A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 179

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 179. Evolution (3)



The spell  took the form of a small  storm as it swept through everything  in  its  path  towards  the  homunculus.   The  stone pillars and floors were disintegrated and scattered by the sharp wind.




But even as she took the spell  head-on, the homunculus only received light scratches across her skin.




Desir’s   forehead   crumpled   in   dismay.   It   wasn’t   just   the homunculus’s defense was terrifying.




‘… She isn’t fighting back?’




The homunculus had yet to move even an inch. All the while, she had continued to gather mana and imbue it into herself.




Desir had figured out the homunculus’s intention.




‘She is going to rely on her defensive ability, and eventually counter-attack with that super-massive spell… if you can even


call such an attack a spell?’




The homunculus was apparently that confident that Desir’s party would be unable to cause her any substantial damage.




These   white   flash   attacks   were   apparently   the   result   of compressing  an  enormous  amount  of  mana  into  a  ball,  and lobbing it at the target like some kind of crude missile.




Desir   measured   the   concentration   of   mana   within   the homunculus. Instantly, he felt the blood drain from his face; the homunculus would likely have the required mana within a few minutes.




‘This is dangerous.’




As  long  as  the  required  amount  of  mana  was  present,  the homunculus was able to circumvent causality and fire off the spell  immediately;  without  the  need  to  calculate,  form,  and invoke  the  spell.  There  was  no  time  left.  Desir  felt  a  sudden sense of urgency in his mind.




“Adjest!”





“Leave it to me.”




[Ice Empress]




The  cold  air  from  the  Center  of  Ice  began  to  converge  on Adjest, sharply lowering the surrounding temperature.  At the same time, her hair was dyed white.




Adjest approached the homunculus in an instant. The physical abilities of Adjest, who had invoked her imagery magic and one of  its  derived  forms,  Ice  Empress,  was  above  the  level  of  a Bishop Class.




[Magic Sword: Ice Wave]




The homunculus grabbed the sword that arced down at her neck, using only her bare hand.




Although her attack had been blocked so simply, there was no agitation visible in Adjest’s expression.


“… … !?”




*Freeze*




The hand of the homunculus, still  grasping the blade, began to freeze. From its left hand to its shoulder, in a mere moment, had frozen solid.




There  was  a  slight  change  in  the  homunculus’s  indifferent face.




The homunculus attempted to seize control of the sword.




But Pram was one step ahead of her.




*Crash*




Pram’s rapier pierced through its frozen arm.




Even though one arm was nearly shattered, the homunculus did not stop preparing to fire its magical attack.





With   a   little   more   patience,   the   white   flash   would   be complete, ready to blow away the entire guerrilla army before it.




However, the chained attack of the Starling Party was more powerful than the homunculus anticipated.




Romantica sniped off the homunculus’s entire left arm, or at least the part of it that Pram had left behind. It didn’t even have a chance to defend itself. As it raised its other arm, the swords of Adjest and Pram smashed into the remaining right arm of the homunculus.




Next up was the neck. Adjest and Pram’s swords, along with Romantica’s rifle, aimed for the neck of the homunculus.




It  was  at  this  point  that  the  movement  of  the  homunculus changed.  Realizing  that  their  combined  attacks  exceeded  her own defense, the homunculus stopped preparing its wide area attack and began to deal with them in earnest.




It   controlled   causality.   Eliminating   the   consequences   of


injury,  she  returned  to  the  state  she  was  in  before  taking  on those attacks.




With  its  arms  restored,  the  homunculus  took  a  step  back, dodged the incoming attacks, and stared at the Starling Party. In the time it took one to blink, she had formed a shining sphere right in front of them.




Desir knew very well what this was.




A mana storm.




An attack that omitted all of the required steps of invoking a spell, and skips right to unleashing a fully formed attack that was more a wave of compressed mana than any normal kind of spell.




This one had far less power than those white flashes that had decimated so much of the Allied Forces’ troops, but it was still not something negligible.




‘I expected you to use that attack.’



In  preparation  for  the  homunculus  using  that  attack,  Desir had been stealthily calculating his own spell  since the start of the  skirmish.   Desir  had  seen  other  homunculus  using  this attack, from his most recent excursion into a Shadow World.




[Flame Storm]




Desir’s   spell   that   had   the   power   of   a   Sixth-Circle   spell completed instantly.




Desir’s   magic   and   the   homunculus’s   mana   storm   were launched at each other at the same time.




*Boooooooom*




There was a deafening explosion; shockwaves spread out in all directions.   The  ceiling  of  the  upper  part  of  the  fortress  in Jormungand,  famous  for  its  robust  construction,  started  to crumble and collapse.




“What  a  shame.  I  would  have  completed  it  in  just  another minute or two.”




As Desir tried to invoke his next spell, a clear, resonant voice came from the dust cloud.




“You are a few times stronger than the greenhorns I’ve been dealing with up until now.”




Desir was greatly embarrassed.




‘It can talk?’




That was amazing.




The homunculus they had faced a hundred years ago was just a mindless monster.




But the agitation only lasted a brief moment.




‘…  The  fact  that  the  monster  in  front  of  us  is  our  most threatening enemy remains unchanged.’


Desir finally invoked the spell he had been preparing.




Something like scales had begun to sprout from both hands of the   homunculus. Mana   at   the   scale   of   a   Seventh-Circle magician, which had only been used in artillery-styled strikes previously, was now being weaponized in its battle against the Starling Party.




