Practicing Magic — Part 1
Editors: Speedphoenix, Joker
“Is that all you’ve got?” I cackled like a maniac as I mocked the monsters before me. “Why are you so scared? What happened to those dumb looking smirks you had a second ago, huh?”
Some tried to escape, but I chased them down and lopped off their heads before they could get much of anywhere at all. Their blood-curdling, dying cries rang through the Wicked Forest as they fell one after another. Although I normally would have reacted to their screams with displeasure, I found myself relishing in the exact opposite emotion. I ran rampant and launched all sorts of different attacks as I transformed the monsters into unrecognizable corpses. Not even larger groups could survive my wrath. I literally dove straight in and plowed my way through, killing everything I crossed in the process.
Only after losing most of their members did the pride I had assaulted realize that defeating me was a pipe dream. The beautiful forest had been warped into a scene that looked as if it had been ripped straight from the seventh circle of hell. Blood, guts, and disfigured corpses lay strewn all over. A small group that I suspected to be a family turned and tried to run. But they couldn’t escape me.
I flapped my wings, overtook them, and landed right in front of them.
“Hah! Nice try,” I scoffed. “Did you really think I’d let you get away?”
My grin was a complete contrast to the looks of despair worn by each of the family’s members. They launched one last desperate attack in an attempt to get a lucky hit on me; every single member of the family charged and attempted to rush me down. But I struck down even their very last sliver of hope with ease.
“Not happening. Say your prayers, assholes!” I weaved between their attacks and decapitated them with just one stroke apiece. My actions were smooth. It was almost as if the whole dodge sequence had been a single fluid motion.
Their deaths were followed by a roar, one that expressed a mix of decimation and rage. Its source was none other than the pride’s alpha, a creature significantly larger than its peers. Its anger and resentment were clearly reflected in its eyes. As the sole survivor of its pack, it stepped forward; it approached me in order to take me down and avenge its peers, roaring in provocation as it did. I responded to its challenge in the most natural manner possible.
I roared back.
Despite his irritation, the pride’s leader immediately froze in the midst of his charge. His anger was gone, nowhere to be seen. In its place was a look of terror. Huh. Sovereign Pressure seems pretty useful.
Sovereign Pressure reminded me of the thing I had learned when I first visited a human settlement. Like dispersing mana laced with bloodlust through the air, it had the effect of terrifying my foes. Except better. It felt like more or less the same thing with a few upgrades slapped on top of it.
One of the skill’s most appealing aspects was that it was extremely effective against weaklings like the one before me.
“Oh come on, you’re bitching out already?” My prey took a step backwards, so I matched its action with a forward step to ensure that the distance between us remained unchanged. And as I did, I smirked.
My choices inspired the alpha’s fear to grow. It began growing desperate, and, in the end, launched an attack in much the same manner as a cornered rat. But it didn’t matter. It was far too weak; I could see through its attacks as easily as I could a piece of glass.
A metallic screech rang through the forest as I met his claws with Zaien’s blade.
“What, that’s it? Alright, have fun in hell then.” I cackled as I swung my sword and defeated the last monster, the last manticore, left standing. Though I stood in the midst of a field of blood, guts, and gore, my voice was filled with rapture. “Oh man, that felt good.”
“You seem to be enjoying yourself, Master,” said Enne.
“Yeah, lots. I’ve been pretty pissed at these things ever since one bullied the hell out of us that one time.” I smiled. “And I gotta say, revenge turned out just about as sweet as I’d imagined.”
Though I had intended on wiping them out, today’s encounter with the manticores was purely coincidental. I had felt rather confident in my newfound stats and I was fairly certain we would be able to make it at least halfway through the western region without too much issue, so Enne and I had decided to head towards the area with the toughest monsters in order to test out her blade. Wandering about had coincidentally led us to stumble across a group of our old “friends.”
I immediately came to the conclusion that our chance meeting had been a bit more than just that. It wasn’t a coincidence. God was guiding me down the path of vengeance. With the will of the divine as my guide, I happily plunged into the midst of the manticore pride and tore it to shreds.
In the past, I had thought of manticores as extremely powerful foes that could clobber Rir and I even if we worked together. But now, they were insignificant grunts I needed no effort to destroy. I know I said it already, but I really gotta say it again. Oh man, that felt good. Overpowering these bastards and wiping them out felt hella good.
One unfortunate result of relishing in the slaughter came about as a result of letting myself get a bit too carried away. I started acting like a stereotypical villain. I wasn’t exactly keen on continuing the behaviour but figured that it wasn’t particularly unseemly given my identity as a demon lord.
