This power could easily overwhelm my brethren...
Not only her appearance has changed, but so did the mana that surrounds her...
It is purer...
And the pressure she is emitting is equal to mine...if even slightly bigger...
As we dance once again, I can feel it...
This woman has truly become a vessel for the sheer power of the moon...
The moment she slashes at me, a secondary blade made of silver light comes right after...
If I were to lose focus, I would be cut by them...
Her weapons are blessed weapons...armaments made to deal with those that threaten the world...
Armaments made with the purpose of killing me...and my brethren now...
Her previous longsword was able to cut into me due to her brute strength...but that is not the case anymore...
I can see it clearly...the sword she is using now can cut through my scales with ease by itself...
As for her shield...I will not be able to destroy this one like I did with the other...
To think that she owned these weapons...that means the Goddess truly desires our defeat...
And then there is her magic…
She has no more blind spots to be exploited, as her chant-less spells frustrate my surprise attacks by summoning shields to cover her openings...
One by one, my thrusts and icicles are blocked and countered...
Meanwhile, my enchanted spear screams at me...
Demanding me to unleash my power...
One that brings destruction...
One that lays waste to the battlefields we fight in...
But to do so in this place would mean to put in danger my Master's objective...
That is why, I have engaged in this dance of mere technique once more...
So that I can weave my mana and change our scenery...
To take us to a place where I can extend my wings...
A place where I can truly dance...
A place where I can honor this true battle...
A place…where I can tip the scales.
I apologize, Master.
For I am about to interrupt my mission to fully dedicate myself to this combat.
Because if I remain in this place, the mission cannot be fulfilled.
I, Eternal Winter, shall open the door to that which all Dragon Lords obtain after their ascension.
To fight there is to expose oneself...
To fight there is to truly recognize the other's threat...
To fight there is to face death...because if I lose there then death is the only thing that awaits for me...
Let us go now...
*clang* *clang* *clang*
*thumn* *thumn* *thumn*
Bryn and Erevain clashed against each other in a fierce battle where their attacks made the whole area tremble every time their weapons clashed with the other’s.
To those with untrained eyes, it would seem as if Erevain had the upper hand.
But those witnessing the fight knew that that was not the case at all.
Yes, her power was greatly enhanced by the spell she had invoked.
It could even be said that she was now in a realm equal to that of a Dragon Lord, a realm that she was already at a hair’s breadth of reaching.
Yet, Erevain had not been able to damage Bryn at all, for her guard was impenetrable, as she was taking Erevain completely seriously.
And whenever the silver-haired maid baited her into attacking so that she could use [Mystic Counter] on her, she would stop her attack at the last moment and pull her spear away from her shield, following up with a wave of blue flames and making Erevain cut through them with her sword, all while her now silver hair swayed with her rapid movements.
"[CRESCENT MOON SLASH]!!"
Of course, the secondary blade made of moonlight attribute came soon after Erevain used such skill, but even that attack missed its target just barely, for Bryn avoided its path and immediately resumed their clash.
It was a deadlock and Erevain knew that she had to break it, one way or another.
And she had to do it quickly, for she did not know how long the power of the moon would reside within her, which meant that with every minute that passed, the chances of said power leaving her grew bigger.
But, as if aware of that, Bryn jumped back, creating quite the distance between them.
'Is it her breath once again? A spell?'
Those were the questions that raced through Erevain's mind as she readied herself by imbuing her shield with mana.
This time she would use her strongest barrier to block whatever her opponent was going to unleash and even reflect it back to her.
Yet…none of that happened.
For Bryn did not unleash any attack despite the incredible amount of mana she was weaving and instead, she started to spin her spear, which puzzled Erevain.
"What is she trying to do...?"
And as she murmured that, she imbued mana into her blessed longsword...
...and shot a beam of silver light right at Bryn, hoping to stop her from doing whatever she was about to do.
But she did not stop.
