Many a gaze took a moment to look at Mona, but then shifted away. He had been sent to the dungeons for a week, and quite a few of the guards found that nothing of him changed. In fact, it seemed as if he just entered the prison. Strange could not accurately describe how this frail noble changed in 7 days.
The guard ushered the group to the distribution line, then went towards another guard on the courtyard, starting a conversation. From Mona's gaze, it seemed they were talking about their families.
The sun's rays covered the open area, warming Mona's skin. He slowly began to heat up under the continuing pressure. A few of the captives ahead of Mona's group were already sweating at their foreheads.
Each minute added more exposure to the sun. Aeron began to itch at his uncovered arms from the unbearable heat. Sunburn was starting to form.
As Mona reached the server named Joseph once again, he noticed Taizen's malevolent gaze focused on him. The feeling he got from his red eyes was as if he was meeting his murderer, dark and foreboding. Not good.
The server hadn't noticed Taizen's face as he was looking at Mona instead. His eyes had a tinge of love, love one would show only to close family. Learning from the last situation, Joseph had remembered to fake his emotions as he served meals.
As Mona stood in line, he was given a bowl of stew and bread. His meal was clearly better than the rest. His stew had what seemed to be choice bits of meat, the bread free of dirt and coarseness. It wouldn't be a stretch to think Joseph smuggled food for the young noble.
As he received his meals, Mona kept his gaze on Taizen. He didn't like the way that reddish tinge gleamed in his eyes as he walked towards the other inmates. The area had all the various prison gangs and cellmates, but now it seemed to be Taizen's land, and Mona intruding.
Mona strategically slackened his steps, taking longer to for each step as he waited for the others to arrive. His gaze looked back to the other three. Reithar is coming, and the other two are still being served.
After seeing the gazes of Mona's group turn behind him, Joseph also looked back. His heart sank as he realized that Taizen's deathly pressure was focused on Mona and his friends. He silently quickened his pace of giving food to Mithal and Aeron, all the while to avoid seeming suspicious.
"Mona Aurum..." Taizen's voice covered the entire prison yard, silencing all of the conversing prisoners. Each of them looked towards the figure with the spinal tattoo.
Where did that come from?
We just decimated him. Where did that pressure come from?
Did he hold back on us?
The various prisoners looked towards each other, their faces grim. Heigler himself was backing away the furthest he could. He was the one that colluded with several of the other groups to steal from Taizen. Although each of them had consumed only a piece of bread and a sip of stew, they enjoyed more taking down Taizen. Only they knew how long he had oppressed them.
Now that it seemed Taizen had held back strength, wouldn't he be next after Mona and his friends? His body dashed towards the edge of the courtyard near a guard. He wasn't taking any chances.
Taizen walked towards Mona, his steps heavy in the sand. Nothing could be heard as Taizen approached Mona, giving off a deadly pressure. The few prisoners nearby almost fainted from fear.
Mona backed up towards Reithar, his bowl and bread in his hands. A level 0 Aura Mortal against an enraged Aura Mortal level 7. It didn't take a minute to figure out who would survive in a battle to the death.
Reithar caught up to Mona, his eyes flickering across the field. His last bout with Taizen and his cronies had resulted in his lifespan and innate potential being harmed. His body showed signs of age, and his hair had a few streaks of white within. Finding that only Taizen was approaching, he charged his Finite Arrows Art in his right fist.
Taizen's eyes shone with rage as his Aura exploded. The dark green that surrounded his figure carried a trace of dark runic circles. The tattoo on his back slowly consumed his Aura. This only urged his anger even more.
Reithar switched to a defensive stance, forming shields from his Aura. Mithal and Aeron followed as well, integrating the three Auras to make a domineering shield. It gave off the feeling of a mountain range, vast and enormous. It surrounded the quartet in seven layers of Aura, each stronger than the last.
Mona quietly trained the Primal Fold technique, refining the natural Aura of the planet. He split the result into two portions. One part simply floated in his body, slowly dissipating. The other was used by Mona to make strands, and attacked what remained of the clogged meridian in his stomach. Under his constant meditation, it slowly was reduced.
Taizen charged at the first Aura shield. His Arts were focused on Control, entrapping the opponent to prevent movement. Against these shield made of Aura, he could only use basic strikes.
The first punch rocked the outermost shield, breaking it in a single moment. Reithar and the Varlier brothers felt an evil Aura attempt to enter their bodies when the shield fell.
Taizen looked at Mona, his eyes no longer those of a human. They glowed a red Aura, and seemed to only grow. His eyes frightened the surrounding guards, a few trying their hardest to maintain their post. If anyone died on their watch, they would have to compensate with their lives.
The second and third shield fell at the same time, destroyed by a single punch from Taizen's fist. Mona's face became terrible. Every attack of his is stronger than the last. He didn't have this strength before. Where did it come from?
The blockage in Mona's stomach was reduced to 2 inches in thickness. The strands of Aura in his body continued to clash at the obstacle, diminishing it bit by bit. His gaze shifted to the Varlier brothers, their breathing ragged.
Taizen gave a malevolent smile. Only 4 more shields...4 more... He couldn't wait to kill these fools for causing him so much pain. His right arm charged the dark green Aura before he unleashed his strike.
His Aura formed into a punch that struck the remaining shields, blasting away each layer to bits. Wisps of Aura escaped into the air as the Varlier brothers collapsed out of exhaustion. Their strength wasn't enough to keep going.
Reithar stood in front of Mona, his breath irregular. Just before he was going to faint, he bit his tongue to stay awake. The pain kept him from fainting and leaving Mona to fend for himself.
His Aura grew a deep purple as he channeled the Finite Arrows Art. A little bit more... Taizen would have to come close for the optimal timing to occur. If he missed the chance, he and Mona would gravely suffer from this madman's blows.
