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Chapter 87: Predator

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

“Cleansing Light!” Anne shouted.

As expected of Anne, she caught Fleur’s abnormality and began casting the spell before Carmen could even react. But it wasn’t enough. A golden glow more powerful than Anne had ever produced before fell over Fleur, but when the light faded, Fleur still looked like she was forcing down a cough.

Before Anne could try again, Carmen finally completed her cast. It was already the fastest she could go yet thanks to the time needed to convert as well as her slower reaction time, she was several steps slower than Anne.

Anne really was the one for Fleur, if only she became stronger.

A holy light fell over Fleur, wiping out the undead mana that had begun acting up. Fleur’s face took on a healthier light as she let out a small cough and no more.

“I’m fine now, Camilla; please help Father!”

Despite Fleur’s words, Carmen still took a moment to sweep her senses over Fleur from head to toe, making sure that nothing else was wrong. For safety’s sake, she created a barrier that mostly barred the entry of any kind of mana other than holy. While it didn’t last very long, it should be enough to keep Fleur safe for as long as it took for Carmen and Kagriss to finish up the battle nearby.

Carmen looked over to Anne. “Keep her safe, okay?”

Over Fleur’s protests that she really was fine, Anne nodded and patted her chest. “Leave it to me!”

“Good. When I come back Fleur better be how she is right now, if not better!” Now that Fleur’s problem was taken care of temporarily, hopefully permanently once they met Pavlor, Carmen beckoned to Kagriss. “Let’s go. Hold nothing back.”

“I’ll make sure to show them their inferiority toward you…Camilla.”

Kagriss still sounded stiff when she said Carmen’s name as if she couldn’t get used to it, but now that she finally stopped calling Carmen “Mistress,” Carmen wasn’t going to let her start again. Compared to “Camilla,” “Mistress” was ten times worse.

Leaving the corpse of the stag that she had been dragging along the whole time behind, Carmen ran on ahead. While Kagriss took to the skies, Carmen ran on foot through the trees, taking care to not catch her dress on anything hanging branches or thorny bushes. She didn’t want to reveal her vampire identity just yet.

The pulses of holy mana continued to sweep over them at random intervals as Pavlor was doubtlessly unleashing various spells to keep Orlog at bay. Additionally, Orlog’s aura and mana also leaked like crazy, so similar to the undead monsters at the facility that it made Carmen’s scalp tingle in discomfort, but at the same time different enough to be even more unsettling.

With the speeds that knight-class undeads could reach, it didn’t take long for them to reach the battle. She had already agreed with Kagriss to make as flashy an entry as possible.

Surprisingly, Carmen was the one to get there faster, and she was glad she had.

“The monster!” someone shouted, putting the entire team on maximum alert. The person who had called out was a member of the team who was especially sensitive to mana and adept at detecting them. He was tasked with keeping an eye out, and his advanced warning had saved many lives already.

Pavlor raised his staff made of bone. Power surged from his hand into the staff, pouring through the spell structure embedded into the bone.

This time, Arvel had no complaints. They were far enough from any known mana beasts that he didn’t mind if Pavlor casted his giant spells until his mana dried up. Well, he did, since Pavlor was pretty much the team’s first and last defense. His mana was valuable.

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The head of the staff became wreathed with a holy fire, making it seem as though Pavlor was bearing a giant torch. The fire only grew as Pavlor put more and more mana into the spell structure.

As soon as Orlog jumped out of the trees, whatever was suppressing its aura faded. With undead mana reinforcing its limbs, it moved faster than most people could track. But when the monster locked onto a target and charged toward it, Pavlor swung his staff and a wave of holy fire poured forth. Although the flames on the staff extinguished, the fire that now formed a huge wall against the undead’s advance more than made up for it.

Orlog landed and skidded to a stop, its claws carving long furrows into the ground. Letting out an inhuman, frustrated screech, Orlog darted to the side trying to find a way around the fire. However, In the time it took for him to get to the side of the wall, what greeted him was a pillar of light that descended from the heavens, slamming him to the ground as if the light was a hammer.

“Grace of the Sun.”

Pavlor’s unusually solemn voice sounded like a bell that tolled for Orlog’s doom. Arvel had to admit that for all Pavlor’s faults, he was skilled. Each time they faced Orlog, Pavlor became more and more used to catching the elusive target.

The monster’s purple skin began to curl and peel off in the light. It writhed in pain, but otherwise seemed no sign that it was dying. Arvel clucked his tongue. “Even this isn’t enough to kill it, huh?” He waved toward the watching clerics on either side of him that had formed a circle facing all directions with Pavlor at the center. “Capture!”

Also one, the clerics raised their maces and began casting in unison.

