The moment the first prince announced the command to begin the match, Gram kicked off the ground and soared straight towards Lakshman at super speed. In fact, the force of his kick off from start was so strong that it caused a cloud of dust and wind to trail behind him. As he came, he switched the position of his sword and held it at the ready to strike in an instant.
“He’s fast,” thought Lakshman, wielding the Golden Trident in a defensive manner because it was his first time battling with a trident as his primary instead of a sword. “But, not fast as me.”
Thinking quietly to himself, at the last second, he darted to the left and avoided the slash of the enemy’s weapon. However, he was astonished when his enemy’s weapon suddenly seemed to get repelled by something invisible and it came soaring toward shim once more. Taken by surprise, Lakshman did his best to react and avoided the sword before he kicked off the ground and landed a few meters away, a surprised look on his face.
“Wow…” he muttered in amazement. “What waFs that movement just now? The sword seemed to bounce off of thin air as if it got repelled and sent back by something.”
Gram straightened up from his previous position and turned to ask him, “Are you amazed?”
Lakshman nodded and said, “Anyone would be if they suddenly face such unpredictable movement and speed.”
Gram smiled, but the smile did not reach his eyes, and when he spoke, he pointed his sword at his enemy and said, “Then, you should be more surprised because I’ve already landed a hit on you. Check your shirt.”
“What?!” Lakshman exclaimed in shock.
He quickly looked down at himself and was amazed to find a slash split in his shirt front, causing his eyes to widen in shock. Looking up again, he stared at his enemy with a stunned look that made Gram smile widely in satisfaction.
“Get ready. There’s more where that came from,” said Gram, and he launched himself at his enemy once more.
As he flew towards him, Lakshman readied his weapon and the moment Gram came at him, he positioned his trident in a defensive position. Much to his surprise, Gram suddenly put his feet down and caused his flight to slow down, causing his feet to get dragged on the ground. This surprised Lakshman and in that instant, Gram held his sword above his head and swung it down, causing a slashing energy wave to soar towards him, leaving a deep cut mark on the ground.
“Wow!” Lakshman exclaimed in surprise and quickly swung his trident around to destroy the wave.
An explosion occurred and as the smoke drifted in all directions, Lakshman leaped away from the spot to maintain his distance from his enemy. Suddenly, his Elemental Sense triggered an alarm of danger from somewhere nearby, and he instantly sensed the danger coming from above. Looking up, he saw Gram soaring high above and had his sword held back above his head as he readied to swing it down on him.
He realised he was spotted, but he continued to dive towards his enemy nonetheless and brought his sword down on top of his enemy. Lakshman swung his trident around skilfully and blocked the sword, but the force suddenly pushed him down until he landed on the ground and caused his surroundings to crack and sink down. The heavy force applied by his enemy was immense and the ground, he stood on, caved in as he fought to keep his trident in a position to protect him.
Suddenly, Gram released his grip on his sword and landed on the ground, which surprised Lakshman, who realised a moment later this was a trap. As the sword fell slowly to his waist height, Gram suddenly spun around, grabbed the sword firmly by one hand and began to slash at his enemy with increasing momentum and speed. Lakshman reacted quickly as well, but all he could do was block each attack before they could land a severe injury on him.
A few seconds of battling it out with their weapons later, Gram decided to use a different method to deal a definitive injury on his enemy. So, he proceeded dodge one of Lakshman’s strikes and rushed at him with the intent to cut him down. As soon as his attack got blocked, he freed one of his hands and aimed it at the gut of his enemy before discharging a powerful energy blast.
“Gah!” Lakshman shouted more from sudden shock than feeling the pain from the attack.
He quickly backed away and kicked off the ground to land several meters away from his enemy, who smiled serenely at him.
“I suppose this is noticeable now. Am I right, demon?”
“Energy Blast?!” Lakshman exclaimed, unable to believe what just happened.
“Oh! You know this attack,” said Gram, looking momentarily surprised. Within a second, he returned his smile that he previous wore and said, “As expected of a demon from a fantasy world!”
