The best time to attack is either when the sun is about to rise or set.
'Why is that so?' Elaine asked. She was a magician, not a strategist, so she asked.
'Because,' Dunnford explained, 'That's the cycle time between the shift of night and day. It is often a misunderstood concept that the best moment to attack is at night time, hoping that the enemy would be less alert compared to day. In truth, guards of the night are as vigilant as day. So, the best time to attack is when one shift is about to replace another as the previous guards would be tired and lax, while the new guards would still need to collect their attention as they had just began.'
'I see,' Elaine admitted that his explanation made sense.
In actuality, Elaine didn't want to wait for such opportunity and instead would like to just launch an immediate attack to the enemy's main base. However, she decided that it was better to be safe than sorry this time. Elaine, Ray, and Dunnford had attacked many bases but there was no sign of Extinct Formulae Magic user. Meaning: they should be there now in their final base, their main base.
Elaine wanted to avoid a second defeat and increase the success rate of her victory as much as possible: by waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike at their base so that she would save stamina. She couldn't afford getting defeated from the same person twice. If she did, she wouldn't be able to show her face to her disciple, as she would simply be an embarrassment of a teacher.
Ray too wanted to rush in without waiting, however, he also knew of the consequences of such action. It was to be kept in his mind that he wasn't in peak condition. He was still recovering from the damage that Tatz gave and his movement was still hindered.
'Speaking of which, Freya can use light healing magic doesn't she?' Ray asked Elaine.
'... Funny that I never recall telling you that,' Elaine remarked.
'I did some investigations. Later on I found that she carries the title "Child of Light".'
Child of Light was a title for people who were born with light magic. Seeing how one couldn't simply invoke light magic, light element was considered to be under the category of Special Magic. Usually, to wield light, one must be born fortunate to be able to. Light magic was so rare, that people who had it from birth were titled Child of Light.
'Why didn't she offer to use it for me?' Ray continued as Elaine was silent. 'I don't think that she doesn't trust me.'
'... Why don't you ask her yourself?'
'I'm just being considerate. I'd rather be safe and ask you instead. I'm just cautious since there are lots of reasons why people don't or can't use magic. There's this possibility that she falls under the "don't" and turns out to have mental trauma. So I'm asking you.'
Elaine didn't immediately trust Ray. While he sounded like a gentleman with such reasoning, it also sounded as if he made that reason up. But, Elaine thought that mental trauma sounds plausible.
Elaine never knew why Freya couldn't use her Special Magic anymore. It was still a mystery to Elaine, an unsolved mystery. Along with the inability to use Special Magic, it also seemed to her that there was a change in Freya's personality too, something which Elaine was still investigating till now. Other than to protect Freya, her other reason to join her journey was to keep a close eye on her. Something felt off to her and she couldn't shake that feeling away.
Mental trauma seemed reasonable, but at the same time unreasonable. It explains the course of events conveniently, but what sort of traumatic event did she even experience in a day? One day Freya was the Freya which Elaine knew and the next day she was just different. Not to mention that she was suddenly able to use the sword...
That was her biggest change. Her sudden mastery of the sword. A crucial point which made Elaine think that there was an impostor posing as her. However, Elaine had used her magic to check on her to find nothing wrong with her. Truly a mystery.
'She said she couldn't use her magic,' Elaine finally answered Ray's question.
Good question. Why? I wish I know. 'I haven't the slightest idea. Maybe you're right, maybe it's mental trauma. I don't know for sure.'
'Master Ray, Miss Elaine, be ready,' Dunnford interrupted. 'They're about to change guarding shifts. We'll soon have our chance to strike.'
'Finally,' Ray said with satisfaction.
'About time,' Elaine was tired of waiting.
After the whole ordeal is done, I will investigate on Freya further, Elaine thought. But for now, I'll need to focus on the task at hand.
Elaine chanted an enhancement magic which would boost Dunnford and Ray's performance in battles. Enhancement magic was a convenient support magic for her as it uses a low amount of mana and was effective for good fighters. Not to mention, she could reverse the effect of her magic to worsen enemy's performance in battles. Effective for a low amount of mana. The right magic for the right job.
'I will conduct the standard procedure before engaging by briefly reminding us of our objectives,' Dunnford said. 'Although out initial objective was Adventure of Girome volume 3, it seems that along the way things happened and now our objective is to beat Extinct Formulae Magic users. It is important to know that our enemy aren't exactly easy to beat, as both of you had suffered a loss fighting them. Thus, it is crucial to save stamina to deal with them. Not to mention, we will eventually have to fight against the leader of Skulls, who is said to be stronger than the 3 generals combined. We get in there, deal with enemy as efficiently as possible, and finish our objectives: beat the Extinct Formulae Magic users and get the books.'
Ray and Elaine nodded. The opportunity to strike was there and they were ready to launch an assault.
'Ray,' Elaine called.
'What?' Ray looked at her, curious.
'It's just that-- I still plan to bury you in a desert. So if you die, make sure I can find your corpse,' Elaine said something so wicked with an angelic smile.
