Garen’s arms stopped in front of the man’s face as if an invisible wall completely blocked his attack. Pieces of broken, transparent debris shot out into the air in a crisp sound like a glass breaking.
Garen’s distorted face was completely red, he made a fierce inhale and, as his muscles instantly swelled up, he grew from 178 cm to over two meters tall. His arms resembled steel pincers, and he clamped his arms with all his might.
In a cracking sound, the protective screen in front of the man shattered, and the dark blue arms that looked like steel beams scissored towards the man’s neck.
However, a strange thing happened: Garen’s arms went through the man’s neck without touching anything solid.
What he cut through was an illusion, and on the ground not far from here, the man slowly appeared again.
"Brother taught you nothing, did he?" He raised his chin, a trace of disappointment gleamed in his eyes. "I’ve heard reports that you killed a few psychokinetics, and I thought that I would be able to see my brother’s Everlasting Night Stars… but you are just so worthless."
"Who are you calling worthless?!" Garen squinted his eyes, as he took a breath, his body inflated and deflated as if he was a real mammoth with huge lung capacity. His voice was so strong and deep that the words echoed and lingered in the air.
He stood on the empty ground, his body had an unnatural purple-black color.
"Since you are a worthless and incompetent, I will take back what belongs to my brother…" The man reached out his hand and pointed at Garen.
An invisible force crashed down on Garen like a clump of dried glue.
Garen suddenly felt that his whole body was immobilized.
"Trying to chain me up?" A sharp light flashed in his eyes, his arm and elbow stroke to the side with a loud crash.
A crisp crackle resounded, and the man’s expression changed.
"A mortal like you…" He flicked his finger, another invisible force crashed onto Garen.
A giant spherical force field formed within ten meters of Garen.
The sand and weed on the ground, the daffodil seeds floated in the air, dust fell off from the stone walls, and a few dried leaves were blown airborne by the wind.
Everything was frozen and restrained.
Garen was standing in the center of the sphere, his muscles and veins jumped following his heart beat. His heart was frantically pumping blood, and his veins seemed like they were about to explode. His vigorous heart was strongly resisting against the forcefield outside.
His skin had tightened from the pressure, and his heart seemed like it was going to blow up. A faint painful feeling came from his left chest, his heart was failing under the influence of the forcefield.
The massive force and pressure restrained his body, he could not even breathe, and his face was gradually turning purple and red.
"It’s over." The man took back his index finger as he slowly walked towards Garen. "Like an insect stuck in an amber, pathetic."
Suddenly, an astounded expression rose on his face. "The Layered Levitation Finger… You broke free?"
The forcefield around Garen was completely shattered, he felt his power and strength exploding like a volcano, his sight went black for a second, and a tearing pain came from his muscles.
He lowered his head and saw the necklace hidden in his shirt slowly rising up, floating in front of his face. A line of words emerged on the necklace.
"Ain Gregoria, Third Life Ritual – Protection."
"Everlasting Night Star… It was on you this whole time. I didn’t expect Brother to leave this on you." The man instantly lifted his cloak, revealing his seaweed-like long and dark hair.
His eyes were glued on the necklace, this necklace in the shape of an open book was exactly what he was looking for.
"A treasure like t
his is such a waste on you." His hand slowly reached out and gripped at Garen.
Garen wanted to dodge, but as soon as he took two steps to the side, he felt everything go black as an invisible hand was choking him by the neck and prevented him from breathing.
"The difference in strength is too much!" His heart was mixed with disappointment and rage. "There is still hope!" His hands tightly gripped the invisible hand on his neck, trying to break himself free. His attention turned to the Skill Pane at the bottom of his vision.
Within the Skill Pane, behind the Mammoth Secret Technique, the transparent and blurry word "Explosive" was gradually turning opaque and clear.
He had the feeling that when this Mammoth Secret Technique finally reached the point of "Explosive", his body would have a dramatic change. His strength would increase by a large margin.
"Damn it, come on, faster!" Drops of blood emerged on his face from under his skin from overusing his explosive force.
At this moment, the man in the dark cloak was already standing in front of him, he reached out and grabbed the necklace.
"Everlasting Night Stars, it’s mine now."
Suddenly, a dark blue fist fiercely punched his right cheek.
Garen finally broke free of the psychokinetic hand and swung a hard blow.
