Chapter 398 - Volume 3
Chapter 177 part 1 – Battle in the canyon (1)
The path in front of the group split off into two directions. One led to a deep gorge with black granite cliffs on each side. The edges of the cliffs were smooth and flat, as though it had been snapped into equal halves. The second direction of the path was probably a dead end or led back to where they came from, and it was not where he wanted to go.
Violent winds constantly blew into the gorge with visible air currents, with mist forming a white line, entering and exciting the chasm like a sea’s waves. It took a moment before Brendel recovered from the picturesque scenery.
[If I follow the air currents, they will most likely lead me to the fake Lernaia Hydra’s lair.]
He glanced back at Veronica. Even though she was still weak, she had gotten back her spirits with the short break. But she did not ask him to learn her swordsmanship again, and he did not want to ask her about it, especially in front of Scarlett and Faena.
“The way to go into the Loop of Trade Winds is through the underground passage located below here. The Druids had put in countless manpower and materials into this area just to find that passage.” He spoke to Veronica.
“Did they find it?” Came the reply.
The youth shook his head.
“And yet you know where it is?”
“I’ve read an ancient document that gave a hint on the entrance’s location, it should be nearby.”
It was his habit to throw out ‘ancient documents’ as his cover against the ‘Projectiles of Questions’. Somehow, it felt like there were indeed ancient documents that existed when he stated it so earnestly.
He started surveying the gorge, but it was difficult to see if the underground passage was in this bottomless gorge. Suddenly, he discovered Scarlett looking at his wrist with a strange expression yet again, making him put on an awkward expression.
He could not help but rub the teeth marks on his wrist. How should he explain it? Or did he really have to tell the truth and said that it was not a gesture of allegiance from Morpheus?
Just a while ago, Scarlett woke up at an impeccable timing and caught him favoring his ‘injuries’.
[Screw this Planeswalker System…… Why isn’t paying the Life Force an automatic thing?!]
He turned to glare at Morpheus, but the damned Vampire trap merely averted his eyes.
“Hmm…… Well, to continue where I was,” Brendel changed the topic in an awful attempt that did not seem entirely coherent, “we should try and make our way downwards from here. But it does look like it’s difficult to do so, and I’m also not certain there’s really a passage down there—”
“From here?” Faena suddenly interrupted him.
It was the first time she spoke after waking up, almost as if she had done so from her stupor in order to question his decision. Her eyebrows were knitted together and raised high up as though they were to disappear under her fringe.
“T-that’s absurd, right!?” She stared at the dark ravine with a pale expression.
“For a sheltered, useless, and weak female noble, it would be so,” Morpheus replied with a blinding speed that surprised everyone. He looked at Faena with an emotionless face: “this is a warning, girl, you are not to question my Master’s decision—”
“You!” She glared back with furious eyes that were also filled with disbelief.
“That’s enough, Faena,” Veronica broke up the quarrel, “since there’s a historical document about the passage, then there is meaning if we made our way down. Let us search for it.”
[Sometimes I wonder if these people really don’t know that I’m lying about the documents….. Let me think. The gamers who entered here didn’t even reach half of my current power. The cliffs are impossibly steep, so it means there’s a safe way to the ravine if we’re on the right path—]
Brendel suddenly sensed that it was about time to draw a new set of cards, and he hurriedly dismissed the Platinum Angel Card, in hopes of getting it again.
Firburh was not in urgent need to have the Platinum Angels for defense, since there was other better summons protecting the city, like Ciel and Medissa.
If the Holy Sword card’s maintenance was not paid when it was on the battlefield, the card would be unsummoned and returned to his Deck. The Magic Control Card had been used in battle and already returned to the deck a long time ago, but it would be good if he got the card again.
He waited for a few seconds, then frowned when he looked at his newly conjured cards.
He now had the Platinum Angel, Golden Battle Flag, and the Holy Sword cards in his hand.
[Damn it. I was hoping to get the Silver Colt too. That way I can ferry the others down in just a few rounds….. The Platinum Angel is able to fly, certainly, but does it has the stamina to carry even one of us down all the way?]
