Ever since Daenie ingested the potion made from the blood of the frost crocodile, she seemed to exude a really cold aura and appeared much stronger than before.
"Cloud of Slumber!" Mina announced when she cast. Though the name of the spell sounded impressive, it wasn't actually that effective against the green cuckoos and would at most make them a little more sluggish and fly slower, but that was enough.
After being bombarded by the spells, the four cuckoos apart from the one killed by Locke suffered a manner of different injuries. Joaquin and Angelina's Fireball casts did the most damage with their explosions as well as the residual heat.
"Cooo! Cooo!" shrieked the two cuckoos that got the full brunt of the fireballs. They flapped their wings hard and rose into the sky, which was shocking considering how there were still embers on their wings. Monsters were tough and hardy beasts, after all.
The other pierced cuckoo was overtaken by the explosions' heat before being struck by Daenie's icicles. There was no taking to the skies again after that.
Bob and Chris surrounded the cuckoo under the influence of Mina's Cloud of Slumber's influence. As they were just low-rank Knechts, the slightest scratch from the cuckoos claws was enough to leave a significant wound on them, so they still had a hard time despite their numerical advantage.
Once Locke got free, he turned and went straight to helping Angelina; she was his priority, after all.
The two flaming cuckoos still struggled to fly higher. As long as they were high enough, they could call for countless more of their brethren to their aid. Joaquin and Angelina, having guessed their intentions, immediately threw lots of flaming arrows and icicles their way. Not only were they the strongest casters in the party, they were also rather famous for their talents in their grade. Joaquin was most adept at fire spells while Angelina was more rounded, being able to use fire, ice and air spells with decent proficiency.
Though, their speed casting meant that the spells themselves weren't as powerful as they could be. Despite being pelted with multiple attacks, the two cuckoos weren't as badly hurt as the first round of fireballs.
Locke let Falconim circulate all throughout his body before focusing most of them in his legs and pushed himself off the ground, closing the distance between him and Angelina quickly. He raised his sword that was coated in a thin, green layer of impetus.
The cuckoos immediately detected the incoming threat and shifted their position to evade Locke's attack, managing to avoid a fatal blow to the head but still suffering a strike to its wings, completely tearing it. By the time Locke reached the ground, the cuckoo also fell.
Locke didn't miss the other cuckoo and prepared himself to jump once more, only for something unexpected to happen. The other cuckoo immediately turned to Joaquin instead, probably feeling that there was no longer any point in running. It descended with great speed like a killing dart travelling towards its target, ignoring all the spells thrown its way with single-minded focus.
Joaquin kept on chanting nonstop, keeping the pressure on as the distance between them closed. Right before the collision, a flaming wall appeared between them. Firewall was a spell that was comparable to Fireball. It was not only impressively damaging, but it could also be used defensively, being a metre thick and five metres tall. The moment the cuckoo flew into it, it no longer made a sound.
Despite how calm she looked, Joaquin secretly breathed a sigh of relief. Had her Firewall been cast the slightest moment later, she would've been impaled by its beak; cuckoo beaks could even pierce metal armour. Even so, she didn't let her guard down, for that burning cuckoo was still alive.
A charred figure swooped out of the flaming wall, sending the smell of charred meat wafting around. It seemed to be completely blind, but it still somehow managed to charge in her direction with its burnt wings spread out. It had happened so suddenly that she couldn't react in time. She still had two emergency scrolls and other tools in her spatial ring that she could use, but there simply wasn't enough time, so she immediately made her decision.
As the cuckoo was already heavily injured, it wouldn't be able to do too much damage, especially to Joaquin's enchanted robes. So, she would survive the blow. Within a fraction of an instant, she angled her shoulder and readied herself to take the attack in the least damaging way possible. She closed her eyes and turned away from it, as if that would dampen the fear and anticipation of the pain that was to come.
However, the impact she was expecting didn't come. She opened her eyes when she felt a gust on her body and turned back, only to see the cuckoo now dead. Locke held his armour near his left chest and his bloodied sword in his right hand. Right beside him was the decapitated head of the cuckoo, its eyes still wide open with a yearning to live.