A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 278

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 278. Collapse (4)



The teleportation gate did not open.




“That won’t work, Desir. The Tower’s gate was destroyed.”




Hephaestus spoke forlornly towards the bewildered Desir.




“And even if you could get there, it wouldn’t help at all.”




“What does that mean?”




Desir’s voice was laced with a sharp edge.




Hephaestus explained, taking a gulp even though his mouth had completely dried out.




“I was getting to that, before you ran off. Desir, the enemy has artifacts that limit the movement of mana. Because of that, all of the magicians were left powerless.”



Desir recalled having encountered such artifacts before. Leonhardt Palace, where the Emperor of the Hebrion Empire lived.




Having been within an anti-magic field before, he was well aware of how helpless the situation must have felt. Just as a knight cared for their equipment, or a blacksmith valued their forge, magicians had a very personal connection with the mana around them. The mana in the atmosphere felt like a second skin or a third arm; something that had always been there since birth, something that was a conscious part of their being. Having the continuous stream suddenly sputter to a stop and solidify in the air was something that would shake any mage to their core. The more powerful the mage, the deeper their connection. It was not an experience that was easy to forget.




If the enemy had an artifact that had similar functionality, their defeat was understandable. The mages would have been reduced to infants and the magical defenses would have been rendered useless.




“Then why is the Tower Master still there?”




Zod was still a wizard. Great Sage or not, if their mana usage


had been restricted, Zod was no different than any other human.




"Someone had to stay and protect the gate to prevent the enemy’s pursuit. And the Tower Master took that role… ”




“Why… ?”




Desir was angry and stopped talking. Because he knew why.




He was sure that Zod would have volunteered to play the role.




“Who the hell is our enemy?”




Who the hell had artifacts stronger than the Hebrion royal family, and why would they want to attack the Magic Tower?




Various speculations passed through his mind in a short span of time.




“The enemy is… ”





Hephaestus began to answer in a somber voice.




As he continued, Desir’s expression paled.




* * *




An ear-splitting roar, shrieks, and groans mingled throughout Altea.




The source came from a tower, one high enough that it pierced the sky. Debris plummeted towards the surface as the Magic Tower, beloved by all magicians, collapsed.




*Boom*




*Boom*




The explosions showed no sign of ending.


Over and over again the sky was illuminated as a result of the flashes and the explosions devouring the surrounding buildings.




At the scene of the explosion, Zod was breathing heavily.




He felt simultaneously invincible and awkward due to the feeling of holding his cane in his left hand. Because he was right-handed, he had never held his cane with his left hand before.




But, it could not be helped. There was nothing where his right arm was supposed to be.




*Ping*




At that moment something flew at him.




It was a sword coated in aura.




Zod hurriedly arranged a spell array before himself.


[Iron Flowers]




A Sixth-Circle defensive spell.




In the blink of an eye, tens of thousands of flowers bloomed before Zod’s eyes. Each and every one of them overflowed with magic, with each petal having the same defensive as a Third-Circle spell.




*Booom*




Shortly after the flowers were in full bloom, the aura-enhanced attack collided with the petals and set off an explosion.




‘This isn’t the end.’




Zod shook his hand. The flowers weaved gracefully under his control.




The advantage of this spell was that the numerous flowers could be arranged differently to defend a wide area.





*Boooom*




Another explosion rang out. The enemy’s follow-up attacks from the sides and rear had been blocked.




‘The number of enemies is three… no, four.’




Zod analyzed the enemy’s strength as he fended off their blows.




‘Given the aura used in the attack, I should be thankful none of them are King-Class.’




The individuals had a considerable amount of skill and worked excellently together. However, if that was the only thing going for them, the tower would not have been defeated.




Zod rearranged the position of the flowers in a moment of surprise. The petals began to flutter around him.


The atmosphere surrounding Zod had become heavier.




The petals failed to withstand the rapidly rising pressure and were all crushed into fragments, scattered to the wind. It was as if a blooming flower began to wilt and fall apart.




Zod raised his eyebrows as he looked at the petals that were falling by the second. If this was the result of a spell, it was at least Fifth-Circle.




But during the attack, no movement of mana could be felt. This was not the result of magic.




‘This is an ability, not a spell.’




Within this space, where all mana movement was blocked, his enemies were the only ones free to attack and move. If not for their flawless teamwork, he likely could have won by now.




*Ping*




Zod’s defensive magic had all but faltered, and already he was


under attack. Three different aura-imbued attacks came from different directions.




There was little gap between the manifestation of the ability and these attacks using aura.




Of course, Zod would not miss such a timing.




[Eternal Slumber]




*Freeze*




He responded with powerful Sixth-Circle ice magic.




A bitter chill spread out around Zod. Everything that came into contact with the cold snap froze in an instant. It was a sub-zero attack.




Zod’s magic did not just end there though. He pointed his cane at the ground, as if he were a god inflicting divine punishment on a sinner.



[Hell Fire]




*Booom*




The atmosphere howled. Eternal fire swept over the city.




Blistering heat merged with sub-zero frost and a massive shock wave knocked back his assailants.




The blazing hot wind disturbed Zod’s hair and his cut-out hem.




