A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 181

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 181. Evolution (5).



The floor was covered in pools of half-melted ice.  The floor and pillars bore the traces of fierce fighting.




At  the  very  center  of  the  room  stood  the  homunculus.  She looked at Desir, who defiantly stood before her, the corners of her mouth pulled back into a sneer.




‘This was definitely a tricky opponent.’




The only other time she had consumed this much mana in a battle was when she faced off against Zod Exarion. The Starling Party had thoroughly analyzed her patterns of attack, and had adapted superbly throughout the battle.




Being   pressured   to   continue   using   her   ability   to   control causality, her weakness had been exposed.  While it may seem like she had infinite mana, this was not the case. Had it not been for ‘that ability’, she would have most assuredly been defeated.




‘But no matter how hard they try, it’s impossible for a human to figure out how it works.’





The homunculus was convinced that her ability could not be comprehended by mere mortals.




This conviction was grounded in reality.




It  was  the  sole  reason  behind  the  creation  of  homunculus, requiring  research  that  consumed  immeasurable  quantities  of rare  material  as  well  as  eons  of  research.  Their  true  purpose could  only  be  realized  after  gaining  a  precious  ability,  a  sub-ability only available to those that could manipulate causality.




She   was   certain   there   was   no   human   alive   that   could understand  even  a  fraction  of  her  power.  It  was  certainly  a power far beyond the level of technology in the present era.




‘I’ve won.’




For this reason, the homunculus was confident in her certain victory.




The  dominance  of  the  homunculus  was  obvious.  All  of  the


Starling Party’s front line fighting force had been neutralized. The remaining members had no way to respond to close-range combat.




Just as the homunculus stopped internally gloating, and lifted her left leg to sprint toward Desir…




A spell was instantly aimed and invoked at her.




[Wind Blast]




A  bullet  of  wind  pierced  towards  the  homunculus.  Since  it wasn’t a powerful  spell, the homunculus chose not to avoid it and simply crossed her arms in defence.




But before she could react, another spell was invoked.




[Pierce of a Thousand Wings]




Romantica  had  once  again  instantly  invoked  another  spell, aimed at holding the homunculus in position.



This spell  resembled that of a bird with a thousand wings. It had  no  blind  spot  and  descended  on  the  homunculus  from above.




[Wonder Twilight]




This time it was Desir’s turn.




Then Romantica’s.




They   continuously   unleashed   a   barrage   of   magic   on   the homunculus.




With the uninterrupted chain of attacks, no matter how hard the body of homunculus may be, it would be hit hard enough that   it   would   have   to   restore   itself   using   its   power   over causality.




‘I could ignore this attack and close the distance with him, but… ’


The   homunculus   had   used   this   kind   of   tactic   when   she overpowered Adjest and Pram. Simply restoring her body with the power over causality when required.




But at this time, such a strategy could not be used hastily.




‘I don’t have much mana left… ’




The  homunculus  had  relied  on  her  ability  to  manipulate causality a considerable number of times, buying time until she found an opportunity to overpower Adjest and Pram.




She  had  also  used  ‘that  ability’  three  times.   That  ability transcended all  concepts of power, but required an enormous amount  of  mana  to  pull  it  off.  If  she  acted  hastily  here,  her consumption would greatly exceed what she would be capable of recovering.




If she allowed her mana to be exhausted, she would definitely be killed.




For  these  reasons,  the  homunculus  did  not  rush  out,  but stepped back and waited for an opportunity.





[Avarosa Storm]




[Wind Bullet]




But Desir and Romantica’s continuous chain of spells didn’t show any signs of ending.




*Crack*




As a result of the non-stop barrage of spells from those two, the Jormungand Citadel started to disintegrate.




Looking at their indistinct figures amongst the rising plumes of dust, the homunculus smiled.




‘Are they trying to kill themselves?’




Desir and Romantica seemed to have gone berserk and were spending  all  of  their  mana  to  cause  as  much  destruction  as possible.




*Boom*




*Boooom*




The sound of explosions rung out constantly.




There  was  no  chance  of  them  winning  a  close-range  battle with the homunculus, so they were attempting to block its path to reach them.




