Volume II : The First Sin
Chapter 73 – Fight to the Last Drop of Blood[3035 words]
Vitru had asked Amon how he could perform advanced body arts and advanced magic at the same time. It was indeed Amon’s greatest secret. His nerves tensed to the extreme, then suddenly relaxed. He bowed and replied,
“I didn’t expect to see you here, Lord Vitru! Perhaps you could tell me… How did those trash of the Ramose clan manage to track me down? There must surely be a genius tracker in your —”
Vitru and the warriors gloated as they listened to the flattery, but then they suddenly heard Havon shout, “Danger! —”
It was too late. Amon had bowed and fallen to his knees, dropping his staff, as if he was greeting the pursuers. But in the next instant, another massive shield appeared in front of him. It was even more exquisite than the first one! The weighty shield fell and plunged partway into the ground, sheltering the young man crouching behind it. Then, several scrolls flew out from behind it, like petals in the wind.
Vitru hadn’t forgotten that Amon was carrying a collection of scrolls. But he had still underestimated his target. It was because he had never seen Amon using magic scrolls before.
Most mages used magic scrolls with great care. To activate a powerful scroll and fully control its effects, mages would typically spend several seconds in deep concentration. This was necessary to ensure that the magic of the scroll would be directed toward the enemy and not harm the user. This delay was also why mages had to be protected by warriors in battle.
Vitru had never imagined that someone would be crazy enough to throw out multiple scrolls at a time like javelins. How could the caster possibly control them?
This was the plan Amon had come up with after studying his newly-obtained scrolls during the pursuit. It was too risky to lay a trap. With their superb hunting skills and magical prowess, the pursuers had managed to track him all this way… They wouldn’t easily fall into a trap. Thus, Amon felt that he had to use the scrolls in direct combat. After closely scrutinizing the scrolls, he found that the supreme scrolls were weaker than the two he had used in the Underworld. Those two scrolls must have been Nero’s masterpieces, which was perhaps why he chose to award them to the finder. Furthermore, none of the advanced scrolls were more powerful than the Song of Ice and Fire he had used over the Euphrate River.
The new scrolls were all standardized scrolls, but the magics sealed in them were still very formidable. Amon was barely able to control one supreme scroll. Simultaneously controlling two or three supreme scrolls was certainly beyond his ability! But this was of little consequence. Just like he did in the Underworld, Amon simply threw the scrolls and activated them, making no effort to control their effects.
The first scroll was called the [Blades of Wind]. It was quite a simple magic, but the art was in the range and arrangement of the conjured wind blades. It would generate a series of seemingly indiscriminate attacks over an enormous area. Countless sharp and long-lasting wind blades would fly along calculated trajectories, cutting down everything in their spiralling paths. Every inch of space would be carefully covered multiple times. The scroll user was supposed to either control the wind blades from afar or manipulate the trajectories to avoid being hit. This was partially what made it a supreme magic scroll. But Amon simply activated it, and so the wind blades broke out right in his vicinity.
The second scroll was called the [Cracks in Space]. It was similar to the [Blades of Wind], with the difference being that it would create a terrifying number of small spatial cracks.
The third scroll was called the [Icy Mist]. A dense mist would suddenly rise from the ground. Tiny, magic-imbued ice crystals would sparkle everywhere. They wouldn’t be particularly deadly, but they could greatly impede visibility, distort perception and disrupt detecting magics. Combined with the other scrolls, it would make the wind blades and spatial cracks even more unpredictable and thus far more difficult to defend against.
It was the best combination of supreme magics that Amon could bring out. They were sure to kill or grievously injure any unprepared enemies.
Amon was also within range of the attack. But he was prepared. Crouching down on one knee, he was protected by the massive shield. A sheet of faint silver light rose from the surface of the shield and wrapped around Amon. What was more, a hard earthen wall was erected in front of the shield. It was the [Wall], an advanced magic similar to what Abham had just performed. Amon’s wall was static, yet much more solid than his had been.
This was totally beyond Vitru’s wildest imagination. It was like hiring a hundred powerful warriors to flail around randomly. The young man was committing suicide! But for now, he had to think about his own predicament.
Vitru also had magic scrolls with him. But where would he find the time to use them? He was accustomed to the standard method of using a scroll, which would require an activation time of several seconds. Besides, scrolls meant treasure! The wealth Amon had just burned by activating those scrolls was equal to the cost of the most magnificent manor in the Empire. This moment of slight hesitation in Vitru’s mind ultimately put his team in severe danger.
Amon didn’t try to control the power of the three supreme scrolls. He instead activated and controlled an advanced scroll, pointing it at Vitru. He needed to stymie any desperate retaliation from the advanced mage. Thus he used a [Lock] to separate him from the rest of the pursuers.