No, instead she spun her spear even faster, taking the full brunt of the attack with it, but rather than damaging Bryn, the attack seemingly disappeared on contact, swallowed whole by the spinning spear, which baffled Erevain.
However, such bafflement did not last long, for she immediately realized the implications behind that word.
For one…her attack did not disappear, it was sent somewhere else.
Knowing that, she quickly ran towards her family, making sure that she was with them before the inevitable happened. And the moment she reached them, a torrent of white fog came out from Bryn’s spear, filling the entire room and robbing everyone else of their vision.
Even Erevain, whose eyesight was enhanced, was having trouble looking past said fog until it was blown away by the freezing winds of their new surroundings.
"...! A tundra?!"
So exclaimed Euphemia, voicing everyone’s thoughts about the scene that was now before their eyes, one that consisted of ice and snow as far as the eye could see. Save for the sky above their heads, of course.
"Teleportation magic...? No...it felt different..."
Murmured Licht as he tried to get up, not wasting time in trying to figure out how they were sent there.
"Magic or not, we are not in the palace anymore...ha...ha..."
Said Mary as she struggled with the exhaustion caused by the power she had awakened to, a power that was now gone.
"Indeed. This is her personal space."
Said Erevain as she glared at the faraway spear-wielding woman that was walking leisurely towards them.
Asked Licht, who was intrigued by Erevain's words.
"All Dragon Lords have one. It is a place where they can isolate themselves from the world, a refuge. But it also serves as a personal storage or in this case...a personal battlefield."
Her voice was completely serious as she spoke, there were no lies in her words and yet, Licht could not help but feel that Erevain knew more than what she was letting on.
"How do you know all that?"
"[Moon Sphere Barrier]."
Despite having heard Licht's question, Erevain only glanced at him for a moment before deploying a sphere-shaped barrier with them inside. And she did so without taking her glaring eyes off her opponent.
"This barrier is strengthened by my current state. It shall protect you from any attack and the cold. Do not leave it under any circumstance. This is an order as your Elder Sister, understood?”
“I promise that I shall take you out of this place."
With that, Erevain left the barrier, held her shield up, and started running towards Bryn at top speed.
As she ran, she thought it was strange that no one answered to her words, but she could not imagine that her family was just too focused on a single thought to answer.
A thought that they all had at that moment.
One that carried a varying degree of surprise, bewilderment, and joy, respectively.
‘‘‘Elder sister...Erevain really changed...huh.’’’
As Erevain charged towards her, Bryn unleashed her gigantic dragon’s breath once again, but that did not stop her opponent, for she ran through the torrent of freezing flames without a tinge of fear in her eyes, protected by a moonlight barrier coming out of her blessed shield, whose runes burned with the same intensity as such flames.
Of course, such attack was only the opening shot, for Erevain was soon assailed by a deluge of countless icicles coming from all sides, trying to impale her and stop her charge.
She did not stop.
Then the cold itself tried to stop her by encasing her feet and legs in a thick layer of ice, only to be outright resisted once again.
She would never stop.
She ran, and ran, and ran some more, making her way through everything while looking like a silver comet.
And when she was about to reach her opponent, rather than completing her charge and ramming her shield on her body, she jumped and brandished her blessed longsword.
Thus, she made a diagonal cut as she fell, cutting into Bryn's figure or at least…that is what she thought.
Indeed, for the Bryn that she had cut disappeared like a simple illusion, all while a small laugh could be heard in the cold wind.
"This is my domain...Erevain..."
So said Bryn as copies of herself not only started to come out from the icy and snowy ground, but they also started to appear out of the cold air itself.
"Everything you see here…is an extension...of my power...my being..."
Furthermore, all the copies were wielding their own enchanted spears, which were identical to the original except for one thing, they were covered in icy blue flames.
"…what you can see...and what you cannot see..."
