Return to Fort Kesta
That development caught almost everyone off-guard. The mid-order warrior that attacked Lisana didn't think his strike would be stopped. He drew his sword back and was struck from a blind spot.
Vera had shot through his head in a fit of rage, with the arrow burrowing burst out of his left eye. White liquid flowed out of his eye socket and some gray jello stuck to the arrowhead.
The poor warrior blinked his still-intact right eye a little dazedly and slumped as life left him.
"Sneaky bastard, you dare attack underhandedly?!" Vera cursed.
Leguna felt a little weird. Wasn't that his whole shtick? Then again, he couldn't spare any energy to be upset at Vera's comment as Lisana was slowly collapsing herself. Her hand clutched at her chest spasmodically as she did. He grit his teeth, formed two shadow daggers, and flung them at the two enemies nearest her. Given his injuries, forcing them back was the best he could do. He couldn't even wound them.
"Alissanda, dammit, finish! Lisana can't hold on any longer!" he cried.
The prince boiled. A single careless slip had exposed him to a sneak attack and had forced his companion to sacrifice herself to save him.
"You made me mad! You shouldn't have made me mad!" he bellowed.
His ink-green colored irises turned milk-white instantly. A torrent of holy impetus surged out of his body, bubbled in the air around him for a few moments, and poured back into him.
It was exactly like what happened to Leguna, only, Alissanda's face didn't show any strain from enduring pain. Leguna usually twitched as his nerves felt like they were being struck with small bolts of lightning.
It wasn't surprising, however, since light symbolized hope and life. Rather than hurt the prince, it made him feel warm, like a child in its mother's embrace. In contrast, dark was destruction and death. It's impetus would always deal some degree of damage to its user. But with the increase in his mastery of his gift, his affinity continued to heighten and his pain decreased. He had improved enough that he could now use it with a slight nagging pain rather than a torturous roar when he pushed it into the fourth stage. The torture had moved up to the sixth stage. His body had slowly been shadowforming the more he used Host of Darkness. Only a shadow could contain shadow energy. Any other elements would be obliterated by the corrosive properties of the shadow aspect.
"Host of Radiance!" Alissanda roared.
His body flashed a brilliant white. It wasn't eye-piercing, but it captivated his onlookers.
The high-order warrior looked like he understood the terrifying effects; his expression was dead serious. But he continued his fearless attacks, regardless.
Alissanda side-stepped the axe again. Even with Host of Radiance, he couldn't ignore such attacks. If he really took a strike from that axe, he would be cleft in twain. He hadn't tried something like it before, but he didn't doubt he wouldn't survive.
While Host of Radiance couldn't raise his abilities as much as Leguna's Host of Darkness, it didn't mean it didn't enhance attacks at all. At the very least, the prince's strength and speed was somewhat boosted.
Alissanda swept viciously with his lance; he used a variant of Jast's skill, Round Moon Flash. He sacrificed some of his scope for more damage to a single target.
The warrior raised his arms to block. He initially thought he could fend it off easily like before, but that was not to be. The prince's swing sent him flying.
Without even looking, he knew the other warrior Lisana was holding back before was jumping at him. He turned around quickly and killed the bug. All four mid-order warriors were now dead.
Leguna and Kurdak started dealing with the remaining small fries while Vera made it to Lisana's side and checked her injuries. She carefully removed the girl's mail and gambeson beneath to get a better view of the wound.
She was surprised to see the girl's chest was about as bulbous as her's. The two lumps had merely been bound tightly to keep them from becoming extra pendulums whilst riding, running, and fighting. The resulting reduction in excess volume made Kurdak assume she was less than Vera.
"This must be tough..." Vera murmured gently.
She quickly believed Lisana was a hardworking girl who endured all sorts of discomfort. She even gave up on her looks to get into the military. If she would just let her hair grow and freed her bulbs, Vera had no doubt she would be a beyond-rare beauty.
Her thoughts spun her into a blank for a couple of seconds, but she quickly recovered with a violent jerk of her head and continued her ministrations.
The wound was nothing like what she was expecting. Her sternum had shattered, and the skin was peeling on one of her bulbs. A part of it had actually turned into tenderized mincemeat from the impetus her attacker had penetrated into her body.
Vera held her mouth in shock. She had thought the wound wasn't all that serious since the girl hadn't done much, but it had definitely struck something vital, probably something close to her heart if not the heart itself. It was very likely fatal.
"Lisana is in a very bad way. I don't know if she'll make it. Finish your business already!" Vera cried.
She had been with the girl a few days at most, but they had been saved by her. Vera was impressed with her ability to handle Kurdak and her wit and wasn't very happy to see her in such a state.
Alissanda groaned, but the clash of weapons didn't stop.
Eirinn closed her books as night fell. She had been reading for three straight hours since dinner.
"I've done a lot… Time to take a break." the girl murmured to herself.
She opened the window and gazed into the distance beyond. Her room lay on the highest floor of the fort and the view was vast. Given her dark-elf blood, she also sported startlingly good night vision. What would be pitch black for others was nothing more than a dim for her. She could even make out the trees a kilometer away in the valley.
"Big Brother--" she whispered, "--When will you be back?"
She knew the mission would be dangerous. Though she was worried, she mocked herself for being stupid. Her big brother was amazing. Nothing could happen to him.
Her gaze darted to a small group of people scurrying to the fortress.
The immediately recognized a particularly minute silhouette and darted downstairs, giggling uncontrollably.
"I'm Alissanda! Open the gate!" yelled the prince.
Kurdak quickly produced his badge as well. The guards glanced at their cards and opened the gate.
"Medic! Where's the medic? Miss. Nancy!" Alissanda yelled, not caring that he didn't have any of the bearing of a leader.
He was completely panicked and his mind was only halfway working. Lisana was injured protecting him. If she died... He couldn't even think about it.
Alissanda had kept pouring his impetus into her to keep her on this side of the abyss. She would be a corpse already if not for his efforts. He could only do so much, however, and she was quickly fading.
"Medic! Medic!" he shrieked again.
"Calm down, Your Highness!" Kurdak shot, crushing down on the prince's shoulder.
"You're in the best condition. Go look for Eirinn. She should have a way," he said to Vera.
Vera took off her bow, preparing to leave.
"Teacher left to pick herbs and left me in charge," Eirinn interjected from a nearby doorway.
"Eirinn! Your timing is perfect!" Leguna smiled.
A smile cracked her malformed head.
"Miss, if you're a medic, please save her!"
Alissanda didn't even notice her face, he only saw a possible savior. The girl nodded and came over.
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