Meanwhile, in the sky above the Sky Palace...
The thunderous roar of the heavenly lightning shook the Mortal Realm when it first descended. With the combined powers of Zushuatri and Savarosa, two existences at the peak of the legendary realm, they attempted to fend off the devastating punishment that came along naturally with defying the intended laws of nature and the world itself.
Despite Savarosa empowering Zushuatri's Mantra of the Sky: Twelve Cloud Summit with her Supreme Breath of Augmentation, the twelve layers of barriers did not last even a full second under the domineering force of the heavenly lightning. It was forcibly torn through like fragile sheets of paper, however, it was not without its own merits. It provided a brief window of opportunity that allowed for the Zushuatri and Savarosa to set up additional defenses.
With each attempt to stop the heavenly lightning, it slowed down just a bit more every time it came into contact with one of their skills. This was not something that was possible even for most other legendary existences, after all, the heavenly lightning was too overbearing to halt in the slightest.
Zushuatri lifted both his hands towards the sky as he formed a myriad of mantras that spread out into massive yet thin veil. When the heavenly lightning met this veil, it was actually completely halted for 0.05 seconds. While this may not seem like a very long time in the eyes of the majority of individuals, the same could not be said for those who were at a higher level.
Zushuatri was giving it his all to protect the Sky Palace below him. Since he was entrusted with the responsibility of their safety while they were participating in the selection, how could he allow harm from outside sources to befall them during that time? However, Zushuatri had this feeling of unease that developed internally within him.
Even though the heavenly lightning was actually being slowed down, it showed no signs of stopping or conceding whatsoever. Needless to say, this was Zushuatri's first time facing something like heavenly lightning.
"It seems my old age is catching up to me. If only I had a few more years at that time, then I..." Zushuatri thought to himself as he inwardly sighed. It was not easy for one to lack regrets when they had been alive for as long as Zushuatri. Though, of course, the biggest regret held by those similar to him who had managed the reach the peak of the legendary realm in their lifetime was not being capable enough to step into the divine realm. He knew that such wishful thoughts now belonged to the next generation.
As the heavenly lightning crushed and smashed through everything in its path, a calm look could be found on Savarosa's face. But, her mind was constantly churning with a multitude of thoughts as the heavenly lightning arrived closer to their position.
"This heavenly lightning cannot be stopped, only temporarily delayed. At this rate, the Sky Palace is finished." Savarosa thought to herself. Normally, this would be good news for her since with Zushautri out of the picture there was no one to prevent her from taking away what was rightfully hers. However, it was somewhat troublesome under the current set of circumstances.
The heavenly lightning continued to grow in strength with each passing moment. It did not bend to the will of anyone or anything. If something was in its path, then only destruction awaited it!
Zushuatri coughed up blood from the overwhelming pressure generated by the heavenly lightning. At this point, it was difficult for him to even maintain his flight! But, just as the heavenly lightning was pushing Zushuatri to his limits and causing Savarosa to reevaluate her decision, something unbelievable happened.
All of a sudden, the heavenly lightning completely halted its movements. Quite literally, the heavenly lightning was frozen in mid-air as it descended from the firmament!
What was going on? Even if the two of them wanted to brag that they were so powerful that even the heavenly lightning could only stop before their might, they would not dare to do so. Without a doubt, they understood that it was not their efforts that had caused this bizarre phenomenon to occur.
Then, as if being called and pulled back towards the firmament, the heavenly lightning retreated back to where it originally came from. The cracks that it made while breaking through the firmament were also mended and not a single trace of it ever having descended upon the Mortal Realm remained.
Zushuatri furrowed his brows as he tried to understand the actions of the heavenly lightning. Even though he had never directly faced off against it before today, that did not mean that he was ignorant of the knowledge pertaining to it. From his current knowledge, there were only three ways for heavenly lightning to return to the firmament.
The first was that a person who had successfully stepped into the divine realm was able to survive its impact successfully and so it retreated having accomplished its task. The second reason was unlikely as it involved a being in the divine realm directly interfering and forcing its retreat. However, their influence was extremely limited in the realms below the firmament, therefore, unless they were willing to make huge sacrifices then it should be impossible.
The final reason was that whatever caused the heavenly lightning to descend in the first place no longer existed in this world. If that was the case, then naturally there was no longer any reason for the heavenly lightning to continue with its assault. However, that would mean...
"It can't be...!" Zushuatri thought to himself as a look of shock appeared on his face. But, that should be impossible with the restrictions he had set into place on the Sky Palace! He quickly set his gaze upon the Sky Palace as he scanned the regions below for a certain individual.
But, as Zushuatri was doing this, he felt an exploding killing intent emerge from right next to him. This immediately caused him to temporarily call off his search and increase his guard. He had just nearly made a grave error in his hastened actions! How could he forget about someone as devious as Savarosa? As he faced Savarosa and was about to speak, he suddenly realized that this massive killing intent was not directed towards him.
