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Episode 108 – Rhur’s greatest fear
The day of the practical exams is finally here and Kiel is inside a large arena created by the Replica Dungeon. Nelaira tricks Deora into attacking the Rroda brothers, and Deora ends up pursuing Kiel with a barrage of fireb.a.l.l.s. Kiel runs away, dodging the fireb.a.l.l.s, however, Deora manages to hit him with an explosive airball. Kiel loses his consciousness and remembers how he got trapped inside the burning house as a child. After waking up he gets into a life and death situation that makes him overcome his fear of fire and launch a counter attack on Deora. He manages to poison Deora, knocking him out of the compet.i.tion. Seeing Kiel win his fight, Rhur finished Nelaira off in a fit of rage.
Initially, Rhur intended to drag out the fight until Kiel’s fight was over, and then finish Nelaira off with an onslaught of razorblood petals. He was saving his trump cards for his battle with Zor.
However, after seeing Kiel’s fight, in a fit of rage, he changed his mind, revealing both his magic specialty…
…and his divine artifact.
Rhur Rroda, as the Rroda family heir, had been given one of the spa.r.s.e mana purifying artifacts Rroda family possessed as soon as he mastered using Augmentation magic.
After tinkering with Trans.m.u.tation magic for a while, Rhur Rroda finally managed to find a magic which suited him the best – conjuring electricity.
Usually, although Trans.m.u.tation magic could be used to conjure the elements, its usage in battle was rather limited, for elibu couldn’t “move” the conjured elements, they could only Morph them around.
However, for Rhur, who could use acceleration magic to control the movement of the conjured elements, the result was a force to be reckoned with.
Since particles of light and electricity were the lightest, they could reach the highest movement speed, and as such, Lightning and Light attacks were the fastest.
Rhur Rroda took that speed even further, trading attack power for casting speed, managing to reach almost instantaneous casting, which made his lightning near impossible to dodge.
His speedy lightning attacks caused little direct damage, however, they were very painful and disruptive to his opponent.
And this disruptiveness perfectly complemented Rhur’s one-shot-kill battle style.
Rhur Rroda was a person who caused a lot of controversies, however, no matter how much the people’s opinions of him varied, there was one thing everyone agreed on – Rhur Rroda had high battle capabilities.
In fact, the only reason why he didn’t get full points in his practical exam one year ago, was because he was unlucky enough to run into an opponent who perfectly countered him.
His opponent had specialized in impregnable defense, rendering all Rhur’s attacks ineffective. If he had been given enough time, Rhur would certainly have found a way to break through the defense. Unfortunately, when he finally clashed with the tricky fellow, the time remaining in the hourgla.s.s was not enough for him to turn the situation around.
* * *
After Deora and Nelaira had gotten knocked out of the compet.i.tion, there were only three partic.i.p.ants left on the battlefield.
Zor Arite, who was still sitting leisurely with his eyes closed, seemingly completely disinterested in this exam.
Rhur Rroda, who swiped his sword left and right to clean off Nelaira’s blood.
And Kiel, who flipped himself to lie on his back and rigidly attempted to search his pockets for a recovery ointment he regularly used in his martial arts practice to alleviate pain and accelerate recovery.
Regretfully, let alone pockets, there weren’t any pouches or bags left on him. Everything, but a single empty pocket on his pants, had been incinerated.
All that Kiel could do was to glare at Deora’s awkward unconscious figure and curse him internally.
The entire time, he continued clutching Elaru’s magic egg tightly, prepared to activate it at a moment’s notice, in case Zor or Rhur made a move.
However, it seemed that his worry was unfounded, for neither of the two acted out against him.
Rhur, after sheathing his sword, made his way towards Kiel at a leisurely pace. His face that had been chilling a second ago turned warm and caring, which in Kiel’s eyes was even more hair raising than his previous dangerous air.
“Brother, are you alright?” Rhur’s worried voice reached Kiel’s ears, then it abruptly turned self-deprecating. “What a silly question, of course you aren’t alright! Look at the miserable state you are in. It is all my fault!”
