“I can’t believe the mighty Dirt Master of the Krimea fled with the rest,” The eldest of the Roland Sisters sighed.
The second sister clicked her tongue. “If even a person of his caliber could make it big, it just goes to show how incompetent Krimea's Mermerri branch’s is.”
They’d long noticed the quasi-Magister hiding underground but decided to ignore him, which was a sign of their ultimate faith in their own capabilities. They were confident that they could fight back if the quasi-Magister chose to sabotage them.
“What should we do now? Do we continue our attack?” the youngest of the three asked, blinking innocently.
“He said that he has no intention to disrupt us. I reckon we focus on the alligator, I have a feeling that victory is near!” exclaimed the second sister sassily.
“Indeed.” The eldest sister nodded after a moment of consideration.
Despite saying so, they watched the knight from the corner of their eyes. There was no way they’d completely ignore him. They would immediately retaliate if something seemed wrong. The knight’s presence was no trifling matter; the pressure he gave off was much more intense than that of the alligator. They had no intention of giving up on their prey, though.
The end of their two-hour struggle finally came, marked by the agonising howl of the crab-clawed alligator monster. The massive beast slumped over, succumbing to the multitude of injuries tormenting its body. Its sturdy shell began to soften moments following its death. The second sister leapt onto it and swiftly drove her sword of light into its skull. She retrieved a deep blue nucleus core from between bloodied flesh. An intense buzz of life energy shot out of the alligator’s body into their brooches.
Even before the Roland Sisters defeated the alligator, Locke was already long done with his battle. The spoils gathered were sizeable and not at all shabbier than what the sisters had received from their effort.
Locke was starving; he’d only eaten two shark fins during midnight. While the sisters continued to wrestle the monster, he scavenged the area for materials and began building a fire. Moments later, he was roasting some meat while watching the three sisters fight.
Beauties were always a delight to the eye. Their larger movements revealed glimpses of the sisters’ gorgeous faces that were hidden by the hood of their robes. As the quasi-rank alligator was a monster with water magic, the sight of dripping wet robes clinging to their curves was delightful indeed. Locke's enjoyed the view as he munched on the roasted limb of a bouncing rock frog.
“Oi, are you done staring?” The second sister appeared to be the one with the foulest temperament. She jumped off the alligator and glared at the knight.
Truly, it wasn’t polite to stare. While casters were focused on research and studies, it didn’t mean that they didn’t care about their appearances. Intellectuals, contrary to stereotypes, typically possessed great emotional intelligence as well; the Roland Sisters bore no ulterior motives towards the unfamiliar knight.
Locke turned away immediately, narrowly avoiding the female caster’s warning attack.
“Nice to meet you. I hope you don’t mind me asking this but which clan are you affiliated with?” The eldest of the bunch quickly stepped forward to pacify the tension.
“I’m not from around Krimea, I just arrived recently since I’m on a journey,” answered the knight with a shrug.
“Hmph! Who are you trying to fool? Your skull brooch already gave it away! I’m sure you’re just a stinking skeleton beneath those layers,” the second sister jeered haughtily.
Upon hearing that, there was a shift in the knight’s presence. He lunged over to the second sister like a brooding storm. The female caster paled at the sudden closing of distance. Without any mana shields or protective barriers, she was completely at his mercy.
“Enough, watch your words. I’m terribly sorry for my sister’s rudeness.” The eldest quickly stood in between Locke and her sister, quietly shouldering the knight’s suppression.
Locke huffed. He wasn’t looking for trouble but that didn’t mean he was afraid of trouble. If the sassy caster had dared to say another word further, he wouldn’t be against showing her just how red blood could be.
Apart from that, the eldest sister’s capabilities surprised Locke. She appeared to be a high-rank Lehrling but her potential was that of a solid quasi-Magister. The fact that she could suppress her mana to this extent was a testament to a possible breakthrough if she so desired. She would be one of the more prominent quasi-rank elites upon advancement. The second sister seemed to be nearing her advancement too. However, she was a tad weaker than her elder sister and much closer to the competence of the quasi-Magister terramancer that’d fled earlier.
Perhaps as an act of defiance against the second sister’s mockery, Locke flipped up his helmet to reveal a young but seasoned face.
“If I may ask, what is your name, Herr? Are you a member of the Scar?” The elder sister kept her tone amiable.
“I’m Locke. I’m here as a representative of the Scar but I’m not a member. They’d merely given me a spot so I’m not too involved with them.” There was no need to hide his circumstances.
As soon as they heard that he wasn’t a member of the Scar of the Death Bell, they were visibly relieved.
“Would you like some of these? It’ll replenish your energy after the long fight.” Locke raised his roasted frog limb as a gesture of goodwill. It was better to have more friends than enemies. He didn’t want the Roland Sisters as his enemies in the Enchanted Forest Realm. The event would span ten days and this was only the second day; it wasn’t time for the fiercest battle yet.
The eldest sister refused his offering with a kind smile. They weren’t born yesterday and they refused to eat off a stranger’s plate. However, the second sister was more direct. Having been intimidated by Locke earlier, she promptly turned around to the alligator’s body. Her lightning attack crackled in the air, causing the monster’s claw to break away with a violent flip, revealing its pale flaky meat within. She’d remove its claw with a zap of mana to be brought back to the fire.
Locke had noticed that the second sister was a fulgurmancer from their earlier battle. The eldest sister, on the other hand, was a hydromancer while the youngest was an aeromancer. The three women kept a safe distance away from Locke. The eldest sister would occasionally prompt a conversation with Locke to exchange information while the second sister focused on roasting the crab claw. The youngest sister placed her full attention on helping her sister season their meal.
Eventually, Locke learnt that the Roland clan was a prominent line of casters from the neighbouring territory that’d pledged loyalty to Mermerri’s Cottage for generations. Unfortunately, many of their relatives and ancestors had been annihilated by members of the Scar due to the ever-worsening relationship between the factions, which was why the second sister had been particularly nasty. Locke was a little speechless. It appears that they'd mistook him for their enemy by association.