A chance of victory had been presented with this move. It was an attack that linked two Sixth-Circle spells. No matter how powerful his opponent was, they could not have gotten away unscathed.




“Impressive, but it’s not enough, old man.”




A gentle voice came from the other side.


Soon after, Zod’s vision turned white.




Defensive magic was instively invoked as a result of vast fighting experience.




*Boom*




As soon as the defensive spell was completed, a thunderous explosion burst out.




The glare of light shattered the defensive magic, and Zod was thrown back, unable to overcome the shock.




His body was thrown against the wall. The three fierce attacks had finally demolished what little remained of the Magic Tower’s original structure.




Zod swallowed a groan and stood up by leaning on his cane.




He looked as miserable as the smashed tower.


Glossy black hair moved in the breeze.




As soon as Zod saw her, he felt a phantom pain from his now missing right arm. That was because she was the one who cut it off.




‘Priscilla… ’




He and Desir had considered the possibility of a traitor, and though he had done his best to calm Desir down, Zod had never stopped contemplating suspects ever since it occurred to him. Even still, he had ruled out the possibility that the traitor was Priscilla. Even though she was the head of the Church of Artemis, she had an extremely close relationship with Zod, far greater than she did with Desir, who she had only met relatively recently.




‘To think she would do this… ’




Zod looked around. The culmination of his entire life’s work lay crumbled and destroyed at his feet.




Numerous long-standing studies had been destroyed, and


many of the Tower’s personnel had been brutally slaughtered, including children who were undergoing apprenticeships.




All by the woman that stood right in front of him.




Priscilla’s eyes and mouth painted small smile lines. That the smile was not much different from what had always been directed at him made Zod once again feel distressed.




Whether or not she knew how badly she tore apart his heart, Priscilla spoke, with some surprise.




“You’re great, old man. I’ve already used the Choir’s Chorus, and you’re still putting up a fight.”




*Ring*




A soft bell rang. The artifact, which she called the Choir’s Chorus, had the ability to limit the flow of mana, ultimately preventing magicians from casting spells.




It was truly an artifact that could be called the natural enemy


of magicians. A terrifying weapon, especially against the Magic Tower.




It was powerful enough that most of the magicians had been unable to invoke a single spell.




Zod Exarion was the only exception. As the only Seventh-Circle magician present, he had access to a vast well of mana that would allow him to defend without having to draw from the atmosphere. Still, that vast well was finite.




Zod’s breathing had long grown ragged. His mana pool had mostly dried up, only a few buckets remaining. Even still, he had employed far more mana than that. Until about ten minutes ago, Zod had been supplying his spells with mana from a level one mana stone, an item so powerful it was often considered a national treasure. Even it had run dry.




“All this death, all this destruction… ”




Zod struggled to open his mouth.




“Why have you done this, Priscilla?”





Priscilla and Zod’s eyes were inextricably tangled.




“There was a possibility of interference.”




“What?”




“Desir, who knows the draconic language, and you, who is most versed in modern magical technology, are the biggest threats to my plan.”




The Saint carried on speaking with appalling calmness.




“So I have no choice but to kill you.”




There was a possibility of them disrupting her plan.




Hearing such an answer, Zod Exarion looked silently at Priscilla.


He longed to believe that, in some fashion, Priscilla felt guilty. Zod wanted to understand Priscilla, and agree with her.




He did not want to hate her. He hoped there was some grand reason behind this.




Even though she robbed him of his right arm and destroyed the entire tower, Zod gave her a last chance.




But she only proved two facts in her harsh voice.




The Priscilla he knew was no longer there, and Zod Exarion was no longer her friend. He was a threat that needed to be removed.




An unbearable feeling rose. Perhaps it was anger.




But he put up with it. He did not allow it to show.




That was because he realized what he had to do now.


At this moment of Priscilla’s conversation, he had to dig up information somehow.




For the sake of the person who will continue this fight.




“What are you trying to accomplish by doing so, Priscilla?”




“To save this world.”




“Save the world?”




Zod’s mouth twisted.




“Pricilla, have you gone mad? You’ve committed an atrocity. You’re damning mankind to failure, and you’re saying it’s to save the world?!”




Zod’s voice rose somewhat.




“You won’t understand, at least not now. From your perspective, you’d never realize that this is a necessary sacrifice.


That’s why I’m not asking for your understanding.”




Priscilla calmly carried on speaking.




“But, the moment this world is saved, in the truest sense of the word, you will come to understand why I did this.”




Zod recalled hearing her argument somewhere.




It was the same goal the Artemis system had. Save mankind, no matter the cost. It was likely the same thing Skull Mask had heard from Lunia.




“So what, are you just another Skull Mask? Fighting to restore a long-dead civilization, even if it means destroying humanity?”




Priscilla’s smile fell off her face. For the first time, she showed signs of displeasure.




“Skull Mask. What an unpleasant man. He wanted to relive the past, fulfill his personal selfishness.”



Her voice was filled with contempt.




“But I’m different. I’m striving for salvation. The best world, for all of humanity: past, present, and future.”




At that moment, he could feel the heat behind her cold eyes.




“So, please don’t forgive me. Curse me until the end. Now, can you please do me a favor and die?”




As the conversation drew to an end, Zod had nearly completed the invocation of a spell.






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