On the matter of identities, analyzing the largest manticore proved that he had been exactly who I had expected him to be: the pride’s alpha.
Class: Sadistic Beast
Earth Magic V
It seemed that the name of the AT Field-like ability was Magic Barrier. Its description confirmed that it consumed a set amount of mana in order to create a magical barrier capable of defending against magic-based attacks.
Gazing at its corpse really got me thinking. The relationship between the manticores and I had been completely turned on its head. I had become the hunter, and they had become the hunted. Heh. You know, I almost pity the bastards, but they brought this shit onto themselves. I wouldn’t have cared this much about them if they were any less obnoxious.
After contemplating the intricacies of assholes being assholes, I turned away from the manticore and looked over at my companion. He, my pet wolf and mount, was regarding me with the canine equivalent of a wry smile.
“What’s up, Rir?”
He shook his head and tried to play it off as if it was nothing, but upon reflecting on any potential causes, I came to realize that I wasn’t the only one that a manticore had pestered. Oops. Sorry boy, you must’ve wanted to kill one yourself. My bad. I probably shouldn’t have jacked all the kills.
“Sorry, my bad.”
The fenrir tilted his head questioningly.
“Nah, it’s okay, I get it,” I said. “You were trying to let me have my fun, so you didn’t bother joining in even though you wanted to get them back for being douchewads. I’m sure there are still plenty of manticores around. I promise I’ll let you have a go at them next time we run into them.”
“…” The wolf’s only response was to silently stare at me in exasperation.
Yeah, I know, I know. I’m still kinda new to this whole boss thing. I gotta make sure I let my subordinates cut loose and don’t hog all the fun. Oh wait, that reminds me…
“Uhhh, oops. Sorry Enne, I forgot to let you test out your wind magic.”
“Mhm…” The sword on my shoulder responded in a tone laced with disappointment.
Testing out the effects of my stat changes had definitely been a part of today’s plans, but it hadn’t been all that high on our list of priorities. Today was supposed to be all about Enne. Her ability to cast wind magic had been our top concern. Alright, before you say anything, I’mma just go ahead and say that I didn’t forget. I just didn’t expect everything to die so fast.
Okay no. That’s bullshit and I know it. I mean, everything dying too quickly was a part of it, but honestly, it was mostly ‘cause I let myself get carried away. Whoops.
“Well uhhh… we’re kinda out of targets, but you wanna try doing the thing I talked to you about a bit earlier anyway?”
I held Enne behind me and channelled my magical energies through her. I activated Crimson Blaze and wreathed her in flame as she threw wind magic into the mix. Our efforts were met with an explosion; I was suddenly sent flying forward with all the force of a massive detonation.
An incoherent scream left my mouth as I accelerated uncontrollably and sped right through the surrounding environment.
“Raghghg!?” I couldn’t steer or affect my trajectory in any which way, so I ended up making a dumb sounding noise as I smashed face first into a tree and finally came to a stop.
“Oops. Are you okay, Master?” asked Enne in a worried tone.
Like the sword, Rir also seemed quite concerned for my well being, as he quickly dashed over whilst barking in a tone containing a mix of panic and surprise.
“Ow…” I shook my head from side to side to ward off the dizziness and rubbed the point of impact as I lamented over the failed experiment. The thing that Enne and I had just tried to do was use a mix of fire and wind to create the technological wonder that my people referred to as a jet engine.
Specifically, I had Enne coat her blade in fire and then enclose the flames in a layer of wind. The fire would naturally cause any air it came in contact with to heat up. The idea was for her to eject the hot air out from the tip of her blade to produce propulsion. Project Jet Fuel was a result of looking back at my battle with the Potatolord and realizing that I hadn’t been quick enough to shake him off my tail. I had realized that I needed to think up a way to increase both my acceleration and my top speed, and the conclusion I had come to was to turn myself into a jet. You know what? I think I’mma actually call that one a success. I managed to get myself some crazy propulsion. All I need to do now is iron out the kinks.
I began chuckling to myself as I worked everything out in my mind.
“You see Enne, this, this is what we call a challenge.” A big grin appeared on my face as I continued to speak. “I’m going to master this and prove that nothing’s impossible. At least not for a demon lord like yours truly.”
“Yup. Let’s do this!”
I stood up, got Enne in position, and once again had her wreathe her blade in flame as Rir, the experiment’s sole observer, heaved an exasperated sigh.