He currently had the Wind Spirit Spiders and Morpheus out, with the spiders ordered to reach him in the canyon a while ago.
The Fire Dijinn and Ropar were killed in battle and sent to the Graveyard quite a while ago, but he had plans to bring them back when he made a mock battle against Andesha in his mind.
“Andesha is down there,” Scarlett said all of a sudden.
The youth was momentarily lost in his thoughts as he subconsciously looked down behind him. That woman was indeed moving upwards on a path. She did not discover them as she did not bother to look up, but it was also true that there was a deep fog masking their presence.
[Shit…… how fast is she moving? She doesn’t even know this place well but she’s just a few minutes behind us. The difference in speed is staggering.]
Brendel quickly lowered his body and signaled to the others to do the same. They lowered themselves onto the ground as he whispered: “Regardless of whether there’s a path, we need to move now.”
“That woman……” Faena could not help but tremble as she recalled the earlier events. She balled her hands into fists tightly until her fingers were white.
“Let’s move off.” Brendel signaled to Morpheus to drag the trembling girl towards the path, while the others nodded.
But he did not expect Faena to lose her footing when Morpheus pulled her. She was too close to the edge.
“Watch out!” Brendel called out to her with a startled look.
Morpheus seemed surprised, letting go of the girl, but he quickly regained his composure and managed to grab her foot. Faena was suspended in mid-air with tears in her eyes threatening to spill out; the Vampire gripped her with considerable strength in case he failed to hold on to her again.
Still, Faena had enough common sense. She bit her lips and tried desperately not to make a sound. However, the mistake was done, and the disturbed pebbles caused by her clumsiness rolled across the cliff, making clattering noises.
They stiffened for just a moment.
Brendel glanced at where Andesha was.
The winds in the valley were powerful and noisy, and it seemed like Andesha did not notice the strange event.
“P-pull me back in……” Faena was terrified.
She was dangling from her foot over a steep cliff. Even a knight would not be able to save himself if he fell from that height, let alone the sheltered Faena. It would not be surprising if she started crying.
The youth looked at Veronica puzzledly.
She was famed for being rational and intelligent, so why would she bring out a useless girl like Faena out here? Anything that the latter did was a negative outcome.
The female commander sighed.
But it was not her fault. It was Elman who did it without her permission. When she finally came to know about this act, it was not as if she could order them to go back to the Kirrlutz Empire. They were the children of powerful and influential families, not her subordinates.
[…… No, it seems like the Kirrlutz’s internal affairs are quite the mess too.]
The youth noted her reaction and mused to himself. It was unlikely that she was the one who brought Faena and the other young nobles along with her.
Still, these nobles were not as bad as Aouine’s. He sighed when he recalled Graudin and his subordinates.
Morpheus brought her back up to the ledge when saw Brendel nodding to him.
Even though the latter wanted to leave Faena and Veronica behind, he was afraid that the latter would just pull out her sword and demand him to get them to safety, creating a lose-lose situation.
But before they could relax, Brendel spotted a glint with his eyes and his jaw dropped.
The short sword that Faena was carrying slid out of its sheath—
It dropped out from the sheath as though it was in slow motion. Everyone saw the blade strike against a protruding rock, creating a crystalline sound, before shooting upwards as though it was making the most pleasant jump, spinning round and descending comically again to make the next clang.
This scene repeated itself, and the series of metallic rings echoed throughout the valley.
The people on the ledge froze completely.
Andesha stopped moving.
Then that woman suddenly looked upwards as her purple eyebrows lifted up slightly. Even though the mist blocked her view to finding them immediately, she believed she had found where Brendel and the others were. Countless vines sprouted from her back and propelled her upwards, and she was like an inky-green dragon that ascended to the sky, surging to where the youth was.
It was obvious that the steep terrain was not a problem for her, and she moved across the cliffs as though it was flat ground.
The distance between them shortened rapidly.
“Run away!” Brendel was the first to react. If Andesha was unable to discern their location after that fiasco, then she would not have become one of the twelve Tree Shepherd leaders.
