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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

The blue flames burned ever so fervently, repelling and smiting any Undead that dared to trespass into the circle. The ring of fire wasn’t perfect. Some undead got through but they were burned to the last tick of their moments. They were merely open targets to Cal and Selene then.

Aedan stood behind the two, watching the flow of the situation. He occasionally snuck in some of his magic to subtly assist the two in fending off the undead. As he was devoting his all into his furtive assistance, he gasped soundlessly when a sense of dread washed over him.

He snapped his head to the direction of the village. “Erin…” he gasped in his mind. He felt it. The faint embers of a desperate Fae, slowly dying out to the hands of an abomination.

“Damn it…” he cursed through his teeth but not loud enough to be heard by the two. “What to do…?” He ransacked his mind for a solution. He could still save her, he only needed to reach her side. But should he left his post here, no doubt Cal and Selene would succumb to the ferocity of the hoarder surrounding them.

Before he arrived at an answer, a change had taken place.

“This feeling… Her soul remains, but how?” The Fae who he thought to be dead had yet to be claimed by death. Her soul stayed anchored to her body. Something was preventing her from dying. Then, he remembered Erin’s circumstances. “I see… her Patron God.”

He clenched his fist. As someone who had lived through centuries, he had seen enough for him to deem the Divine Beings as whimsical, fickle, and some even finicky. They had never meddle with mortal affairs with a cause proven solely beneficial for the mortals. Whatever reasons they had, it was about themselves in the end.

He very much wanted to confront the God overseeing Erin’s path but now, that was not his priority. He could only stand his ground and hoped for the best.

“Please be safe, Erin. Otherwise, Nivia’s fist and blade would be the last things I see.”

Erin’s departure from her perdition had rejuvenated a decent amount of her stamina and health despite having the sword still plunged through her body. She didn’t know why such was the case but she wasn’t going to be finicky about the miracle she was bestowed.

She stretched her fingers, opening and closing her palm. Her motor functions were all normal. She took this transient moment to survey her surroundings. She listened in on the sounds, drowning out the cries of the crows and the groans of the wandering Ghouls.

“What the…?” A gasp followed after that utterance. Erin was shocked to find out the rising of the dead was not limited to within the boundaries of the village. Corpses of unfortunate bandits and lost adventurers, and carcasses of fallen monsters were now roaming the forest aimlessly. The numbers were in hundreds and the living beings nearby quickly fell to the undead horde. The affected range must have been at least half a mile, Erin surmised.

The faces of Cal, Selene, and Celia appeared in her mind. A sense of premonition clouded her heart but as soon as Aedan’s face came into the picture, the clouds parted. No doubt the three were in the safest place they could be, right by the side of a Dragon-kin.

“Please be safe,” she prayed for them, nevertheless.

She reined in her attention back to her vicinity.

In the corner of her eyes, she could see Lyra locked in a desperate fight against the Wight. She could even see the tears rolling down her cheeks. Lyra was in anguished and that in turn made Erin herself ridden with guilt. She was the cause of Lyra’s tears, that was apparent.

“What a man I am, making a girl cry… Wait, I’m not a man anymore…”

Without wasting any more time, she pulled the saber out of her chest. She stifled her cries into winces as the blade was leaving her wound with the edges grating her flesh. The hole in her chest closed up immediately after the sword was pulled out.

[Experience lost -10% – Level Progression: 75%]

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Erin’s eyes widened when she received such a notification. Her suspicions immediately fell unto her newly acquired Unique Talent, Revenant. Without taking her attention off the Wight, Erin read the description of the eerie sounding skill.

[Revenant – Allows the user to resurrect from their demise at the expense of exp loss. Amount of exp loss is increased for every subsequent death within twelve hours. Insufficient yield of exp will bring about user’s death or worse… So be more cautious, okay, Erin?]

