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A note from Wutosama

This novel is avilable for both Ebook format

Volume 1 Amazon (US) the book is in all markets as well.
Volume 2 Amazon (US) the book is in all markets as well.

Paperback version of this Novel will soon be avilable on Amazon.com
Volume 1 - https://www.royalroad.com/amazon/B093B2362J
Volume 2 - Coming soon pending Amazon Verification

The Saurian Conflict of '80 was the war that orphaned Alesia de Botton.

As a result, she had no recollections of her provincial parents, the family farm, or of her life pre-Awakening.

When she was a girl-child, she wondered if there were other surviving members of her bloodline. A few enquiries at the Tower's Divination section ensured her that there were none. The news was disappointing, but Alesia didn't mind, it was not the blood of the womb that she desired, but the convent of camaraderie.

That— and Alesia had her Master, Henry Kilroy, who had guided Alesia's way and shielded her from trouble the day she became his Apprentice. She had also found a new sibling— Gunther, on whose broad shoulders she could lean on in times of turmoil. Lately, she had also found a younger sibling in Gwen, who was troubled and unsure, giving Alesia a sense of fulfilment in reciprocating the care that Master and Gunther had given her.

And now, someone was threatening her family.

Alesia was blind with fury when she rode out on wings of flaming air. She reached the cloister in a matter of moments, inspecting the building for signs of her Master.

But there was nothing. No commotion, not a single indication of anything out of the ordinary.

Mayhaps she could 'excavate' a bit of the building and flush the assailants out? Alesia's heart was a taut bow, cutting a violin's string, pulling against her bosom with acidic anxiety.

She flew closer towards the building, testing the air with cinders.
A few of her motes sizzled.
As a veteran Combat Mage, she knew the signs all too well.
An illusion!
There was a glamour covering the damned building!

Alesia did not possess any immediate means of dispelling the spell. She needed an Abjurer like Taj for that, but her assistant was too far from Rosebay to be of assistance. At any rate, only a specialist of near-equivalent tier could be of help.

On the other hand, there were many ways one could force an illusion, such as directly attacking the caster or destroying a part of the illusion's foundation. Rosebay was a prestigious private school, full of nuns and schoolgirls, but Alesia had no time for hesitation.

She closed her eyes and willed herself to disbelieve the illusion. In her mind's eyes, a Firestorm brewed, ready to be unleashed should she fail to pierce the veil.

WHOOMP!
An ear-splitting crash rocked the cathedral's stained windows.
BOOM—
BO—BOOM—
BOOM—
More far-away explosion bloomed over the horizon. A dozen others followed in quick succession, forming sonic booms that displaced the low hanging clouds above.

Alesia turned her attention toward the source of the discordant clamour and felt her breath catching in her throat. The Shield Barrier! A semi-circle ring of rippling whitewater now churned where the ultramarine sky met the bean-green sea.

Comprehension dawned, bringing with it a mouthful of bile. Whatever was happening to those Shield Stations meant that she would be needed to repel the incoming forces of Mermen. It was unthinkable that those malicious fisheyes would forgo an opportunity as fortuitous as this.

At once, Alesia felt torn in twain. One half of her compelled to stay for her Master, the other half recognising the calamity to come. Such anxiety assailed her that her skin crawled as though assaulted by a Mermen Bloodworm.

A dozen Message spells bloomed beside her ears. Alesia allowed a few to connect.

"Alesia! It's Taj! The fucking Shield Station at Watson Bay just blew!"

"Yeah, I can see that."

"You can? Where are you now?"

"I am with Gwen and Paul at Rosebay."

"Thank God! Get down here! We're going to need you! If this is anything like the Coral Sea; we're going to get swarmed!"

"Alesia!" Paul's Message interjected with a hollow echo, indicating that he was indoors. "I am with Magister Ferris, I can teleport us closer towards the Shield Station, or we can try to access the Tower through the Magister's Glyphs, what's your situation? You need to get down to the coastal fortifications!"

Alesia hovered, the words caught in her throat.

