Eventually, after the glacial layer had fallen off, the aggregation of dark buildings in the abyss became more visible. On the obsidian-like smooth wall, platinum light had reached forward following its notches which quickly provided the whole walkway with light. Aloz and Medissa walked along the passage in tandem, looking a little lost. They had no idea how long they’ve been trapped in this place.
“We’ve been walking in circles, Sister Aloz.”
Red seized the little female dragon’s cheeks. With one arm around the star-shaped stone, she waved her claws and answered forcefully, “How is that possible? I think you must be mistaken.”
Medissa offered a light smile.
“True, true.” She nodded, still smiling. “It’s just like when we were in the Wilderness of the Four Realms. We’re not there yet because we’re too slow.”
As if electrocuted, Aloz sharply turned around. She stared at Medissa with wide eyes. “You… How did you find out?!”
“I also know that you were once the youngest dragon in the War of The Holy Saints.”
“In Moros, you were caught by the Wind Elves’ Secret Army when you snuck out to meet Master Frofa. Master Eleranta certainly didn’t hold back on you two.” Medissa lowered her voice. “Do you still remember what she said? ‘How can you possibly lose your way while trysting?! How can my subordinates be worse than Gretel and that little idiot Sanorso?! This is too embarrassing! Scram!’” The little elven princess reenacted.
Aloz’s lips were parted in shock. Like a little puppy, her canines were on display as her cheeks flushed a violent red. “Impossible! How would anyone hear of this? W-who exactly are you?!”
Medissa tilted her head and smiled. She offered no answer.
“Ah!” Aloz screamed. Her expression shifted into surprise. “I remember now! It’s you! You’re the New Moon Princess! Why are you using such a strange name?”
“That’s my last name, Sister Aloz.” She sighed. “Medissa’s my given name.”
The female dragon stuck her tongue out and replied rather annoyedly, “You look so different.”
Medissa massaged her temples. “Sister Aloz, I’m an elf. My appearance could never change.”
“Is that so?” Aloz palmed her round cheeks. “I must’ve remembered wrongly.”
“How about I lead the way?” offered Medissa. “You know, just like when we worked together back then.”
But no answer came from Aloz. Instead, the female dragon urgently pressed a digit against Medissa’s lips. “Shh! Did you hear something?”
Medissa was caught by surprise, quickly taking a small step to stare at her.
“Really! I heard something!” She hurriedly explained.
“Really?” The Silver Elf Princess’s brows were raised. The five senses of the Golden Race were the sharpest. Abruptly, her sharp elf ears twitched ever so slightly. The both of them turned around; there was a crossroad at the end of the long corridor where a distressed figure was limping across slowly.
After a beat, Aloz and Medissa carefully emerged from their invisibility spell.
“He looks familiar.” The female dragon brandished her teeth. “Suspicious.”
“It’s Duke Arreck,” replied Medissa.
They turned to look at each other.
The blinding beam pillar penetrated the skies.
Maynild and the others turned around to stare in that direction.
That was the second time!
In this midst of Veronica’s seething wrath, she watched yet another projection drowned by white at Korfa’s will. Waloz, the city on the borders of Kirrlutz was reduced to ashes. She was furious that her grip almost broke the hilt of her thin sword. Brendel held onto the female squad leader tightly, fearing that she’d lose control. The three of them had attempted multiple attacks but all their efforts were futile. The Divine Screen was like a barrier of despair, a grim reminder of the difference that separated mortals and gods.
There was just no way to get past it.
Korfa glanced over to the next projection--- Oltsqween, a city of the Wind Elves. Brendel watched the switching images anxiously, there were two more images and one of them was the beautiful palace on the banks of Lake Kurkel.
His palms were sweating profusely.
This was an unfair battle.
He needed to find a way.
Suddenly, Korfa lifted her chin. She seemed to be staring at something, her voice once again echoing around the platform.
“Sister, you’re finally here.”
