14 He“s a Wizard Part V : Victory
The black clouds had covered the azure, preventing the light of the sun to reach the ground as the sky was shedding tears of melancholy. One would go deep in dejection while looking at this dark and dim image. Every drop of rain which hit the ground would make anyone depressed by its sound, letting nothing but sadness and oppression be felt in that time. The darkness was dominant over the atmosphere; even a brave heart would capitulate in such a dispirited situation as the gloom could dishearten any bravery.
However, up in the sky where the darkness appeared to be ruling over the space, a splendent light was shining magnificently as though it could blind any evil creature who dared to look at such a brilliance.
Two human bodies could be seen by getting closer to this dazzling light, standing straight in the sky as though there existed an invisible floor under their feet. One possessed an antiquated robe as the other one was wearing a cassock.
The brightness belonged to the second man — the priest — who had also wielded a majestic spear. Nevertheless, the other person wasn't barehanded at that moment, as he was holding a grimy sword with his fist. The absence of lightness in his aura implied that nothing except dark and improbity existed in his diabolical character.
It wasn't the lightning which was brightening the clouded sky in that time; something else seemed to be the source of this blinding light, the priest. The waves of effulgence would, without doubt, lighten the atmosphere with their brightness.
Furthermore, the person who had stood before him was a source for another element, the darkness. Although the air had become shadowed by the enormous clouds, the effects of this existence appeared to be significant, deliberately swallowing the weakened luminosity of the sun.
As the presence of both shadow and glow was being intensified by those two individuals, they shouted with an ear-splitting tone: "Light of Essence!" "Darkness of Night!"
Immense waves of light started to shine through the air as an unprecedented monumental blackness began to overwhelm any light which existed right then. The clash of brilliance and sheer nigritude conquered the space with greatness. None of them looked to be predominant as both of those forces failed to overcome each other.
The pressure of air had become much more intense than before, making it laborious to breathe for anyone near that place — even for these two men who had possessed a great amount of energy around themselves.
This load gradually lost its effectiveness over time, a result coming from the encounter of those two great and opposing forces. They had been completely neutralized by the time that no distinguished presence could be identified.
The expression on their face showed a considerable measure of fatigue and exhaustion — due to releasing such a tremendous mass of energy at the enemy. They both were gasping heavily for breath, still staring at their opponent with all attention.
"Hey... hey... you're truly tough. Apparently, you weren't just acting."
"Same goes for you, wizard."
"Oh my god, I put all of my strength into that attack, what should I do now?" the person with that blue cloak sighed. Unlike what he had mentioned, no concern or worry was visible on his look; instead, a wicked smile could be seen.
"You liar!" the priest suddenly exclaimed, "show respect and stop being flippant, or else, you might lose your life in an instant."
"Heh, don't tell me you actually care about me."
"Why should I have any kind of sympathy for you, evil?"
"Well... well... you held back, didn't you?"
"I didn't. Your power is remarkably terrifying, I don't know what to do about it..." the priest surprisingly taunted.
"And see who's talking about 'respect', you liar!"
"Enough! Tell me, how do you want me to finish you? Even corrupted minds like you deserve to choose their own way to die."
"Huh, just look at yourself, you're worn out. Just how do you want to finish me off like this?"
"It's also true about you, plus I have the presence of God behind my back; you have no support from the divinity."
"So... does that divine support make you stronger?"
"I see... there's only one thing which is more pleasurable than the existence of a stronger opponent, and it's defeating him by crushing his pride!"
"Be aware of your arrogance, wizard! It may first crush yourself!"
He — the priest — unexpectedly charged at the wizard after shouting those words at the enemy, readying his lance by bringing it forward to strike him with it. The conversation had provided enough time for him to reinvigorate the required energy for this attack. Moreover, his opponent also had regained the needed strength for blocking his charge, evading it by swinging his sword and stopping the imminent danger with restricting the weapon to come any closer.
The clash of his spear — that was ostentatiously created to attract the sights to its brilliance — against the wizard's darksome sword caused a strong blow in the air. The strenuous effort which they put into overcoming their foe by thrusting their weapon was undoubtedly praiseworthy.
The wizard sent the spear aside, driving the blade upward with one potent push. The priest, however, tried to avoid it by a quick sidestep. Another great thrust was waiting for him, as the edges of that sword began to follow his movements simultaneously, leaving no choice for him but to pull back again.
The clanks of sword and spear had overwhelmed the strident sound of rain and thunderbolts, coming one after another while spreading the surrounding raindrops away by their impact. Even with all of their efforts, none of them had been injured by the opposing side. Nonetheless, the gap which existed between these two individuals started to become more obvious by the passage of time.
The priest appeared to be superior over the other man, putting less effort into evading the enemy's attacks while giving more powerful thrusts with his spear.
"What's wrong? You seem exhausted!" the priest provoked as he continued his strikes.
"Don't get full of yourself!" the wizard immediately responded with a shout, swinging his sword with using much more force than before.
It didn't take a while for them to start gasping for breath once again as they expanded the distance between themselves by stepping back in the air.
"Hey, it's not going to end like this. Show me your real power, paladin!"
"What're you talking about? I'm fighting with all of my strength!"
"What?! Is this all you can do 'with all of your strength'? Damn, I'm too disappointed; to think the ten legendary paladins are this much ordinary..."
"Don't talk big! You already know what's waiting for you, I'm the victor of this battle!"
