"Breath of Havoc." Sage waved the fan in her hand at incredible speeds as numerous sharp and deadly blades of wind rushed out from her location while creating a strong gust of wind that surrounded her.
Izroth maintained his sword stance as he dodged the incoming blades of wind with his Flickering Steps active. But, if not for his Energy Vision Sense, Izroth knew that it would have been increasingly challenging for him to avoid the numerous blades of wind. This was due to the sheer quantity being released in every direction which left no time to breathe and allowed little room for error to occur.
As Izroth evaded and weaved through the blades of wind, he did not retreat back, but instead, he pushed his way forward despite the immense pressure caused by Sage's Breath of Havoc. He exploited the smallest gaps until he arrived within under five meters of Sage's position.
The moment Izroth reached that location, his stance lowered as he leaned in slightly and positioned his arms as if he were crossing them. The hilt of the Sword of The Storm in his hand aligned itself with the left side of his shoulder and as he swept his sword out before him in an astonishing arc that resembled an ocean wave making its way towards the edge of land.
Sage closely observed the sword intent that was unleashed towards her as she looked on with disdain. He wanted to hit her with such a straight forward attack? Keep dreaming! It took Sage no effort to evade Izroth's attack as she casually moved to the side and out the path of the sword intent. However, the instant her foot touched the ground, a second wave was already headed towards her!
"Useless tricks!" Sage said as she once again evaded Izroth's attack with ease. Her Breath of Havoc had come to an end. Though just as she was about to retaliate, she suddenly felt that something was off behind her. There was a subtle change in the wind at her back, however, she had no time to respond to it as she felt a wave of sword intent pass through her body from behind! Almost immediately after that happened, the second wave of sword intent followed after the first and also passed through her body from behind her.
Sage was in a state of disbelief. She was not struck once, but twice just now and both attacks came from the blindside at her back. The two waves of sword intent that made contact with Sage were similar to that of a receding tide returning back to the ocean from land. However, it was clear that Izroth had not launched any such attacks from that direction, otherwise, she would have definitely felt the sudden changes in the surrounding winds with her Breath of Perception.
Sage's Breath of Perception was constantly active and it enabled her to become aware of any subtle changes in the wind within a certain distance around her and it was not a small range by any means. It was one of the reasons she could launch such accurate and challenging to avoid attacks, as well as, keep track of Izroth's location regardless of his speed and flickering afterimages that were left behind in the process.
Then, how was it that he managed to launch a sneak attack from her back without her noticing? Without a doubt, she should have been able to perceive a sneak attack that was done using sword intent.
'Fifth Sword Form: Receding Tides.'
Skill Name: Fifth Sword Form: Receding Tides
Skill Creator: Izroth
Skill Level: 1/4
Skill Rank: B
Requirements: Sword Equipped
Passive: Executing attacks with a sword provides the user with a 2.5% chance to freely use the Fifth Sword Form: Receding Tides, ignoring its cooldown time. If the skill is already on cooldown, the remaining cooldown time on the skill is not affected and remains unchanged. The user has 5 seconds to resolve this effect before it automatically ends. The chance of this occurring is doubled to 5% while the active to this skill is on cooldown. Using Fifth Sword Form: Receding Tides through this effect does not cause the skill to go on cooldown.
Active: The user releases a wave of sword intent in the direction of their sword swing that travels outward 5 meters from the tip of the user's sword dealing 120% of their attack as physical damage. When the wave of sword intent reaches the maximum distance of 5 meters, it recedes and travels back towards the direction it came from dealing 156% of the user's attack as physical damage to enemies in its path.
Special Note: This skill can also be leveled up through repeated usage and proper execution.
Cooldown: 4 minutes 25 seconds
The sword intent returned to Izroth's Sword of The Storm before completely vanishing. It truly did resemble that of a receding tide becoming one with the ocean.
A few moments ago when Izroth used his sword to test the strands of flames around Sage, he noticed two things. The first was that they only responded to solid objects such as one's fists or weapon. They would become temporarily unstable when Sage was forced to move and there was a small delay before she was able to recreate the strands of flames.
Of course, these were not actual strands of flames, but rather, small drafts of wind that protected Sage. Normally, these drafts could not be seen, however, Izroth's Energy Vision Sense made it possible to view them as thin strands of flames. When it came to following skills that held no true form, Izroth always had to rely on his Soul Sense and high sense of perception to evade or discover its presence. But, ever since he learned Energy Vision Sense, those attacks that had no original form were as clear as day in his eyes.