“I’m not a demon!” Lakshman replied in annoyance, but Gram denied it outright by shaking his head and faced him with a disbelieving look on his face.
“I told you; Asura is the name associated with demons in my world, and you are a demon for certain,” he said with a serious voice. Suddenly, he got a thought and smiled eerily at his enemy before saying in a taunting manner, “That reminds me, your current performance isn’t as good as your bravado. I guess you’re just like the rest, all bark but not bite. So, lame…!”
Lakshman narrowed his eyes in seriousness and remained composed, not letting those taunts deter him. Asura, on the other hand, was completely lost his temper and is shouting inside of his current self’s mind at the man that could not hear him.
“You bastard! Just wait! When we reveal our true power, when we beat the black and blue out of you, let’s see what this guy will do then! Come on, Lakshman! Give it to him, our full power!” Come on! Do it!”
Lakshman ignored his enraged past self and thought of something that he should do in retaliation that was appropriate. Coming to a decision, he merely nodded his head once and aimed one hand towards his enemy before saying the attack spell out loud.
Gram quickly brought his sword up in defence, but nothing seemed to shoot out of Lakshman’s hand. Seeing his enemy standing there with his hand extended towards him, Gram relaxed his stance and smiled in bemusement.
“What’s up? You clearly Thunder, so I expected some kind of lightning strike, but where is it?” He asked and, in a dark voice, he continued to ask, “Did it fail? Did you fail?”
Lakshman remained silent for a moment before calmly replying, “It’s not Thunder. It’s Thunder Down.”
He put a little emphasis on the last word, and Gram suddenly came to the realisation that he made a mistake. He quickly glanced up and was shocked to find a large magic circle spinning wildly above him with increasing momentum and speed. A moment later, a yellow coloured blitz attack exploded out of the magic circle and soared towards where he stood.
Gritting his teeth, Gram kicked off the ground with immense force and soared away just before the lightning struck where he was standing previously. Feeling he was at a safe distance away from the lightning strike, he rolled in mid-air and struck his sword against the ground to stop his flight. Landing firmly on his feet, he removed his sword from the ground and looked at the spot that was struck by lightning, shocked to see a black mark surrounding the impact area.
“You best be careful since attacks can strike from any direction,” said Lakshman in a smooth voice with a cool expression on his face. Then he aimed his hand once more at his enemy and said, “Chain Lightning.”
In an instant, a magic circle appeared in front of him and a lighting blast shot out to strike its intended target while moving at an incredible speed. Gram, for his part, reacted with incredible timing and leaped into the air and successfully dodged the speedy attack that struck the ground where he stood moments before. As he soared through the air, Lakshman aimed his hand upward and executed the next attack spell by saying it out loud.
“Air Strike Cannon.”
A moment later, a magic circle appeared in front of Gram, and as he widened his eyes in astonishment, the magic circle spun rapidly in circles before a powerful blue wave of energy was discharged from it. Quickly reacting again, Gram managed to swing his sword at it and managed to deflect it, but the explosion that followed after engulfed him, and he burst out of the smoke to land firmly on his feet, his face and clothes covered in black.
“You know, I expected you to dodge them but seeing you fail… it makes me feel strange,” commented Lakshman, auditable enough for Gram to hear him and become annoyed at it.
“Such cheap shots aren’t enough to bring me down!” Gram replied firmly. He straightened up and breathed a deep sigh before he looked towards his enemy and said, “Alright. I think that’s enough of a warm up.”
His words caused an uproar within the crowd that were seated inside the confinements of the building around them. The first prince, who seemed to be commenting on their battle, was greatly surprised and said, “Wow! All of that was just their warm up?! Wow! This is unbelievable! Such power levels and yet it turns out to be just a warm up?! This is truly unbelievable!”
Down on the ground, Gram held his sword in front of him and pointed its end towards his enemy while supporting it with his other hand. Then he shouted, “Surge!”