"Hahahahahahaha....." Taizen laughed at the final attempts of his enemies. His voice was dark and eerie. He was just 20 steps away from success.
Taizen braced himself, his heart beating rapidly. Taizen's Aura soared in the courtyard, scaring prisoners and guards alike to keep their distance. They didn't know how Taizen became this strong, but didn't dare to test his power.
The madman dashed at Reithar, his fist concentrated with his dark green Aura. Reithar met him with his Finite Arrows fist, channeled to the maximum.
The two strikes met, sending the Aura of the area into a frenzy. Two opposing sides of Aura, one dark green, the other heavy purple. The collision remained at a standstill for a moment, before both of them were thrown back.
Dust began to settle once more, Taizen and Reithar both flat on the ground. Each side had been injured. Next to Mona, Reithar's arm was crushed into bits, his bones reduced to coarse powder. The pain he felt echoed throughout the courtyard, shaking the hearts of the audience.
Taizen looked at his arm, broken in several places. His skin had been bruised in several areas, blood flowing from his cuts. His gaze fixated on Mona as his anger intensified. Why do I have to suffer to these weaklings? WHY???
Under the gazes of everyone present, Taizen's Aura began to change. The dark green became a hellish red streaked with black sigils, his body covered in tattoos coming from his spine. His eyes black and his pupils red, he resembled more beast than human. Veins wriggled above his swollen skin like little worms.
"Mona...Aurum..." He looked towards Mona, his eyes resembling a devil. Each step he took shook the courtyard as he charged towards the frail figure kneeling beside Reithar.
"Mona, run!" Reithar struggled to warn Mona, blood leaving the corner of his lips. His injuries could be healed, but if Mona died...he couldn't live another day the same.
Mona looked at the approaching monster, strands of Aura chipping away at the clogged meridian. At this moment he had only 1 and 3/4 of an inch left. I can't evade. He channeled the strands of Aura he had left to the side throughout his body, forcibly activating the first verse of the Primal Fold technique.
All things are of primal beginnings; the beginning is the core of all. His body shuddered as the Aura he had sent out earlier followed the first verse of the Primal Fold technique. Blood escaped from his body through several of his old scars. This was the backlash for using the first verse of the Primal Fold technique.
His body became more rigid and powerful. Mona's skin gave off a feeling of resilience, as if it could take 1000 blows. His muscles grew visible as his veins arced across his body. At this point, Taizen came.
As Mona was struck by the fist, his body was propelled 20 feet into the air. The impact had damaged his organ system, causing internal bleeding. A line of blood came from his mouth as his body hit the sandy courtyard and slid across the ground.
"No...no...no..." Reithar lifted his head, tears falling from his eyes as he saw the slumped body of Mona far away. With little strength in his body, he couldn't go and check on him. He's dead. Mona's dead.
Mithal woke up from the sound of the blast, his breathing irregular. He looked at Reithar and Mona, his face pale. Mona is...dead? He looked at the small pool of blood surrounding Mona's body.
Waking up Aeron, he dashed towards Mona's oblong figure and carefully picked him up. He's still breathing...I can't believe it. From the sight of all the onlookers, he knew that Taizen's assault must have been terrible to behold. I was right. This Aurum is mysterious.
Aeron held up Reithar's body, helping him walk towards Mithal. Aeron channeled his remaining Aura into Reithar, preventing his injuries from ending his life. Before they left, Taizen screamed.
The scream frightened the masses present, a few wetting themselves out of fear. It came from deep within Taizen, as if his entire being was tortured by releasing such immense power. His body became incredibly weak as he stopped howling into the air.
Taizen's figure became more sickly than Mona, as if he was on the verge of dying from starvation. His head no longer had green hair as all of it had turned white. In a moment, he had aged his entire life, before dying on the scene. His eyes blanked out as he grasped at the sky. He couldn't accept this way of dying.
His life flickered before perishing on the sand, his heart and breathing stopped. His hands fell to the sides as he knelt on the sand, holding his body in place. Taizen was no longer among them.
At this point, the various guards worked rapidly to clear the scene. They took Taizen away to another block of the prison, his friends crying in the background. Chances are they would die without him.
Mona and his group had already left for their cell, Mona and Reithar being carried onto the two beds in the room. Reithar was missing an arm and was bleeding profusely through the missing area, while Mona's rib cage and organs were damaged.
Mona's mouth leaked a stream of dark blood as Mithal activated his Aura technique while infusing Aura into Mona. The internal damage was severe, and if he didn't mend them soon, Mona would die.
Aeron had already healed Reithar's shoulder and fixed his injuries. Reithar's arm could be regenerated through Aura over time. Coupled with his previous bruises from first fighting Taizen, however, it would take far longer before he was back to optimal condition.
"Go...go help Mona..." Reithar struggled to tell Aeron these words before falling into a deep sleep. Aeron couldn't tell when Reithar would wake up again. Sitting next to his brother, he followed Mithal and infused Aura into Mona.
Deep inside Mona's consciousness, the intense pain still sent waves throughout his body. He couldn't speak and could barely breathe. Several organs were damaged, and he was internally bleeding. Bones were in fragments in different directions. Even if the Varlier brothers healed him day and night, it would take at least 3 days to stabilize his condition, and another 5 to heal the more devastating issues.
He thought about channeling his own Aura, but remembered that he damaged his meridians to prevent his own death. Mona inwardly sighed. I'll have to miss another testing period. Great. If he missed the third, wouldn't his worst nightmares be realized?
Mona used his consciousness to take the infused Aura towards the Bubble, refining it. These refined strands of Aura were then spread throughout his body, stopping his internal bleeding and slowly mending his broken bones and ruptured organs. Without stop, he continued this way along with the Varlier brothers long into the night.