Chapter 95 Absentee Instructors (Part 2)
Facing an opponent who was making a mockery of his skills and unable to do a single thing to change the situation, Damien had finally begin to get serious and focus on the only thing he had any control over. Damien was now wholeheartedly focused on analyzing his own skill. How it worked and what he was doing wrong that was making his attack so ineffective!
Damien couldn’t help himself as he began to grind his teeth together in anger at the futility of his effort as he continued trying to persevere in trying to understand his skill.
As Damien analyzed his own skill from the ground up, he finally stumbled upon something he’d never given a second thought as his he saw the flames burst apart on the imp as the blur appeared in front of him as disappeared off into the woods again.
The blood loss was making his head light but he’d seen the flames burst on impact making him wonder for the first time in his life how he was able to use a flame attributed skill. He had a whole slew of skills in his repertoire due to his family, and a vast majority of them relied on insight into the elements to create wondrous effects. Damien had never stopped to wonder how he could learn something that required insight into something else. He was somehow creating fire but he didn’t know how, he’d taken many things for granted even something as simple as this.
Thinking about the flames, he wondered ‘How can I create a fireball when I have no elemental affinity to fire?’
Finally thinking about one of the most basic questions, he realized his father had explained some of the basic concepts of fire. Now trying to recall that information in a flash, he remembered how fire is is the mana particles moving and running into each other at high speeds generating heat and fire. He’d only ever infused as much mana into the skill as was necessary, but now he wondered whether if he generated even more mana, a lot more mana whether he could alter the skill itself. It was nothing he’d never considered as he was told never to alter a skill unless he completely understood it, but the circumstances were now life and death. Not trying something new now would only get him killed.
Grinding his teeth even further, as he clenched his jaw tight. Damien willed the last remnants of his mana into the skill he’d used hundreds of times. Instead of releasing it like he normally did, he actively sped up the release of his mana and compressed it together as he generated another set of fireballs. These fireballs were noticeably larger than all the ones before.
He could tell most of his mana was being wasted as it was dissipating into the air, but he ignored the loss and focused on what he could control as he willed the mana to compress even further, somehow enlarging the fireball and increasing it’s heat. The color of the fireball finally changed into two large clear orange balls of fire.
Damien had used his mana as an accelerant while activating his skill how he normally did generating a new type of fireball for him. Two notably larger and hotter fireballs burned clear orange as he instantly shot them towards the imp who had unwillingly launched another attack not noticing the change in the fireballs.
The imp rushed head first into the two fireballs not noticing the difference in color until they were close enough that the heat emanating from them was to the point where it was impossible for it NOT to notice the difference. The scorching heat of the fireballs made the imp realize its mistake as the first fireball made contact and hit him with more force than the previous ones. The heat was enough to scotch its skin and before it could react or scream in pain the second fireball had already reached it.
The second fireball knocked the imp back through the air forcing it to hit the ground at a poor angle as the imp hit the ground head first, cracking it’s neck as it made the most horrific noise.
“I’m invincible I’m invincible HAHAHAH” Damien began to scream ecstatically as he attained his first minor insight into the element of fire.
Karina’s face wavered as she was torn between feeling some joy at finally seeing one of the imps taken down and a slight glimmer of hope and feeling disdain for Damien’s crazy expression of joy. ‘He looks like he’s lost it…’
“Hey. How many more fireballs like that can you make?” Karina spoke up as she steadied her blade once again. Damien had bought them quite a bit of time, enough so that Karina had recouped some of her stamina and was ready to fight again.
Damien finally snapped out of his blissful euphoria at making a break through as his face nearly fell. He could tell that most of his mana was drained and at best he could use those kinds of fireballs one more time…
“I can maybe use that skill on or two more times” he whispered to the people remaining standing as he tried to save some of his dignity.
Karina’s near hopeful expression dulled almost instantly as she cursed herself for putting any hope in Damien ‘This guy is so useless! Why’d I even think for a moment that he could have some extra cards up his sleeve!’
