Chapter 30: The Ascetic (Part 1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Saleen was different from other mages in that he especially cherished his magic chords. As his mental power was always brimming and never lacking, he strived to practice his control of magic. This ice ball suddenly stopped in midair and exploded, causing tens of icicles to pierce the bodies of the assassins.
These two assassins had mastered the sword aura, but the low temperature of the icicles had caused their blood to coagulate instantly. If their blood was not flowing, they would not have any energy. Sika, who was beside Saleen, had been extremely alert, as her boomerang had already flown out of her hands.
Saleen grew more reassured. Unless these two assassins had mastered the Dead Soul spell, they would not be a threat to him dead.
The attack this time was efficient. However, the existence of the squad was exposed. In an instant, the battle before them had started. Saleen said to Sika in a low voice, “You go up front and kill their holy master.”
“What about you?” Sika was a little worried. In the Caucasus region, the greatest honor for an outstanding warrior like her was to protect the priests. Sika was a muddled girl, but she held high regards for the word ‘honor”. If she had not met Saleen, there was a high possibility that she would have been tricked by a mercenary regiment into performing hard labor instead.
Saleen’s face was green under the illumination of the Fluorescence spell. He grit his teeth and said, “Go quickly!”
Sika had no idea why Saleen was irritated. From what she had seen, she did not consider such a battle tough. The opponent’s swordsmen possessed similar abilities, and the mage on their side would be sufficient in influencing the result of the battle.
Sika was not to be blamed for not understanding Saleen’s anxiousness. Saleen appeared composed, but he was, in fact, regretful of this expedition. His greatest regret was killing that holy master. In this group, he was one who read the most, and he understood the significance of the oracles of the Holy See.
On the surface, the status of an oracle was below that of the religion. However, the capabilities of an oracle were superior to that of the religion. Since what was done was done, he could not turn back. Saleen wanted to kill all of the people who had seen him and try his best to escape to the Qin Empire before the arrival of an oracle.
For a Grade 1 mage, it was not embarrassing to be on the run, especially in a situation where the forces of the enemy could be compared to that of a Grade 9 mage. Saleen’s decision could be considered smart.
Sika put her boomerang back into the leather case and removed the huge cudgel on her back. With a leap, she jumped out of the cover of the Fog of Confusion. Saleen was shocked by the distance of her leap; that was an unbelievably huge leap!
Sika held some grievances in her heart and they could not be vented out on Saleen. Thus, she vented it all out on their opponents.
The physiques of the Caucasus people were constitutionally stronger than that of standard swordsmen. Sika was from a warrior lineage; her humongous cudgel was made from the thigh bone of an exterminated magic beast and was a hundred times sturdier than a metal rod. She leaped out of the Fog of Confusion and had in one blow, hit the holy master on his head.
With a titter, the holy master who had been attending to his compatriot had his head smashed into pieces like a watermelon by the cudgel. The hot fluids from his brain splattered everywhere. The spear swordsman, whom the holy master had been attending to, was instantly drenched by the white shiny liquid and some entered his mouth and nose.
Without waiting for him to be disgusted, Sika’s cudgel landed on his head in an instant.
The defensive power of a spear swordsman was not lower than that of a shield swordsman. The problem was that Sika’s cudgel was not something their heads could withstand. The blow instantly intensified the disgusting smell in the air. This spear swordsman had suffered incontinence just before his death, and the cave was filled with a strange smell as though a carnivorous beast had just passed through.
After wiping out the wounded, Sika went in search of the other holy master. The battle ahead was very intense. Lucas’ eagle plumes were used up, and he was using his three-edged dagger in combat. He was fighting the heavily armored swordsmen; two heavily armored swordsmen together attacking an archer. Even if Lucas had mastered close combat skills, it was not possible for him to be a match for the heavily armored swordsmen.
Sika ignored him, because Sarah who wielded a flexible sword was in a more dangerous situation. Sarah was using martial skills from the Qin Empire which were more effective in a small scale battle such as this one compared to in a war. If the sword aura was not taken into consideration, Sarah would surely be the one with the strongest martial skills in this squad.
Now, Sarah was being attacked by a short-haired, middle-aged man. Her right hand, which had been treated by Saleen earlier, was injured again, and there was blood seeping through her leather jacket.
Canghong and Pino were in no better of a situation. The first round of sneak attacks had killed a spear swordsman and two archers. Now they were up against a heavily armored swordsman. Canghong’s brilliant armor had lost its sheen of yesteryears and grown greyish. There were prominent cuts on his chest, one of which had almost caused his armor to be chopped into two.
Canghong’s armor, which appeared hardly substantial, was in fact a piece of magic armor. The heavily armored swordsman waved around a heavy sword that was as broad as a door plank, and was leading the battle despite fighting one-to-two. Both Canghong and Pino did not dare clash with the heavily armored swordsman’s weapon and struggled to dodge it in the narrow cave.
The soft whip held on Canghong’s soft boot had already been cut, and Pino’s thin sword had long since been thrown off. In his hand was a sword blade that he had picked up. Sika glanced around the battleground and discovered something amiss. The opponents had eleven people. Saleen had killed two of them, she had killed two, and three corpses were on the ground, but there were four more opponents on the battlefield.