He sprinted over, let out a frenzied roar, and kneed the man in the black cloak who was still staggering.
Crackle! The sound of stone rupturing came from the man’s body, he froze bending down.
Garen gave him an uppercut, precisely smashing the location of his heart on the man’s left chest.
"Pathetic…" the man’s voice came from somewhere.
A massive force smashed into the back of Garen’s head.
Garen shuddered and froze. His vision went black, and his body felt limp and numb as he lost control of his body.
The man in the dark cloak in front of him vanished, turning into a giant yellow stone.
"A mere Hallucinogenic Force Field… could put you on the brink of insanity?"
The man’s voice came from behind.
"As soon as you met me, you were hallucinated and indulged in the illusions, then you were attacking the rocks like a madman, thinking I was the stone wall."
Garen turned around with all his effort, staring at the man at the original spot he was standing on.
"Who… who are you?"
"Me?" The man chuckled, "My name is Sylphalan. Pitiful mortal… you don’t even have the right to look at me straight. I have been behind you the whole time…"
Garen’s vision blurred, he couldn’t see the man again, and as he turned around, he saw the man standing right behind him, smiling at him with his cold expression.
His eyes blurred again, he realized that he was still standing at the original spot, he had not moved an inch, his right fist was on top of his own chest, a strong pain came from his heart.
In a low thud, he felt pain on the back of his head, Garen limped on the ground without any strength, a foot turned his face around to face the sky.
"Your master used to lick my boot and begged me to let you go, why don’t you lick it as well? Maybe I could spare you if my mood got better," the man’s voice came with a glimmer of a smile.
The boot grinded on Garen’s face, and the dirt and the grass mixed with some mud smeared all over his face.
"Roar!" He suddenly pushed himself up and swung his fist at Sylphalan.
Garen was sent flying, hitting the stone wall. A few pieces of rubble shattered off the wall and landed on him. He could feel pain from every bone in his body, he was on the verge of collapse.
The man slowly strutted next to him, he could only see a pair of dark gold linen boots.
"Die!" Garen suddenly reached towards the man’s feet.
Another foot stomped on his waist, in the sound of a crackle, the impact broke one of his back bones.
"A worthless thing like you, I can’t believe Gregor wasted his time on you, what an idiot."
"Talentless mortals, no matter how hard they try are still just worthless."
Garen could not speak anymore.
"I will die if this goes on!"
He felt himself getting weaker and weaker, he was exhausted and wanted to sleep.
"There’s no other way… Next time I see you, I will kill you!" Garen stared at the blurry silhouette, his mind was calm. He memorized the man’s handsome and cold face in his heart.
He didn’t expect to get outmatched like this, he was almost defenseless! From start to finish, he didn’t even know if he had touched the opponent. He didn’t know if he was a friend or foe and underestimated the gap between their strengths, this was his fault.
Sylphalan… this name was engraved into his heart.
It was strange, he should be angry, but he only felt calm and peaceful. He had a feeling that the opponent did not really want to kill him.
"I have to gamble…" He slowly closed his eyes, not that he could see anything anyway. His muscle started trembling and deflating. Soon he had returned to his normal body size.
He slowly started a technique he had learned from the dojo’s library, it was a simple technique that could allow someone to fake his death.
This was the first time he used it, it was a simple technique, or one could call a trick. This trick was a part of the Mammoth Secret Techniques included in the notebook. One of the predecessors experimented and invented this little trick to save his life.
When he saw this trick that day, he memorized it just in case of a dangerous situation. It was a simple technique that adjusted one’s breathing patterns. But he didn’t expect to put it to use so soon.
He imagined all his strength and blood to relax and rest, and gradually flowed into his brain and heart.
Then he lost consciousness.
Sylphalan raised his head and gazed at the new moon, his foot was still on Garen’s head.
"He’s dead?" He boringly kicked Garen again. "His life was so fragile…"
He snatched Everlasting Night Stars from Garen’s neck and put it on his arms. Sylphalan put on the cloak and hid into the dark night.
Wind gusted by, lifting the hem of his cloak.
He turned to glance at Garen one last time. His expression looked complicated. He turned around and jumped, his shadow disappeared into the forest like a bird.
Right as he left, a blurry silhouette approached Garen.
"Sylphalan… Hehe… you think you could trick everyone?"