Dragon Devouring Mage Chapter 226

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Dragon devouring mage

EPISODE 113

Unlike the thunderbolts that thrashed about as if to bring about the end of the world, the flame that first covered Russell’s hand was exceptionally faint. It was like a lantern flickering before a storm, a precarious flame that seemed as though it could be extinguished at any moment. The change occurred after a strange, dragon-like roar filled the air.

Gyaooh-!

Following that sound, the wild flame began to engulf Russell’s entire body. The fire spread like wings unfurling, whirling around his body in the shape of a dragon. Up until then, Walter had not doubted his victory.

‘Ha, in the end—!’

He had only admired Russell’s talent for stealing his magic in such a short time. Russell’s flames were too insignificant compared to his own lightning.

However, that judgment was made without knowing the true nature of the flames that Russell wore. If he had known that those flames covering Russell’s entire body were one of the dragon’s powers, not ordinary flames, Walter would never have sat idly by.

Whurrrr-!

As if to prove that point, the intensely compressed flames began to expand their domain, engulfing and consuming the thunderbolts.

In the midst of the two mages’ heightened concentration, where a moment seemed eternal, the progress of Russell’s flames eating away at Walter’s lightning was imperceptibly slow. Nonetheless, the flames were surely tipping the balance of power.

Whurrrr-.

This was an event that defied the common perception in the magical world, which generally considered lightning magic superior to fire magic.

It couldn’t be helped. The flames now covering Russell were not ordinary fire magic, but a recreation of the powers of Pepper, the elemental dragon, within the framework of magic. Beyond the known manipulation of magic, dragons possess numerous abilities. These range from the capacity to fly with wings too small for their size to a breath that can contain the power equivalent to an 8th circle spell. Among them, the powers held by Pepper’s flames were extraordinary.

‘Predatory Fire (捕食火).’

It was a flame that devoured magic, thereby inflating its own size—becoming replete with power [飽食] from the fire [火].

This didn’t mean that it could consume all magic in the world. As mighty as it was, Pepper was still a young dragon with clear limits. Though these would undoubtedly expand as it grew…

‘Even so, there must be a limit to what it can consume.’

What was certain was that it was an absurd thought to consume all of Walter’s magic with Pepper’s current strength.

‘Then…’

Russell’s eyes shone with insight.

‘Let it flow away.’

Manipulating Pepper’s flames, Russell thought of a salmon. A salmon is an entity that overcomes even the fiercest currents and waterfalls to reach its destination.

An ordinary fish, but one that surpasses walls. An exceptional creature that breaks the waves.

Thinking of the salmon’s exceptional image, Russell began to channel magic into the image. The flames covering Russell spun, creating a current within the surging plasma that inundated the area.

Swish-!

It became a whirlpool.

A small vortex grew larger as it spun, devouring the plasma and expanding.

Kwaang-!

If that were not enough—

‘The remaining power must be allowed to flow away!’

The heat of the plasma that scorched the ground and passed overhead caused the earth to melt.

It resembled a volcanic aftermath with magma pouring out from all sides. The superheated ground and the boiling atmosphere created the illusion of evaporating not only the body’s moisture but even the blood—

In a moment, the form of the vortex forged a huge lance made of flames!

The red flames pierced through the blue lightning. A salmon ascended through the violent currents, cutting through the thunder.

It went straight through Walter’s abdomen.

Quarrarrarrrung-!!

Bright lights flickered incessantly, tangling around the arena. Having been pierced by Russell’s magic and with the caster’s central power disturbed, the downpour of lightning dispersed like a torrent in every direction.

Quarrarrarrrung-!

The earth collapsed into a deep pit.

The dust kicked up evaporated faster than it could rise, leaving the earth scorched black. Thousands of undead perished without a chance to scream, and the aftermath alone tore the ground over a kilometer, forming an ash-maw landscape.

In that destroyed crater, unrecognizable from its original form, only Russell stood on solid ground. Whether he somewhat managed to deflect the shockwave or not, the ground beneath Russell’s feet was relatively unscathed.

Across from him lay Walter.

Either his lower half was burned off by the lance of flame that punctured his abdomen, or half his body had vanished. The remaining upper half was not perfectly intact either; his right arm was missing below the elbow, and a significant portion of his chest was charred.

