Book 1, Chapter 18
Richard and Papin began chanting their spells at the same time, accompanied by the corresponding gestures for their incantations. Papin’s first gesture was precise and distinct, and one could tell at a glance that he was using the most practical and powerful of the grade 1 spells— a magic missile. The spell had been cast solidly, and even the fussiest of teachers wouldn’t be able to find an issue with his foundation in magic.
A level 1 mage should rightfully only be able to cast two magic missiles at the same time, but 3 glows lit up between Papin’s hands. The crowd grew a little restless at the boy’s unexpected talent. Being the fastest spell to cast, the magic missiles had already been shot out before Richard could complete his spell.
Papin only had the ability to control one of the three missiles. He had that lock onto his target, while he sent the other two to Richard’s left and right. With this tactic Richard would be hit by two of them no matter where he tried to dodge. The only exception would be not dodging, but even then he would have to face one.
Papin knew that a single missile definitely wouldn’t be enough to defeat Richard; he’d personally ‘experienced’ the boy’s physique in their scuffle. However, he was a level 2 mage himself; he could launch two more salvos of magic missiles. Three rounds of explosions would be enough to deal a disorienting blow.
On the other hand, Richard was only a level 1 mage; he would be able to launch two salvos total at best. Papin reckoned he’d be able to hold out for that extra round; even if it was quite unbearable, such was the nature of a magic duel. Had he been a level 3 mage his win would be guaranteed, and the duel wouldn’t have been approved in the first place. All was fair in the Deepblue; one would require a tremendously strong backing and a large sum of material investment if they wanted everyone in the Deepblue to momentarily close an eye towards injustice, and Papin’s family was far from having such a high status.
Papin began chanting once more after the three missiles were launched. Richard still wasn’t done with his spell, so the youth could already smell victory at hand. He couldn’t help but feel an itch for whatever his backer had promised him: equipment, coin, and status.
Lost in thought, Papin didn’t pronounce the incantations quite accurately. The normal second and a half of casting time was increased to two, but even so the crowd seemed to roar out like crashing waves before he could complete.
‘Are they cheering? Is it because of the victory I’m about to receive?’ Papin thought. Still, he had at least some knowledge of his ability. He raised his head blankly to look at what was going on.
It was then that his eyes grew wide in an instant, the spell he was about to cast forgotten in his surprise. Papin could hardly believe his own eyes! What was he seeing, was that a Fireball? How could a level 1 mage use a grade 3 spell? Weren’t scrolls and other props like that banned from magic duels? Why was there a fireball here?
A genuine fireball had already been launched in Papin’s direction. It wasn’t controlled after the launch, but with how fast fireballs traveled and their area of effect they didn’t need control anyway.
Papin was dumbstruck, only able to react after the fireball crossed the five metre mark. He cried out loudly as he tried to dodge it, but even though at that moment he ran the fastest he ever had in his life the surging waves of flame landed only three metres away. The explosion hit so hard that he was thrown out in a small arc across the sky, landing heavily a few metres away with a muted thump. He couldn’t get up!
The huge racket in the arena suddenly turned into a deathly stillness. Everyone subconsciously held their breaths. There were many experienced and knowledgeable magi among the spectators who could tell that Richard’s fireball was weaker than normal, but ten points of damage was still very powerful against someone below level 3. Although Papin hadn’t been charred to death, he would have to recuperate for a few weeks!
Another muted thump attracted the attention of the spectators once again. Richard had just come face to face with the magic missile that Papin launched earlier, protecting his chest with both arms to endure the blow as he prepared his second spell. It was all done without the slightest expression on his face, his gestures unbelievably precise.
At this moment, the arena was so quiet that even the sound of a feather falling to the ground would be heard clearly. Although Richard recited the magic incantations in a low voice, a few prominent magi with exceptional senses could hear it, and they were all visibly frightened! Although a substantial part of the magic incantation was modified, they could still identify it. The second spell was also a fireball!
Richard had already turned pale. His mana was being consumes so rapidly he felt his body draining of power, and he had less than four points of mana on hand. Even with the effects of a mana potion that would only be 5.
However, he was preparing an alternate version of the fireball this time. It was at an experimental stage, but it reduced the mana the spell took. He would be able to launch a smaller fireball with 8 points of damage, but even then he would need 6 points of mana. He pushed his way forth with sheer power of will, not hesitating to overdraft his mana just to finish this spell!
While the fireball may have been small, it was sufficiently lethal. It forced the overseer to flash into the centre of the arena, dispersing the incomplete spell with a wave as he stabilised Richard’s mana.
“That’s enough. This spell will cost him his life; that does not fall in accordance with the rules.” The umpire turned to check on Papin’s condition, then declared, “The winner of this duel is Richard Archeron! Now, Richard, as per your earlier agreement you can collect on the bet. You can choose for it to be completed at another location, but I personally recommend you choose a… erm… similar but more flexible method. That is within the scope of the rules.”
Having heard the overseer’s piece, Richard walked over to the prone Papin, boorishly lifting the boy up to scan the charred and swollen face. Without a single strand of emotion in his voice, he said, “Someone once told me to return a blow to the buttocks with twice the impact.”
With that, Richard stood up and used every single ounce of energy in him to ruthlessly kick Papin’s bottom right square in the middle! The youth squealed like a pig in a slaughterhouse, his voice turning hoarse as he took short breaths between his shouts. Nobody could even tell whether the fellow was laughing or crying!
Richard walked two steps away, then suddenly turned around and delivered another kick! This one immediately raised the youth’s voice an octave, and caused the overseer to raise his brows. It seemed rather inappropriate to attack the centre of Papin’s behind, but he did agree that the kick was far more merciful than the original stakes. He expressed his approval by announcing the end of the duel, causing the spectators to disperse. Everyone was excited as they discussed Richard’s fireball. However, although nobody paid attention to Papin’s bum right now it would clearly be a hot topic for a long time.
Minnie and Randolph had never expected such an outcome. The girl suddenly sneered, “You were right, Randolph. Seems like little Richard is worth 500,000 coins indeed!” With that, she walked out of their luxury box without even bidding Randolph goodbye or consulting him.
Randolph’s face was ashen, and his eyes were practically about to erupt in flames! His glare was fixated on Minnie’s slender waist and swaying bum that seemed to have a life of its own, as he clenched his teeth tightly.
As she was about to open the door of the luxury box, Minnie suddenly turned around and said with a gentle smile, “Don’t just stare at my buttocks. Instead, I think you now need to think carefully about your bum’s future. Master will be back in 6 days!”
She slammed the door resolutely in Randolph’s face with a thump, unregarding of etiquette or being a role model. Randolph could only snarl, smashing practically everything in the room he found. He could afford to pay for it anyway.
As for Papin, he was now an orphan abandoned by the world. Even those acolytes that used to follow him around like shadows were now nowhere to be seen anymore. Only now had they remembered how terrifying Her Excellency Sharon was. Only those who hadn’t been studying long in the Deepblue would act so foppish.