While Twinkle opened a Path, the others made sure to rest and prepare. Megan and Hubert used recorders to keep an eye on the camp at the cliff.
"I don't know what is going on, but they assembled maybe 50 or 60 people at the cliff," Huber shouted, causing everyone to assemble around him to look at the little handheld screen.
Even with the illusion Cad had cast onto them, the two operators didn't dare to get too close to avoid detection. They were still close enough to notice the sudden change. A young woman had stepped close to the cliff and was talking to... a recorder?
Cranking up the volume they were able to listen to her speech. She was mocking the empire about how she killed all their champions. Showing off her booty and the giant zombie dragon.
"If these are all the undead participants, then I'm confident that our plan will work. She's confident that nobody can face her now. It's the time to strike." Polter commented.
Her little speech was the signal for them to move.
Watching Natina broadcast her speech to Chrona gave the blacksmith an idea. If she was broadcasting to Chrona, then maybe his signals would also manage to get through? The empire might send help.
Another backup plan was always good. He was about to set up the recorder he hijacked as spatial markers when he halted. With a smile, he also remembered one of the secondary reasons he agreed to be recorded. The broadcasting stations were required to pay the participants part of the revenue.
What if? He left three recorders as coordinates, while he sent his and Ellies to record the situation. He had just sent one to the cliff when Harker finally appeared at the scene.
The audience was spellbound by what was happening.
From the ocean behind the hero appeared a beast, not inferior in size to the dragon. The residents of the empire were shocked. Not everyone knew of the Koor Worm that had been chasing the party from Urth for days.
It was a sea serpent said to be immortal and ever-growing for all its life. Although not as well known, they were almost on par with many true dragon races.
The scene changed from the second giant beast charging at the shore, to the perspective of the Hero, who was frantically scaling the cliff, and those above trying to stop him.
"Hah! Is this lizard the reason you were so confident earlier? Watch me add this one to my army, too! Kalzemir, bring me the corpse of this Worm!" she shouted for the hero below to hear.
Natina's manic laughter echoed on the cliff. The hero, who had no problem evading the ranged attack was hit by gusts of wind and almost lost his grip, as the enormous dragon above started flapping its rotten wings.
The gigantic zombie dragon sluggishly lifted into the air. The perspective cut back, showing the giant figure covering the sky as it dove down at the equally as mighty beast in the sea below. For the first time, its attention left the hero's figure at the cliff and the beast lifted its head to observe the zombie dragon.
The broadcast cut back to the hero, in time for the audience to hear Natina's voice.
"Little Hero, is that all you've got? Last time you barely survived with the support of the slavemancer and now you come alone?" she scolded from above, as Harker was hard-pressed to evade the attacks without falling to his death.
New information further drew in the attention of the audience. Only Princess Leana and the other women at her table had a guess. Natina was probably talking about the time when Elza was forced to return.
On the big screen, the Hero looked up to her, but his full helmet betrayed no emotions. Only shadows staring at her face.
"Phase two!" A loud voice traveled over the cliff when the dragon and the worm were fully locked in combat.
"Oh, thank god." the expressionless helm exclaimed. The relief was audible in the hero's voice as he let go of the cliff and vanished in midair.
An uproar went through the crowd on the street. The epic hero had just run away from the demon lord!
-- Keväti Kuinen--
Natina's eyes widened, too. The brave and heroic adversary she had expected to face her in a last cinematic fight for her dominance, suddenly ran away. How...anticlimactic.
The champions of justice she and the audience wished for were not as far away as she would have thought. Cade and Yvette for example were also at the cliff and it was they who extracted the hero in the same way they had dropped the guard back on Bazilark.
Still, seeing the two weapons of mass destruction fighting each other in the ocean gave Seth goosebumps. The dragon was massive, but the sea serpent was nothing to scoff at either. These were really powers on a continental level. They were just lucky, that both of them were more or less mindless beasts.
Maybe it would have been different if either of them used magic against the other, but it didn't. At the moment, they were caught up in an equal battle at the shore.
Now that the hero managed to deceive Natina into attacking the Koor Worm on her own accord and the dragon and sea dragon were fighting their own battle, Phase two could commence. Also known as the original plan.
Using <Voice of Seth>, Seth gave the signal. They were back at the start and still needed to reveal more about Natina's powers before they would step up to risk their lives. It was obvious that she was a kind of necromancer, but they had no idea about the troops she still kept hidden.
The purple portals that the undead used to escape were more than enough evidence for them to stay wary. Phase two relied on Seth and Ellie.
People were glued to the screens.
The recorder close to Natina focused on the shore. After the sudden call for a change of plans, the ocean started broiling once again. Grotesque creatures surfaced from the ruins of the sunken capital. As if its inhabitants came back to life after centuries on the seafloor, as unholy sea creatures.
A bizarre collection of big monsters covered in mud, sand, and seaweed walked onto the beach and filled the gaps between the ruins. Exhibiting irregular numbers of heads, limbs, torsos, faces, eyes, and other body parts in random variations. At their front stood an especially big one made of rock, brick, and flowing sand.
"Are those...Golems?" Leana asked unsurely.
"Those should be Seth's- Oops," Elza mumbled unwittingly, earning the scolding glances of Fin and Mina. The ice mage immediately realized that she had let a secret slip.
"Are you saying he is able to make Golems like that?" Leana kept digging craftily. She could only lament that she knew too little about this blacksmith.
"I'm not saying anything," Elza exclaimed in a hurry and fell silent, not talking anymore.
Leana focused on Elza and made a mental note but returned to looking at the screen.
On one hand, there was the battle of two giant mindless beasts of legends ripping and tearing at each other in the ocean. On the other, were a bunch of bizarre beings, looking like abstract statues of the abominations of this world, charging across the sunken ruins and up the cliff.
"What are those things? Destroy them!" they heard the confused Natina order the undead participants. These "sparks" promptly began shooting at the climbing golems as they did with the hero before.
Nobody evaded this time. Undeterred by the ranged attacks, the golems kept climbing. Any damage they received was repaired at a speed visible to the naked eye. Especially the big guy at the head easily tanked most of the attacks.
When they inevitably reached the edge of the cliff, many of the undead and Natina looked toward the ruins. A little slower, the recorder also panned over to show the ruins. As if the marine unit's arrival was a signal, another group of similar but clean golems and hundreds of slimes appeared from the ruins of the old capital behind them.
The golems alone numbered more than double that of the participants. Beside them was an uncountable number of slimes, facing Natina and her "Sparks". It seemed like the Necromancer had been surrounded and outnumbered.
"Hmph, is that all?" Natina mumbled.