Fang Chu was a bit surprised by this turn of events. She’d heard that some barbarians ate the raw flesh of their opponents to acquire their strength, but it was her first time seeing it.
“Ah, that’s seventy-five gold!” exclaimed Ben.
His first instinct was to move forward and stop Eliot and Boro from continuing eating the heart, but he hesitated. The way the young man was acting right now was a bit scary. He didn’t know how Eliot would react if he tried to stop him. While Ben was at a loss of what to do, Liza put her hand on his shoulder and just shook her head.
“It’s better we let him calm down first,” she said.
For a moment, they were all spellbound watching the savage scene of the young man and his dragon feasting on flesh and blood. However, they were soon brought out of their reverie by a loud sound of something splinting and cracking somewhere behind them.
Liza, Fang Chu and Ben turned around just in time to see another ogre slamming the ground with her two hands. It was an eight meters tall female and she was about thirty meters away from them. If it wasn’t for the huge force which she slammed the earth with, it would almost seem like she was kowtowing to them.
“Curse you, Murphy!” complained a terrified Ben.
“What the hell is she doing?” asked Liza with a sense of unease.
Upon seeing this new enemy, Fang Chu was alarmed and entered on full alert. After concentrating her senses to the utmost, she could feel a strong flow of mana rushing underground towards their location.
[Damn!] she thought.
She took a huge breath and blue vein markings began to appear all over her skin. In the next moment, she grabbed Ben and Liza by their gambesons’ collars and threw them over to where Eliot and Boro were eating the ogre’s remains. She did it with ease, like she was throwing a pillow with each hand.
Liza and Ben were befuddled as they suddenly felt their vision spin and lost all sense of balance, direction and weight. Fang Chu rushed right after them, not wasting any time at all. Her usual beautiful and radiant complexion was marred with many blue wriggly markings and she looked at the ground with a serious expression.
Eliot and Boro ignored the dishevelled newcomers that crashed near them with a grunt. They continued feasting and roaring to the sky. Fang Chu arrived soon after and they were finally all within an arm’s reach of each other.
Extending her hand in the air, Fang Chu made a crystal orb appear in her palm out of nowhere. She then infused the item with a lot of mana before crushing it. A spherical and translucent barrier materialized around the group moments before the ground beneath them exploded.
A great number of earthen spikes pierced the ground and hit both the spherical barrier and a part of the dead ogre’s body. The monster’s torso was shredded and lacerated badly, while the group felt a huge impact hit them from below.
The spherical barrier was launched into the air at an angle and its light dimmed greatly. It was like all of them were trapped inside a glass marble that was launched to the skies by the flick of a finger.
This time it wasn’t just Liza and Ben who felt a sense of weightlessness and loss of direction. They were all rolling about inside the barrier, spinning and crashing on each other.
To the few brave souls that were exploring or fighting on Kolmio Ridge (and just happened to look at the forest’s direction at that moment), it looked like a flash of white light crossed the sky and crashed deep into the woods.
The barrier’s light was much dimmer after being hit by the underground assault and it finally lost all its luster when it hit the ground. The walls cracked open and dissipated, making everyone roll around on the ground due to the momentum.
The pot with the Dancing Sage sapling had already been broken when Liza was tossed by Fang Chu, but the plant was brought along with them inside the barrier. After spinning around and being squashed several times by different bodies, the herb was damaged. Yet, now that they landed, its roots, branches and emerald green leaves were all wriggling and swaying lightly. If Liza had noticed this behaviour, she would be shocked; but she’d other things to worry about right now.
“What, what the heck was that!” exclaimed Liza.
“Holly molly, we flew! We were in the air! What hit us just then? How? Why? What’s going on?” asked Ben with a husky voice.
Eliot was panting and holding his broken arm with a frown. After being shaken around for a bit he’d recovered his reasoning and was trying to remember what happened. The only thing he knew was that he was tired. He’d expended a great amount of energy in that fight.
