“Scarlet, do you still remember my name?”
In complete darkness, the voice came to her like a beacon of light.
They say that the human awareness was at its sharpest when in complete distress, and it seemed to be the case for Scarlet, as she could tell instantly that it was Ovina.
The Holy Lance of Heaven had been silent for so long, notably since it had accepted her back in Ampere Seale, sealing the sacred agreement. There was no way Scarlet could have mistaken.
It was to her the lifesaving straw at the moment of life and death. Exhilarated, despite the arguments of the Kirrlutzian royals a slight distance away, right then, she could feel nothing else. Her feeble and earnest expressions were however promptly brushed off by Ovina, as she rhetorically asked, “Do you need me to save you?”
The young maiden nodded, tears oozing from the corner of her eyes.
“You are weak, Scarlet,” Ovina sighed, “The Azure Lance is a blade meant to guard the mortal realm. I have once brought forth the question to you, that as the skies crumble, and the stars have fallen, it is then which marks the beginning of a history of mortals conquering destiny. Can you comprehend the courage that lies within?’ And I took heed of your reply. Your emotions are now within me, but courage isn’t about perseverance or resolution, it is wisdom. And you lack that, do you understand me?”
“So, can you still fight?”
Scarlet was slightly taken aback but promptly nodded with all she had. As the Kirrlutzians, with Babarn as leader were furiously arguing, before letting loose a punch to the face of the Noblemen commander, then tangled together as they hustled while bystanders tried to stop the fight. Amidst the commotion, nobody was paying attention to what the Highlander maiden was about to do.
“Great,” Ovina was equally unbothered by the ruckus as she nodded agreeably. After all, those Noblemen were nothing but specks of dust to her, nevertheless, as her signatory was still weak and underprepared, she will not allow for her to lose to what she akin as mere bugs. It was a matter of pride.
“The one who shot you earlier was slightly more powerful than you. The weapon he is using is a Platinum rose-type weapon, or a replica of it. Its capabilities were to enable sure-fire under the space elemental, supported with lifesteal.
As the lifesteal is rather modest, it wouldn’t trigger the Undefeated destiny to get to you.”
Ovina then routed her remark back to Scarlet, “But all of that shouldn’t be a problem in the first place if you were at least capable at all.
If your lord is here, he would never have been shot by those bugs. More than anything, you have to comprehend that insects will be insects. They can possess weapons of magic, however powerful they are, but with their skill levels they could never even imagine dealing any real threat to a capable person.”
“Now, stand up, let me tell you what a real battle is.”
Scarlet kneeled on the ground, her body all limp, face swollen and red from being smacked earlier. Her head was dizzy and her mind fuzzy, but Ovina’s words did initiate a thought in her mind.
But to stand now? Can I defeat these Kirrlutzian Noblemen soldiers?
Stupefied, she asked, “Now?”
“Definitely. I asked if you could fight, and you nodded, didn't you?” Ovina coolly replied.
Fighting is one thing but winning is another. If it was Brendel, he would have questioned if that was even feasible. But it was Scarlet in this position, and Scarlet was innocent, she was faithful that Ovina wouldn’t cause her harm, so she chose to believe. Clenching her teeth, she held onto the stool as support as she pushed herself back into a standing position.
The Kirrlutzian Noblemen that were deep in an argument went silent. It was the soldier just across Scarlet who noticed strange behavior from the teenage maiden, and soon after all the others turned towards her.
All of them watched bafflingly, unsure of what she had in mind.
What is she attempting?
Only after a while did someone whistled, “Hey Babarn, look at this little chick over here, stubborn as hell isn’t she?”
“You’re done for!”
Babarn pushed aside the aggressive nobleman. Wiping off the blood stain by his lips, he strutted towards Scarlet, his face far from his best, “Lady, you’re heavily injured, you cannot fight us. I swear by the pride of a noble that I wouldn’t let any of them hurt you. Give up, we’ll hold on to our word.”
Scarlet’s lips were sealed.
Ovina watched on as the frail, young maiden stood strong in the face of adversity, prompting her to nod with satisfaction. Her contractee didn’t have to be the best in the world, but she must possess a heart of pure gold.
And the teenage girl before her suited that requirement, clearing all doubts she had for the girl when Brendel agreed for her to raise the Holy Lance of Heaven.
Right then, she could do nothing but accept that the human’s decision for her was indeed worthy.
It was true that compared to Brendel himself, Scarlet was better suited for the Azure Lance, for in its core purpose it was to guard the realms of the living. That little brat surely has his own path to partake… Ovina shook her head as she contemplated, “The Azure Lance was truly not for him to wield, even though it does seem like it was custom-made for him now.”
Scarlet kept her silence. Babarn was pushed aside by the leader among the noblemen squad unit, drawing his sword, he taunted as he strode towards Scarlet, “This little babe doesn’t seem to be listening to you, Babarn.”