"Alesia!"

"Alesia! We need you to..."

"Alesia, where are—"

Her companion's urging grated her ears. Alesia wanted to throw a Fireball into the message spell. No shit she needed to get down to the coastal batteries! She couldn't go, however. How could she leave when her Master was still in danger? For reasons both public and personal, she had to make sure Henry was alright. The Tower cannot be without its Master. Besides, Gunther should be taking care of the city.

"Shut up, Taj! I can't fucking think!" Alesia snapped, screeching out her frustration. This fucking illusion!

Her Abjurer was taken aback by the vitriol in her voice.

"Allie, what's happening on your end?" he inquired worryingly.

Alesia sighed. It was far too hard to explain the comings and goings when she had no idea what was happening. Chiding herself, she took a deep breath to calm her frayed nerves, then composed herself.

"Something's happened to Lord Kilroy. He was attacked... I can't leave until I know that he is safe."

"Master Kilroy is—" Taj too, composed himself.

"Will the Tower come to our aid?" He asked after a moment. Without the floating battle station pounding down the Leviathan and the Krakens, there was little hope that the military and the citizens' militia could hold the coastal line.

"I can't say," Alesia intoned with a voice burdened with frustration. "I'll join you as soon as we can."

"Alright, I'll try and contact the other Magisters. Good luck."

"Find the Militia instead. There's just Walken and Ferris left in Sydney, and Ferris is here in Rosebay, trying to evacuate the kids. Get the militia to convince Walken to send the Tower over to the East Coast. Tell him that our Master will give his consent. Ferris should consent. If it's two against three, there's nothing Walken can do to stall…"

"..." No reply came.

Alesia stopped speaking. The last two orders she had dictated no longer had that resonating feeling of being converted into mana signals.

"Taj?"

There was silence, not the quiet that indicated an absence of sound, but the static tinnitus of a Message spell that was feeding back upon itself.
Alesia shook her device and activated it again. The spell fired, but nothing happened. She felt a sliver of ice moving its way up her spine.

How could Message spells be disabled? That was impossible. The only way it could happen was to have someone activate the Tower's Divination Nullifier. That was itself beyond the boundaries of possibility, for the only her Master had the command glyph. There were several conditions required for the key's ownership to change. Firstly, the city must be under siege, and secondly, the Master or the Tower must expire.

Alesia's breathing grew laboured.
Her eyes turned toward the buildings below.

"Flames, heed my call..."

She began to summon an Empowered Firestorm, a tier 7 spell of mass destruction.

Alesia was confident that the caracal spirit would take care of innocents caught in the blast, and if not, then she was willing to take all responsibility. The architecture should be able to withstand the flames, but as for any iconography or texts, they would have to be sacrificed for the greater good.

 

 

Gwen watched the shimmering scale on Sufina's neck.
Her mythical object adhered without incident.
Immediately, she could feel the transfusion of vitality. An inch from her face, the shrivelled body of the Dryad shuddered as a drowned woman taking a renewed breath.

Sufina moved her limbs, making a sound of crackling bark as she lifted her head and opened her amber-clear eyes, now filled with darkness.

"Elizabeth!" Sufina cried out, her voice the cracking of hollowed trees. "She's alive!"

Gwen and the girls glanced toward one another with eyes that were full of alarm and disbelief. Debora, especially, grew white as a sheet.

"We have to help him!" Yue cried out, heedless of Sufina's explosive revelation. Elvia nodded beside her.

"No! We have to get away, as far as we can!" Debora ventilated, her chest rising and falling irregularly.

"What the fuck are you on about!" Yue snapped at their ungrateful companion with incredulous loathing. "That's the Master of the Tower! My Grand Master! If something happens to him, we're all fucked!"

"Gwen, you tell them!" Debora whimpered. "We can't stand up to Elizabeth! We're just students!"

"Who is Elizabeth?" Whetu was confused by the polemic reactions. "Whoa—!"

