|Author: TypeAxiom||Original Source: ScribbleHub|
As those monsters came closer, Carmen could feel their individual auras a bit better. There were only three, which while not great, was still better than there being six to fight.
As it was, the combined auras of three of those unsettling monsters was getting to be suffocating, especially as they got closer.
“Wait, Kagriss, calm down. Let’s make a plan? What do we know?” Carmen said, holding the lich. “So they can’t use magic except crude reinforcement spells; they’re mostly physical oriented; they’re weaker than true knight-class warriors, but are much more persistent…anything else?”
“They’re resistant to holy magic,” Kagriss muttered. “You’re right, Mistress…they’re nothing to be afraid of. Forgive me.”
Carmen shook her head. “Feeling fear means you’re alive. Fear is required for courage, and conquering that fear and pushing beyond it is true bravery. You’re brave, Kagriss.”
She stood up on her toes while pulling Kagriss down, kissing her on the lips. Kagriss’s eyes widened—she’d never expected her mistress to be so proactive. Kagriss had always been the initiator before.
To be honest, Carmen surprised herself as well with that move, pulling away redder than before as she touched her lips.
Well…she did want to be more proactive instead of letting Kagriss take the lead every time, but she had to admit now wasn’t the best time. However, she just wanted to encourage Kagriss a little.
“Anyways…let’s figure out how we’re going to fight against them. There are so many, and fighting fire against fire with brute force won’t cut it this time.”
“Mistress, can you defeat one of them by yourself without my help?”
“If they’re all like the one we just killed, then yes.” That was true especially if the battlefield was in an open space, like this one, where she could put the full potential of her sword to use. “Do you have an idea?”
“It’s nothing complicated…I just think that if I can stall the other two with my magic, we might be able to take them out one at a time.”
That was a good idea. “Still, how will you stall them? Can you focus on two control spells at the same time?” That chain spell that Kagriss had used earlier was powerful and probably required sustained concentration to maintain it. The more powerful the spell, the more effort needed to be expended to maintain that concentration. “Are you up to the task?”
Kagriss’s head bobbed. “Yes, Mistress!”
“Then I leave it up to you. Once they come, I’ll block them at the entrance and you take the chance to stop two of them while I take on the third.”
When Kagriss nodded again in agreement, they each took an appropriate position in the chamber, with Carmen at the entrance of the tunnel and Kagriss slightly to the side so she had a clear line of fire.
The overwhelming undead auras heralded the monsters’ arrival, and then they finally appeared around the bend, running like beastly humans on all fours. The sight of that uneven, twisted gait made Carmen sick to her stomach. Humans were not meant to run on all fours, yet that’s how these beasts chose to move.
Digging her feet into the ground and stabbing the point of the greatsword into the stone, she pressed her hand against the flat of the blade to brace herself. She began to construct a spell that would have been instantly cast had she been a proper templar. However, as an undead and thanks to the interference from her sword, the spell took a while to construct, which was why she hadn’t been able to cast it earlier against the first monster.
This time, she had the time to ready herself.
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“Bulwark!” A shimmering golden surface appeared over her sword as well as herself, as if she was encased in some kind of crystal armor. The shimmering surface felt uncomfortably warm on her skin.
Lacking a shield, she had to use the closest alternative that she could find to block with—her greatsword.
Putting her center of gravity even lower and trying to ignore how her own spell was almost hurting her, she prepared for impact.
With an ear-piercing screech, the claws of the leading monster scraped across her empowered sword as it swiped at her, trying to knock the weapon aside.
However, her spell held. The monster not only failed to pierce through her defenses, the unexpectedly tough resistance made it lose its balance as it had put most of its strength into the blow.
The two other monsters behind it caught up and slammed into it, throwing them into three layers of flesh and an entanglement of limbs.
“Now, Kagriss!” Carmen shouted. She didn’t dare undo her spell just in case Kagriss failed to properly secure her targets. On the other hand, Kagriss only had one chance since Carmen wasn’t large enough to block off the entire tunnel.
If only the monsters hadn’t been so confident in their strength, they could have just slipped past her on either side and that would have been bad. Once they untangled themselves, there’s a good chance that they’ll do that anyways.
Please succeed, Kagriss! Carmen prayed in her mind.
Undead mana gathered behind her, temporarily overpowering the massive presence of the three monsters before her. It split into two masses, two spells, and two chains snaked around her from behind, striking two monsters from the pile and entangling them in black chains, wrapping them up in cocoons of metal.
