* * *
「Time remaining 00 : 35 : 30」
Cadel crouched on the floor, waiting for Garuel’s signal. Across from him was Ergo’s core, which had grown another leg.
‘I’m pretty sure I had over 30 hours when I started the quest.’
He wondered how so much time had passed, and even though he had been working so hard for so long without a break, he felt a little unfair that he was at the end of his rope.
“Let’s not overthink it.”
A spell he had never used, or at least assumed he would use only at the end of the story. The full-power, full-burden ultimate skill that Mamil told him ‘Use it when you want to die’.
‘You want me to teach you my ultimate skill? You’re too greedy for a guy who doesn’t know the basics. Why would you want to learn something you’ll never use?’
‘But Mr. Mamil, don’t you think I should know at least one ultimate skill that I could use at the risk of my life in a really dire situation? Of course, now I have weaker power than the flame Mr. Mamil made with your toes, but if I learn it, someday―’
‘Aish, so noisy! All right, stop talking.’
He didn’t know when he would see Mamil again, or what he might have gone through in the meantime, so he wanted to learn as much as he could. That was why Cadel tried to learn Mamil’s ultimate skill, but the ultimate skill he had been handed down was truly a ‘great magic’ beyond the reach of a novice magician.
‘Is this magic really possible……?’
‘If anyone can do it, would that be the ultimate skill? I told you, at your level, it would be the magic that would most certainly kill you when you wanted to die. It’s too powerful even for me. It’s not for the faint of heart.’
‘But if it works, it could do a lot of damage.’
‘Don’t be silly. Even if you’re lucky enough to pull off the mimicry, the impact will be severe. If you don’t die, you’ll be on the verge of it, and you’ll be drained of all the mana in your body, and you won’t know if your mana will return or if it’ll be gone forever.’
Cadel didn’t think Mamil was intentionally exaggerating the story to scare him. He was just letting him know what was going to happen.
So even if [Soul Explosion] was successful, he couldn’t be sure of his own end.
‘The only comforting thing is that my level has risen a notch higher than then. And the existence of Garuel Monzasi.’
Garuel could save anyone as long as that person was breathing. Garuel was not going to walk away from a sacrifice like this.
It was minimal insurance. Cadel wiped his now damp palms on his pants, running through the worst-case scenarios.
And then at that moment. A beam of light split the sky. It was Garuel’s signal that he had met the reinforcements.
Cadel bit down hard on his quivering lower lip and breathed in deeply. The anxiety he’d been working so hard to shake off, the fear of ‘possible death’ made his heart race.
In fact, he wanted to quit and run away, thinking that it would be better for the villagers to be turned into monsters than for him to die.
He was scared. He wondered what would happen if the body of ‘Cadel Lytos’ died, would his soul in this vessel also die.
“……Get a grip.”
This was a magic spell that he didn’t know if he could pull off with all his might. He had to push aside his doubts and fears. Once he decided this was the only way, he had to make it work.
Closing his eyes as if to escape the overwhelming emotions, Cadel pushed the thoughts out of his mind and focused.
His senses heightened. He could smell the thick odor of blood, burnt wood, and stale air. And from the depths of his consciousness, he heard Mamil’s voice.
‘Gather all the mana in your body into a single point. Gather all your energy into that one point, and make it your second soul. The most important thing here is to concentrate all the mana in one place, but separate enough mana to protect yourself. Just enough to protect yourself. Do you understand?’
Cadel followed his teachings and drew upon the circulating mana. Stretching from head to toe, he defied the flow of mana, pulling it into his dantian.
‘Burn everything, but don’t let go of the obsession of life.’
Cadel didn’t quite understand. Mamil told him to put all his mana into it, but leaving aside enough mana to protect himself. He told him to be ready to burn everything down, but still wanted to live.
It was complicated, but Cadel took it one step at a time. He didn’t notice the cold sweat running down his back, or the small vibrations in the air around him. He concentrated without feeling anything.
Slowly, Cadel opened his eyes, and a tiny ball of fire floated in front of him, a single point where all of his mana was concentrated.
It was the soul that would set everything on fire.
「Time remaining 00 : 02 : 51」