“Mageha’Proté…” Daedalus muttered in disbelief, unmoving, his gaze locked above. His breathing paused. And as the shadow of the colossal sword broadened, Daedalus blink once – only once. Then not a quarter of a second passed, his whole body split in half. A bloodless clean-cut…
At least that was what the empress and the six kordozas thought they saw. But they know that their eyes played a trick on them because they could feel his mana nearby. Daedalus was close – extremely so – and yet, they couldn’t pinpoint where.
Silence enveloped the small land of blackness – a pocket of the forest that was now filled with ashes and crushed remnants of burnt wood. The air remained still. But the quiet didn’t last long as low metal clatterings echoed once Goliath began to move. His blade glowed and began to pulse once again. His right foot stepped forward, putting his center of gravity in the same foot as he spun. He lifted his sword over his right shoulder and then swung it down diagonally.
The empress also began to move at the same time. She flapped her silvery wings, producing strong gusts of wind. She soured. Dust and ashes rose from the ground. When it subsided, Daedalus stood in front of Goliath. His right arm was raised in the air, halting the giant’s attack with two fingers.
“This human…” the empress whispered to herself. She was too surprised that she almost laughed. “So when we fought, was he holding back?”
Daedalus smiled, slowly shaking his head. He looked seemingly amused at the giant. Then ice formed from his fingers, spreading slowly through the blade. Goliath pulled his sword with brute force, yet Daedalus had pinned it in place. And once the ice reached the giant’s hands, the frost spell abruptly expanded like a curtain and encased him.
Daedalus sprinted behind his opponent and pulled his sword from the ground. As he cast wave magic on his blade, the ice prison cracked. But Daedalus expected it as he studied a big yet barely visible magic circle below the giant’s feet. Goliath then broke free from his spell, his body enveloped in a fiery fire.
Before he could move again, Daedalus vanished without a trace and reappeared out of thin air behind the giant’s head. He stabbed it with his sword, hitting the giant’s core directly. Once it broke, all Goliath’s movements stopped as his body felt flat on the churred ground.
For a second time, however, even though Goliath should have been nothing but a lump of metal now, the hole in his head began to regenerate. The empress didn’t waste the time to watch, she immediately invoked several fire spells and blasted purplish and red flames to the giant. Daedalus followed suit with an ice spell after her initial attack. To everyone’s surprise, the attacks had no effect as a spherical barrier of mana protected him as he continued to regenerate. The fire died out and the ice evaporated.
“Fascinating…” Daedalus said with a wide smile. “The Spell of Eternity… The Lost Magic of Eternal Regeneration. Just how did Katarina manage to recreate it?” A series of laughter escaped his lips.
“Did that guy lose his mind?” Kaleva couldn’t help but asked as everything unfolded before her eyes. She wanted to fight again, and so were her fellow queens, but they knew that the empress forbade it. They’re not even allowed to move. They failed her, and she wouldn’t allow them to intervene. Still, they wondered how – how would they defeat such a thing?
“Maybe,” Kareya answered. “That thing could regenerate even when its core was destroyed. Even with how powerful the empress is, there’s no way they could defeat that-”
“You are mistaken, young ones,” Kasheda said softly. “Look at that man’s face again. That isn’t a human expression for insanity. Rather, that is a smile of pure confidence…”
Kapeha was about to state her disagreement when Goliath stood back up after fully regenerating.
“You are truly a fascinating creation, Mr. Goliath. I’ll give you that,” Daedalus said once he settled down. “However, your weaknesses are still glaringly obvious.” He looked at the empress and gave her a signal to attack the giant. The Kordoza’Pareo complied and blasted a combination of fire blast and wind breath to Goliath.
“First, you’re far too big, making your moves very slow…” Daedalus said as the giant failed to dodge the attack. “Second and the most obvious, you are still a mindless creature. Your slow movements are pretty straight forward and highly predictable which is why you can hardly dodge any attack.”
As the combined spells of the empress subsided, it became clear that Goliath endured it. His body was glowing bright red because of the heat while some parts of his body had melted.
But Daedalus already anticipated it. And so, once the cooldown of his blink ability was up, he disappeared and then reappeared in front of the giant. “Third, you cannot use two spells at the same time. If you’re using your regenerative ability, then you cannot use fire or wave magic to retaliate effectively.” Daedalus then swung his sword a few times, cutting the giant in parts with his wave spell. He first severed his head, his both arms and finally his legs, before jumping away from the giant.
The queens only watched in silence, awestruck. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing. The giant, which they could barely scratch, was sliced like butter. Still, they knew that it was all for naught since the giant will regenerate. They waited… and waited… yet the parts remained on the ground.
“What did you do?” Kareya blurted out after what seemed like forever.
Daedalus gently turned around, briefly glancing at her and bowed. “It was nothing more than a simple gravity spell, my queen.”
“What do you mean?”
“I honestly think that it’s far too complex for your kind, your highness,” Daedalus mocked in a soft and sweet tone.
“Say that again, human!” Kareya exclaimed as she opened her wings. But before she could fly, she suddenly felt a powerful force pulling her back on the ground. It was so strong that she couldn’t move her body.
“Do you understand now, my royal queens?” Daedalus laughed. “To put it simply, I use the giant’s own weight against him while cutting his body is only an insurance.”
“You’re being too simplistic, Daedalus,” the empress interjected as she landed back on the ground. “I’m aware that you didn’t only use its weight against it, but you also used its insentience and its inability to use Dual Casting against it.”
His right brow rose as he sent her a condescending look, not bothering to speak a single word.
“Don’t lump me with these failures…” The empress scoffed. She then turned to the six kordozas before her. “Kasheda!” she called.
“Yes, your imperial highness…”
“I expect that you’re an exception from these nitwits. I’m aware that you understand what happened… Explain!”
“As you command, however, I would like to say first that my fellow queens are simply inexperienced, I think-”
“Kasheda! Did I ask for your opinion?”
“I apologize for my shameful act, but I really-”
“Kasheda, this is your last chance.”
“Then as you command,” she began, the register of her voice changed to her usual calm demeanor. “It’s known that Arisens have a series of commands that it executes based on the creator’s configuration. In that giant’s case, it’s the first line of command is to regenerate as it never attacks when it takes damage. Human…” She turned to Daedalus. “You immediately realized that, didn’t you?”
He smirked, “I did, your highness?”
“If not, then why else would you deliberately cleave him in different parts? Isn’t it so you could intensify the pull of gravity on the broken parts to prevent them from regenerating? That way, it would re-execute regeneration over and over again, rendering it unable to use its other abilities-”
“I like you… you’re perceptive.” Daedalus interrupted with a laugh. “Do you want to form a contract with me?”
“That depends…” Her tone became sharp. “Because I still wonder why you didn’t simply use ice magic to encase each part separately. If your only goal is to disable the-”
“If you’re wondering why then I think you already know the answer.” His lips arched into a sinister smile as though an inner demon had surfaced outside its shell. “I know you do…”
The other queens remained silent as they weren’t able to comprehend the latter part of the conversation. Even the empress, who didn’t want to show her cluelessness, didn’t speak.
“Then I refuse,” Kasheda replied, strong and hard. “I will serve no coward.”
“It is your loss,” he bowed one last time. “Highness…”