Chaos' Heir
Chapter 407: Mindless

Khan felt stuck. An instinctive fear took control of his body and made him unable to move. His sensitivity to mana became his worst enemy as he focused on the spell contained inside the array of tubes.

The spell seemed able to sense Khan's gaze. The clicking growl from before had been a reaction to his presence, but that process had just begun.

The purple-red cloud grew unstable. Its surface shook violently as parts of its bright body stretched forward to reach the tubes.

The spell gained a spiked shape that pressed on the machine as it continued to expand. Its tremors even intensified, which added power to its efforts. The mana inside the tubes began to flicker under that pressure, and the Tors voiced a loud hiss once the situation became too dangerous.

The Tors' tail left the wall to crack on the spot containing the hidden drawer. The gesture made the pieces of metal on the floor fly in different directions, and some ended on Khan. The room was too small to dodge them, but Khan was in no condition even to bother to try.

The hidden drawer slid open, and the Tors quickly picked up one of the flasks inside it. Its tail rose to connect the new item to the machine on its back, and new mana flowed inside it.

The Tors stuck out its forked tongue, which lit up and started to shake as the new mana flowed inside it. A high-pitched noise soon echoed, growing loud enough to snap Khan back to reality and force him to cover his ears.

The cloud released another clicking growl as the high-pitched noise assaulted its seemingly ethereal fabric. Its spikes lost power, and the same went for its tremors. The spell couldn't retain its stretched shape under that assault, and its size shrunk to add stability to its structure.

The high-pitched noise continued to echo until the Tors felt that the spell had given up on trying to break free. Its tongue stopped trembling and began to dart left and right to check the condition of the tubes.

Khan remained silent even after the situation calmed down. He was too immersed in the study of the spell to question the Tors. His instinctive fear slowly turned into a clue, and his sensitivity didn't hesitate to add details.

'Is it really alive?' Khan wondered before disregarding that question. "Alive" could have different definitions, and he lacked the expertise to come up with a definitive answer.

However, Khan could focus on different features that still expanded his understanding of the matter. He couldn't determine whether the spell was alive, but he could confirm that it expressed a will in line with the chaos element's nature.

The vast amount of mana contained in the cloud was also surprising. The Tors had created something relatively weak during its previous commission. Yet, the new spell had abandoned that quality and Khan could understand why.

In the first commission, the Tors had to limit the spell's power to strive for structural stability. Khan had even given precise requirements, and the Tors could fulfill them only by restraining the final product.

Instead, those limits didn't exist anymore during the second commission, so the Tors created something that expressed the chaos element in its entirety. The cloud represented its wild and unrestrained power, which explained the reason behind Khan's fear.

The spell wanted to be free and force its effects on its surroundings, and Khan could recognize that violent urge with a single glance. He felt like he was in front of a mindless beast that only wanted to destroy. Fear was the sole sane reaction.

'That's not something I can control,' Khan understood during his short inspection. 'That's not something anyone should try to control.'

Khan wanted to feel disappointed, but the Tors had done an excellent job. The cloud had the potential to be stronger than the chaos spear. Still, its nature made it unfit for any arsenal.

"Why did you create something like this?" Khan eventually forced himself to ask.

"We summoned chaos," The Tors hissed.

"But why?" Khan repeated. "No one can wield something like this."

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"Wielding it wasn't a requirement," The Tors reminded.

Khan couldn't contradict the alien. He recalled the details of his commission, but he didn't expect the Tors to develop something so unstable. It simply didn't suit their technological approach to mana.

"Why this shape?" Khan continued.

"Chaos chose it," The Tors stated. "We restrained it."

Khan fell silent. Questioning the Tors on their methods was useless. The alien wouldn't reveal its species' secrets. Also, Khan could find the last details on his own.

The spell didn't have a fixed shape. The recent reaction had shown how the chaos among the tubes was ready to expand. Humans might not know the reason for that behavior, but Khan didn't even need to think to find the answer.

'Flow,' Khan thought. Somehow, the Tors had harnessed the chaos element's main driving force. They had created something that could expand as long as it had energy. As for its limits, Khan would have to test them out for himself.

The problems started there. Testing out the spell would involve a dangerous process in which Khan couldn't ensure his safety. He couldn't even try to control the cloud since that would go against its nature.

As for being able to master the spell before meeting Rodney, Khan didn't have any confidence in that. He didn't even know if he would ever add that cloud to his arsenal. Still, he could ponder about that problem later. Time wasn't on his side now.

