The old mage informed them that they had ten minutes to recover. Damien reviewed all he knew about Alexander’s abilities, “He uses fire explosions to propel himself, he uses an essence field to detect motion, and he is an orange essence practitioner,” His brows furrowed, “It will depend on if I can hit him with Gungnir or not. Although, I can’t hit a moving target yet.”
Time went by quickly, space once more warping around him. He appeared on the stage with Alexander facing him. The crowd’s cheering reached its peak. Damien inquired, “How did you reach the orange essence stage?”
He laughed, “If you beat me, I’ll tell you.”
Damien nodded, “Alright.”
Alexander prepared his sensory field. Damien cloaked himself in lightning, increasing his speed but not enough to tire him out quickly. His figure vanished as he dashed towards Alexander, afterimages were left in his wake. He focused half of his essence in his eyes as he reached striking range.
His arm pierced towards Alexander’s chest! Alexander’s eyes narrowed as he moved his hand to intercept Damien’s wrist, simultaneously striking out with his other hand. Damien withdrew his arm as he twisted his body slightly, dodging Alexander’s strike. He reached out with his arm, intending to slice off Alexander’s hand as it returned to his body. BOOM! An explosion rang out behind Alexander’s elbow, rocketing his fist towards Damien’s head! Damien’s eyes narrowed as he bent backwards. BANG!
He flew backward, landing thirty feet away. A small cut could be seen on his cheek. All of this took awhile to describe, but it happened in a split second! The crowd gasped and looked at eachother, “Did you see anything?”
A yellow essence practitioner with essence in his eyes shook his head, “All I saw were their afterimages! They’re too fast!”
Alexander noticed he dealt little damage and laughed, “Good! Here I come!”
Consecutive booms rang out as he was sent flying towards Damien! They instantly began another fierce round of attacks! The arena was filled with booms and screeching. Nobody in the crowd could see their figures except for a few experts. The crowd wasn’t disappointed, instead they were awed by their speed!
Their figures flashed throughout the arena. Sometimes Damien was on the defensive while at other times their roles switched. A minute passed before they separated. Their essence was flickering and sweat dripped down their faces. Alexander laughed, “Damien, you are the strongest opponent I’ve ever faced. However, wouldn’t it be boring to continue to fight each other until we run out of essence?”
Damien chuckled, “What do you have in mind?”
“I want to try and face your Gungnir!”
He was shocked, “Are you serious?”
Alexander’s face became solemn, “That will make things interesting, right?”
Damien mused, “We are equal in terms of our martial arts and speed. It truly would just be a boring brawl.” He nodded his head, “Prepare yourself.”
They were separated by a hundred feet. Damien raised his arm above him, once more creating Gungnir. Alexander summoned his sensory field, but it wasn’t in a circular shape with him in the center. Instead, it was a frontal cone in front of him. He pondered, “This should give me enough time to catch it!”
“Here it comes!” Damien shouted as he threw Gungnir forward. All of his essence was drained out of him, his vision blurring from overusing his soul. As Gungnir reached Alexander’s sensory field it ripped through his essence. His eyes widened in shock, “I… can’t catch this!”
He clenched his teeth as he moved his torso ever so slightly. Gungnir came closer and closer, “Will I make it!?”
Every centimeter that he moved his chest, Gungnir flew a few feet closer. It was too fast! It reached him instantly, piercing straight through him!
Damien fell to the ground from exhaustion, “Damn.”
Alexander had a hole in his upper right chest! He groaned in pain as he fell forward. He caught himself with his leg before clasping his wound. He frowned, “How could it be so strong?”
He stumbled towards Damien. He looked up, noticing Alexander in front of him, “I lost.”
“It doesn't feel like it,” Alexander shook his head, “I intended to catch your Gungnir with my hands, but it was too powerful!”
Damien struggled to stand up. He looked at Alexander and let out a chuckle, “Isn’t that a little too arrogant?”
Alexander nodded, “Haha, I suppose you’re right.”
He looked Damien straight in his eye, “If you tell me how you created Gungnir, I’ll tell you how I got to the orange essence stage.”
“Really?” Damien was surprised. He mused, “This is a fair trade.”