“What do you think you’re doing?!” Babarn howled.
“Babarn, look at yourself,” that nobleman soldier sneered, regurgitated before spitting out a sludge of blood and spit. The blood in his throat was caused by Babarn’s punch, to begin with, a punch so hard he gagged.
Grinding his teeth, he replied, “How much time do you think we have here? If the peasant count were to discover our plans, you, me, and the rest of us would be dead meat. The peasant royal has two dragons in his array, which one of us has two dragons? You, or do I now?”
He swung his sword while the rambling continued, “Which I’ve been saying, if you cannot control little Sweet-cheeks over here, then I’ll take over. And I assure you she will not be dead, that’d be a waste for such a beauty. She would be a good plaything to have around, but can’t guarantee that she’s not up for a little punishment.”
“Enough,” Babarn cut him off, “She took a stab from my arrow, the one laced with the Throat of the Silver Dragon, there’s not a lot left in her so save your strengths.”
“Oh, you mean her, the girl shot by an arrow laced with the Throat of the Silver dragon toxin, the one standing over there? Pardon me, Babarn, but your little relic of a bygone era over there sure doesn’t seem to work, does it? Or is it because of your amateur shooting skills?” Nobleman squad leader Fellock mocked.
Babarn was left speechless, taking a good look at the silver crossbow in his arm he too started to doubt its efficacy. The Throat of the Silver Dragon was his family heirloom, passed down for generations. It was rumored that the first count cut down a white oak tree only to find a crossbow in its center, one with magic power far exceeding most magic crossbows or even magic imbued heavyweight crossbows, one that was even supplemented with the ability of lifesteal.
This was a weapon famed throughout history and its battles, and this was the first time he had been able to wield it with the authority of the mantle as family heir, originally brought along for self-defense, but now it seemed to have left him in a demeaning position.
Babarn was left speechless, which in turn consolidated Fellock’s point, which the latter manipulated to his full advantage. He had decided to vent his anger on Babarn’s little beauty of a hostage, not to the extent of killing her, but keen on leaving her defaced.
His sinister intentions include stabbing her in the abdomen, leaving her in a position bound for a slow and agonizing death, yet would stay long enough to even meet the king before she goes cold.
With that in mind, he was rather enthusiastic to watch the sickly prisoner before himself gutted like livestock. Yet he was not ready for what was to come.
Before he could take a clear look at his captive, one of his men alerted, “Frellock, watch out!” Frellock was not in his wildest dreams expecting Scarlet to still be able to retaliate. Earlier when he was grabbing her by her hair and flinging her to the wall, he knew that Throat of the Silver Dragon did not lose its ability at all, but it was beyond him as to why the girl would still be able to stand, even when she was completely battered earlier on.
With the first warning, he was expecting an attack from Babarn at the back instead. Yet when he hastily turned behind, half furious that his own men would attack him over a foreign peasant.
All he managed to see was the inaction from Babarn, who was evidently watching what was in front, no, behind him as they spoke.
Frellock felt a piercing cold in his heart.
Which evidently marked his last. With a quick jab through the back of his heart, the Kirrlutzian Nobleman commander wriggled a little, his eyes wide, arms flailing in hopes of grabbing a certain something only to no avail.
Death quickly crept onto him like a cloaked knight in the dark, and there he went, collapsing on the ground, his mind blanking out for its last.
Under the glacier, was a long stretch of silence.
Just as everyone terrifyingly watched the Highland girl behind Frellock’s lifeless body, they were also dumbfounded by the attack stance that she had after she crawled back onto her two feet. The stance that she had, they could swear with their lives, was nothing they had ever seen before.
It was as if Scarlet had vanished from before them, and what was left on the ice, was ice cold Law.
This was that law.
When Scarlet raised her lance, she had no strength left in her, the Laws of that space manipulated the flow of her attack. As they ordered her to hit her target, hit her target she did.
Everyone was stupefied by the turn of events. Even Babarn was caught off guard, knowing now that Scarlet was not chosen at random, but that also meant he was not an idiot for trusting his heirloom.
“Johann, Messius, flank her, earn some time for me. But be careful, don’t let her get close to you!” Babarn shouted his orders.
Ovina stood by Scarlet, stoically watching onto the two Kirrlutzians on each side. Back in her days, the Kirrlutzians were still barbarians of the grasslands, the Inir people of Farnezain were even slaves of the Miirna people. To think one day in the future beyond herself that these humble Black Dwarfs would one day steal the limelight.
“The one on the left would arrive before the right, but you need not capture their moves, it’s all just for show. What you need to take note of are the various kinds of power.”
“Just like those distributed across the silver line, their size, direction, and purpose each were decided. So no matter the outcome, they can still be predicted. The moment they decide to act, the outcome is already decided.”