The moment the word left his mouth, he instantly began to surge with incredible power that started to shake the ground beneath them all. Even the people on the inside could feel the tremor that rumbled beneath their feet as the hero started to power up with incredible intensity. The pressure in the air thickened and caused the surrounding air to feel a little compressed by the release of the hero’s power, who remained standing in his power up stance.
Lakshman stood his ground and seemed to wait for his enemy to complete powering up as he did not wish to bother him in between, even with Asura nagging him from the back.
“Asura, I believe it’s prudent that you take him out while he’s so brazenly powers up in front of us!”
“And give him and the others to think that we’re cowards that couldn’t give the enemy a chance to show his full powers?” Lakshman asked back in his mind while keeping a calm expression on his face. “That’ll backfire on us and we’ll appear as the bad people here. Think about it.”
Asura realised the point that Lakshman made and grunted without saying anything to counter it. So, they waited for Gram to fully power up to his maximum before the hero sighed deeply and smiled coolly at him.
“Alright. Why don’t you power up as well?” He asked Lakshman, who raised an eyebrow in amusement.
“Thanks, but no thanks,” replied Lakshman coldly, a serious expression forming on his face at the realisation that the enemy was trying to show pity on him, as if the Tempest Hero is a superior being to him. “I’m not worried about beating an enemy that’s weaker than me.”
Gram clicked his tongue and said, “Don’t get cocky because I’m not your regular opponent!”
As soon as he finished speaking, he kicked off the ground and moved forward, and his speed increased so much that it took him one instance to cover the distance between him and his enemy. Lakshman slightly widening his eyes in surprise at the sudden movement that his enemy showed, a result of powering up that he now came to understand.
“Surprised? Then take this!” Gram shouted and swung his sword in a wide arc with a clear intention of wanting to cut down his opponent. “Huh?” He said suddenly, blinking in surprise when his sword swung across the place his enemy used to be, but suddenly disappeared without his realisation.
“Surprised? Not really,” replied Lakshman, who appeared to stand behind his enemy with his back to him, which caused the Tempest Hero to widen his eyes in shock.
He quickly whirled around only to get kicked in the gut and sent flying towards the opposite building becoming crashing heavily against it. The barrier seemingly activated and protected the building from sustaining any damage while the hero lay sprawled on ground. As he recovered from the crash and slowly rose to his feet, he heard the cold words of his enemy from the other side of the battleground.
“I’m just surprised your body is capable of maintaining such immense power. That’s all.”
Gram was stunned and could not say anything at the bravado that Lakshman was showing him, something he had not seen up until now from anyone that he came in contact with. It was as if his opponent believed that the current him is not a match for him, who seemed to be way above him. Gram did not want to believe it and came to the conclusion that his enemy just got lucky by a mistake he unknowingly made.
Even so, it made him angry at the words he heard and it made him shout, “Don’t look down on me, demon!” He aimed his sword towards his opponent, spun it to form a circle in front of him and shouted, “Blaze Cannon!”
In an instant, a magic circle formed in front of him before a blazing fire whirled out of the circle and soared straight towards Lakshman. The Solaris Hero stood his ground, charged his Golden Trident with immense Energy Force until it glowed dimly and hurled it straight towards the oncoming flames.
Lakshman watched with a smile as his weapon split the flames in two, separating them even before they reached its owner, then rushed with incredible force at its intended enemy, the Tempest Hero.
“What the?!” Gram exclaimed and got out of the way at the last second as it shot past him like a speeding bullet.
Suddenly, Lakshman appeared out of nowhere and caught the weapon before swirling it around and smashing it against Gram’s side. His opponent widened his eyes in shock and yelled as he was sent flying towards the other end of the battleground before coming to a crashing stop by the protective barrier.
“You can’t drop your guard because your enemy used some other way to attack you,” said Lakshman calmly, slowly walking towards the centre while his opponent recovered from his attack.
