“Blessing of fire!” Artian yelled as his sword was engulfed in bright orange flame.
In one swing he easily cleaved through the soft flesh of two oversized ghouls, their bodies then wrapped and consumed by the furious fire from the sword.
He just barely made it in time to save a family of four huddling over in a corner as a group of ghouls prepared to pounce on them. With their fear stricken eyes looking up to him with teary eyed relief, the more he thought that the situation was getting dire.
“Damn it! Where is our back up? We already pressed the panic button! Where the fuck are the people from Inanis Orbis?” He thought to himself as he cut down another ghoul who leapt in front of him. He then looked back at the still frozen family behind him and tried his best to give a reassuring smile.
“It’s okay, don’t be afraid. We’re here to help!” He said he tried his best to sound calm as possible.
“You!” The father of the family Artian saved suddenly yelled out.
“W-what is going on? What is happening!?” He asked in a panic stricken and distressed state only for Artian to look at him and shake his head.
“I’m not sure myself.” He replied. “But rest assured, me and my companions are here to protect all of you.” He said as he cut down another ghoul who charged towards him, slashing off the head without as much as looking back.
The mother immediately tried to cover the eyes of her two young boys, trying her best to shield them from the brutal tragedy that has befallen.
A twisted expression fell on Artian’s when all of a sudden he heard new cries of help in the distance.
“Damn it, there’s more people here!” Artian quietly realized. He then looked at the family and gave them a firm command.
“Run towards the beach! You will be safe there!” He instructed.
The family didn’t bother to question his words and immediately ran away with their children in their arms.
As the family cleared out of the ruined street corner, they saw a large flow of people running towards the down towards the hill, towards the beach. Soon, they too joined this flow as they ran without looking back hoping and praying that there will be refuge for them.
As they neared towards the downward slope towards the sands, more ghoulish monstrosities appeared, leaping towards them and eager for their flesh.
But before they even began to scream, a hail of arrows descended from above piercing the monsters heads as they fell one by one.
A blonde woman then landed in front of them, but her appearance alone is a big question. For what appeared before them was no ordinary woman, she was an elf.
The elf then turned around to face them, her green eyes shining like emeralds and yet they could see a desperation within those lenses.
“Go!” She yelled as the people continued to run to their promised safe haven.
“Dammit! Is there no end to them?” Estelle yelled as she downed another group of ghouls. In order to safeguard the people running away from the town, Estelle chose to be the rear guard while Artian and Rossa headed deeper into the town to for survivors.
Soon, the crowd of frightened survivors began to thin until the last of them rushed in along with Artian and Rossa who followed them from behind.
Estelle ran towards the pair in relief as they quickly deliberated on what they needed to do next.
“Was that the last of them?” Estelle asked as Artian and Rossa had uncomfortable expressions on their faces.
“I think so.” Rossa replied. “I could not sense any more “living” humans using one of my detection spells.” She explained.
The word living really encapsulated the situation they have found themselves in.
They knew that they cannot possibly save everyone in town, and yet, once the reality they expected happened, they could all feel a lump in their throat. A lump that was difficult to swallow as they felt themselves almost physically choke over their churning emotions.
But now is not the time for second guessing or any sort of hesitation. With multiple lives in the balance and their friend facing the biggest threat all alone, they had no choice but act.
“Estelle, give me the scroll!” Rossa asked as they ran she ran towards the panic stricken people on the beach.
Even now, there were still ghouls coming out of the woodwork rushing and running towards the place they had gathered all the survivors they could find.
Estelle then reached into her brown purse and tossed the scroll towards Rossa as she and Artian held back the incoming wave of monsters.
Standing before the shaken and distraught crowd, Rossa tried her best to fight the weariness that was starting to crawl up in her heart.
“I hope this works.” As she removed the twine and freed the oriental scroll given to them by Sylvester.
The moment she opened it, the scroll itself floated in the mid air and began to glow. It then moved on its own as the small hand held scroll began to unfold into an impossible length.
The long stretch of paper then began to wrap itself in a circular perimeter around the survivors eventually culminating into a large dome.
Once the dome has completed itself, the japanese characters “結界” (barrier) appeared on top of the paper structure written in black ink.
“Oh I see now.” Rossa smiled upon seeing the large paper dome in front of her. “This barrier feels like it was made to repulse against negative forces.” She noted as she felt a holy aura surrounding the structure, yet this holy aura felt grounded and earthly.