However,  the  homunculus  would  not  stand  idly  by  and  let their strategy go as planned. While she was desperately trying to limit mana consumption, it wasn’t as though she had completely run out yet.  She could still  recover her body a few more times.




‘Are they just struggling out of desperation… ?’




It was clear that the situation was growing more and more advantageous for the homunculus, even if she did nothing.


‘But they’re really lucky.’




She had sensed the approaching movement of something.




The Eastern Guerrilla Force.




They  had  just  emerged  victorious  after  battle  against  Crow Mask’s men.  Under these circumstances, if they were to reach her, it would be difficult to even retreat.




Before they found the opportunity to entrap her, she had to get rid of Desir and flee.




‘Worry about the amount of mana, but with ‘that ability’, I can win before my mana runs out.’




With   new-found   determination,   the   homunculus   dashed forward.




Soon after, attacks from Desir and Romantica, attempting to block   the   homunculus's   approach,   washed   over   her   like   a tsunami.





*Boom*




*Crash*




She  focussed  all  of  her  effort  into  moving  faster,  without bothering to defend at all. One of Desir’s spells hit her and her neck  snapped.  Romantica  launched  many  precise  shots  that destroyed her arms, knees, and even large chunks of her torso.




But the homunculus just smiled.




She had already invoked her ability.




An ability that no one else could recognize.




And the world changed. Beyond recognition.




Her body, that was in full flight towards Desir, disappeared.


And   in   its   place,   in   this   unrecognisable   world,   was   the homunculus in full condition.




The homunculus took steady steps and approached Desir.




Desir did not react in the slightest.




There was no defensive magic in sight.




Not even a trace of that spell  he seemed to be able to invoke through pure muscle memory.




‘It’s over.’




The human body, without any form of defense, and without the ability to act, was an incredibly weak object.




The homunculus reached out towards Desir’s heart. Suddenly, the   homunculus   could   feel   all   of   the   mana   in   his   body circulating.


[Parie Arund]




*Splash*




The  homunculus’s  body  exploded  without  a  single  piece  of flesh remaining. It splashed in all directions.




Utterly decimated. There was not a single recognisable chunk remaining.




The forces of causality began to twist and bend around the homunculus.




Again,   the   homunculus   returned   to   her   best   condition. Immediately after, the homunculus kicked against the ground.




As   if   nothing   had   happened,   she   withdrew   from   Desir. Romantica continued sniping at the now stationary homunculus. The homunculus was overwhelmed with emotion and didn’t even bother dodging.




‘What the hell happened?’





The pupils of the homunculus shook violently.




Her face was frozen into an expression of pure astonishment.




For the first time in its life, it was strongly agitated.




‘What  happened?  What  was  going  on?  What  was  it?  What happened? What, how… how?’




By  using  her  ability,  she  had  guaranteed  invincibility  and would be able to reap the life of any foolish being that dared stand   against   her.   For   someone   to   be   able   to   react   was fundamentally impossible… even if they knew how her ability worked and could anticipate where they would move and what they would do.




‘It’s a coincidence.’




It must still be their last struggle. Somehow, they were able to recognize  the  moment  right  before  she  used  the  ability,  and implemented some kind of delayed defence.




This was her special power. The one thing that she could do, that  guaranteed  utter  dominance.   Something  that  no  other human could come close to replicating.




This was her last resort, a trump card.  A fool-proof way of coming  out  on  top  of  any  battle,  no  matter  how  strong  the enemy was.




She couldn’t accept this miserable feeling.




Thus, it was dismissed as a coincidence.




Thinking   that   they   were   somehow   extremely   lucky,   and managed  to  somehow  hit  her,  she  reached  the  only  logical conclusion and assuaged her doubt.




“You-You were extremely lucky. But next time, I’ll really end you.”




Desir was still.  He rubbed his palm against the blood of the homunculus that had splattered onto his clothes.




Red blood, just like his.




Desir looked at his enemy, who had incapacitated two of his colleagues, with very cold eyes.




“No luck, I’m afraid. After that attack, I’m now certain about how your ability works.”




“Lies.”




The homunculus strongly denied his assertion.




She had no choice but to deny it.




