Chapter 36 – The shell of half-sage
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20, Month Fall-Amberine, Year Elizabeth 402

06:50, Elizabeth Magic Academy

 

So this is the thing that Tilea saw…

Alice’s face turned cold.

The name that Thomas spoke flashed in her mind once more. The name of the founding queen who was said to be one of the strongest mages the kingdom ever had. Alice had heard that she was a half-sage level mage who trained in the Law of Space.

“Elizabeth Sorcera…” Alice murmured.

The distorted space around her confirmed her suspicion. Except for space magic, what else could manipulate the fundamental part of the world like this?

“Could you hear me, your majesty?” Alice said out loud, trying to communicate with the shadow. But it didn’t respond. It just looked straight at them and screamed.

“GAHHH!”

Alice shook her head.

“The shell… That’s right,” she said. “That probably isn't the real her majesty, for sure. It is probably something that results from the failed attempt of resurrection. A shell of her.”

“But what should we do then?” Wilson asked. “Do we just... fight it?”

To fight or not to fight?

The first question is... could they still really escape from this predicament? After all, compared to before, the trap this time differed greatly from the previous one. The space seemed more isolated and stabilized.

So escape would be out of question for now.

And from the look of it, this thing wouldn’t really up for negotiation for sure.

But to fight…?

Alice bitted her lower lip. A half-sage level. Even if it was just a shell, it was probably still too hard for them to handle. The gap was too large, after all. The power of it would probably reach a higher level than even Elnora who gave them such a hard time before.

But it wasn’t impossible.

First, Alice had improved quite a bit since then. She had already reached the late square level. The speed of her casting also became much faster than before. To cast the Aquatic Ray of Annihilation now would only take the girl around 10 seconds.

Second, they also had one more person in the party—Mary.

With this, they would have a chance to contend even with a heptagon level mage without a disadvantage. If they came across Elnora now, they wouldn’t have to struggle as much as before.

Not only that, but she also had the lecture that sage Khun gave. Alice still hadn’t understood it yet, but a battle and life-and-death situation usually was the source of inspiration of mages.

“We have to do what we have to do,” Alice said, shaking her head. “We should at least confirm its strength first. And I doubt that we could escape from this space.”

“Um.” Wilson nodded. He checked his gears once last time before walked forward, looking at the black shadow.

“Go!” Wilson shouted, not for others but for encouraging himself. And It worked. The fear in his mind dissolved. The boys charged out in the field of red, valiantly.

But when he ran out, he noticed something he didn’t before.

“What is this?”

It was as if he was running in the water. His surrounding space became condense and had viscosity that normal air didn’t have. The speed of his charge suddenly became as slow as a snail’s pace.

“O’ light. Please give us your guidance… Minor Blessing!”

Seeing the situation in front of her, Mary quickly cast a supportive spell toward Wilson, Minor blessing. It was a spell that would increase the physical attributes of the target by 10%.

10%… It seemed like it was just a minor increase, just like the name of the spell, but it was actually not. After all, the 10% increased was toward the physical attributes… all physical attributes. No matter it was speed, strength, defense, or even reflex, they were all increased.

A ray of white light shot out, creating a stark contrast to the blood-red world. It shot toward Wilson and got absorbed into his body.

Wilson felt his body suddenly became much lighter. He wanted to turn around to thank Mary, but he couldn’t. There was something interrupted him.

The boy suddenly felt a sinister presence in front of him.

“Watch out!”

It was the shell.

It moved… no; it teleported directly to the front of him. And then with its right index finger pointed, it stabbed toward Wilson's chest.

“GAZ!”

Wilson's face turned cold. He quickly tried to move out of the way—

“What!?”

—but he couldn’t. It was as if the finger had an eye of its own. No matter where he moved, it would follow him.

No, it’s not that! Wilson noticed that he couldn’t actually move at all. The space around his torso had been sealed.

The boy grunted and quickly changed to take the hit head-on. A dark flame burst forth from his body.

But the finger spear was not simple as it seemed. It was fused with, albeit primitive, the law of the world, and the space around him rumbled at its might.

This finger could penetrate even space itself!