Instead, Savaosa's killing intent was focused on the Living Forest down below. Or to be more specific, an individual within the Living Forest.
"This brat... This brat..! You dare..." A vicious look found its way onto Savarosa's face. For the first time since her arrival at the Sky Palace, she had shown some actual emotion.
"YOU DARE!!!" Savarosa entered into a state filled with unbridled rage as she sped off with great speeds towards the Sky Palace.
"Halt!" Zushuatri swiftly gave chase, however, his body suddenly froze as he violently coughed up blood which caused him to fall far behind Savarosa. The heavenly lightning had done more damage than he originally thought. It appeared that Savarosa had not put in as much effort as him when it came to defending against the heavenly lightning!
Though Zushuatri knew that this was a bad situation. In her current state, it seemed as if Savarosa could no longer be reasoned with. If so, then even with the defenses of the Sky Palace in place, without him there in time to operate them... Every individual participating in the selection would be wiped out without mercy!
Izroth unhurriedly opened his eyes. When he performed this small action, the black and white world ceased to exist. The area within 50 meters was dead silent to the point where even the howl and whisper of the wind could not be heard. As for the Maelstrom Domain, it had vanished without leaving a single trace behind in the process.
Izroth's Second State: Heavenly Cloak Full Mantle had worn off and the mantle made of pure lightning that covered his body had crumbled and faded away. The tempest around his sword and his flickering movement had both followed suit. The corroded layers that had formed over his weapon, armor, and body had disintegrated into streams of black smoke.
'This feeling that had long since been lost on me... How familiar...'
Izroth looked down at the Sword of The Storm in his hand. The blade of the sword had returned to its normal azure color. The Three Baneful Swords had finally been reunited with one another. Destroy all that blocks your path, kill those who dare to stand before the blade of your sword, and... Annihilate the peaceful world, then return it to peace. Izroth remembered these words as if they were spoken to him just yesterday.
Back then, the Third Baneful Sword: Annihilation stumped the young and fairly new cultivator Izroth. His understanding of the sword at that point could only be considered shallow at best. At that time, the final part of the Three Baneful Swords was always lost on him. After all, he had been taught that a sword's sole existence was not to protect, not to conquer, but to kill. Anything else was simply a fantasy painted by those who tried to shove their own moral values down the throats of others.
Izroth returned his sword to its sheath as he moved forward step by step before coming to a sudden halt. He looked down and there he saw a girl with her eyes closed and a peaceful expression on her face. It may have been lost on others, but at the last moment before that world of black and white disappeared, Izroth unmistakably saw it with his own eyes. The look of someone whose entire existence could only be summarized as pitiful.
No matter what world one lived in, life remained unfair. Be it the Seven Realms, Earth, or even RML, they all had one thing in common. There were always those who would be broken by it.
'I wonder, do you curse me even in death?'
Izroth could not help but have this thought cross his mind as he witnessed Sage's particles slowly dissipating towards the sky.
Kayn, who had spectated the events that unfolded, was taken aback for the first time in a long time. When did such a rare genius appear among the humans? If it was someone of the Trephasia or Zensara race, then it would have been understandable, but humans were not well known for their innate talent when compared to other races. Of course, their overall potential was somewhat increased because of it, but Izroth appeared to be a unique case.
"Have the humans ever birthed such a terrifying genius? Even if they did, the number should not exceed that of one's fingers... It seems my instinct did not mislead me about him, however..." Kayn muttered to himself as he furrowed his brows.
Kayn then released a deep sigh as he saw Sage leaving this world. He did not know why the magic formation on the Sky Palace did not protect Sage, however, he soon realized that all the magic formations on the Sky Palace had been disabled!
"Could it be...?" Kayn muttered to himself as he thought of the heavenly lightning. Since magic formations relied heavily upon the natural laws in the atmosphere to function, it was not unreasonable that something full of natural laws such as the heavenly lightning could interfere with it. In fact, it would be strange if it did not cause any issues given how boundless the natural laws contained within a single bolt of heavenly lightning was.
Kayn had a look of pity in his eyes. Since he was the one who arranged for this fight to happen, he would personally take responsibility if Zushuatri wanted to pursue the matter. However, just as this thought crossed his mind, he suddenly heard a booming voice descend down from the skies above.
This voice immediately caught the attention of both Izroth and Kayn as their focus shifted to the strange phenomenon that was headed towards the Sky Palace from the direction where the heavenly lightning had just taken place. Space itself was being physically altered and shattered as a figure began to come into view. Of course, this person was none other than Savarosa and right now, there was an aura of absolute madness around her.
"How did they manage to slip into the Sky Palace past old man Zushuatri? This is bad..!" Kayn realized that this was someone at the peak of the legendary realm in an enraged state. To make matters even worse, she was headed straight towards Izroth with the intention to kill!