The party was surrounded by five tall figures dressed in full black attire. Each one of the assassins held a metal sword which was all designed the same way as if they were forged by the same hammer. Shin and the group huddled together facing the threat as it slowly edged closer.
“Shin, I’m guessing they are here for you. So you escape with the rest, I will hold them off. If you reach the checkpoint at the forest, I doubt they will continue attacking.”
Junius, with his azure water blade summoned, instructed Shin breakout from the enclosure.
“Junius, there is no way that you can fight the five of them!”
Shin exclaimed in reply. He wanted to escape, but there was no way he would leave Junius behind.
“Hmph! Junius, Shin is right. If we leave, we leave together.”
Ariel, who was boiling with fighting Spirit, started to gather a significant amount of spiritual energy. Mana overflowed from her body, and a bludgeon-like figure began to form in her hands. The next instant, a wave of spiritual energy surged from Ariel’s body as her Spirit, the Lava Warhammer, was summoned.
Likewise, Ella and Emma prepared their battle stances and used their mana to condense their Spirits. Two alluring and majestic Ice Bows graced the battlefield as a frosty aura started emitting from their crystalline bowstrings.
Witnessing their actions, Shin also summoned his Spirit. He clasped his two hands together and focused all of his mana there. A cerulean light began to emit from Shin’s body, and spiritual energy rushed rapidly through the gaps in his fingers. With a soft shriek, the cerulean light condensed to form a cute little fish that started to swim in the compounds of Shin’s hands.
“You guys… Fine, but remember, our objective is to escape, not beat them. So at my signal, we all run.”
Touched by his companions camaraderie, Junius changed his previous plans. Being the only Spirit Apostle, he had the most battle experience and was the best-equipped person to deal with the five assassins. Thus, he had planned to stay behind to keep the five assailants company while his juniors escaped to safety.
The enemy, on the other hand, was not willing to let them regroup. To prevent the party from regaining their composure, the five black-garbed attackers charged with maximum speed.
“Guys! Drop to the floor!”
Junius barked. He gathered his mana into the azure water blade in his hands. The Spirit in his hands started to shimmer as the water blade began to become more and more aqueous. It was as if a river had started flowing in the sword. In one fluid motion, Junius spun his Spirit around once to form a ring of water that stayed floating in the air.
Shin and the twins had witnessed Junius’ second spirit ability before and thus, they knew what was coming. Shin grabbed Ariel by her head and pushed her to the floor as he dropped down. Ella and Emma similarly fell while minding their heads.
The currents in the ring of water started to speed up as Junius supplied more mana. Eventually, the water started flowing at breakneck speeds.
Once Junius shouted the word, the ring of water instantly enlarged and sliced at the five assassins charging at the group. Three of the black-garbed assailants felt the danger and retreated hastily. Unfortunately, the last two weren’t as observant. A second later, they could see a line of liquid right in front of their eyes.
Raising their swords, they attempted to defend the uncanny spiritual ability. The water ring made contact with the steel blades. The two attackers felt their arms give way and their feet being lifted off the ground as the force of the circle of water blew them into the air. Even though the steel swords they were using were bestowed by the Second Elder, a small chip could be seen after it went through that ordeal.
Ariel blurted out in delight. She had seen Spirit Apostles demonstrate their abilities in a contest before, but none of the abilities she witnessed had the strength of Junius’ water ring.
Shin swallowed a mouthful of saliva as he witnessed his older brother fight. Although he had seen that ability once before, watching it in live combat had a different feel to it.
Junius pointed to the direction of the checkpoint and commanded the party to escape in that direction. The four on the ground got off their stomachs and began to run. Junius served as the rear guard to protect their escape and was following closely behind the group.
“Damn it! They’re running away!”
“Chase after them!”
Two of the assailants who retreated yelled out and began to chase the group. The two who were blown away by Junius came to their senses after hearing the order and got onto their feet. Being Spirit Apostles, their bodies had been trained to a significant degree. Through the use of mana manipulation, they were able to strengthen their bodies to increase their speeds. Thus, even though the party had managed to escape, the assailants were able to catch up quickly.
“Damn it! They are right behind us!”
Ella glanced over her shoulder and saw the five assassins making impressive ground even though the party had a head start. It was the difference between Spirit Practitioners who had just awakened their Spirit and Spirit Apostles who had trained for years. Junius could easily boost his speed if he wanted to but since he was acting as rear guard, he had to match his juniors’ speed.
“Ella! Emma! Can you shoot them?”
Junius questioned the two long-ranged Spirit Users if they could snipe the assailants who were about to catch them.
“We can, but currently, we only have enough mana for three arrows! Once we shoot the three arrows, we will be unable to use our Spirits.”
Ella explained their circumstance.
“So the both of you can shoot six arrows huh… That’s fine! Shoot when they are about to catch us. That will slow them down a bit. Can you do it?”
Junius calmly analysed their Spirit ability and formulated a plan.
“Yes, brother Junius!”
“I’ll try my best!”
The twins replied determinedly.
Less than ten seconds later, the five Spirit Apostles, who were hot on their heels, were just a mere ten meters away from the group.
Junius gave the signal for the twins to open fire.
Spiritual energy started to congregate, and a bluish-white light formed an icicle in the twins’ free hand. Ella held the Ice Bow on her left hand while Emma held her Spirit on her right hand. Although the two were twins, they had different master hands. Nocking the icicles on their bowstrings, the twins came to a halt and took aim at the oncoming attackers. Finding a shot, the twins released their arrows.
The icicles whistled through the air as it flew viciously towards the assailants. The twins were not yet expert archers and were not that capable of shooting arrows, but at this short distance, their arrows were sure to hit its target.
The twins aimed directly at the two nearest figures that were less than ten meters away. Although they were caught off guard, the assassins that the twins targeted swiftly came to a halt to receive the attack. Being so near to the twins meant that they had less than a second to react. Lifting their swords in defence, they calmly met the two arrows.
As the icicles made contact with their steel swords, the two assailants felt their feet move an inch backwards. The force of the attack pushed them back, but that was not all. A chilling frost could be felt from their swords.
Shocked, the two black-clothed assassins looked up to find the source of the sudden cold. To their surprise, their steel swords had some ice forming at the point of contact that the twins’ arrows hit. It turns out, Ella and Emma’s first ability, Ice Arrow, had a passive freezing effect. Anything the tip of their arrow touches, it freezes. With that, the twins had rendered two of the assailant’s steel swords, useless.
“Shit! Hey, the Ice Arrows will freeze your weapon! Dodge that ability. Don’t block it!”
The leader of the called out while throwing his damaged sword away. Reaching into his pockets, he grabbed two smaller blades and returned to his pursuit.
“Nice one! Ella! Emma!”
Once the twins shot the ice arrows, they immediately started to run again. Junius noticed that with their first shot, they managed to destroy two weapons, severely weakening their pursuers.
“Ha… Ha… Using spirit abilities in combat is harder than I thought…”
Ella panted heavily while keeping up the pace. The twins had practised using their spirit ability before, but it was in a contained and safe place. Using the same ability in real combat was much more taxing than they thought.
“It’s alright! Just rest for now. We are reaching the checkpoint soon! Once we are there, they will be unable to do anything to us.”
Junius encouraged the twins as they rapidly ran towards safety.