Thus, as Bryn continued speaking through the wind, they all charged at Erevain and she fought with every single one of them. Some swung their spears in long arcs, adding more strength to their attacks and creating a trail of icy fire that acted like a secondary attack.
"...is my weapon..."
"[FULL MOON SLASH]! [MYSTIC COUNTER]!! [SHIELD BASH]!!"
Others swiftly thrusted their spears at her while creating small, icy blue explosions with the point of their spears, seeking to either break Erevain's guard or to make her lose her balance.
"[MOONLIGHT BLAST]!! [MOON COUNTER SPHERE]!!!"
And when two gigantic hands made of ice and multiple blades that appeared out of the freezing air sought to crush and stab her respectively, she destroyed the former by shooting a beam of moonlight attribute mana at them and protected herself from the latter by creating a special barrier, one that immediately wrapped said blades in moonlight and reflected them in all directions with triple the force, destroying many of the closest copies in the process.
However, staying still for too long was not an option for Erevain, for as soon as the last of the blades was reflected, gigantic ice boulders began to fall towards her, but thanks to her enhanced speed and agility she evaded them all while still dealing with Bryn’s copies.
And if that was not enough, the air became colder and colder, making breathing difficult for Erevain, as she felt the cold trying to invade her very lungs, and that same feeling prompted her to activate her [Moonlight Veil], which not only stopped such invasion before it happened, but it also did something, something new.
Indeed, for the spell had been improved by the power of the moon.
As such, many spheres appeared around her, protecting her, and releasing waves of moonlight at the enemies that attacked her, further reinforcing her defensive capabilities.
Yet the copies kept coming, the attacks kept coming, and if one were to see such battle from the sky, one would see a woman fighting against an encroaching army on her own.
Knowing full well that she would eventually exhaust herself if she kept fighting them in the way she was doing so, she decided to abandon her more defensive stance and held her sword with both of her hands.
Her mana surged as she did that and all the copies lunged at her with the intention of stopping her from doing whatever she was about to do.
"[GREAT MOONLIGHT WAVE]!!"
But it was too late, for Erevain thrusted her sword into the ground and a pillar of silver light burst forth, one that soon expanded throughout the whole area, destroying every single one of Bryn's copies as they broke like the ice dolls they were.
"Where is she...?"
And after unleashing such devastating attack, Erevain began to look for her opponent but found no sign of her, which prompted her to ask herself such question.
That is when the icy ground trembled, cracked, and broke.
Something was coming.
And it was coming…from below.
Then, a massive, roaring dragon broke through the icy ground, its maw wide open and reaching for Erevain, who tried to leap away from it with all her strength, the rows of sharp draconic teeth barely missing her as she gained quite the altitude.
"It is not advised escape into the air when facing a dragon...Erevain..."
Surprising her opponent, if only for a moment, Bryn’s voice came out of the dragon’s mouth, as she proceeded to extend her wings and followed Erevain into the air, which made such silver-haired maid wonder if the dragon was the real Bryn or another doll.
The dragon's scales were white with hues of icy blues and light purple here and there.
Her horns looked like feathered wings even if they were as solid as they came.
Lastly, her eyes were icy blue, and were clearly fixated on Erevain.
'I managed to escape her jaws thanks to the strength I now wield and Mother's mana training, but doll or not…'
"...this is bad."
So said Erevain as she felt that she was reaching her limit regarding how much altitude she could gain, even despite her using controlled mana blasts to propel herself.
And hot on her trail, the dragon was ready to shoot a massive breath at any moment.
"Indeed, it is bad…but only if I let it stay like that."
Thus, with eyes full of resolve, she stopped propelling herself and began to fall headfirst towards the incoming Dragon.
Her family, who were watching from afar, were shocked and baffled by such reckless action, but Euphemia was quick to break out from the speechlessness brought forth by those emotions and proceeded to shout the following:
"Elder Bro—Sister!! You can do it!!!"
Then, the others followed.
