A piercing scream cut through the night. The rampaging Black Ogre, rumored to be invulnerable to anything less than an expert knight, slowly parted down the middle. Joshua stood before it, engulfed in pure white currents of electricity.
"He, he, he—!" The Viscount pointed a trembling finger at him.
He fell from the sky like an angel bathed in blood.
Did he just do that? A Black Ogre, over five meters tall? It doesn't matter how he was raised—how is it possible for a child to split something several times his size in a single blow?
It had to be impossible… Yes… clearly impossible. Viscount Vig looked around and saw that the reactions of the knights were not that different from his.
Joshua was examined by untrusting eyes.
This trashy kid… He hid it until now so he could use this situation to flex. What kind of attitude is that?
"The Duke even defeated the ferocious Black Ogre in one blow!" shouted Viscount Vig, eyes wild. "What are the men of Locke doing? Help the Duke, quickly!"
The knights heard his voice and nodded to themselves as if saying, "As expected."
"No matter how talented the Young Master is, a C-Class Knight is not able to defeat a Black Ogre. Everyone knows a B-Class Knight would struggle."
"It was just convenient timing."
"Everyone, help the Duke! Wipe out the rest of the monsters!"
Joshua giggled as he watched the knights advance—he'd heard everything they'd said.
So, I'm just a shallow child to them.
His father, Duke Aden von Agnus, locked eyes with him from across the battlefield.
You're hurting my self-esteem… I expected him to show a little surprise, but it seems like he totally expected it, that monster. I don't like that at all.
I've already used Thunderbolt before—I must have not left a strong enough impression on them.
"Let me surprise you a little." Joshua gripped Lugia, still in its rod form, and twisted his waist. His mana gathered once more. A child's body definitely couldn't handle this technique twice in a row, but, with a portion of Bronto's power, he might pull through.
Even if I fall, that monster will save me.
The key to this technique was "perfect balance." Unlike Thunderbolt, which concentrates every iota of mana to a single point, this skill spreads its power evenly throughout the length of the spear. The sensation of the spear in his hand was significantly different.
Joshua smiled savagely as pure white sparks spewed off of him.
"Thunderstorm," he whispered, and swung Lugia from left to right.
Laser-straight lines of crystalline lightning stitched across the air with a flash of white, one after the other. They fanned out in all directions, embroidering the air in crackling electricity.
Is this what a falling star looks like? The lovely lights left the audience agape, but the result was anything but.
The horrific howling of the monsters curdled the air. Winds of lighting-like force ripped them apart, leaving them scorched, shredded, and scattered by its passing.
Whoaaa, heeheehee heeheehee.
It was a mad, mad wind that struck with a life of its own.
When the winds settled, only one person one left standing in the storm's path: Joshua, a boy a mere fraction the size of the slain monsters.
"My word… This is absurd…" Viscount Vig fell to the ground, shaking all over. He didn't have the courage to stay standing in the face of such frightening power.
"Hey… humor me here… This is the skill of a C-Class Knight, right?"
"No! I've never seen or heard of any mana user that can use elemental attributes like that!"
"You mean it was Young Master Joshua who actually took out the Black Ogre? Its skin shouldn't even be scratched unless it's attacked by a B-Class Knight."
The knights were abuzz with speculation.
"I wonder if Young Master Joshua is a magic swordsman…"
"Wha— 'Magic swordsman'?"
Under the known theories of mana, a magic swordsman was regarded as impossible—but how else could you explain Joshua's feat?
"—Kill the rest of the monster!" Chiffon clenched his teeth and infused his voice with mana to drag the knights back to reality.
"Assist Young Master Joshua!"
"Wipe them out!"
Now, no more than half of the monsters remained. The rest, already taken by fear, fell under the knights' swords in droves.
"What do you think, Armand?" Duke Agnus's low, sunken eyes gazed steadily at Joshua, unperturbed by the chaos around him.
Even Armand, a 4th-Class Wizard, had never encountered such a thing in his many experiences. It took him a long time to gather an answer.
"Magicians believe that only one in ten thousand is so blessed; only the truly chosen can use this gift from the gods." Armand paused. "…We call it "Double Casting", the power two wield two magics at the same time. It requires you to know the intricate formulae by memory. Most high-ranking wizards of 5th-Class or higher can do it, but that kind of talent is a blessing from the gods in its own way.
"In terms of power alone, the power Young Master Joshua just demonstrated is similar to the 3rd circle magic, Chain Lightning—No. Not even Chain Lightning is so complex. I don't know if you could achieve the same results with several casts of Wind Cutter and Chain Lightning at the same time…"
Armand pressed his lips into a thin line.
"What are you trying to say?"
"…As a wizard, I can roughly understand what the knights are training for, but I can't understand their true abilities. Young Master Joshua, however… If he's a 'magic swordsman', as the knights say, he must be equivalent to a 3rd-Class Wizard at least. A genius C-Class Knight that can use Double Casting.
"He would be a monster. A monster that could single-handedly rewrite the history of the continent."
Joshua stood proud and tall at the heart of the battlefield, but, from Duke Agnus's perspective, his position was perilous—both of his legs trembled and threatened to collapse.
So, you don't want to reveal your frail side…
"I see what you're saying." Duke Agnus chuckled and then disappeared from his spot. He appeared behind Joshua, supporting his small body.
"Blood doesn't lie," Armand muttered as he watched the Young Master collapse into his father's arms.
To be gifted in such a way… I honestly didn't think it was possible. A trump card to finally fulfil the master's deepest wish.
The Blood Moon, rising high over the carnage, shone brighter than ever before.
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