Chapter 49 - Eyelids (21)

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“You’re smarter than I expected, though. An attack using the mute’s strength and an unknown factor called the void stone….. This again must mean our choice was correct, isn’t it?”

K-st-tchk! Wht-ttch!

Every time the streams of water behind Isaac’s back whipped around, the air in the room became hotter and hotter.

‘The attacks are heating up the room with just the heat from the friction. The weird sounds must have been from that spell. It won’t end with just a normal injury if I get hit by that.’

It was weird. If all of those whips had attacked him simultaneously, even he would have had a hard time surviving, but Isaac’s whip only hit the air as if it had no intention of moving toward him.

Isaac seemed to think the fact that I was just watching the situation carefully was fascinating.

“Incredible. It isn’t exploding into a rage, even in a pressing situation. It’s even….. observing me? It must be thinking of a way to kill me! It’s still learning, even in this situation! I must say, mutes are…..”

Bang!

“Extraordinary!”

With his exclamation, Isaac shot two of the whips toward me and Rakshasha.

‘Damn, if I don’t do something, this fight’s going to end in a one-sided massacre!’

As I leaned my body forward to protect her with my body, Rakshasha pushed me back with her arm.

“Can you wait for a moment?”

“Why…?”

To my question, she just smiled and raised her hand,

Skkkkree—!

“Tsumugi Style(紬式), Amrit(अमृत)”

And pulled it into the air. Not figuratively, but the space at the tip of her hand was rippling like water, slowly crushing inward.

‘Skill? And a magic one at that? Wasn’t Rakshasha an assassin?’

With the spell, the space was becoming cracked. No, when you looked closely at it, there were countless numbers of strings connected at her fingertip that split the area between her and Isaac. The whip that shot forward like a bullet scattered into the air with a sound similar to a string instrument being plucked.

“I’m not weak enough to die from an attack like that.”

The string-plucking sounds continuously rang out, and Isaac’s whips started to move at a faster pace.

‘Was it that he wasn’t hitting the air but blocking Rakshasha’s strings?’

Looking closely, the thin, cobweb-like strings covered the entire room and were slowly closing in on the mages under her control.

“Tsumugi Style(紬式), a martial art utilizing string….. I have heard there are those who use this art in the far eastern tribal countries beyond the Great Desert. What’s an eastern native doing here in Rodrick?”

“Oh my, are you trying to pry out a woman’s secret? That’s a disappointment as a gentleman.”

Krrkrk—!

With the sound of the string being pulled, the thin strings that were scattered around the room joined together and tightened around the mages in the back, making a visible white line.

“I should have already shown you…. that those weak spells of yours won’t do anything!”

Spppt—!

Isaac’s right hand pointed towards Rakshasha, and when he closed his hand into a fist, a small water drop was sucked out of Rakshasha’s skin and into his hand. The area where the water drop came from started turning into another red spot.

“…..!”

Rakshasha bit her lip and shifted her strings to ventilate the air in the room. With her efforts, cool air came in from the hole Professor made and lowered the temperature inside the tower.

‘This heat…. Damn it! He’s using our sweat to attack?’

Professor finally realized what the blood spots on Rakshasha’s body were. If he’s a Level 6 mage, then his control over water must be incredible. Even with that level of control, it would be hard to extract the water from a person’s body, but for the water outside the body, he should have enough power to control sweat even with his weakened mana.

‘It’s a relief that he isn’t using a lot of magic, though. Rakshasha’s attacks and the void stone weakened him. Isaac isn’t exactly at his best right now either.’

The strings that were directed towards the mages in the back reluctantly turned back towards Isaac, and Isaac pulled back the hand extended towards Rakshasha and used a hand motion to resummon the water whips.

Hardening the defenses while simultaneously making the environment more advantageous to oneself and whittling away at the enemy’s ability to fight—this was the standard fighting style of a water elemental mage.

Strings wrapped around the internal bleeding wound on Rakshasha’s arm. Even while getting wounded, she was still in front of Professor, protecting him, and the reason why she did so was crystal clear.

‘She’s taking a risk and attacking in order to give me information.’

While checking his left arm and seeing that his hand had regenerated up to his wrist, he tried to organize the situation in his head.

‘Tight and limited space. The place is covered in Rakshasha’s string…. But she also can’t use mana right now, so it can’t make a decisive blow. The enemy is defending while creating an environment that makes it easier to use magic, and if the room’s temperature goes above a certain level, he uses an unavoidable attack. The large sphere of water in the middle… must be the source of magic that flows out to make the eight rivers in the city. That must be Isaac’s source of magic.’

The random bits [Sensitive Observation] picked up were organized and became useful information.

Rakshasha aimed her attack at the mages in the back with her string. And Isaac hurriedly changed the direction of one of his whips to defend the mages.

