The avalanche came like raging waves, threatening to cover anything in its path. However, the silver monster had spread its wings and it began to vibrate like dragonfly wings. It quickly rose off the ground.
The silver monster lunged towards Freya. No calculation was needed for her to anticipate that. With the current speed of the avalanche, the monster was almost certainly able to avoid it.
In that split second, thoughts flashed through her mind. She seemed to have arrived at a decision subconsciously. The golden wings of light stretched wider, lifting her higher into the air. Freya was then rushing towards the silver monster.
At that moment-
The crescent moon-like mocking smirk across the silver monster’s featureless face finally went stiff.
It screeched in surprise.
Like a golden shooting star, Freya collided with the silver monster head-on. The monster tried to force her away by waving its arm blade crazily but she was unfazed. Not only did she not scoot away, but she also did not shy away either. Freya allowed its blade to slide through her lower abdomen. Under the monster’s attack, the girl’s armour felt almost like a thin layer of paper. The slit was elongated and rosy blood began to splutter out mindlessly. Despite that, the girl continued to push on the monster’s waist, forcing it backwards violently.
Her strength was far less powerful than the enemy. But this was no longer a skewed battle of life and death. Past this momentary inconvenience, everything would be easier.
The silver monster’s rising momentum was only paused for a mere second and the avalanche had smashed down on it. In the face of the invincible force of nature, everything felt as insignificant as dust. Freya and the silver monster were just small glowing dots in the midst of the cascading pale snow, soon they vanished out of sight.
On the other end of the valley.
The battle between the Folded Sword Squad and the Pale Sons had reached its peak. Relying on guidance provided by the war flag Freya planted, the knights finally converged. Their strength was not inferior to these demons, some of them even possessed superior powers. However, the Pale Sons had the upper hand for a while through the advantage of surprise attacks and numbers.
When the knights had converged, the giant wolves on the other end of the forest could no longer receive commands from the silver monster. The tables were immediately turned. The knights utilized the narrow spaces of the canyon strategically to stop the winter wolves’ attacks. Both ends had received significant damages and the ambush attack had morphed into a stalemate trench warfare.
This was great news to the humans as they were at a disadvantage since the beginning. However, the Pale Sons’ waves of attacks had proven to be difficult to withstand. After Brund was retrieved by Alea and Maynild, he had fallen unconscious. Maynild had the mind to search for Freya but she was surrounded heavily by the wolf pack with the other knights. It was obviously difficult to get past the wolves.
Little Pero, on the other hand, had managed to bring Lolo and the others back from the other side. Their side had suffered even more losses. Almost everyone was injured, especially after a night of chasing and fleeing. At this moment, even the toughest Kirrlutzians couldn’t help but pant.
Everyone didn’t look too well.
But Lolo had been staring at the other end of the valley neurotically.
“Did you hear something?” asked Little Pero, noticing Lolo’s odd behaviour. He knew that Lolo lived in the mountains. Among everyone, he was the one with the sharpest senses.
“I think I heard an explosion.”
Physical over-exhaustion had gotten to Lolo, causing his eyes to go dull and his forehead to be drenched in cold sweat. Despite his weakened state, Lolo’s answer came after a momentary pause to listen closely.
“Is it support?” Someone asked loudly.
“I’m just afraid it isn’t. Maybe the commander created it,” answered Little Pero, shaking his head.
Maynild furrowed her brows. She was aware of the ruby ring and Explosive Crystals on Freya. It had been at least an hour since Freya’s departure. There had been no news of her and the monster had yet to turn back. Maynild was certain about the power gap between the monster and Freya. Even if Freya had activated the mark of the War Goddess, the monster wouldn’t take more time than defeating both Alea and Brund to defeat Freya.
They weren’t on the same level since the beginning.
“I think you should worry about yourselves.” Alea was completely drenched in blood, he was panting harshly beside Brund. The new wounds were sustained when he rescued Brund. If the injury courtesy of the Pale Son yesterday was considered a tiny souvenir, this would be a medal that weighed one ton.
Alea had lost all ability to fight. If the Folded Sword Squad was forced to leave now, he and Brund would be made to stay behind.
Even so, it did nothing to change his annoying personality.
The bastard was still a doomsayer as usual. However, matters had progressed out of his expectations. Out of the blue, the frontmost knights had let out a loud shout. Little Pero sensed something, quickly pushing past the crowd to get a clear view. An unfathomable scene had presented itself before their eyes.
All the Pale Sons, near and far, swayed and halted their assaults. They looked as if they were drunk, slumping one by one onto the ground. Then, their bodies began to emit black smoke. It was almost as if they were evaporating under the sun, turning into ashes gradually until dull dark magic crystals were all that were left in the snow.
The phenomenon wasn’t singular nor was it limited to any particular pack of wolves. All hundreds of the Pale Sons near and far had doubled over at the same time and turned into dark smoke. The spectacular sight had stunned every knight present.
“These demons were indeed summoned.” Little Pero quickly responded. “Looks like our commander had accomplished something amazing.”
He turned around to look at Maynild.
Weirdly, there wasn’t a single ounce of relief on the female knight’s face. She gingerly took out the communication crystal from her collar. The crystal was completely grey, indicating that Freya’s crystal wasn’t lighting up due to a lack of imbued magic.