'We both know that's not going to happen, not even in your dreams. Now, try and make yourself useful magician. Oh wait, that's not happening.'
'Um...' Dunnford added. 'I don't think this is the right tim--'
'Says the burden.'
'You're the burden.'
'Why don't we see who get the stolen books first? We'll see which of us is the burden.'
Dunnford sighed. At least they still remember the objective. 'Master Ray, Miss Elaine, it's time; let's go!'
The Silver Arrow marched through Skulls' main base from the entrance. The timing to strike was right, so there was no need to use a sneak attack or the like. The main point of a sneak attack was to cause confusion; and striking during the time when the guards were most lax should be enough to cause confusion.
With Ray leading the way, piercing through the front was an easy feat to do. To the two bandit guards which held the entrance, Ray inflicted small yet disturbing wound with his agility to throw them off balance. To which, Dunnford who was behind him would finish the offset enemies. By finish, he didn't mean killing, just rendering the bandits immobilized. Dunnford had seen many unnecessary bloodshed as a knight and his principle was to not kill unless if he was forced to. Ray and Elaine both seemed to respect his wish as they too haven't killed any bandits ever since arriving to Arkef.
Ray paved the way with his sword and wind magic which Dunnford taught. He was enhanced by Elaine's support magic and was piercing the bandits like a swift arrow. Dunnford protected their magician, Elaine, and she followed behind.
More bandits tried to attack them as they got deeper and deeper into the base. Unfortunately for the bandits, the Silver Arrow got the solution to their attacks: the way they solved the problem was by using a repeating pattern. Ray would give them small wounds which will offset them and Dunnford would land the finishing blow. Elaine would only need to follow them and focus on the support magic. There was no hardships in their attack and everything was easy. Too easy...
There were only 2 possible outcomes when something went too smoothly: either the mission was actually just easy or something was going on in the background. Now that Dunnford thought about it, the number of bandits inside the main base wasn't as much as the other bases they have destroyed. Could they have mistaken a minor base for their main base? Not possible. Then why was it that there were only a small amount of bandits inside the main base? They attacked as if they knew that they would be beaten. As if they had hidden intention. Like a bait to lure them in... Into what?
'Master Ray, Miss Elaine, I request time out,' Dunnford wasn't liking the situation.
'What for?' Ray asked.
'Something seems odd here. Everything seems like a tra--' The four walls of the hallway around Ray started to glow with inscriptions. The symbols were something which Dunnford could read, but there was no time for him to think of what that Formulae Magic was for. Instinctively, he grabbed Ray's collar and pulled him with all his strength backward to safety. Because of that action, Dunnford couldn't dodge the magic which was being cast.
The symbols which were glowing flew off the walls and stuck to Dunnford's body. If it was an offensive magic meant to cause harm, then Dunnford would be fine as his Special Magic would make him invincible to attacks. However, he feared that the magic would have other effects, one which would prove to be effective against him: a sealing type.
I can't move... Dunnford wanted to say, but he couldn't utter the words.
He was solid from top to bottom because of the magic. Speaking was out of the question, as he found himself unable to do the simple act of blinking. He fell to the ground with a fixed position. His body was as rigid as a statue.
'It's a simple sealing-type Formulae Magic, I can break this easily by tweaking the symbols,' Elaine said. Before she was able to break the magic however, a knife was travelling towards her and Elaine had to employ her defensive magic.
Ray who was distracted by the knife almost didn't see a deadly punch coming towards him. Elaine was distracted and her support magic was gone. Ray wasn't as nimble as before. Although it was painful to move his body, he tried to evade the punch with a sway to the side. The punch barely hit him and it plummeted deep to the wall behind him. He noticed that the hand had tattoos, symbols which he couldn't read. Extinct Formulae Magic.
Elaine looked at the direction from where the knife was thrown. She saw a tanned woman with long white hair, her body fully covered with tattoos. Elaine was overcame with joy, she was the person responsible for beating Elaine a few days ago. Elaine was happy, as she could have her revenge battle. Her opponent lunged towards her; again it seemed she had no intention of giving her any chance of unleashing magic. I'll play your game.
Ray took his distance from his assailant. In the dimly lit hallway, he saw a tanned man with short white hair, those Extinct Formulae Magic inscription on his body struck him the most. Chance had shown itself: for him to once again fight an Extinct Formulae Magic user. Although, he hasn't fully recovered from his wounds, this time: he was wielding a sword. A weapon which he excelled at. Overall, the disadvantage Ray was having should more or less be the same with the time when he faced Tatz. Let's see the result of my morning training with Freya.
Dunnford who was fixed solid because of the Formulae Magic couldn't move nor watch the fight. At least he couldn't be used as hostage due to his Special Magic.
Any form of reviews or critics, kind or unkind, is greatly appreciated! Thank you!
Things happens, updates Freya at least once a week at EST Saturday 19:03. (If I don't get the timezone wrong)
Oh hey, speaking of which:
Some stuff arises during the holiday, things I need to deal with.