“The monster wave is heading northwards, we’re at their flank!” Mien shouted from a nearby tree.
“We need to head west! Hurry!” Miran urged. The bonfire could deter beasts and smaller major monsters but it wouldn’t do anything more to a swarm of them. It didn’t help that it was the brightest beacon in the dark either. Their best choice to avoid the direct traffic was to retreat westwards but they were running out of time. The monsters were moving rapidly.
Locke could catch a whiff of bloodlust in the air; the distinct smell of major monsters. They’d only managed to cross two hundred metres when the first wave of monsters could be spotted in their proximity.
“Major monsters incoming!” Mien warned.
“Can you see what they are?” Miran shouted back.
“No! It’s too dark and there’s too many of them!” Mien’s voice grew tense.
“Hold onto the tree and brace yourself!” the female Lehrling ordered.
They were two miles away being in the direct front of the monster wave, thanks to the swift decision. Depan Forest wasn’t huge, and that was a limiting factor to the number of major monsters it housed. A regular monster wave here would only consist of a few hundred to a thousand of them at best. By moving westwards, they’d only encounter around fifty to a hundred monsters instead. It felt unlikely for Team Dawnlight to fend off a dozen major monsters even. Fortunately for them, the combination of advantageous terrain and seamless synergy proved to be a great boon.
True to their name, monster waves behaved just like ocean waves. They’d come strong then gradually fade out into nothingness. As long as they could withstand the first hit, the remainder would be easier. Team Dawnlight had been working around the perimeters of Morrington Harbour for years and they’d crossed the Depan Forest many times. This was their second time encountering a monster wave, which fed their confidence in surviving this alive.
“Ha. I really don’t want to meet Gura so soon.” Surprisingly, Howl still had the heart to joke amidst the suffocating tension. Gura had been one of their former members who’d, unfortunately, perished in their last monster wave. Miran glared at the swordsman in the middle of her chants.
“Shut your trap!” Martin slapped him. Gura hailed from the same village while Quaker and Howl were later additions to Team Dawnlight. Miran’s voice fell and a majestic albino demon wolf was manifested in the middle of her array.
Locke’s muscle involuntarily spasmed at the sight, nearly losing control of his quasi-Ritter presence. The first to notice his abnormality was Kristin, who quickly scooted over to hug his arm in concern. “What’s wrong, Brother Locke?”
“It’s nothing.” Locke shook his head. The sudden quasi-Ritter presence had appeared as abruptly as it had faded. The approaching monster wave had muddled the elemental particles in the air so the slip-up went unnoticed by Team Dawnlight.
Despite being a low-rank major monster, the wolf had surprised Locke greatly. It’s a moonlight wolf! I can’t believe it! This was the second time he’d seen one; his first encounter had been in the Bering Mountains that fringed Morphey Forest, which almost cost him and Angelina their lives. Even so, moonlight wolves were no longer threats since he too was not a beginner Knecht anymore.
“Is Miran a photomancer?” Locke suddenly thought of asking. The Lehrling’s familiars had both been photomancy major monsters.
“I’m not sure but it’s very likely.” Kristin was clueless herself. There was no way to pinpoint that unless a thorough analysis was conducted with a crystal ball. Kristin wasn’t skilful enough to determine Miran’s attributes and strengths at a glimpse.
Miran took a deep breath after her first summon. She retrieved a tube of silver potion from her sack and opened the cork with her teeth. There was a slight hesitation before she finally emptied the contents. Potions were consumables and death was irreversible. As Team Dawnlight’s leader, Miran was responsible for ensuring everyone would get through the monster wave safely. Team Dawnlight had a great leader, which wasn’t hard to see why they were capable of excellent focus and efficiency.
The silver potion recovered her mana and mental abilities by a good fraction. Miran executed another summoning, chanting spells over the array she drew with spices. A bloodlust hawk flew out of it; yet another low-rank major monster.
Kristin was absolutely captivated by Miran’s work. The Three Western Isles had a very traditional classification system for caster specialisations. Summoner was a job class that could only be attained after becoming a Magister. Things were indeed different on the east coast since there were already clear distinctions between specialisations among Lehrlings. The caster guild at Morrington Harbour had placed Kristin as a mid-rank Lehrling on the elementalist track.
Elementalists and summoners were completely different branches in terms of energy constructs and magecraft theory. Kristin wasn’t the most diligent academician but she was extremely talented. The young woman was interested in almost everything; her curiosity for potion brewing and alchemy was undying. It was likely that she’ll start asking Locke for some books on the art of summoning after this. While there was the concern of being the jack of all trades but the ace of none, Kristin was still very young. The future was far ahead and there was no point fussing over such things just yet. Her wide interests might come in handy someday.
Miran’s complexion turned ghastly after the bloodlust hawk. Beads of cold sweat began to dot her forehead and she began to sway. Martin quickly stepped over. “You should rest a little. We’ll handle the rest,” he tried to assure her.
“Thanks.” Miran nodded weakly. The moonlight wolf and bloodlust hawk were the top among low-rank major monsters, so their summoning had been taxing on her. However, the successful summoning meant that her job was mostly done. All she needed to do next was to control these major monsters with her mental ability. The presence of the familiars helped boost the crowd’s morale greatly.
“We might need the ladies’ help later,” Martin said to Locke. Two more mid-rank Knechts would help elevate their combat abilities, which would further improve their chance of surviving the monster wave. Martin was admittedly a little curious about Kristin since she was also a mid-rank Lehrling as well. While he wasn’t sure what she specialised in, he was fully aware that casters were stronger than knights of the same rank.
“No problem.” Locke wasn’t too concerned that the two young women would be in trouble under his watch.