As much she was thankful for this skill and the toll seemed reasonable, the last parts of the description worried her to no end. And the last phrase, it was obviously a message from Nyx. Although the description was being vague, Erin had no doubts the consequences were tied to her damnable skill, Lust Deviant, or at least something that would make her regret for being reckless with her own well-being.

“Damn that Nyx, treating lives like toys,” Erin cursed in her heart. “Guess this is what she meant by a huge reminder— or was it a he?”

Casting aside that pointless matter for now, she straightened her stance and called out to the Wight who was strangling the life out of Lyra.

“Let her go,” Erin announced. Her voice rang resolute and clear.

The Wight froze for a moment. It didn’t respond to her words. Perhaps it ironically refused to believe that its victim had somehow come back from the dead, which Erin did. After a moment passed for reality to set in, the Wight tossed Lyra aside and turned to face its former victim. The Wight’s remained unchanged but its astonishment was apparent in its demeanor, nonetheless.

“I’m not dead yet, you abominable b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲,” Erin taunted. She unclasped her armor and sword holster. She let those hindrances fall to the ground. She even tore away her tattered undershirt, which was no longer able to serve its purpose as a shirt, revealing her bound chest. She would be shying away with her cheeks flushed red right about now if it weren’t for the Wight standing a good distance away from her.

She recalled her fight with Aedan last night. Her memories were still hazy and a mild headache surfaced every time she withdrew that memory. Even so, she remembered the gist of it all. She fought in a way Argon Raze never would or rather, never could. It was simply impractical for his body build but not for Erin. Her form of precision and grace had proved to be ineffective towards the Wight who relied on its brute strength.

Looking at her list of skills and magic, Erin realized she did have what she needed to defeat the Wight. These means never crossed her mind for the whole fight. Despite her longing to be acquainted with magic, it never was able to eclipse her obsession with the sword. Magic was nothing more than a leisure pursuit for her. Her pride as the Sword Saint took precedence and blinded her to the other prospects. She was hellbent on winning the fight with a sword. It was high time she accepted the truth she was no longer as mighty as she once was with the sword and sword was no longer the only path she could take.

“Aedan’s right… I’m really naive,” Erin reprimanded herself.

While she was basking in her reminiscence, the Wight had run out of patience. It charged towards Erin with a screech that was grating her ears.

Instead of two hands, Erin wielded her saber with a single hand. As for her free hand, she conjured up the blue flames of Essence Flare into her palm. She threw the ball of fire at the baffled undead.

The blue flames were foreign to the Wight. It didn’t understand what the flames were capable of. It saw it as just some plain fire. Which was why it didn’t bother dodging the ball of fire coming at its way. But as the flames hit, the Wight stopped in its tracks. It was baffled. The flames weren’t burning its rotten flesh but for some reason, the flames were hurting it.

The Wight cried out in agony. It began to flail around but as it flailed, the fire spread further across its body. It cried even louder. Essence Flame was not capable of burning anything physically but it was capable of burning ethereal matters. The blue flames did not burn its flesh but the dark magic itself that was the fuel and essence to every undead. But at Erin’s current level of Arcane, Essence Flare wasn’t capable of vanquishing any undead beyond Ghouls.

Erin didn’t make a move. Even though her wounds were all healed, the energy she exhausted and the blood she lost weren’t recovered. Essentially, she was only a little better than her state a few minutes ago. She knew the flames wouldn’t be enough to eliminate the Wight but it would be enough to buy her time to recover a little of the strength she had lost.

However, Essence Flare wasn’t the only trick Erin had. There was another. The other trick held a higher possibility of eliminating the Wight but it also came at a higher cost, her own life force. But given her current circumstances, there was no time for her to be selective with her options.

Erin cast Mystic Blade on her saber. A thin sheet of lustrous azure blue light covered the blade. She faltered as she felt the Unique Talent taking a piece of her life force as the toll but she managed to prevent herself from collapsing. She would need to get used to the life draining effect if she wished to use Mystic Blade effectively in combat. A brief second of concentration had often spelled defeat or worse, demise for many.

