Chapter 42 - The Ancient
Aaron willed Helina out of the garden, and gave her a single order: "Fly us away as fast as you can!"
Before she could react, he glued the garden to her using a simple spell, then entered it.
The inside of the garden was an area of around a hundred meters of radius and three meters of height. While the inside of the spatial ring only had fog surrounding it, and no gravity, here there was a proper floor, made of earth, and the fog on the sides and ceiling was shaped like a cage, through which everything outside could be seen.
He appeared in the middle of the garden, which had almost two hundred different species of plants planted. Marcus and Sara were looking anxiously through the grates of the foggy cage.
Not paying them any mind, he sat on the spot, close to a couple of Redwarter Roses that had petals as big as his arm, took some leons out, and started absorbing mana.
He had to recover his mana quickly, or they would die.
Helina had been looking at the Herald's struggle from inside the garden and would've left the garden had she known how, when everything went dark. It wasn't just her vision, she couldn't feel anything, be it her mana or even her own body. Even thinking, her sense of being was absent, much like a state of dizziness, only she still existed in a way she couldn't explain.
Then, as suddenly as she entered the void, she was back. She felt such a great sense of welcoming from all around her as if the creation itself was celebrating her return to existence.
That's when she realized where she had been. She had been cut from spacetime and the very fact that she hadn't ceased existing when in a place devoid of the very concept of space was way being her comprehension.
Before she could think about it though, she felt her body being pulled and found herself falling down at high speed.
"Fly us away as fast as you can!" The Herald ordered before disappearing, probably into the garden.
Adrenaline shot through her. The ground was approaching too quickly! She did her best to focus on her mana and casting the only flying spell she knew.
Crane Gliding Through the Skies!
A big transparent pink crane made of mana appeared below her, between her legs. Mounting on it, she willed it to fly in the same direction the Herald had been flying, although she did so at half his speed. Sadly, that wasn't a spell intent on speed.
She didn't know why the Herald had left the current spacetime continuum, but from how wounded he had gotten from it, she could only conclude something even more dangerous was around, and she had no wish of seeing it.
Shadow One barely had time after detecting the incoming attack and close her armor helmet when the roar, and the attack within, hit her like a Hairless Multi-Horned Mammoth.
Her body was shot back at a great speed, parts of her core were wounded, and her very consciousness was having difficulties in keeping awake.
It took her a few moments to come back to herself, and when she did, she discovered she had hit a tree, went through it, and through two others, before she finally hit the ground, where she left the mark of her body.
Ten percent of her mana had disappeared just like that, pulled by the armor to keep her alive from both the attack and absorbing the fall damage. Some of the soul attacks had gone through the armor, yes, but that was the single weakness the armor had, and it had even greatly decreased the attack before it got to her core.
The first thing she did was expand her Mana Sense around and locating the now fleeing Prophetess. The boy was gone, probably inside the spatial treasure he had had on his waist and was now on the prophetess herself.
How the hell had he survived whatever hit her was a great mystery, but it made her happy. Happy for not attacking him before, since he clearly had a lifesaving emergency spell or treasure to rely on that might've allowed him to escape her; happy for it being revealed; and even happier for it not being absolutely safe, after all, the only reason for him to use the Prophetess to flee at half the speed as before was because he had most likely been heavily injured.
Now was the perfect time to kill him!
Not having detected whatever had attacked her, she shot at the Prophetess on full speed, before the attacker got to her. She still couldn't kill the boy, the Temple of Time was too powerful a backing, but she could get them away from there before killing him, and before he recovered.
It would even give her a great alibi; she had just saved the boy, so why would she have killed him?
Like a comet, she went towards the Prophetess.
That's when she saw it.
Helina was flying as fast as she could when the shadows covered the ground to her side.
She looked up and what she saw made her heart almost stop.
Aaron was focusing on healing and absorbing mana when he heard Marcus and Sara.
"By the Depths," Marcus said astonished.
"Immortals above," Sara whispered.
He looked outside, and he also couldn't help but speak, "Shit."
Shadow One watched as a dragon appeared from behind a mountain peak, flying towards them. It was huge, almost five hundred legs from head to tail, with hard red scales that glistered on the sun, and black and gold eyes filled with fury, that gave her the chills.
Despite its size, the dragon was flying way too fast. Not as fast as her, but close.
She hated herself for her previous plan. She had wanted to save Aaron to avoid suspicions when she killed him later, but if she hadn't already moved towards him, she would've been able to simply flee without an issue. After all, she didn't have to do her best to save anyone from a Quasi-Overlord Beast! Facing a Young Red Dragon, he would've died without a doubt.