‘Isaac’s cold-blooded enough to wipe out an entire city to get what he wants. There isn’t a heartwarming reason why he’s protecting his disciples during the battle. He needs them. That spell, and that flow of mana…. Ah. It’s Level 1 magic, [Flow Manipulation].’

Although barely, Professor was still a mage that had his awakening. He could see the mana flowing from the mana core to the disciples and from the disciples to Isaac.

‘It’s difficult to absorb mana while also using it in this situation. The disciples in the back must be acting as the medium to absorb the mana and direct it to Isaac in the most efficient way possible.’

Professor checked the time on the system page.

[Jokeman’s Month, 18th. 1 AM]

‘We don’t have time. The Tobrune troops are going to come to the tower soon. We need to deal with those guys to start with the next step.’

The problem was that the opponent also knew this. Isaac was fighting very defensively right now, and there wasn’t a way to pierce those defenses at the moment.

‘Which means I’ll need to take a gamble….’

Through Rakshasha’s sacrifice, he figured out the enemy’s weakness. If he dealt with the mages in the back, then the mana flowing to Isaac will get cut off. Then Rakshasha can deal with Isaac. A way to get to the weakness. He needed a way to change the stage that the mages had intricately built up.

Whst-t-tchk!

“Crimson mute. You seem to be in deep thought. I see. Even with high intelligence, a lack of knowledge makes you no better than a caveman. Is this your first magic battle?”

Isaac talked to Professor with a warm tone, as if he were teaching a young child. The arrogance of one who knows he would absolutely win seeped through his voice.

“….Shut up, human. I will kill you. For Mother!”

He could see that Isaac’s attention was directed towards him after his intentional raspy roar.

‘Rakshasha’s wounds are deeper than they look. The ability to manipulate string like one’s own body. An intricate skill like that loses a lot of its detail, even with a small wound. If Rakshasha gets hurt any more than this, we won’t have any chance of winning.’

I needed to lure the guy’s attention. His interests. I didn’t even need to think about it. The interest he showed towards me even during a fierce battle.

“Grrrgk, human…. I smell my people’s blood here. Where did you take them?”

Professor imitated a mute’s speech as much as possible as he stepped forward, standing in front of Rakshasha. Unlike physical spells, like the water whip, targeted magic often needed the target to be in sight to activate. Just by standing there, Rakshasha was now protected from Isaac’s spell.

Isaac responded to Professor’s statement with a look that seemed to indicate even more interest.

“The smell of your people’s blood…. I see. That must be why. Your people must also be wary of the studies we’re doing on mutes. So that must be why they used an important pawn like you, a ‘talking mute,’ for this plan. This is such an honor….”

At Isaac’s statement, Professor’s eyes widened with a glint.

‘So he was studying mutes here as well. Since this is his headquarters, there might be a research area with an even bigger scale than the castle’s basement.’

Ding!

[Mutation Blood Lust Activated. Blood consumed.]

Tssssss!

With the feeling of the moisture in his body being sucked out, a red vapor started to spew out of his body.

‘It’s a whole different story if there’s mute blood here!’

“G-rwaurgk!”

Bang!

Professor’s massive body shot towards Isaac like a cannonball.

“Foolish! You were unable to resist the pressure and ran in. I’m disappointed! You shouldn’t be this way. You should be stronger! More intelligent! To become the new start of humanity!”

Ts-s-s-s-tch!

The whips that were fighting in the air now pointed towards Professor.

“That won’t be enough to defeat me!”

“No! Watch out….!”

Rakshasha’s strings quickly followed behind Professor, but Isaac’s whips shook off Rakshahsa’s attack and headed straight toward Professor, as if he were going to solidify his win by taking out the mute in his range.

P-bang! P-b-b-bang!

“Rarghhh!”

The water whips struck Professor’s body like a spear. Two shots on the arms, three on the legs, and one on the chest. The wounds healed instantly, but the shock of the attack slowed down his speed.

“Know your place, beast! I am a Level 6 mage that has awakened the water’s flow, direction, change, weight, life, and pressure! You are not worthy to even speak to me!”

Professor swatted his attacks to the side and kept a keen eye on the whips that returned to their owner while, at the same time, he scanned the floor Isaac was standing on. It was based on wood without pillars, then it was built up by stacking stones on top of each other. And the final touch for all of the tall buildings in this area was to engrave a spell that fortified the building.

‘The building itself is a bit unstable without the protection spell.’

P-pat!

With his ragged body, Professor arrived at the body that controlled the whips. And toward the tight defense, he clasped his hands together and swung it like a hammer.

Splch!

Cr-craaack!

The strike was so quick that the sound of the whip rang through the building as it blocked Professor’s arms, and….

Bang!

As Isaac saw Professor’s arms rip off from the impact, his rigid lips curled into a thin smile.

“Pathetic. You can’t even touch me with an attack like…..”

“I know that you bastard!”

And using the difference in their heights, Professor applied his body weight to his left leg and swung his right leg down like an axe.

Klabam!

