Despite Tom's alchemy experiment of stacking two alchemy circles, Nicholas was not hurt at all from impacting the ceiling and then falling onto the ground. His physique was far, far above a normal human so such trivial things would not bother him.
It would take far more force than what Tom's Gravity Increase could currently exert to harm him. After all, Tom made that alchemical circle for body training and it had several safeguards implemented in its design. It wasn't an offensive spell at all.
Nicholas slowly stood up, groaning in annoyance. Even if he was unharmed, suddenly losing control over his body like that was downright irritating. The smack against the ceiling and the ground also hurt. Just because the harm to his body was almost nonexistent, it didn't mean that he felt no pain from it.
When he saw Tom just leisurely observing him with the same eyes as someone watching an interesting experiment, Nicholas's last hold on his restraint snapped.
Letting out a roar, the mountain of muscles rushed at Tom, intending to beat him like an unwanted child and he would not stop until he accomplished that goal!
The fight turned into a cat and mouse game where Tom was forced to continuously run away while using his alchemical circles to delay, distract, and destroy Nicholas's offensive while Nicholas was chasing Tom, swinging his fists and trying to break through whatever alchemical circle Tom threw at him next.
Both combatants were having quite a hard time in their own way.
Tom could barely avoid Nicholas's blows, mostly using alchemical circles to negate or block them, or trying to force him to retreat instead of continuing his attack with a well-placed trap. In short, Tom was nowhere near physically capable of matching Nicholas so he fought smart.
But... no matter what, his fragile body was getting tired and the more of Nicholas's blows he evaded by a hair's breadth, the more uncomfortable he was getting. Nicholas's fists swished near Tom's head, chest, and torso, his kicks tried to hit Tom's legs...
Worst of all, because of how sturdy Nicholas was, Tom's alchemical circles were practically useless. At best, they could be used as crowd control but nothing Tom did manage to hurt the raging bull-like mountain of muscles. It only made him madder.
Due to that, Nicholas had a lot of time to come up with countermeasures and he was continuing to find ways to get around Tom's circles. The force inversion circle, for example. After a while of powering through them by the sheer power of his muscles, he found just the correct amount of magic and strength ratio that would not allow Tom to be pushed away as a result of busting the circle, which took away one of Tom's best disengage methods.
Nicholas was certainly smart in his own right. His blows actually created small shockwaves. It wasn't anything noteworthy but Tom's body was starting to mildly bruise because there was no way to evade these fully.
The pain was getting irritating and the harm to his body was starting to show... Tom was starting to slow down even more. Considering his stamina was bound to eventually run out, Tom didn't like his current position. But he could do nothing about it.
This fight made him realize he lacked a capable body alongside offensive and defensive means the most. His family spells were, bluntly put, a total shit. Tom was not going to use them. They were just a waste of magical energy.
Even his self-made magic...
He thought what he created was good enough but apparently, his battle alchemy lacked something important. Magic power imbued in the attacks.
In hindsight, it was obvious. Every spell, even the most basic fireball, is just the materialization and shaping of magical energy in the real world. That's why feeding it more magical energy makes it stronger.
It wasn't something one would think when devising spells though. Tom certainly didn't think about this flaw when he made his battle alchemy.
His battle alchemy worked by playing with chemical and physical laws to create an attack out of nowhere. But it was getting painfully obvious this approach would not work in the supernatural world without some other magic to boost it further. Nicholas's body supercharged with magic could just shrug off anything Tom's alchemic circles could do to him.
Tom used over a hundred alchemical circles in the ten-minute long chase all around the arena and if he fought against another cliche magician, he was quite sure he would have been the winner by now, but against Nicholas and his strong body, even not getting hit so far was an immense accomplishment for Tom.
And during this entire time, Nicholas was using only three spells. It was becoming obvious to Tom who would run out of mana sooner. Not only was Nicholas more magically powerful, but his spells also didn't require much energy to maintain.
Nicholas, on the other hand, was getting more and more frustrated. With every missed hit, his ego would bruise and his disgruntlement would make him even more sullen.