Brendel was startled. He turned around and saw the young prince and Crown Prince Lenarette on the cliff. “Master!” “Veronica!” He and Shido called out. Following that, only did Brendel notice another Korfa standing behind them. The dark Korfa in the middle of the gigantic hall frowned while the kind Korfa merely offered a light nod in acknowledgement.
Was the kind Korfa the key to this battle? The idea flashed through Brendel’s mind.
“Who is she?” Mephisto asked.
“That is Korfa as well. Her depraved soul is the one controlling Milos now.”
“Two existences in one body?”
Brendel nodded, close enough. “Ah, wait!” He watched Veronica lunged forward without warning. Obviously, the female squad leader had the same idea; it was just that Veronica was more assertive than Brendel. Before he could even respond, the tip of Veronica’s sword was already near Korfa.
The kind Korfa was utterly shocked, standing still with widened eyes. She had no idea why this human female was so intent on killing her at first sight. Even if she hadn’t been caught by surprise, the kind Korfa wouldn’t be capable of avoiding Veronica’s weapon. After all, she was a Mage while Veronica was a warrior. Korfa was no match for her in close combat.
Korfa could only part her lips, watching Veronica’s blade come closer and closer to her heart. Yet, it was at this moment that Brendel’s urgent scream was heard.
“Haruz! Stop her!”
The young prince drew his sword and shielded Korfa without hesitation. But Veronica ignored him for they were truly not on par. The young prince felt a soft power coming from his hand just as his weapon was unsheathed. The longsword flew out of his grip and chuck itself into the top of the cave. The delay allowed Korfa to react. “Ah!” She let out a loud cry and fell to the ground.
Veronica’s green sword aura went over her head, only managing to slash a few strands of hair. The female squad leader frowned. As she got ready for another attack, dark Korfa’s retaliation finally arrived.
“How dare you!” Dark Korfa’s voice was explosive, whipping a white bolt of electricity towards Veronica. She didn’t dare block it. She dodged it skilfully and allowed it to strike the wall, where it managed to remove a huge chunk violently.
The momentary distraction had cost Veronica a chance at attacking the kind Korfa.
She couldn’t help but turn her head around to glare at Brendel.
Yet, Brendel felt relieved.
Frankly, Brendel had already thought everything through. Korfa wasn’t the key to victory as she and the young prince had only reached the platform just a while ago. Her appearance was a gamble and it made no sense for her presence to be an important factor. Did that mean that there was no way to complete this battle in the kind Korfa’s absence?
That clearly was illogical.
He quickly signalled to Veronica, indicating that he had something to discuss. But right at the moment, Brendel noticed the huge debris resultant of Korfa’s earlier attack on Veronica had slammed right into one of the energy transmission pipes. Clink! A dent was made and the illuminated pipe dimmed.
His heart thumped at the sight.
“Ah! I understand now! There it is!”
Brendel raised his head to shout at Mephisto and Veronica. “Attack the platform and the pipes!”
The Sword Saints looked at him questioningly, not understanding his instruction. Brendel jumped impatiently and started to sway his arms around. “She- Korfa is just a fake god, she has no divine barrier, to begin with! Milos is the one giving her an Absolute Gap! The platform is feeding her powers and she hasn’t merged with Milos fully! All you need to do is destroy her connection with the platform!”
As soon as his words fell, dark Korfa’s expression hardened.
“You’re wrong!” She frantically argued, still afloat in mid-air.
It was a blatant lie. Veronica and Mephisto locked gazes and immediately split up for the energy pipeline network on either side of the platform. Their swords glinted in the air, and a few dozen pipes were slashed. Magic began to flow out of the severed ends like the pulse of a new star and soon, explosions followed; craters were created on the dense network.
“Damn it!” Korfa let out a shrill scream. No longer able to maintain her composure, she raised her arms and summoned manifested countless lightning. Flashes of lightning crackled towards Brendel, Mephisto and Veronica. Avoiding her attacks was manageable for both Mephisto Veronica; a little focus was all they needed to deflect the lightning assault. Brendel, on the other hand, was in a pinch. It felt almost as if their opponent was in for revenge; most of the bolts had come for him. He had managed to block three but was zapped by the fourth. Body held down by the abrupt numbness, Brendel was quickly showered in a storm of lightning. If it wasn’t for his exceptionally high willpower, he probably would have been off to see Marsha already.
