A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 159: An Empress of Ice (1)
The party was ushered by Yuria to an empty house and instructed to stay put for the time being. In a reflection of the utilitarian nature seen in the design of the building from the outside, the interior looked tacky but was designed to utilize every single inch of available space. It wasn’t home, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable either.
Pram spotted Adjest resting at a corner.
“Thank goodness you are not hurt.”
Like he said, Adjest had just fought a huge battle, and managed to come out uninjured, especially considering the breadth of the gap in power between Adjest and Donape. It was truly an almost impossible feat to overpower an opponent in a life and death duel without the stronger party hurting the weaker one.
Desir predicted the result of this battle. He thought it was obvious that things had unfolded in this manner. Donape Aslan was a strong opponent who had climbed through all of the stages of perfecting his martial arts, mastering each rung of the ladder as he climbed to King Class. On the other hand, Adjest was still developing. It was going to be a different story when Adjest matured and reached her peak, but as of now, it was impossible for her to compete against Donape. Despite Adjest’s loss, Desir still felt that the duel had gone well for Adjest. It was a necessary battle in order to win the right to attempt to fulfill Melger’s oath, something that few people across the continent had the right to. And in the end, she won it.
Winning the duel was a fundamentally impossible feat.
‘The purpose of the duel was to simply test her ability in the first place.’
Desir had a gut instinct that they could obtain the qualification regardless of whether they won or not. And he was right.
‘I didn’t expect there to be a need to obtain a qualification, but she still got something out of this.’
The battle with Donape had given Adjest an unbelievable amount of practical experience; she could now take another step towards her destiny of becoming the most powerful Magical Swordsman.
* * *
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It took about a day for Adjest to recover. She didn’t get injured physically, instead suffering from extreme fatigue due to consuming too much mana.
Yuria came to greet them on the second morning after the battle. She addressed Adjest.
“Can you move?”
Adjest nodded. She had recovered most of her mana after resting, and hadn’t suffered any debilitating injuries.
“Good. I’ll lead you to the sacred place. Come.”
As Yuria got up and was about to step outside to guide them, Desir stopped her.
“Um, can you give me a second? Pram, Romantica, you guys stay here.”
Desir decided that it was not necessary for the entire party to come to the sacred place. He felt the rest should stay here and work on things that they needed to work on, excluding Adjest, whose task in fulfilling the mission would be critical to the success of this mission.
Desir ignored her and spoke to Yuria again.
“These two are very talented. They are every bit as talented as Adjest is. If you don’t mind, I would like them to work on sparring with your soldiers.”
“Oh, it is our pleasure to train with experts. I’ll let them know.”
Romantica and Pram were unhappy about continuing their training, even when they were away from school. However, they eventually relented and accepted Desir’s suggestion to stay put.
* * *
Desir and Adjest finally arrived at the foot of a temple made out of stone. When Yuria gently placed her hand on the temple door, it slid open.
Cold air rushed out as soon as the door opened. It was freezing cold inside the temple. Desir felt as if his lungs were getting torn apart every time he breathed.
“I’ll come every sunrise to check whether you are still alive. I’ll bring food as well.”
Yuria stated as she turned on her heel and left.
Since there was only one way to get into the deep part of the temple, they no longer needed a guide. Desir and Adjest pulled their Clothes Lines further closed, in a vain attempt to keep warm, and trudged deeper into the temple.
As they walked into the building, the cold air immediately reached the freezing point. Even though they were wearing Clothes Lines, the thermo function didn’t seem to help in the slightest. The cold air sliced to the very bone.
After walking for about an hour, they finally came to a stop. They found themselves in the middle of a great room, located near the end of the temple. As if it were a centerpiece, there was a sword stuck firmly in the ground before them.
This room certainly was the ‘The Chamber of Extreme Ice’, containing the sword that Melger got from that unknown man, making an oath to find its rightful owner. The sword was the source of the frigid cold temperature pervading the temple.
Adjest noticed chunks of ice scattered around ‘The Chamber of Extreme Ice’, carved into the shape of human figures. They all looked slightly different, but the one thing they had in common was their pose:
They were all reaching out to grab the sword — the Center of Ice.
“These people have all failed… ”
They were the various barbarian warriors who had attempted to pull the sword out. They were all amongst the bravest and the most competent warriors in their generations, but all of them failed to release the sword, and instead turned into a big chunk of ice.
“You think it’s really possible?”
Adjest asked with a voice clearly betraying her uncertainty.
There was only one chance. If she failed, only death awaited her. The inevitable consequence would leave anyone trembling in fear.
“Don’t worry. You will do it. Just don’t forget to do it as you’ve practiced it.”
Desir spoke with confidence. His tone was even and firm, showing that he had no doubt at all.