A flash of Conjuration mana surrounded Sufina, then the Dryad disappeared, either summoned to Henry's location or displaced back into her pocket dimension. Either way, it seems that the scale had done something, and Henry was once again in control of his Spirit.

Gwen felt her chest tighten. She had to find her Master as soon as possible while also ensuring her friends were safe.

"She's a Void Mage like me," Gwen explained. "She's got an old grudge against Henry. She is a Combat Mage who is both insane and dangerous."

"Jeezus." Whetu swallowed. Gwen was already impressive enough; this Elizabeth sounded like a calamity.

"BUT— Debora's right." Gwen felt her heart sinking and an acid-reflux rise in her throat. "You all need to go!"

Yue and Elvia regarded Gwen's affirmation of Debora's cowardice with surprise.

"This is the same Elizabeth you told us over Christmas?"

"The very same, there's nothing you can do," Gwen replied without hesitation. "Go find Magister Irene, go find Paul, they should be setting up Teleportation Circles in the catacombs. You all need to get out of here."

Gwen tried to Message Alesia again, but her Message Device was showing up blank.

The girls, including Whetu, began to move towards the cathedral where hundreds of schoolgirls were making headway. Yue stopped when they reached the Cathedral gates, preventing Gwen from separating from the party.

"And where do you think you're going?" she demanded.

"Yue, please just go. I need to find Magister Kilroy." Gwen knew they'd come to this junction. Her voice was begging for an outcome that she knew was unlikely.

Yue's face took on a grimace. "If you want us to remain as friends - you'd shut up and let me follow."

"I am coming too!" Elvia was likewise putting up her best-unflustered face, even though her pale complexion suggested otherwise. Her small, white expression looked entirely determined, her warm blue eyes doubtlessly committed.

"Me too." Whetu shrugged, grinning. "How can I call myself a warrior otherwise?"

There were a few seconds of hesitation, but Debora too stood in line with the others. "Anything for you."

"Guys…" It was a moving scene, of course, but they had little time for sentimentality right now. Gwen knew that every second counted and she wasn't about to waste it giving a speech.

"Thanks," she replied stoically; there was nothing more that needed to be said, then pushed on the door.

BA-BLAM!

Their moment of courage was short-lived. There was a sudden groaning as an unimaginable force smashed against the double doors, then in the next few moments, the wooden barrier erupted inward a clang and threw them to the floor. Were it not for Whetu's instantaneous shielding, Gwen and the girls would have been blown away.

Gwen pushed away from the debris, the clearing flames and smoke revealed the outline of Henry, Sufina and Alesia squaring off against the alien figure of a woman with the palest skin Gwen had ever seen.

The unadulterated force of primal nature coursed like a violent flash flood through Henry's body, dispelling the illusory Enchantment that had crippled his mind. His energy was of such purity that it instantly bloated the lamprey-leech like creatures attached to his body, forcing them to erupt into shadow and ichor.

"Sufina!"

The Magister's follow-up was instant.

His Dryad manifested beside him with a flash of silver.

Instantaneously, drawing upon the mana of her secret island Grot, the Dryad expanded into a mass of lashing tendrils and cruel barbs that flared out in all directions, both shielding Henry and lashing Elizabeth.

The sudden change had caught the Void sorceress unaware; a dozen barbs lacerated her flawless skin before an oily void shield consumed the tendrils digging into her flesh. Though Henry's summons lacked the draining abilities of the Void, the high-tier Dryad possessed a parasitic ability that was no less terrifying than lampreys.

But the battle between the ex-lovers did not immediately erupt. There was a history between them that could not be resolved with mere violence.

Henry regarded the small woman before him, her skin flawless and as white as fresh snow; her lips a dash of red paint across two pressed slices of vibrant cherry.

"Why?" He ached to know the truth. If the woman wanted revenge, she could have come after him anytime. She knew Henry well enough to understand that he was more than willing to face her alone if she had so desired.

"Does it matter?" Elizabeth replied in that voice of hers that was alluring and nostalgic at once. "The Shield Wall is down. The Mermen are coming. Your city is doomed."