“If you meld essence and mana into one, your spell becomes much more powerful.”
“Of course!” Alexander’s eyes lit up as he understood, “Honestly, me finding out how to advance to the orange essence stage was a coincidence. I love explosions, and to create one with mana you must compress it into a single point before releasing the pent up energy. It just so happens that to advance, you must follow the same principle.”
Damien nodded as his eyes lit up with understanding, “If you don’t mind me asking, when did you learn your sensory field?”
“It’s pretty self explanatory once someone on our level sees it,” Alexander explained, “To be honest, the organization that I work for purchased this information from another player. It was expensive, so I’m told.”
Damien was shocked as he pondered, “An organization sure takes care of everything.”
“Ahem,” A voice rang in their minds, “Please finish the duel…”
They looked at each other and laughed. Damien spoke, “Add me before you kill me.”
Alexander nodded, raising his hand.
Just then, a massive pressure descended on them. Their knees buckled as they collapsed to the floor. Damien was shocked, “What the hell is this pressure? I can’t move!”
The players in the crowd fared no better, all of them slamming into the ground.
“Sha ha ha ha,” A voice rang from the air above them, “Look at all these humans welcoming my arrivall.”
Damien used all his strength to turn his head, spotting a massive black figure standing in the air! It had a long tail, and two horns on his head. Its eyes were red. He was shocked, “Is that…?”
An old man suddenly appeared in front of the figure. It was the one who listened to Damien’s conversation with Alice! He waved his hand, the pressure disappearing into thin air, “Devil Aamos, you dare return to the human realm?”
Aamos looked at the old man with one eye. Suddenly his eyes widened, “Aren’t you that kid Weismun?” Aamos roared with laughter, “Sha ha ha ha. Look at how old you are now. You’ve got one foot into the grave already!”
Weismun chuckled softly, “Ha. Ha. Indeed. But look at how powerful I am now, are you sure you should be appearing so brazenly?”
“True,” Aamos nodded, “You are just on the cusp of becoming a hero, but it looks like you’ll never reach that stage in your lifetime. However, if we battle here, what do you think will happen to all these delicious human souls you’ve prepared for me?”
A snort rang out as an old mage appeared on the arena. It was the one who put a mark on Damien’s neck! He spread his arms out, a massive amount of mana suddenly coalescing around Aamos and Weismun. A massive blue barrier suddenly trapped them inside! Alongside its surface were various glyphs.
Aamos eyes widened, “Oh. Now this is a surprise. A hero has appeared?” He looked closer, “No… He is just on the verge of breaking through.”
Weismun chuckled, “As you’ve been sleeping, we have been growing stronger by the day.”
“Do you think that with just you two you can hold me back?”
Suddenly a fierce roar rang through the sky, “AAMOS!”
A blinding light suddenly appeared in the capital. It shot toward Aamos, instantly traveling tens of miles! It was like a laser beam!
Aamos looked down, spotting an arm piercing through his chest. Ice spread out from the wound, creeping towards the rest of his body. He looked towards its owner, spotting a young woman, her hair was ice blue as it flew in the wind. He was shocked, “A hero so young?”
She spat, “You dare intrude upon my territory?”
The ice covered the rest of his body as he spoke, “Well, this was unexpected.”
His body shattered as his voice spoke within each player’s mind, “To all those who seek greed, power, lust, and more! Don’t fret - Seek out the devils in the Dread Wastes! We can help fulfil your desires! Of course… you will lose something in return. But you don’t care about that, right? Sha ha ha ha ha….”
His body dissipated, a small human body appearing within. Weismun shook his head, “Alas, he was using a puppet.”
The woman spat, “Foul creatures. They dare awaken during my era? I’ll slaughter them all!”
Weismun glanced over, “Glacia, you do realize it took multiple heroes to put them to sleep?”
Glacia snorted as she flew back to the capitol. Weismun looked over the players and his voice rang out in their minds, “I’m afraid we have to cancel the tournament. Terrible things have just occured. The devils have awoken from their slumber. It is now that we must rally together to protect the human race!”
The players were silent before sound exploded. They looked at each other and were excited at what just happened. Newscasters were reporting to their stations. And yet other players kept their heads down, evil thoughts sprouting in their minds.