Chapter Thirty – The Dark Mage Rises
Two wizards, vastly different in both style and technique—Kevin had never seen one wizard battle another before. He could barely keep up. Without magic eyes, he figured, he would be unable to tell illusions apart from reality, and it was simply difficult to comprehend it all. His heart pumped nonetheless. Nothing he had seen was this exciting, and he could only imagine how the actual combatants felt.
Kevin tried to follow. Eldrian had blinked, but so had Ouray. At least, that’s what he guessed had happened. Neither were in the same place anymore. He saw a frozen spear come from Eldrian. It nearly met its target, but the martial artist was too quick. This continued for a few moments. His poor friend could barely land a spell, but at the very least, he had not been crushed into the ground again—as close as a few strikes had been. Were they taking this too seriously? Kevin thought to himself. He realised that he had no idea what a wizard battle taken seriously looked like. Was it crazier than this?
“I’ve never fought or even met with a wizard with a body as strong as yours,” said Eldrian, catching his breath.
“Neither have I.”
Chapter Twenty-Nine – A Whole New World
“Come, little one. Proceed farther. Do not be afraid, for I am only here to help you.”
The voice was of a woman’s, and it was calm, like words spoken from one’s own mother. It emitted a sense of warmth and safety despite it being so alien. However, it was unclear where it came from other than deeper into the woods. It was as if the gaps between the trees whispered—luring.
“Who are you?” asked the little girl. “I’m cold. It’s dark, and I’m scared.”
“Continue forwards and meet with me, and I will keep you warm and safe. I will return you to your home.”
The child stepped cautiously between the density of the forest, rubbing her hands up and down her goosebump-covered arms. A chilling breeze caused a shiver to travel down her spine. She was lost, and this stranger’s voice did sound trustworthy to her. There were few other options in her mind.
It wasn’t long before she broke into a clearing. Up ahead, the speaker stood still. It was a beautiful woman with long black hair and crystal blue eyes. Her skin was fair. It reminded the child of her mother, and she made her way over with arms ready for an embrace.
Chapter Twenty-Eight – Party Like It’s 1499
The view itself, even though they had seen it before, was something not of this world. Or perhaps it was exactly the opposite, and that’s what made it seem so pure and uplifting. When gazing off a mountain to take in the hundreds of kilometres of even taller mountains and an ocean of trees, there’s something that awakens in everybody. It’s the thought of what the Earth might look like if there was hardly a touch from humanity’s hands. But where they stood at that moment, there were ruined walls of stone atop the plateau. They had allowed a day of rest, and then they returned to Machu Picchu.
Rend, Ron, Dylan, and Xeno were all contained in the Demon World, and they had become Lucy’s problem instead. Asta fell upon her own blade as well, which finally ceased the influx of threats falling upon the group. There wasn’t even a drop left of the Elixir of Strength.
There was still a bitter feeling mixed within the sweet. None of them had wanted to kill the woman behind it all, and something about her tale bothered Eldrian even more. But he knew he couldn’t allow it to bring him down, especially during a time meant for celebration. Now all five stood at the entrance of the hidden Inca civilization they had met before most of what occurred.
“This place is beautiful,” whispered Renatta. “There is really a secret city here?”
Chapter Twenty-Seven – The Last Victim
Kevin lunged once again at the spellbreaker, crashing the blue blade of Drodias against her magic shield. The collision sent out a burning flash of sparks down the line of impact, and her forward push sent him back like before. And when Eldrian tried another spell, she was quick enough to break it to pieces.
The two knew they needed a plan. A simple swing would always be blocked, and spells would be countered as long as she was focused—and she seemed to be quite adept at such.
“Your magic is useless,” Asta declared.
“So I cast sword!” shouted Kevin as he began another assault of slashes.
His strikes were blocked by her shield, but also parried by a few swings of her mace. He had been practicing, but she was older than him, and had clearly been doing this much longer than him. But he tried nonetheless. Kevin didn’t want to fail his friends despite his lack of actual magic ability.
“You’re quick with that blade, and it’s clearly special, but it won’t be enough,” said Asta rather calmly even in the midst of combat.