To his opponent's surprise, Henry appeared neither angry nor upset.

"Lizzie, there is nothing to be afraid of, not anymore," Henry replied earnestly. "I am the Master of the Tower now. I can protect you. This place, Sydney, it's far from London."

Elizabeth's face took on an expression of pure mockery.

"You're such a Romantic, Henry. I loved that about you."

"You don't have to run anymore, Lizzy, I can help."

His breath caught when Elizabeth cocked her head demurely and fluttered her baby-blue eye. She used to do that, in their youth. He recalled it as clearly as yesterday.

"Vortex!"

His wife's answer manifested as a growing pinpoint of darkness that swallowed all light, expanding between them.

"Force Cage!"

Henry's counterspell formed a glowing six-point cage around the darkness, completely isolating the vortex's power to engulf the space it encompassed.

His wife glared at Henry coldly.

"Lizzy, listen to me. Don't do this."

"It's too late, Henry. It was too late the moment I awoke to the Void element, and you didn't stop me. I was naive like you once, but no more. I know what my Path is now, and you are an obstacle that I must cross to gain my place in the world."

"No, your path is destruction," Henry retorted bitterly, his voice desperate but growing stronger, his old skin becoming supple with vital energy. Beside him, Sufina had assumed her full-sized shambling form, a mass of cruel tendrils that tasted the air and menaced Elizabeth hungrily. "And after Sydney? What place can you go?"

"A place you could not even begin to understand." Elizabeth smiled secretly. "I would be happier if you opted to join me instead, Henry. Abandon your Tower. Abandon these useless NoMs and your mewing, bleeding-heart Mages. What do you say?"

"You know that's not possible." Henry was beginning to gain an inkling of what Elizabeth was suggesting, and the very thought of it was utterly insane. "Lizzy, you're mad!"

"From my perspective, it is you and your kind who are deranged and naive," Elizabeth retorted. "How long do you think you can hold back the tide? History waits for no one, not even the mighty Henry Kilroy."

Henry's breathing slowed.
It was then that he noticed that neither was his Message spells going out nor were new ones coming in. The long-range Message system was down, and it could only mean one thing.

"What have you done?!" Henry glared at his wife.

"Your ally, Magister Walken, is giving us a helping hand." Elizabeth giggled mockingly. "While you were out, he has helped himself to your little housing project."

"Lizzy!" Henry felt the anger in him rise with the bile in his throat. It was right that she harkened after him, it was okay that she wanted satisfaction, but only from him! The Tower, the city, all those innocents! Elizabeth would stop at nothing! He knew now— Mark had said as much. He felt such disappointment that not even a sliver of the woman he loved remained. For so long, Henry had imagined that his wife was merely afraid, paranoid, incapable of controlling her desires, yet here was living proof that she had something far more significant in mind. What Henry'd thought was self-preservation was merely the precursor to something far more malignant.

"Morden's Blade." Elizabeth's invocations manifested far quicker than he recalled, a testament to the number of innocents she had Consumed. Besides her, an obsidian blade of void-matter formed in mid-air, hovering like a grim sentinel.

"Force of Nature!"

With a grand gesture from Henry, Sufina became a tidal wave of tendrils that covered the floors and walls of the enclosed space of the small shrine.

"Firestorm!" came the distant sound of a manifesting spell from outside the shrine.

B-BLAM!

Orange flames broke through into the intimate space of the shrine, turning the doors into flaming splinters.

"Master! Are you alright?"

Alesia's flaming form appeared just outside, both hands radiant with marigold mana channelled from the Plane of Fire.

"So this is how it's going to be, husband?" Elizabeth demanded bitterly, as though she was in the midst of a family feud. "You going to gang up on me with another woman?"

It was the first time Alesia had seen Elizabeth, whom she had only heard from the stories.

"Allie. Focus!" Henry barked. "She's dangerous!"

"How dare you harm the Master!" Alesia recovered within the blink of an eye. "I am going to turn you into cinders, you ungrateful bitch!"