Gram coughed a few times and slowly rose to his feet, surprised by the injuries he was receiving even after powering up. In his home world, they were capable of controlling their powers and the supernatural was an everyday thing to them. With his powers, he was capable of casting magic spells and firing off powerful attacks, which made him even more popular and well respected on top of being the prince of his world. He believed in his strength, he believed there was no one out there that could challenge him, and he also believed it was his birthright to stand on top of everyone else.
“Don’t… you… dare… look down on… me!!!!” Gram roared, getting to his feet and surging with power.
He hurled his weapon towards his enemy and aimed both of his hands at him before unleashing a barrage of energy blasts at his enemy. Lakshman deflected the sword and began to dodge the attacks one by one, but he was impressed that such an average human was capable of firing such a barrage of attacks, making him realise that Gram was probably trained in his home world in such a manner.
“His world is probably similar to ours, but in a different way,” thought Lakshman, realising the slight variation in which Gram executed his attacks in comparison to how Lakshman uses them. “Still, his training is incomplete but with hard work and determination, he’ll be a strong warrior.”
“Aren’t you praising him a little too much?” Asura asked curiously in his mind.
“Not really. I am just amazed by his raw talent. That’s all,” replied Lakshman in his mind. “Thinking of the other possibilities that would open up to him is something to contemplate, however, his arrogance is one hell of a drawback.”
“You sound like a master,” said Asura with a hint of humour in his voice.
“I’m strong, I’m skilled, and I’m also a father, so I’m also a master,” replied Lakshman in a flat voice, “but I definitely don’t want to take in students that’re arrogant and stubborn like him. No way.”
Asura laughed at the sudden refusal that his current self was saying continuously. In the meantime, Gram gradually rose to his feet and turned around to face his enemy with a furious look on his face. It was clear he was not happy with the proceedings, as he believed his enemy should be the one grovelling at his feet with all his power at hand.
“Don’t get cocky just because you got lucky twice!” He shouted furiously. “Next time, I’ll crush you, demon!”
Lakshman’s eyes appeared as if they were dead for a moment before he replied, “I’m human,” but he instantly thought, “Well, a human possessing Phoenix Blood, but no one needs to know that.”
Gram gritted his teeth, enraged by his enemy’s words, and shouted, “Damn you—!”
As he shouted and gathered immense energy into the palm of his hand with the intention of unleashing it on his opponent. Before he could do that, however, there was a loud booming sound that came from somewhere high above them. They looked up and, inside the buildings, the view changed to focus on the sky and revealed a massive object floating there as it seemed to materialise out of thin air.
“W-What is that?!”
“Is that a ship…?”
“It’s an alien ship!”
“And it’s so big!”
“Oh no! Oh no! No!”
The royal siblings were the first to react in this sudden crisis, as each of them took charge of a different operation.
“Everyone! Stay calm!” Bolten said, speaking to everyone, regardless of them being directly in front of him or watching him on a screen.
“Stay together and move carefully! No need to rush!” Santa, the second prince, added as he and his sister joined their elder brother at the front.
“Please proceed towards the nearest exit and follow the directions of your teacher!” Erza said smoothly and calmly, smiling serenely in a way that could calm everyone around her.
As everyone calmed down and rose to their feet to get moving, the other heroes watched from their seats in amazement.
“Those three really are of royalty to make everyone listen to them so easily,” commented Vikram in amazement.
“Are the royalty in your world different?”
Vikram clicked his tongue and said, “They don’t interfere in worldly affairs and only focus on preserving themselves. Quite frankly, my world is not the greatest world to live in.”
“Man, you must have it hard to speak so badly about your world,” said Maxwell, looking alarmed by the words he heard. “In my world, the human rights are strict and the power of freedom is great! Everyone has differences and we fight for our ideals, but at the end of the day, our world is united against an evil that threatens our safety and peace.”
“Spoken like a true soldier,” muttered Vikram, which no one was able to hear clearly.
“Anyway, let’s depart. We may need to—!” Natsu began saying when, all of a sudden, his expression became tense as he sensed something was wrong.