It was slow going, considering the average skill level of these clerics as well as the unsuitability of using holy magic to restrict movement.

“Hurry! My spell is ending!” Pavlor shouted.

The sudden commanding voice from behind him also interrupted Arvel’s spell construction, but thankfully he managed to maintain control of it. However, he was more skilled than many, and thanks to Pavlor’s voice, some of the clerics had their spell slip from their hands.

Fighting to hold back a swear, Arvel instead decided to see his spell to the end. One by one, with Arvel’s in the lead, bands of golden light circled around the monster’s limbs. Chains jumped from band to band and extended into the ground, holding the monster down.

“Just a little longer, Pavlor…” he muttered under his breath. As long as every cleric here completed their cast, capturing Orlog was a done deal. It all staked on Pavlor being able to keep the monster still though.

Looking around them, he saw that most of the clerics that had been interrupted the first time was nearing the completion of their second cast. However, he didn’t have much hope.

Sure enough, the beam of light from Pavlor’s Grace of the Sun petered out. Without the suppressing effect of the light, Orlog snarled with renewed fury and swiftly broke through the existing shackles.

Although the second batch of chains quickly appeared, they captured nothing but air as Orlog jumped aside. Only a quick beam of light from Pavlor’s managed to graze the undead monster’s side.

With a quiet rustle of bushes, Orlog disappeared into the trees. However, no one let down their guard. Everyone could still sense Orlog nearby, but the problem was it was too difficult to track Orlog’s exact location when he was unleashing so much undead mana.

For something that wasn’t even a higher undead, it was too troublesome.

Arvel didn’t need to give any orders. Everyone knew what to do already, having done this over a dozen times. The clerics all crouched slightly and raised their bucklers, keeping Pavlor protected in the center of their formation.

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Rustling in the nearby bushes kept everyone’s nerves on edge. Once in a while, Pavlor would throw out a bombardment spell with awesome power that temporarily filled the forest of light, though he rarely hit.

“Save your strength,” Arvel hissed.

“I’ll do what I want,” Pavlor shot back. And for good measure, he swiftly casted and tossed another spell in Orlog’s general direction—or at least where the rustling came from.

Arvel was tempted to bash Pavlor’s head, but he managed to refrain from doing so. Was there even any reasoning with someone as arrogant as Pavlor?

Orlog pounced out every now and then, only to be struck back by a quick cast from Pavlor. However, Pavlor wasn’t the only one that adapted from all their exchanges either. Arvel noticed that Orlog seemed to be picking the times that Pavlor was busy casting an especially large spell to make his attacks, forcing Pavlor to give up his spell or watch someone die.

Orlog’s adaptivity was impressive, and at the same time terrifying. Compared to other undead, Orlog seemed more animalistic and predatory.

The entire team was on guard against Orlog, waiting for Orlog to either leave or make a mistake that allows Pavlor to catch him once more. While everyone was on edge, there was a loud crack in the forest, drawing everyone’s attention. Although Arvel wanted to look too, the commotion was on the other side of the formation.

Keeping his eyes straight ahead, scanning the trees and bushes, he couldn’t but feel that something bad was happening. Pavlor was…casting one of his big spells once more, which means following Orlog’s patterns, the monster was going to attack quite soon.

His gazes swept back and forth quickly, and he almost missed a subtle, unnatural shaking in the bushes. As he extended his magic sense forward, there was a slightly larger concentration of undead mana compared to the miasma-like concentration that Orlog had left behind in its movements.

Orlog was right ahead!

So what was the rustling behind them? There was a huge crash as a tree fell to the ground, drowning out all the other subtle noises of the forest. At the same time, Orlog pounced out of the bushes, flying straight toward Arvel.

Arvel held up his buckler, and at the same time, he ran mana through the protective crystal he kept on his body at all times. The problem was, he didn’t know how effective it would be against a powerful undead like Orlog.

Sharp, wicked claws nearly sundered Arvel’s buckler in one blow.

Where was Pavlor? What the hell was he doing? “Pavlor! He’s here!”

The protective charm around Arvel glowed them and encased Orlog in golden light, freezing him in place. Arvel stumbled back. “Pavlor!”

“Hang on! Hold him still, I’m still casting!” Pavlor growled.

Only then did Arvel’s head clear enough to realize that there was a powerful holy aura from behind it. It was no doubt a powerful spell with an appropriately long casting time, but Arvel didn’t know if his charm would hold out for long.

Dropping his mace, Arvel fumbled in his pockets for another gem. Just as he fished out another gem, the seal on Orlog broke and the monster fell to the ground before scrambling to his feet and jumping forward in a single motion.

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