Elizabeth's face was full of loathing.

"Is this the sort of personage you now socialise with, Henry?"

Henry no longer responded to Elizabeth's taunts. Sensing a spell welling up within his Apprentice, he matched Alesia's cadence so that they could double-strike Elizabeth by sandwiching her between them.

"Sufina!"
"Disintegrate!"
"Umbra EGG!"

A hundred tendrils lashed out toward Elizabeth as a Void shield surrounded her. Likewise, the red beam of destructive energy launched from Alesia was consumed by that black mass without penetrating a single inch of its uncertain thickness.

Below Elizabeth, a mass of leech-like worms fell from her sphere of darkness and made for Henry and Alesia, their lamprey's mouths opening to discharge their claw-tipped tongues.

"I don't believe it!" Henry marvelled, unable to forgo his unbidden academic curiosity. "She's got a Void-element Spirit!"

"Shit!" Alesia swore. "Fire Ball!"

The erupting flame took out a good chunk of the creatures, but the dripping mass continued to grow in strength.

Sufina's tendrils shot out and pierced the things, but many of them instead latched onto her vines, draining her vitality and causing her to scream maddeningly. Elizabeth had come prepared - Henry's rare and distinct element faired terribly against his wife's.

"Master! I'll take care of this! You need to retreat at once and go back to the Tower! The Mermen are coming! "Alesia warned Henry desperately.

"You can't handle her!" Henry's voice was coarse.

The mass of leech-creatures was pouring out the door now, far too numerous for the two of them to handle. If the void-spawn were to make it to the other Mages, or the students, then the damage would be incalculable. Even how, Henry felt the leeches draining his mana. He could also sense the source of life that had awoken Sufina weakening, meaning that he would soon be back to his old decrepit self.

Maintaining their barrage, the two of them levitated just above the ground, out of reach of the maggot-like swarm of darkness that was menacing them.

"She's feeding off Sufina," Henry cursed. "Alesia, give me a wide-range persistent AOE. Fill the quad with fire!"

Alesia nodded affirmatively and began a long chant.

A silver of dark energy shot from the black sphere; the void blade pierced through the air with a shrieking, bloodthirsty madness.

Alesia blocked the first pass, but the returning strike easily penetrated her flame shield. Were it not for a well-timed tendril from Sufina; the void blade would have eviscerated her. Thankfully, the experienced Combat Mage did not let a little near-death experience disrupt her spell.

"Maximised Flame Burst!"

A torrent of flame descended from the sky, where an open portal to the Elemental Plane of Fire fed a blazing tornado into the quad, scorching the stones and setting fire to everything that was remotely flammable. The grass instantly wilted, the fountain's waters evaporating with such rapid expansion that the stonework exploded. The hot air generated from the spell was such that it blew into the windows and the doors, splintering the wood and setting fire to the remains.

Within this raging inferno, only Henry and Alesia remained unscathed.
Alesia grated her teeth as she channelled her mana, pouring everything she had to sustain the spell and maintain its destructive energy. Already the sandstone's surface was suffusing, sheets of materials falling away as the silica of its exterior began to melt and liquify.

Within, the dark creatures that had attached to Sufina were obliterated in an instant, eradicated by the cleansing flames from the Plane of Fire. After the initial impact, the radius of the spell began to decrease.

"Alesia! Master!"

A familiar cry called out from the obliterated double-gate.
Alesia and Henry turned to see Gwen, Yue, and the rest of the team at the stone pillars.

"You little fools! Run!" Henry shouted at his youngest Apprentice.

As if sensing Henry's alarm, a black blade erupted from the dark oily film of Elizabeth's shield, this time flying toward the students.

"Shield!" Whetu instantly reacted by creating a multi-layered Punamu shield. Just as he had experienced with Gwen's bolts, the blade's cutting edge was vorpal but had little penetrative power against his latticed structured green stone. It bit through the first few layers with ease, but perhaps because it had not expected an Abjurer used to Void Magic, the blade stopped an inch from Whetu's nose.

