Chapter 54:

Chapter 50: Unusual Deadlock

The Immortal Witch's Death Wish

 This was the moment he had been prepared for. It all depended on if Grodd attacked with close range or long range. No… that’s not quite right. He was going to be ensnared either way. In an almost defeated look, Roy stood in the middle of the battlefield with his defense down. His blade to his side, and his arms outstretched.Bookmark here

Grodd remained at his position, not yet advancing towards the man. The child stared him down, viewing his posture and his energy deteriorating. “He seems to have lost the will to continue. Spare no movement, and end it Goblin.”Bookmark here

Grodd nodded. And, yet again activating [Blessings of the One Being], disappeared from view once more. Bookmark here

Panting heavily, Roy smiled. [Barrier Magic; Exchange of Circumstance]. A spherical barrier of the ethereal variety quickly enclosed around him. Covering a distance of over 10 meters, it would have ensnared the goblinoid as it approached him. Bookmark here

The moment the barriers' boundaries had encompassed the goblin, the effects could be felt instantly. This was an exchange of status. In that moment, his speed fell tremendously. He was no longer utilizing the Blessings of the One Being ability. Or rather…. He was, it was just significantly not as fast. In contrast, Roy had increased in speed and instantly disappeared.Bookmark here

He appeared right in front of the goblinoid with a fist aimed directly for his skull. Grodd tried to block the technique but found that his movements were too sluggish. His left hand refused to rise and when he caught a glimpse of it, it was completely singed with heat and broken at the elbow joint. Bookmark here

His attempt to step back and evade would have been nullified as well, as the same wounds took prevalence on his legs. He now realized exactly what had just transpired. The wounds corresponded entirely with the opponent’s injuries. The fist collided against his face, sending him tumbling back.Bookmark here

“That one…. Was for earlier.”Bookmark here

On the other hand, Roy’s injuries were completely healed. His hand seemed to have healed from its injuries. There was an instant shock and cry in pain as the child too realized that the wounds Roy initially had, were now prevalent on even himself.Bookmark here

This was what one would call a mass casualty, or mass target spell. In which the effects are evenly distributed to multiple targets. The pain was unbearable. Behind his gasps he attempted to alleviate the effects quickly. Placing inscriptions on himself to nullify his pain receptors. He did the same with the goblin as well. Bookmark here

Having regained his composure, he looked up to see that yet again, the man was no longer there. He placed one more inscription on his person before the man had shown himself.Bookmark here

Out of the shadows a hand had pierced through the air, clasping around the young Zari’s neck. This offense was not intended for the goblin, only the child. Pulling him entirely off of the beast and lurching back, he now had his target in his grasp.Bookmark here

His hands clenched tightly around the child’s neck.”So it’s you…”Bookmark here

His breathing was hard and ragged, barely able to say anything. As he continued to kick and punch, the moves did nothing. That, and his arms were in no position to deal damage.Bookmark here

“My ability trades what it classifies as debuffs and buffers between opponents. Selectively.”Bookmark here

That part made the technique all the more dangerous. It also served to identify all buffs and debuffs in the terrain. As of the moment, there was a massive set of debuffs placed all around the goblin. Which would not make sense given his fluid movement. Bookmark here

However, sometimes, when there are techniques that are considered disadvantageous to the user’s own interests, they’re classified as a debuff. That, at the moment, was what he was seeing on the goblin. Bookmark here

“You’re controlling him, aren’t you?”Bookmark here

Zari’s breathing was becoming irregular. He couldn’t even answer the questions given to him. Yet he grimaced. For he already had one. Something the opponent had said to him just now, was all he needed to switch his modus operandi.Bookmark here

Without delay, he grasped onto the man’s wrist. Just like that, the inscriptions he had formed were in full control of his body. If the technique was automatic, it may have been a different story. However, since he had to pick and choose the different things that were exchanged, it meant that one had to have the intent to rid themselves of certain ailments.Bookmark here

This was where he failed. If he never is given the opportunity to resist or change the status effects, he would never be able to reflect the damages onto someone else. Thus, when the inscriptions touched his body, it instantly shrouded his mind and he was no longer able to resist or think for himself in order to reflect the damages.Bookmark here

The man’s hand let go and Zari breathed a sigh of relief. He thought for sure he had met his end… or worse yet, that his brother would have to interfere. The adventurer, Roy, was much more powerful than given credit for. Bookmark here

It was evident that he had often won his fights against others. However, it seemed his ability was completely useless when it came to settings of teamwork. The debuffs he gives up, is immediately spread amongst the entire room without regards to selection. That may perhaps be why he refused to utilize the technique in the match against Lord Ozun.Bookmark here

Foolish. Truly Foolish.Bookmark here

Zari was a skilled and truly intelligent child. But… he was still a child. This was perhaps why he had failed to see the true intention of this man's actions from the get go. How many battles had he fought? How many trials and tribulations had he ever engaged in? A man of that caliber would never allow himself the comfort of loss.Bookmark here

As soon as the ability transferred over to him, the barrier dissipated. Zari relaxed and smiled. That was one down. Or so he thought.Bookmark here

There was something odd about this ability. His arm had yet to heal despite the barrier having deactivated. He had hoped that once the battle was over, their bodies would return to their normal selves. But it seemed that the ability was a permanent exchange of injuries. That was a frightening move. Bookmark here

He was too relieved to notice the glaring error in his thinking. At that moment, the goblin began charging up a fireball just as it had done before. This was aimed directly at the two of them. He instantly commanded Grodd to stop his onslaught.Bookmark here