"Is she going to...? Elder Sister, that is...!"
Licht figured out what was on her sister’s mind and was left speechless once more.
"COME ON!! SHOW IT TO ME!! SHOW ME YOUR LEGEND!! YOU IDIOOOT!!!"
And Mary let all her feelings out in an incredible shout.
Any normal human would be absolutely and utterly terrified if they were in Erevain’s place.
Any normal human would be smart enough to not do what Erevain was about to do.
Any normal human would have given up long before.
But she was neither normal, nor just human anymore.
She was something else, something more.
She was the one who faced the Absurd and did not bend the knee.
Thus, she raised her shield and called forth one of her most powerful spells, just as the dragon shot her massive breath.
With that, a massive wall-like barrier came out of Erevain's blessed shield and as the runes from said shield burned the brightest, a pulse of silver light traveled through the barrier, changing its simple appearance into one that resembled Erevain's hovering armor.
Normally, the barrier's purpose was to simply serve as the absolute border that would not let any attack pass.
But Erevain planned to give it another application.
A reckless application…
"I shall be using one of your tactics, Kris."
And so…Erevain kept falling towards the dragon, whose breath began to be repelled and reflected right back at her by the improved [Astral Barrier], which meant one thing, and one thing only, Erevain had become an unbreakable, falling wall that was not only about crash with the dragon who was her opponent, but also crush her between the barrier and the ground below.
The dragon's desire to catch Erevain had backfired on her and now she had no way to escape.
The wall first hit her head, shutting her mouth and damaging her neck in several places. Then the rest of her body found itself slammed into the wall, sealing her fate.
In that moment, Erevain stored her sword away and put her right hand on her back, her palm facing the sky, and she shot a great blast of mana that pierced through the hail clouds of Bryn’s personal space, revealing a blue sky as she propelled herself and the dragon into the ground.
All as they looked like an asteroid made of silver shining light.
Thus, they reached their destination and caused not only a shockwave that shook the entirety of their icy battlefield, but many large pieces of the icy ground were sent flying from the crash site.
But that was not all, for a blinding light suddenly appeared and then...
...a deafening explosion was unleashed, one that was infused with the power of Erevain’s Astral Magic and sent waves of destruction throughout the whole area.
An explosion which was soon followed by a painful scream that was heard across the tundra, a scream that could only belong to a certain someone.
And as the icy dust settled, only one person stood at the center of the crater left by the crash and the explosion.
With silver hair shining as brightly as ever and an overflowing power that covered her body in the form of a serene aura, it could only be her.
Yet…that did not mean that her opponent had been vanquished.
Not at all.
For Erevain looked up and there she was, floating at a certain altitude in her Dragon Lord form.
Armor in pieces.
Horns cracked and broken.
Wings ripped in some parts.
An arm hanging and clearly broken.
Blood trickling down her forehead.
And a pained expression to go with her ragged breathing.
"Grrr...you...you truly are...my fated one...EREVAIN!!"
So she exclaimed as she raised her spear with her only working arm, pointed it at her fated opponent, and began to pour in it all the mana that she still had.
Thus, her enchanted spear began to let out an icy blue shine as its metallic visage was slowly scraped away and its true form was freed, one that was made out of the purest ice-cold mana.
Its mere release caused the winds to blow wildly once again, filling the recently cleared out sky in spinning clouds that heralded the formation of a hailstorm much, much stronger than the one that was there before.
Oh…but it was not just forming.
No…not at all.
It was descending.
Yes…it was descending towards the one who was its master, vesting her as it reached the peak of its might.
Meanwhile, the ice on the ground began to break and ascend towards her, covering her one good arm in an armor worthy of being called transcendental.
With that, she was ready.
"ETERNAL WINTER THAT DWELLS WITHIN ME! I SUMMON YOUR PERILOUS WINDS!! I SUMMON YOUR ABSOLUTE COLD!! BRING DEATH TO THE ONE WORTHY OF BEARING WITNESS OF YOU!! [WINTER'S FALL]!!!"
