The Phoenix’s Armour
Goldalfa once again smashed his axe into the ground after rushing up to us.
He attacked us the exact same way he had earlier. The slash that followed after his Groundshaker was undoubtedly fast, but the same couldn’t be said for Groundshaker itself. Hence, I was able to react and equip Physical Damage Nullification before he came at us with the follow up.
Goldalfa wasn’t the only one react with surprise. The audience had done the exact same, for his attack had seemed to stop immediately as it was about to land on Fran. Rather, it seemed to have been made to stop by some sort of invisible wall.
That, combined with the fact that Fran hadn’t moved or even recoiled from Goldalfa’s attack despite the disparity in strength, caused the scene to almost seem surreal.
Both the girl and wolf took advantage of the opening created and began assaulting him so we could once again drain his magical energy. The two large scale attacks he’d just performed had already eaten away at his supply. He no longer had enough to even last a minute.
He tried retaliating with a few quick strikes of his own, but he wasn’t capable of matching her speed, and so, he ended up running flat out of mana.
「Ugh! My mana’s dry…!」
Running out of mana caused the effects of his Awakening skill to fade away alongside several skills and the incredible magical energy that bolstered his defenses. It had finally come time for us to finish him; we had to win before his armour managed to restore his mana.
We teleported behind Goldalfa in an attempt to once again execute the attack we’d hit him with right when the battle began.
However, we weren’t greeted by the exposed, unprotected back we’d been hoping for. Instead, our sights were focused on the battleaxe that came flying straight towards us the moment we moved.
The actual movement part of teleportation was instant, but there was a brief delay between when one disappeared and when one reappeared.
Though he’d lost his Super Fast Reflexes skill, he still managed to predict our actions and cope with them. I couldn’t tell exactly why that was, but suspected it was either driven by his experience as a warrior, or more simply, his intuition as a Beastkin.
Either way, we ended up getting sent flying the moment we arrived at our destination. Fran managed to use me to block the strike, but we felt a powerful shock from it nonetheless.
Worst of all was that it confused me. I didn’t know where we were supposed to aim next. I considered attempting his front, his left, and his right, but wasn’t able to come to a decision. From there, I moved on to considering leaving Physical Damage Nullification on and just going for whatever, but again, I wasn’t able to immediately make my decision. Fortunately for us, Fran wasn’t nearly as wishy washy as me, and immediately figured out what she wanted to do.
（Master, up! Will use attack that can’t be stopped even if noticed.）
（Urushi. Stay, distract.）
I teleported us way up above the arena. Goldalfa immediately looked around in an attempt to find where Fran went, but didn’t think to check right above himself. The same went for both the audience and the caster, neither tried looking up.
「Wow! Fran seems to have suddenly vanished into thin air! Just what is going on!? Did she turn invisible, did she teleport somewhere, or did maybe even dive into the shadows!?」
Little did the caster know, the correct answer was none of the above.
I kept myself afloat with Telekinesis as Fran stood atop the side of my blade and concentrated while manipulating several skills simultaneously.
It took a few moments to get everything prepared.
Fran leapt off me, grabbed me, and then began running straight down towards the arena.
She used Air Compression and Magic Thread Weaving to launch herself. She then transitioned into casting Sky Leap and Charge alongside a few wind-based spells in order to accelerate herself even further as she plunged straight towards the ground. She also readied herself to activate weight boost the moment before she landed to double her power while also cloaking my blade with both lightning and flame.
It was exactly the technique she’d used back when we fought Rynford — save for the fact that it was more potent.
This time, she’d started from higher up, and also boosted her speed even more through the application of Space/Time Magic. She’d also become much more skilled in the art of drawing her sword and attacking in a single motion thanks to Sword Lord Arts, and obtained a boost to what was basically every single one of her skills because of Vigour Mastery. As a result, the resulting slash was many times more powerful than it’d been back then.
「Brilliant Lightning Rush!」
She took things even further by activating the Innate Skill she’d only just learned a few days back, and in doing so, cloaked her body in lightning and accelerated herself even further.
Fran practically became a spear constructed solely of light as she descended upon Goldalfa like a meteorite.
「Where in the-」
A bright flash of light filled the arena as Fran hit Goldalfa so hard she caused a massive shockwave to run through the entire venue. With the attack came a thundering roar so loud it rocked my very core.
Goldalfa let out a roar halfway between a scream and a battlecry as he was assaulted by the attack.