"Open it up," Khan requested, "Just like last time."

"Chaos will eat you," The Tors warned.

"Luckily, I've already paid you," Khan joked.

The Tors was in no mood for jokes. It turned its head to fix its reptilian eyes on Khan, and they remained there for a few seconds before an answer came out of its mouth. "Do it yourself."

After those words, the Tors sent its tail on the hidden drawer and seized the flasks inside it before leaving the wall. The alien slithered through the opening to reach the upper floor, and Khan soon heard the entrance opening and closing.

'No faith in me at all,' Khan mocked before heaving a sigh. 'I can't blame it.'

The instinctive fear returned as soon as Khan focused on the spell again. Luckily for him, the cloud didn't immediately go crazy. Instead, it sent a strange influence that affected the synthetic mana in ways that resembled feelings.

'What is it doing?' Khan wondered before a strange idea formed inside his mind and made his eyes widen in surprise. 'Is it trying to communicate?'

Khan immersed himself in his sensitivity. The cloud was gazing back at him, even if it didn't have eyes. The symphony carried something akin to curiosity, but that feeling was different from what Khan experienced with other living beings. That emotion expressed something primitive.

It soon became clear that trying to understand the spell through a human mindset was stupid, even impossible. Khan wouldn't only have to rely on his alternative methods. He also had to accept that his broad emotional range wouldn't help.

'What are you trying to tell me?' Khan wondered before shutting down his thoughts.

There was only one explanation for the spell's primitive curiosity. It had sensed that Khan was a kindred soul, a being driven by the same force. Still, that wasn't enough to establish a connection. It might actually lead to another dangerous outburst.

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Khan didn't know why, but he felt the need to do something before the situation worsened again. His very guts pushed him toward that decision, and he didn't dare to ignore them.

The instinctive fear intensified when Khan stepped toward the array of tubes. The Tors had placed them near the ceiling, so he had to reach for the parts connected to the walls to lower the container and put him in his range.

Khan moved slowly. His gestures were careful and straightforward, but the spell's wariness increased anyway. The cloud didn't show any reaction, but Khan could feel those changes through his instinctive fear.

Eventually, Khan brought the array of tubes right in front of him. He only had to stretch his hands and move some pipes away to reach the spell, but some hesitation inevitably appeared. He didn't know how to approach that dangerous energy. He wasn't even sure he could defeat it.

"[I'm not your enemy]," Khan said, doing his best to send his emotions to the synthetic mana while covering his hands in purple-red energy. For some reason, he had used the Niqols' language, and the situation didn't give him the time to think about that detail.

The announcement seemed to work. The instinctive fear's intensity remained stable even as Khan stretched his glowing hands toward the tubes.

The mana inside the tubes dimmed when Khan made way for his hands. He wasn't doing anything special with his energy, but the chaos element's innate features were enough to affect the environment, especially when the area had two sources of that power.

The cloud remained still even after Khan wrapped his glowing fingers around it. He could feel some resistance when his mana touched the spell's energy. He could immerse his hands in that seemingly gaseous shape, but he held back for obvious reasons.

Khan let his hands rest on the spell while focusing on the symphony. The two types of mana were different but also similar. They belonged to the same energy firm and even carried equal urges. Yet, pursuing a peaceful approach with a wild beast turned out to be impossible.

The spell's glow suddenly intensified, and its tremors returned. The mana on Khan's palms shattered, exposing his hands to the destructive chaos nearby.

Khan summoned the [Blood Shied] to cover his hands and forearms, but the spell only took that as a threat. Its tremors grew wilder, and a violent expansion began.

Pain filled Khan's mind. The spell's chaos tore his skin apart and pushed on the clotted blood vessels. The [Blood Shield] held strong, but the technique had a time limit. Moreover, the cloud was stretching toward the openings in the array of tubes, threatening to reach unprotected parts of Khan's arms.

Khan could fight the spell, but he needed something first. He ignored the pain as he unleashed as much mana as possible. Flares of purple-red energy shot out of his injured palms and pushed on the cloud, forcing it to abandon its wild assault to focus on the imminent threat.

The wild mana unleashed by Khan didn't carry any special features. He was relying on the sheer superiority of his energy reserves to contain the cloud while his inspection continued.

The chaos element acted as a connection between Khan and the spell. The two couldn't communicate through normal channels, but their similarities made them able to understand each other when their energy clashed.

Khan learnt more about the spell's urges while his hands continued to release mana, but the latter shared those benefits. The cloud could gain insights into Khan's goals, which only made it angrier.