Now, she was already committed. Anyone who looked back would be able to tell she had the time to get to the Prophetess and still attempt to flee without any issue. At least her original plan was still good, and he would die anyway.
Distracted by the dragon, the Prophetess only sensed Shadow One and turned back at the last second. By then, it was too late. As she passed by the Prophetess, Shadow One grabbed the spatial treasure that could hold living beings, forced the Prophetess inside with her will, and kept flying.
Straight towards the White Sea, the future tomb of Aaron Valdian!
Aaron had also been surprised by Shadow One when Helina appeared and instantly fell unconscious.
The Crusader hadn't been gentle when she willed Helina inside; since Helina hadn't been forewarned, she had instinctively resisted the Crusader, and the crash of will injured her.
He couldn't understand why the Crusader was saving them, but it was the worst situation possible. Helina might be able to bargain with the dragon – Aaron had a lot of knowledge that any beast would love to have, after all –, but he doubted Helina would be willing to negotiate. If she would, she would've already hinted on it in their days together.
So, he went back to doing the only things he could: absorbing mana from the coins and healing himself.
Meanwhile, he began elaborating a plan. A few minutes later, he hoped the dragon would chase them all the way to the White Sea, for his best plan counted on it, and his very life might depend on it.
Helina kept flying full speed ahead. The Young Red Dragon was a Quasi-Overlord Beast, yes, and an aerial one at that, but its natural flight skills were not top-notch. Red dragons were skilled in the fire element, not in the air one.
Besides, her flying spell had been taught to her by the Queen herself and was simply the best one available in the Crusade. Only Overlords using the same spell could fly faster than her!
Despite that, she couldn't get a lead on the dragon. It was a Quasi-Overlord after all, and it could brute force spending more mana in a worse skill to not allow her to flee.
She wasn't worried though. If it really followed her all the way to the White Sea, she would simply kill it too.
Fast as they were flying, it would only be a matter of a quarter of an hour or so to get there. The closer they got, the more excited she felt.
The White Sea... Oh, how she had missed that wondrous place.
Other flying beasts tried to get on her way, but she easily killed them all. The dragon trying attacking with new roars, but this time she had a mana shield around her that completely protected her.
The flying spell and the defense consumed some mana, but when she got to the White Sea – an endless blanket of salt covering the ground – she still had over half her mana remaining, and it immediately started refilling at a fast rate. He got only a little over a thousand legs into it, then stopped midair and turned to see if the dragon would follow her inside even after he felt the earth mana rushing into her from the salt.
She wasn't surprised when the enraged beast did. But she was surprised when it stopped its flight and roared. The clouds parted and a pillar of light came from the skies, piercing its head. Immediately after, a huge shockwave of energy came from the beast.
The dragon grew in real-time, getting twice its previous size at a ridiculously fast pace. Only someone who had ever seen something a thousand legs large fly could understand the sheer wonder that it was.
As it grew, its scales became brighter, and the black in its eyes was pushed by the gold until its eyes were like huge golden balls with black outlines.
The light pillar didn't disappear disappeared as quickly as it came, but its effects were everlasting.
Show Status, Shadow One thought as her body trembled.
Level: Overlord 
It had just leveled up. It was now an Overlord. She was dead.
There was only one thing she could do, now, detonate her core. She would die, but she would take the boy with her, and the now Mature Red Dragon wouldn't profit from killing her.
She regretted failing her maker, but it was better to die like that than to become her enemy's strength. Just as she was about to do it though, a voice came from the spatial treasure she was holding.
"We can kill it," the boy yelled from within, which converted to a kind of mosquito-like voice. "I have a formation to kill dragons!"
Shadow One's heart would've beaten fast if she had one. It was a trap, it had to be. A formation capable of killing an Overlord Beast? And a dragon on top of that? Dragons were on the top of the food chain, sometimes even in equal footing as humans, for a reason. How had he come in contact with such a formation, much less in the small Valdian Family?
But it was a chance. Her destruction would be a blow to the Queen. Not a big one, but not a small one either.
Her emotions battled her logical mind. Everything she knew about Aaron told her she had to ignore him and detonate her core. But her emotions...
Her emotions told her to cling to any hope of keeping living!
Humans died and reincarnated, or so they believed. At least they had souls that proved there was something more to them than mere matter, but she only had her core. When it detonated, that would be it. Everything she was would be just gone, erased from existence, impossible to go on in any form or manner.
Hating herself for her weakness, she spoke.
"Tell me what to do."
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I'm Ed, a writer of GameLit. So far I have released only two books, but I'm working on increasing this number by tens! No, by hundreds! Maybe thousands! xP
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