THIRTY-FOUR

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Something in the Heaven Court rumbled with power

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Something in the Heaven Court rumbled with power. Had the Dishonoreds breached the doors? If they had, then Aruma didn't have much time to get Morita and Laptus to flee. But first, they had obstacles to destroy.

Something darted past his head with a high whistle, just a few centimeters from his ear. He turned his attention back to Stalver.

His brother was reloading his crossbow with skilled fingers as the ground beneath Aruma's feet started to grow exponentially. He leaped back and the grass where he was standing shot up, growing well over three meters in a quick second. Thick, green blades sharp enough to puncture the skin.

Ice built over his arm, encasing it in a glacial razor. He cut down the monstrous plants in one stroke. Through the rain of giant grass blades, he saw the silver point of Stalver's crossbow pointed at his head.

Stalver said, "Little brother, after all this time, I'm surprised to find that you do possess the ability to think for yourself."

Mezzo-forte, Aruma couldn't help but think.

When he didn't respond, Stalver continued, "It's terribly selfish of you to manipulate someone who's so much more powerful than you. So much more important than you."

Crescendo.

Memories of his own words to Morita two days ago echoed. Now, spewing from Stalver's mouth like poison, it angered him, even though he had felt the same.

"Shut your Godsdamn mouth," Aruma said and brought his iced-up arm up to block Stalver's very predictable bolt. They clashed with a metallic clink.

He looked down at his arm and saw a nick in it that almost reached down to his pale arm. The hole filled effortlessly. Icy spearheads formed in the air around him, focused on Stalver who quickly raised his palm to the sky Without the crackle of lightning or the boom of a storm, it started to rain.

Staccato.

At first, Aruma could see the outline of Stalver, but then the rain poured so heavily that a mist-like white came from the ground. All at once, his senses left him. He could not see more than a meter and some. He could only hear the distant sound of Laptus's cries and the loud, low drum of the rain. He felt nothing as the rain froze before it could hit him, solidifying and dropping as hail.

He shattered the ice spearheads until they were a mass of tiny sharp shards. Then, he sent them everywhere.

Pain hit him in the chest, a sudden marcato, and he let out an awkward breath of air. Had he hit himself? But that wasn't possible. Had another deity joined the fight? He pulled out the sharp objects. They were pieces of ice, exactly like the ones he had shot out. He crushed them in his palm and willed the others impaled in him to disappear.

How had they come back to him?

Stalver had three general abilities. He could create rain, make plants grow and age. He also had control over wind, but rarely relied on it since it was weak. He had never this strong before.

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