A wave of fear began to creep over him as he realized that Grodd was not stopping. Even more so, was the moment he realized that Roy had all of his previous injuries and Grodd had none. For some reason, he was not yet healed…. What did this mean?Bookmark here

“W– way…” his eyes glared back at the now subjugated Roy. His arm useless, his legs useless, and his energy depleted. Upon closer inspection, he realized that Roy had two sets of inscriptions on him. The inscriptions he had just transferred to him…. And the inscriptions that he had placed on Grodd.Bookmark here

A sense of fear began to creep up on him as he realized the man would not be able to Ferry him out of the way. In that instant, he commanded the adventurer to launch him as hard as he could. The fireball blasted forward. It’s mass was heavy enough that it immediately fell to the ground as it left his mouth, yet moved forward with such speed. Bookmark here

“Hurry!!” Bookmark here

Roy launched the young child 10 meters to the left, sending him tumbling with his burnt limbs. Where Bal had been, there was nothing but smoke and ash. The ground remained smoldered, baring orange and hot yellow tongues.Bookmark here

“Phew….so I made it in time..”Bookmark here

Ire had spoken from the trees. Moving in just enough time, he was able to evade the blast of flame.Bookmark here

“What is that thing?” Inora asked curiously. As of the moment, they were both standing besides each other in the trees. The more experienced Roy, hung below them by one of the branches. “I think its a Goblin…?”Bookmark here

“Utilizing high tier magic like that? Tsk… that’ll be a shock.”Bookmark here

“What about the child. Is he alright?” Inora asked, taking his eyes off the behemoth for just a moment. Bookmark here

At that moment, there was a sudden disconnect in their dialogue. “No way!!” Inora instantly grabbed Roy and threw him off of the tree in the same direction as the child. Bookmark here

“W-what in the world are you doing Inora!!” Ire shouted, angered and confused. Bookmark here

“That’s… not Roy… something’s off.”Bookmark here

“Well it sure looks like him!”Bookmark here

“This is no time for jokes, Ire. He’s the same as that Lord.”Bookmark here

“Hmm?? What do you mean?”Bookmark here

As they continued to talk, Grodd warily moved away from the duo, heading to the direction where he could find his blade. He picked the blade up and observed the new situation that was now present before him. It was a total disaster. All he could remember before, was being in the castle, answering the door and then the boy… his glare rested upon the young child, who seemed to be staring right back at him in anticipation.Bookmark here

That was the one who was responsible. His body ached lightly. It seemed he was recently engaged in combat. Picking up his blade, his energy began to flare up intensely. Yet again, it was like a silent roar through the atmosphere.Bookmark here

It interrupted the talks of everyone there. Zari remained still, attempting to think. There had to be a way out of this situation that he had not yet thought of. No, there was definitely. He still had Roy under his control. Though he was not expecting his teammates to return.Bookmark here

The biggest problem was the Goblin. It seemed it was much more sentient than assumed. Grodd’s stare shown that he was analyzing the situation, watching everything, and piecing together events from the previous bout. He was beginning to get a clear picture of the situation just as it had unfolded.Bookmark here

If he could just find one moment to escape from the situation, he should be able to make do. Of course, first, he’d need to activate the ability and regain his previous unwounded body. He attempted to command Roy to activate the ability again, but no avail.Bookmark here

“It can only be activated once per day.” Bookmark here

Zari cursed under his breath. A cool-down period. Bookmark here

It may be detrimental to his body, but he’d have to settle on option two. Since his aura had no signature, no one would even notice that he was casting techniques. Inscriptions upon inscriptions were placed on his body. Changing certain functions, shutting off others, taking muscle composition from various parts of his body and reshaping them around other more important parts. Bookmark here

Then, there came his opportune moment. A giant blinding pillar of flame could be viewed from the direction of the village. It was towering beyond even the clouds. Then came the frightening burst of wind that sent smoke and ash crackling through the skies. The signature could be felt even here…. Miles upon miles away. Insane…Bookmark here

This energy signature… it was surely of that adventurer’s girl. Zari could feel it for sure that Ozun had perished beyond repair. This was beginning to be too much…. This group of adventurer’s too much to handle.Bookmark here

The leader was definitely not the goblinoid… but the young girl he had seen earlier. The power difference was astounding. Everyone in the group also stopped to marvel and fear at the giant spectacle.Bookmark here

“-w…woah… what in the world…i-is that?”Bookmark here

“That- girl… is she a platinum adventurer.. No Hero- Rank?! What in the world is that!!”Bookmark here

Grodd was the only person who did not seem surprised by the situation. After-all, he was already aware of the limits of her power. As the minor distraction subsided, Grodd’s attention was now back at the sea of enemies before him.Bookmark here

His blade increased in size to over 8 feet, utilizing manipulation magic. The others quickly snapped out of their fervor. Even Roy was now up and prepared to engage in battle. Bookmark here

However, notably missing from the scenario, was the young boy. Entirely gone. It seemed he had taken the opportunity and fled at the exact moment that everyone’s eyes were distracted. It wouldn’t be all for naught however, as he still did have Roy under his control.Bookmark here

“Inora… which one do we help??”Bookmark here

“At this rate… we cannot allow Roy to be killed. We will have to face off against that behemoth.”Bookmark here

“But… R-roy isn’t on our side at the moment either, is that it?”Bookmark here

Inora nodded. All things considered, she was now able to surmise the child’s role in all of this. He must have been the one to reign control over Roy. It seemed as if Roy was not hostile to the child when she launched the kid in his direction. Bookmark here

If this did not turn out as well as intended, she will see to it that the child suffers. As loathsome as it is…. She could not forgive the loss of her own brother should it occur.Bookmark here

“For now… let’s just try our best to end this rightfully.”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.