"My training has been pretty much nothing but the former in my early life, and recently it's been the latter. Nothing odd about that at all... Though I am interested to know how you use magic to affect only the... 'Heart-Mind Chakra', was it? It seems like I could use something like that for training purposes, or for spell mechanics I've been working with recently for another spell prototype." Hriob nods kindly at Caleb. "No harm done, Caleb. I suppose it wouldn't be a bad idea to train with you know in order to face thaumaturgy... that assassin could pop up again any day now, and even if I did take some precautions already I want to at least have a chance if I end up fighting something like her at full power."
"Then come. I'd like to have the chance to see what the improvements have done. Follow me." Caleb stated as he walked outside, heading for the clearing again. He was eager, almost too eager. A spark was in his eyes, as if he wanted to attest his meaning of existence to one who removed it in its entirety.
The air was cold, but a fire burned in his heart. He felt not as a jaded, experienced battlemage now, but as one who has had experience, yet yearns for battle, craves battle once more.
"I...I'll watch from the outside...." Ran stated as she ate into her meal. As she watched Caleb walk out, she shook her head. This might turn ugly. I better hurry up and maybe get a stronger tonic ready just in case.
In her room, she set out some of her lesser shikigami to start the creation process while she finished up her tea and meal, leaving no signs of herself hurrying or anything of that manner.
Grabbing a remedy and ether just in case from his room, he walks out in his tunic and composite armor. Consisting of protection for only the shoulders and upper chest at first, it reached down over his arms entirely into glove-like gauntlets. His boots are made of the same material, which is odd in that it appears to be tan-yellow padded silk at first glance, but has the durability of Kevlar, the weight of thick ceramic, and strength enough to outperform titanium or carbon steel for protection, while remaining transparent to most magic. It was still silk, but very special silk made from a species of huge spider in a faraway realm, and specially treated.
He leaves his belt on underneath with his Tome and his swords. Other than that, he has the still-marred Monk's Spade put away and the polearm he purchased with the armor in its stead.
He follows Caleb out into the clearing, eyes glowing Indigo and mind, spirit, and body honed and prepared for the challenge he's about to face. "So, how shall we do this?" His tone is polite but cheerfully, like a friend asking for a round of chess. Caleb's attitude was rather contagious, and Hriob felt himself get excited and grinned. Even if I lose horribly, this is going to be so much fun...
Caleb donned his battle garb, drawing out two diamond swords. As he held onto them, he chanted. His voice did not overempower, but it did echo.
"I am the bone of my sword
Steel is my body and fire is my blood."
Swords began to jut out out of the ground, many exotic, some legendary. Their growth far reaching, including the tavern once more.
"I have created over a thousand blades.
Unknown to death, not known to life."
Magic circles begin to form, glowing brilliantly blue with errant circles interspersed in the main circles, and stray circles forming all around.
"I have created many weapons. Yet those hands can not hold anything
So as I pray...Unlimited Blade Works!"
And then, they were drawn in. The brilliantly blazing sky. The ever falling ash. The gigantic groaning cogs. The infinite desolation of swords. All have increased. In the center of it was Caleb,
Without missing a beat, Caleb rushed at Hirob, charging at him with both swords, ready to release a counterattack with his off-hand sword while his right hand sword delivers the first strike. Swords began to dismount from the ground, flying in the sky, heading straight for the novice magician.
Quickly Hriob ripples while using TK on himself at the same time. The effect has him pass through Caleb like a ghost while looking like an amateur bull-rush. Now at Caleb's back, he fires with lightning while preparing to deflect incoming swords with a rising level of wind.
Before he had come here, Wind and Lightning were like tools to Hriob... but now they were beginning to feel like extensions of his own body. I'll show you I haven't been twiddling my thumbs all this time, Caleb. Let's see what I'm capable of...
The Dual-Axehead-Spear in his grip stays at the ready. He knows better than to let any levels of his guard down now... His eyes take in everything, looking for the right moment to counter, watching for the next attack to come, never blinking in the slightest.
"Thor's hammer." Caleb's whispered as he raised his hand into the air. Suddenly, a bright flash came from the air, and a hammer impaled itself close to Hirob. It was Thor's Hammer: Mjolnir; the hammer of the gods that commands the very lightning. Caleb could use it in two ways, as a form of lightning attack, or as defense as the lightning attacks got absorbed into the hammer. "A lightning rod. I came upon the weapons on my adventures, and I managed to copy it. The original, I left." Caleb called up a bow. "Since it seems I am dealing with an aether, perhaps, I should deal with it in kind? Holy Sword; Excalibur."