Sika did not find the second holy master, and thus ran straight towards the short-haired man whom Sarah was battling.
This short-haired man had no expression. He wore a simple linen robe and was an extremely normal-looking commoner without anything unusual about his appearance. However, his martial skills were extraordinary. Sarah’s wealth of battlefield experience was ineffective before him. Her flexible sword was like a dead snake, no longer agile like before.
“Be careful, he is an ascetic!” Canghong had been slashed thrice by the heavily armored swordsman’s heavy sword. His body flew through midair, but he did not neglect to remind Sika of this. Sika was now their primary force, and Canghong realized that his gold coins had been well spent.
What was an ascetic? Sika blinked as her huge cudgel flew sideways to block the short-haired man’s attack on Sarah.
On the short-haired man’s hands were a pair of metal gloves which looked like the big hands used for constructing puppets. Sika’s cudgel struck this big pair of hands with such a tremendous sound that Sika was dizzied by the vibrations.
For the first time, she had lost to someone in terms of strength. In her tribe, even strongmen possessed less strength than her. This cudgel with a massive amount of kinetic energy had been blocked by a pair of normal-looking metal gloves.
The short-haired man displayed an astonished expression on his face. This girl was strong. Without this pair of gloves, he would likely be defeated in no time.
“Mage, come on out.” The short-haired man was not bothered by Sika, instead calling out to Saleen who was inside the Fog of Confusion.
Saleen refused to emerge. His awareness was exceptionally alert in the Fog of Confusion. This was a battle, not a competition of martial skills. Saleen was well aware that his skills would probably not do much harm to this ascetic. That pair of gloves was probably a high-level magical tool. This ascetic was practically indifferent to the lives and deaths of his compatriots. Saleen decided to kill the others first. As for this ascetic, things would come down to his own luck.
High-level magical tools required their users to be at least Grade 4. As this ascetic was of a much higher grade than himself, Saleen even had the urge to turn around and flee. However, Sika was holding the fort at the front, and he could not leave her behind.
Sika gave her numbed hands a shake. With a grave look, she began to speak in the Caucasus language. Saleen also knew the Caucasus language, but Sika’s dialect carried an intonation from a special region. He basically did not understand what Sika was mumbling. However, Saleen was certain that Sika was not scolding anyone. The rhythm of her voice was clear, and carried a mysterious energy.
As Sika chanted, scale patterns began to emerge from her huge cudgel. The patterns were dark green in color, and faint flashes of light seeped through the lines. The cudgel came alive, as though it had been filled with an aura.
The ascetic’s face grew ashen, and he yelped, “Heresy! Put down your evil weapon and return with me. Obey Lord Oracle’s instruction.”
“You are sick!” Sika replied to the short-haired man in the mainland’s common language. She took a high leap, and delivered a blow with her cudgel.
The material of Sika’s weapon had come from an ancient magic beast. She had chanted a spell which was only used by Caucasus priests. This meant that Sika had received the blessings of the most senior priests. A common Caucasus warrior could not use any witchery.
Such an ability could only be bestowed upon someone by others. Progression was difficult to achieve, but it did not mean that such an ability was not strong. The cudgel had been revived by the chanting, and gave out a bellowing whine like the sound of the wind. The ascetic felt as though the weapon in the girl’s hand had suddenly become an evil monster volleying down upon him.
The ascetic was vigilant by nature. He bit the tip of his tongue, and spat a mouthful of blood on that pair of metal gloves. Blood red runes immediately appeared on the golden gloves. Saleen, who had been watching the battle, recognized them as holy prose.
Holy prose was not the words of the gods themselves, but were the words used to communicate between prose believers and the gods. Only devoted believers would receive the holy prose. In other words, such people did not need to visit a temple to pray, and had the ability to receive the blessings of the gods on their own.
An ascetic who knew holy prose! No matter what, he was not going to let this fellow get away. Saleen had forgotten about his fear at this moment, or rather, his fear had reached its peak. He had not been careful and had landed himself into one of the Holy See’s plans. This plan was obviously no small affair, since it had been entrusted to an oracle. If he did not get rid of the oracle’s people immediately, he would not need to wait for the people sent to kill him by Earl Sufonso. He would be killed in the Chaotic Swamp.
Out of their group of seven, one was dead, and there was no knowing how many of them in the squad would make it out of the Chaotic Swamp. Saleen began to chant a spell, trying to get his Grade 2 magic to reach its peak potential.
The Grade 2 spell that Saleen knew was the Ice Arrow spell. Be it speed, degree of penetration, or freezing capabilities, the power of an ice arrow was more than ten times stronger than that of an icicle.
Ordinarily, Saleen could cast a Grade 2 spell twice, but his ice arrows had been induced without being discharged and his magic chords continued to be exhausted while he waited for the best chance to act. Such a high-level deployment method was not only demanding on his magic chords, but was demanding on his mental power as well.
If a mage with low mental power attempted such a thing, the ice arrows would detonate directly in his hands, and the mage would freeze himself to death.