"Lightning Tentacles!"

Gwen incanted her spell expertly, just as Henry had taught her.
A mass of blue-white tentacle appeared from thin air and began to lash Elizabeth's Void Shield mercilessly, ripping away chunks of dark, shell-like void matter.

"Earth Spike!" Debora joined in.

"Flame Storm!" Yue cast her highest-tier spell, the tier 4 variant of her Master's opus.

"Bless!" Elvia threw in her lot, doing what little she could, every bit of damage counted in a mass-melee. "Aid!"

Alesia kept her spell's epicentre concentrated on Elizabeth. The whole building was now heating up, cracking and groaning ominously.

Henry turned his attention back towards Elizabeth. His students were too naive. Against a caster of Elizabeth's level, there was little a gang of low-level Mages could do.

"See you on the other side, hubby," Elizabeth's voice teased the Mages. There was a burst of darkness as she activated a volatile Teleport. Henry erected a sphere of tendrils to shield his students.

"Sufina! Find her!"

Sufina's tendrils reacted far faster than their mortal eyes, seeking out a space above them in the open air.

"Dark Rain!" Elizabeth's departure wasn't without a parting gift.

A spray of ink cascaded down upon toward the quadrangle, consuming stone and flames with equal hunger.

"Whetu!" Gwen shouted. The main building shielded the students, but Alesia and Henry remained in the open.

"On it!"

A semi-circle of Punamu formed over Alesia and Henry's head, rapidly depleted by the ink-like spray of dark light from Elizabeth's hands. It wasn't enough to shield the pair but gave them enough time to activate Dimension Door and escape.

Sufina's tendrils formed a net that prevented the rest of the dark energy from reaching the group. Henry cautiously raised his head and saw Elizabeth now floating in mid-air, a wisp of darkness about her white body.

How was the woman capable of activating so much void energy at once! Why wasn't she suffering from the lingering effects of life-drain?
He watched her lips move, incanting her next spell.

Gwen and the girls were still flinging hapless spells at their assailant.

"O HELL!" He realised what Elizabeth was about to cast. It wasn't a spell he'd expected, as his wife had been both defending and attacking them with high-tier spells for the last few exchanges. In his recollection, Elizabeth should have been long-drained of vitality by now.

With a swift mental command, Henry lashed out with Sufina's tendrils and pulled his students towards him.

"MAXIMISED Force Cage!"

The offensively imprisonment spell had another use other than it's intended design. When used defensively, it was capable of negating most AOE spell effects. Forming a rectangular glyph with his hands, Henry encased the lot of them in his Force Cage, just as Elizabeth's coup de grâce descended.

Sufina leapt back into her pocket dimension. In the chaos of magical energies, Gwen saw the scale fall to the ground half-buried in the rubble.

"Blade Barrier!"

Dark arcs consisting of bible-black blades materialised from thin air and whipped into the Force Cage with the force of a thresher-engine, leaving inky streaks of darkness across its invisible panes.

"Master! Are you alright?" Gwen and Alesia both turned to Henry, whose face was ashen and pale.

Henry knew that the stored energy within Gwen's scale was at its limit. The vitality taken from it to refuel Sufina and empower him in his moment of weakness proved to be too much even for the vital energy stored within the scale of a mythic-class magical creature.

Henry watched the Blade Barrier and its void-like energies whipping away at his Force Cage. There was little they could do until the spell was over. Thankfully, there was little Elizabeth could do against them as well. A signature variant, his cage was far too robust to be destroyed by Disintegrate, and it was immune entirely to Dispel Magic.

"Gwen, Alesia, thank you for your assistance." He leaned his battered body upon the shoulders of the two girls. When Henry spoke again, he was breathless with fatigue. "We must make haste to the Tower. It is vital for the defence of the city. Where is Gunther?"

"He should be in the Tower…" Alesia replied. "I don't know why, but the Divination Jammer is cutting all our long-range communication."

