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Her back on the ground, Elaine was writhing in pain.


Elaine had thought that Extinct Formulae Magic users couldn't use magic. A thought which had risen in her mind as she had yet to face a user who could use magic. It was an err of judgement; for Elaine to not consider the possibility that Vienna could use magic. She was-- careless.

As soon as Vienna activated her thunder magic to boost her strength, she had charged at Elaine. Thankfully Elaine had wind and thunder magic to protect herself. Imagine if she got crushed by the blow of the charge and had to endure breaking the walls with her back strength alone. It was still painful, but it was better than dying.

She was sure she saw Ray as she flew through walls, but that didn't matter.

Right now she had time. Time to cast her magic. Elaine wasn't given the comfort to rest and had to immediately think of a magic to use. She sat upright and lifted her wand in front of herself. What magic should she use? Elaine could prepare a trap as Vienna would be chasing her, perhaps even an offensive magic to end the battle just like that. However, if either of those didn't work, then Elaine might as well not see another sunrise in her life. Should she risk it? What should she prioritize? To escape? Or to win?

Elaine pondered about what to do, but she then heard a heavy gait coming closer to her. She had to do something. Fast! Dunnford's words; what he said to her in The Hearth, crossed through Elaine's mind and she made her decision. She chose the option which had the highest victory chance.

***

Vienna showed up from the hole on the wall.

Tears of blood streamed down from both eyes, coursing through her cheeks. The pupils in her eyes seemed to fade and rationality looked absent from her eyes. Those eyes she possessed were like a beast, a monster. Wild, rough, and instilled fear on those who saw it.

Elaine gulped. But she didn't make the slightest sound. Everything would be over if her cover was blown. What Elaine needed to do was to hide from her opponent. Hide, run, and break Dunnford's seal. That was her best chance to gain victory. A passive approach, but that was what Elaine could think of in a short amount of time.

Vienna looked left and right to see no one. She was bewildered that her prey was nowhere in sight. The predator growled in anger.

Unless she has inhumane eyes, then she wouldn't be able to see me, Elaine thought.

Elaine had casted water magic around herself to reflect the light. By reflecting the light around her carefully, Elaine was able to make herself invisible to the naked eyes. A trick --she had once read in a book-- that fairies often use to hid themselves. Elaine was unsure what gave her the inspiration to use that magic, but she couldn't think of such trivial matter in a life or death situation.

The Extinct Formulae Magic user was still searching for Elaine.

Now, silently, all Elaine had to do was to escape and break Dunnford's seal. Carefully, without making any sound, without alerting her opponent of Elaine's presence, she walked slowly to the hole on the wall. While on her escape, just in case, she silently casted defensive magic on herself. There was no harm in taking any opportunity she could get to cast magic.

The hole and Elaine was separated by a few steps. Slowly but surely, Elaine proceed. She didn't need to be fast. Haste could ruin everything. Everyone knows that the turtle wins the race, not the hare.

Elaine had imagined the plan in her mind: escape and undo Dunnford's seal. Unfortunately, it didn't seem that everything would go as smoothly as Elaine had planned. Vienna must have felt Elaine's presence inside the room and figured by instinct that she was still there. Just-- not visible. What crazy wild instinct she had. The thunder magic she used should had had robbed her of her rationality. Yet, she seemed to be just fine with using instinct alone. Vienna had gone on a rampage inside the room, throwing punches and kicks on every direction.

Seeing that, Elaine was startled and her footing slightly slipped. Hitting a pebble and made it move a few centimeters. A small disturbance whose pattern differed a little from the destruction Vienna had caused on her rampage. A movement which Vienna was able to distinguish with her heightened sense from her thunder magic. An odd low and faint clatter which spelled doom for Elaine.

Vienna put her rampage to a stop. Elaine was invisible, yet Vienna had turned her head and was looking at Elaine's direction. Her bloodshot red eyes with tears of blood, something which could give Elaine nightmares, stared at her.

Elaine should have ran. Everything she saw indicated danger. Why didn't she run? Was it that she clung onto her pride, not wanting to show her back to her enemy, which ultimately made her didn't want to run? Was it that she knew deep within, that running away was useless against the beast? Regardless of the reason, instead of running, she lifted her large wooden wand with her good arm. Elaine was supposed to be invisible to the naked eye, yet the Extinct Formulae Magic user was staring straight at her.

In a heartbeat, Vienna disappeared. It wasn't that she got herself some tricks to make herself invisible. She simply moved so fast that Elaine's eyes couldn't keep track of her. Next thing Elaine knew, she felt a blow from the front that threw her to a wall.

Elaine was glad that she had set a protective bubble around herself while she was invisible. She had fell to the ground with her back on the wall. Looking at her opponent, looming at her, Elaine wished she had set up an even stronger defensive magic.

Thump! Thump! Thump! Now that Elaine had dropped her invisibility, Vienna relentlessly pounded on Elaine's protective bubble. Elaine held on desperately as each hit whittle down her defense. She had made her protective bubble with wind, thunder, and fire magic. Wind to protect herself, thunder to stun Vienna, and fire to blaze bare physical attacks. None seemed to be working. Vienna had used thunder magic to strengthen herself and that made Elaine's thunder and fire magic useless.

She poured her mana to her protective bubble, but it was depleting at a fast rate against Vienna's attacks. Every hit felt as if Elaine was defending herself from a battering ram. No, not exactly a battering ram as it was worse than that. It was as if Vienna's fists were both battering rams and she was throwing those at the speed of consecutive poundings.

Her protective bubble was like a tiny home. A shelter she resided in. And she was resisting the beast outside from entering by force. Again and again she pounded. Adding to Elaine's terror. Every pound seemed stronger than before. How could that be?

A monster. That was what Elaine was facing. Those sinister red eyes were that of a predator. Elaine was the prey. The thought of death crossed through Elaine's mind.

With every pound, Elaine felt that each could be the last. Once her shelter was broken by the beast, it would all be over. There was nothing she could do. Using offensive magic would mean dropping her defense; not something she could do as Vienna would land a killing blow before Elaine would be able to attack. It was checkmate. All Elaine was doing-- was prolonging her resistance. Soon enough, her mana would be all out and she would face her end.

Memories of her past flashed through her mind, all of them. The time when she was first interested in magic, when she trained with her mentor, even her disputes with the despicable Ray, all of them flashed inside her mind. What struck out the most inside her mind: was the promise she made with Laertes, Freya's father.

Laertes, Elaine thought as her protective bubble was constantly pounded by Vienna. You promised to grant me full access to your manor, including the library. And I promised to take care of your daughter. Who knows why you decided to use promises for our agreement instead of deals. You've explained, but I pretended to listen.

Elaine glanced at Vienna, whose hits were getting stronger and stronger.

I wouldn't mind listening to your boring explanation about the difference between promises and deals if I get out alive. That seemed unlikely however.

Cracks appeared on her protective bubble.

Your daughter's-- behavior changed recently. I'm still unsure why. I would like to get to the bottom of it, but that also seemed unlikely.

With another pound, the protective bubble finally shattered. Elaine could see a wide grin of satisfaction on the beast's face. An expression befitting to be called that of a monster.

Without any defense, one more pounding and that's it for me. Laertes...


I'm sorry that I can't fulfill my promise to take care of Freya.

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About the author

Novaldy Felix

Bio: 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.

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