Dreamweaver Chapter 212
We had just been at the point where the fae mages drove off that fire salamander guy. But unexpectedly there’s a new twist to things.
“Oh shit! Look at that!” the fae assistant mages pointed out looking at the sky.
“They…how did they…” the main fae mage is clearly upset.
We look to where they were also looking and pointing at. The fae mages look scared now instead of strong.
Another hole has opened up in the sky over the beautiful fortress. It looks like a bizarre summoning circle painted with lasers in the sky, except it’s not made of lasers but instead of some kind of mana energy links being held together by more mages all around it while it’s hovering in the air. And where the circle is opening up the second wave of the salamander army is coming through. It’s like a portal entry dimensional hole with inky black darkness around it with twelve fire salamanders with fiery staffs, each holding key positions.
And as they opened it up, now suddenly more fire drakes and riders are pouring through as the fae mages stare in shock.
“But the flushing sequence…! How?”
“Um, its not run a complete cycle before their interrupt huh?”
“Shh, you are talking about state secrets in front of the humans, tch,” one of them chided the other two.
“A-amazing. I never knew that you could put a summoning circle in the air like that!” Detector said.
His thoughts mirrored my own. “That is creative huh…but is that a portal or a summoning circle?” I said.
“Oh wait…ahh….” Detector is dismayed.
A portal is much worse than a summoning circle but actually both use the same principle of a summoning circle base. So you can’t tell which is which unless you are up close.
Near us we can hear the fae reacting with significant stress.
“This …it can’t be! I didn’t expect their mage team to survive the flushing! NO! This wrecks our plans! Those fuckers!” the head fae mage screeched.
(Hmm, fae get mad and swear just like we do?)
“Well, we can still eliminate most of them on round 2,” the second assistant suggested.
(What’s round 2? And what ‘do’, they mean by flushing, I wondered.)
“Um, boss, those things are coming this way. Shouldn’t we pull back?” the assistant said.
(What? They aren’t going to leave us here are they?! NO!)
“Um, can we hitch a ride with you?” Lars asked them.
(Naïve… he thinks the powerful would have mercy on the weak? Realizing this naivety is I think part of why I was tuned to and attracted to protection and healing magic. You have to gain strength from below and then come over the top of the opponent.)
“They’re ignoring us,” I noted.
It’s like the fae mages thought we were bugs. They didn’t even acknowledge us speaking as they keep chattering among themselves.
“But I can handle them…nobody can beat me! Lizard scum…” the head mage said.
“Yeah but small problem, there’s a whole bunch of them and only three of us!” the second assistant said.
“Oh right, let’s uh…yeah, lets hook up with D company at secondary rendezvous point. With others with us then we can actually make a strong stand,” the head fae mage ordered.
“Good plan,” the first assistant said, who is clearly very powerful.
(Why are the assistants so powerful too? I can feel the mana in them.)
The fae mages turned to leave. And then they are gone. We’re still in what looks like the fortress but now the second wave of salamanders is still clouding out like ants over the sky with their drake rider armies.
“Uh oh, they are leaving,” Detector said.
“Damn fae, so unpredictable,” Lars said.
“Uh…wow. I didn’t expect that,” I said.
The fae mages used some kind of mass transport spell for the three of them. But then they left us here alone.
(This is why it’s not good to trust people that are on another level of existence. They forget the ants are living too.)
The only thing that’s safe to do is to reset the barrier and wait it out. So that’s what I did.
The men started to nudge me about an hour later to get me up from resting. I’m trying to show a good strength but I did get a bit nervous. But resting is key to controlling the mana regeneration and balance of keeping a barrier sustained.
“How can he just sleep like that?” someone asked.
I think I’ve just been too worn out over a long, long campaign of trying to stay alive. Every part of my body feels sleep deprived partly from having the mana inhibiting shackles removed recently.
“Wow, is it time already?” I asked after getting up from my nap. They are all naturally glaring at me because basically I’m the only one that gets to nap and the rest of them have to stand guard.
All this time the constant drone of thumps from hell hounds gone mad with bloodlust bouncing off the wall of force has started to feel kind of like how rain sounds when hitting against a roof made of certain materials. Still the hell hounds in their half starved madness never cease trying to break the bubble, even though that’s useless.
