The Earth Ether around him trembled along with his reinforcement.

A pillar of earth moved him outside the magical fire bullets trajectory.

It was heading to my location, lunging towards where I was falling.

A myriad of explosions resounded behind him, causing his face to pale in response.

One could tell from that flabbergasted look of his face that he didn't expect my Blue Fire Bullet Shots to pack such a punch. It seems he had now starting to adapt to my strange Spells… as well as 'acts'...

"Having fun?" I asked while adjusting my belt.

I met his spear once again using Elemental Swordsmanship instead of my past life's skills.

Both my hands wielded the wooden sword with full strength. I decided to rely on the basics. He may have been able to cover his wooden spear in Earth Mana, but the intricacy of my fighting style made it so I could still push him back despite his strength.

"Impossible...! You can't be this strong! I've trained harder than anyone…! How can YOU beat me?" His eyes looked quite scary. He murmured under his breath crazily. Looks like I wasn't the only one who toiled hard to attain power in these few years...

"Well, life isn't fair that way." Was my 'honestly' reply. His face visually paled at my response.

A roar escaped his throat!

He kept my body in midair by barraging me with multiple strikes, but all I did was counter them after I unsheathed my knife. I switched things up by using my own personal style of swordsmanship.

His eyes were burning in fury. It was almost like I was being attacked by the ground itself.

Not that I paid any attention to it. After all, this was a duel that concerned both our reputations!

Seeing that this exchange, that made the audience so shocked that they were barely breathing straight, wasn't going anywhere, I decided to break us up. The tiny glint of purple on my body grew.

I decided the only way to end this by unleashing the rest of the burst power within my Lightning Mana.

My body jumped up into the air once more.

No matter how prepared he was, he wasn't able to predict this outcome. I descended towards his surprised figure once more, and again sheathed my knife and focused Mana into my next strike!

Perhaps this switching between focuses was already unpredictable enough, so he didn't dodge.

He didn't know what my sword stroke had in store!

[Fire Art- Muscle Ignition!]

I fully shifted to Ruby Reinforcement to improve my physique by using my muscles as a medium. Then I used my current falling momentum to strike at his immovable spear head-on. The Earth Mana around his body trembled after my sword smashed it!

The impact nearly caused him to let go of his Earth Mana coated spear, but he still stubbornly held his position. The power of his reinforcement intensified further… almost as if it was becoming stronger.

It looked like he was going to use a Third-Tier Combat Spell by condensing his Earth Mana.

[Earth Spell- Giant Gauntlet!]

Jack's Opal Reinforcement became more corporeal

He finally got serious!

The youth clenched his fist and punched with all his strength, causing his Mana to copy the shape of his hand in order to follow his movements. My Fire Mana turned into the Earth Affinity. I defended myself by injecting the Earth Mana into my skin.

[Earth Art- Carbon Immunity!]

A powerful sound of impact resounded!

The projected reinforcement of a fist hit my body squarely, and I was pushed back by his attack.

My defence had been reinforced to its very limits!

Even though the attack didn't damage my skin, it still affected me internally with its pressure.

This is definitely something I gotta work on...

[Wind Art- Respiratory Weightlessness!]

I also layered on my Wind Mana onto my Earth Art to complete it. It was like I was some flying rock.

Borrowing the force of the impact, I retreated a few steps back. My head was feeling numb and dizzy…

Why was this nausea getting even worse…?

My lightened physique allowed myself to be pushed back by the force of his spear strike.

Even as I planned what would be my next course of action, my body didn't stop taking the initiative.

I threw the wooden knife in my pocket.

The wooden sword in my hand slashed in Jack's direction in order to force him to defend himself.

"Useless...!" He swept his spear with one hand to defend his body. It was then his anger finally overtook him. He decided to change from a 'defensive& spear stance to an offensive one.

Not that I could really tell the difference…

Hadn't he done that already…?

In that one momentary opening between him switching to a defensive spear stance from an offensive stance, I leapt forward to decrease the distance between us, then grabbed his spear.

My other hand punching him in the face!

Even if was already holding a sword…

My muscles were screaming in pain.

A punch landed on his chin.

Then followed with a series of hand-to-hand combat moves at an ultra close range!

I wasn't even sure what kind of style I was hitting him with since Elemental Bursts now caused even my normal fist strikes to become unpredictable. It was like my combination lacked a 'Rhythm'.

He wasn't even able to react in time.

I barraged him into submission with absolute dominance using my close-range combat tactics!

My martial arts were on full display after fusing them with magical abilities!

To the extent I could currently reach… At least…

[Martial Art- Kaiser Blitz!]

A kick to knee, a punch to the gut, a chop to the neck, an vicious elbow to the lungs... all these martial art moves interchanging to various parts of his body in succession through precision!

This was the first time I'd attempted this kind of combo attack…! It felt amazing to execute it~!

