The Mage of the Millennium Chapter 8: Friend

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Pyroth woke to his body being gently shook by a boy about his size in brown robes. His body was numb and he was unable to move. The boy in front of Pyroth put his hand out to pull him up. Pyroth grabbed it and let the boy pull him up.

Pyroth took the opportunity to look around the room. His other three companions were all grouped together right behind him looking at him like dogs waiting for orders. Pyroth adored having underlings to follow him around and looked towards them with glee.

He scanned the room and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary. It was a simple room with grey walls and no furnishing. The only thing out of place, or actually not there, was no door. The room was totally enclosed with no exit.

Pyroth was no idiot. He had been trained by some of the finest mages in the kingdom for the trials. Even his father had given him a few lessons and prepared him for the mental part of the trials.

He instantly knew that this first test was to break down all the participants with weak mentalities. Magic is very dependent on the minds of the casters, thus anyone with a weak mentality is not qualified to be a mage.

He followed his father's ideology of disposing of weaklings quickly and had to breeze through this test as to not undermine his father's expectations.

He began contemplating how to exit this room as he sat back down in a meditative state. His 4 followers looked on silently still awaiting orders.

An idea finally popped into Pyroth's head as he stood up and small wisps of fire began to form around his fist. The wisps interconnected and engulfed his hand in flames as he took a fighting stance opposite the wall.

Pyroth's arm arched back and using the excess momentum he punched the wall with immense force. Pyroth had been training his body as per his father's demands since the moment he could walk.

After over a decade of training his body could be considered the best among this year aside from Teriko, the son of the Grand Terramancer. Even with these credentials, the wall didn't budge, but his fist sure did. His arm and hand seemed to bend a bit at the wrist as a small pop resounded through the room.

Small droplets of water appeared on the face of the young pyromancer as if he were actually a water mage in disguise. Pyroth refused to turn around and show weakness towards his subordinates and simply slapped his hand against the wall with an equal amount of force as when he punched it.

Luckily for him, his sneaky plan worked and he could hear another small pop as he felt his joints connecting back together.

The 4 mages behind him were confused as they were unable to see what happened. They simply saw Pyroth punching the wall and then slapping it in frustration of his previous failure, but none of them had the courage to mention the notion of failure to him.

Pyroth glanced sideways as far as he could without turning his head attempting to ensure that no one had seen the tears on his face. He took his non injured hand and wiped his tears away afraid of showing any weakness.

After he was confident that his act was successful, he turned around to face his subordinates. His face transitioned to a much sterner one as his cheeks hardened and a scowl appeared.

"Our first trial is to escape from this room. Just now I tested if pure power would be able to destroy this wall, but this damn wall won't budge; it's thicker than Teriko's head. So far this seems like a fairly simple escape the room test, but with those devious Grand Council mages I doubt it'll be this easy. Try everything you can on the wall until I come up with a plan" Pyroth instructed them.

He then sat down once again and closed his eyes searching through his gnoggin for anything his father may have told him or anything he had previously read on the topic.

Around 5 minutes passed, but Pyroth still was unable to formulate any plans. Before he could continue his deep thinking, a voice yelled his name.

Pyroth opened his eyes to the shouts annoyed after being awoken. He glared in the direction the voice was coming from and noticed it was the skull headed terramancer. Most terramancers aren't idiots, but when they are, the limit of idiocy cannot bind them.

Unlike the others yelling at this fool wouldn't help at all, so Pyroth simply turned back around and closed his eyes again only to be woken up once more. This time it was it was the mage in blue.

Pyroth's confusion this time grew in magnitude drastically as he knew him to be quite cool headed and one of his closest aides. This time he didn't turn back and instead his ears perked up as he turned into what was being said.

"Lord Pyroth! Lord Pyroth! The walls. They're closing in on us!" the mage spoke as Pyroth's eyes turned wide.

Pyroth quickly proceeded to scan the entire room with his head completing a full revolution. His head was spinning, not due to his circular head convulsions, but he really couldn't comprehend their situation. While he spent 5 minutes relaxing the true test had already begun and Pyroth was delayed to respond.

He arched his arm back to punch the wall in frustration, but remembered his past endeavors and quickly receded from the wall which was truly much closer than it had been before.