His sword met with black finger—

“Ugh!”

Immediately after that, Wilson felt as if his sword met with a wall, not a finger. His hand became numbed at the rebound force. Even his entire body staggered back by at least 10 steps.

In between, the shell didn’t even flinch. It continued to dash forward, intending to end his life for good. Another finger flashed. This time it aimed for his head.

Pang!

If not for the Light Shield Mary gave, its intention would definitely succeed. Wilson, who was still numbed from the force, couldn’t possibly block it at all.

But a shield was, in the end, a shield.

It could only protect him once. And, clearly, the shell didn’t end its attack like that. It cried out once more and stabbed out with its fingers, this time with all of them.

It clapped two hands together, as if it was a spear, and stabbed out again.

“No!” Mary shouted. But she did not know how to help him. The distance between them was too long, and the attack was too fast. By the time she finished her shout. The stab was already in front of Wilson.

The boy’s back broke out in cold sweat, but he didn’t panic. He knew that their party didn’t consist of only two people.

And the strongest one between them still hadn’t made her move yet.

 


Alice observed the situation coolly.

At first, she wanted to begin casting her spell right away but decided against it in the end. To cast a spell would require her attention, and that meant the backline would be completely opened for an attack.

Alice knew Wilson couldn’t possibly hold off the shell at all. The level between them was just too great, after all. Not only that, the shell seemed to specialize in the space law. This meant that distance, to it, was just but a concept of the world.

No matter how they tried to keep a distance from it, the shell could close that gap in just a fraction of a second.

If it truly targeted her, then it shouldn’t matter much. But if targeted Mary, then the situation would be truly dire. As an early phase triangle mage, and with a cleric archetype at that, Mary held no defensive capability on her own.

This was the reason Alice didn’t join in with Wilson right away when he rushed out. She wanted to know if the shell would attack the backline or not first.

The question got answered immediately when it engaged with Wilson. Even though it could teleport, it didn’t skip Wilson and warped directly to Mary or Alice. It engaged with him.

It engaged with him.

This thing probably doesn’t have that much intelligence. It only attacked whoever was the closest to it.

Alice dashed out to the left side the moment she noticed that. Her right hand flashed with blue light, and her mouth moved at a lightning-fast speed.

By the time the shell tried to attack Wilson with the hands, Alice had already finished flanking its position. The mana had already finished gathering in her hand. The spell she was casting was completed.

The timing was really too close. A little too late then this would result in complete disaster.

“Hah!” Alice roared. She swung her right hand and the mana she had gathered shot out. A blue overarching light, contrasting to the blood-red space, traveled at almost the speed of sound.

This is Water Ray. It was like a lighter version of Aquatic Ray of Annihilation as the effect was almost the same except it had less power and required less casting time. The power, though, was still exceptionally strong with Alice’s increased affinity with the water element.

The air screeched at the might of the water. The power of it was so strong that even a heptagon-level mage would still be seriously injured if caught unprepared.

And the shell was unprepared. It still continued to inch ever closer to its target, even when attacked by such a powerful spell. That was why the ray of water slammed against its body directly.

The might of Water Ray unleashed in that instant. It might only be just a ray of water, but the velocity and momentum of it were enough to even crush a rock about fist size.

But—

“What!?”

It was then that the children knew why the shell didn’t concern about the spell at all. The shell took the blunt of Water Ray head-on without even flinching.

In front of absolute power, be it trickery, speed, scheme, or luck, they were just nothing.

In the end, power was everything.

The ray of water was like a raindrop against a mountain. It scattered into the wind after the impact, and drop to the ground like water it was before.

“GAHHH!”

It cried out once more and the hand of it flashed. This time with no resistance whatsoever from the opposing group anymore.

A stream of blood gushed out from Wilson’s chest, the blood that seemed to blend into the blood-red space itself.

“NO!” Mary cried out as she saw the knight slowly fell on the ground.

 

The next 2 chapters (till the end of this arc except the epilogue) are already finished, so I will try to schedule them at some random interval, I think. :P

I also open a Patreon page. There is absolutely nothing there at the moment so only support me if you want to.

I will try to add some advanced chapter(s) there after some time.

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