He was not the only one; all the heroes, the royal siblings and the students suddenly realised something was terribly wrong. On the displayed screen, a huge metallic like door seemed to open from underneath the large spaceship and revealed a hidden pointed object that was aimed towards the ground, where Lakshman and Gram were currently at.
“Oh no,” muttered Bolten, realising what was going to happen. He turned to everyone and shouted hurriedly, “Everyone, please evacuate as quickly as you can! Hurry!”
“Go! Go! Go!” Several students shouted, pushing and shoving each other in order to escape through the place directed by their teachers.
In the meantime, Bolten turned towards the staff and issued the order, “Quickly maximise the output of the barriers!”
As the orders were carried out and the people evacuated, Lakshman and Gram remained on the battleground while looking up at the large spaceship hanging over their heads.
“I guess our battle is on hold until this is over,” said Lakshman, smiling serenely at Gram, who simply glared at him.
Suddenly, he sensed an immense energy gathering at a place above, and he came to the realisation that the pointed thing was something like a cannon that was aimed directly down at them. The energy being gathering was so immense, he feared that the entire city might get wiped out by the blast radius.
“Damn! This is serious!” Lakshman muttered, looking greatly agitated. “They seriously want to destroy us!”
As he was prepared to act, a powerful barrier suddenly activated and erected all around the academy in order to protect it and deflect the soon-to-come attack at the same time. This impressed Lakshman very much as it reminded him of the barrier that protected his kingdom, the Floria Kingdom, back in his home world. It was strong, thickly layered and firmly placed barrier that he felt, for once, a little reassured in being inside of it.
As he continued to look up, he saw a great amount of concentrated energy readying to be launched down at them. At the same time, a bright glowing light formed in the middle of the hole that was opened up earlier by the alien ship. It made loud booming sounds and the volume continued to increase steadily until it was an ear-splitting roar. Then, with a tremendous boom, a massive wave of destruction was fired by the alien ship down on the academy training area.
Seeing the scale and the intensity of the powerful wave, Lakshman exclaimed, “No way?!”
The power level of the attack was far greater than what he first predicted, and he soon realised the academy barrier will not contain that much of power. The moment the wave hit the barrier, there was a violent shock wave that caused the entire buildings to shake violently. Many of its inhabitants, who were hurriedly trying to escape, stumbled and fell on top of each other while screams erupted from the girls from the sheer fright of experiencing such a violent tremor.
The barrier struggled for almost a minute to stop the attack, but it proved way too much and, just like Lakshman predicted, the barrier shattered into pieces like breaking glass. The wave came roaring down on the battleground, where he and Gram stood facing it with grim expressions on their faces.
“Hey. Isn’t it high time you stop playing around and use your true powers?” Gram asked, much to Lakshman’s surprise. He glanced at the man he keeps calling a ‘demon’ and said, “While I detest asking a demon for help, our top priority is to help each other, and I’m not powerful enough to stop this; only you are.”
Lakshman widened his eyes in surprise, and Asura commented in his mind, “Wow…! This guy is… strange…!”
As a second went by, Gram suddenly became angry, and he shouted, “What are you waiting for?!”
Lakshman snapped out of his daze and replied in a firm voice, “Fine!”
He focused his full attention on the wave soaring down on top of them, and he put the palms of his hands together while pulling them back as he chanted the name of his signature technique he was going to use.
He brought both of his hands forward and discharged a violent wave of destruction of his own, which soared high into the air and smashed into the oncoming wave of destruction within a minute after launching. In an instant, a powerful force of wind, shock waves and energy were unleashed from the clash and sent them in all directions.
The ground started to shake violently, the buildings started to crack as the barrier protecting them was no longer present, and the window panes threatened to break as they shuddered under the violent force. Gram was sent flying from to the other end of the battleground, but he managed to land crashing on his back and watched in shock at the sheer struggle taking place between the two powers.
Lakshman was pushing as hard as he could against the wave with his force but, once again, he was dumbfounded when the force of the enemy attack was much greater than he anticipated. He soon realised that something was amiss about the situation that they were in but there was nothing he could do because of his current position in defending the academy, the city and its people.