The fire drakes and their riders focused on other targets since they think we’re a pain in the ass. But there’s no mistake eventually they will come back. So will the others. And during my nap their summoners had replenished their hell hounds on the ground to probably slow us down more than anything and prevent us from moving around easily.
Will those fae mages come back?
It’s ironic that they kind of had their courage cave in, when they are supposedly all powerful.
This part is tricky too. I have to recast the next wall of force at almost the same interval and space as the previous one. If I have too much space between them then the safe zone will continue to shrink. And as it shrinks bigger problems can occur.
Carefully I had to time it, while I got the next cast ready. This also was a strategy I’d cooked up weeks ago training with Sylvie. But for it to work, I’d had to train mercilessly on knowing how thick each average typical sphere type wall of force’s wall thickness actually was. Then I had to practice getting it right. With a place like this with lava and magma in the city I also have to make sure that the sphere type wall of force extends into the ground too just in case something else happens.
Openings in the sphere of force barrier can be deadly to us.
This keeps getting better and better.
“Hurry!” Detector said.
It seems like he can tell my previous sphere type wall of force is about to expire.
Carefully I breathe in and out to concentrate and focus all my willpower into this spell. This is how fragile using this spell is. It takes all of my effort. The slightest concentration can screw it up. And if that happens we die.
Then I casted the runic glyph drawing the inscription’s glowing runes in the air with my finger and activated it; instantly the other wall of force is released.
“Whew!” the men are relieved. Then they start congratulating each other. Some of them thought we’d die and that I’d run out of power I guess.
(Sheesh, they act like they were gambling in Vegas or something. It wasn’t that fragile of a barrier.)
(Jerks, have faith in my skills!)
“Can you keep this up?” Lars wondered.
All eyes are on me.
I didn’t respond right away. Rather than talking I’m thinking of chess moves involving real people, or in this case monsters…I’m thinking like four or five steps ahead and not just two steps ahead. So their little questions I’m kind of ignoring since those are mostly about one or two steps instead of a final win.
(Whatever happens, the fae have to keep the fortress… then I can plan for my own twist on the future…)
“Yeah, we need to. The fae eventually will send reinforcements won’t they?” I asked.
“Well my orders are just to hang on as long as possible,” Lars retorted back.
“What does that mean? It’s not a concrete explanation on if they have a counterattack planned,” I said.
“I hope they have something like that,” Detector argued.
“Yeah, you’d think they wouldn’t want their own hidden realm invaded. So they must have something planned but what?” Lars wondered.
“So this hasn’t happened before?” I asked carefully.
“Nope, it’s not that. It’s…well…the enemy hasn’t penetrated this far into the stronghold before. This was a big shock to us. We often have skirmishes but this many hellhounds…wow…there must be thousands and thousands of them. Not to mention those fire drakes that are all over,” he emphasized.
Every now and then the shadows of the drakes flying overhead goes past us, like sharks in the sky in terms of how scary they are.
“Hey what’s that?” Detector asked. He’s pointing in the distance.
“Um…I’m not sure,” Lars said.
“It’s obviously fire drakes. We knew that,” I said.
“Yeah but this group is headed straight for us instead of to destroy those other buildings and to kill civilians like the others,” he said.
(Uh…I don’t want to test the barrier on a whole team of fire drakes right now. My stomach fluttered in fear.)
“So you don’t have an escape spell like those other fae mages?” Lars asked me.
“If I did, I’d probably be where they are,” I countered.
“Right…” he sighed.
“It’s also hard to see far through the glass. Are you sure they are headed over here?” I asked.
“Yeah but the sphere bubble we’re in reduces my distance. But I see something flying towards us,” he said.
“Friendlies?” Some of the men are hopeful.
(They didn’t listen at all.)
But Lars frowned. “We shouldn’t be getting friendlies by air. And fae don’t use drakes, since they think fire drakes are cheap imitation dragons. They only want the real thing but can’t have it. If only we could get to the fortress doors.”
(How did he find that out I wonder.)
“You mentioned something about the fae entrance or fortress doors?” I asked.
“Yeah…about that …it’s a mess,” he said.
“Actually I haven’t seen it either. Not many humans get too,” Detector admitted.
“So there’s not a set big door to the hidden part of the fae realm?” I asked.