And as Erevain gazed at the catastrophe that was coming at her, she took a step forward, summoned back her sword into her hand, and brandished it in the same way she would as to perform a double-handed downwards slash, leaving a trail of beautiful silver particles while doing so.
"I concur, Eternal Winter."
Her overflowing yet serene mana responded to her and flowed into the blessed longsword, so much so that it now seemed like it was made of it, and its blade grew and grew until turned into one that reached for the heavens.
No…it was far more than that.
It had turned into a blade that connected two astral bodies.
Then a magical circle appeared beneath her feet.
In its central ring one could see the moon going through its various phases as it circled around Erevain, and in its external ring one could see another celestial body...Arte.
When the moon reached its full state, it aligned perfectly with such planet, and in that moment, Erevain’s glowed with intensity, for her spell was set.
At the same time, Bryn descended upon Erevain, enchanted spear in hand and a plan in her mind, as she had guessed where her fated one’s attack would land, and so she would use the clouds that vested her to trick her opponent before unleashing her real attack and ending their fight once and for all.
But for that to work she needed to do it at the very last moment.
Thus, she let the magical blade come down at her.
And as she was about to evade it…
The presence of her Master, the one she could always feel through the pact that connected them...disappeared completely.
It was that moment of distraction, that void she felt, which doomed her as the blade fell upon her and the rest of her personal space.
This time…there was no explosion.
This time it all simply shined platinum for an instant and then it all turned to black.
And before they knew it, Erevain and her family were back in the frozen room and out of Bryn’s tundra.
Still, Erevain looked around, hoping to find a dying Bryn or her remains, but she was nowhere to be found.
She then tried to focus on the strange force that had guided her to Bryn, but before she was able feel anything…
"Leader! You hear me?! It's Sophie! Something is happening on the battlefield!! Something bad!! I’m sorry if I’m interrupting you, but I thought you needed to know!!"
...her comrade's voice called out to her through the communication skill and relayed such message.
Seeing that her empowering spell was still active, she made a choice.
"I hear you, Sophie. I shall be going to the battlefield."
She was going to use such power until its time ran out.
"Good because—KEH?! KRIS WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?!"
Hearing that, Erevain smiled, shook her head, and sighed before turning to her youngest sibling.
"Euphemia, watch over these two...I want to have a talk with them later."
So said Erevain as her eyes fell on Mary and Licht.
"No, Elder Sister. I am going and they are coming with us."
Euphemia’s words surprised not only Mary and Licht, but also Erevain, for she had never truly opposed her eldest sibling, and yet…there she was.
But that was only part of the reason why Erevain was surprised.
Indeed, for as she looked at her sister's eyes, she realized that her eyes were not those of a child anymore, but the eyes of a warrior who was not to be denied the right to protect her home and her people on the battlefield.
She knew that leaving her there would be to reject all the things she went through to be as strong as she was.
Because for her to fight even what was assumed to be a mere servant of a Dragon Lord, she needed a brave heart, more so when knowing that the chances of success were slim.
‘To think that you would show me such conviction. You really are not the same Euphy I knew…’
So thought a proud Erevain as the whole palace was shaken by the presence of the terrible monsters that had been summoned to the battlefield, and she had only one answer to give her sister.
One that she would give her with a proud smile on her face.
"Very well, you can come with me."
"…that is what I have wanted to hear since I was a child Elder Sister...I shall not disappoint you!"
Thus, they went to the battlefield.
To be continued...(cue illustration of Erevain pushing a massive dragon back to the ground!!)
Thank you for reading! I hope that you enjoyed this chapter! If you did, do drop a heart on it and tell me in the comments below! Not only that, but we’ll be having a live reading of it over at the story’s discord in two hours from now! So, join us if you want to have some Tuesday bonus fun!
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