A moment before the lightning bolt struck him, he felt a warm energy course through his veins, and the sound of metal hitting metal rang in his ears.

[No, Im going to win this. Im going to get Lira out of the slums!]

The lightning bolt fell like a hammer from heaven, smiting Kaion straight on.

”I lowered the amount of mana I passed into it, youll be okay, ” Gray said, before walking away from the unconscious Kaion.

”Winner, Gray Suliv- ”

”…Lira… needs this, ” Kaion whispered, picking himself off the ground. His body swayed from side to side, and his eyes were closed. The air around him coalesced with power as he focused all his mana into an irregular ball.

”Whats going on? ” whispered the spectators in the stands. It was clear that Kaion shouldn have been able to stand up, much less focus enough to cast any sort of spell.

Gray cowled his whole body in lightning once again and approached Kaion, however, he stopped his advance once he saw how large the magic bullet had become.

In an instant it had grown to the same size as Kaion himself, its power sending out humming sounds as the mana coalesced within it.

”Participant Kaion, lethal spells are prohibited withi- ” but before the announcer could finish talking, one of the judges dressed in blue robes phased into the arena, landing right beside Kaion.

Kaion was mumbling on about something inaudibly. His posture zombie-like as the ball of mana continued growing within his palm.

”How a kid your age has this much mana, I don know, but its obvious someone as reckless as you isn fit to use magic. Thank the gods you don seem to have a magic release, ” commented the mage, before touching Grays magic bullet with the palm of his hand.

The ball disappeared just as fast as it had appeared, and with that, Kaion fell to the ground.

”Lira… ”


”What? ” Kaion croaked, just now regaining consciousness. The last thing he remembered was a strange sound ringing in his ears before being blasted by lightning.

”Where am I? ”

”The infirmary, ” answered a man dressed in white. ”Youve been disqualified from the competition, ” continued the man, before moving to turn to the patient he had to deal with.

”I-I failed, didn I? ” Kaion asked, but the healer seemed too focused on his current patient to pay Kaion any mind.

Kaion reluctantly got off his bed, trying to come to terms with what had happened.

He wasn going to change the state of his living conditions, he wouldn be able to get his sister the medication she needed. He would never overcome the barriers that the gods put on him. He would never amount to anything but a slumdog.

As he made his way out of the infirmary he thought of how he would break the news to Lira. The problem was that he was certain she would try to comfort him, that she would say something like Its okay. Well manage, we always do, and he hated that shed have to say that. 5 Years of training, 5 years of giving Lira hope that one day she might be cured, all for naught.

[No, I can ,] he decided. He wouldn let this be the end, even if it killed him, he wouldn let the rest of their days be hopeless nothings.

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