Important Announcement:
Update on Project Gender Bender

Chapter 123: Ambush Sprung

Leave a comment



Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

Being a little less than twice as large as a healthy adult horse, it was a simple matter for Elyss—for Elyss was the mana beast’s name—to hop over that low fence, even burdened with her kill.

As she moved away from the human settlements, easily clearing the worked fields, she broke into a run. Still cloaked in shadows, she melted into the night away from any prying eyes. Even though the top half of her body poked through the grass, she was still nearly invisible as well as untraceable if it wasn’t for the loud rustling of the grass she could do nothing about running at such speeds.

Each of her strides covered a dozen meters and soon, the village and the livestock pen she stole from was but a distant memory behind her.

Now, if anything went according to plan, she’ll find a place to hide by randomly laying down somewhere, take a nap, and then eat the pig for a snack. Or perhaps it’d be better if she ate it while it was still fresh?

Decisions, decisions.

She didn’t have to make these decisions before, but circumstances changed so things couldn’t be helped.

Retracing her steps, she headed deeper into the plains.

Once she was far enough, Elyss slowed down to a steady, effortless trot with her head held high. From here on was her territory where she reigned supreme. Just the other day, she killed and ate one of the fledgling mana beasts that just mutated.

It both tasted good and helped her secure her dominance in this section of the plains. She had not explored the plains further north, so she didn’t know if there were any other mana beasts she had yet to challenge, but she didn’t really want to go further north anyway.

The mana in the air steadily decreased the further up she went and Elyss instinctively knew that if she stayed too long in such mana-sparse areas, her strength will decrease.

Perhaps, she’ll head back down south once winter sets in, and eventually cross over to vampire territory.

But that was for the future. Right now, all Elyss wanted to do was to relax and take a nap on a full belly. It’s decided then, she’ll eat the pig before bed.

Her mind made up, a weight lifted from Elyss’s mind and her trotting became more spirited and a little faster, impatient to get back to her nest. The delicious smell of the pig in her mouth filled her nose and mind with every breath, especially with a bit of blood from its punctured skin leaking into her mouth…

So strong was the scent of the pig right by her nose, in her mouth, that Elyss missed the unfamiliar scent of humans nearby.

So assured was she in her superiority and the lack of danger so deep into the sea of grass that she had let her guard down. It wasn’t until a tiny mana signature that Elyss had detected but subconsciously ignored exploded in a brilliant flare that she dropped the pig in her mouth and looked toward the threat that had suddenly appeared.

“Who?!”

Elyss’s question was voiced in a low snarl as she crouched down, just as a small figure clad in familiar metal armor jumped out of the grass and slashed down at her with its sword. No longer blocked by the scent of prey, Elyss could tell through her assailant’s smell that it was a female that attacked her.

Not only that, the mysterious assailant was a templar from the very Cloud Order she left not too long ago. Was she a pursuer?

Even if the Cloud Order wanted her back, having the pursuer attack her was not the right way to do it. Then again, this templar shouldn’t know who she was, considering she was…disguised.

(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)

(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation and stop supporting the content thief!)

Elyss glared, watching the templar’s every movement.

As expected of a full templar, her assailant was fast. But not fast enough.

Elyss reared up on her hind legs, freeing up her front legs. With a swat of her massive paw, she batted the sword of the templar away, sending it veering off course.

The impact knocked the sword from the templar’s hand. Coincidentally, Elyss was about to come crashing down from her rearing. Her paws descended with monstrous force, ready to crush the templar into paste.

But surprisingly, the templar did not panic.

As soon as the templar landed, she crouched down and crossed her arms over herself, protecting her head. Not only that, she drew her feet up to her chest, huddling up in a ball.

“Bulwark.”

Right as Elyss’s paw slammed down on the templar, she felt like she struck an immovable wall. Immovable, but breakable. There was a crack as the magical barrier gave slightly, but ultimately the spell held, protecting its caster.

