383 Embodiment of Death
Even though he was encased in the vastly powerful fifth stage of his system, what he sensed from the aura that was no longer suppressed by the trenchcoat-wearing man made goosebumps form along his body.
A bountiful emptiness, yet filled with a darkness that went past the absence of light or sight; it was the complete deprivation of life. That ageless depth of nothingness bore itself through a darkness interlaced with forgotten souls, surrounding Cassian with something that transcended bloodlust.
It made him pause, instinctively going on the defense as he jumped back a fair distance from Cassian.
“You feel it, don’t you?” Cassian asked, “This is ‘Death’.”
Around the very ground that the lightly-bearded man’s boots stepped on, the whispers of lifeless air crawled over the frost, decaying even the pale white and siphoning the last bits of life from the soil beneath as it cracked and peeled.
“I lack restraint with my power, yet I’m not authorized to kill you. It’s a conundrum–a bother, really,” Cassian said, “It’s troublesome, but I’ll have to try extra hard not to kill you.”
Sensing the deathly aura from his opponent, knowing the origins of the power the man possessed, there was no greater threat in the moment. Standing amidst the ruined hometown of his, alone in the quiet snowfall, he didn’t shy away–instead, he packed further power into himself as the azure glow amplified from his armor.
‘I can’t make any mistakes. I can tell just by feeling it–that really is “Death”–if I’m not careful, I might end up dead…No, that’s not the problem. Everybody else will end up dead,’ he thought.
Thinking about his friends and family, he didn’t hesitate as he breathed in, relinquishing his scaled helm before reaching up and removing the eyepatch that covered his eye. What filled his mind in addition were the memories of his hometown–the kind civilians, the friendly adventurers–all the acquaintances he had formed along the way.
All of it was gone.
“Oh, you’re using ‘that’? Hm,” Cassian remarked, seeming to know what he was doing.
Emilio carefully opened his eyes, revealing his unsealed right eye that bore a kaleidoscope of the cosmos within it–the aspect of Veracity.
Through it, the truth was revealed to him; proper actions were found as he could see blueprints of his own movements and reactions to potential attacks from his enemy.
‘Everything–I need it all–so I’ll give up as many hours, days, months, years that I need to!’ He thought.
Sprinting forth, he used his amplified speed to encircle the mysterious fighter, hoping to draw out attacks to be able to gauge the abilities of his foe. A snap of Cassian’s fingers suddenly brought the manifestation of a skeletal construct, peering through a dark mist like a reaper of death as it attempted to snatch the Dragonheart.
Through the eye of Veracity, Emilio saw through the attack, ducking beneath it and sliding across the ground as he aimed a quick spear of fire straight towards Cassian’s head.
“That won’t reach me,” Cassian casually said without turning to look.
The construct of death caught the flaming spear in its skeletal hand, using its gaseous digits to suffocate the fire.
Peering forth, he foresaw a flick of the enigmatic man’s hand, seeing a pathline for him to jump up to avoid the attack as he did so, leaping a dozen meters into the air. With a single movement of his hand, Cassian unleashed a wave of death through the street, engulfing it in utter desolation.
Everything that the man’s aura touched felt to ruin, drenched in the emptiness that was disconnected from life itself.
In response, the Dragonheart used his wings to stay in the air, raising his hands as he summoned a coalescence of azure flames before releasing it down to the ruins of Yullim; hundreds of flaming projectiles rained down on the sky upon the mysterious visitor.
‘It’s not reaching him…?’ Emilio realized.
Standing in the same spot on the ground floor, Cassian didn’t so much as raise a hand, untouched by the flames or smoke as the aura of ruination around him existed like an impenetrate barrier, causing the descending fire to be snuffed out as it neared him.
“Everything falls to ruin–through age, disease, or malice–”death” is an inevitability that nothing escapes from,” Cassian said with a small sigh, “That truth is the same for your magic.”
