\'If I\'m alone, at least I don\'t have to worry about those losers anymore.\' Gaaron thought while activating his tier five spell, Stone Grinder.
Earth magic was the second slowest element after darkness and it couldn\'t be used while fighting in the air, but it was the element that offered the most powerful offense and defense at the same time.
It could block all the other elements and couldn\'t be stopped by them, since the mass of manipulated ground was always bigger than what a mage could conjure by using a different kind of magic.
Gaaron\'s personal spell mixed air and earth together.
It created several small twisters that carried huge amounts of earth, allowing it to overcome its weakness, and surrounded every single rock fragment carried by the vortexes in air blades.
To add insult to injury, being the ground around its caster under their control, it was impossible to use earth magic to defend against Stone Grinder.
Lith quickly considered his options, discovering that he had only a few of them.
He could run away, but that would mean leaving his back exposed to further attacks.
Even taking the skies was out of the question.
Gaaron was an Awakened, just like Lith, so he wouldn\'t run out of mana just because of a single powerful spell.
On the contrary, the more time Lith wasted, the more it was likely that Gaaron would gain the upper hand due to his superior resources.
\'I have no clue what spirit magic spells can do or how many effects he can obtain by combining his artifacts.\' Lith thought.
\'Against a stronger opponent, the only option is to finish things quickly before he can understand what I\'m lacking.
\'If he chose to use such a big spell, it means he\'s desperate.
Let\'s keep things that way.\'
Life Vision had shown Lith that Gaaron\'s magic flow had been greatly diminished by using Stone Grinder, plus the glove and the amulet had yet to recharge.
He was aware that the older Awakened was probably betting everything on Lith running away.
Their fight was at its final turning point.
If Lith reached the now spell-less Gaaron, the victory would be his, whereas if Gaaron managed to weave a new set of spells, he would turn the tables.
Both were big ifs, but alas, Lith\'s was bigger.
None of his spells could deal with Stone Grinder, even Final Sunset\'s black flames would be easily extinguished by such a frenzied avalanche.
To make matters worse, Gaaron\'s level of mastery over the air element was such that he was able to create horizontal tornadoes that were now converging to Lith\'s position from every side.
The ground cracked at their passage while trees were uprooted and smashed to bits in a matter of seconds.
Lith was just a dozen meters away from his enemy, but with such a powerful barrier between them, it was akin to being oceans apart.
Lith took flight to go above the horizontal tornado in front of himself, but Gaaron made it grow even bigger, to the point that it resembled an ocean wave.
Lith then had Death Call\'s wings envelope him like a shroud and then darted inside Stone Grinder.
It was a suicidal, pointless move that made Gaaron grit his teeth in frustration.
\'Does he really think I\'m so stupid that I would fall twice for the same trick\' He thought.
\'Sure, I don\'t have Full Guard, but I still have my own **ing eyes.\'
Gaaron raised a stone slab behind his back to not have blind spots, looking up, left, and right to search for the exit point he knew that would appear soon.
He saw the space getting bent on his far-left side and sent the vortexes he had kept close to himself against it.
Gaaron didn\'t let his guard down nor allowed himself to smile until the noise coming from the exit point proved to him that his spell had hit something.
He was about to dispel the vortexes, to check if Lith was still alive when another noise caught his attention.
Lith had emerged from the giant horizontal tornado and was darting towards him.
Such a feat had only made it possible by Gaaron making the tornado grow so big.
No matter how violent the external storm was, the eye of a cyclone was always a safe zone.
Once Lith had determined that there was enough space for him, he had used the cover provided by the enemy spell to Blink, halving the space he needed to cross, and then had executed a double Switch spell.
The first Switch was intended to move some of the rocks comprising Stone Grinder on the other side as a diversion while the second allowed Lith to travel almost to the other side.
Appearing outside of Stone Grinder\'s area of effect would have meant being visible, so he had appeared right where he had removed the rocks.
The air current had still caught him, slamming Lith on the ground and producing the sound that Gaaron had heard, but he had managed to make it through sustaining little damage.
The cocoon combined with the mana boosted armor and darkness fusion had allowed Lith to not lose his focus, so that the moment he came out, he was able to unleash all the spells he had at the ready.
Most of the Stone Grinder tornadoes were aimed where Lith was supposed to be, to cut off all of his escape routes, so Gaaron only had those he had focused on the visible exit point to defend himself from Lith\'s barrage of spells, some of which were even tier five.
\'Time to retreat.\' Gaaron thought while activating the flight spell stored in one of his magic holding rings, only to remember one second too late about the stone slab behind his back which was now blocking his escape route.
Cursing his own stupidity, Gaaron recalled the small cyclones just in time to block a Checkmate Spears, two Chasing Lightning, and most of a Final Sunset.
Only his enchanted protections blocked the rest of the black flames.
He was still unscathed, but the pseudo cores of his artifacts were now spent and needed time to recuperate.
A time that he didn\'t have.
The only things he had left were his swordsmanship and a couple of magic holding rings.
By the time Gaaron managed to make the stone slab crumble, Ruin was already lunging at his throat.
Gaaron blocked it, and this time he was expecting the gravity field, reducing it to nothing more than an annoyance.
His body refinement was advanced to the point that even his joints had been strengthened past the human level.
\'You fool! I still have Stone Grinder active and more than two centuries of practice.
What do you think you have aside from petty tricks Your blade might be a masterpiece, but mine is even better!\' He thought.
Actually, Ruin was just a prototype.
The magical equivalent of a courtesy car while Lith waited for the real deal.
Yet it was Orion\'s prototype, an item of such quality that most mages not working for the Griffon Kingdom wouldn\'t see their whole lives.
Moreover, like most Awakened of his age, Gaaron had become too reliant on his outstanding physical prowess.
So while he had no problems deflecting Lith\'s thrust, the strength blocking his own riposte left him shocked.
Their body refinement was roughly equal, but Lith was heavier and taller, allowing his fusion magic to bring his physical prowess above that of his opponent.
Gaaron\'s mana core was stronger and so was his fusion magic, but he never heard about the Gatekeeper blades.
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