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Chapter 62: Gentle Mistress

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: ScribbleHub

Her mission has been accomplished. Will Mistress praise her for it?

As she had been asked to, Kagriss put the flame haired girl into a spot where she had to meaningfully protect Fleur.

The instructions were vague, so she could take some liberties to achieve her goal. As a result, she had shaped the situation as she thought was necessary in order to truly test Anne’s resolve: a situation where both of them fell into a life or death situation where Anne’s only choice was abandoning Fleur or certain death.

In her opinion, a person possessing a resolution of any lesser caliber was unsuitable to become the lover of someone that her mistress favored. Fortunately, Anne had passed the test and with flying colors.

If Anne could be considered her counterpart as Fleur was to Mistress, then Anne had earned her respect for her dedication.

As happy as Kagriss was about her success, however, it wasn’t easy.

Bestowing so much power into inferior vessels such as those chimeras took a lot out of her—they wasted so much mana just by moving. Fleur had been exactly right when she pointed out the flaws on the chimeras.

“But that’s just because they’re inferior,” Kagriss told herself.

She was sure that her bestowal would work much better on someone like her mistress who would be much more efficient with the extra mana and power. Someday, she’ll have the honor of accompanying her mistress into battle, and that day, she’ll be able to show off her true worth.

The trees blurred beneath Kagriss as she flew south, scanning the path for signs of her mistress and the horse. However, as she got closer to where her mistress should have been, she detected ripples of undead mana, pulsing at regular intervals into the air like a beacon. Changing course to fly toward the beacon out of curiosity, she soon found another one further off the beaten path.

Kagriss tilted her head in confusion. “Did Mistress leave these? Why is she heading that way?”

Regardless of the reason, if it really was a sign from her mistress, then it would be best to hurry and catch up. She knew that Fleur and Anne were both important people to her mistress, so if her mistress was willing to delay tending to their injuries, then whatever her mistress was up to must be of utmost importance.

She soon reached the magical beacon. It was a spell that she had never seen before and there were many inefficiencies in its structure. Just from those aspects, Kagriss knew that the caster of this beacon spell was her mistress.

Mistress loved to convert magic that used holy mana into magic that used undead mana, but the first iteration of each spell was always either a failure or riddled with inefficiencies. Kagriss has had the pleasure of refining and optimizing some of them before, and she considered it a great honor to help her mistress.

They’ll definitely do more things together after this.

Speaking of more things together, what exactly was her mistress up to, laying all these beacons for her? Judging by the state of the construction, the beacon was laid pretty recently, and she sensed her mistress’s horse tied up nearby, which meant her mistress continued by flying.

Leaving the beacon spell alone, Kagriss took to the skies once more. The beacons were mostly in a straight line. “Did Mistress already have a destination in mind? It doesn’t look like she found something interesting and wanted to investigate…”

After she thought about the curious situation for a bit, Kagriss tossed the questions she had into the back of the mind and concentrated on flying. There was no need to question her mistress’s intentions.

After flying for a while, she finally came to the end of the beacons with her mistress nowhere in sight. Where could Mistress be? Kagriss landed near the beacon that was sitting at the base of a large tree, and looked around. However, there was no one nearby.

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Still confused, Kagriss walked toward the beacon and crouched down next to it, trying to study it in case there were clues that her mistress left behind.

“Hmmm?” As she studied the spell, she found something strange. The spell structure was slightly different compared to the other beacons. When she tried to investigate the spell in greater depth by pushing her own mana into it, the mana suddenly disappeared, absorbed into the spell.

Kagriss jumped back, surprised by the spell’s reaction. But what came after was even more surprising, as the spell seemed to transform into…something else, before collapsing entirely.

“Huh? What happened?” She ran back to where the spell had been, using her mana to search all over, but no matter what she did, there was nothing else of the spell except some residual mana. “The spell! Mistress’s spell is gone!”

What was she going to do now? Her lead on her mistress’s whereabouts was gone.

Should she start casting out her mana to let her mistress know she was here? But what if her mistress was too far? What if there was a break in the beacon chain that her mistress didn’t catch?

Before she could do anything, she felt an almost undetectable pulse of undead mana from somewhere ahead of her. She sensed it again and again, each pulse so brief that if she hadn’t been waiting for it, or so used to it, she might have missed it.

Pulse pulse pulse, pause…pulse…

Each series of pulses corresponded to letters in the human alphabet. According to her mistress, it was a way of communicating by substituting sound or light with mana. Her mistress had told her that it was a variation of the code used by the Templar Order her mistress used to be a part of, but because her mistress didn’t fully trust her yet, she made changes to the code.

However, all Kagriss got from that was that she and her mistress shared a code that only they knew. Even if her mistress grew to trust her completely, she’ll still want to use this variation over any other.

“Hide…aura…stay…?” she muttered as she deciphered the message from the series of mana pulses and pauses. Now she was glad that she didn’t go around announcing her presence to the world. Following her mistress’s instructions, she stayed exactly where she was while withdrawing her undead aura into her, effectively becoming invisible to anything that wasn’t specifically searching for her without using spells.

About a minute later, she saw a figure running through the forest, so short that at times the figure disappeared behind the bushes. Finally, the figure burst out from behind an especially tall bush where she had disappeared behind and stopped in front of Kagriss. “Mistress!”

“Shhh!” her mistress hissed at her, putting her hand on her mouth. “Don’t be so noisy!”

Kagriss’s eyes widened as she felt her mistress’s small fingers against her lips. Although her first instinct was to lick them, there was a time and place for everything and now wasn’t it. She nodded and her mistress removed her hand. Dropping her voice to a whisper, she asked her mistress about the strange beacon spell.

