Chapter 109 Stranger in the Woods (Part 8)
Immediately everyone who’d been surrounding Daichi who had been paying attention to the situation quite closely made their move the moment their saw Junior make his move. Most of them charged forward wanting to cut off Daichi’s paths of retreat or trying to attack simultaneously.
Daichi stood there holding his hands in in the air in front of him in what seemed like a helpless gesture but all the while he’d been waiting and partially hoping they would attack him. The moment they rushed forward Daichi turned ecstatic as he circulated the mana in his hands to ignite the mana in his hands to create two giant bursts of flames from both of his palms.
Junior had already begun his attack and even as he saw the two large flames he turned his immediate surprise into urgency as he realized that someone who could manipulate flames so easily must be terrible at close range combat. ‘I must attack him at close range before he can turn the flames into something more tricky! I don’t care if the flames burn me, I’ll kill you!’
Junior used a most basic method of mana and utilized it by focusing all of the mana in his body into one point. Although the concept of this was simple it required not only enough mana but the control of mana within one’s body. Most people who trained knew how to meditate and increase their mana but learning to control inside of their body was not a simple thing for most people. Learning to control the mana around their body in the atmosphere was another level of difficulty altogether!
Junior focused his mana towards his feet so he could accelerate and turn his first two steps into a large enough force to propel him forward, increasing his momentum as he swung his sword down from above towards Daichi’s head.
Daichi watched Junior make his move quite calmly as he considered how there were even more surrounding him. He was well aware of what he considered to be his greatest weakness, which in his mind was his lack of mana.
Noticing Junior’s attack and the lack of empathy and intent to kill him, Daichi dropped any pretense of trying to salvage the situation and immediately triggered one of his most familiar skills his <Chaos Erupted Sphere>.
The mana flames in his hands were dissolved into nothing just wisps of flames in the air as everything in the area stopped even Junior’s momentum stopped as he’d already reached a distance of a few feet from Daichi and was about to swing his sword down, he was frozen mid-attack as shock flitted through his eyes.
Daichi had created the previous flames as deterrent. He figured if he didn’t come off as an easy target they would stay their hands but it had only motivated Junior to attack with even more intent to kill and end the fight sooner. Those flames were the only opportunity he was going to give him to retreat. Instead of moving forward, Daichi recreated the two flames in his hands again, with the last shred of hesitation gone a small smile crawled across his face which frightened Junior to his very core as he saw the look of joy on Daichi’s expression.
Daichi was focused on trying something new. The people in his immediate vicinity were frozen in place and the people behind them had assumed they’d stopped their attack and not that they were frozen in place.
They could only watch in frozen abstract horror as the flames in Daichi’s hands turned from a simple red to a blazing orange as the flames grew smaller. Finally, the flames went from a blazing orange to whitish then bright and finally dazzling white. The flames had become as small as blazing melons but the heat radiating from the flames was more than three times as hot.
‘This is the extent of natural flames created solely from the mana in the atmosphere eh…’ He’d long ago realized the trick of compressing and increasing the heat of flames. While most people would consider this level of mastery superb, Daichi merely thought it a parlor trick good enough to heat up a meal in the future, his real task was about to begin.
Daichi began limiting the particles in the air around the flames to solely that of air and began burning less mana for fuel and started maintaining the flames with his own mana as the flames went from that dazzling white into two condensed blue flames that burned straight into the air without flickering in the wind much. The flames were burning twice as hot as his previous white flames and reached a scorching temperature but even this was only something Daichi considered simple.
He briefly considered trying to take it a step further but immediately made the decision to try taking baby steps with his theories. These flames were what Daichi believed to be the hottest burning flames anyone (or at least himself) could create without adding in some concept or additional mana or insight. Moreover, he could create these flames and maintain them with absolutely no effort which he realized the moment he created them.
Daichi then manipulated the flames into a vaguely long an winding shape which vaguely looked like a chain or snake and wrapped them around his body as they grew longer still stemming from his hands as he finally stared down his opponent in front of him.