‘We’ve achieved the desired outcome of halting its wide-area attacks. All we have to do now is hold out until our allies arrive.’




The   homunculus   kicked   against   the   ground. The   floor hollowed out under the force of that kick. Its speed and range of movement   was   transcendent.   In   a   mere   moment,   it   had massively shortened the distance to Desir.




*Kaaang*




Adjest stood in the way of it. Her sword collided with its fist. Surprisingly, it was Adjest who was pushed back.




She  was  pushed  back,  even  though  she  had  improved  her physical ability to the absolute limits of humanity, through the


use of Ice Empress.




And  that  wasn’t  the  end  of  it.  The  homunculus  kicked  the sword,  then  pivoted  mid-air  and  sent  a  barrage  of  kicks  that would connect with Adjest from top to bottom.




Adjest  read  their  trajectories  and  managed  to  deftly  avoid them.




At  the  moment  it  landed  on  the  ground,  the  homunculus launched another kick towards Adjest’s right side.




Adjest stopped the kick by bringing her sword into a vertical position, and bracing it with her other hand.




The  homunculus  launched  these  devastating  attacks  purely using  the  power  of  her  own  body.  The  sheer  force  it  could produce was simply overwhelming.




A Second-Circle spell  bought a short reprieve.  The top floor had been trashed in no time at all.


Adjest’s  appraisal  of  the  homunculus  could  be  defined  in  a single word.




‘Strong.’




It was incomparably strong in comparison to the homunculus she had fought in the Shadow World.




Come to think of it, the homunculus at that time was just a mere monster with a strong physical  ability.  Therefore, it was enough to dispose of it before it managed to gain experience.




But  in  front  of  her  was  a  homunculus  that  had  mastered human  martial   arts  as  well   as  gained  significant  experience from many battles.  All  the shortcomings of the past had been addressed.




“Ahhhhhh!”




Had the other party members not assisted her, Adjest would have been overpowered by the homunculus in no time at all.


The  strategy  the  Starling  Party  employed  to  deal  with  the homunculus was simple.




Pram and Romantica would assist from the side, while Adjest, who  was  now  the  strongest  member  of  the  party,  faced  the homunculus head on.




And  Desir  would  occasionally  launch  massive  attacks  in  an attempt to over power it.




[Parie Arund]




The  magic  he  developed  was  cleverly  decided  upon  when Desir  was  pondering  the  existence  of  the  homunculus..  The homunculus  had  to  be  controlled  by  a  power  stronger  than itself.  Otherwise, there was nothing stopping it from running wild.




The party’s strategy relied on a clever, yet delicately formed balance.




But that was all it was, in the end. Although Desir’s party was doing well, it was not enough to beat the homunculus.





In order to kill  the homunculus, it was necessary to destroy the   homunculus’s   body   and   force   it   to   use   the   power   of causality,  but  it  was  so  strong  that  they  could  not  do  any significant amount of damage to it.




It  was  a  fight  where  it  seemed  neither  side  had  a  clear advantage.




But Desir remained positive.




‘Of course, as long as we can just hold out, we can still win.’




If  they  dragged  things  out,  the  Western  Guerrilla  Forces would arrive to reinforce them.




Desir calmly attacked the homunculus, trying desperately to analyse and figure out the pattern behind its behavior. Figuring out  why  it  blocks  some  attacks,  defends  against  others,  and ignores the rest. Analyzing what exactly it is thinking.




This  was  Desir’s  forte,  and  although  the  situation  sounded


grim, Desir had a slight advantage. He had received a small hint from Zod about how it responded in face of a power stronger than itself.




Based on the combination of Zod’s hint, his own analysis, as well as copious amounts of practice, contingency plans had been derived.




[-Pram, to the right.]




Desir delivered commands to Pram via communication magic.




*Crack*




Pram’s sword shattered the right half of the homunculus’s rib cage.




Pram’s attack managed to slip through its defenses, since it was in the middle of an exchange with Adjest. The homunculus was simply not able to respond to such a well timed and placed attack.


As expected, the homunculus restored its condition through its control over causality.




Desir’s instructions continued.




[-Adjest, frontal transverse cut.]




He  calmly  grasped  the  behavior  of  the  homunculus.   The homunculus had no choice but to continue restoring its body, relying on its innate ability to meddle with causality.




The rate at which the homunculus was forced to invoke its power over causality was growing faster and faster.




The  flow  of  attacks  from  the  Starling  Party  also  became smoother and smoother.  What started off as an unsteady and undignified  reactionary  cooperation  had  gained  a  deadly  and devastating rhythm.




Pram’s sword cut the homunculus’s shoulder again.




“… … … ”





The homunculus was trying to say something.




The mouth that drew the outline of words, moved incredibly slowly. They couldn’t hear it too well, since it used such a small voice,  almost  muttering.  All   of  the  Starling  Party  members stopped moving and watched the homunculus.  The tension in the air increased as it slowly mouthed additional words.




“… time to take one of them out… ”




Adjest began to recite what few words she lip read.




The Starling Party felt a brief sensation, as if time slowed to a crawl.




And…




*Clink*




The  defense  capacity  of  their  Clothes  Lines  was  instantly


halved.  At  the  same  time,  Pram’s  little  body  was  unnaturally lifted into the air. Before the Starling Party could comprehend the situation, Pram was forcibly launched through the air.  His body  skipped  across  the  floor  like  a  rock  and  plunged  deeply into the wall behind him.






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