Tick… Tick… The clock relentlessly ticked, indicating that time moved onward.
The inked quill had stopped scribbling on the papers to correct the new would-be-established laws. The reading and verification of the papers too, had come to a halt. Inside his room, Vath had remained completely still on his chair without doing anything except for tapping his finger on the desk.
His underlings had relayed to him that the creature of chaos had been summoned and released through the magic communication tool, but there was no update ever since. And speaking of update, Vath was not getting any information whatsoever from Vienna about the defeat of Silver Arrow. A question surfaced in his mind: Was she defeated?
Skeptical, he eyed the clock and saw that some time had passed ever since hearing Vienna’s roar. Every tick the clock made; as Vienna had yet to appear, sounded like bells of defeat to Vath’s ear. The roar could have only been caused because Vienna had broken her limiter. When she did, she became unstoppable, but… at a cost. An obvious one would be that she would obey her instinct more compared to her rationality.
With a sigh, Vath had decided to ignore the papers and rose up from his chair. It was time for him to step down and confront the Silver Arrow himself. Time for him— to move. Before leaving his room however, he grabbed the small communication magic tool, and only then stepped out from his room.
Elaine saw the same scenery when she opened and closed her eyes: darkness stretching to infinity.
Left, right, up, down, wherever she looked there was only darkness. Her memories were hazy and she could not remember why she was there in the darkness. What had happened? She asked herself. An image of a beast in the form of a human surfaced in her mind. A beast who tore her defensive magic. Oh… Am I dead?..
There was a wave of regret inside Elaine’s mind for what had happened. If only she didn’t research too much and was not too focused on discovering new magic, then she would have the time to practice magic for battles. If she did… she would not have lost…
It doesn’t matter. It’s already too late.
Elaine was not one to accept death, but at that point, what could she do? In the first place, she was there in that darkness because she was powerless. Powerless to make a difference.
The darkness is not so bad… With nothing around, it’s… peaceful…
All she wanted now was to rest. So she closed her eyes, not that it made any difference in keeping them open.
‘Elaine!’ A voice called her name. A voice from the darkness that disrupted her tranquility. ‘Elaine, wake up!’ That voice was a voice she knew well: Ray’s.
He was always like that, always ruining her peace, always coming into her life when she thought she had settled well enough. He had always been that way and the man would not change at all despite the years. ‘Elaine!’
His call touched a nerve. I’m not in the mood to rest now…
Outside noises and distractions were nothing but silence in the world Freya currently resided in. Everything was white and the only resident there, other than her, was the Cerberus.
Both of them were staring at each other from a distance. The three headed hound was waiting for the perfect opportunity to leap and attack, while the swordswoman was waiting for the perfect opportunity to counter and slash.
They were both facing a stalemate. Cerberus couldn’t attack because it anticipated a counter, while Freya couldn’t attack because her speed couldn’t compare to the beast and she would suffer defeat if she faced the chaotic beast while it was being fully cautious.
At that point, both of them were resolved to keep on staring at each other until morning comes. A catalyst was needed to change the situation and it could have been anything. Perhaps the guards distracting the beast, or the bandits being successful in attacking Freya. A change needed to occur, for another change to happen.
What set the gears moving was an arrow. An ordinary silver arrow that was shot by an archer who was camping in a bell tower not too far away from the library.
That silver arrow was shot with the intention to kill Freya right at the head. But, like any other arrow, its path and trajectory was influenced by the wind. As the arrow travelled to its target, as if lady fortune herself was smiling upon Freya, a gust of wind blew, setting the silver arrow off from its initial trajectory.
That arrow, an object that intruded the world Freya and Cerberus resided in.
Freya’s eyes which were trained at the 3 headed hound was obstructed by the offset silver arrow for not more than a second. For a moment, her line of sight to the beast was blocked by the arrow which was flying by right in front of her eyes.
That amount of time, might have been a brief moment. But that brief moment created by the offset silver arrow was the very catalyst that was needed for a reaction. A change that caused another change.
During that moment when Freya’s line of sight was blocked, Freya was pulled back to the world where she originally belonged.
To the world where the guards were fending off the bandits and mercenaries from her with all their might. A world where darkness currently reigned and the source of light was the harsh luminance from the torches, lit with the purpose to burn and create ashes.
To the world where screams of battle could be heard; the sound of metal against another as the swords clashes, the scream of pain as people got hurt, and the red stained cold hard concrete road as blood flowed.
And when the arrow finally passed her eyes and Freya’s line of sight to the beast had returned, the 3 headed hound had leaped toward her and closed the distance within that brief moment when Freya was vulnerable. Anyone else, at the sight of the beast leaping at a frightening speed, would lose his or her senses and panic. But that was not the case for Freya.