Pyroth couldn't understand how this circumstance had occurred. All he told them to do was use as many abilities as possible to find a weak point in the…

"STOP! NOW!" Pyroth commanded realizing his mistake. The walls were designed such that they would enclose as abilities were used on them. This was similar to one of the methods his father used to get information out of prisoners where the more they struggled against their restraints the more bound they would become.

Thankfully he was able to notice soon enough or they would have met their doom in the first trial. Forget dying here, his father would personally cremate his corpse and delete him from the family records for being as useless as that cripple son of the Archmage.

'Ugh. Why did I have to think about him now of all times?' Pyroth thought disgusted at even associating himself with that failure.

Pyroth didn't have any time to worry about inferior creatures than him and decided to neglect Pithar once again.

Pyroth gestured at the four to convene in front of him and they swiftly formed an array in front of him ready for orders.

"Alright. The walls are specially made such that they will move when we use magic on them. We cannot randomly use our abilities and pray that one works anymore unless we desire death." Pyroth explained the situation and then began to look around the room once again for any clues.

'Those council mages would never craft an impossible task, thus I need only to find the way to pass this' Pyroth thought to himself.

His eyes continued scanning the room as he moved along the walls. The grey walls were grainy and quite rough. All of the walls were simply an ashen gray hue without a slight deviation in any.

Pyroth continued to observe while searching for any peculiarities that may help him solve the trial. His fingers caressed the wall and moved about as it followed parallel to his body. He felt tiny prickling sensations although the wall was not jagged.

Noticing this he put three fingers on the wall and rapidly swiped down. Yes he was right, but that wasn't anything significant that gave him a clue for how to get through. He continued his movements along every wall and bizarrely the prickling sensation decreased greatly. He swiped his fingers once again but the effect was much less.

Pyroth walked to the middle of the room and looked around once more. He finally got it now.

The original room wasn't too large, but not too small, but it had shrunk. It used to be a square room with about 25 pages per side, but now the room was more rectangular. Some of the walls had moved further closer than others which Pyroth assumed was due to the intensity of the attacks.

Feeling enlightened Pyroth looked towards his followers proudly, "The walls have indeed gotten closer. The intensity of the magic placed on it caused some to move closer than others. With my fingers I noticed that some of the walls seemed rougher than the others and I was right. The wall that have moved the closest have become the roughest."

The others looked in awe as they weren't able to figure any of this out themselves and clapped at the revelations. Pyroth responded to the applause with a smile reaching ear to ear, but it quickly dissipated.

The walls all consecutively moved about one pace forward as if to prove Pyroth wrong. A tinge of fear appeared on Pyroth's face, not due to their situation, but for being wrong.

The others also displayed a face of terror as they realized Pyroth hadn't been fully correct. Though they didn't dare question Pyroth, they still panicked as they feared death.

Pyroth didn't have the time to regain his superior facade he had on. He realized time was running out for this trial as the walls would form actual spikes and consume them unless they managed to devise a way to escape

He wanted to once again delve into his thoughts of how to solve this, but the walls moved another pace forward. Now only about 15 paces remained between them and the closest wall.

Pyroth looked towards the sudden shift in the walls, eyeing the closest one as he observed very tiny spikes on the walls. This time he was truly afraid, but as his brain shut down, a greater fear pulled him back, his father.

He couldn't fail at the first trial. He couldn't fathom being put in the same group as those failures. He simply couldn't accept it. Rage built within Pyroth and fire swirled around him and formed a vortex swallowing his body. Serpentine creatures seemed to wrap around him and a doglike creature spawned on top of his head.

The serpents intertwined with each other and met at the top and connected to the dog. The previously adorable looking puppy morphed into a ferocious three headed fire creature. The aura of this beast was immeasurable and consumed the whole room.

Fear stricken, the other mages attempted to hide and shield themselves by any means necessary. They'd never seen anything like this before and were affrighted. The couldn't grasp the power that this beast held and the fear was nailed into their hearts. They wouldn't dare offend Pyroth in a thousand lifetimes, if only they would survive to live that long.

The beast was made out of pure fire, but not the usual orangish color that fire tends to be. These flames were pristine red, a beautiful shade of ruby. The flames ripped throughout the room like a torrent and engulfed the room.

