“Why are they not summoning their Spirits?”
Ariel, who was right beside Shin, asked the question that had been bothering her for a while. If the assassins sincerely wished to harm them, why would they not summon their Spirit? It seemed more efficient to use their Spirits to battle. Instead, they only used physical objects such as steel swords and knives to attack the party.
“They probably wish to hide their identities. If they are members of the Frie Clan, they will incur punishments if we discover who they are.”
Junius speculated. He too wondered why the attackers were not using their Spirits at first, but after contemplating about it, he came up with a possible explanation.
“Hmph! If they are not going to use their Spirits, why are we running?! I could use my hammer and knock them into the high heavens!”
Ariel, who was full of confidence, declared that she would beat them all up while raising her Spirit. Fire elements started to gather around Ariel as mana seeped through her body.
“Even if they won’t use their Spirits, they are still Spirit Apostles. I know that you are strong Ariel, but we can’t survive an onslaught of five Spirit Apostles! Furthermore, if we push them to the brink, they might just summon their Spirits to deal with us!”
Junius rationally explained to the freckled girl who was about to rampage.
Running away was not part of Ariel’s nature, she would much rather face the enemy upfront and bludgeon them till they become flat pastry.
However, at this moment, Shin and Ariel who were at the forefront of the group, felt a gush of wind pass by from atop them. Immediately sensing danger, they slammed their feet into the ground to come to an abrupt stop. The next moment, they saw a patch of black smoke halting their advance.
In the short time that they paused, the pursuers leapt the distance and surrounded the group once more. Three were armed with steel swords while the remaining two were wielding short knives. Adopting a battle stance, they prepared to attack.
“Looks like we are unable to escape anymore…”
Junius sighed as he readied his battle stance. Gripping his Spirit with both hands, Junius faced the enemy, prepared to risk his life for his juniors. His Azure Water Blade begun to brighten up as he increasingly supplied his mana to his Spirit.
Ella and Emma gathered spiritual energy too and condensed an icicle in their free hand once again. With the arrow resting comfortably on the Ice Bow, the twins drew their bows. Aiming directly at the two assassins in front of them, they made sure that their enemies were wary of their threat.
Ariel happily raised her Lava Warhammer while baring her fangs at her enemy. The dormant tattoos on the Spirit started emitting a low buzzing sound, and a crimson red light blasted out of the Warhammer. The air became increasingly hot, so much so that Shin was sweating just by standing next to Ariel.
Shin, Junius, Ariel, Ella and Emma. The five of them were facing five Spirit Apostles. Logically, each member of the group would fight one assailant. But, the twins Spirits were suited to long-range engagements and Shin’s Spirit was mostly useless in direct confrontation. Hence, only Junius and Ariel were the best equipped to fight their adversaries.
“I will try to handle three of them at once. Ella and Emma, you will cover me and try to shoot while I engage them. As for the other two, Shin and Ariel, you deal with them.”
Junius told the group his plan as blue particles started exuding off his body. Similar to the assailants, Junius was also capable of strengthening his body using mana. A subtle blue aura formed around Junius that made the youth seem like an unparalleled warrior.
“Sorry for keeping you guys waiting…”
Junius pointed his blade at the enemy as he addressed them. Bending his knees, he vaulted off his original position and charged straight like a bull towards the first enemy. Caught off guard, the black-clothed assassin frantically hoisted up his sword to defend.
The two swords collided. Junius slashed downwards, and his target was shoved backwards by the impact. Junius was engaging three assassins at once. Two of them were wielding steel swords while the last one manipulated two short knives. The instant Junius attacked one of their comrades, the other two pounced. A silver light flickered at the corners of Junius’ eyes as the blades danced around him. Anticipating the attacks, Junius twisted his body and retreated backwards. Unfortunately, he did not come out unscathed. One of the silver lights flickered past his chest and left a small wound.
Junius hollered in pain. Fresh, crimson blood started flowing out from his chest and staining his grey robes. Noticing that the teen had been injured, the two assailants took the opportunity to continue striking. Strengthening their bodies with an abundance of mana, they leapt towards the damaged youth with bloodlust in their eyes.