The clicking growl returned as the cloud's tremors intensified. An even stronger pushing force landed on Khan's mana and shattered it, exposing his hands again.

The spell had the chance to expand again, but it didn't resort to its previous random approach. Instead, it labeled Khan's hands as mortal enemies that needed to be destroyed immediately.

An even greater pain filled Khan's mind. He tried to summon more mana, but the cloud destroyed it in no time. That vulnerable state even allowed the spell to expand the range of its destruction, which soon involved Khan's wrists and forearms.

The cloud was managing to expand without losing power. Its violence actually increased, which didn't make any scientific sense since its energy reserves were limited.

However, Khan knew the reason behind that unrealistic reaction. The spell's desire to break free had grown stronger, and its energy had reflected that change.

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"[Is that it]?!" Khan shouted in the Niqols' language while the cloud continued to expand. "[Do you only desire destruction for the sake of destruction]?!"

Questioning a wild mass of destructive energy sounded beyond stupid, but the cloud seemed able to understand Khan's words. Still, the spell had only one answer for him.

An even louder growl resounded in the room. The cry resembled a proper scream that echoed deep into Khan's mind. Feelings he had also experienced multiple times showed their presence in a primal form and made him able to translate what the spell wanted.

The spell was born in captivity. The unfairness felt due to never experiencing true freedom was deep and intense, and the anger it triggered only added fuel to its power.

Khan could finally understand the spell. In a way, it expressed what he had realized only recently. The cloud carried an uncompromising desire to break free, even if that involved destroying anything in its range.

That urge was quite simple. If a wall stood in the way, the spell would destroy it. If a path were too narrow, the spell would enlarge it. If anyone became an enemy, the spell would kill them.

The spell's basic and dangerous idea of freedom was almost enlightening. Khan could see the true shape of the chaos element in all its radiance. Part of him even felt pity. After all, the cloud was right.

However, an even stronger emotion surged inside Khan and pushed away the pity. He had experienced the same unfairness, but his situation had involved far more than a childish desire for freedom. He felt insulted that his thoughts had resonated with something so mindless.

"[You don't know what unfairness truly is]," Khan voiced in a chilling tone before the circular version of the Wave spell came out of his chest.

The expansion of the Wave spell pushed away the cloud and freed Khan's arms, allowing him to retreat without suffering additional injuries. His attack destroyed the array of tubes and damaged his opponent, but the clicking growl that reached his ears told him that the battle wasn't over.

The Wave spell had destroyed part of the cloud, but the latter was free now, and it had no desire to return to captivity. New power flowed through its fabric and made its chaos more dangerous, but two purple-red needles landed on the wall behind it before it could resume expanding.

The needles pierced the metal wall before detonating and touching the cloud with their explosions. The spell lost even more energy, which finally brought a change in its behavior. A survival instinct overcame its anger and made it shoot toward the hole in the ceiling.

Khan could hear all the changes in the spell's mindset through the symphony. He had understood his opponent, so he knew what it would do as soon as it made decisions.

The cloud flew toward the ceiling only to see three more needles cutting its path. One of them even dug through its structure, and its explosion destroyed almost half of its remaining energy.

The spell didn't give up. It took a sharp turn to its left to avoid the detonation of the other needles, but Khan was faster once again. A straight version of the Wave spell shot out of his left hand and invaded the area the cloud wanted to cross.

The cloud lost even more energy when the Wave spell touched it. The path toward the upper floor seemed closed, so the remaining chaos decided to fly through the openings created by the first two needles.

However, that change of direction left the cloud exposed for one second too long. Khan used his right hand to launch another straight Wave spell, which finally hit his opponent directly and enveloped it in his attack.

The cloud struggled, but it couldn't do anything against Khan's attack, especially in its weakened state. Yet, it continued to voice its mindless anger even before completely exhausting its energy. Death failed to take away its desire to be free.

Khan fell to his knees once the situation calmed down. He wasn't tired, but his mind felt heavy. His arms hurt, and a single glance at them told him that their condition was far from good. Moreover, his feelings weren't exactly happy either.

'True freedom,' Khan thought as rubbles fell from the ceiling and uncovered more of the upper floor. 'I can't deny its existence, can I?'

A sad realization enveloped Khan. That new spell was a reflection of his life. It was too dangerous even to test it, but preventing it from existing wouldn't speak well for him. He was equally doomed if the cloud couldn't find a place in the world.

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Chaos' Heir Chapter 407: Mindless
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