“Oh, that? It lets me know if you’re here. It’s really simple: since I know you’ll definitely try to mess with the beacon and you’ll put your mana into it, I set you as the trigger. Once the trigger absorbs your mana, the spell progresses into the next step and sends a ping to my mind as long as I’m not too far away,” Mistress said. “That’s how I know to come back.”

Mistress knew her so well!

“How is the moonstone holding?”

“I don’t know…” Kagriss took out the moonstone that her mistress had given her. Since they needed to take separate action and would be separated beyond the range of the bloodbonding moonstone, her mistress had taken out all the things she needed and bound it to her own blood. Her mistress then gave what remained—which was almost everything—to Kagriss for safekeeping, as well as so she could still wear that wine-red dress.

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Her mistress held her small hand over it and dumped a bunch of blood mana into the blue-white rock. “There. That should last you a while more, I think, as long as you don’t keep taking things in and out of it.”

“Thank you, Mistress!” Kagriss felt the bubbly feeling of happiness in her chest again as she put away the moonstone…the feeling was strange, but she felt she’ll never tire of it.

However, she quickly shook herself out of her joy and jumped to the main point. “What are you doing here, Mistress?”

“I’ll tell you in a bit,” Mistress replied. “By the way, how did the plan with Anne and the chimeras go? Was it a success?”

The mistress looked concerned. What could be so important that it took precedence over what happened with Fleur and Anne? Kagriss thought about her answer for a bit. “I think it went well. No matter what happened, Anne never gave up on protecting Fleur. Her resolve was really strong.”

“That’s good…wait, what do you mean ‘no matter what happened?’” The sigh of relief that her mistress released stopped abruptly. “What happened?”

“I empowered the chimeras and had them batter them a bit. They did surprisingly well,” Kagriss said, thinking back to the battle before continuing. “After I drove them into a corner and knocked Fleur out, Anne held her ground against the chimera, and after I ascertained that she was going to defend Fleur to the death, I killed the chimera.”

When she finished, Kagriss found her mistress staring at her. “What’s wrong?” she asked.

“I’m sorry, did you say empower? How powerful…?”

“Um…I’m not sure, but around five to ten times they would have had if they were living?” Kagriss said. “You would call them pseudo knight-classes, Mistress.”

As the words came out of Kagriss’s mouth, she knew from her mistress’s expression that her mistress wasn’t happy. The last time her mistress was that angry was when she had touched her out of curiosity when Mistress was with her mother and left her body in her care.

No, compared to now, last time was nothing. Kagriss squeezed her eyes shut as she’d seen Anne and Fleur do, readying for the inevitable beration from her mistress. But as seconds ticked by and nothing happened, she opened her eyes slowly to peek at her mistress.

Her mistress didn’t look angry anymore—far from it. She looked as if she had a difficult problem she couldn’t solve, but needed it solved desperately. Stressed…

“Mistress?” she asked.

“Kagriss…are they okay?” Mistress asked.

“Yes. I made sure to not inflict any fatal or permanent injuries,” Kagriss replied. “Fleur is more wounded, but I’m sure that you will be able to heal her when you return.”

“I see,” Mistress said. “When you said fatal or permanent…are you using human standards or undead standards?”

“Humans.”

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“Good, good…let’s head back now,” Mistress said. “Just…don’t do that again, if there is ever a next time…”

Mistress channeled blood mana into her wings and lifted into the air, keeping the extra mana carefully suppressed within the wings—enough that Kagriss could barely detect it.

Following her mistress’s example, Kagriss casted her flying spells, suppressing their signatures as her mistress had. As they flew toward the path again, keeping low to the treelines, Kagriss sped up until she was right next to Mistress.

“Mistress, what about the thing you were doing?”

“Thing? Oh…that can wait. Fleur is more important after all,” her mistress replied. “Well, I guess I can tell you now.”

Kagriss perked up her ears. She had thought that Mistress was going to withhold the information from her as punishment.

“My…mother told me that there was a small undead camp near where we were, and that it was related to Arvel’s case. I was going to raid it with your help.”

For something that her mistress was being so secretive about, her tone was surprisingly mild…a bit too mild, as if she was thinking about something else and was distracted.

When Kagriss took a closer look, her mistress’s neck was a bit red, which meant she was embarrassed about something. Then again, Mistress was easily embarrassed.

“Oh…I had no idea.”

Kagriss hadn’t detected any undead activities where Mistress came to get her.

Undead camp…were their next opponents going to be undead? Surprisingly, she didn’t feel opposed to fighting undead, as long as she was going to be of help to her mistress. She wanted to be helpful…but this time, she seemed to have made a mistake and made Mistress upset at her.

Kagriss carefully looked over at her mistress. Mistress’s face was blank and Kagriss couldn’t figure out what she was thinking.

Taking a deep breath to calm herself as she’d seen Mistress do, she hesitated and asked her question.

“Um…Mistress. What did I do wrong?”

Mistress turned. There was no anger in her eyes. Instead, she just stretched out her hand and patted Kagriss on the head. Her mistress’s touch was as gentle as ever.

“Nothing. You did your best, but there was a misunderstanding. It’s really all my fault for not being clear enough. Your mistake was just being too enthusiastic about it.” Mistress continued to rub her head as she explained.

Kagriss couldn’t help but think about how gentle of a master her mistress was, so willing to forgive her mistakes. She hadn’t made the wrong choice that fateful night she and her master met, almost by chance.

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Or could it be what they called fate?



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