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She took a deep breath. “This better work.”

When the Wight had smothered the flames burning its essence, it rushed at Erin without any care to whatever scheme she had prepared for it. Its anger took complete precedence over its wariness, which greatly worked in Erin’s favor.

The Wight’s claws came first. A reckless assault. It had always been erratic with its assault but it was more erratic than before.

Erin responded to that attack with a series of dodges that resembled a single flow of a dance. She let herself go. She twisted her body in a way she never thought she could. She bent her waist that would have broken a spine. The only difficulty in this performance was the constant need to find the perfect balance. One single wrong move would literally break most of her bones and spell her end.

“This feels… oddly thrilling… ecstatic even.”

A heavy lash came from the Wight who snarled in frustration. Erin flipped over the attack to the side, the claws missing her skin by a hair’s breadth. With the saber in one hand, she swiped and lopped its arm off its shoulder as she landed. The Wight grinned at the feint Erin had presumably fell for but as a second went by, it bellowed in pain. The Wight clutched at its shoulder which was missing an arm. It hurt. It wasn’t supposed to hurt but much like the blue flames, it hurt the Wight. It glared at Erin, seething with rage.

“Well what do you know, it’s damn effective.”

The Wight, realizing the turn of the tides, took steps back away from Erin. Its eyes were still burning with hatred but its sense of self-preservation dictated it to back away. It further confused itself with this strange new emotion of fear. But as it did so, the Wight froze in place and it wasn’t due to disbelief this time. The Wight’s eyes turned crimson red and blood-red lightning engulfed its body.

“What a useless coward… can’t do anything right!” A dreadful hollow voice came out from the Wight’s gaping mouth. “And you… you infernal insolent mutt…!”

The voice was different, most likely belonged to the late William himself, but the tone was the same as the spellbound bandit she fell. Erin knew who was speaking to her.

A mixture of grimace and grin formed on her face. “Greetings,” she replied. “Always hiding behind a puppet. Doesn’t that make you the coward?”

“It’s… always you….” it added a snarl at the end. “Such… insolence… Kill you… I must…”

“I’ll return those words to you. I guess the feelings are mutual.”

The Wight roared. It shot out bolts of lightning at Erin.

“Here goes,” Erin said to herself. She charged into the barrage of lightning bolts but instead of deflecting the bolts, she was dodging them with strings of maneuvers that put circus performers to shame. She didn’t have any recollection of these moves but her body did and she let her instincts guide her. She twisted, turned, spun, and flipped over all the attacks but it was not flawless. There were a few times where she almost lost her balance but obeying her instincts as a Fox-kin, she recovered from these near-faults. Aside from her balancing, Erin had a hard time taking her tails into account when avoiding the lightning bolts. Her tails were grazed by the lightning bolts thrice but the injuries were not threatening.

“I can do this,” she told herself as she made it through the flurry of attacks.

Panic and incredulity were all too apparent on the Wight’s expression. It tried to conjure up a large lightning bolt but during the casting of the spell, Erin threw Essence Flare into the formation of the lightning bolt.

“Not this time!”

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The result ended in an explosion due to the disruption of the spell casting. The explosion caused much damage to the Wight’s body but the damages were negligible for an undead. Still, the explosion disconcerted its perception of its surroundings. Before the Wight could regain its focus and bearings, Erin closed their gap and sliced off its other arm. But that didn’t stop the lightning from congregating, growing ever larger. It was the same situation as the bandit.

Erin aimed for the central point of the congregation with her blade but the emanating force was resisting her thrust, pushing her blade back.

The lightning spread, scorching the ground and slowly encroaching Erin herself. She cast Essence Flare around her to keep the lightning at bay from searing her flesh but the blue flames wouldn’t last forever.

“Damn it!” Erin cursed. “I won’t reach it in time.”

The lightning was slowly swallowing her and her blade was only getting further away from her target.