Kiel’s facial muscles twitched. He was trying his hardest not to reveal the murderous hate he currently felt. Shameless!!
Rhur sighed sadly, seemingly oblivious to the murderous intentions of his little brother. “If I had known you wouldn’t be able to handle the ginger, I would have taken it upon myself to… ai! Now it is too late…”
Kiel could no longer stop himself from giving Rhur a hateful glare. This brother of his was simply a master of adding insult to injury!
Rhur covered his mouth with his hand, his facial expression revealing nothing but pain and sympathy. “Don’t give me that pitiful look… seeing you like this really hurts my heart, little brother.”
Kiel continued to glare at him wordlessly.
Rhur sighed regretfully once again. “I know you are worried about me and wish nothing more than to help me take care of this battle. No need to worry! I will manage. Hurry up and forfeit. You are in no state to continue this battle.”
“Are you done talking yet?” Kiel growled out in a hoa.r.s.e voice deeper than his usual tone.
Rhur smiled wryly as if he had failed in coaxing a child.
“If you are done, then either fight me, help me or get lost. I have no patience to listen to your bogus show of sympathy.” Kiel hissed under his breath.
Rhur’s face stiffened. What? You are not even going to pretend to be polite? You must be in a worse state than I thought!
“Eeeh?! You want me to give you a hand and end your misery?” Rhur put a hand to his ear as if he had trouble hearing Kiel’s weak voice.
Like **** I want that!! The vein on Kiel’s forehead started pulsing. “Don’t even think about it!”
“I know what you are asking of me… but little brother! I… I just can’t bear to hurt you!” Rhur’s voice quivered.
Kiel felt like puking blood. If this brother of his didn’t kill him with his sword, he certainly would with his words.
Rhur gave Kiel several more glances, looking truly heartbroken to see Kiel in such dire straits. Then he seemed to hesitate a bit, unsure what to do.
Kiel thought that Rhur was probably wondering whether he should just kill him and pa.s.s it off as showing mercy.
However, in reality, Rhur’s thoughts were going in a totally different direction. He suddenly realized that his thinking was incredibly stupid – killing Kiel now would indeed be showing him mercy!
That would be too easy!
He should suffer more.
And thus, Rhur was hesitating about how he should go about making Kiel suffer more.
After several seconds of hesitation, Rhur pulled out a box of high-quality recovery ointment from his pocket.
“Here, let me apply ointment for you, little brother.”
Kiel’s eyes widened. Son of a…! He wants to torment me by “gently” applying ointment! You s.a.d.i.s.tic ****!
Cold sweat dripped down the side of Kiel’s head. “No! That’s fine. I can do it myself.”
“No, let me. Look at how painful it is for you to move!”
Rhur’s vicious hands were approaching Kiel steadily.
Wait…! This is just a Replica! That means I can use my trump card without holding back! Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. “Dear brother, if anyone saw how much you want to rub ointment on another male… people will start to talk…”
Rhur’s actions completely froze, and he stood there petrified for a long while.
Finally, he threw the box of ointment towards Kiel and grudgingly turned away. His eyebrow twitching the entire time.
Kiel let out a breath of relief he didn’t know he was holding.
Indeed, this secret move was always super effective.
Rhur knew Kiel feared flames, however, in turn, Kiel knew that Rhur’s greatest fear was to be mistaken as gay.
Imagine how horrifying it would be for any straight male to be pursued by countless other males while being unable to bang a single girl. And then imagine just how many times worse it would be for a playboy like Rhur.
It was simply the stuff of nightmares.
Although Kiel had this “secret move” in his a.r.s.enal, he had to use it sparingly, only when he had no other choice, because if he used it too often, Rhur would pick up on it and find a way to counter it. Luckily, this was only a Replica of Rhur so using this move wouldn’t lower the number of times he could use it against the real Rhur.
After settling the impending crisis, Kiel looked down at the ointment Rhur had given him. As expected of a Rroda heir – it was the best kind of ointment money could buy. Not only did it soothe the skin and alleviate pain, but it would also rapidly heal any skin and muscle damage.