“This is how it is in the realm of ants. Now, let me teach you how a proper attack is dealt.”
“A real attack?” Scarlet, holding onto her lance, weaved left and right while gorgeously avoiding the attacks from the Kirrlutzian Nobles. Her strength was at its lowest, but she thankfully was under the guidance of Ovina.
Without even moving too much, she could comfortably evade the incoming attacks. Exactly like what Ovina had mentioned, the moment the Kirrlutzians attacked, she was already beyond their range of attack.
That was an immensely enlightening feeling, especially for a young girl that had been getting the shorter end of the stick all this while. It now seemed like they were playing a scripted game of rock, paper, scissors.
Scarlet could feel that this was not the first time she had witnessed an attacking style like this. Several times before, she had witnessed Brendel in similar scenarios, watching as the opponents’ sword arts were all within his expectations. It too seemed like his adversaries were intentionally drawing blanks, it was hilarious to watch.
And now she got to watch it from a first-person perspective.
The two Kirrlutzian noble commanders were furious, watching as a severely injured petite maiden making fools out of themselves, and not only did they not manage to deal any damage, it was horrendous and deeply insulting for them. It was as if they were engaged in a scripted battle sequence and they were intended to miss.
The bystanders, including Babarn, watching were dumbfounded. They surely knew their compatriots were not acting out a scene with Scarlet, but what they were watching was bizarre, to say the least.
Ovina silently watched, until all of a sudden she alerted Scarlet, “Close your eyes!”
Two longswords were coming right at Scarlet, and instinctively the Highland maiden shut her eyes. At that moment, a marvelous scene appeared. She “witnessed” within the darkness were silver lines, some floating and some vanishing. And amongst them were two, both extending towards her.
She instantly identified them.
The two longswords by the Kirrlutzian Nobles were as agile as sea serpents in the water, but in Scarlet’s field of ‘vision’ they were only two unidentified lines, and all she had to do was use them as a reference as she raised her lance, and…
Johann and Messius were astonished, watching their right hands numbed by her rend. They were unable to fathom how she could successfully guess where their attacks were headed.
“Next, how do you plan to attack?” Ovina took to clarify.
Scarlet witnessed the curved silver line and promptly thrust her lance to the origins of both silver lines.
“You plan to attack by trailing the route, are you confident of your deduction?”
Scarlet was taken aback, noticing that the silver lines had now begun to shift courses, and were blocking her attack route. She was aware that if she were to pursue the source of the attack routes the opponent would be able to intercept.
She stopped, and then further revised her attack points once or twice, yet no matter how she envisioned pushing ahead with her silver lines, her opponents were still able to clamp down on her attacks.
She couldn’t help but frown at her hypotheses.
What the Highland maiden wasn’t aware of, however, was that whilst she was in deep contemplation and frustration, her adversaries were drenched in a cold sweat. Johann and Messius were unable to wrap their heads around how the young woman had abruptly become this powerful. From her initial defense to counterattacking notably in a way completely foreign to them. If Scarlet were to pursue several more of these methodologies, they would have been dead by now.
Babarn noted their disadvantage and subsequently ordered the other two to join the attacking squad.
Even then, four perfectly abled militants facing off against an extensively injured Elemental Awakener and yet only managed to tie in a fight was unimaginable.
But Ovina was far from satisfied.
“You are still imprisoned by your pre-existing attacking thought process,” She shook her head, “The Azure Lance is the defender of the living, but to fulfill its full potential, you will have to break the rules.”
“Breaking the Law?”
“Without restricting your thoughts, try breaking your attack out from those primitive lines. The Line of Laws cannot be restricted in one plane,” Ovina added, “Just like when I told you to lurch your spear.”
Scarlet paused ever so slightly.
Then she withdrew her lance.
The next moment, Azure Lance, like a raptor prowled towards Johann. Johann was terrified, certain that his death had come for him, only to take a good look and realized there was no follow up to her attack, just plain directly at him.
He was dumbfounded but filled with glee.
This was the most basic lance attack he had ever seen, worse than that of a beginner.
Certain that the captive had now exhausted all her strength, hence leading to such gaping error, he was exhilarated. He reached out to his sword and went straight ahead to block with no intention of contemplating her next move. His goal was to wear her down, which he was positive would take hardly any time at all.
Just as he was thinking about the near future that he presumed was almost certain to happen, a clank was heard as his longsword blocked the opposing lance, but while it happened, the lance had also penetrated his chest, almost identical to that of Choroque’s.
His eyes were wide from disbelief, watching a recurring scene played out once again, yet it was as harmonious as ever. While he did manage to block the attack, it ultimately was not enough, and it was a price he had to pay with his life.
A sharp pain cut off his thought process as he fell into an endless abyss.