[Warning: Magic Vigour under 25% threshold]

Suddenly, the Wight groaned in pain, or simply in surprise, as it stumbled off from where it stood. There was a sword plunged through its body. It was Erin’s silver-steel broadsword and at the grip of the sword was Lyra.

Before even a nod could be exchanged between the two, the lightning swallowed Lyra who didn’t have any methods to repel it. Like a spring bent till its limits, Lyra was then launched off a few yards away and plowing through the bloodied soil.

Erin paled in dread at the worst likelihood. Her face contorted with anger. The sword through the Wight’s chest was enough for Erin to overcome the impasse. Her blade broke through the resisting force and reached the congregation point.

The convergence shuddered. The lightning imploded before dissipating into thin air. A brief loud shrill of reprisal declaration could be heard but only for a split second after the lightning died out. Erin wasted no moment to decapitate the Wight right after.

When its head hit the ground, a notification sounded in Erin’s head. She dispelled Mystic Blade then, but not before turning the Wight into four pieces for maximum assurance.

[Experience gained +35% – Level Progression: 110%]

[Erinthea: Level 11 increased to Level 12]

[Status has been restored]

[Skill Points Gained +2]

[Ability Points Gained +2]

[Level Progression: 10%]

The undeads in the area followed suit. The Miasma dissipated from the surroundings. Erin did not understand why killing the Wight dispelled the whole dark magic ritual but she wasn’t going to complain. She was just glad everything worked out in the end.

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[Experience gained +10% – Level Progression: 20%]

Erin foregone a sigh of relief and hurried to Lyra’s side. She could tell Lyra was still alive but from the sounds that she heard, Lyra must have broken a few bones. Erin only let out the belated heave when she appraised Lyra. She was still breathing and in good health, relatively speaking. The bones broken were recoverable and mendable. She wasn’t treading the line between life and death like Erin was a few minutes ago. Truth to be told, Lyra was in fact in a better shape than Erin, who had nearly exhausted all of his Mana and once again treading on the fine line of life and death.

“Y-you’re alive…” Lyra said feebly as Erin perched her up onto her lap. “How…?”

Erin let loose a smile and a drop of tear. “It wasn’t my time yet, I guess?”

Lyra responded with a meek chuckle.

“I-I thought I lost you,” Erin said. Tears continued forming in the corner of her eyes. “I-I was… I was…” her voice trailed off.

“Now you know how I felt when you keep putting yourself at risk…” saying so, Lyra let Erin cradled her body into her arms. Lyra was close enough to feel Erin’s warm shallow pants. “I’m sorry…”

“For what?”

“Freed,” Lyra answered. “I-I was—”

“It’s alright,” Erin stopped her. “I would have done the same. I’m just as guilty.”

“You would?”

“I would.” Erin nodded. She remembered the countless sacrifices she made in becoming the Sword Saint when she was Argon Raze

Their eyes gazed into each other. They could feel each others’ desire. They understood their longing for one another. There were dozens of things Erin wished to say but no words formed on her lips, no words were needed. They shared a smile. And without another word, they shared an embrace, one that was filled with warmth and cast out of the sounds and sights of everything other than each others’ breaths.

Erinthea – Faerie-kin: Three-Tailed Fox-kin

Level: 12 | Status: Severe Exhaustion

Might: 20 | Arcane: 17 | Finesse: 19

    Magic Arts

Spirit Magic Lv. 8 | Arcane Edge Lv. 3 | Arcane Armor Lv. 5

    Combat Arts

Sword Art Lv. 7 | Fleet Foot Lv. 5 | Brawler Lv. 5

    Innate Skills

Appraisal Lv. Ex | Night Vision Lv. Ex | Sixth Sense Lv. Ex | Toxin Resistance Lv. 1 | Lust Deviant Lv. Ex

    Unique Talent

Mystic Blade Lv. Ex | Revenant Lv. Ex

Level Progression: 20%

Remaining Skill Points: 2

Remaining Ability Points: 2

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