Billy’s face was painted over with rage.
Gaston pointed his staff at Billy’s face and took a deep breath, then he shouted to his soldiers as they kept on fighting for their lives,
“None of you is to interfere! I’ll fight him by myself!”
The same went for Billy.
“All of you… go away.”
With a slow wave of his hand, Billy commanded the Alphas to move away from Gaston’s vicinity.
“If you wanted to mess with my head, well, you’ve succeeded, Gaston…”
“But without any of the Alphas ganging on you, your soldiers will have to do much more work. It seems that you didn’t plan very far ahead.”
“I can think about that after caving your skull in.”
After that exchange, there was a momentary silence between the two… then Billy opened wide his shining, red eyes.
A storm of arcane energy whirled through the air. Facing it, Gaston’s face tensed up.
He could not back out of this, however — especially since he knew that he was the only one present here and now who stood a chance against Billy.
Gaston released his arcane energy, blowing away Billy’s pressuring energy around him.
Despite that happening, Lina and Hornel — and all the mages on the battlefield, for that matter — could sense that…
[Not even close…]
[Professor Billy’s power is way above Sir Gaston’s…]
As far as Hornel and Lina knew, Gaston’s arcane energy was so powerful that he had no equal within the Royal Capital Magic Guardians’ ranks.
Despite that, however, they still felt that Billy’s level of energy now was practically of a different dimension.
[His energy pool is close to Sir Asley’s level, even…]
Billy’s aura was ominous and practically exuding darkness, but the sheer amount of arcane energy in it rivaled that of Asley, Lina’s most respected teacher.
Gaston, standing right in front of that, was sure to know how inferior his power was.
“Hahahaha, so weak. So very weak… Gaston.”
“A battle isn’t decided by how much energy you have.”
“That’s what you say when there isn’t much of a difference between the two fighters.”
“Then prove it…”
“Oh, I sure will… KAH!”
In a single, instantaneous jump, Billy was in front of Gaston… but then Gaston did not have to move much to flank him instead.
Gaston proceeded to throw a punch at Billy’s left cheek. The impact was enough to swipe an ordinary person’s head right off, but it required Billy no effort to simply take the blow.
With an ominous grin, Billy muttered,
“What can you possibly do to me, the leader of the Duodecad?”
Gaston opened his right palm and shot a blast of arcane energy at Billy’s face.
“That was dangerous.”
Billy ducked to avoid the blast, then grabbed Gaston’s right arm.
“Oh, if you think THAT was dangerous, you’re not ready for what’s next…”
Hearing that claim, Billy turned to look at Gaston’s left hand.
That hand was holding the Damascus Rod, capable of saving five Swift Magic spells. It was the very best of the staff-type weapons forged in this era.
Billy saw that the staff was pointing at him… specifically, under his feet.
The earth exploded, launching Billy up into the air.
“Gwoh–!? So you think you’re clever, huh!?”
Billy quickly adjusted his posture and looked down, but Gaston was not in the same spot anymore. The spot Gaston had previously stood on, near the spot that had been exploded by the Rock Blast, now had an unnatural hole leading down.
By the time Billy realized what was up, it was too late. Just before he began falling to the ground, Gaston landed a strike on his back.
Although slammed down with tremendous force, Billy still avoided the full impact by landing on his four limbs.
Sticking the landing was the least of his worries, however.
After all, Gaston had been drawing a Spell Circle in mid-air.
The only thing between Gaston and Billy was the empty sky, enabling the spell to travel in a straight line, resulting in a greater speed of descent.
Immediately after Billy landed, Gaston pushed him down with a powerful kick — this time also on his back.
“And don’t think I’m using only large spells! Earth Control!”
The spell, instantly cast through Swift Magic, caused the earth to wrap around Billy and restrict his movements, as opposed to building an earth wall that it usually would do.
“Hmph, you think something like this can stop me?”
“Not really. I just need some time.”
Gaston proceeded to draw a Circle with his right hand. The spell was complicated, and risky to use here, but as the leader of the Magic Guardians, he had the skill and courage to dish it out.
He whispered, and in an instant, Billy’s body and the surrounding area were engulfed in scorching flames. It was much more powerful than what he had used previously during Betty’s rank-up evaluation.
Billy’s scream served as an indicator of the extraordinary damage he had taken.
Even Gaston himself could feel in his hand how powerful it was.
But Gaston knew from his many years of experience that now was not the time to rest. He promptly drew another Spell Circle to add to the attack.
And his choice was correct, for experience was what best improved a person — and what had saved him time and time again.
He lacked one crucial experience, however — he had never faced a Devil… until now.
“–AAAHHH… Ah… ah… AHAHAHAHAHAHA! I see, I see! So this is why you’re called the Great Mage of Flame!”
“Fire Lance Rain!”
More fire rained down from above, adding to what was already burning Billy.
There was no doubt that the spells had hit their mark, but Gaston could not help but feel more and more unnerved.
“Yes, yes — each of your attacks is hot. A different kind of heat from mere fire… and different from the four core elements of magic, for that matter. Interesting. Certainly an interesting topic to research.”
The sound of clapping could be heard from within the raging flames.
Gaston now realized… His opponent’s voice was quite composed, and had more strength to spare than he had anticipated.
“But it’s regrettable… That my test subject would have to die here!”
The flames were swiped away, and emerging from it was Billy… totally unscathed.
“Let me ask you, Gaston: After what you just witnessed… can you still say that a battle isn’t decided by how much energy you have?”
Gaston kept his mouth shut, albeit while glaring at Billy.
“Hahahaha… Finally at a loss for words? Asked something you didn’t want to answer, have I? Well, as you’re staying silent like this, more and more of your soldiers are dying… Maybe you should do something about that!”
As condescending as Billy sounded, he was right — allied soldiers were dwindling in numbers as the minutes went by.
Gaston knew that, if this kept up, annihilation was inevitable.
[Good thing I refused Irene’s reinforcements, I guess… No one stands a chance against Billy now. At least I should try to secure a path for the rest of us can retreat. If something were to happen to Lina, I wouldn’t have it in me to face the young man again…! But what should I do? Hitting him with my full power would achieve nothing. I need a clue to work on… Anything will do…!]
“Now then, time to wrap this us. Hehehehe… Ugh–!? What was that!?”
Billy noticed something unusual happening to his back — particularly, a stinging pain building up just after he was done laughing.
He realized that he had taken a slashing attack, which had broken through his passive arcane energy shield. Fresh red blood flowed from the cut wound.
“A cheap shot, but impressive nonetheless… Who are you?”
Billy glanced behind him, his sight sharp as if to pierce right through whoever was there.
[This can’t be right… It’s him, of all people, resurfacing as our reinforcement here…]
Gaston realized first who the person behind Billy was, and that he was here to help out the Royal Capital Magic Guardians.
“What’s going on? I thought I got a clean hit in!”
Cracking jokes in the distance was a young man of notably small stature.
“Oh, it’s you… I was wondering what you’ve been up to after leaving the Six Braves. Well? What are you doing here?”
Billy started questioning him — a warrior, who had resigned from the ranks of the Duodecad shortly after Billy was made its leader.
During the time between then and now, no one knew where he had gone and what he had been up to.
Still, one could guess that his arrival had been arranged by Trace.
He was, just like Asley, someone who had surprised the Magic University during the entrance examinations — but unique circumstances had resulted in him not enrolling, and instead becoming one of the Six Braves.
“The Scale Tipper — Barun.”