As Elyss wound up for a second shot at the barrier, aiming to break it with her next strike, the golden barrier exploded, sending a shockwave blasting at her with shards of solid magic.

Growling in surprise, she hopped backwards, tail lashing in annoyance and for balance.

Seizing the opportunity, the templar dove for her sword and recovered it. Readying it, the templar stood with both hands on her sword, her center of gravity low to keep a stable stance.

It was a foolish act. Brave, but foolish. Be it mana amount, mana density, power, speed, Elyss outclassed that templar in every respect, yet the templar seemed to insist on fighting.

If it was the Elyss in the past, then perhaps she would have simply charged up and ripped that feeble templar apart for daring to challenge her, but after spending a few years in the Cloud Order, the templars there seemed to have rubbed off on her…

Since she wasn’t in a fighting mood right now, she’ll show a bit of mercy and let the templar go. Maybe the templar will just leave and let her get on with her late-night snack.

Sitting down, Elyss began to lick the back of her paw, all while paying attention to the templar. As expected, the templar seemed to relax slightly, although she still kept her sword up.

As Elyss watched, the templar reached into her pouch and took out a crystal that glowed slightly. She sensed the movement of mana coming from it, and as the templar held it against her chest, mana drained from the crystal into the templar’s body.

Disappointment shot through her. Couldn’t the templar see the vast gulf between her own strength and Elyss’s strength?

…unless something else was giving the templar the courage to stand up to her. Fully aware of her surroundings now, Elyss soon felt the existence of another tiny spark of mana that quickly disappeared. One more? Opening her mouth and pulling in the air, she realized that rather than the two she already sensed, a total of three people recently passed through here.

(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)

(If you are reading this, that means this content is stolen. Please support us by visiting our site.)

*Three. Two hiding… *

But something was off about that mana she briefly detected.

Elyss stopped grooming herself and stood up, circling around Elyss snarling. Her snarl came from deep in her throat, a rumbling sound that shook the earth, and the templar almost dropped the third gem she was recharging herself with.

Searching her memories and knowledge, Elyss finally realized what the strange mana was. Undead!

But shouldn’t the templars be opposed to undead?

Elyss refused to believe that a templar and two unrelated undead just happened to be hiding in the same area. That left only the unfortunate conclusion that a certain templar had turned traitor.

At least she had only run away, but this disgusting human was actually allying with the enemy.

Her snarling grew louder.

How dare that Cloud templar conspire with the undead?

Elyss decided to teach her a lesson for the sake of the Cloud Order and the brave warriors whose lives the philosophy and power of the Order was built upon!

If it wasn’t for the fact that she would be heard for kilometers around and announce her presence, she would have unleashed the full power of her roar, more than enough to stun this weak templar before her.

As it was, the earth began to tremble with her wrath. Rearing up again, Elyss came crashing down with both paws slamming into the earth. The templar didn’t even have time to look confused when spikes erupted from the ground, half hidden in the grass.

More and more appeared like a deadly wave of earth that shot toward the templar through the ground while the templar could only stand in place, caught completely off guard.

Still, Elyss didn’t feel happy.

As she activated her magic, she sensed the two other mana signatures that had previously been hidden flare up. A shadow darted through the grass, tackling the templar and pushing her out of the way of the surging spikes.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Elyss had to dodge aside as an inky black sphere that stank of death came hurtling toward her.

So the templar really was allied with the undead after all.

With her sharp hearing, Elyss heard a female voice coming from one of the undead. “One type. Earth on its paws.”

(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)

(Say no to content thief!)

Elyss paused. Was she being analyzed, then?

That could be bad. Being analyzed like that brought unpleasant memories from the time she was first captured and brought to the stronghold of the Cloud Order…

But she had learned since then!

She was no longer the stupid beast capable only of linear attacks that she was before. No, thanks to the time she spent at the Cloud Order, she had changed. She was a changed lion!

