Sage was furious! Not only did she fail to take him down in three moves, but she was also the first to receive damage. Although the damage was minor and could be brushed off, the fact still remained that he had managed to successfully land an attack on her.
Izroth did not halt his movement as he continued to move in an unpredictable manner and looked for an opportunity to strike. More importantly, Izroth did not want the passive on his Light Feather Footwork to disappear as it would immediately lower his movement speed. Despite Sage's contemptuous behavior towards him, he did not forget the fact that she was not yet going all out.
Izroth understood that in Sage's eyes, he was "unworthy" of using her full strength against. If she did so, then she would be forced into doing one of two things. The first was admitting that she herself was weak, or admit that Izroth was not weak. Either way, it would be considered a huge loss for her! That was the main reason why Izroth knew that this battle was over before it had even started. With Sage's personality, she may very well rather die than admit her own faults.
"Are you not going to use your Wind Domain?" Izroth asked in a casual manner. However, Izroth's question was met with nothing but silence.
Sage did not respond to Izroth with words, but instead, with a cold stare. Use her Wind Domain? What a joke! He did not even have a Domain, therefore, why would she need to use her Wind Domain to obtain victory? It was the equivalent of using a mountain just to squash some random bug. Her Art of the Sixteen Quintessential Breaths was more than enough to deal with the likes of him!
Sage had not remembered the last time she felt such an unbearable rage boiling up inside of her. Izroth had not only humiliated her by using her attack to help eliminate Roudin and then escaping into the Boundless Sea but now, he even dared to offend her before a crowd of people, as well as, the third young master of the Dragon Palace. He deserved death!
"Breath of Havoc." Sage waved her fan in an odd circular motion. However, although her fan was moving in a bizarre manner, it was only illusions and her true fan had not left the spot it was in. But, a fraction of a second later, numerous sharp blades of wind shot out in every direction from Sage's location! It seemed never-ending and done at random, but there was actually a high level of control behind it.
'There's too many to dodge with my current speed.'
Izroth was able to easily avoid the first few blades of wind, however, as the next couple of waves started to make their way towards him, it became increasingly difficult to move forward with the passive movement speed provided by his Light Feather Footwork alone. Before the third volley flew in his direction, Izroth used Flickering Steps and swiftly weaved through the sharp blades of wind.
With his Energy Vision Sense, the blades of wind showed up as clear as day in his eyes. With his increase in mobility, he was able to quickly shrink the distance between himself and Sage regardless of the wave after wave of attacks caused by her Breath of Havoc.
'This is strange.'
Izroth noticed a faint draft that seemed to linger around Sage. There was a hint of flames present among the drafts, but they were all as thin as a strand of hair. It took less than a single breath of time for Izroth to arrive within melee range of Sage as a concentrated form of energy began to converge at his fingertip. After seeing those thin strands of flames, Izroth felt that they were not so simple. Therefore, he decided to use Fissuring Point just in case it activated as some kind of defensive measure.
Sage's attacks were much faster than that of Roudin's, however, her defensive capabilities and endurance were definitely not equal to his from what Izroth observed. If that was the case, then she would be much easier to deal with in that regard. But, the one thing that concerned Izroth was that Sage had yet to move a single step after avoiding his Fourth Sword Form: Dipping Valley and so he was unable to grasp her mobility.
However, if it was anything close to the level at which she could attack with her fan, then it would be troublesome to deal with even if he used the true strength of the Call of the Thunder God's Second State: Heavenly Cloak.
Izroth's finger pierced through the air and broke through a small gap left in Sage's defenses.
All of a sudden, Izroth lost all control of his movement as he flew back at an incredible speed. His back slammed into a tree which managed to stop him from flying away any further into the Living Forest. By the time he realized it, he was already more than 30 meters away from Sage! What just happened?
'I knew those strands weren't so simple, but I did not expect them to be this dangerous. If not for this tree, I may have continued to fly deeper into the Living Forest.'
Sage had a look of delight in her eyes as a smirk appeared on her face that hid behind the folding fan in her hand. It turned out that he was even more simple-minded than she originally thought. He probably had no idea what just occurred and was currently confused as to how he ended up so far away. However, he was not the first to experience this feeling of befuddlement.
"This selection is not a place where a weakling like you belongs. The moment you dared show yourself before me... Your fate had already been determined." Sage stated in a cold tone as she looked at Izroth with a look of disdain in her eyes.