He was not the only one. Liza sat down with difficulty and tried to piece together what had happened. This entire turn of events, including the earlier fight with the ogre, occurred in less than three minutes. It was understandable that their brains hadn’t caught up yet.
“Fang Chu! Who the hell are you?” asked Liza.
She got up and walked towards her employer who was doubled over a small distance away. Liza was under a maelstrom of emotions regarding this mysterious woman that hired them. She was feeling suspicious, furious and grateful all at the same time.
However, Liza’s mind drew a blank as soon as she saw Fang Chu’s condition. The read-headed woman was pale as a ghost, sweating a lot and coughing blood every few seconds. Fang Chu turned around and lay on her back, breathing roughly. She eyed the surprised Liza and gave her a weak smile.
“What’s wrong, Liza?” she asked trying to maintain her usual composure.
“Huh, I…” Liza was temporarily taken aback. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“Ha… Haha, I’ll be fine. Just let me rest for a spell.”
“What? Fang Chu is hurt? Where? Is there something I can do to help? What about the potion? Should we give one to her and one to Eliot?” asked a panicky Ben.
“It’s unnecessary. Save them for when you really need them. Just give some time to rest and I’ll be fine. Truly,” said Fang Chu.
“No biggie, I’m okay too. My arm is funny again, that’s all. It moves by itself, see? It kind of hurts though, hahaha.”
“Funny? Your arm is not funny, its broken! Stop wriggling it around!” exclaimed Liza. She turned around to look at Fang Chu again. “Are you sure you’re ok? Don’t you need anything?”
“Then I’ll go take care of Eliot, but we’ll need to have a talk once your condition improves.”
“Yes, I’m certain you’ve lots of questions,” said Fang Chu as she closed her eyes to take a brief rest.
“Boro, keep an eye out on the surroundings please. Neb, help me out here.”
Liza took Eliot’s gambeson off and had him lie down. She began to trace her fingers dexterously all around his body. From his calves, to his thighs, to his torso. Every now and then she would pressure down with her fingers at key points and ask Eliot some simple questions.
[A few cracked ribs, a broken arm and some ruptured blood vessels. Is that the extent of his injuries? Not that it doesn’t look bad, but I thought he was a goner after that attack!]
“Okay. I’ll help you put the gambeson back and we’ll immobilize your arm.”
With Ben’s help, Liza set Eliot’s arm straight and immobilized it by tying his sword sheath and a few wooden branches around his arm with a piece of rope. After that was done, she opened her medicine box and mixed two powders with some water and gave them for Eliot to eat.
“This is to help you recover your vitality and make some new blood. Take it.”
With the preliminary treatment on Eliot done, Liza returned to take a look at Fang Chu. The redhead said she was going to be fine, but Liza would rather keep an eye on her. If there were no signs of improvement during the ten minutes or so she was treating Eliot, Liza would try to diagnose her.
To Liza’s surprise however, Fang Chu was no longer coughing blood and her complexion was a good deal better. Her eyes were still closed, and she looked as if she was sleeping. It took another five minutes before she opened them again and smiled at Liza.
“My, were you worried?” she asked sweetly.
“First of all,” Liza interrupted brusquely.
Ben tensed up. He remembered that tone. It was the same one she used when she’d interrogated him after they’d just met. He pissed his pants then (but for a totally justifiable reason, he thought to himself).
“Thank you,” said Liza.
“Hahaha, no problem.”
“What happened to you just then? I’ve never seen a condition like that before.”
“Hum, how to explain it… to put it simply, I overexerted myself. You see, I’m a cripple. I suffered a heavy injury in the past and now not only can I not progress in my training, I’ll suffer a backlash every time I try to use anything close to my old level of strength.”
“You call yourself a cripple?!” exclaimed Liza and Ben almost in unison.
“You tossed two grown people through the air like they weighted nothing!” continued Ben. He felt it was absurd someone with that amount of power call themselves a cripple. Liza agreed with him, as she nodded her head seriously.
“Hahaha, just some brute strength. Nothing to be proud off.”