Even so, the aggressive lightning attack had taken away two-thirds of his remaining life. Worst, his cosmetic appearance was reduced to tattered beggar clothes, which Brendel couldn’t decide between laughing or crying at. He was fully aware that the damages dealt by the aoe attack should’ve been shouldered by all members of the pack. Yet, the three of them were the only ones present out of the group. Plus, Korfa held a heavy grudge against him, so Brendel could only blame his shitty luck.
After the storm of lightning, Veronica and Mephisto launched another attack. This time, Korfa was smarter. She completely gave up on retaliating to feed all her powers into the ground to build a strong shield on the pipelines. Previously, a slash from Brendel was enough to destroy a few pipes. Now, it would take a few slashes from the player to get the deed done. He glanced over, noticing that Mephisto and Veronica were making slower progress.
Despite that, Brendel found Korfa’s idea rather stupid. Although she did slow them down significantly, she wasn’t initiating attacks. They’d destroy all the pipes sooner or later.
But of course, while Korfa’s decision was unwise, no one would dare to take the supposed simplicity of the boss battle for granted.
There was this faint feeling that ate at Brendel- He feared that the situation might not be that simple.
Scarlet heard someone call out from behind. She turned around to look at the young man catching up to her, faintly recalling this young man had introduced himself as Barbarn... or some other name. Scarlet found the name weird as it was rare in Aouine, hence the man had left quite an impression.
The young man’s sprint had left him gasping for air. Was it an emergency? The young Highlander girl stared at him dumbly. She waited for a moment before figuring that she should ask, “What’s the matter?”
“Beautiful lady, you haven’t told me your name.”
Scarlet’s brows were furrowed. “What does my name have to do with you?”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to intrude. I just wish to thank you properly.” The young man panted between words. Caught aback by her hostility, he felt the need to explain himself.
“To thank me?”
“Yes. You saved us. You saved our lives.”
Scarlet considered the request.
Barbarn’s nerves were obvious. For some reason, he had always felt uneasy in front of her. He had mistaken it as an attraction in the beginning but after spending some time together, he eventually realized that she had a unique aura that faintly exuded intimidation.
While he remained unaware that Scarlet was of the Dragon and God of Thunder bloodline, he had merely found the count’s servant unordinary. He began to feel a little nervous, regretting his choice of working with those bastards.
At this moment, Scarlet finally broke out of her daze. She lifted her head, gaze stopping on the surrounding cliff walls. Her following questions sounded deliberate. “You wish to thank me but is this an expression of your gratitude?”
The young man was startled.
But Scarlet was already pointing her halberd in a few specific directions on the glacial beneath. “All the rats hiding in the corner are your comrades, no?”
Barbarn’s expression changed.
Similarly, the noble soldiers pointed out by the Highlander girl didn’t look too pretty. They shuffled out of the shadows awkwardly and looked at Scarlet with surprise. Only the leader applauded and praised dryly, “Wow, this is beyond my expectations. I wasn’t expecting you to be a real master.”
Scarlet watched them in cautious silence. Her brows were furrowed, body ready for defence. She used to be a mercenary; their intentions were ill based on the way they were positioned.
“There’s no need to worry.” The person continued, “We merely intend to thank you properly. I hope you can return with us to Kirrlutz. Those from the Imperial Capital make the best hosts and we assure you that you’ll be in good hands.”
Barbarn nodded fervently. “Yes. We wouldn’t trouble you. We just wish to ask you for a favour.”
“Yes, miss. If you could grant us that, I’ll personally beg His Majesty to free you. You’ll become a free Kirrlutz citizen and you will never need to bow to anyone. Plus, with your capabilities, it won’t be difficult for you to become one of the Imperial nobles,” explained Barbarn.
He had no idea what offended her. Just as he mentioned that Scarlet could regain her freedom, the fierce glint of a beast’s eye manifested in the seemingly innocent Highlander girl.