The smile on his face slowly went away, he’d only taken 3 to 4 seconds for all of this to occur but Junior had slowly watched in rapt horror as he watched the boy in front of him who seemed no older than himself create flames like he’d seen some masters do in Lumea City and then take those same flames one step further and further until he realized he was right ‘He’s a monster… There’s no way he’s human! He’s definitely a monster!’
Regret and fear mingled together as he watched Daichi turn those simple flames into the shape of a winding snake as the smile on his face disappeared and with an expressionless look the blue flamed snakes dashed forward.
The flames instantly burned a hole through his heart and even as the pain struck, Junior only felt the blazing heat for a second before he felt an overwhelming cold grip him. He watched in that instant as tens of people were pierced through the heart by that those two snakes of flame. Instead of disappearing they pierced through one person after another with no resistance.
The people who weren’t frozen from Daichi’s previous attack had turned solemn and then frozen in place as they’d watched him manipulate flames like some sort of fire god expert and as he unleashed his attack they could only stare as person after person were pierced by those flames in seconds.
Seconds was all it took for Daichi to wipe out the entire group with a single attack.
The smile on his face was long gone, he’d gotten carried away and he knew it. He’d gotten excited to try out something new, he’d been alone for so long thinking and thinking but never getting the chance to put his theories into action, it was only as a piece of him which he couldn’t put a finger on seemingly grew that he knew that he’d made process.
In the mist Daichi had come to realize that there was some small imperceptible piece of himself that instantly recognized when he did something right, and grew stronger as a result when he gained an insight into the universe. He’d spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it was, at first he’d thought he was imagining things but later on the more insights he’d gained, and the more that feeling kept popping up that he’d come to realize it wasn’t in his head. There was something within himself that grew stronger as his mind grew wiser.
Daichi stared at the corpses in front of him as he smelled burnt flesh and frowned. Daichi had always believed that the reason he was strong was because he was indifferent. Able to do what he believed was most logical and therefore the wisest thing. It was only when he was stuck in the mist that he came to really put himself under a microscope and understand himself.
All he had in the mist was his mind and his thoughts. He’d spent the majority of the time pondering the secrets of the universe, but very early on. After gaining a few insights into the things he found simple, he had to adjust to what should have been the boredom he was experiencing. Daichi came to realize that even though he was stuck by himself in a place he didn’t understand, instead of being angry or feeling confined he’d felt at peace.
Daichi had spent his time before the world had changed doing nothing but absorbing knowledge with his head in a book no matter whether day or night. He’d done so because he thought it was interesting, but he came to understand he was doing it because he wanted to avoid the world he was in. He was shutting everything out and although he knew the reason he never wanted to face it. Therefore, what he did was shut the world out and learn from every book he could. He threw himself into fantasy and history, imagining any world whether real or forgotten other than his own.
Finally with nothing but time to think about this and himself, Daichi considered the life he was living. One without people, in which he truly was alone and by himself. The realization that even if he left the mist, he would still be alone with no one not even the last two survivors from his village there to keep him company had given him a sense of loneliness but it also made him realize something even more important.
Daichi discovered that his pursuit into knowledge had at some point turned from a hobby based distraction into a true joy. A joy for which he held a true obsession. In one hundred years he didn’t just occasionally ponder the universe, he didn’t spend most of his time out of necessity in order to leave the mist pondering ‘how should I leave? What do I need to know? How do I do it?’. He didn’t think about leaving at all, he thought about those things with nothing but a true fascination and interest.
The passion he held for knowledge he didn’t already have bordered on obsession. It was this obsession that helped him make leaps and bounds in making connections that others would have missed out of frustration or a lack of perception.
Daichi looked at the bodies around himself, knowing that all of them had as much mana as himself if not more and yet he’d killed them all with ease. The only thing he’d really expended was mana, and manipulating the flames in the way he had while utilizing his <Mana Sense> to accurately deal a killing blow to each person in the area had taken a mental toll. He was feeling a type of exhaustion he hadn’t felt in a life time which made him uncomfortable… but also human and… Alive.
Excitement and disappointment muddled together as Daichi felt both excited to truly ‘feel’ again and disappointment he’d had to kill the first humans he’d seen in years. At that moment Daichi sat down and began to ease his mind into a meditative state without focusing on anything as he resolved himself to both recuperate and to try a different approach with the next humans he met.