Lighting up the bitter, night sky of the unwelcome winter, the flames continued to descend like azure comets, reaching the ruined town with fiery releases, yet failing to ever reach Cassian, who kept his hands within the pockets of his coat.
“You’re wasting your energy. I told you, it won’t reach–”
As the wielder of the authority of “Death” spoke with that same lifeless tone, words suddenly left him as his eyes widened for the first time.
Forsaking the idea of burning his enemy, Emilio had instead found a different avenue to attack, using the veil of bright-blue fireworks as a facade; he used “Absolute Air Lock” to create a vacuum around Cassian.
–This method of attack was brought to him through the sight of Veracity; through that right away that ate away at his lifespan by the second, this spell was found to be his most optimal path to success.
The surrounding flames died out from the complete deprivation of oxygen, leaving Cassian gasping for air that did not exist within his lungs.
Emilio landed back down on the ground, focusing to continue the perpetuity of the spell, holding his hand forward as he prevented oxygen from entering the man’s lungs.
‘I was right. If it’s fire, water, or nature magic, it can die…but wind is eternal; an intangible that can’t be “killed” like he claims. I just need to hold this…! Another minute or two, and he’ll lose consciousness!’ He thought.
Even as he held the man’s lungs in the palm of his own hands, it was a battle in itself; he strained himself, standing there, holding his hand out to control the flow of air, manipulating the vacuum, though he could feel the colossal aura from the man fighting back, resisting.
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The ground shook violently as Cassian’s aura ran rampant; the reservoirs of power within the mysterious man was nothing short of terrifying as the ruined town shook at the clash of power.
Using his other hand, sweat dripped down Emilio’s cheek as he also commanded a manifestation of water-made chains, whipping around and latching onto Cassian’s arms to keep him still during the suffocation process.
‘…Fall!’ Emilio thought.
–After an intense struggle, holding the air vacuum for longer than he ever had as sweat cascaded down his chin, victory was his: Cassian’s consciousness vanished as the man’s body went limp, dropping face-first into the snow as the chains of water vanished.
“…Hff…” Emilio caught his breath.
There was no doubt that the trenchcoat-wearing figure was dead; absolute deprivation of oxygen had been permitted to the man, leaving him brain dead on the ground.
‘I did it…I need to get home. Yullim has fallen…We’ll have to move,’ he thought.
Standing there for a moment as he regained his breath, watching the scenery of early snow around him amidst the fallen town, he was about to take a single step before encountering a sight that made his stomach drop.
“Damn, I really let my guard down on that one, no, you’re just that good…What a bother.”
Picking himself up from the ground, the man with the scar running from his mouth to his cheek rubbed his own head as if merely waking from a nap. Snow cascaded down the shoulders of his long, grim coat as he looked towards the Dragonheart, who was noticeably perplexed by this development.
‘He’s alive? That shouldn’t be possible–even if he had Undying Blood like me, suffocation wouldn’t be reversed that quickly–no, he died. I know he did,’ Emilio questioned.
“Are you confused?” Cassian asked, seeming to notice, “In case you’re wondering–I can’t die. There’s no trick or gimmick to it, so don’t bother. I’ve tried.”
It didn’t sound like a bluff, nor did it feel like it. What he faced wasn’t a normal man by any means; the authority of a Primordial, if only a portion lended to the figure, was a natural disaster in itself–that much was present through the deathly winter that gripped Yullim.
“Cas, if you keep slacking off, Melune is going to scold you again!”
–Another voice entered the fray, bringing Emilio’s gaze over to the right to find an androgynous figure with shaggy hair that seemed to alternate between many different colors; the same was for their eyes–vibrant and radiating with colors that went beyond normal perception.
The unknown figure sat on a wooden gate, holding a lollipop in their mouth and swinging their legs, wearing a colorful coat and dark leggings.
‘Who are they? Have they been here this whole time?’ Emilio questioned.