This kind of standardized scroll wouldn’t cause any damage. A [Lock] would just create a spatial barrier, trapping the target inside. Amon had previously used one in the fight against the monstrous snake on the Euphrate River. Gilgamesh gifted him an identical one afterward, and Amon decided to use it now – together with the three supreme scrolls. Vitru suddenly felt that he was confined in a narrow space, separating him from the rest of the battlefield.
Amon had actually been overly-cautious yet again. Besieged by the three supreme magics, Vitru didn’t have any intention of counterattacking, nor did he have the chance. With a terrified scream, the advanced mage wielded his staff. Layers of silver light arose from the shields held by Havon and the two warriors on the flanks, extending out and merging with each other, sheltering the whole team.
After that, he flicked his staff down. A semi-transparent magic armor appeared over his body, shimmering with a yellow light. It covered every inch of the mage’s body, including his eyes. This was the supreme air magic: [Eternal Armor]. But as a sixth-level mage, Vitru couldn’t flawlessly cast the supreme magic. The consequence was that the air armor was fixed in place, rendering him unable to move. And so the [Lock] didn’t mean anything to him anyway.
Havon adopted the same posture as Amon. He kneeled down and raised his gleaming buckler in front of him. A second sheet of silver light shrouded his body. Havon had passed the second awakening, making him a primary mage. Because of this, he was able to draw out another layer of protection from his buckler.
It was a strange battle. Everyone on the battlefield was struggling against the same magics. The vague, unmoving figures in the darkened terrain were like fragile sand castles in a wild dust storm.
The supreme magics didn’t last for too long. The confining barrier of the [Lock] was first smashed by the rampaging magics. Vitru didn’t even need to break it with his own force.
But this advanced magic actually did manage to “kill” a person. Because of the spatial barrier, the merged shelter of light didn’t cover Shuite, who had been standing behind Vitru. The high priest’s nephew fell to the ground immediately after the spatial barrier was shattered. A wayward shard of space had severed half of his head from the rest of his wound-laden body.
If he had been able to think about his death, Shuite would surely have felt it to be unfair. He had been standing in the safest place, but he somehow became the first victim of Amon’s unconventional attack.
By the time the wind blades and spatial cracks finally disappeared, the earthen wall in front of Amon’s shield had already been reduced to dust. The silver light had vanished as well. However, the massive shield was still in one piece. Amon was still on his knees. His clothes were ripped, and blood streamed down from his wounds. There were two particularly ugly gashes near his right shoulder and on his left thigh. This was caused by the wind blades.
And yet, his condition was far better than his enemies’. Shuite was dead. The two warriors who had been guarding the flanks were currently lying on the ground, drenched in their own blood. There were so many wounds on their bodies that it was hard to tell which were more fatal. The warrior on the left still held a broken khopesh in his right hand, but his left arm had been chopped into small pieces together with his shield. The one on the right was nearly bisected at the waist.
There were only two pursuers still capable of fighting: Vitru and Havon.
Havon was also on his knees. He was wounded even worse than Amon. Both of his shoulders were bleeding profusely. Large cracks had spidered across his buckler. It was a good artifact, but Amon’s shield had been obtained from Bair’s pursuers, who were once the top warriors of Ejypt.
Nobody had thought that Amon could bring out a second shield. And it was even better than the first one! Where did he get all these things? The only possibility was that he had taken them out of a spatial artifact, but how could an advanced sorcerer open a spatial artifact? — Nothing about this foreign hunter made sense to the pursuers. But they didn’t have the luxury to think about it anymore.
Vitru was the only unwounded person on the battlefield. The semi-transparent armor was vanishing. His face was pale. After such a long pursuit, he was both physically and mentally exhausted. Then, he had to endure the onslaught of three supreme magics. If there had been a supreme mage controlling the scrolls, he would already be a corpse.
Amon didn’t give him time to recover. Tossing aside his shield, he pounced forward. He faltered at first, but quickly managed to regain his balance and continue dashing towards Vitru. Amon was tired too. The shield had been of great help earlier, but it was too heavy now. His next attack had to be as swift as possible.
He needed to defeat Vitru before the latter could cast any powerful magics. He didn’t have the strength to keep on defending. Havon reacted quickly as well. He sprang up like a leopard and rushed at Amon. The two were at a distance of about fifteen yards when Amon suddenly swung his arm with force. Havon subconsciously thought that the young man was going to throw another scroll. He halted and kneeled down once again, raising the buckler. But then… there wasn’t any explosion of magic power.
Vitru was frightened out of his wits. He didn’t have the time to cast a magic and strike back. The parangon at the top of his staff brightened. Another shield of light materialized before him. However, Amon didn’t throw the object he was holding in his hand. It was the rib!
The rib was still in his hand, but a great assortment of objects suddenly appeared from thin air, flying at Vitru. Weapons, armor, staffs, bags of food, an iron pot, some bottles of wine, clothes, shoes, blankets, even pieces of furniture like chairs and a table! It was everything he carried in the rib.
