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Dunnford had to think of a way to get through this.

Glancing over his shoulder, he could see the burning beast on his rear chasing on both Ray and him. Its running was slower due to the lost front limb, but it would soon regain its speed once it grew back the lost limb. With the Cerberus chasing them from behind, the situation was looking bleak.

Running beside Dunnford, Ray didn’t have the leisure to wipe his nosebleed and he was short of breath. The fatigue and accumulated damage can’t be good for him, Dunnford thought. He had reassured him by saying that they could depend on Elaine to keep people safe, but that was unrealistic.

To Dunnford’s right, on top of the roof of a building, was Elaine. She must have gotten herself up there with her magic to get a better view of the situation. As much as Dunnford would like to depend on Elaine to keep the people safe—since they were heading to the festival’s direction soon—he doubt that they could pass through the crowd without any loss; Elaine’s mana was running low due to her previous battles.

There must be a way, Dunnford thought. A way to guarantee that no lives would be lost.

If they kept on going toward the festival’s direction, Dunnford could foresee the bleak future that was ahead of them. They would have to turn a blind eye to the people who were enjoying the festivities and all the joy would soon turn into tragedy.

He considered going with the same strategy: he and Ray would stall the beast while Elaine went on ahead to evacuate the people. But Ray was not in a good shape to fight against the beast. He needed time to recover from the impact. If only I can use magic! Dunnford cursed himself for his weakness. If only the seal—no. He shook his head. There’s no use thinking about what I can’t do. I need to think of a way. There must be a way to avoid bringing the beast to the festival.

Dunnford looked at the burning beast once again, still on the chase. Then to Ray. And then to Elaine. A way…

‘!’ Dunnford’s eyes widened. He just realized something. His eyes wandered to look at where the mountain was at.

‘We’re close to the festival! It’s packed!’ Elaine shouted from the rooftop.

‘What’s—your call, Dunnford?’ Ray asked.

‘Elaine!’ Dunnford shouted. ‘The buildings! Are there people inside the buildings?’

Immediately, Elaine used her wind magic to search for the presence of people. She weaved her wand and sensed the presence of people. ‘There are! But very little!’

‘Empty them!’ Dunnford ordered. ‘Now!’

‘You can’t be saying that we’re—’

‘We’re going through the buildings,’ Dunnford made the call. If there’s no way through, I just have to make a new one.

***

It had been a long night, but Vath knew that the battle was coming to a close. The swordswoman was weak with exhaustion and his victory was no longer in question. He praised her silently for being able to harm him, but now she was at his complete mercy.

If Vath wanted to, then he could end all this right now by killing the swordswoman. With her legs unable to move due to the exhaustion, she wouldn’t be able to dodge anymore. If he threw a killing blow, that would be the end of her.

As much as Vath would like to do that, he refrained from doing so. Before finishing the swordswoman who had been fouling his plans, he had to ask her a question. An answer he needed to hear.

‘Tell me, swordswoman, why do all of you, the Silver Arrow, stand in my way? My aim, my reason to fight, is because I need to reform the system that Arkef currently has. From the ashes of what was burnt, I will build a new system for the greater good. I’m doing this for what is right. Tell me: why do Silver Arrow stand in my way of achieving this objective of mine?’

Responding to what he said, the swordswoman stared at him with her amethyst eyes, and then she laughed.

***

Dunnford slid his arm above Ray’s shoulder. Ray, with the aid of wind magic on his feet; carrying Dunnford with him, jumped high enough to reach a building’s rooftop. All they could see once they reached the top was a straight unobstructed path toward the mountain.

‘There’s nothing funny,’ Vath said with hints of irritation.

Dunnford looked back to see the burning beast still chasing at them with its regenerating limb. Each pair of its red predator eyes were still fixed on the three humans who were a threat to it. Soon enough, it would regrow its lost limb.

‘Sorry, sorry,’ Freya said. ‘It’s just funny—listening to the reason you fight. I just can’t—help but laugh at it.

Elaine, way ahead of Ray and Dunnford, was throwing people left and right out of the building with her wind magic. This, of course, she did safely without harming the people by softening their landing. The beast was about to crash through and the building’s residence shouldn’t mind being thrown around.

‘Ray, Dunnford, Elaine, and I. We’re—not here for a big cause. We’re not—making a stand just to get in your way. Our motive... is far from noble. The Silver Arrow is not here—to fight for what is right, nor for what is grand. No, nothing as big a reason as yours. We’re just here because—

Elaine gave a nod to Dunnford and Ray from afar. She had successfully evacuated the people from the buildings. ‘Brace yourself master Ray,’ Dunnford said. The beast was clearly not giving up on its chase. Ray and Dunnford started running and the beast destroyed the building in its path. Those building took painstaking months to be built, but destroyed in mere seconds by the Cerberus.

‘—we just want to read the books you stole.’

***

‘To read the books I stole?’ Vath said with a questioning look. Upon seeing Freya’s nod, he looked up to the starry skies and laughed. ‘For the books!’

‘Told you it’s funny,’ Freya said.

‘Ha-ha-ha…’ Vath then glared at Freya with murderous eyes. His expression could only be describe as pure anger. He closed the distance between them with a step and he immediately threw a right hook. An attack that was meant to kill her.

Unable to dodge because of her tired legs, Freya lifted Celeste and had to block the attack with the side of the blade. Don’t break on me Celeste.

Thump! Vath's left hook landed on the side of the blade.

Had Celeste been made by anything other than Altune, a metal commonly used for shields, the blade would have shattered and Freya would have died. Thankfully, it was made of that metal. Although she was able to defend, she was thrown away from the blow and her right side violently hit a broken wall that was still standing.

She then dropped to the floor with her shoulder leaning on the wall.

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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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