Like being able to pull off a fighting game technique (on a console) at the perfect timing…

'Memory Recall' really was a fine Lightning Art.

I wonder why it wasn't used often?

This feeling of being able to consciously utilise what I'd learnt about fighting was a first for me.

The same could be said for my Secret Arts…

Rather than being hidden cards, I didn't want to even TRY using them earlier out of embarrassment.

What if I failed in executing them properly?

My pride would have fallen to pieces…

Rather… I guess I'd taken the 'fun' of play fighting in my youth. Truly pulling off 'skills' were nice…

"It's useless...!" Jack said with dead eyes.

An Earthen Armour once again covered his whole body, but that didn't stop me from continuing on with my attacks. It was as if I hadn't even heard him speak. My strikes whittled down his defences.

[Martial Art- Flowing Stream!]

Even as I was attacking, I realised how to make each of my attacks more efficient and compact.

It was as if the barrier that stopped me from becoming a true 'Martial Artist' opened up.

Rather than a bunch of disconnected strikes… Each 'tool' I used had a purpose and weight to them.

There was no longer any wasted movements in my attacks. I fought like a Mixed Martial Artist for once.

My mind only used what was necessary to break apart the armour he reformed onto his body.

It proved my 'methodology' was right…!

'Fear' was also a strength!!!

[Martial Art- SPEAR System!]

The style I ended up mastering in my past life finally became part of my 'heart' once again.

It reminded me of my times in the battlefield. How I was always on edge and ready to defend myself.

My life back then was so tiring…

Always afraid… Always awake… Always keeping myself focused… Following only my instincts…

My whole life was grey back then…

But now, fighting felt much different.

Readiness potential wasn't bravery… Maybe this emotion I felt that eased my worries was courage.

It altered the way I used the SPEAR System…

I broke down Jack's armour piece by piece.

Even this powerful opponent in front of me was turned into a punching bag once he decided to step into the domain of expertise. The most dreaded specialisation I was most proud of.

My open hands grabbed the back of his neck with both arm once his armour was at his breaking point. This was when I drove my knee into his chest and simultaneously brought his head towards me.

He grunted and used what was left of his willpower to suddenly counter with his fist. He attacked my temple, but switched it up by twisting both our bodies. In response, I grabbing his arm in order to give him a good overarm throw onto the ground!

The giant youth looked like his soul had left his body upon impact. He must have realised his Mana was no longer abundant enough to recreate his Earthen Armour. Though that didn't stop the defiant look in his eyes. He struggled under me.

The last thing I did to subdue him was to threaten my shining Lightning Mana coated hand above his head. It was so he wouldn't continue to struggle around in my grasp... I wanted to end the match, but things didn't go as I had initially predicted.

Jack was definitely a prideful and fearless individual even at such a young age...

He didn't even wait for me speak.

His hand grabbed leg and kneed my stomach hard enough for me to lose my breath for a second!

I seemed to have only incensed him more than I did earlier when fighting with hand-to-hand combat.

[Earth Spell- Double Gravity!]

Using the opportunity he created, the Earth Ether surrounding me vibrated and pushed down.

A great suppressive force weighed down on my shoulders. I stopped using both my body enhancing Secret Arts at that moment.

My eyes was fully focused on not letting Jack escape my grasp.

I tackled him once more and borrowed the force of the increased gravity to hold him down!

[Lightning Art- Electric Impact!]

A great amethyst glow shone all over my body.

I used the last of my energy to turn my body into a stun gun. Jack was almost knocked unconscious by the strength of the electricity. The powerful taser pierced through the last of his defence.

His legs wobbled around…

He even lost the strength retaliate any further...

"I will… NEVER lose..." Even as his mind was almost unconscious, his will hadn't given up.

He stood once more. Even the hairs of my body stood on end while watching him get to his feet...

Though it seemed to be false alarm.

He fully fell unconscious after falling over.

It seems I underestimated his drive to win.

He was more of a man than I thought he'd be.

We're all kids of this world so stubborn…?

Gotta remember to stay away from him in future. It would be annoying if he started 'bullying me' now.

"The duel has ended, the winner is Simon!" Mark exclaimed in excitement. The rest of them cheered.

This was a fine 'battle' to them.

Looks like I didn't stain my so-called 'honour'.

I moved away from Jack's beat up body and smiled, but something wasn't quite right.

Everyone suddenly became silent. Their mouths comically hanging open after I won the duel...

They seemingly realised how old we were…

I looked around and saw that most the servants were still looking at us in disbelief and awe.

The House Master solemnly stood up from his seat and looked at me with eyes as sharp as swords.

They seemed to see into all my acts.

"Follow me." The Duke ordered as he walked away with my parents in tow.

It seems I shouldn't have showed too many of my hidden trump cards. Hmm… What this was about?

Gotta keep myself alert.