Some hits, he had no idea how the whelp actually evaded!
It was getting ridiculous. His opponent was like an annoying fly. Buzzing around, making obstacles, and using annoying crowd control spells to survive without packing any power behind them.
It made Nicholas feel as if he was looked down upon and as if his accomplishments were being mocked at the same time.
It was as if Tom was silently showing him that no matter how good his body enhancement magic gets, even basic spells without much magic behind them like the ones he was using would still make Nicholas's effort obsolete.
Nicholas was a usually quiet fighter, not seeing the need for trash talk but after ten minutes, he just couldn't bear it anymore and screamed, "Fight me seriously, you slippery whelp!"
He didn't understand that Tom was doing his best to not get hit because even one direct hit would have been an instant defeat for him.
For Nicholas, his opponent was using kiddy stuff to screw with him!
The slightly panting Tom dryly chuckled, using the fact that Nicholas stopped for a second in order to scream to replenish a bit of his stamina.
Releasing a deep breath, Tom straightened out and looked Nicholas straight in his eyes as he seriously said...
Needless to say, Nicholas saw red and Tom barely registered as his opponent disappeared from his spot, using his dangerous acceleration once again.
When Nicholas appeared in front of Tom, his arm reared back and redying itself to send a powerful punch at Tom, Tom's pupils dilated because he could calculate he didn't have enough time to eva-
Nicholas's arm swung forward and Tom with his heightened perception watched it getting closer and closer, his body unable to move in time.
Doing the only thing he could, the only thing that could save him in time, Tom hastily put together an alchemic circle to the right of his legs. He didn't have the time to properly calibrate it, however.
That's why when the circle activated, his legs were swept from under him by it a bit too faster than he initially wanted, making his body painfully smack against the ground as the punch of the enraged Nicholas sailed above him by a few inches.
Tom groaned in pain, trying to catch his breath when he suddenly widened his eyes, realizing he was not out of the danger yet.
With Tom lying on the ground, Nicholas snarled at his punch being evaded once again and followed up by a downward swing...
Once again, Tom didn't have much time to react and his head was also ringing due to the impact against the ground. With nothing else coming to mind, Tom once again used the exact same alchemical circle that produced a shoving effect, this time affecting his entire body.
And once again, he didn't have the time to properly set the force... but this time he overshot his target a bit too much and his body was shoved away with enough force to send him uncontrollably rolling on the ground like a ragdoll.
A split second later, Nicholas's fist impacted the ground where Tom was just a moment ago, creating a dent in the ground.
If Tom's fragile body was hit by that... yikes.
The observing high-rank magicians almost moved right there and then, only stopping due to the glare of Lord Stern and the silence of Lord Belgrade.
Natasha, however, was fidgeting in nervous worry for Tom while clutching her hands together. She was never one to believe in God but right now, she prayed that someone would help Tom.
Getting back up on his feet mid-roll, Tom took a deep breath and rolled his shoulders, which elicited a groan from him due to the sting of pain from his scraped elbows, knees, and the new bruises all over his body.
"Okay," Tom said with a pained smile and loosened the collar of his shirt a bit. He started to feel really unwell and hot after all this running and he hated how sweaty he was becoming. It was time to end this.
Before Nicholas could get angry again, Tom quickly continued, "You know, I have the woman I love watching me."
Much to Tom's mild relief, his words were surprising enough that it gave Nicholas a stop, making him glance at the audience, his eyes landing on Natasha.
"Are you going to try acting cool now?" Nicholas asked and his lips twitched in distaste. "Maybe start fighting seriously for once?" He added with a bit of veiled hopefulness in his tone.
His opponent still didn't use even one mid-tier spell, for fucks sake!
Tom once again chuckled, making Nicholas's expression darken as he clutched his fists...
"Nah." Tom shrugged, "Screw it, I give up."
Don't go at me with 'MC is weak'. Of course, he is weak. This was his very first serious magical fight. He will get stronger. Eventually.