|Author: TypeAxiom||Original Source: Scribble Hub|
As the monster swiped toward a frozen Arvel, Carmen pushed off a nearby tree to accelerate, instantly overtaking the undead monster. She reached out and grabbed its outstretched feet, pulling it back before it could put up even a hint of resistance.
Its sharp claws fell short of its target as it lurched back. Losing its footing and balance, it ate dirt as its face slammed into the ground. Standing up, Carmen pulled Orlog tighter into her grip before attempting to break the leg she held into several pieces, gritting her teeth from the effort of doing so.
The bones of Orlog were hard. She couldn’t tell because she wasn’t using a weapon, but Carmen wouldn’t be surprised if they were as strong as her own. Undead mana surged from her body as she tried again, using her knee as a fulcrum, finally managing to snap the leg in two.
As Orlog twisted to get at her, she twisted and slammed the monster into the ground before pivoting and tossing it on the other side. Before it could recover, Carmen turned and slammed it into the ground one last time.
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She dropped onto its back, pulling its arms behind its back and pulling both out at the shoulder joints. The bad thing about damage at the joints was that it was easier to heal than breaks in the middle of the bone, but it should be enough.
Now that she had Orlog immobilized, Carmen looked up at the stunned clerics. “What the hell are you all looking at? Capture him!”
For a moment, no one moved. Well, she was radiating undead aura after all. She looked toward Arvel. “Well? Who’s in charge?”
Snapping out of his daze, Arvel jumped, fumbling with his words. “Wha—what? Me! I am? Do as she says! Capture him!” Raising his hands, he began to cast the spell to capture the undead. With him taking the lead, the clerics came to one by one and began to cast, even though some of them still looked at Carmen suspiciously.
As she was the holding Orlog in place, she couldn’t move either. However, she wasn’t in any danger here since all of the cleric knew that she was on their side…or so she thought before a sudden light blinded her.
“Blazing Glory.” A dignified voice said from somewhere nearby, but she was too disoriented to tell where exactly.
A powerful force from above her had forced her to the ground, crushing her against Orlog’s purple bloat body, but she could barely tell what was happening because whatever had hit was making her black out…or white out.
Either way, she thought she was about to lose consciousness.
It felt like there was a bonfire lit on top of her back, and that pain was about the only thing keeping her awake.
Perhaps Orlog was fine under all this, but even though Carmen could use holy magic, she lacked the same physique that allowed Orlog and the other strange monsters to resist being purified directly. That meant the thing that was hitting her could very well take her life.
She had miscalculated…
…but at the same time, they’re underestimating her a bit too much as well!
With the last bit of effort she had remaining, she constructed a shield spell using the meager amount of holy mana she could muster in her current condition. A soft dome appeared above her, shielding everything underneath from the torrential downpour of holy light.
Even as she began to cast a second spell, Carmen allowed herself a small grin. Her gamble had been right—the spell didn’t fare too well against defensive magic of the same attribute. If she had used undead magic, it might have broken through instantly.
The pressure eased up on her, allowing her time to cast a second, more powerful shield just as the first one cracked. Using the second shield, she cast a third and so on.
Soon, she had enough breathing space to pay attention to things other than keeping herself alive. An argument reached her ears, one of the participants her old friend Arvel.
“Pavlor! What the hell are you doing?”
“Taking care of pests, of course. If they’re willing to group up, why waste the opportunity?” the dignified voice from before said, his tone haughty. Carmen recognized the voice: Archpriest Pavlor!
Well, it wasn’t too impressive a feat considering Arvel shouted his name, but still.
There was a pause, and then Arvel’s voice came again, shaking. “You dolt! Can’t you see she’s here to help?”
Carmen couldn’t see anything thanks to the gigantic downpour of holy magic, but she could imagine Arvel red in the face from anger.
“It’s an undead. Let them be gone,” Pavlor replied. “Do not stop me, unless you want to be branded a traitor before everyone present! That’s a zombie knight!”
His words brought a gasp from the surrounding clerics, and even Arvel became speechless. It couldn’t be helped. Zombie knights were feared entities.
So he has no intention of stopping, I see. Carmen shrugged. Now that she was safe, she didn’t really care. Pavlor couldn’t tell that his spell wasn’t hurting her anymore, thanks to her shield being made of holy mana that blended in with the mana of the Blazing Glory spell. She’ll make sure that he got what he deserved, although she won’t go too far, since he still had use.
It would also look bad if she killed an archpriest.
Besides, It’s been long enough that Kagriss should be here.
It shouldn’t have surprised her that Kagriss was taking so long. Kagriss’s flight spell took a bit to get going and was really only efficient for long distance flights.