"Hey, hey! I was just joking, you're truly powerful! Even though you had been under the effect of this rain for just a short time, I've still obtained this much of energy from you, and of course from your friends!"
"W-what are you talking about?"
"See... I think I told you about this 'Spell', didn't I? 'Every single drop which hits you and your friends, it drains your power by a little', don't you remember this?"
"Now tell me, where do you think that drained power go?"
"—You're stealing our energy? Don't you have any honor as a warrior?" he gnashed his teeth in rage, glaring at the wizard with widened eyes.
"If you're truly a warrior, you shall do whatever you can to defeat your enemy. Don't you think so?"
"No! You've sold your soul to Devil as you've lost your honor!"
"Huh, just look at your friends down there. Is mobilizing all of these priests against one person something you call honorable?"
The paladin didn't have an answer for those words; therefore, he became silent while keeping his furious look.
♦ ♦ ♦
He didn't expect that. As one of the three strongest paladins, Erben would be considered as one of the secret weapons of the Church. So, everyone who was able to be a match against him just couldn't be a normal man. And now Erben was fighting against Yuma Takahashi, a mere wizard who appeared to be on a par with him — one of the Paladins.
Even though they had brought over 10,000 priests to defeat this wizard, nobody would be surprised if he could make it through by beating all of them; however, winning against Erben was something which no one would expect at that time. He was a paladin, after all.
No matter how much he tried, it was pointless; no injury or any effect could be seen on Yuma's body. He was fast enough to avoid Erben's strikes, easily dodging them by quickly moving around. Yuma's attacks could be handled, though with putting a great effort into it.
Something wasn't right; he could see it. The moment he engaged in this combat, Erben felt a significant weakness striking his body and mind; for him, it would be plain to understand his attacks no longer had the usual impact on the enemy, as he had been fighting with Yuma until then.
With referring to his early recollections — of those priests — and hearing the words of the wizard, Erben understood the source of his weakness — this rain. How could he be this much careless? No, how could he have known about it? The information about the Wizards and their Spells — which had been gained by the Church in all of these years — was truly slight to be considered a useful source about the enemy's powers. Consequently, it wasn't Erben's carelessness which had led them to this situation.
Incidentally, bringing all of these men made everything worse; Yuma had drained their energies too by using a spell called [Rain of Sorrow]. Hence, whatever Zeatser had in mind when he suggested to send them alongside Erben, it came out to be significantly wrong as the wizard had turned the tables on them by using their own strength.
This spell sounded so overpowered; to even think a wizard can take your power and absorb it for himself, crushing you by using your own might. Besieging him with all of these forces was the most stupid thing in the world when one understood about the existence of this ability; more enemies meant more lost powers and it would make everything harder for Erben.
—Damn it! I knew bringing this army is wrong. Zeatser, I blame you! But, it's good that I told them about it; by using [Protection Aura] no further energy would be absorbed. Still, we weren't under this rain for a long time; how much force have we lost? No, it's impossible to say. If we just had more information...
Another thought abruptly came to Erben's mind as he concomitantly tried to not lose his focus on his foe.
—Why should he tell me about it? Does this mean there's also something else behind this ability which he doesn't want me to know? Is it another distraction? I can't trust words which come from my enemy, but how am I supposed to understand his powers then? Also, there should be a weakness behind this; maybe he's hiding it from me? Or is it possible that he's buying time for performing a hidden ability which is specified to this 'Rain of Sorrow'? We, paladins, also need time during some prayers; is it the same for the Wizards?
Erben didn't express words in that time, staying quiet while looking furiously at Yuma; notwithstanding, there existed many unanswered questions and ideas inside of him about his opponent.
"[Rain of Sorrow: Chains of Affliction]"
Yuma Takahashi was the source of these words — which had been said all of a sudden. However, this voice didn't just fill the depressed air with mere sound waves. The falling raindrops began to gather and form a series of connected links — thoroughly made of water — around Erben's body, fastening him in his place and making it impossible for him to budge even an inch.
Everything happened so suddenly and unexpectedly that Erben could do nothing but to put a shocked expression.
"W-what is this?"
"You seem surprised, again! Well, now you can't move!"
"What have you done, wizard!"
"Me? I've done nothing. You should blame yourself. Those are the chains of your crimes, your 'sins'."
"—What... what do you mean?"
"Sadness and sorrow, grief and gloom, our world is filled with those pains. You take the others' happiness to fulfill your desires with it, use it against the people who truly own them; those chains are made of the sorrow which you've forced the others to experience. That's the true power of [Rain of Sorrow]. The more you're powerful, the more you'll be damaged by this spell."
The elegant resplendence of the paladin's spear began to become negligible compared to the grand brilliance of the light that came into sight through the links of water which had chained every inch of his body meticulously.
"Your name was Erben Whisperwinds, right? Then, I shall remember you as a warrior who fought with honor... and died by his own power."
The sparkling blaze dazzled the atmosphere with shining glows, conquering the dark sky with the lightness of its radiance. The incredible energy which belonged to one of the 3 strongest paladins, Erben Whisperwinds, was flowing inside of those chains that had entirely encompassed him.
This energy had no place to go but to return to its owner, burning him from inside while lightening the dim surroundings.
"You were a tough opponent, paladin; now..." Yuma mumbled as he subsequently closed his eyes, "Burn by your own fire!"