Water droplets scattered like an explosion. The whip cut off Professor’s leg, and the force of the attack hit the water barrier around Isaac’s body and spread the impact out.

‘Damn it, was that not enough?’

Just because he blocked the attack didn’t mean the impact disappeared. The force of the last two attacks did not touch even a hair of Isaac and was instead distributed into his surroundings via his water barrier.

On the floor he was standing on…

Crack, craaaack!

‘I thought it would break by now…. but it’s holding up better than I thought.’

But it was almost there. Under Isaac’s feet, the light from the lower floors was seeping through the splintered flooring.

From the position he collapsed in, Professor arched back his body as much as possible into a bow shape.

‘My head….. I don’t know if it’ll survive even with Mutation Blood Lust but….. I don’t have a choice now!’

“Breaaaaaaaak!!!”

Professor anchored his left leg on the ground and, after arching his elastic and muscular body back, swung his head down like a sledgehammer.

Craaash!

With Professor’s final head bang, the wooden floor, which had taken the impact of Isaac’s whips slashing the ground, along with the impact from his previous two attacks, completely gave away and crashed down.


Rumble!

As the floor collapsed, everyone that was on the 7th floor and the magic core that was the source of the mages’ mana fell down with it.

The first one to react was Rakshasha. She released her strings and took control over the entire area, and then caught Professor who was still falling, and gently placed him on the ground.

Professor was completely unconscious, looking more like a corpse than living.

‘I know you have a special ability…. but will all of this really heal?’

Professor was in a dire condition. Both arms and a leg were gone, and his face was quite literally smashed inward.

She needed to start fighting again right away. The most dangerous mage is one that has time to prepare, and Isaac was capable of preparing his surroundings even during the battle.

The advantage of water elemental magic was its detailed but flexible nature, which also connected to other elements. You could transmute the water from a water sphere into an ice field, and from an ice field to a heat absorber.

As the humidity of the 7th floor increased, it became difficult to even move their bodies. If any more time was wasted, he wouldn’t have been able to use this final resort.

Tsssssss—

A red mist was still shooting out of Professor’s drying body. Rakshasha wrapped his body with string and looked around the new area.

‘This is….. a laboratory?’

The place they fell down into was quite a grotesque setting. There were several organisms preserved in containers, and mysterious vials and knives surrounded the walls. If Professor saw it, he would have said ‘This place looks exactly like that place!.’

Bang!

On the other side of the laboratory, the building’s debris rose up with a wave of water. Behind Isaac, who had a thick barrier of water around his body, were his disciples and the tower’s mana core. Counting the number of mages, it seemed like a couple of them passed away from the falling debris.

As Isaac returned the barrier of water back into the mana core, he started to speak.

“Incredible. If a mage sets up their field, change the setting. Has he learned about magic battles in the past? No, he must have felt it instinctively. He is surely one of the best pieces the Queen has produced.”

Snap, snap, snap!

Isaac quickly finished his hand motions before Rakshasha’s attack was completed. Isaac wasn’t the only one who lost their setup. Rakshasha quickly sent out her strings, but Isaac was a few seconds faster.

“Bort Iger’s [Heavy Rain]

“….!”

The spell was cast, and behind Isaac, small droplets of water that splattered out of the mana core created a mass that looked like a school of small fish as it followed the hand motions of its conductor. The individual sizes were small, but each droplet contained the awakening of ‘weight’. There was enough force to break and crush anything within just one of the many droplets.

Krrgcrkgrr!

“Hup!”

Heavy Rain destroyed everything in its path as it chased Rakshasha around the laboratory.

The vials with mysterious liquids broke and emitted vapors, the sturdy tables made of metal, the bookshelves with the precious records of research material, the luxury lightings, and…

Bp-pt-rck-t!

…Bodies of mutes. Everything was destroyed as the attack passed through.

The mutes’ bodies were thrown into the air because of the overwhelming attacks. Through the chaos and debris, the mutes’ blood sprayed everywhere, and those droplets all started to rise up to one place in the area.

The small string of mute blood was heading up towards the white cocoon on the ceiling.

Shhhhh—

Isaac, who was busy attacking Rakshasha, and Rakshasha, who was very busy dodging those attacks, both started to stare at that one corner in the laboratory ceiling. The blood that came from the dozens of mutes in the laboratory was all flowing towards one place.

“What is this….?”

“Oh, is this a new ability? Right. Its strength was a bit disappointing compared to the rumors. I knew it wouldn’t go down without a fight!”

Not long after, the red cocoon that absorbed all of the blood in the laboratory turned white again, and it slowly unraveled to reveal the body inside.

“Hahhhhh.”

A deep breath, as if taking in the smell of the air after his long death.

As if he was still comprehending what was happening, Professor scanned his dried up arms and legs, as if he couldn’t believe it was his.

“So this…. is the ‘outside.’”

Professor’s eyes were filled with joy, as if he were a criminal that was finally released after years of imprisonment.

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