“There is but they move it every day. I suspect they link it to some control room where all those little pocket doors channel together like a web. And from there they send out their reinforcements. They have so many traps in here that it’s scary you know. I don’t even want to know anymore. They ironically injure themselves in their trap network more than they injure their enemies because its such a damn mess to figure out,” Lars explained.
(That sounds…not fun.)
“So the fae are pretty crafty then,” I noted.
“Yeah they are very paranoid and it makes them over think everything,” Detector admitted.
By now we can see the little specks in the distance getting closer as they fly towards the city in the distance. We could start counting them now. First it looked like two or three, then five, then seven. Now we noticed other groups of them too. In fact there must be dozens of platoons.
“Actually how do you know which type of drakes they are? So far everything has been fire element but they could throw in a screwball just to mess with us,” I said to cover my bases. We’d previously assumed they were ‘fire’ type drakes.
“They are for sure fire drakes,” Detector said finally.
“Fire drakes? Who would have that for troops?” Lars asked.
“Those look pretty dangerous. We don’t have to fight those do we?” one of them said.
“More like how would we?” another said.
“You don’t fight those. They are like a whole squad of men,” Lars said.
But none of us know, so we can’t answer him.
“How do you know they are fire drakes if you’ve never seen this stuff before. I mean if not for the red color they might be ice drakes or something else right?” someone asked Detector.
(Actually he’s not wrong to ask that. But I’m thinking about my combat strategy if the barrier fails instead. That needs more concentration. Plus their verbal debate is pointless.)
“Well…in my training they make me memorize catalogues of various monster species. These definitely are some kind of big fire drakes, related to dragons but clearly not the same thing. Basically a lesser dragon species that’s neither as evolved, nor as intelligent either,” he said.
“These are deadly, and you can see little riders on the back of them hanging low if you look closely,” he pointed out.
“Ahh, he’s right,” Lars said.
“What species are the riders?” he asked.
“Duh, they are fire salamanders too,” Detector countered.
“Well I had to ask, I mean if they are mages too we’d be SOL,” he noted.
(Well that would complicate it. But probably the fire salamander prince uses the fire drakes and warrior riders to check the political power of the mages and vice versa. One group having all the strength might be messy for him to control, I thought.)
“So the salamander prince finally made a move against us. Those are carrying his elite banners. He might be with them or that group may be representing him personally with his own special emissaries,” Lars said.
“Oh?” I asked.
The others are listening intently too.
“It was believed he was a possible player on the enemy side but nobody could prove anything. He’s never acted against us before but we had intel that he was massing a lot of troops. But he never acted before now. We believed that he’s got more armies than most of the rest of his species has people combined; his faction is that big. Every once in awhile you run into a guy like him that can extend the power of his species by several times to make them bigger than reality because of his strategist abilities. He’s almost larger than life,” Lars explained.
The rest of us look worried while we wait.
Soon there are other signals too. Not only the fire drakes going around attacking buildings is going on but in the distance we see little tiny figures have scaled the prison city walls. You can see them digging out the buildings to snack on people too with chunks of humans hanging out of their mouths like strawberry jelly too. Within a half hour of watching the figures continue to flow and appear on the walls like ants in the distance. It started as a few dozen, and then it became several dozens, and then finally hundreds. Not I think there are thousands of them on the city walls all around us.
“What? What the fuck?! How can he have so many men and troops?!” Detector exclaimed while we stare in awe.
“They…can’t get in this bubble sphere right?” Lars asked me quickly.
“Well…they can try to dispel it from the outside with their own casters but it would be difficult. Also, if I run out mana that could be a cause of it too. The good part out of this is most mages won’t have experience or have had to think about dispelling a barrier so most of them will be forced to bypass us for a time,” I replied.
“That makes sense. A barrier is pretty advanced…,” Detector nodded thoughtfully.
“And you can’t move the barrier and reactivate it?” Lars asked.
“Nope. We have to wait it out and just endure,” I said.
“They are coming this way,” Lars said.
“Watch for enemy spell casters. As soon as you see or feel one, I need to know,” I said to Detector.
“Jeez, we still haven’t dealt with the hell hounds, even,” one guy said jerking his thumb at the hundreds of hell hounds surrounding our bubble.
“Hey do you think we’re the only ones left alive still?” someone asked Lars.
Suddenly it got really quiet.
But we’re lucky. They want to capture easy ground and weaken fae combat strength before engaging us. So thus far, we’ve been saved.