Adjest felt the faith radiating from his eyes.
“I trust you, Desir.”
Adjest moved closer to the sword and began casting magic immediately.
All of the surrounding moisture started to gather around Adjest. This was exactly what had happened during her battle with Donape. Her frozen silver blond hair waved in the air.
Desir looked at the back of Adjest who was steadily walking towards the sword and had a momentary flashback.
* * *
The frozen moisture from the air that she had barely just collected, suddenly dispersed. Adjest looked visibly disappointed.
“I understand your theory, but I can’t do it so easily.”
Desir approached Adjest as soon as he found out that his party was assigned to go to Harrowind. He wanted to teach her a specific technique, something quite different from what Adjest had used in previous battles. It was a magic technique based on mental imagery centered on a new formation. Adjest, for now, could only cast [Frozen Palace] with this technique, but she would be able to create many different forms of vision magic later.
Desir strongly believed that this magic was the key to pulling out the sword in Harrowind. As they neared Harrowind, Desir came to a decision. If Adjest couldn’t master the magic, he was going to give up on the cooperation with the barbarian warriors, along with the Center of Ice. He didn’t want to lose his friend as a sacrifice in a gambit to achieve something greater – but that didn’t mean he would give up easily.
“You are doing great. Don’t rush, Adjest. Let’s take it slowly.”
After encouraging Adjest, Desir continued to explain the theory behind the spell.
“The image at the center of your visionary technique is about using cold air to create your ‘territory.’ And you cast [Frozen Palace] as you are expanding your territory.”
[Frozen Palace] was a spell that created a castle out of ice and maximized the speed, power, and absorbance of other magic cast from inside it.
“You already know how to handle the cold air. The next step is to bring all of the cold air that escapes from the [Frozen Palace], back inside it. Trust me, it’s possible.”
Desir recalled the Adjest from his previous life. When she was known as the best magician of them all. When she was known as the Knight of Dawn. She not only skillfully manipulated cold air, but had reached such a mastery that she could effortlessly play around with it. She certainly had accomplished this before, and earned a title for it to boot. She absorbed the cold air into her body and created her ‘boundary’, activating the absorption of all cold air. This maximized the physical power of her body, elevating her to a level comparable to King Class martial artists.
The current Adjest simply couldn’t imagine this. With Desir in the mix, guiding her in terms of visualizing what he knew she was capable of, she was bound to figure out how to achieve this far quicker than in his previous life.
“When you successfully compact all of the cold air, take it into your… ”
Adjest had succeeded before Desir had even finished describing it. This was how Adjest normally learned. She promptly put things into action when she gained a sudden burst of inspiration.
She claimed all of the surrounding mana around her.
* * *
Silver light rays splashed out, lighting up the entire room within the temple. Adjest’s hair also seemed to freeze into a shade as white as frost. All the surrounding cold air began to congregate within her body.
The bone chilling, extremely painful, cold air in ‘The Chamber of Extreme Ice’ violently collided with the cold air that Adjest gathered around herself. The conflict between the two currents of cold made a huge commotion, akin to two huge icebergs had smashed into each other.
This was a live or die situation. Adjest could die in a second if something went wrong, but she kept her cool and relaxed in the face of this adversity.
Adjest slowly assimilated the cold air in the temple into her body and used it as a fuel to strengthen her power. Desir was surprised; Adjest had completely exceeded his expectations. Desir smiled, knowing this was only the tip of the iceberg of what she was capable of. She was a genius. Before too long, Adjest walked through the powerful chill and reached her hand out towards the handle.
The air around them began to respond to Adjest’s actions.
The two different cold fronts that had been violently crashing into each other started to mix. Desir could tell that the control of the cold air emanating from the Center of Ice was now in Adjest’s hands. Adjest compressed the combined cold air into her body.
Adjest grabbed the sword tight but almost lost the strength in her legs. She almost fell. The cold air from the Center of Ice was not an easy thing to assimilate and what Adjest was trying to do now had never been done before. Nobody had ever done this, which meant nobody knew what would happen when the sword was removed. Even Desir waited with bated breath. One thing Desir was certain of though, was that Adjest would handle whatever would happen.
Adjest continued pushing and pulling against the cold air pressure, as if she were part of some kind of tug of war with an invisible opponent. She felt an increasing amount of pain in her body. The cold air constantly attacked her from both outside and within, but she was persistent in her struggle against the sword.
Adjest’s jaw continued to clamp down, trying to suppress the pain, but an involuntary groan escaped from her tightly sealed lips.
Des1r couldn’t watch any longer. He was going to interfere, but suddenly felt the cold air needling his bones slowly fade away…
Chapter brought to you by Kevin K.
TLC: N/A (this could be you!)