"Walken." Henry took a second to recompose himself, his eyes forming two thin slits. "I don't know what he's up to, but he must in control of the Tower's operative systems."

"Can we teleport in?" Alesia inquired worriedly.

Henry nodded.

Around them, the Blade Barrier was coming down. When the mayhem of dark blades finally ran its' course, they were in a courtyard with a battered cloister that was barely held together by century-old architectural ingenuity. The garden was either utterly wilted or otherwise violently tossed and uprooted. Deep gouges were cut into the stoneworks, as though a mining engine had rampaged through the ancient stoneworks.

"Detect Magic. Detect Evil." Gwen felt no desire to hide her abilities at a time like this. His Apprentice was the only Diviner here, and she could either keep pretending to be clueless or be of actual use.

"I think we're clear, Master." She observed. "I don't feel any void manifestations near us."

The others turned to face Gwen with eyes that were full of question.

"Not now, guys." Gwen felt the shimmering panes of force fade around them. She knelt, moving her slender fingers across the pavement, brushing aside the crushed and broken rubble until she found the scale. Thankfully, it was still intact. It's shimmering hue, however, was no more.

"Master, shall we go?"

Henry nodded weakly, no longer possessing the energy to speak.

"We'll go to the cathedral and find Ferris. She can use her native Divination abilities to empower the portal to the Tower." Alesia quipped.

"Won't that put us in more danger?" Gwen enquired a little troublingly. "Doesn't this Walken have control of the Tower right now?"

"Master?" Alesia turned to Henry.

Their Master shook his head.

"Not while I am alive. Walken may have gotten into the nucleus, but all the auxiliary Glyphs remain slaved to myself and all the surviving Magisters."

As the girls lacked the strength, Whetu volunteered his back, and the girls helped Henry onto the gigantic young man's shoulders.

"I'll be sure to thank your Master properly— if we survive this," Henry remarked to the Maori youth.

"Sweet ass, Magister, no worries," Whetu quipped. "I at your service."

"Can we trust Ferris, Master?" Alesia questioned uncomfortably.

"She'll make the right choices, don't you worry," Henry assured her. "I don't know what Walken is up to, but it is our goal to disable him and limit his access. Not to mention we'll need Ferris even to access the Tower at this point."

"Grand Master, what can we do to help?" Yue made a sharp salute. "We'll follow you anywhere, sir, if it means saving the city."

Henry surveyed the students before him.

They would meet up with Ferris and her team, half a dozen Maguses, a dozen Senior Mages, and a capable team of young mages like Gwen.
Would it be enough to take down Walken from inside the Tower? Henry considered their options. If they played their cards right, they could probably just make it.

BWAAAAH— BAWAAAAH—

Right as the Magister of Sydney was about to say something to raise the student's spirits— an alarm cut across the school grounds. A long siren split across the school's courtyard.

"Fuck!" Alesia gnashed her teeth. "We got incoming!"

"Master?" Gwen turned to the old Magister, but Henry was barely holding onto consciousness.

"Defend the school children… find Ferris…" he spoke softly, his breath enfeebled and his voice a whisper. "She won't help… if you don't defend the children…"

Gwen and the gathered crew turned to face the coast. There was a crested wave, a dozen meters in height, rapidly approaching from the sea.
Gwen had no idea what it was; nor did any of the girls. Whetu had seen it before though, and Alesia knew the sight all too well.

"Shit!" she cursed. "I should have known that stupid bitch wouldn't have just retreated."

"We up shit creek without a paddle, hey?" Whetu noted expertly.

"What is that thing?" The others asked, the incredible sight of a six-storey wave in locomotion assaulting their logic. They all had an inkling, but to think they would see such a thing in the protective confines of the city itself was something none of them could have imagined.

"That—" Alesia waved her hand across the ground. An assortment of battle garbs, bandoleers of potions, and single-use scrolls littered the floor. "— is a Siege Breaker Kraken, and from the looks of it, it knows where it's headed."

"Headed here?" Elvia asked an obvious question.

There was no need for an answer.

 

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