Locke remained unaware of the Magisters’ prying eyes, producing yet another Prison of Light scroll from his spatial ring. He was prepared for what it takes to finish Yeffermun once and for all.
While the grey-robed caster screamed at Locke for being a member of Light Rays, he was forced to ramp up his mana output to deflect Locke’s unhinged attacks. The last time he’d been forced into a corner was forty years ago when he was a weak low-rank Lehrling; it had been a long time since he was reduced to such a pathetic state.
“I’m the Bone Chilling Yeffermun!” The grey-robed caster lost his cool. “Eat my death grip attack!”
Just before the Prison of Light could smother the caster once again, a huge dull palm took form above his head. It pushed back against the screen of light.
“Mmph!” The caster began bleeding from his orifices. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the awful smelling viscous fluid but actual blood, which meant that the caster had finally reached his limits. A spell scroll crafted by a level-one Magister wasn’t something a quasi-Magister could withstand, not to mention the clashing of elements involved.
The caster struggled against the Prison of Light while Locke and Fermoss quickly obliterated the surrounding skeletons. Once Locke slew the two remaining skeleton soldiers and the scorpiondrake shattered the three bony shields in its periphery, Yeffermun felt fear settle in the pit of his stomach. There was a good reason why casters were incredibly wary of knights, after all.
Yeffermun had been a quasi-Magister for a decade and was well-established enough to be recognised by an elder of Bone Mark. It felt surreal that he’d someday meet his demise during an unassuming cultivation mission. The accessibility of information informed Yeffermun of the many planes that existed beyond Zauberia. He knew that countless mysteries were waiting to be solved and he refused to die just like that.
Amidst his desperation, the quasi-Magister screamed towards the vast sky, “I haven’t even gone to the Ocean of Stars yet!” and chased his rage with a bubbling scarlet potion. “You’ve gone and done it. You’ve forced me to take the Vermouth potion bestowed by Elder Yesserker. It intensifies my mana output by a few folds but it comes at the price of permanent loss of ability, which you shall pay with your blood!” He was hysterical.
Quasi-Magisters and quasi-Ritters were the pinnacles of high-rank lifeforms. They’d reached the ceiling for their mana and impetus capacities but were nowhere near becoming level-one lifeforms yet. Yeffermun would fall from his quasi-Magister grace and be reduced to a mid-rank Lehrling once the potion wore off. It was apparent that this was his last resort as the potion was one step closer to both heaven and hell simultaneously.
Locke watched Yeffermun burst out of the Prison of Light, followed by a roaring wave of mana interference with a frown. Why did things have to take a turn for the worse? Unfortunately, there was no turning back at this point. It was only natural for Yeffermun to have tricks up his sleeves since Locke had his share too. He’d learnt to never assume ever since enlisting in the Faustian army.
“Looks like it’ll be a long battle this time.” Locke patted Fermoss’ scale. The scorpiondrake howled in return, an outward display of its resolve.
“Very well! Once we’re done with this bastard, the quasi-rank Botanian nucleus core that you desired will be yours!” Locke leapt onto the monster’s back deftly. “Charge!” He reached into his spatial ring for his spear and longsword. He gripped the weapons in either hand, balancing himself atop Fermoss and closed the distance between them and Yeffermun. He had a good feeling that whatever bottleneck he was in would loosen up after the battle.
Mermerri’s Cottage had created the Enchanted Forest Realm to provide its lower Lehrlings and Knechts with abundant resources. Yet, the turbulence generated by the battle between Locke and the grey-robed caster was pushing past the limits of the realm’s boundary. A hairline crack appeared in the magic dome above the sky, causing the two spectating level-one Magisters to dash over for damage control. The environment within the realm that’d been painstakingly maintained over decades would be contaminated if the boundary shatters, which would kill the enchanted forest and its resources.
“Since when did the Krimea Scar faction acquire such a strong knight?” One of the Magisters in the sky asked through gritted teeth. He had a feeling that he was no match for Locke even under the assumption that they were peers.
“I haven’t heard of such a talent. Could he be from other provinces?”
The intensity of the battle remained constant. The vehemence of the grey-robed caster’s attacks was undying and Locke had needed to rely on Fermoss’ tough scales to protect him against the overwhelming spells. The two were entangled in a fierce fight. Fermoss, on the other hand, had never experienced such agony, not even during the Botanian conquest. Locke wasn’t doing so well at this point; necrosis started to spread near his left rib and a bowl-sized wound was festering on his skin, prompted by the burst of negative energy. The caster was powerful, as seen from the forming dents and craters on Locke’s armour plate.
The enchanted armour that offered impeccable protection was putty against the earlier Hellfire spell. Despite its toughness, the ghastly calcareous layer buckled in the face of pale mana flames. It appeared that Yeffermun was at advantage from that aspect but why were the spectating Magisters so fixated on Locke instead? Locke was pitting his competence and physique against mana fuelled attacks while Yeffermun was borrowing the great power bestowed by the Vermouth potion. In other words, Locke would easily have the higher ground as soon as the potion’s effect wore off.
“He has a base-rank major monster as his mount. Could he be a Death Knight from the Scar?” asked the level-one Magister hidden among the clouds.
“Who knows? I saw him bring out another photomancy scroll. I have to admit he’s intriguing to watch.” Now that the realm’s dome had been stabilised, the guardians had room for lighthearted discussions.
“Send word to the nearby Mermerri members, have them avoid this area as much as possible.”
“That would be best. They are no match for the knight with such a terrifying base-rank scorpiondrake around.”
“It’s unfortunate that we’re bound by contract to stay out of the event. I would’ve been giddy for twenty years if I could obliterate two geniuses from the Scar.”
“There’s nothing else to watch here, the outcome is already set in stone.”
Locke and Yeffermun continued to fight for their lives but their struggles were nothing but mere entertainment for the Magisters above.