Going toe to toe with an Awakened one who possessed a stronger mana core and was more experienced with magic had already pushed Lith to his limits just to keep up. Even with his core and Solus's resonating, he was barely at the cyan upper stages, while Nalear had a blue core.
Now that he had to face her along two other Professors, Lith felt his heart sink. He had long learned not to underestimate fake mages. The only advantage he had against stronger mages was usually the surprise effect, but Nalear countered that.
There was nothing he could do that she couldn't, making his odds of victory non-existent.
'Damn! If I put my life on the line, I can kill one of the Professors, maybe both. Not Nalear, thought. She can always use them as meat shields to buy time and recover.' Lith thought.
'Should we run away?' Solus hated not being strong enough to help him. Reality was a harsh mistress, all her battle spirit meant nothing in the face of true power. It was better to survive to fight another day.
'Exposing our back? No, thanks. A tactical retreat may help, though. Divide and conquer. If I manage to fight them one by one, we can still do it.'
'It's a big if.' Solus was worried, the three Professors were all casting something big.
Meanwhile, Jirni and Yurial were quickly bleeding out.
Orion was using all his medical skills in an attempt to save them. He forced Jirni to drink top class healing potions while he used magic on Yurial's neck. Neither seemed to work well.
"Her organs are too damaged. She needs tier four magic." His wife was dying in his arms, but Orion managed to keep his emotions in check, assessing the situation.
"Yurial too is in a bad shape. The wound is too wide and is sapping his life force very fast. We need a Healer, fast!"
Phloria felt the ground crumbling under her feet. Her whole life was going down the gutter and there was nothing she could do about it.
'Why didn't I learn healing magic too? Is my mom going to die because I didn't push myself hard enough?' She thought. The truth was she never showed particular talent toward healing magic.
The academy was a demanding environment, so Phloria had applied to the Mage Knight specialization only to not waste her energies. Even if she did try the Healer specialization, she would have flunked after the first trimester.
It was just her helplessness talking, filling her mind with "ifs" and "buts" about what she could have done in the past to have control over an uncontrollable present.
Instead of despairing, Phloria activated Full Guard before Yurial's body could even hit the ground, quickly moving near Friya. Nalear plan was the basic of the basic: always get rid of the Healer first.
Since Lith had told her about his vision, she had practiced Full Guard relentlessly, even creating a better version of it. The moment Phloria touched Friya, the blue aura expanding from her body enveloped her sister too, allowing Phloria to share her multi sensory awareness of the space in a two meters radius around them.
Contrary to everyone's expectations, Quylla didn't strike immediately, retreating to a safe distance instead.
"She wants to prevent us from receiving help." Phloria understood what was happening. "Friya, go save mom. Now!"
Friya was still frozen in place. She had no idea what to do. She could only save one of them. The situation forced her to take an impossible choice. Phloria's order nudged the balance in Jirni's favor.
"Dad, give Friya some space and call Manohar. We need all the help we can get. I'll keep Yurial alive."
Orion nodded, understanding his daughter's plan. It was unlikely for Manohar, or anyone else for that matter, to have the time and the strength to help them. Moving them while in critical condition was also out of the question.
It was only a trap to trigger Nalear's orders.
'Quylla is a Healer too. If we snap her out of the slave item control, we can save them both. My little Flower has grown into a capable leader.' He thought.
Quylla Blinked, appearing at Friya's back only to find Phloria waiting for her. She struck Quylla's throat with her extended fingers, preventing her from spellcasting without doing her any real harm.
Only then she grabbed Quylla by the arm, twisting it into a submission hold and forcing her face down on the ground.
"Dad, search for a ring, a bracelet. Anything! If it's on the neck we're doomed."
Quylla struggled like a mad beast, but Phloria was taller, stronger, and ruthless. She pushed her full weight on the knee pressed against Quylla's back to keep her pinned on the floor.
Orion took off Quylla's rings one by one until he found one that couldn't be moved. A quick spell later, he knew what he was dealing with.
'It's the same model that Poltus guy purchased. Finally some good news.' Orion took out a tool looking like pincer clamps from his dimensional amulet, using it to grab Quylla's ring. He then channeled a Forgemaster spell that temporarily neutralized the slave item, allowing his daughter to regain her free will.
Amyla Farg had done her best, saving as many students as she could and bringing them to safety. The chaos and violence were overwhelming. Despite her efforts, she felt like she was trying to stop the tide using a spoon.
The mind controlled students would either Warp away from her or attack innocents, forcing her to defend them while they got away and found another victim.
She was starting to fear everything was lost when the artifact Tyris had entrusted to her picked Lith's signal again.
'Thank the gods he hasn't run away, yet. If I can convince him to help me, maybe together we stand a chance.' Professor Farg chose to fly instead of Warping, she had already consumed part of her mana trying to stop the disorders.
The scene at her arrival made even too much sense. Three Professors against one student, keeping him on the defensive. Farg recognized the crazed look in her colleagues' eyes. The thought of how deep the scheme was made her shiver.
It didn't take her much time to understand Nalear was in control of the slave rings. Cursing at the Kingdom's bad luck, she unleashed three tier four true spells, one for each target.
Sunray generated a white hot beam aimed at Nalear's back. Stormclaw conjured a small tornado which released wind blades in all directions. Lastly, Thundersnap released a chain of lightning that engulfed the whole corridor.
Farg would have replaced Thundersnap with an earth based spell, to maximize the destructive power of her combo, but inside the academy there was no earth to manipulate. The stones composing the castle were resistant to magic, even with the power core offline.
"Watch out!" Nalear warned her minions who otherwise would have no regard for their personal safety. The three spells converged a few meters in front of them, causing a chain reaction.
Stormclaw absorbed the massive heat from Sunray, exploding outwards in a massive fire pillar releasing scorching shockwaves while Thundersnap bounced off the walls, attacking the Professors from all sides.