But it likely won’t last.
1 hour later
“Enemy caster closing on us!” I almost screamed because I was so freaked out.
Somehow Lars and Shun are keeping their cool.
Who the hell is this Shun guy anyway? We should be dead if not for him. And his self control and discipline are ice cold right now. He’s just coldly calculating things while I have to pee…uh right, I can’t pee in the barrier. I have to hold it, but Lars is wondering why I’m so antsy.
The fire drake landed on a building next to us, and a salamander kin in casters robes is climbing off its back to face us. These guys look strange, and exotic; it’s like a bipedal lizard man. So this is what they look like up close. It’s interesting to see an intelligent creature that isn’t human. Our fortress hasn’t let in lizard men for awhile because of the worry of a Trojan horse incident and seeing them mass troops. If humans had been reptiles instead of mammals we’d look like them, but their heads are shaped differently than other humans and demi-humans; almost like they are still reptile like in their heads. And instead of head hair they have frilly protrusions that look like both spikes, and extra skin flanges like fish fins almost except not as dramatically pronounced.
I felt the energy pulse as the enemy caster began drawing runes in the air. Then a second later his spell activated. The massive energy pulse hit the spherical wall of force.
Oh shit. He’s trying to break in!
And there are still hell hounds too but they aren’t getting close because they can tell something is wrong with why there are so many bodies around of their brethren around the kill zone that they are hungrily eyeing where we are.
“Attack spells are useless on the energy sphere right?” Someone asked.
“That’s not an attack spell, it’s a magic cancellation ray,” I corrected.
To compensate and meet the ray hitting the wall of force, Shun also touched his hand against the spherical force field and began pouring more energy out to match the opposing frequency. At the same time the enemy spell caster is still trying to cancel it, with his ray still pouring out like a small waterfall flowing against us. The enemy spell caster is strong.
“So this is probably the limit of a support class huh,” someone scoffed in frustration.
“Eh? He’s a support class? Are you sure,” another soldier said.
“Support classes are weak aren’t they?” someone else argued.
“Shut up! He needs to concentrate bitches!” Lars barked.
The doubts have already started. In a place like this that values warriors, support classes aren’t valued well. All of their eyes of scrutiny are pointed at Shun, who is still feeding energy back into the force field.
“What will you do?” I asked him carefully while full of fear and a dry cracked throat. I’d run out of water a long time ago too. And the air feels like sitting in an oven because of so many fire based life forms around us.
“I just have to match his power fluctuation hitting the forcefield with the same amount of power he’s draining to stop the cancellation. It shouldn’t be too hard,” Shun said confidently.
Amazing! It looks like he’s just sort of adapting on the fly without having done this before.
Also it revealed some thought to me more about how to conduct my craft.
So that’s how you counter magic cancellation abilities?! It’s such a simple idea! How could I have not thought about this before now! If you have a sink draining out water, then you just match the drain with filling it with the same amount going back in and the water level should be the same!!
This kind of concept is very simple but effective!
I saved the idea in my head. I was hoping to qualify for mage apprentice training sometime next year, but had been building my strength and my pool while working as a detector.
If I can grow my own mana core a bit more hopefully someday I can do what he’s doing. Ahh, but that might take twenty years or more….
“W-will that really work?!” I exclaimed in shock.
“Of course it will!” Shun said with an annoyed tone.
“But it means you are both leaking out tons of power right?” I asked to confirm.
Both the enemy caster and Shun are both struggling right now to keep their power draw even as their forces crash against each other.
“Well I think he has a slight advantage because he’s practiced that magic cancellation ray probably hundreds of times,” Shun admitted.
Some of us couldn’t help but groan. Shun is too honest, which is a sign of being weak.
“It doesn’t mean that he’ll win though,” Shun said.
Or is it…
Lars is regarding both the enemy caster and Shun carefully trying to figure out which will win. He glanced at me questioningly but even I don’t know who will win!
If the sphere type wall of force fails, we will die horribly eaten alive under the weight of hundreds of hell hound jaws!
I wiped the sweat off my brow as the struggle of wills continues.
The enemy spell caster’s face twisted into a grim expression. He’s now exerting more force than before and intensified the ray!
I held my breath as I realized what he’d done.
But to my shock, Shun seems calm and intensified the power draw on his end as well.
Is this the end? Will we die now?