Everything began to unravel as waves of arcane energy radiated out of Rixa's arm.
It wasn't fire, wind, or lightning; instead, it manifested as an expanding dome of delicate ribbons of light, swirling and twirling as they moved away from Rixa and Novus.
-This...this is too much,- Novus whispered, his voice filled with a mixture of awe and panic.
-Then do something, stop this!- Rixa cried out, desperately shaking her tattooed arm, hoping to break the contact with Novus's hands.
-I...can't...stop…- The Young Arcanist replied, attempting to run away, but the force holding them together was so strong that he was essentially running in place.
Callis and Lis abandoned their posturing and guard, their attention completely captivated by the unfolding phenomenon.
-I'm not being paid enough for this,- the female Paho Mercenary who had faced off against Alexa on the pier muttered before leaping overboard in an attempt to escape the enigmatic display.
The goons hired by the Serico Sisters, already on edge from witnessing Callis's brief skirmish with Lis, needed no further encouragement to flee. They followed their Paho companion, jumping over the handrail and into the torrential waters of the Hyacin River.
-Mes Igneus! Are you alright?- Callis, who usually thrived in situations he could understand and control, broke his own rules and found himself completely bewildered by the current predicament.
-Are you really asking me that right now!?- Novus, like Callis, was out of his element. Despite being well-versed in all things arcane, he was too scared to think straight or remember any useful information.
The waves of arcane energy grew in intensity with each passing moment. Initially, they felt like a mere gust of wind, but now they distorted the space around them, warping the air itself.
Although the waves didn't cause any physical harm, Lis and Callis felt an overwhelming sense of unease. Each surge paralyzed them momentarily, leaving them disoriented and sluggish.
The pint-sized berserker, Rixa's younger sister, rushed towards the spectacle and positioned herself beside her sibling, brandishing her weapons at Novus.
-Get off my sister, you creepy little asshole!- she roared, a spray of saliva accompanying her words. Her gaze bore into Novus like a drill, while he was still frantically attempting to release his grip on Rixa's tattooed arm.
-I can't! I'm trying!- Novus cried out, pulling with all his might while futilely running in place, trapped by the unyielding force that bound his fingers to her arm.
Vis coursed through Novus, charging the tattoo that seemed insatiably thirsty for his power, generating the peculiar arcane effect emanating from it. Novus was too panicked to think rationally about this, and with each subsequent wave, its power grew stronger.
Before Lis could finish her threat against Novus, she noticed Callis’ weapon about to slice her neck open.
-I suggest you think twice before making empty threats,- Callis growled, shifting his attention to Novus. He braced himself as another surge of arcane energy surged forth, almost pushing him back.
-Mes Novus, are you certain you cannot stop this from happening?- The Beast Blade inquired calmly, keeping his sword within close proximity of Lis' neck.
-I WOULD IF I COULD!- Novus snapped, pulling his hands fruitlessly, demonstrating that no matter what he attempted, his grasp remained firmly attached to Rixa's arm.
-Maybe if I skewer him, he will release my sister,- Lis threatened, aiming both weapons at Novus. However, before she could complete her movement, Callis' Baltas cleaver drew a small scarlet line on her neck, and a trickle of blood began to slide down her skin.
-Not another move,- the Beast Blade's voice grew as cold as his icy blue eyes, which bore an intense glare at Lis. Even the typically fearless brawler felt a chill run down her spine.
-Lis, relax, don't make any sudden…- Rixa attempted to calm her sister, but her words were cut short as a new surge of energy erupted from her arm and her eyes turned bright pink, radiating light.
This time, it was strong enough to push both Lis and Callis backward, but it wasn't just them.
The energy wave was multi-directional, sending a powerful force into the floor as well. The wooden planks of the barge began to bend inward upon impact.
-Oh no... Oh no…- Novus realized the impending disaster and, like a wounded animal caught in a trap, he desperately tried to run away. He was moments away from attempting to bite his own arm, but the surging Vis coursing through him prevented it.
In a moment of clarity amidst the chaos, the Young Arcanist grasped three crucial pieces of information.
Firstly, he was channeling massive quantities of Vis, yet he felt no fatigue whatsoever. It was as if the Spell Formula inscribed on Rixa's screen surpassed anything he had encountered in terms of efficiency.
Secondly, with each wave, it became increasingly difficult for him to move. However, it wasn't just affecting him; a frantic scan of the area revealed that many of the areas beneath the cargo boxes were also bending downward. This energy had a name, one he had only encountered in a few advanced books borrowed from the academy library.
It was called Gravitas. The property had not been utilized in Spell Formulas by any Arcanist since imperial times, and it was considered a lost technique.
Finally, Novus understood that an immense wave was approaching, one that would likely tear the barge apart. With desperate urgency in his voice, he shouted.
-CALLIS, THE BARGE IS GOING TO SINK!- Just as he spoke, the final surge of energy erupted from Rixa's arm. The entire barge groaned, and then, with alarming speed, it cracked.
The wave seemed to create a massive rupture throughout the wooden structure, and water began to flood the lower deck as the barge started to sink.