These three disgusting worms were definitely all dying here if she had anything to say about it. A traitorous templar, a jack-class zombie warrior, and a zombie lich. Compared to the party that captured her before, it was a piece of cake.

The fur on her back bristled as she readied for battle and the mana in the air swirled, funneling toward her and pouring into her body.

Camilla put down the templar in her arms and looked in the direction of the mana beast. Although she couldn’t see what the mana beast looked like thanks to the tall grass, she had a sneaking suspicion that the mana beast might look like a large cat covered in shadows.

A coat with light magic that weaved illusions and confused the enemy.

Paws with earth magic that manipulated the ground.

If her guess about this particular mana beast’s identity was right, then this mana beast should also be able to use holy mana, one of the reasons why she had decided to capture this beast instead of killing her all those years ago.

She suppressed a smile as her mouth shaped a name. “Elyss…”

But what was she doing here instead of staying at the Cloud Stronghold?

As Camilla opened her mouth again to call out Elyss’s name, a change in the air brought Camilla cut her short.

She looked up. The almost invisible ripples in the air provided more than enough proof that Elyss was getting serious, and Camilla silently shelved the idea of revealing her identity, at least for now.

She had never faced a serious Elyss before—not since she first captured her. But compared to the Elyss back then, the Elyss now was night and day, and if Camilla was honest, she was a little excited.

…just a little bout of fighting?

Being the person who trained Elyss, Camilla was confident that she could handle her.

Summoning her ironblood sword, Camilla charged forward, barking out orders for Lucienne and Kagriss.

(This chapter is provided to you by Re:Library)

(Please visit Re:Library to show the translators your appreciation and stop supporting the content thief!)

“Lucienne, sit this one out and focus on avoiding its attacks. Especially watch out for the ground! It’s too much for you to handle.”

“…fine.”

Despite the reluctance in her voice, Camilla sensed Lucienne getting further away behind her.

“Kagriss, support me. Restrict its movements and warn me if it tries anything.”

“Got it!”

Another spear shot from the sky, landing somewhere that Camilla couldn’t see, but she sensed a certain lifeform’s brilliant signature jump aside. This close, Camilla could see Elyss’s every movement through her lifesense, even with her eyes closed.

In her lifesense, Elyss swiped at the ground…

The earth vibrated and Camilla jumped, just as a wave of spikes passed through under her.

Without missing a beat, slammed the ground again and from the wave of spikes, grasping claws rose from the ground, reaching after Camilla.

There was nowhere to run in midair…

A trio of dark spears suddenly shot through the hands, breaking them apart before they could grab Camilla’s legs, leaving her free to land safely and continue her charge.

“Nice job, Kagriss!”

Even without Kagriss’s help, she would’ve still been fine, but it was more convenient to have Kagriss take care of it. So far, everything was smooth sailing, but Kagriss knew that the hard part was still ahead of them. That is, if she was a human.

Her lips curved. Sorry, Elyss. Looks like you’re going to lose to me again.

Charging out the grass, Camilla finally saw what the mana beast looked like, and as she expected, it was a huge panther covered in black smoke. The smoke conveniently hid the magnificent mane that Elyss took great pride in, despite being a female lion.

The panther stared at Camilla and sent one last wave of earthen spikes at her, an attack that Camilla neatly avoided by jumping aside and slicing apart the following hands.

As she got closer, the ground trembled.

It’s coming. Earth wall.

Camilla suddenly slid to a stop, right as a wall of earth suddenly flew up from the ground. If she hadn’t stopped, she would’ve been smashed into the air from beneath. But she had known it was coming.

Likewise, she knew what was coming next. She turned around to see tall walls of earth rising all around her, followed by pillars, until she was in an arena that suddenly appeared out here in the middle of nowhere.

From behind the first earth wall, Elyss made her move, quickly followed by a warning from above.

“Camilla, it’s coming!”

“Got it~!”

She jumped, right as a huge shape smashed into the ground where she had just been standing, cracking the ground. Without pausing or caring that she missed, Elyss ran on.