Now, there was only one left in front of Carmen. Since Kagriss upheld her side of the job, then naturally Carmen didn’t want to fall behind.
The monster staggered to its feet and lunged at Carmen who couldn’t move well because of the Bulwark spell. However, as the monster struck toward her a second time, Carmen was already preparing a second Art.
Once more, the claws of the monster scraped futilely against the sword. As it expended its momentum, Carmen called forth the Art that she had been preparing. “Bulwark Breaker!”
The shimmering armor on her body and sword exploded outwards, forcefully pushing the monster behind with a scalding, holy blast. And not only that, the thin but potently durable fragments shot forth like shards of glass, embedding themselves shallowly in the monster’s skin.
Free to move once more, she charged after the disoriented monster and grabbed the first part of its body that she could get a good hold on and pulled, flinging it backwards so that it flew into the chamber, smashing against the wall. Pulling her sword behind her, Carmen charged after it.
A dull hollow noise of her blade splitting the air sounded as she cleaved toward the monster. The huge blade looked powerful enough to slice its body straight in two, but suddenly, the monster held up its hands and laced its claws together. A huge amount of mana, so great that it was chaotic and uncontrolled, flowed into the monster’s claws then.
When the greatsword crashed into the claws, the claws surprisingly did not break.
“Impossible!” How could something so thin, so fragile looking as the monster’s claws stand up to her greatsword? Carmen had to remind herself to not panic—so close to the monster, every negative emotion she felt seemed to be amplified many times over. If she began to doubt herself, she could forget about feeling confident again.
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That’s right, she had to remain calm. It was normal that the monster’s claws were so durable—it had pulled out so many surprises again and again, and just a little more won’t matter. She couldn’t keep applying what she knew about undead to these monsters. “Nothing is impossible with these things. Everything is normal. I can’t let that startle me…”
From what she did know, however, these monsters seemed weak to being pressured. It wasn’t very adaptable in the short term, so as long as she overwhelmed it with a flurry of attacks, there was a good chance that it wouldn’t be able to fight back. Carmen narrowed her eyes and jumped back. She shouldered her sword, winding up for a second blow.
The sword crashed down, and once again, the monster managed to catch the sword between its claws. However, instead of giving up completely and backing up, Carmen simply pulled back her sword and the moment she cleared the claws and the sword began to drop once more, she pushed forward.
She leaned her entire weight into the greatsword as it shot forward, piercing into the stomach of the monster. It couldn’t adapt in time.
A black light shone briefly before a cutting wave of mana expanded from her sword. The undead versions of her Arts tended to be more powerful and easier to use, especially if the holy versions weren’t any more effective.
A huge gash ripped open in the monster’s chest, but Carmen did not have any illusions that it had been defeated. Pulling her sword out with a wet squelch, she began to systematically chop up the monster into ever smaller bits. But she had only managed to bisect the monster three times when Kagriss suddenly called out from behind her.
“Mistress! I can’t hold them anymore!”
Carmen whirled around, leaving the monster behind. After being reduced to that state, even a monster like that should take a while to recover. She rushed over to Kagriss’s side, following her gaze to where the two chained undeads were. “What do you mean?”
“They’re dissolving my chains somehow,” Kagriss said, looking worried and more than a little guilty. “I’m sorry, Mistress. I failed.”
“No you didn’t. Do you know how they’re doing it?”
Kagriss shook her head.
Carmen watched as the chains holding the two undeads down, the part where it sank into the undead’s skin, began to corrode. It was a slow by steady process.
Black mist had covered the length of the chains, and it was in that thick, almost opaque mist that the chains were being dissolved. The secret was in that black mist of undead energy, but what was it?
With another look to make sure that the monster she had just disabled wasn’t an immediate threat, she ran over to the two monsters and scattered the mist with a swing of her sword. As the mist dispersed briefly, she felt it.
It was the unmistakable glow of holy mana, hidden beneath the shell of undead mana. It was like the reverse of what Carmen liked to do when she needed to use undead mana without anyone knowing.
The two monsters had been slowly dismantling Kagriss’s binding spell using holy mana that felt just as wrong as their undead mana, all while hiding their activities from Kagriss and Carmen using a screen of undead mana.
Now that she thought about it, these monsters had never used combat spells against her. Could it be that these monsters were actually potential high mages?
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Was their *******, instincts driven actions just an act, or were their innate talents with magic just that powerful?
And most importantly, why are they able to use that strange holy mana?
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