Because of the arrays, she couldn't kill her enemies, but now Nalear could ruin their lives. Spirit magic allowed her to make them fail every single subject they attended together. A nudge here, a push there was all it took to make them stutter or disrupt their hand signs.
Their performance during the final exams was so poor not even their parents could avoid their expulsion.
Yet it wasn't enough to quench her thirst for vengeance. She wanted them dead, alongside their families. During her imprisonment, something broke inside of her. As hope died, madness flourished.
Nalear joined the Association as soon as he could, racking merits by accomplishing the impossible over and over again despite her young age. The Crown attempted to recruit her, but she resented them for the academy system.
Nobles and mages alike fawned her, but she only wanted them dead. Her behavior left her alone, with a lot of enemies and no one watching her back. When she tried to convert her merits into titles and lands to put the families of her attackers under her thumb, only faraway lands in backwater regions were offered to her.
With no ally in the Court nor in the Association, no matter how much she achieved, her goals would always be outside of her grasp. She had tried to fight alone against the world and the world crushed her.
'I'm the victim! Why am I the one getting punished?' She thought while her madness and rage grew day by day.
When Linjos offered her a position as a Professor, she thought she could have a fresh start, but even under the naïve, gentle Headmaster things weren't much different from the past.
When Lukart offered her revenge in exchange for her help, Nalear accepted only to act as a double agent. She hated people like Lukart the most. Bringing down him and his associates was an opportunity she couldn't miss.
After seeing how deeply rooted was the rebellion, how mages like Hatorne were willing to sell their own kin for money, Nalear lost all hope and a plan formed in her mind.
Hatorne slave items were a terrible tool. She had managed to fuse Forgemastering and Alchemy to obtain some special pills that allowed to remove the cursed objects while keeping the victims under control.
Thanks to his associates, Lukart always knew when a security check was about to happen and had the slaves using the pills to pass the inspections. Nalear used the first batch of slave items she received on the students instead of her alleged targets, turning Lukart's accomplices inside the academy in her puppets and gaining control of every box that reached the academy.
After helping Lukart escape, he gave her his master ring. Just a second before she killed him and all his family with the tier five spell Raging Sun she had silently cast.
At that point, she had complete control over all of his assets, inside and outside the academies. She finally had the means to achieve her revenge. After capturing Lith, the Awakened one responsible of so many failures, and turning Quylla into an unwilling sleeper agent, Nalear's plan was bound to succeed.
Or at least so she thought, until Farg's unexpected arrival put down her minions, giving Lith the time to rise a small army of undead. Thanks to Life Vision, Nalear could see they were filled to the brim with darkness magic.
They were all lesser undead, nothing compared to Balkor's creations. Yet Nalear felt afraid. In a real battle, a moment of distraction was the difference between life and death.
With a wave of Lith's hand, the undead charged at her in a mad rush.
'It makes sense. He probably wants to stall for time, preventing me to focus while he cast his spells. Lith is using against me the same strategy I employed to capture him.' She inwardly smiled.
'He really is a good student. If only he didn't make friends with the enemy, he could have shared this moment with me. It's really a pity killing him but he left me no choice. He should have never got close to the noble scum.'
Even if its barrier was still offline, Nalear's sword had several tricks ups its sleeve. She needed but a thought to unleash part of the power the many mana crystals embedded on it stored. They generated a ice storm that was supposed to repel the wave and buy her enough time to complete her spells.
'There's nothing that Balkor did that I can't.' Lith thought.
With a snap of his fingers, all the undead close to her detonated, releasing a cloud of darkness magic that surrounded her. It negated the ice storm and sapped her strength.
At the same time, the rest of the undead shoot focused beams of dark energy from their eyes, replicating the effects of Lith's Plague Arrow spell. Unlike the Valors' attack, they were still slow and incapable of infecting their victims.
Nalear had no way to know it, she only saw Balkor's minions' attacks unfolding one after the other in front of her eyes, triggering her recent trauma. She went all out, releasing a blue aura while dodging or parrying all the Arrows thanks to air fusion, managing to complete her spell.
Final Sunset was Nalear's version of a tier five Battle Mage spell. It generated around her a globe made of darkness imbued flames that reduced to ashes all the undead that approached her.
Nalear could also consume part of the sphere, turning it into spikes made of black fire to attack her enemies from a distance. The two elements were fused together, allowing even the dark energies to move at a speed normally impossible.
Final Sunset was a perfect offense and defense that would stay up until all its mana was exhausted, but being a true spell Nalear could channel more energy into it at will. As long as she could use Invigoration, she was practically invincible.
She used her hands to better direct the flames, purging the corridor from the undead and the remaining corpses. Nalear wasn't going to underestimate Lith anymore, she now saw all the bodies lying around as potential traps.
Lith had a vague understanding of what was happening, yet he didn't panic. He kept his distance while making all the remaining undead detonate. They would do her no direct harm but they still forced her to consume mana to protect herself.
'It's nice trick, but it's far from perfect. To keep using Invigoration she can't move, making it impossible for her to hit me if I don't get close. Also, Invigoration can't be used for long. The more she uses it, the sooner she'll collapse'
Lith had just finished analysing the enemy's plan's weak spots when Life Vision showed him the exit point of a Blink quickly forming in front of him.
The dimensional fissure had yet to completely open, but the heat coming out of it almost burned his lungs.
'F*ck! I didn't consider Blink. She can still move without moving. Until that spell is active, I can't even get close to her.' Lith Blinked away, just a moment before the floor he had been standing on melted.
The fight had just turned into a deadly game of tag.