When her line of sight blocked by the offset silver arrow, Freya had anticipated that her vulnerability would make the beast jump at the chance. Thus, Freya was expecting the beast to close the distance and was ready to unsheathe Celeste. As the creature of chaos was near enough to her sword range, Freya unsheathed Celeste and revealed the white blade that had been sealed all this time.
With a precise slash that was slow, but as fast as a shooting star, Freya swung Celeste.
Had the beast rushed at Freya recklessly, then Freya’s slash that would counter the beast’s attack would have connected and that would be the end of the creature of chaos. But, it was a creature with the instinct and intelligence to fight. It knew how formidable of an opponent Freya was and anticipated the slash. So, as Freya swung Celeste, the beast came to a temporary stop. And the blade slashed at empty air.
Ray rejected the idea that Elaine was there lying in front of him in the darkness. Despite how he often get in a fight with her, from the bottom of his heart he wished that there was still hope for her. In the darkness, Ray managed to locate the wrist of the figure lying in front of him and checked the pulse. And… the pulse… it was there. There was a pulse. Though, it was ridiculously faint.
‘Stay with me. I beg you.’
If Ray managed to create light in that darkness and apply the first aid magic which he learned from Dunnford, then she still have hope. As long as he was fast enough and there wasn’t any distraction, then the probability of her surviving was not zero.
‘If you make it back, I promise you I’ll fight with you less. Stay with me.’
Ray was about to stand up, but there was light coming from behind him. Cautious of an enemy, he immediately leaped to the front, lifted up his sword and turned back toward the source of light. He had expected an Extinct Formulae Magic user, but who he saw surprised him.
The person used fireball magic to make light and had long blue hair, none other than Elaine.
‘You were too noisy,’ she protested.
Ray thought of an impostor for a while, but the way she immediately initiated a fight with him was not something a stranger could replicate. Not to mention, she still had her iconic lips which curved slightly upward at the end, making her look as if she was smirking even though she was not.
Then the realization came and hit Ray. ‘Wait, if you’ve been behind me all this time, then to whom had I been screaming to?’
Ray saw Vienna, the Extinct Formulae Magic user on the ground, buried by the rubbles of the broken roof. ‘Well, I raised my voice for the wrong person, that’s embarrassing.’
‘I’ll make sure to spread the story then,’ Elaine said.
‘Hey, I was—‘ worried, but he halted the word.
‘Nothing. Anyway,’ Ray went back to the main objective, ’I need you to break Dunnford’s seal.’ I’m having her explain to me what happened as we go, he thought.
Elaine didn’t immediately agree to Ray and looked at the fallen Vienna. ‘… I’m going to perform first aid healing magic on her first,’ Elaine said, which was a preposterous idea in Ray’s mind.
‘She’s an enemy, and she fought you with the intent to kill you. Helping her is ridiculous.’
‘I don’t care,’ Elaine said as she got rid of the rubbles with her wind magic.
‘We’re wasting time. Time which could be used to unseal Dunnford.’
‘He’s going to be fine with his Special Magic.’ Elaine kneeled to the ground and went beside Vienna.
‘We haven’t encountered the leader of Skulls yet; with our state, we need Dunnford to defeat him.’
As if obligated by a great reason, Elaine helped the enemy that wanted to kill her.
Celeste slashed at the empty air, missing the Cerberus completely.
The beast had thought of one step ahead. It took its opportunity and with its bluff, it managed to make Freya vulnerable. She had swung her blade and she needed time to correct her form for unleashing another slash. Cerberus did not let go of this brief moment and rushed at Freya. One of the head opened its jaws and showed its sharp fangs brazenly, ready to bite and chew at Freya.
Freya’s right hand could not return on time to counter the attack, and she wasn’t at a state where she could dodge; for she had stuck her feet to the ground for additional slashing power. Additionally, the three headed hound was much faster compared to her.
Just like that, at the moment when the Cerberus thought victory was within its grasp… just at the moment when it thought the swordswoman had made a misstep and spelled her own death…
Cerberus got hit from below his jaw by what felt like a rising star.
It was an attack that Cerberus would have never anticipated; for its thought, which was too occupied by the shining white blade, became lax when Freya had missed. An attack, which was made by using the sheathe which had been containing Celeste’s blade all this time.
Freya had been holding Celeste’s sheathe with her left hand. Her left hand rose up and with precise movement, at the perfect spot and timing to counter, the sheathe hit and that rendered the Cerberus staggering. It was so shaken enough that the Cerberus had missed Freya and slammed itself to a building behind her.
The jaws of death was close, but it didn’t reach Freya.
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.