Yet, in the valley, Freya’s displaced Communication Crystal was indeed glowing amidst the snow- A clear indication that someone was attempting to establish contact via a network of spells. Sadly, the owner of the necklace was not within its proximity.
Freya had struggled to crawl out from under the pile of snow on the other side.
A low groan escaped her throat. Her physical condition was worse than expected, every inch of skin covered in ugly bruises and grazes. Blood that escaped the wound on her lower abdomen had soaked the battle attire beneath the armour. There was even a huge depression in her breastplate. The bleeding continued under the crack and blood was seeping through the corners of her eyes, nose and lips.
Freya let out a few light coughs. Luckily, she and the monster were at the top layer of the avalanche and she was coincidentally at a higher position. Despite that, they were both swallowed by the snow. She saw the silver monster getting sucked under the rubble and snow by the vortex while she managed to escape with her life.
But even so, this little glee was short-lived. Freya could feel how wrecked her body was. The more life-threatening injuries had come from the impact sustained by her chest and the stab wound on her lower abdomen. The heavy blood loss had brought along a dizzy spell and her limbs were growing cold. This was bad, especially in an environment like this.
The most stressful thing was her realizing that she had lost the satchel containing vials of Health Potion to the avalanche.
“Am I about to die…?”
Freya flipped over. She laid flat on the snow silently to watch the sky in equal silence. The girl was fully aware of the distance between her current location and the others. The Kirrlutzians definitely wouldn’t reach her in time. She could already feel the chilliness turning her body and heart numb. Sleep and exhaustion would sink in soon.
“Thank goodness it didn’t fail.”
Freya sighed quietly. This was the bravest decision and the most insane action she had ever executed in her life. Yet, she could never be that person. This was the only time and the last.
She closed her eyes, welcoming the speckles of lights in a span of darkness. The speckles soon gathered together and became the majestic Bucce mountains. Then, it turned into a familiar face.
Freya’s heart was at peace, silently waiting for the moment to arrive. Unfortunately, it seemed as though the gods had no wish to honour this girl. Just as she was about to close her eyes, a crisp sound rang from the snowy ground.
The movement was slight, but the noise it produced was no less than thunder to Freya. Her eyes flew open, head whipping towards its direction harshly. Indeed, a dull grey arm was extended out of the snow.
Freya was screaming internally. Aside from the silver monster, there was no way someone else was beneath the snow. She reflectively reached for the Lionheart Sword but the monster was quicker to respond.
With a loud bang, a huge force exploded from under the snow layer and a black mass littered in snow shot out from the ground. Instantly, the silver monster was pressing Freya’s neck into the snow with one hand while the other restrained her sword-holding hand.
With its head lowered, it studied the human girl that had managed to wreck it over coldly.
Compared to Freya, the monster was indeed worse for wear. It was no longer its glorious self with only one of its wings attached to its spine. Its liquid silver-like body was no longer smooth, scarred by countless holes and depressions all around and its original shiny silver skin had turned dull. The silver monster was now a dull metal grey.
Freya had seen this colour in yesterday’s battle. At this point, the monster would choose to extract someone else’s life force. This indicated that it was close to death in this state.
Freya helplessly thought. She obviously felt her remaining life force getting drained away by the monster’s hands. Earlier, she could at least squint at the creepy monster but soon, even breathing had become a laborious task.
Her breath became shorter.
Yet, the silver monster regarded it with a cold smirk. “Your race is still as cunning as it was a few millennia ago.” It kneeled beside Freya, then lifted her up by the neck, as if planning to admire the sight of her dying from lack of oxygen.
But it was this movement that allowed the slate in Freya’s satchel to fall out with a thud. The silver monster was caught aback. Noticing the slate, it looked surprised. “What is this? Wait, is this…”
It reached its other arm over to pick up the slate. As soon as the grip around Freya’s sword-holding hand was released, the girl used her last remaining strength to growl, “Take this!”
She held the sword with both palms and drove it into the monster’s lower abdomen.
Perhaps the silver monster had noticed her plan or it was caught completely by surprise, but the sword was lodged into its lower abdomen without resistance. It jolted slightly then raised its head to watch the little human girl weirdly.
“Do you think scrap metals like this can hurt me? Attacks from mortals are ineffective against me.”
It patted her cheeks mockingly. “How foolish.”
Freya’s narrowed eyes were only left with a raging flame.
She stared at the faceless monster, glaring at the smirking wide jaw that looked like a crescent moon. Oh, how she wished to kill it with a slash.
However, her prayers seemed to be answered by an unknown deity. In that split second, the crescent moon across the monster’s face drooped down.
An exceptionally painful expression had appeared on its face.
It let out a sudden screech, throwing away Freya to claw at its wound. It backed away frantically. Violent flames were suddenly bursting out of the Lionheart Sword lodged in its abdomen. The fire followed the lines of the opening and set its body aflame.
“This… This is impossible!” It howled in agony, falling to its knees. “The damned mark of the War Goddess...!!! Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!”
The silver monster had almost completely turned into a burning ball of fire. Unfortunately, Freya wasn’t able to admire the fruition of her efforts. Just as she was thrown aside, she could feel a burning sensation travelling from her heart to every inch of her body, immediately bestowing upon severe pain.
Yet, Freya said nothing. Contrastingly, her eyes were filled with amazement.
She understood what this meant.
The golden flames had been ignited.
At that moment, the slate on the snow beside her had finally blossomed with the most dazzling light.