“Shut up, just stick to our plan and run to the south!” He cut off Veronica’s words: “…… Wait, help me take of Scarlett.”
The female Sword Saint frowned. She suddenly realized the youth intended to split off from them. Indeed, Brendel wanted to lure away Andesha if she were to catch up.
[Really, having this useless idiot girl Faena around me, is the same as tying a noose around my neck.]
The youth watched Veronica drag the unwilling Scarlett away. Morpheus had already gotten Faena up, flipped her around, and carried her off like a sack of potatoes. Faena was hurting and burning with shame from the rough treatment, but she knew that the trouble she had caused and did not make any complaints.
Brendel was the last to move off, ready to stay behind if it was necessary. He glanced back and saw that Andesha was moving up the cliffs like a spider, her vines flailing about at a tremendous speed.
The group of five people scampered across the treacherous path despite the risk of falling.
Andesha’s feat had a considerable risk as well since she was fighting against the violent winds, otherwise she would climb even faster.
[She’s definitely going to catch up. Summon the Holy Sword Card into play—]
Brendel started to prepare his cards for the upcoming battle.
The Wind Spirit Spiders were able to make use of the wind when they entered the canyon, reaching to where he was at an astonishing speed. Hundreds of Wind Spirit Spiders appeared out of nowhere and formed a wall in front of Andesha.
“You dare to block me!?”
Andesha roared when she saw the green wall in front of her. As a leader of the Tree Shepherds, she easily identified the creatures with her vast experience. Her mind worked quickly and attributed this feat to the youth; Faena, Scarlett, and Veronica did not seem capable of using summoning magic.
She waved her hand in annoyance, and countless vines shot out to pierce the Wind Spirit Spiders. It was obvious that she did not use her full strength and wanted to swat them away.
It was a mistake.
In the next second, the green wall glowed and their color was replaced by a golden hue. The light intensified and formed a brilliant sun.
And the sun spread out its rays.
Countless beams of lights fired out, piercing through the vines and striking Andesha’s body. The Tree Shepherd shrieked. Though the attacks hardly caused any damage due to her overwhelming magic power, she was greatly flustered at the sudden attack.
Brendel used all the Earth EP that he had, unleashing the Holy Sword’s magic without reservation. Wave after wave of laser beams fired at Andesha, angering her, but she was unable to move well because of the violent winds. The Wind Spirit Spiders had a great advantage as they moved around easily in the air and out of reach of her counterattacks.
When the beams of light finally stopped, she realized that Brendel and the others had distanced themselves again, causing her to roar out in anger.
Chapter 177 Part 2 – Battle in the Canyon (2)
The ledge that Brendel and the others were running on eventually widened to a plateau. The gorge was located at the end of the plateau, and the youth suddenly stopped moving and shouted:
“Morpheus and I will stay behind and delay Andesha. If you don’t find a path leading downwards, then check if there’s any possible way we can climb down.”
Veronica nodded. Morpheus threw Faena down roughly and went back to his Master, receiving a set of instructions from the latter.
It did not take long for Andesha to reach where Brendel was. He stood alone with his sword drawn out, and the moment he saw the Mistress of Withering Decay, he roared:
Halran Gaia was stabbed into the ground at the same time. Countless rock pillars rose up from the ground and blocked Andesha’s vision. She immediately covered the area with her Element Power with a wave of her hand, wanting to turn Halran Gaia’s magic back into raw Mana, but to her great surprise, the rock pillars held their shape.
Black energy surged out where Brendel stood and he disappeared under the shadows of the rock pillars. Andesha snarled in frustration and started destroying the pillars with a vine whip, but they were remade quickly with Halran Gaia. She decided to ignore Brendel, intending to force the youth out by capturing his companions, but black wings suddenly fluttered in front of her, and a hand with blue flames swiped upwards at her face.
Andesha’s expression was cold and screeched with fury: “How dare you!”
Her whip moved like a poisonous snake and whipped away that offending hand, and she realized that it was a girl she had never seen before who attacked her. Brendel’s sword suddenly entered Andesha’s eyes at a startling speed, but her vines pulled her away to the sides as though she had expected the attack, while a few stray vines lashed out below the incoming sword in an attempt to strike Brendel.