Realizing how dire the situation they were in was, Damien ran through the various options they had left as he realized how limited those options were. Damien calmed himself down as he figured he was in no worse a situation than before ’Time to bet!’ as he moved closer to Karina.
“There can’t be that many though… I saw your swordplay. It’s not bad. Let’s conserve my skill as much as possible, I’ll attack one imp at a time with my fireball, and you finish it off. Can you do it?” Damien whispered to Karina.
Karina didn’t think about it for longer than a second “Yeah. I’m game.” while she secretly wondered whether Damien even had the juice to use the fireballs again. She noted that his face looked pale and couldn’t tell if it was because he’d wasted so much mana of the ridiculous amount of blood he’d lost. The blood dripping from his chest was forming a small puddle underneath him. ‘How is he even still standing up?’ she thought.
A slight hint of respect colored her vision as she had to admit it was already a fairly amazing feat that he was still able to stand and fight despite his wounds. Although as she recalled how stupid it was for him to get into a fight and waste all of his mana on an attack that wasn’t working, that respect flowed away almost as quickly as it had come.
They waited in position as they finally heard more rustling in the trees and Damien’s hands immediately began to blaze as two newly created fireballs gushed from his hands forming two spirals as he threw them almost as quickly as he’d formed them all in one motion.
Karina followed the light of the fireballs without even considering their course and after the first one made contact with its target she was only a moment behind, as her sword cut deep into another imp as she slashed at its torso and up towards the neck in an upwards slash. Using the imp’s body to propel herself forward in the air, Karina dashed towards the second target with an inhuman-like agility.
If the imps weren’t so ridiculously fast, Karina’s top speed would have been shocking to every body present. Even with the imps around, after they saw her slash an enemy and the propel herself forward using its body as what could literally be considered a stepping stone, even Damien’s eyes widened at the feat.
Karina propelled herself forward using all of the momentum to push herself forward as she used her strength to properly grip her sword and align herself with her target. Instead of using another slash, she allowed herself to smash into her target as she pierced it’s chest with her sword all the way to the hilt. A slight look satisfaction on her face as she finally took in it’s eerie face and the look of surprise and pain frozen on it.
She instantly knew she’d made the right decision, after seeing it’s comrade getting hit by the first fireball and then being cut down it had instantly chosen to defend which lessened the damage from the fireball that hit it and would have been able to limit the damage if it hadn’t been stabbed.
They fell down 20 feet and Karina held on to her sword as she used the imp’s small body as a slight cushion to lessen the damage of the fall when they hit the ground.
Their bodies hit the ground hard and she bounced off it’s small body and rolled through the grassy moss of the ground a few times before coming to a halt. Damien and the four others still standing made a beeline for her. They were all secretly hoping they’d dispatched of all the enemies and as they neared her, one of the guys still alive and kicking in the back had his throat slashed in another blur like movement tumbling to the floor in a heap as the others only realized what had happened when they heard his body hit the ground.
Fear gripped Damien as he realized there were definitely more imps and he was all out of mana. He was bleeding badly and just moving to Karina had taken all of the energy he had left. He was completely spent and feeling dizzy as every started to blur around him.
‘We’re in trouble’ he thought as everything started spinning and he fell to the ground on one knee. Holding himself up with his sword, he felt the world around him spinning as nausea forced him to cough up blood.
Karina got to her feet, after only taking some slight damage due to her quick thinking but her sword was gone. It was stuck deep inside of that dead imp’s body. She felt defenseless as she curiously glanced at Damien and wondered whether she hoped he made a quick recovery so he could help some more or just pass out so she could take his sword.
Instead what she heard were multiple screeching sounds in the trees as body after body began to fall from the trees.
Shock and awe colored her face as well as the other survivors who were seeing this.
At first they thought it was some sort of trick, but soon after they realized they were definitely bodies. They were definitely the imps! ‘What the hell is going on!?’