As she waited for Kagriss to bail her out, Carmen felt the clerics finally finishing their binding magic as golden bands appeared around Orlog’s arms and legs. Although some appeared around her as well, she easily broke them as she appeared. She shoved Orlog’s face further into the dirt while pouring holy mana directly into the monster’s head, halting his resistance.
Just as she was wondering why Kagriss still wasn’t here, a female voice came from above, her tone quiet and icy cold with fury despite being amplified magically.
“What do you think you’re doing to my Camilla?”
Despite the effort needed to sustain her spell, Camilla still felt warm inside. Kagriss’s Camilla…
Even through Pavlor’s spell, she felt a burst of undead magic, and then something streaking down from the sky, slamming into the ground. More followed. The spell didn’t seem to be very powerful, but it did its job. Abruptly, Pavlor’s spell ended, the pressure instantly disappearing from Carmen’s shoulder.
Stretching, Carmen stood up, taking in the aftermath of Kagriss’s little strike from above.
Black spears stuck out of the ground all round Pavlor, forming a cage, each mere centimeters from touching him. His face was white with the frozen expression of someone who had seen death and narrowly escaped.
The other clerics hand stumbled away from their formation, some of them on the ground, their gazes split between looking at Pavlor and staring up at Kagriss.
Only Arvel seemed relatively composed. Carmen even sensed a bit of relief as he met her eyes.
Kagriss dropped down next to Carmen a moment later, her violet eyes glowing with excess mana. She seemed so on edge that Carmen worried that she might lose control and kill Pavlor right there and then.
Carmen shook her head. “It’s alright,” she whispered.
“We’ll deal with him later,” Carmen promised. “But first, the plan. Things went wrong, but not terribly. Step two.”
Although Kagriss’s jaws were still clenched, the glow faded from her eyes as she let go of her readied mana. Carmen almost regret having Kagriss calm down. Kagriss’s glowing eyes were beautiful.
Now that Kagriss had mostly calmed down, things could continue as they planned. With Orlog temporarily trapped in these low level magical bonds and Pavlor looking like he almost lost control of his bladder, things were going quite well. Both carrot and stick have been extended, and all that was left was negotiations.
“Can you make sure he keeps down for now?” she asked, motioning toward the snarling Orlog on the floor. When Kagriss nodded, she hugged her, causing Kagriss to blush a little.
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Carmen laughed. “Thanks.”
After that public display of affection, there should be less tension in the air. But when she stepped forward with an amicable smile, almost everyone except Arvel took a few steps back, shaking in their combat robes. They gripped their maces until their fingers that were visible through their fingerless gloves turned white.
Among the ones that didn’t back away, only Arvel bravely took a step froward, although there was still suspicion in his eyes. Carmen didn’t think that suspicion would ever go away until she revealed who she was.
That was fine though.
She held out a hand. “You don’t have to be so nervous. Nice to meet you, I’m Camilla.”
“…I’m Arvel. Arvel Calderon, a member of the Church that opposes the undead. Who…no, what are you?” Arvel emphasized the word “what,” but he shook her hand anyway.
Carmen loved Arvel for his brain. Always did, always will. She smiled as their hands separated. How long has it been since she last shook Arvel’s hand? Must be at least a decade. Probably even two. “What? Just a zombie knight that’s interested in the Church for various reasons, so I decided to help out. However, I’m having second thoughts thanks to your friend over there.”
Carmen nodded toward something behind Arvel and her old friend turned to look. There was Pavlor, still trapped in his cage, white as a sheet, shaking like a leaf while Kagriss glared daggers at him.
“Ah…I’m sorry. Please forgive him. He’s just…”
“—doing his job, I know. But pest?” Carmen walked around Arvel who stood aside. Her sudden movement caused another wave of motion through the surrounding clerics as they stumbled over themselves trying to maintain distance. But Pavlor had no such option.
Making her way over to Pavlor, after circling him once, Carmen shattered the black spears with a wave of her hand. She reached out and grabbed Pavlor’s collar, lifting him up. “Am I the pest, or are you the pest? You ungrateful dog.” She tossed him aside.
Instead of catching him, the clerics all jumped aside, letting Pavlor hit the ground and roll several times before stopping. Before Pavlor could get up, Carmen picked him up by the back of his collar, only to find out she wasn’t tall enough. She dropped him, walking back to Arvel.
“I need both you and that man to come with me alone. We need to talk about something.”
Arvel furrowed his brows. “Talk about something? Alone?”
To his credit, there was no fear in his voice. There was nothing but confusion and suspicion. Carmen was enjoying actually being able to confound her old friend for once.
Not bothering to hide her little gleeful laugh and not caring how Arvel took it, she nodded. “Yes. Alone. I can understand your suspicion, but at the same time, do you really have a choice in this matter?”
Arvel looked past her at Kagriss before quickly looking back. He must have met Kagriss’s eyes. He shook his head. “I guess not.”