Sage did not think that Izroth would survive her first attack, let alone her second one. The fact that she had to rely on three attacks just to defeat him was already an incredible loss of face for her. After all, she had clearly announced that she only needed three moves to deal with him.
"Wanting to face my Art of Sixteen Quintessential Breaths head-on? Keep dreaming." Sage said as she waved her fan four times in rapid succession. Her movements were elegant and breathtaking as she made it look as though the fan in her hand was performing a dance with the wind as its partner.
The skill Sage used was known as the Breath of Destruction. It was one of the killing moves of her Art of Sixteen Quintessential Breaths and could easily rank on the list among some of the top offensive wind-type skills. It covered the eight directions and the center point of the attack carried with it the most destructive force as it soared through the air.
'This one is a bit dangerous.'
Even with his Warpath Blade: Gale Zone Guard active, Izroth had received a faint warning from his Soul Sense. While it was not life-threatening, it still meant that he was in some potential danger if he decided to face the attack head-on. If this were before he managed to advance to the next level on his Heavenly Golden Body, then Izroth would have thought twice about receiving such a fierce attack head-on. However, Izroth was confident in seeing this through until the end.
Even though his eyes were closed, Izroth still had his Energy Vision Sense active. This allowed him to "see", in a certain manner of speaking, what was going on around him. Though he made sure to minimize the range in order to converse as much Essence as possible.
Woosh! Bang! Crrrrckle!
Sage's Breath of Destruction collided with Izroth's Warpath Blade: Gale Zone Guard which created the sound of something cracking and breaking apart. The barrier provided by Izroth's Warpath Blade: Gale Zone Guard was actually crumbling under Sage's Breath of Destruction!
Since the winds from Sage's Breath of Destruction were simultaneously traveling in eight different directions, it did not simply slide off as her previous attack had done. Instead, the destructive force only grew as it met with the gentle breeze encompassing Izroth's body and started to tear it to pieces while dragging and forcing it into eight different directions. It created an explosion that caused a large cloud of dust to form.
One had to know that Izroth was able to survive Roudin dropping a small mountain peak on him with the immunity provided to him by the Warpath Blade: Gale Zone Guard. In terms of raw power and destructiveness, Roudin's attack with his Mountain Domain was by far stronger than Sage's Breath of Destruction. Though given her familiarity with the wind element, this was not beyond Izroth's expectations.
〈Battle Alert: Your skill «Warpath Blade: Gale Zone Guard» has been forcibly interrupted!〉
Sage's attack had successfully broken through! When the other participants saw this, they believed that Izroth was as good as dead. Though no one felt sorry for him. If he had not been so arrogant, then maybe he would not have been defeated so fast. But, everyone was somewhat disappointed since they were looking forward to a good fight.
Kayn, on the other hand, who watched the battle unfold from a distance, inwardly shook his head at the sight. He wondered what Izroth was up to by purposely continuing to antagonize Sage. It was quite obvious that she held a high level of disdain towards him. Was there a need to further provoke her?
"Well, perhaps this much is necessary." Kayn said to himself. Sometimes, a forceful hand was required to get a point across. He had long since decided that no matter how things turned out, he would not interfere in their match against one another.
"In the end, trash is trash. Do not blame me for your death, blame yourself for being born so weak." Sage said as she moved the folding fan in her hand back to cover the lower part of her face. She turned and was about to walk away from the scene, however, as she did so she heard the sound of a voice coming from behind her.
"This is the second time you've turned your back on me. Are you sure that's wise? After all, there exists a thin line between arrogance and confidence. Ah, I suppose that just made three moves." A voice sounded out from the center area of the dust cloud. Of course, this voice belonged to Izroth.
The dust cloud cleared away and standing in the same exact spot with his eyes closed and sword still in its sheath was Izroth! Just as he promised he would do, he had not moved a single step from the spot he stood in despite the restrictions he placed upon himself. This made the spectating participants look on in awe. What a powerful defensive skill! While they were confident in surviving those first two blows, the third blow was on another level and would probably lead to them taking serious damage.
However, the person before them called Izroth stood there without a single scratch or wound on his body after taking that attack head-on. How could they not be amazed by his actions?
"He... He actually survived...!" One of the participants said in a tone filled with shock and disbelief.
"Indeed, a real man keeps his word!" One of the participants commented. He thought Izroth was just some arrogant guy who was hiding his power all along and speaking above his own level, but it appeared that he had been wrong in his initial judgment. If there were any doubts before in his mind, they had long since disappeared. Without a doubt, that person definitely deserved his spot within the top ten!
Sage had a blank expression on her face when she saw Izroth standing there unharmed. She was 100% positive that her Breath of Destruction shattered his defenses and directly struck against his body. Even if he was by some miracle not killed, he should have, at the very least, been critically injured with one foot in death's door. Did he have a special protective talisman or some life-saving skill? If not, there was no other way to explain how he remained completely unharmed.