The vines hit nothing but the rock pillars.
The youth had hurled his sword like a javelin, before it wobbled back to his hand like a boomerang by using the White Raven Sword Arte. Though the violent winds affected his control, it was reduced because of the rock pillars that Brendel had created.
A Wind Spirit Spider jumped down directly to reach Andesha’s head, but the latter acted as though she had eyes above her and destroyed it immediately with a swing of her whip. Brendel did not miss this opportunity and threw a rock with great timing, yet the Mistress of Withering Decay merely tilted her head to allow the projectile to fly past her.
The youth’s actions had angered her beyond words. Vines started pouring out beneath her to lift her up into the air so she could see where her enemies were, while she started pouring her mana into the ground:
“My children, ari—”
[Sacrifice non-black creature card, Wind Spirit Spiders, to the Ancestral Vampire.]
– The Wind Spirit Spiders Card has entered the Graveyard. Mana Feedback is available, please select your target.
[Is this even necessary to ask me? There’s only one real target. The Mistress of Withering Decay, Andesha!]
All the Wind Spirit Spiders suddenly disappeared, leaving behind green rays of light that repeatedly bent in strange angles as though they were reflected by mirrors and entered Andesha’s body, causing the woman to groan in pain as part of her Mana was burned. But it was an explosion of flames in front of her face that disrupted her magic spell. She flinched because she was wary of the golden flames, but she realized there was no damage that bypassed her protections.
[Summon Platinum Angel into the Battlefield! Tap Eternity Orb and copy Platinum Angel! Revive Fireclaw Chieftain and Fire Dijinn from the Graveyard and summon them into the Battlefield! Explosion! Sacrifice non-black creature card, Fire Dijinn, to Ancestral Vampire just before Explosion ends!]
Brendel had given new orders in a frenzy even before the system could prompt him.
– Three Command Points have been added to Ancestral Vampire from the Wind Spirit Spiders.
– Three Command Points have been added to Ancestral Vampire from the Fire Dijinn.
Black flames suddenly burst all over Morpheus’s body. His pale neck and hands were drawn with mysterious floral patterns.
The two Pristine Archangels, Ropar, and Morpheus rushed towards the distracted Andesha. But she swung her whip all around her skillfully, creating a defensive wall that made it impossible for them to attack her.
“My children, arise!” She screamed with great fury, attempting to cast her spell a second time.
Vines spouted from the ground like a fountain, forming into worm-like creatures that squirmed all about and knocked down the rock pillars.
There was nothing to stop them from rising up now—
[This is now or never. White Raven Sword Arte!]
Brendel had successfully caused Andesha’s fury to reach a new height. He raised Halran Gaia and a maelstrom of flames gathered around it. The air was heated till the point where Andesha’s figure was distorted in his eyes. Invisible blades of wind sliced through the summoned creatures, roaring as they reached for her, and the billowing golden flames that accompanied the wind devoured the vegetation hungrily until it was no more.
But Andesha swung her whip onto a rock pillar and got herself to safety; she was on her guard against the golden flames despite the anger filling her mind.
“Sacrifice the Platinum Angels and Fireclaw Chieftain!” Brendel said aloud.
– Six Command Points have been added to Ancestral Vampire from the Platinum Angels.
– Three Command Points have been added to Ancestral Vampire from the Fireclaw Chieftain.
Morpheus’s strength increased yet again. The blue flames on his hands turned black and covered his whole body. Brendel activated his Charge ability, moving straight for Andesha in a vertical leap, leaving behind a black trail of dark energy. Morpheus did not idle and also went for her, flying down towards her like a falling comet.
“How is this possible!” Andesha exclaimed in surprise as Morpheus reached her first in a blur.
She had assessed the girl with black wings to be a Gold-ranker, but the latter’s speed rose tremendously to the point where she took her by surprise. Cold flames broke past the Mistress of Withering Decay’s defense, causing her to realize that it was an Undead being before her.
