A young man in a black windbreaker and pants staggered as he ran in the dark forest. He was breathing heavily while he held his broken, bleeding arm. His complexion was pale, whether from loss of blood or the moonlight.
A few kilometers away, men in red uniforms were frantically searching for his tracks. These men are from the Forbidden Magic Control Squad of the Royal Army.
"Captain, I found more blood trail here!" one of them shouted.
A large man with dark red hair and green eyes immediately ran toward the man. This man had a bronze badge on his vest, symbolizing his position.
As he approached, his hand glowed red, and a small magic array circled his wrist as red-hot flames appeared on his palm. He shot the flames around the vicinity where the blood was and controlled it to search deeper into the forest. But after around 10 feet, the blood trail disappeared.
The large man gritted his teeth. He was clearly peeved. He controlled his summoned flames and searched further but to no avail. Clenching his fist, the large man blasted his flames at the surrounding trees, lighting up the whole area.
The red hue of the flames made the large man's expression appear sinister.
He did not expect that their main purpose of raiding the Regis Estate would be able to use his magic just after it manifested. From the intelligence report, the boy was not aware of his magic. He lived like an average human, which explains how the magic detector in their area did not discover any prohibited type of magic all these years up until a couple of weeks ago. The magic signature was weak at first, and it took them a week to determine its location.
A few days later, they finally found proof that the magic signature came from the Regis Estate, and it was from a boy in his teens. They also found out that his family sealed his magic for years. But the seal has weakened, and today, they finally raided the estate to capture all of them. After all, even though it seemed the boy was the only one who possessed forbidden magic, the fact that the whole clan hid it makes them all accomplices, and the Royal Army cannot tolerate such actions.
All forbidden magic users and their accomplices must be apprehended without exception, all for the sake of the Ylfaen Empire's peace.
"It is his first time using magic. He's also wounded. He can't go far," the large man said. He looked at a man standing behind him and asked, "Are the Tracking Squad still not here?"
"From their last update, they already arrived at the Regis Estate's premises, and we are constantly giving them our coordinates, sir."
"And how long ago did they arrive?"
The man paused and took out a round silver disc. It was a magic item used by the Royal Army to communicate with other squads using a coded type of magic transmission.
"At least fifteen minutes ago, sir."
The large man glared at him, "Tell them to pick up their pace, or I'll burn their asses for slacking off! The entrance to the Regis Estate is only ten minutes away from our current position, even if they do not use any speed magic. What in hell are they doing?"
"Your temper is still as fiery as your magic, Dior."
A man with blonde hair and dark blue eyes, wearing a similar uniform but green color, jumped down from a nearby tree. He was looking at the large man whose name was Dior in a carefree way.
"Luka. Finally, you decided to appear." Dior snorted.
"Ahaha, you made it sound like I was here all this time."
More men in green uniforms appeared behind Luka.
"Go and do your damn job. That boy is gravely wounded. He is definitely still around here. "
Luka sighed and shook his head, "Already wounded, and still you guys let him escape. Now we have to clean up after you."
Dior squinted, hearing the sarcasm in Luka's words. However, he did not respond because it was true.
When they raided the Regis Estate early this evening, he was confident that they would complete their mission without any incident. He did not expect that the Regis family would have an overly complex defensive array at the heart of the main house. It caused a significant delay in them apprehending the boy.
Dior and his men had prepared well. They had surrounded the whole estate and equipped each member of the squad with a mini magic detector, as well as an anti-cast magic item. After all, even if the boy could not use his magic, his magic signature indicates that it is one of the most powerful and troublesome types of forbidden magic.
But now, seeing how the boy managed to gain distance from their pursuit meant he could use his magic to a certain extent. And it also proves their assumption about the boy's magic.
"He seemed to have grasped how to use his magic," Dior warned Luka.
"Seriously?" Luka looked at him in disbelief. He was aware of the boy's background after Dior's team shared all intelligence when they asked for backup. "Wouldn't that be bad even to us?"
A vein seemed to have snapped on Dior's head, "That's why I said to pick up your pace!"
Luka laughed, "Okay, okay. Such temper."
He turned and looked at his men, and his usual carefree character suddenly turned serious.
"This boy must be caught at all cost. Do not be lax just because he is a boy. Use every means to capture him."
Luka and his team split up in different directions.
Dior watched as they left. Though the tracking squad of the Royal Army has a good reputation, he could not shake off his feeling that the boy had already slipped away from them.
A few minutes later.
From miles away, the boy in question stumbled after bumping on a loose tree root. He fell face-first on the ground. With a groan, he mustered all his remaining strength to stand up once again. His already pale face seemed to have gotten paler. Not to mention, his arm was already numb from the pain.
No, to be precise, his whole body has gotten numb.
'Not good,' he thought. His vision started to blur and his consciousness slowly drifting.
He bit his lip as he fought to stay awake. He stood up, and just when he was about to start running, a small green magic array glowed at the bottom of his feet. It grew at an alarming speed as it circled his feet up to his legs.
The young man urged his magic. He was already exhausted, but he seemed to have tapped on his strength's emergency reserves because of the danger. Faint purple rings appeared at the top of his head as his magic started to stir.
A couple of feet above his head, a hexagonal black stone appeared, and the purple rings seemed to lose their power.
'Damn it,' the young man cursed as he saw the anti-cast magic item above his head.
More green magic arrays appeared surrounding him.
"You're already surrounded. It's futile to struggle."
A voice reverberated around him.
"That's up for me to decide!" the young man retorted.
He urged his magic further.
A crack appeared on the anti-cast magic item as the young man's magic erupted.
"How?" Luka stared in disbelief as even his restraining magic arrays and his anti-cast magic item showed signs of breaking.
"Argh!" The young man grunted as the purple rings grew and enveloped him.
Whenever the rings touched the green magic arrays around him, the arrays lost their effect.
"Faster! Reinforced all restraining arrays!" Luka commanded his men.
Men in green uniforms appeared around the young man. More green magic arrays in different sizes surrounded him.
The first sets of restraining arrays broke as well as the anti-cast magic item.
The air around the young man crackled as fissures appeared on the purple rings.
When the men near him looked at those fissures, some felt as if they were looking into the abyss. Others felt they were looking into the vast universe.
"Activate all your anti-cast now!" Luka's voice interrupted their thoughts.
Even before he gave the command, almost all his men had taken out their magic item and activated it. They were all afraid of what was beyond those fissures.
Still, the fissures surrounding the young man did not weaken. Instead, it grew at an alarming size. Destroying more restraining arrays and even damaging the anti-cast magic items.
The young man opened his eyes which glowed reddish-purple. Using his good arm, he urged the purple rings and enveloped all the men near him.
"Retreat!" Luka commanded but he was a second too late.
Screams resounded. The purple rings turned into a large round void, removing everything it touches. The young man was at the center of this void and was unaffected by its ability.
A few miles away. Dior and his men heard the commotion.
All of them turned toward the direction of the sound and were shocked to see a huge black hole engulfed a great part of the forest.