All of a sudden, an even more powerful force was applied to the oncoming wave, and he was shocked to find his attack being pushed back. The tremors intensified, the buildings started to lose their frames as pieces of ceiling and floor gave out and the windows shattered into pieces. By that time, most of the inhabitants of the building managed to reach the bottom floor after quickly recovering from their earlier fall. As they ran, many saw Lakshman holding his ground and doing his utmost to keep the wave from descending on top of them. Many were either shocked or alarmed, but it soon became a thing of an admiration and respect to see such that they had wrongly estimated him due to this normal looks.
Suddenly, Vikram reached one of the smashed windows and shouted, “Come on, Asura! Blast that thing from the sky!”
The rest of the students, inspired by Vikram’s act of boldness, started shouting their own versions of supportive words before moving on their way to the evacuation centre located underground.
Despite the sound of the wild wind blowing in his ears, he managed to hear their shouts and smiled to himself with a light chuckle. He realised that, in order to stop the attack, he has to use his maximum release and that would push the wave all the way back and destroy its main cannon, ensuring it would never fire another round. However, he realised he would be wiped out and will collapse from the sheer exhaustion of using a great amount of energy all at once, but he was prepared to risk it in order to save the people and uphold his responsibility as the hero summoned from another world.
He strengthened his footing on the ground and eyed the wave with a deadly look on his face before shouting, “Maximum Release!”
In an instant, an unbelievable amount of energy was unleashed and it pushed his attack forward with ease. His attack easily pushed back the oncoming wave all the way up to where the ship was hovering off the ground. Just as it was about to smash into its main cannon, the opposing force suddenly increased and brought the waves to a suddenly halt, but Lakshman was ready to push it through.
As his screams intensified, he applied an enormous amount of force into his wave and made his attack push itself and the opposite wave into the alien ship’s main cannon area. A moment later, a violent explosion occurred that seemed to become a miniature blinding sun, causing everyone to close, cover, or wear sunglasses to shield their eyes. The force from the explosion pushed the ship several kilometres into the air and away from the planet, but it managed to retain itself by reducing the damage using a shielding system in the form of a barrier that activated to protect its main body from taking too much damage.
On the ground, Lakshman was heaving large lungful of air as his breathing was fast and out of control. He remained in his firing position for a few seconds before relaxing and staring weakly up at the still floating spaceship before letting out a small groan. He was hoping, despite the odds of it happening, that the ship would also be destroyed with that attack, but it looked like it saved itself by separating the main cannon section from itself.
“Ah… man… A pity…” He muttered before his eyes closed from the tiredness, and he fell with his back to the ground while his arms spread out.
Up on the space ship, in the control room located near the top was a certain man watching the multiple screens displayed in front of him. They were showing multiple scenes occurring in different places simultaneously. When the earlier attack seemed to destroy the main cannon and was going to affect the ship, he ordered the crew to detach the main cannon in order to spare the main body of the ship from taking too much damage.
“Show me the cause of this mess,” he asked, and his voice was somehow familiar to hear.
The crew obliged and seemed to focus their viewpoint down on the battleground inside the training arena of the Hero Academy. When the image of the sprawled figure appeared on screen, the man leapt to his feet and the hood covering his face was pulled back from the sudden rise. As it turned out, he was the three-eyed person that Lakshman managed to defeat and sent flying into space in their previous encounter.
“It’s him again, that bastard…!” He muttered in a quiet voice as a deadly aura began to emit from him. He extended is hand out and issued the order by saying, “Open up our gun turrets and blast away the city! As soon as the barrage is complete, send in the ground units to wipe out anyone that stands in front of them! I want this city levelled within one cycle! Understood?!”
“Sir, yes sir!” The men replied in firm voices, and he nodded at them with a serious expression on his face. As the men began issuing orders and activated sections of the ship, he sat back down on his chair and looked at the unconscious figure on the screen.
He formed an evil smile on his face and muttered, “I’ll get to you later.”