Excalibur appeared in his hand, looking more radiant than it should. "Bathe yourself in holy light." He forcefully turned Excalibur into an arrow and then fired it at Hirob, the impact of it creating an explosion the magnitude of a miniature nuke. It was justified; he had forced the destruction of a legend, an object of immense power.
Dear Lord that was close... Hriob had barely managed to block the explosion, but he had needed to combine intangibility from his Translation spell, A powerful blast of Wind, and a simple explosion of force in the same wavelength as Excalibur's might just to stay in one piece. The blast had still knocked him back many yards and singed him in his exposed areas, and the effort of that sudden expenditure of force was horrific.
Luckily, he had managed to absorb most of the remaining afterglow of the attack to rejuvenate himself somewhat, but that was a difficult move. He panted for a second in mid-air, catching his breath and re-evaluating the battle in a split-second of concentration.
Alright, best stick to mobility and and pure physical power only. And maybe... An idea strikes him, and with a grin he takes out the container of small pebble-sized metal spheres he used for TK practice. In an impressive mimicry of Ran's summoned arrays of kunai, they start to take formations around his body at high speed; both an offensive and defensive setup at the same time.
He turns his energy inwards, translating his power into pure speed and strength, and sets himself in a defensive stance.
Ran had finished her meal and her work. She had walked to the reality marble when she sensed the surge of energy course from it. What...was...that?!She stop running and started to fly there. Reaching there, all she could to was survey the integrity of the reality.Well, this won't break unless he wants it to, or he dies....
"Game over." Caleb stated as he watched Caleb act. He knew the boy would be able to get out. He didn't decide to kill him with that explosion. If he did, he would've made a bigger one. Instead, the field had been made both dark and bright at the same time as he had encased the shock field of the explosion in swords. "You've done well Hirob. Have you had enough?"
"I'm a bit shocked at that level of power you just pulled off, but aside from a mild singing I'm pretty good." Hriob was both overwhelmed at the amount of power Caleb had seemed to jump to... it was like facing a Titan or a lesser deity before, but now he was probably closer to a force of creation and destruction worlds beyond even that. "I still want to keep going, though. I haven't had training this intense in my life." He starts towards Caleb at high speed, but using only self-empowered physical strength managed to move at a pace to impress the lightning-fast vampire twins he had fought earlier. Similar to his original training 'test' he had done with Caleb before, he started up an impressive sub-sonic barrage of blows with his polearm, each as fast as a gale and as hard-hitting as a bolt of lightning, ringing out on Caleb's diamond swords like peals of thunder.
He knew he would have been beaten in moments had Caleb gone all-out with that last attack, but now he wanted a fight not of powers and spells, but of blades, strength, and spirit.
However, as Caleb was about to bring the swords to strike at Hirob, he felt tired all of the sudden. Swords shattered like glass as he felt weak to Hirob's blows and fainted. The reality broke up as Caleb fell to the ground, his regular clothes forming on him.
As the bubble faded, Hriob quickly changed gears and let the polearm hold in mid-air, TK keeping Caleb from falling. His spell must need adjustment still. It's certainly much more powerful, possibly by a full factor of 7, but it must be much more costly on him in some respect. He starts back with Caleb's arm over his shoulder, lending him support as the two walk back to the Tavern.
A few minutes later, Hriob sets Caleb down in a chair by the firepit, and tidies up the bar and kitchen. He makes sure he is prepared to leave at a moment's notice, with everything he might need for Night and Misery set aside for easy access in his hideaway in long-forgotten Shambalha's ruins. With a smile, he sets himself to welcome the two back into the Lobby, though as time goes on and they stay in their room, he sighs and sets himself for another run of Ether training. As the hours pass, he makes a few out-of-world business trips, gathering more supplies and old belongings, and doing more consultation and mediation for the Order of the Demiurge and the Stellar Dominion of Farqual, making a fair profit and helping prevent another crisis like on the Islands of Fate.
Ran looked at Caleb and brought him to the Medical Bay. She expected this result to happen, but nonetheless she didn't hope for it. The strain on his body must have been a bit too much. Placing him on the bed, she closed the door. Hopefully whatever Caleb placed in there would help him recover.
Ran returned to the bar, taking a seat at the bar table and ruffled her tails. She took out a scroll and a calligraphy brush. She then proceeded to write what she had observed, doing what she can to make sense of what was going on.