In fact, the recovery effect was so strong that the only reason why it wasn’t banned from usage in warlock battles was because it came in the form of an ointment. And applying ointment in battle without dying was very difficult. Not only would one need to use his hands to apply it but it also took considerable time.
The usage of medicine in battles was a controversial topic. Not allowing the usage of medicine would by extension forbid the usage of poison. However, in real life battles, poison held an important role, especially when apprehending criminals without causing them serious harm. Banning the usage of poison would severely limit the battle tactic employable by warlocks and would encourage raw power battles over clever battle tactics.
Therefore, Muni decided to allow the usage of poison in exams. However, since they allowed the usage of poison, then that meant that they couldn’t completely prohibit the usage of medicine either. It would be like allowing the usage of swords but forbidding shields.
However, if they completely allowed the usage of medicine, then there would be people who would bring powerful healing items that would allow them to quickly recover from the brink of death, which would give them an unfair advantage in Muni exams.
The exams would then turn from a test of skill into a battle of who has more resources, with “undying” people trading blows for blows.
In the end, Muni decided to permit and prohibit the same list of medicines as the Arena.
This list was long, and it wasn’t something Kiel remembered by heart, however, there were some easy to remember rules that he did recall. One of those was that all ointments were allowed.
Kiel hesitated only for a moment before deciding to apply Rhur’s ointment. Surely, Rhur wouldn’t go as far as to poison the ointment? This was expensive stuff, poisoning it would be wasteful even for Rhur. Not to mention that poisoning his own little brother in Muni exams would definitely make it into the ways-to-p.i.s.s-Venric-Rroda-off list. Rhur wouldn’t be stupid enough to do something that would infuriate Venric.
Kiel’s eyes rested on Rhur’s back for a moment, before starting to apply ointment to every inch of his skin. As soon as the ointment touched his skin, a comfortable, cooling sensation spread through his skin and muscles, alleviating his pain.
It took Kiel several minutes to fully apply the ointment. During this time, neither Zor nor Rhur made any moves to stop him. In fact, Zor didn’t even look at him.
Rhur’s lack of hostile actions didn’t surprise Kiel. If he had intended to kill him off, he wouldn’t have given him a recovery item.
The thought was depressing, but Rhur probably didn’t find Kiel as a threat. He probably thought that he could take him out easily, with or without a previous injury. Therefore, his action of giving Kiel ointment would only bring benefits to Rhur. Not only would he be able to use Kiel to probe Zor, but he would also gain a reputation of a kind older brother and a just individual who wants a fair and square fight. Both Alaric and Venric Rroda would be pleased by his behavior.
After applying the ointment, Kiel looked at the hourgla.s.s and decided to wait until his injuries recovered. Waiting until he was back to perfect condition would increase his chances of staying alive. And besides, the previous battles had taken less than 15 minutes. He had enough time to wait.
“Are you feeling better, little brother?” Rhur spoke up. “Let’s talk about how we will take care of the Arite.” He tilted his head towards Zor. “What does your D.I. report say?”
Kiel stayed silent for several seconds before replying. “My report says that he is proficient in all kinds of different magic spells, making his battle style… unpredictable. However, as proven by the decapitated fellow, the most dangerous of his abilities is his spatial magic.”
Coming up in the next episode:
Whatever Trans.m.u.tation and Augmentation magic could do, Arcane magic could do better.
As soon as Kiel mentioned spatial magic, Rhur’s eyes widened in realization. “Ah! So back then, when he decapitated the poor sod, he used an invisible spatial blade!”
If Elaru were here, she would be able to use her Aethernea of Sight to see the spatial blade, but he couldn’t do the same.
“Well yes, but since he can conceal magic, what is to say that this whole arena isn’t filled with concealed teleport points?”
The aura that a.s.saulted them was terrifying. It was an imposing aura of an emperor, crushing all beneath his feet.
His eyes were in the middle of narrowing when abruptly his diamond shaped pupils dilated in shock. Imperceptibly, his concealed spell changed its form, from attack to defense.
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