Camilla stabbed her sword into the wall, suspending herself in midair, watching Elyss’s blindingly quick movements. Elyss had become a mere black blur followed by a trail of black smoke, bouncing unpredictably all over the arena.

She ran on walls as easily as she ran on the ground and she leaped from pillar to pillar to ground to pillar again without a fixed pattern.

Dark spears rained onto the ground, but none of them found their target.

From the corner of her eyes, Camilla saw something move toward her and she jumped off the wall, pulling her sword out, just in time for Elyss to crash onto the pillar.

Again and again, Camilla escaped by the skin of her teeth, each time catching Elyss’s movement just in time.

Just as she dodged again, Kagriss suddenly cried out. “Watch out—wait, no, that’s not it!”

From the corner of Camilla’s eyes, she saw movement again. But this time, she didn’t dodge, staying in place. An illusory panther crashed into her, phasing right through her. At the same time, a huge black shape flew over her head. If Camilla had jumped, she would’ve been caught.

She didn’t know if she was imagining it, but she thought she saw a look of shock of Elyss’s face.

Well, she probably did imagine it.

Smiling, Camilla closed her eyes. Illusions disappeared, leaving only a life as brilliant as the midday sun. She couldn’t miss it even if she wanted to.

Although Elyss could create illusions using her light magic, Camilla could simply ignore it by closing her eyes and using her lifesense alone to track Elyss.

It almost felt like cheating.

Finally, Elyss stopped running, skidding to a stop at the top of an earth pillar and staring down at Camilla.

Camilla could almost feel the intensity of her gaze boring down into her.

She felt mana gather near Elyss.

When Camilla opened her eyes again, she saw Elyss with her mouth open, a golden sphere slowly growing in front of her maw. In response, Camilla pointed her sword at Elyss and a ball of her own appeared, a mixture of black and gold.

The look of shock was unmistakable even on Elyss’s face, and she almost lost control of her spell. The golden sphere almost exploded, but Elyss caught herself just in time, compressing the sphere down to its original size.

As Elyss was right now, she was a sitting duck for Kagriss. But Kagriss didn’t attack.

While worry was constantly being transmitted over from Kagriss’s side of the bond, Camilla was adamant. She could do this, and if she wanted Elyss to acknowledge her again, she had to do this.

The two spheres grew bigger and bigger, until finally, Elyss unleashed her magic, an expanding cone of light that shot toward Camilla. It was far brighter than anything Camilla could do, dwarfing the power of even Pavlor’s spells. It was like a second sun had appeared.

But the magic was silent.

Just as the light was about to engulf Camilla, she called out a name. Then, she stabbed through her own sphere with her ironblood sword, covering her sword with the black and golden mana. As the holy spell reached her, she slashed at it.

The slash parted the blast of holy mana, destroying the mana and scattering it in tiny explosions. Even as the earth on either side of her was scorched and the top layer began to melt. Only the slice of earth she stood on remained intact, though still dried and cracked from the heat.

With a bright smile on her face, she looked up at the bewildered lion.

“That’s enough, Elyss. It’s me, Carmen—well, I’m called Camilla now. Do I get a reward for beating you?”


Axiom’s Note

For the sake of reference, I have a horse set at 17 hands tall, or around 170 cm, so twice that is around 340 cm. A lion usually has a 1:2.7 height to total length ratio, so that would make the beast something like… I don’t know, 918 cm? Let’s round down a bit and make her 9 meters long and almost a little less than 3 and a half meters tall at the shoulders~

I might have underestimated the size of a horse. I wonder if it’s too late to change it?

Picture for scale, where each box is a square meter…

Disclaimer: Cover not drawn to scale. Innocent whistling


Be sure to support the author, TypeAxiom, by subscribing to his Patreon!



References

Support Project Gender Bender

Patron Button

Subscribing to Patreon may result in faster updates.
For more info, please refer to this: link.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Your Gateway to Gender Bender Novels

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
%d bloggers like this: