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Cerberus had slammed itself to a building behind Freya.

 

---

The force of the impact was strong enough that the building made of sturdy bricks had crumbled when Cerberus crashed. Against the beast, the building which was supposed to last for ages, fell down like a gently pushed tower of cards. Now, Cerberus was piled up under the rubbles caused by its own destruction.

 

Freya had expected for the beast to immediately rise up and challenge her again. But, as the dust from the impact settled to the ground, Cerberus stayed still as if it was in deep slumber after being hit by Freya.

 

As the beast remained there, deep down under the rubbles, a chance surfaced itself. A chance for Freya to attack the beast and finish their battle. If she were to not take the chance right there and then, when else? Her hit might have done the damage, the beast might truly be unconscious, it might actually be the only golden moment for Freya to win against the beast.

 

Within a short period; for time was precious at such situation, Freya made her decision.

 

She dashed, held Celeste’s sheathe with her left hand, and— hit a mercenary right at the gut, forcefully rendering him disabled for the battle. Freya had decided not to go at the beast.

 

Whether or not the beast was faking its immobility, one thing for sure was that it was not moving. If there was a chance Freya should take, it would not be to risk it and approach the beast, but to use the time wisely and help the guards against the bandits and mercenaries while she could.

 

As Freya took down 2 bandits, she took a glimpse at the creature of chaos, who was still buried under the rubbles of its destruction. Had she really taken the right chance? Was she missing the golden opportunity to take down the beast? Insecurities about her decision crept at the back of her mind. Maybe she really did not take her opportunity when she could have…

 

***

 

When Dunnford heard 2 set of steps coming to him from behind, the worst possible outcome passed through his mind: that both footsteps belonged to the enemy; that Elaine and Ray was defeated by the Extinct Formulae Magic users. So glad was he, when the footsteps was followed by the sound of Elaine and Ray’s quarreling. For once Dunnford were glad that the both of them were arguing with each other.

 

Elaine, while still arguing with Ray, knelt down in front of Dunnford and check on his well-being. After she had confirmed that he was good, she began unsealing the Magic Formulae that Dunnford was suffering of, while still arguing with Ray.

 

‘Who are you to order me around?’ She complained. ‘The only orders I listen to is from my mentor who taught me magic, and occasionally Freya and her father. I did what I had to do and I’m not going to listen to whatever you’re spewing.’

 

What are they fighting about this time? Dunnford thought. He would sigh if he could.

 

‘We wasted time, because you aided an injured enemy who almost killed you,’ Ray argued. ‘Time, which could be used to unseal Dunnford.’

 

‘She would die if I didn’t.’

 

‘Then let her!’ Ray said. ‘It’s foolish for you to save her life when she almost killed you. You’re alive right now just because you got lucky!’

 

‘No, you’re foolish.’

 

‘Me?? You chose to seal your opponent, which led her to having to break her limiter, which then got you cornered. That would not have happened had you killed her. You’re just lucky that since your opponent broke her limiter, her time to utilize that strength was limited and she ran out just at the moment your barrier broke! To which a rubble then fell to your opponent!’

 

‘I’m regretting my decision of telling you the story. What happen to promising to fight me less?’ Elaine’s mouth didn’t stop, nor was her eyes which was identifying the Magic Formulae that was binding Dunnford.

 

‘… Fine.’ Ray said. Dunnford was honestly surprised that his master had yielded the argument for once. To which he felt lucky that he was bound by a Formulae Magic, that his surprise did not show on his face; as it might offend him. ‘Figured a way to unseal Dunnford yet?’ Ray asked.

 

‘It’s… complicated,’ Elaine answered.

 

‘How so?’

 

‘I thought it was just simple Formulae Magic, but— on closer inspection— it’s not. There are some inscriptions which I can identify, but some are completely foreign to me. It’s a mixture of normal Formulae Magic and Extinct Formulae Magic. That made this binding especially tricky. I can test them one by one by trials and errors—’

 

‘Do that then,’ Ray cut in.

 

‘—but I don’t know what effects the Extinct Formulae Magic would do to Dunnford if I make the wrong move.’

 

‘Who cares? Dunnford got his special magic.’ If only Dunnford could move his head, he would have nodded in response to what Ray suggested.

 

‘You’re underestimating Extinct Formulae Magic.’ Elaine told Ray with a scorn. ‘Dunnford’s Special Magic does grants him invincibility, but we all know that he had lost to Freya, so there are things that his Special Magic can’t handle. I still don’t know the limits of Extinct Formulae Magic and what it can possibly do. We’re dealing with the unknown and one misstep of mine can spell doom for Dunnford.’

 

‘It’s a risk we have to take,’ Ray said. Hearing that, Dunnford would agree to it immediately if only he could voice his agreement in any form.

 

We? How is it we when Dunnford is the only one taking the risk? You’re just saying that because you’re not the one being bound! You’re only there right now because Dunnford took the Formulae Magic for you! Had he not, you would be in Dunnford’s position, being bound, and you would never agree to testing the Formulae Magic one by one!’ Elaine let out an outburst.

 

Dunnford was… thankful for Elaine’s concern, but he wished she would just test it one by one and take the risk.

 

‘Of course I wouldn’t. In that scenario, Dunnford would be mobile and I would feel safe enough not to risk it. But in our situation, considering our state, we are in need of Dunnford's strength. The leader of Skulls has yet to show himself!'

 

That point he made sounded so valid, that Dunnford felt that Elaine would yield. But of course she didn’t.

 

'There's absolutely no basis, that we couldn't defeat the leader on our own.'

 

'The possibility is high. We aren't in our top shape because of the fights with the other Extinct Formulae Magic user, and if the leader could command the Extinct Formulae Magic users, then he must be strong himself!'

 

'Those are assumptions. And I'm not risking Dunnford's well-being so long as there's no certain proof that we wouldn't be able to hold our grounds against the leader.'

 

'Dunnford would think the same too: to risk it.'

 

'Unfortunately for him, I'm the one who could unseal him, so I make the decisions.'

 

'What do you know about battles? You almost lost! And--'

 

And the fight between Elaine and Ray started again. Dunnford thought that it was amazing how they could go from one argument to another, making them squabble indefinitely. He wished the Formulae Magic had robbed him of his hearing, but that was too good to be true.

 

Master Ray is right, the risk needs to be taken. If only I can state my agreement…

 

Dunnford could not move his lips because of the seal, he could not move his head, but he was still free and able to move his eyes. He thought that perhaps he could signal his agreement to them with the movement of his eyes, but he immediately abandoned the thought when he saw a figure approaching slowly from the dimly lit corridor. His heart beat a rhythm faster due to the nearing danger.

 

The figure was a person who had Extinct Formulae Magic inscribed all over him and was herculean in stature. Among all the Extinct Formulae Magic users that he had seen so far, Dunnford's gut told him that the giant of a man was the most dangerous. That— if Ray and Elaine were to fight him, they wouldn't stand a chance.

 

Ray and Elaine were too heated up with their debate, that they didn't notice the man. His steps were light despite his bulk, and he made no sound as he was approaching them at a walking pace. The danger was coming closer and closer.

 

Dunnford desperately had to warn both Ray and Elaine of the impending danger, but he couldn't. There must be a way, Dunnford thought.

 

Dunnford might not be able to move, but he still had the leisure to move his eyes. As a desperate effort to draw Elaine’s and Ray’s attention; along with an attempt to stall the impending danger, Dunnford gave the man a glare. His eyes met his and he rubbed his chin. His left hand however, was still a clenched fist, and was about 2 steps away from reaching Elaine. It seemed that Dunnford’s effort was meaningless.

 

***

 

The sealed one is quite strong, Vath thought as he rubbed his chin, the unsealed ones aren’t…

 

Vath was pondering on how his generals were beaten by 2 weaklings. He surely took his time in approaching them as he was confident enough that he would win in that fight. Instant death was too kind for them, Vath needed to make them suffer first, and only then he would be satisfied in dealing with the members of the Silver Arrow. They had been throwing his plan to chaos and they need to suffer the consequences.

 

The sealed one can watch his comrades die. A smirk crossed Vath’s face.

 

The lad had been fighting with his girlfriend, that aided Vath in concealing his steps. To think that they would argue inside my base… they need to be taught fear.

 

'... If you won't try it one by one, then I'll do it myself,' the lad said to her.

 

‘Stop it!’ She slapped his hand.

 

That, however, didn’t stop the lad from tinkering with the Extinct Formulae Magic. Then, as if by a stroke of luck (as if they haven’t been lucky enough), that undid the sealed one’s seal by a bit and although he still couldn’t move his tongue, he still could move his lips.

 

'Aa-AaA-aa,' that was all he could say. Pathetic. But that grabbed the lad’s attention and only then did he see him.

 

Vath believed that the reason he lunged at him, was because his girlfriend was withing his fist’s reach. Where else would he find the bravery to lift his sword and defy him? Why else would he approach him? If not to protect his mage girlfriend?

 

That… reminded Vath of a certain history of his… but it did not matter any longer.

 

The lad swung his sword, imbued with wind magic that was focused to a point. The sword made contact with Vath’s shoulder. A slash, which couldn’t even manage to scratch him. It made no damage whatsoever and the lad’s pupil widened from the surprise.

 

Was that the slash he used to end Horus?..

 

---

‘... This won’t even count as a fight,’ Vath said.

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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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