Episode 111 – Rroda blood
The day of the practical exams is finally here and Kiel is inside a large arena created by the Replica Dungeon. Nelaira tricks Deora into attacking the Rroda brothers, and Deora ends up pursuing Kiel with a barrage of fireballs. Kiel runs away, dodging the fireballs, however, Deora manages to hit him with an explosive airball. Kiel loses his consciousness and remembers how he got trapped inside the burning house as a child. After waking up he gets into a life and death situation that makes him overcome his fear of fire and launch a counter attack on Deora. He manages to poison Deora, knocking him out of the competition. Seeing Kiel win his fight, Rhur finished Nelaira off in a fit of rage. Kiel manages to recover through applying a healing ointment. Kiel and Rhur team up to attack Zor. After realizing they are no match for Zor, Rhur turns on Kiel, sneak attacking him.
Kiel accelerated left and right all over the stadium until he reached his half-melted sword that had been lying on the ground. Kiel’s body flashed by, picking up the sword in the process.
Seeing how Kiel still bothered to pick up that ruined piece of metal, Rhur couldn’t help but chuckle huskily. “Brother, if you need a weapon I can lend you my sword. Lest people say that I am bullying you.”
“I can’t take advantage of you, brother. If you lent me your sword you wouldn’t have anything to defend yourself with. If I won in such a manner, my victory would hold no meaning.” Kiel politely declined. He continued flying all over the arena, while simultaneously casting multiple spells on his sword.
“Oh, don’t worry about me, little brother. I’m not even using my sword. Giving it to you would hardly have any impact.” Rhur continued.
“Which is why there is no meaning in giving it to me. I can manage all the same with or without it.” Kiel shot him down and heated up the blade of his sword until it turned orange. As he accelerated around the field, the molten sword left countless swirling ribbons of smoke in his wake, adding a dramatic charm to his actions.
He had heated up the metal to more easily change its shape through Morph. The more rigid the material, the harder it was to mold it with Morph. Dense yet soft and flexible materials were the easiest to Morph.
When Rhur noticed Kiel trying to morph his sword back into shape, he felt obliged to spout some more flowery words dipped in a heavy dose of venom: “Brother, I wasn’t aware you had skills in blacksmithing! Is that what you’ve been doing the past few years in the village? Why didn’t you apply for the crafting exam instead? It would have suited your capabilities better.”
Kiel’s cold face had no change in expression as he replied: “Brother, you are praising me too much. This little skill of mine can’t compare to your varied talents. Your skillset is so large that it is difficult for me to remember all that you are good at, besides fighting and flirting. Could you please remind me, what other areas are you proficient in again?”
“Ah, don’t waste time trying to remember it little brother, lest you get a headache. You are better off spending your mental faculties on improving a single skillset until it is at least presentable.”
While the two were trash talking back and forth, Rhur’s attacking and Kiel’s flying about didn’t pause in the slightest. In fact, the tempo of their battle was steadily increasing.
Besides running both his legs and his mouth, Kiel was also working on his sword, slowly familiarizing himself with the feeling of morphing metal. Distracted by all the multitasking he was required to do, he completely failed to notice that he had forgotten to cast a temperature isolation spell on his own body. Heat in his surroundings didn’t register inside his mind at all.
When his sword regained its sword shape, Kiel threw it up into the air, making it fly in an arc toward Rhur.
In preparation of the inevitable clash, Rhur cooled down the temperature of his own sword to isolate it from the incoming heat, lest his sword got ruined as well.
Since Kiel’s sword kept flying around in an unpredictable way, Rhur had to pay more attention into guarding against it so the intensity of his assault dropped.
Finally, the sword reached Rhur, slashing upwards in an angle that was hard to defend against. Rhur’s response could be considered as perfect – he sent his own sword flying out to meet Kiel’s.
The two swords clashed with a sharp clinging noise, sparks flashed from their impact point. The force behind Rhur’s blow was greater, thus, Kiel’s sword was flung back.
Or was it?
The handle of Kiel’s sword was flung back, while the blade…melted down?
The metal blade turned molten yellow and trickled past Rhur’s sword like water.
Rhur had yet to register what just happened when that glowing blob of metal scattered into countless droplets the size of a fingernail.
The glittering drops of metal rained down on Rhur threatening to riddle him full of holes. Smoke enveloped the molten drops, obscuring their exact size and position.
Rhur’s pupils dilated; he quickly darted backwards, his arm swinging his sword furiously left and right, slicing down each droplet one by one. His sword moved so fast it left only a blur in its wake.
A sharp sizzling noise marked each collision of Rhur’s frozen sword with molten metal drops. Steam and smoke intertwined, forming a mist that billowed against Rhur’s body, making it so that even Kiel couldn’t see the result of his attack.
However, the mist couldn’t obscure Kiel’s mana sense. He could feel the fate of every drop he had accelerated towards Rhur.
Kiel didn’t wait for the mist to clear or for Rhur to counterattack. He continued running around, already weaving his next attack, while keeping an almost fully formed Morph spell on standby, in case he needed to create an earth shield at a moment’s notice.
As the mist lifted, it revealed Rhur’s tall and imposing figure.
His mouth was no longer speaking trash, it was morphed into a smile one couldn’t look away from.
A smile that was like a blooming flower, beautiful, graceful, perfect in every way.
Yet, that heart stopping smile, coupled by the look in his eyes and the feel of his aura was…
His light blue eyes burned with cold fury, so frosty that the cold could freeze one down to their bones.
An almost tangible bloodlust wafted out from him in all directions.