What Sage did not know was that although her attack did indeed break through Izroth's Warpath Blade: Gale Zone Guard, it had been severely weakened in the process by the time it made contact with his physical body. With the reduction of its power, Izroth's passive skill Greater Physique granted to him by his Heavenly Golden Body was more than enough to handle the remaining force of the attack. This made it so that not even a scratch appeared on his body even after being hit directly.
Izroth opened his eyes as a carefree expression appeared on his face. He then unsheathed his Sword of The Storm as it released a powerful gust of wind after leaving its sheath. He pointed the sword in his hand towards Sage.
"You use the word trash so lightly. Tell me, if you were to be defeated by someone you refer to as trash, then how would you call yourself?" Izroth asked.
Sage nearly coughed up blood in anger from listening to Izroth's words. Not only did that trash think he could defeat her, but he even wanted to claim that she was less than trash. This was going too far! Not to mention, that constant carefree look on Izroth's face only served to further infuriate Sage. She wanted to wipe that, what she saw as, smug look off his face once and for all! She wanted to see just how many times that life-saving skill could protect him.
"Breath of Discord." Sage performed the same skill she used as her second attack on Izroth. But, the wind this time around was more chaotic and unstable in nature as if there were two opposing forces vying for dominance.
Izroth vanished from the spot he stood in and appeared around 10 meters away from Sage. He easily avoided her Breath of Discord by using his Enhanced Instantaneous Movement. Then, immediately after doing so, Izroth kicked off his back foot as he dashed straight towards Sage at an extreme speed. He had used Light Feather Footwork to instantly increase his movement speed as he timed it perfectly after using his Enhanced Instantaneous Movement.
"Hmph, just a little enhanced version of Instantaneous Movement. Nothing special. Breath of Frost!" Sage said as a strong and cold gust of wind blew towards Izroth. Breath of Frost was like a small blizzard rushing forward without mercy. However, unlike Sage's expectations, Izroth did not slow down at all! Breath of Frost should have lowered Izroth's mobility and restricted his movement, but he appeared to be unaffected by it.
The cold from Sage's Breath of Frost sunk into Izroth's skin, however, the moment it did so it was instantly expelled from his body.
Sage's Breath of Frost was a form of cold poison that did not activate until it made contact with one's skin. But, Izroth was immune to this weak level of poison due to his Heavenly Golden Body. Therefore, when the poison entered into Izroth's body, it was immediately negated and kicked out. Unless it was a more potent and dangerous poison, Izroth was confident that he would not feel its effects. Once again, his Heavenly Golden Body had not let him down in the slightest!
Even though Izroth resisted the slow effect of the poison, he did not avoid the damage brought about by the Breath of Frost. Even with his current magical resistance of 25% and Greater Physique, Izroth still lost almost 20% of his HP from that single attack.
While Izroth could have potentially evaded the attack by using one of his movement skills, he understood that he could not afford to waste them freely. He still did not know enough about Sage's abilities, therefore, he had to wait until they were absolutely necessary and use them to gain some sort of advantage.
Since Izroth did not feel a life-threatening warning from his Soul Sense, he charged right through the attack while accepting the damage. With his in-battle HP regeneration, as well as his lifesteal, Izroth was not bothered by the amount of damage done as he would gain it back soon enough. In the meantime, he would use this opportunity to launch a counter-attack!
Thanks to his Light Feather Footwork and resisting the slow effect of Sage's Breath of Frost, Izroth quickly managed to close the distance between the two.
'Fourth Sword Form: Dipping Valley.'
She wanted to slow his movements? Then, he could only return the favor. Izroth changed his sword stance to that of a lower position as the ground split open and a sharp sword intent was aimed at Sage.
Sage avoided the sword intent as she landed safely next to the earth that was just split open by Izroth's Fourth Sword Form: Dipping Valley. She continued her vicious cycle of attacks on Izroth as the fan in her hand danced around at insane speeds throughout the air. However, what she did not expect was what happened after she stood in that spot near the fissure for 3 seconds.
The fissure suddenly slammed shut as Sage felt herself being drawn in while the nearby earth slightly trembled. This threw off her attacks as she resisted the bizarre force. But, it was not over just yet.
The moment the earth connected together, a powerful pressure washed over Sage. She had somehow suffered an internal wound! However, how was this possible? None of the attacks she used thus far were enough to cause any internal damage to her, therefore, it must have been due to the sneaky methods of that trash! He was surely using some kind of underhanded trick to cause this kind of reaction out of her!
"You dare use underhanded methods on me?!" Sage said as the aura around her rose up to another level.