Desir voiced it, even though he knew she would deny it.  He still  chose to do it, knowing that it would inflict more damage than any of the spells he had cast so far. A kind of damage that could not easily be restored.




The homunculus continued to deny his words, re-positioned herself, and readied to charge.





Desir Arman had grasped the ability of the homunculus.  He had   worked   it   out,   step-by-step,   using   the   meagre   hints presented as well  as the pool  of knowledge he had assembled after beating two of these abominations.




He  first  focused  on  identifying  the  limit  of  her  ability.  No matter how absolute it may seem to be, there would always be weaknesses in any given technique.




‘First of all, the homunculus’s abilities are not invincible.’




The proof of that, was in the fact that the use of them still hadn’t brought about the results that the homunculus wanted. Desir was still  alive, and she was unable to deal  with him in a single blow.




‘The range of its ability is limited to that of a conventional impairment recovery spell.’




And there was another thing.


When the homunculus and Desir fell downstairs, there was a time when Desir had used [Prarie Arund] to destroy the body of homunculus. The blood that had splashed onto Desir from that explosion disappeared after it used its sinister ability.




In  comparison  to  when  it  restored  itself  by  meddling  with causality, instead of the result of an action being erased, it was as  if  the  action  itself  had  never  occurred.   It  was  a  subtle difference, but this was the key to understanding her ability.




These two pieces of analysis were enough to allow Desir to reach a preliminary conclusion.




‘The homunculus can return to the past, briefly.’




It  was  a  ridiculous  conclusion.  Utterly  dumbfounding  that anyone could believe such nonsense; however he couldn’t figure out any other way it could achieve what he had witnessed three times now.




Ruling out the logical, all that remained was the illogical.




Armed   with   this   knowledge,   the   impossible   had   become


possible.




‘If we know what its abilities are, we can formulate a counter.’




The final  piece of evidence to confirm his theory had fallen into place as a result of the measures he had taken when they re-engaged the homunculus after Adjest was incapacitated.




Desir had instructed Romantica to use her magic to cause as much damage to the room as possible, regardless of whether she hit the homunculus or not. She used wind magic to shatter and collapse the supporting columns and walls as much as possible and Desir did so as well.  As a result, the room was filled with stone powder.




The attack trajectory of the homunculus had become visible.




When the homunculus finally leapt towards Desir, he put all of  his  concentration  into  following  that  trajectory.  When  the homunculus   invoked   its   ability,   he   saw   how   its   trajectory suddenly shifted and looked completely different to what he had been tracking just a second ago.


With the three pieces of evidence, Desir was now confident in his analysis of the homunculus’s ability.




‘The homunculus can definitely move within the past, for at least five seconds.’




That  is,  the  homunculus  can  return  to  the  past,  dodge  any spells  she  was  hit  by,  and  then  have  free  reign  to  close  the distance and nimbly kill her opponent.




After doing so, it will  seem as if she has instantly moved, as well as instantly been restored to her perfect state.




As Desir felt assured in his analysis of the situation, he began to   feel time   slow   down   again. He   started   preemptively circulating his mana, readying himself to cast a spell.




This  was  presumably  the  feeling  of  experiencing  the  past changed   by   the   homunculus,   being   superimposed   onto   his reality.




As  a  result  of  this  time  distortion,  a  trail  would  instantly appear in the dust, revealing a movement pattern different to


the one Desir had tracked.




‘It’s only visible for a single moment.’




The single moment when the changed past would overwrite reality.  That  was  the  only  opportunity  he  had  to  respond  to whatever changes the homunculus made.




The movement in dust would reveal five seconds of movement all at once.




Based on this, he could analyse and invert the behavior of the homunculus.  He  had  to  find  out  what  part  of  the  past  the homunculus had changed.




He focused his all, anticipating the moment when the past and present would join, dictating how the homunculus would move and act.




Desir  heightened  his  concentration  to  a  level  he  had  never reached before. Based on the speed he was processing everything  around  himself,  there  was  no  difference  in  time between perception and conclusion.





*Snap*




He figured out the location within the instant.




And Desir, within that instant, invoked a spell he only needed a moment to develop.




[Flame Storm]






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