His black and blue hair fluttered around him gently.
The crystalline drops of cold sweat glistening on his white skin made him look even more alluring than usual.
Yet, his black, white, and blue image was suddenly invaded by another color.
Streams of crimson unendingly gushed through a large hole in his right upper arm, dying his entire arm blood red.
The glittering crimson droplets dripping down his fingers looked as gorgeous as rubies.
The parched earth hungrily drunk the clear red liquid.
The scene was as beautiful as it was eerie, as striking as it was petrifying.
Rhur Rroda, just like the majority of the Rroda family, was the most terrifying not when he frowned or spouted venomous words, but when he smiled in silence.
For that smile was usually the last thing one saw.
Rhur’s left arm rose up towards his right arm, his slender white fingers touching the bloody hole.
He shouldn’t have allowed Kiel’s sword to come so close to him.
Yet, how was he supposed to predict such an unorthodox attack?
Worst still, the smoke wafting from the metal projectiles obscured his vision, making him rely on his mana sense to hit them. However, if he wanted to accurately pinpoint the location of such small and fast items he would have to wholeheartedly concentrate on it.
Yet, there was simply no time to switch his focus.
It was already an incredible feat worth of admiration that he managed to defend against all projectiles but one.
Yet, admiration was far from Kiel’s mind as he stared at Rhur’s fingers, which like pincers drilled into the red flesh, pulling out a pointy object resembling a short and thick metal nail.
Rhur’s face revealed no agony, neither his smile nor his icy cold gaze wavered. He didn’t even look at the projectile before he crushed it in his palm.
When Kiel had caused the metal liquid to scatter into drops, the spell roots targeting the metal were stretched apart until they snapped, making him lose control over all metal pieces but the one on which he anchored the main spell.
He had directed that one to curve around Rhur’s sword and penetrate his flesh bone deep. He had attempted to make it come out on the other side, but the reinforcement spell cast on Rhur’s flesh and bones caused it to struggle until Rhur pulled it out.
The mana available to the acceleration spell wasn’t enough to rival Rhur’s pull. Unfortunately, Kiel couldn’t feed the spell more mana since it was not only stuck deep inside Rhur’s mana armor, but even inside his body. All mana he attempted to send got pushed back by Rhur’s mana armor.
And thus, Rhur had managed to pull it out, and even crush it into dust as a show of might.
This bloodthirsty side of Rhur didn’t catch Kiel by surprise.
To his enemies, Rhur might look like a spoiled rich master.
But Kiel knew better.
The mask Rhur always wore was no thinner than Kiel’s own.
On the contrary, it had even more layers.
So, so many layers that even Kiel had no idea what hid underneath it all.
To the outsiders, Rhur looked like a polite, modest, talented and kind gentleman.
To the people who could see through that facade, he appeared to be a self-centered, vindictive playboy who enjoyed toying with women.
While that was, indeed, true, it was only a small part of the whole truth.
And even though Kiel couldn’t see the whole truth, nor did he have the desire too, even an idiot could tell that a person who could pull out a bullet out of his mangled flesh without as much as a flinch was neither weak willed nor easy to deal with.
Would a shrewd and merciless person like Venric Rroda designate Rhur Rroda as the future family head if he was just a pretty face, easily controlled by his desires?
Truthfully, Kiel was painfully aware that he didn’t have the ability to kill Rhur with his previous surprise attack – but his intention had never been to kill him.
What he wanted was to buy himself enough time to implement a better plan!
Without letting Rhur catch his breath, Kiel recast an acceleration spell on several scattered metal pieces that landed outside Rhur’s mage armor, and sent them whooshing towards Rhur once again.
Rhur let go of his sword, but it didn’t fall towards the ground – it flew up to slice down the metal pieces. He had learned from his previous mistake and this time he refused to let the metal projectiles close in on him.
While his sword defended from Kiel’s attacks, Rhur cast a Velocity spell on his own flesh, controlling the cells making muscles and skin around his wound to shift position and close up the hole.
This matter would have been much simpler if he had used Morph, however, Rhur had been using this method of closing wounds for many years before he got his hands on a mana purifying artifact. He had used it so much that it had become second nature, something he did without much thought.
Rhur’s eyes flashed dangerously, and suddenly a lightning snake zapped towards Kiel.
Kiel, who caught Rhur’s change in expression managed to suddenly switch directions, accelerating to the side, missing the lightning by a hair’s breath.
However, when lightning flashed by Kiel, before it reached the wall of the arena it switched direction, like a ping-pong ball.
The lightning continued to miss Kiel and then “rebound” from the walls, and Rhur was constantly creating more and more lightning, fully showcasing his fine Multicasting ability.
Soon they were arcing everywhere, covering the ground and the skies. It was no longer possible for Kiel to avoid them. He had enough trouble just avoiding one, let alone a whole bunch of them.
Left with no other alternative, Kiel enveloped himself in an earth shield he had on standby for a while now. Just in time too, for not even a moment later an electric snake slammed into it.
This episode is dedicated to Anaku Senko who just joined the Aethernea MVP ranks. 👍 Thank you so much for supporting Aethernea and making our private VIP chat channel more lively. ^_^ Good luck with your writing! I’ll be rooting for you.
Coming up in the next episode:
Rhur’s electric snakes that had been drilling into Kiel’s shield, abruptly stopped.
This was the disparity between the first-born son and a bastard child.
Absolute agony. His every muscle twitched in sheer anguish, every passing second was an eternity of torment.
He rolled until his back hit something hard, knocking air out of his chest.