After Katherine cast her illusion, Damien immediately teleported her to the others before he charged. Now that he had a moment of respite, he could finally fight without the extra burden.
And knowing that he was fighting against a 3rd class, he decided to use the strongest ability he had developed to date.
‘Void Sword Art Third Step: Spatial Collapse’
This was the ability Damien had used. Using his sword as a medium, Damien would cause space to fold in on itself, and then he would cut the vectors in charge of spatial stability and collapse the surrounding space.
This ability wasn’t one he could use when fighting with a team or even Zara as it didn’t spare anyone caught inside of its range. Even Damien wasn’t completely confident in coming out unscathed at his current strength.
This was why Damien teleported back to the group directly after using the ability. From the outside, the scenery was just as confusing as it was for Adrian.
Space seemed to swirl and everything within it began to distort. Trees bent like rainbows and the ground bulged and flowed like waves of the sea. The sky didn’t become an abyss but similarly began to crack and fall like glass.
In the middle of it all, the group could faintly see the silhouette of a man covered in seemingly impenetrable waves of crimson flame, but even he and his barrier began to bend and distort, then when the distortion reached its peak, the space imploded.
It wasn’t loud or destructive like one would expect, rather it was noiseless. Everything within the affected space was turned into dust as the only thing remaining was a 15-meter deep crater. Damien looked at this scene with pride on his pale face.
Although teleporting didn’t use up much mana, doing it continuously with another person while also abusing his vector control right after using the 2nd step of his sword art for around half an hour was extremely draining. Casting spatial collapse essentially used up the rest of his remaining mana.
This might’ve been the first fight Damien had partaken in where his vast mana pool was emptied. And rather than being distraught at this, he was filled with excitement.
This battle was truly amazing for him and made him eagerly anticipate growing stronger and fighting even stronger opponents. Katherine had a similar glint in her eyes. Evidently, she was just as battle-hungry as Damien. However, both of their faces scrunched up in the next second.
They hadn’t been rewarded any experience yet, which meant that somewhere within that destruction, Adrian was still living.
Sure enough, a portion of the crater began to melt and Adrian stepped out into the open. Half of his face was a mangled mess of flesh and his whole left side was barely functioning. It seemed like he was going to die at any moment.
Coughing up blood, Adrian looked at the group of 2nd class beings who should’ve easily died by his hand. His rage had calmed down by his near-death experience and he knew he’d failed this mission. He couldn’t go back to headquarters and face their leader, as he’d definitely be tortured and maybe even killed.
So, he made a rational decision. If he would die no matter what, he’d at least take everyone with him. His eyes turned maniacal and he began revolving his energy. Without another word, he turned everything into ash, including himself.
At least, that was what was supposed to happen.
Instead, Adrian felt the world spin once more. The only difference was that this time, he could vividly see his body slumping to the floor as his vision spun. Behind the slumped body stood a 3-meter tall black wolf with wings.
It stared at him with its cold golden eyes and held what seemed to be a taunting smirk on its face. With this scene engraved into his psyche, Adrian’s last wisp of life force vanished.
A rush of experience flooded Damien and Katherine. It seemed the system had its way to measure contributions and party play.
This made Damien wonder how he managed to earn his first 5 levels through kill stealing, but he didn’t care much. That was the past and it didn’t matter anymore.
Since he had done most of the work, he naturally got a greater share of the experience, but Katherine’s last play with her illusion was equally game-changing, so she also got a good share.
With this amount of experience, Damien jumped straight from level 55, where he’d been since killing the chimera, to level 70. ‘3rd classes are huge bags of experience, huh.’ Damien thought as he grinned at Zara.
Meanwhile, everyone else was in shock. When they thought their lives were over, a huge beast appeared and slew their enemy. Then, that beast went over to Damien and started acting coy and asking for praise.
This whole situation had them completely flabbergasted. In the first place, they were up against a 3rd class! Weren’t their lives supposed to be forfeit from the very start?
But they weren’t complaining. They got to live and came out of the battle with an extra level or two under their belts. This was enough for them.
The only one who wasn’t shocked was Katherine. She had already seen Zara at the Nightingale 2 weeks ago. As she gazed at Damien and Zara, her eyes glowed golden for a split second before returning to normal. ‘As I thought, it was a good idea to get him to come with us.’
Due to Damien’s early interference at the beginning of the battle, both carriages were able to survive, and the group was promptly able to continue their journey. Damien retook his seat on top of the main carriage and the adventurers took turns guarding and resting.
The only difference was that Damien had a guest on top of the carriage with him. Only a day after they had begun moving again, Katherine climbed up with him and kept trying to start a conversation.
In the beginning, he tried to ignore her, but she made it difficult for him. By the end of the day, he couldn’t hold himself back anymore and sarcastically replied to her.
Much to his dismay, his sarcasm only fueled her determination to talk to him and he could only sigh at his fate. But, as time passed, Damien realized that the two of them were very similar, so he slowly began opening up to her.
Katherine was also a battle maniac. This much he could guess from their first meeting alone, however, that wasn’t where the similarities ended. She was also someone with an adventurous spirit and though it was only speculation, Damien was sure that she had a special pair of eyes like him.
During their conversation, Damien ended up learning that Katherine had seen him and Zara at the Nightingale and decided to open the quest as a qualification mission after guessing that he would be registering as an adventurer.
When Damien heard this, he only had one thought. ‘Is she perhaps an idiot?’
And being the blunt person he is, Damien asked her directly why she would recruit someone completely unknown for a quest that concerns her safety. Seasoned adventurers at least had track records to prove their credibility, but Damien was a total unknown.
This was a world where people kill each other to get stronger. As a matter of fact, this was almost the only way to grow stronger. Added to that, men were extremely lustful creatures.
Especially after gaining supernatural amounts of power, there was no shortage of men who took advantage of women and committed atrocious acts simply because they had the power to do so.
As for Katherine’s response?
“Hmm…perhaps it was fate? Also, making men fall into illusions of getting raped by other men is a lot of fun you know?”
Damien shuddered and made a mental note to never offend this woman. Although he loved violence and battle, he never thought of himself as a particularly sadistic person.
However, thinking about it again, he realized that if he saw Jin in that situation he’d supremely enjoy it.
And since he wasn’t the type of vermin who’d commit such immoral acts, he had no reason to worry about himself experiencing such a thing. In his fear of being put in such a situation, it seems he forgot that his eyes wouldn’t allow him to fall victim to such a thing in the first place.
He then ignored the topic that seemed to be a rabbit hole of trouble and luckily, Katherine seemed to be too interested in Zara to continue as well.
As Damien and Katherine improved their relationship, 2 weeks passed and the group arrived at the capital of the Adelaire Empire, Aurora.
Damien’s first quest and his introduction as an adventurer had finally ended.