I teleported us over to the edge of the arena immediately before Fran actually hit the ground.
The place where Goldalfa had been standing had become a giant crater with clouds of dust swirling around it. Looking at the aftermath really deepened my impression of the attack. It was absurdly powerful; it alone had managed to cut my durability in half. The dust clouds didn’t remain for too long. They were soon blown away as a bunch of magical energy swelled up from inside the area.
What we saw left us just as shocked as Goldalfa and the audience had been when Fran had totally stopped the Rhinokin’s attack.
『That’s impossible! How the hell is he regenerating without any mana!?』
We’d taken Goldalfa down to a knee. his right arm was flat out gone, and the parts of his right half that did remain had been totally crushed alongside his crimson armour. His body’s fluids were spouting out from the gaps within the crushed metal protector. Likewise, his left arm had also been totally crushed, and his left foot obviously fractured. I was pretty sure we’d done a hell of a lot of damage to his internals as well.
But he didn’t die. In fact, he’d begun healing at an incredible rate.
What he was going through could no longer be described as just High Speed Regeneration. It was much more akin to Instantaneous Regeneration. The exact same thing was happening to his armour. It too was regenerating and repairing itself at a similar pace. It only took him a few seconds to return to his prior state. It almost looked as if we’d never actually attacked him in the first place.
「Haa… Ha… I never expected you to be able to force my armour to save my life this early on in the battle…」
He stood himself back up as the words left his mouth.
「The armour I’m wearing is called the Phoenix’s Armour. It allows its wearer to recover incredibly quickly.」
Yeah, I could kinda tell just by looking.
He literally healed himself up in an instant. His armour already made him hella tanky as is. Him getting the ability to instantly regenerate any injuries on top of all that practically made him a walking nightmare.
How many times could he use that shit anyways? I highly doubted it was something he could do in perpetuity, but I also highly doubted it was a one off thing either. It was something made by a God-tier Blacksmith. I couldn’t even begin to imagine just how powerful it really was.
『I don’t think we’ll be able to play the same card twice. I’m pretty sure he’d just counter.』
The reason we’d been avoiding just teleporting around all the time was because we were worried our opponents would figure out how they were supposed to deal with it after seeing it put to use.
Teleporting still seemed risky even if our opponents didn’t know about it. Fran was able to react and deal with the Demon we fought back then despite his ability to lurk in the shadows, and he’d been much stronger than she was. It was possible for teleporting to end up just being a trap against more powerful foes because they’d end up figuring it out at first glance.
Besides, that whole falling thing we did really left an impression, so it definitely wasn’t something that could catch someone off guard multiple times in quick succession.
That was important and all, but glancing at Goldalfa had led me to immediately shelve any further thoughts on the subject.
『Yeah. His mana’s all the way back up to full.』
Everything we’d done to drain his magical energy had gone down the toilet. We basically ended up being put back in the exact same situation we’d started off at, but in worse condition.
I couldn’t help but feel the urge to call his armour out on being a bullshit OP equip, not that I really had the right to.
（No choice. Will have to use that）
『Yeah… I guess so.』
Draining his mana again would be pointless, as his armour was sure to restore it. And so, we decided to change up our strategy.
There was a bit of lag time between him getting injured and his Instantaneous Regeneration actually popping. In other words, we’d be able to take him down so long as we killed him before the skill actually activated. It was honestly a rather simple plan, but it was also really the only thing we could actually try.
『The only problem is that you’re not really adjusted to it yet. Your body won’t hold if you keep it up for too long, so try ending it asap.』
『Keep in mind that I won’t have Physical Damage Nullification up. You’ll be moving way too quickly for me to be able to turn it on and off.』
（Planned that from start.）
Fran had totally resolved herself for what was to come, so I decided to do the same. The tournament was effectively a safe space. The Cradle of Time made it so we wouldn’t die no matter what happened, and so, I figured there was no harm in playing a riskier card that we’d normally shy away from.
「Urushi. Support from shadows.」
This tournament was one we’d done everything we could to prepare for. Me, I’d ranked myself up by farming up Magic Stone Points.
But what about Fran then? What exactly did she do?
The answer to that question was a simple one.
 Someone help me come up with a better name for this. It’s literal is [Flash Blossom Lightning Rush.] The Blossom can be petal or flower. It can also be Brilliant if you repeat it twice and turn it into an adjective as opposed to a verb.