[Soul Element Power? Is this a joke? How did this girl master her Element Power so quickly?]
The attack’s negative energy was targeted at Andesha’s legs. Morpheus had faithfully executed his Master’s instructions, causing the Mistress of Withering Decay to gasp as she felt the cold flames reaching to her core.
As one of the strongest figures on the continent, she could not remember how long it had been when she received an injury to her soul. It was the price for underestimating Morpheus.
Her whip immediately struck back with tremendous force, causing the pretty Vampire to fly into the fallen rock pillars. Rock fragments and dust showered the area. Brendel did not miss the opportunity and swung his sword at his foe, causing Andesha to panic slightly when she realized the youth was moving even faster than Morpheus. She covered her hands with vines reinforced by Mana, parrying away the dazzling array of strikes and retreating away from the youth.
Though the pain from the golden flames was still fresh in her mind, she noticed that Brendel was not using them and narrowed her eyes in contemplation.
[The flames that this boy possess are not from the Blood of Gods…… It doesn’t appear to be his Element Power as well. How did he conjure the flames? Surely it’s not possible for him to keep using them, right?]
It did not take long for Andesha to try and use her whip against Brendel in order to disarm him, while Morpheus returned to the fray and started aiming for her legs again. She was almost impressed at how well they worked together, but even so, the difference in their abilities was palpable.
Morpheus was caught by her whip, and Andesha started smashing him against the ground repeatedly, breaking his left wing and arm at a painful angle, while she positioned herself and Morpheus in a way that made it difficult for Brendel to attack her. Black blood flowed from Morpheus wounds, caused by the whip’s thorns. He even coughed out a few mouthfuls of blood.
But his eyes were resolute and he held on to the whip instead, trying to pull Andesha towards Brendel’s sword.
“Let go of my whip, you rabid bitch!” Andesha screamed as she dodged the youth’s attacks when they came near to her face, and she almost lost her footing due to the Vampire pulling back.
She suddenly jerked her whip to her, before flicking it in the opposite direction, letting go of her weapon. The sudden turn of events surprised Morpheus and he did not react in time. The addition of Andesha’s push and his own strength from pulling the whip caused him to fly up in the air like an arrow, before he dropped down into the endless gorge, disappearing before Brendel’s eyes.
[Morpheus! Damn it— Andesha’s level is just too high for us to overcome.]
Brendel gritted his teeth and cursed inwardly.
Andesha’s abilities were beyond his expectations. Her techniques in combat were quite formidable, and there were no real openings that he could exploit despite gaining an advantage in the terrain. Even with his newly gained power due to Trance and all his summons’ aid, he was unable to suppress her.
He immediately decided to retreat since he did not have Morpheus’s aid any longer, evading the conjured vines that suddenly came from nowhere and tried to take a hold of him.
The Mistress of Withering Decay clutched the wounds on her legs and watched the youth flee with seething rage. It was taking a while to remove the damage from Morpheus’s Element Power.
“Boy, you’re a summoner?” Veronica asked the youth when he came back to them.
She had seen part of his duel with Andesha from afar and saw multiple figures suddenly appearing, then to her surprise and astonishment, the youth had emerged unscathed.
Brendel nodded. There was no point in denying it and he might as well pretend to be one.
A Planeswalker was something else entirely, and who knew what would happen if he tried to hint anything about it. He did not want to have a second chain of unknown events happening, especially after the fiasco of reciting an oath that eventually led to his downfall.
“In any case, we discovered a path. It seems that we can get to the bottom of the gorge if we use it.”
Brendel nodded again. Andesha’s furious screams were getting nearer to them, causing him to frown. The Platinum Angels were his only way of retrieving cards from the graveyard, and it would mean that there were fewer cards for the battles ahead.
He glanced at his Stats Windows.
[The golden flames from the Dragon of Darkness are all used up…… But losing Morpheus is a real problem; he’s at least Level 70 by my estimation after all the sacrifices and I wanted to keep him at the very least for Valhalla. In any case, I need another plan.]
He thought for a few seconds.