Artian and Estelle then turned around upon sensing a massive surge of mana and saw the structure that suddenly created.
“Oh wow.” Estelle said in awe.
“Damn. Sylvester really is something isn’t he?” Artian commented. “I guess being a magical hobo does have its perks.” He said in a joking tone.
“What do you mean hobo? Don’t call him that!” Estelle retorted as Rossa ran towards their position.
“Quickly!” She yelled as she ran past them. “We need to find Sylvester as soon as possible!” She yelled as she used brilliant wings to fly into the air and scout ahead.
“Yeah we really should.” Artian replied as he looked at his left hand and noticed that the runic symbol Sylvester wrote was beginning to fade. “Just in time too, since this thing he wrote on our hands is beginning to lose its effects.”
Estelle and Artian then jumped towards the roofs of the houses that were still standing in order to help try and find Sylvester. As the group of three reached the high ground, a new swarm of ghouls rushed towards the barrier.
The ghouls then started burning the moment they even touched the paper shield and yet they brainlessly threw themselves on to it in their maniacal frenzy.
“Guys, do you think that barrier will hold?” Estelle asked with concern in her voice.
“I sure hope so.” Artian replied.
As Rossa searched far and wide, a large eruption of mana stole their attention as they were forced to look towards its direction.
It came directly north of where they were standing and in their mind there was no question as to what was happening there.
Without saying a word, the three then rushed towards the disturbance as fast as they could. But as they ran something was off. They saw a massive number of ghouls running towards the same direction as they were.
Rossa and the rest felt alarm bells ringing from within as they kept moving forward.
“Dear merciful goddess, please watch over us.” Rossa silently prayed in her heart.
“What? Is that it?” Sylvester smiled as he narrowly avoided another attack from the Lich as he managed to successfully snipe its head off with the spell burst finger.
“Damn you damn you damn you!” The Lich screamed in anger and frustration as his opponent kept slipping out of his grasp.
“Minions! I call upon you! Serve your master!” The Lich screamed as more monsters appeared and swarmed Sylvester.
“Huh? More friends I see. Well I have my friends too ya know!” Sylvester replied as he called his two Shikigami assistants back to his side.
However, all of this running around was merely a distraction for the trap Sylvester has been quietly laying down.
“What now, magician?” The Lich asked in a victorious tone. “You have nowhere to run!” It declared.
“Now you shall be a great feast for me and minions! You should be grateful to be of use for someone as great as I!” The Lich proudly declared. Sylvester however, only saw a golden opportunity to piss off his enemy.
“Great as you? Great who? You’ve been babbling about being oh so great but you never mentioned your name.” Sylvester replied, still vitriolic as ever. “Wait, you forgot your own name now didn’t ya!? Classic sign of Lich Alzeihmers.”
“Y-you insignificant little!”
“Bla bla bla whatever mr bones. At the end of the day nobody cares! You’re a dime a dozen.” Sylvster replied.
“You’re like the third Lich I have encountered already and you all shout the same bullshit. No one gives a hoot about your past glory or whatever, hell, I doubt anyone even remembers whatever it is you have done! The church probably erased all records about your existence.” Sylvester continued as his words only served to infuriate the Lich.
“You are but an old and forgotten fossil of the past. An ugly one too, that no one wants to remember.”
“Enough!” The Lich yelled in anger. “My minions, destroy him!” He commanded.
Sylvester simply smiled as he finally sprung his trap.
“Activate.” He said in a low voice as strings suddenly materialized from all around, wrapping the ghouls and holding them back for a short moment. The strings also seem to trace all the way back to Sylvester’s index finger.
Knowing that these nylon strings will not be enough to stop these monsters for long, Sylvester immediately followed it up with another spell.
A fire then quickly spread from Sylvester’s finger towards the entangled ghouls and immediately burned them upon contact. The monsters flailed and growled in pain as their bodies continued to burn.
The Lich could only look on in abject horror as his minions were quickly disposed of by an elaborate trick. Sylvester then smiled at the Lich before he continued to speak.
“As I was saying earlier. You are a remnant of a forgotten and unpleasant memory, stuck in the past and unable to move on. In your absence, humanity has walked forward and left you behind.”
“You will not win.” Sylvester said in a definitive tone as the Lich once again let out a blood curdling roar while releasing a large amount of mana.