The remarkable thing was that despite such a state, he was still breathing. With injuries that would have killed an ordinary person several times over, his continued survival indicated that he too was beyond normal human limits.

Breathing laboriously in a situation where even the most mundane tasks became difficult, footsteps sounded.

Crunch, crunch-.

The sound of his charred black, coal-like remains being crushed underfoot.

Walter managed to shift his gaze and saw a young man with red eyes approaching him.

That young man was not perfectly unharmed either, with blood at the corner of his mouth and an uneven gait.

Russell spoke as he came to a stop before Walter.

“I have a question I’d like to ask you.”

It was a question he had wanted to ask before the battle began but had not managed to.

Now, with the situation as it was, Russell was finally able to voice his inquiry.

“Why did you do it?”

“…?”

“Why did you join forces with the cultists?”

Russell remembered when the Empire officially recognized the Black Tower; many of the empire’s mages opposed the move. According to the reports Russell read, Walter was among those people.

Even if they were suppressed by the imperial authority, it made no sense for one like him to appear on a battlefield alongside an undead horde. And yet, here they were. Moreover—

“Why did you use the magic of the cult?”

In the last moment, Walter had utilized a method that maximized his magical power significantly. It was clearly not ordinary.

Different from Geis, which involves self-imposed restrictions to increase power, Walter’s method was…

‘Breaking the scale itself, not just the counterweight that was summoned.’

Using life as a sacrifice to draw forth power was a method that cultists would use. Of course, that didn’t necessarily mean Walter had fallen as far as the cultists.

At the very least, he had used his own life force, not someone else’s.

Walter pondered Russell’s question.

‘Why indeed…?’

Perhaps it was the closeness of death or the ability to let go of many things now that it had happened, or perhaps it was only after his distractions disappeared that he could see things clearly.

His eyes, blurry as if in a dream, were unusually clear today.

He saw the young man with red eyes looking down at him.

‘A young man with righteous and confident eyes.’

Why hadn’t he seen those honest eyes moments earlier? The answer wasn’t hard to find.

‘Probably because my own shameful selfishness clouded my vision.’

Once upon a time, he might have had eyes like those.

‘Ah, I must exclude righteousness.’

In his younger days, although he had been confident, he was conceited in his own talents.

Perhaps it was because of that talent that he grew rapidly and reached the realm of a national asset, a so-called superhuman.

It was after that when the problems started.

After reaching the realm of superhuman, Walter no longer saw ways to advance further.

He had never truly faced a wall due to his extraordinary talent.

And the first wall he encountered as a superhuman felt immeasurably huge.

Amidst this, he saw ‘that person.’

One who looked down on everyone with a detached gaze and arrogantly crushed them underfoot. A sensation as if confronting an endless abyss, unfinished yet vast.

‘I must have been enchanted by that power.’

It seemed that his soul could even destroy the wall that loomed before him.

‘In hindsight, it was the wrong choice…’

Having sorted through his thoughts, Walter choked up a mouthful of blood.

“Kuhlk-!”

Unable to move, the blood poured down his face and soaked his front.

He clung to life at the precipice of death.

Walter spoke.

“…Perhaps in eyes clouded by misguidance, the abyss appears much more vast and darker.”

With his remaining strength, he eked out his words.

“Abyss?”

The term signified a profound, dense darkness.

Could that mean the abyss here referred to the cultists who had joined forces with the fifth prince…now the Emperor?

Questions arose, and Walter mustered his strength once more.

“The abyss that may devour our nation… perhaps even the continent is certainly much deeper and darker than you can imagine, cough, ah…darker.”

In the purer days as a mage of an opposing nation—

‘I should be able to give at least some advice to a junior who brought back memories of that time…’

With a sensation as if the scythe of the Grim Reaper was at his neck, feeling the certainty of death’s imminence, Walter gathered his last ounce of strength.

“Be wary not to be engulfed by the abyss, no matter… what the reason…”

Before he could finish, his feeble breath ceased.

As the last words he uttered dispersed into the air, an announcement rang out.

[Mission completed.]

[Reward will be dispensed.]

Apparently, the battle between Alex and Diabol had also reached a conclusion.

One way or another.

Tsk. Russell clicked his tongue, closed Walter’s eyes, then headed towards Alex.

The Dragon-Devouring Mage

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