'I'll have to be careful of those thin strands that surround her. Just then, they suddenly bundled up and met my attack head-on. Before I knew it, I had already ended up back here. It almost acts on similar principles to Halls' Rebound skill, however...'
Izroth dropped down from the tree and landed on his feet. He did not receive any damage from the attack and it only seemed to have repelled him. He was unsure if it was due to his Heavenly Golden Body Great Physique or the skills natural lack of damage, but either way he came out completely unscathed.
One of the participants saw this and could not help but comment, "What is his body made of? How can it take such a beating and still not have a single scratch on it?"
"I know what you mean. He's definitely an agility-type and so his defenses should be lacking, but his body is tougher than some endurance-types I've come across. This guy is a completely unknown anomaly in this selection." One participant replied.
Sage tightly gripped onto the fan in her hands when she noticed that Izroth still remained unharmed. Although the attack power on her Breath of Repulse was low, it should have been enough to damage him without that life-saving skill from earlier. She refused to believe that he was capable of using that skill freely, therefore, how was he constantly emerging unscathed against her attacks? Would she truly be forced to use her Wind Domain on someone who lacked a Domain?
Would not that be the same as openly admitting that she was not confident in defeating him without her Wind Domain? Just the thought alone made her sick to her stomach and filled her with a feeling of disgust. She felt that if Izroth had just simply never existed, then none of this would have been a problem in the first place. Of course, if anyone knew of her current thoughts, they would be in disbelief at how unreasonable they were. To ask someone not to exist just to solve your own problem was too much!
Izroth rested the palm of his hand on the trunk of the tree as he used it to lightly push off of. He accelerated forward at great speeds as his flickering silhouettes could be seen forming throughout the battlefield. Sage's Breath of Havoc had ended and so it was a simple matter to arrive back within melee range of Sage, but this time Izroth was more observant of the strands of flames that encompassed her body. He made a few quick feints with his sword, however, the strands of flame did not react to his attacks.
'Is it not fooled by feints? It acts as if it possesses a will of its own. Then...'
Izroth tapped his foot on the ground as he used Behemoth's Quake. Of course, his main purpose for doing so was not for the damage, but to actively test a theory of his.
'So it works like that. But, this can be somewhat troublesome to deal with if there's no limit or restrictions to it besides that.'
Izroth noticed that earlier when he used his Fourth Sword Form: Dipping Valley, Sage did not stay still and moved to dodge the initial blow of his sword form. However, she was harmed by the second part of his sword form and was not protected by those strands of flames. But, when he arrived within melee range, Sage did not even bother trying to avoid his attacks and the result was as seen. It ended with Izroth being sent flying back almost as if he were turned into a ragdoll.
Now, he used Behemoth's Quake and the strands of flames did not react to protect Sage. With this, Izroth came to a swift conclusion as to how the strands of flames worked. However, understanding how they worked and finding a way to bypass them were two different things. If even his Fissuring Point was unable to pierce through it, then it was likely that his other attacks would end in a similar manner.
'Well, there's only one way to find out for sure.'
Izroth swung out in a perfect arc with his Sword of The Storm towards Sage's torso. However, just as his sword was about to make contact with her, the strands of flames weaved together and formed a protective point of impact.
Izroth's sword collided with the strands of flames, however, his attack was once again repelled! This time, however, he only slid back a few steps instead of 30 meters.
Sage narrowed her eyes when she saw that Izroth had only been sent back a few steps. Did he already figure out how her Breath of Repulse worked? No, it was impossible for anyone to see through her Breath of Repulse so fast unless they were an existence in the legendary realm. Then, could it have been luck? But, if that were truly the case, then the luck that this guy possessed knew no bounds!
Izroth released a small sigh inwardly. While Sage thought his luck was good, Izroth himself believed that it had been quite bad as of late. Both strong participants that he had come across within the selection had skills that made it naturally difficult for him to face them in a head-on battle. With Roudin, it was the gravity pocket-like effect that restricted his movement skills and his insanely high defensive capabilities. With Sage, it was these strands of flames that appeared through his Energy Vision Sense that rendered his close-range attacks virtually useless.
'My luck really isn't good this time around. However...'
Izroth took on a unique sword stance as he held his left arm out in front of him and placed the flat side of his sword into the palm of his hand. He slid his right foot back and his left foot forward as the tip of his sword was pointed towards Sage.
'I've already found a way to break through it.'