Vitru’s shield could protect him from fireballs and stabbing swords. But he could never have imagined that Amon would attack him with a small hill of commodities. Where did all of these damn things come from?
Vitru was struck dumb with terror and confusion. He saw the surreal scene of a pile of magic scrolls, swords and parangons flying through the air! One of the parangons was even shining with a golden light. It was a Gods’ Tear!
The Gods’ Tear broke through the magic shield and smacked into his face. But the mage didn’t react. He had already lost his mind. The rest of the flying objects fell upon him in the next moment. The magic shield cracked, and then dissipated. The mage was buried under a hill of weapons. A javelin penetrated his chest.
The objects also hit the other severely wounded warriors. A chair struck the head of one, while an axe buried itself in the neck of the other. Anyway, their suffering came to an end.
The magic scrolls hadn’t been activated. They simply fell to the ground along with the parangons. Some fell onto the mage’s body.
Amon wasn’t able to check the results of his unconventional yet brilliant attack. Havon had gotten up again and rapidly closed the distance. His khopesh came slashing at Amon, covered by a layer of faint light. The light even extended out from the tip and edge of the blade, increasing the range of the weapon. Amon wielded his staff and fended off the attack. With a loud clank, Amon was forced two steps backward. His wounds started bleeding again.
Amon’s staff was heavier than Havon’s khopesh, but Havon was stronger than Amon! Worse still, a strange shockwave was transmitted from the attack and spread through Amon’s body, nearly rupturing his internal organs. Havon’s martial art skills were far better than Amon’s.
The bone in Amon’s hand dropped to the ground. Amon struggled to regain his balance and fend off the second attack from Havon. He was sent another two steps back. At the same time, Havon’s wound on his right shoulder started bleeding even more. He switched the khopesh to his left hand and grabbed the buckler with his right hand. Amon seized the opportunity and whipped his staff at Havon’s waist.
With a harsh clank, Havon’s buckler blocked Amon’s staff. In the next moment, his khopesh chopped at Amon’s thigh.
When his staff hit the buckler, Amon felt a bizarre force dragging his staff to the side, nearly causing him to lose his balance. He tried to dodge, but the extended light on the edge of Havon’s khopesh ripped his clothes and left a wound on his belly. Blood spewed forth.
This warrior was also a mage. Although merely a primary one, he used magic in an artful way to assist his attack. If Amon had reacted even a bit slower, his body would have been cut apart. Havon was an expert hunter and fighter. He didn’t even bother to check how the rest of his team was faring. He just launched a full attack. To defend against the supreme magics, he had expended more strength and magic power than Amon. But even then, he was more severely wounded. Now, he simply tried his best to overwhelm Amon. This was a battle of life and death. Only the one who fought to the very last drop of blood could seize victory.
Amon had never fought against this kind of enemy before. Havon was a true master of martial arts. Every attack was efficient and deadly. Amon seldom had the chance to strike back. He had to defend and dodge, and was continually forced to retreat. The shockwaves from each attack made him sick and dizzy. Blood sprayed from his mouth.
Amon wasn’t a master of martial arts. He didn’t know much about the skills used in traditional melee combat. However, his personal combat style was exceedingly simple and efficient. He somehow barely managed to fend off every attack from Havon. Unfortunately, all of his counterattacks were easily blocked by his enemy. The khopesh in Havon’s hand was more agile than his staff, and the extended light also gave Amon a great deal of trouble.
Havon’s heart sunk when he noticed that Vitru and the rest of the team weren’t helping him as he attacked. He realized that he was the only survivor. But he managed to resist looking back. Instead, he fiercely wielded his khopesh with bloodshot eyes. Amon’s dead body was the only thing that could save his life. If he couldn’t fulfill his mission, the punishment from Urhiya would certainly be death.
Amon was forced to retreat again and again. He reached the edge of the open field. There was nothing left behind him except for sharp rocks. But he had also found that Havon’s weak point was his right shoulder. The wound there was very deep. Every time he blocked one of Amon’s attacks with his buckler, a pained expression would flit across his face.
The faint light on the edge of Havon’s khopesh was fading. He was about to use up the last of his strength. But Amon was even worse off. He almost couldn’t keep ahold of his staff.
There was no more space to retreat. Amon struggled to wring out the dregs of his strength. He fought back! The staff hit the buckler. With a smashing sound, the buckler broke into pieces after such a long fight. Havon shuddered. He uttered a bitter cry and unsteadily took a step back. But then he righted himself and pounced at Amon again, wielding the khopesh with both hands.
The light on the edge of the khopesh suddenly brightened. It was his final attack. Havon wanted to finish the fight with this one last strike. He poured everything he had left into it! Amon’s staff was pulled away by the bizarre force once again. He almost lost his balance. It seemed like Amon wouldn’t be able to fend off the attack.
Amon was about to die. Without a miracle, he would certainly be cut in twain.