The second thing Izroth noticed was that he managed to trigger the passive of his Fifth Sword Form: Receding Tides with his last attack against Sage. Just now, not only did he use the passive of his fifth sword form, but the active as well. This allowed him to perform back to back attacks against Sage that forced her to become mobile. What Sage did not expect was that the two waves of sword intent would travel back towards his sword and this caught her off guard.
'It seems that my luck is turning around.'
Not only was Izroth able to trigger the passive for his fifth sword form, but each returning sword intent caused the effect attached to his trinket to activate. Blood Stigma! The damage from his Blood Stigma ignored all defenses and dealt 10% of his total attack as damage every second for 10 seconds. Since it could stack up to five times and Sage had two stacks, this meant that Izroth would deal 20% of his attack per second that ignored Sage's defenses.
Izroth did not simply stand idle and allow Sage to regain herself, he dashed forward with his Flickering Steps and immediately used Phantom Strike while Sage's Breath of Repulse was still destabilized.
Sage's agility was not slow by any means, however, she made a critical mistake that most made when dealing with Izroth's Phantom Strike, she followed the first strike with her eyes!
While Sage successfully evaded the first strike, she was suddenly cut by both of the phantom swords that trailed after it. To Sage, it appeared that no matter how she evaded Izroth's attacks, they would always find some way to hit. Also, he was not allowing her the chance to recover her Breath of Repulse and so she had to rely on her natural defenses and agility to evade.
"Breath of Destruction." Sage sent out an attack that covered the eight directions, however, Izroth vanished before appearing next to her. He shifted his stance to that of his Second Sword Form: Returning Wave's Sword Counter as his sword instantly descended upon Sage and disregarded her natural defenses.
Sage's facial expression darkened. This trash actually dared to constantly strike her?! Unforgivable! Absolutely unforgivable!
The transition in Izroth's attack pattern was smooth and natural as he carried out his assault, however, he felt a sudden chill run down his back as he exhaled a breath of cold air. At the same time, his Soul Sense went off like never before as it warned him of impending danger. Even back when he faced Roudin his Soul Sense did not react this way to the danger. As for his match with Kayn, he held no true killing intent and so his Soul Sense reacted in a normal manner.
Izroth did not hesitate as he made a tactical retreat and created a fair amount of distance between himself and Sage. Since his Soul Sense had never led him down the wrong path before, he would not foolishly disregard its warning. However, even with his retreat, his Soul Sense did not halt its warning in the slightest. In fact, that warning grew more intense with each passing second.
'Where did that chill come from? More importantly, what could possibly be causing my Soul Sense to react in such a violent manner?'
Kayn, who was observing the match from the sky in a distance, narrowed his eyes as he realized something unusual.
"This is bad..." Kayn muttered to himself. The moment he realized what Sage had done, he knew that it was only a matter of time before that person discovered it. He reached his hand outward and reinforced the barrier that surrounded the Limit Zone. It would further prevent what was happening inside from being discovered from sources outside of the Sky Palace. After all, although the Sky Palace had certain restrictions in place, Kayn still had some additional methods at his disposal.
"I don't know the results of interrupting it while it's in the middle of forming since this is the first time it's happened. Old man Zushuatri has to act fast." Kayn said as he looked up towards the firmament and saw a faint glimpse of light dancing just at the firmament that was ready to descend down at any moment. If that light directly struck the Sky Palace, forget the Sky Palace itself, even the lands beneath it and the surrounding area would be obliterated.
Of course, that light was not some skill that Sage was using. If that were the case, then there would be no one who could match her throughout the entire Mortal Realm. That light was actually known as heavenly lightning and it was caused by a different set of reasons.
"Maelstrom Domain: Breath of Evanescent Squalls." The moment Sage uttered these words, the heavenly lightning at the firmament immediately became fierce and overbearing as its thundering sound rang throughout the entire Mortal Realm!
Every powerful existence instantly felt the presence of the heavenly lightning and the same thought crossed all their minds when they noticed that it came from the direction of the Sky Palace. Could the master of the Sky Palace be ascending to the Divine Realm?
'This feeling... It somewhat resembles that of the Undying Maelstrom. However, it's not the reason that my Soul Sense is reacting this way. Then... What is it?'
Izroth could not shake this feeling of forebode. He knew that whatever skill Sage was using was dangerous, however, this kind of reaction was a bit too much for a Domain, right?
What Izroth did not know was that Sage had just done something that was never supposed to exist as it went against the laws of nature. She had, unknowingly, successfully fused two main upper eight Domains of Wind and Water to create the Maelstrom Domain.
It was a Domain that did not belong in their world, therefore, the world itself was acting out against it to remove it from existence! In other words, the world itself wanted to completely annihilate Sage and everything around her! That was the terrifying power of the heavenly lightning.