Declan stepped forward. “Our answer is already clear, we won’t repeat it for you.”
Sophia also raised her staff. “The certain thing is, the Madame Lei we knew is already gone. She has became a bloodthirsty monster, no different from Udmelekh!”
“Hmm, so you will attack me now? Don’t you care about your friend Reyl here?” Lei grabbed tighter onto Reyl’s chest.
Declan shouted, “I’m sure Reyl wouldn't mind sacrificing himself to defeat a monster like you. Let’s attack her together! Ready? One, two, three!” He fired a white beam from his trident.
“Pyroagnios!” Sophia fired a Fireblast. It turned out all this time she had been training with fire magic and kept it secret from everyone, especially her teacher.
Being bombarded didn’t make Lei lift a finger. Both fire and light spells collided with the invisible magical protection field around her and Reyl. The colliding magical energy exploded, spreading sparks of fire and smoke that resembled blooming mushroom buds.
A moment later, the big pile of smoke receded. Lei stood firm beside Reyl whose feet now touched the ground. They were completely unharmed. The energy flow was intact, the transformation process was still going.
“Is that all? Come on, don't restrain yourselves, show me your most powerful attacks," taunted Lei.
Declan and Sophia didn't respond to the soon-to-be-goddess' mockery. They were simply stunned in silence.
Lei continued, “You too, Maven. What are you waiting for? Give me your strongest move!”
Being taunted like that, Maven simply kept her stance. She only told her two partners, “You should not waste your energy. We can only wait until her transformation is complete. For now, her protective field is too strong.”
“Oh, so you think my defense will weaken after my transformation? In fact, I’m currently at my weakest point! Come on, try again!”
Declan retorted, “Maven was right. Don’t think you can trick us, Nepathya Lei.”
The crystal-eyed sorceress smiled. “All right, if you wish to die at the hands of the goddess, I won’t delay it any further. It’s time to transform!”
Suddenly, an icy aura began to wrap over Lei. Slowly her body started to change. Her entire skin changed color into blue. Her red eye changed color into exactly like her crystal eye. Even her silver hair became a bunch of blue ice needles.
Her entire appearance came to resemble the goddess inside the obelisk, except her clothes. As if Frei Val’shka now had a twin sister.
A moment later, Lei released her hands from the crystal obelisk and Reyl. The unconscious man then fell to the ground. Lei turned towards the obelisk, looking at her own reflection which now almost identical from the corpse inside it.
Lei released an echoing laugh. “I did it! The power of the Ice Goddess is now mine! From now on, every creature on Terra Everna will kneel before me. Witness the beginning of the new era, the Eternal Ice Age! With me as its sole leader! Goddess among gods!”
Sophia interrupted, stuttering, “Teacher, you really have lost your way, tricked by your own ambition.”
Maven glared fiercely. “Indeed. When there is someone on this world who claims to be the Supreme God, surely Vadis, Adair and Enia won’t stand by.”
“And we, in their stead will prevent a marauder like you from eradicating life!” declared Declan. “This is the mandate of Vadis, Singular Voice of Truth!” Yelling in full spirit, he dashed as if flying, thrusted straight towards the enemy.
The Goddess Lei leered condescendingly. “You want to defeat me with that kind of attack? Don’t even dream of it!”
With an unmotivated, almost lazy bash, she deflected Declan’s attack. But before it got blocked, the cleric suddenly changed his technique. His moved his trident randomly and unexpectedly. The Steep Path of Righteousness.
Again, The Goddess simply smiled cynically. “Got you, Core of Frozen Pole!”
She extended her both hands, and rotated in circle without rest. A vortex appeared in the middle of the circle. It seemed to be a whirling ice typhoon. Declan, whose position was right on the mouth of the vortex, felt his move suddenly got disrupted.
Declan’s inner strength was already spent by two techniques in a row, and he couldn’t make the time to change again. Either gravely wounded or dying in pieces will be his fate. Yet a moment later, Maven jumped right into the vortex. She began to spin rapidly, following the direction of the vortex. Her pair of daggers stabbed rapidly and repeatedly into the core of the vortex.
“You want to kill me? Not so fast!” As she said it, The goddess bowed her head. Her needle-like hair swiftly pierced the drilling maneuver, striking at Maven. The elf's drilling attack was stopped. Maven was bounced far towards the fringe of the chamber.
“Who’s going to challenge me next?”
“Me! An Rytsaried Aschi!” Sophia pointed her staff towards the ground. On that ground appeared a glowing magical field. Its shape is circle with a hexagram inside it.
Slowly, from said magical field emerged a head wearing a pointy helmet, almost like a cone. Then gradually appeared the body in blueish crystal armor, followed by the lower body of a snake.
Lei grinned cynically. “Rytsaried, you traitor! Helping the enemy in your astral-esper guardian spirit form? After all your heroic declaration about loyalty and endless service for me? Those are all rubbish, you useless snot!"
Rytsaried stared with his expressionless mask-like face and replied, “Have you forgotten? You are the traitor! I remain loyal to Frei Val’shka and my duty is to destroy you!”
Rytsaried advanced, spinning his giant crystal sword. He mustered his ice energy, doubled it and so on.
Meanwhile, a thick ice aura emanated from his foe, who wasn’t even moving to block or the like. “Attacking me with cheap moves? The memory of Frei Val’shka has told me its repellent!”
Suddenly Lei’s hair hardened again towards her enemy. Her hands were extended straight, firing strings of blue light from the tips of her fingers and hair, piercing through the Ice Knight's armor.
Without his corporeal body, Rytsaried in his current spirit form kept advancing. Then, furiously he swung his sword towards the goddess. And then he ceased his attacks and began to retreat. Strangely, his body now looked like a fading shadow, with whirling holes all over.
“I have dismantled… her protective shield… Now I shall leave the rest to you… For now, farewell…” With those last words, the guardian spirit vanished completely. The color of the pearl on Sophia’s staff became dull.