But before they could go anywhere near Junius, two crystalline arrows sliced the air and headed straight towards the assailants. Recalling the earlier scene, the attackers pivoted their ankles to change their direction. The arrows missed their mark and pierced the ground leaving a chunk of frozen land.
“Brother Junius, are you okay?!”
Emma rushed forward to inspect the youth’s injury. The blood from the wound flowed down his abdomen and begun to stain his pants. If left untreated, Junius might suffer from a severe loss of blood.
“I’m fine… What about you two? Since you fired two arrows each, do you still have enough mana?”
Junius, as if he was unaware that he had a massive cut in the middle of his chest, asked worriedly about his juniors’ conditions.
“You don’t have to worry about us! We should treat your injury first!”
Being Rank 1 Spirit Practitioners, the twins had a limited amount of mana in their bodies. Hence, they were only able to conjure up three arrows before they ran out of juice. Now that they had shot two arrows each, they just had enough mana to use the attack one more time.
“Even if I wanted to sit back and heal, there is no way those guys will just let me…”
Taking a deep breath, Junius readied himself. It was the reality of a battle. Once the fight begins, there were no breaks in between. The contest ends when one side lies defeated. Junius had worked his entire life to prevent himself from ending up on the beaten side. Gathering up his mana once more, Junius faced his adversaries.
The twins felt Junius’ determination through his actions. *Whoosh…* Sweat beads began forming on their foreheads as they accumulated their last bits of mana to create the final ice arrow that they could conjure up.
“This time, we will hit them!”
Motivating themselves, the twins nocked their arrows and drew their bowstring for the last time.
On the other side of the battlefield, Shin and Ariel were facing two black-clothed enemies. One with a steel sword, the other with two short knives. Their lust for blood could be felt from Shin’s position as they slowly sauntered forward.
“Shin, you take care of the one on the left, I will take the right one.”
Ariel’s battle aura surged forth as she addressed Shin to fight one opponent while she attacked the other.
“That’s fine with me, but I won’t be able to take him down…”
“What do you mean?”
“My first spiritual ability is not suited for head-on confrontations, if I fight him, I will be using my physical body only. Furthermore, I don’t have any weapons. Thus, I might not be able to beat him.”
Shin explained the reason why he was not a good matchup for his opponent.
“Ahhhh, you’re causing trouble for me even at this time? Whatever… Then hold him off for a few seconds while I pulverise mine.”
Frustrated at Shin’s lack of strength, Ariel instructed him to delay his adversary until she was done fighting hers.
“Alright… But don’t take too long. He is, after all, a Spirit Apostle… I can only dodge for so long.”
Shin was not going to ask her how she was so confident that she could defeat a Spirit Apostle in a few seconds. It was the infamous Ariel after all. Her superhuman power was renowned in the clan even before she awakened her Spirit.
Gathering her mana, Ariel darted forward like an arrow being released from its bowstring. The next instant, she was engaging her enemy. Swinging her Warhammer from the right, she took aim at the black-garbed enemy with the full intention of blasting him away. Sadly, her opponent was no pushover. Bending his body backwards like doing the limbo, the assailant easily evaded the Lava Warhammer.
Ariel reacted quickly. Using the earlier swinging momentum, Ariel launched her body into the air. Her crimson hair fluttered in the wind as her petite body floated graciously midair. Once her feet were directly above the assassin, Ariel kicked down with all her might. Dodging in the nick of time, the black-clothed Spirit Apostle escaped far away. With no target, the force of Ariel’s kick was headed straight to the floor.
The ground shook as Ariel made contact with it. A large dent formed on the forest floor as the girl found that her foot was stuck.
Unable to control her power, Ariel caused a hole in the forest thus trapping herself. Realising the chance that he had, her opponent dashed away to assist his ally in killing Shin.
Incapable of freeing herself, all Ariel could do was shout desperately at the black-clothed man.