The dog, no beast, had opened its mouth and let out a roar. A simple roar was able to accomplish what they couldn't even conceive of completing before. The wall had shattered as if it were glass.

The tiny spikes had transformed into large, sharp spikes capable of cleanly piercing the human body. As the fire blast desomated the walls, these spikes formed acuminous pieces which flew around the room.

Every shard that dared to approach Pyroth was incinerated as the fire barrier around him provided him with an impenetrable defense. The others weren't as lucky.

The hydromancer had formed a water barrier which had successfully saved him from the torrent of fire, but to his lament, the tiny lances were able to easily penetrate the water barrier. His body had numerous holes in it as he writhed in pain from all the blood gushing out. He was paralyzed and couldn't move his body. They hit various pressure points on his body and one even pierced his neck rendering him unable to speak.

The terramancer was actually quite powerful and capable, unlike his brain. He reacted quickly and formed an earthen barrier around himself and the theurgist* they had brought along. Even with his stupidity he managed to save one of the most important members of the team.

While the flames danced about the room the inside of the barrier became excruciatingly hot, but the two held on as the healer continuously kept fixing the scalds appearing on their bodies. The barrier also blocked out the spikes completely as it was a dome that surrounded them providing omnipresent protection.

The unluckiest one was the flectomancer* who Pyroth had brought along to help him strategize. Even with his great intelligence, he was unable to find a solution for the walls, thus his failures returned to bite him. As a flectomancer he was able to bend and curve magic around him providing him with an immense control over magic, but he was far too weak to handle this. It was impossible for such a young mage to be able to bend this many wisps of fire at once and thousands of shards flying at him.

His end was quick, but not pleasant. Through the fire was potent, the powerful wind caused by the roar was what caused the destruction of the walls. His body was charred and his flesh was burnt throughout his body. A large spike had also lodged itself right into his heart and brain ending his life.

In an instant, the walls which had been such a difficult task to overcome were gone. Pyroth's intense rage had brung out a latent power within him that even he couldn't comprehend. Unfortunately he wouldn't have the opportunity to understand what had just occurred as he fell flat on his face after expending so much mana.

The terramancer let his barrier down finally sure that danger had subsided and saw the horrific scene. With such protection from his magic, the only drawback was that his vision was limited. Although higher ranked earth mages learn spells to bypass this later, he had no such ability.

The two mages that were in the best condition observed the disgusting body of the flectomancer as it lay lifeless on the ground. They understood he was dead, but the theurgist reached for his mouth to stop himself from vomiting.

They turned their attention to the hydromancer as they heard a painful cry. A pool of blood surrounded his body and his skin was filled with needle like pieces from the wall. It was appalling to look at him, but the theurgist quickly reached down and put his hand on the hydromancer's body.

He pointed at the spikes and told the terramancer to remove them as quickly as possible. Though the pain would increase, the healing effects wouldn't be able to properly treat him if the little pieces remained.

The terramancer took out pieces like a madman as the healer chanted numerous spells to save the hydromancer's life. After about 5 agonizing minutes, it was finally done. Though tiny holes still remained, the hydromancer's life was no longer in danger. Unfortunately he would still suffer some of the effects from being paralyzed and his body would be unable to move for a while.

Under the intense pain the hydromancer had lost consciousness and barely hung on to his life's thread.

The terramancer picked him up and walked over to the drained Pyroth and picked him up on his other shoulder, ready to move. The theurgist sighed and walked over to their dead friend.

This flectomancer and him were actually quite close. The theurgist started out being bullied by Pyroth when they were small, but the flectomancer would protect him suffering Pyroth's wrath for him. At one point Pyroth realized their value and instead added them to his "team" and they joined happy to not be mistreated further.

Tears rained out of the theurgists eyes as he hugged the singed body which belonged to his closest friend. The theurgist's face gained the color of blood and his tears flowed onto his friend's dead body. He was already far too gone.

'You always had saved me, Faren, but the one time you needed me I wasn't there. I'm sorry my friend, but I promise I'll find a way to get through this trial for you and fix this." the theurgist wiped his face and smeared more blood over it as a new mission had formulated in his head.

He turned towards the brute awaiting him and with his fierce blood covered face, they marched forward to the dark corridor that had been unveiled.
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