Daver tore his Death Finger scroll with bloodshot eyes and supplied his magic with all he got. He let it flow according to the guidance circuit in the scrolls. The sudden loss of magic made him feel a little weak, almost to the point of fainting. But he endured. Otherwise, Kuger's death would've been in vain. Annelotte also rolled open her scroll quietly. But, unlike Daver, it's activation didn't seem to affect her much. Nothing about her changed apart from the slight paling of her face.
A beam of crimson light emitted from their fingers simultaneously. It was a blast of pure energy, but, due to their immense purity and density, the waves seemed to give others the impression that space itself was being bent.
Daver's Death's Finger struck the crystalback snowlizard first. A terrifying wound formed around the huge monstrosity's throat. The attack almost tore through its neck completely. However, even though its soft weak point was greatly damaged, it wasn't nearly a fatal strike.
But in the next moment, Annelotte's Death's Finger struck it with even greater force. Unlike Daver, Annelotte didn't aim her attack near its belly. Instead, she chose to fire at the head directly. She had grasped the opportunity when the fiend let out a cry of pain to send the beam straight into its mouth!
While her attack didn't leave an obvious wound, everyone knew she was the one who had dealt the blow.
The lizard began to struggle with all its might. Kuger, holding it up from below, could no longer hold on and fell over. The fiend's huge body rolled all over Kuger's remains, squashing them until they were almost unrecognizable.
Seeing the lizard wriggle around like a severed earthworm, the other attendants jumped away urgently. Their mission was complete and what they had to do now was get away while the fiend was giving its final struggle before its death lest they were killed for no good reason.
However, they underestimated the intelligence and vitality of this particular high-order fiend. Annelotte's attack did leave it with a fatal wound, but it didn't kill it outright. It was still capable of launching attacks.
It flailed about for two reasons: coping with the immense pain and putting up a show. It wanted to fake a death struggle to shrug away the annoying attendants so it could drag its killer --that blue-haired maiden-- down with it.
All of a sudden, the lizard stopped wriggling and took position to dash. In an instant, it unleashed all its energy and rushed up to Annelotte before anyone could react. Faced with the sudden appearance of the gigantic creature, Annelotte's expression didn't change. It was as if she'd predicted it wouldn't be taken down so easily.
The crystalback snowlizard twisted its body with breakneck speed, sending its tail that was a few meters long swooshing towards Annelotte.
The girl hurriedly dictated a flight spell and narrowly avoided the life-threatening blow. However, flight spells were not known for their flexibility, and there was only limited space in the caverns. Annelotte didn't dare to rely on the flight spell to dodge around. Instead, she canceled the spell's effects right after evading and did a backflip whilst sending a fireball in the snowlizard's way.
While she was most proficient in ice-aspect spells, the fiends that resided at Icepeak Mountain weather incredibly cold temperatures on a daily basis, allowing them to have very high frost resistance. That was the reason she could only rely on fire-aspect spells to conduct combat, resulting in her being unable to unleash her full abilities.
While the fireball struck the crystalback snowlizard, it didn't seem to cause it much harm. It waved its tail around to force Daver and the other attendants back before rushing towards Annelotte once more.
Soon, the girl found herself forced into a corner. Nevertheless, she didn't panic. The fiend's movements had noticeably slowed and it didn't seem like it would last much longer. Without a trace of urgency, Annelotte dictated a few defensive enhancement spells and intended to endure the death blows of the crystalback snowlizard.
The beast opened its mouth for a bite, but Annelotte used a transference spell and blinked to the flank of the fiend. The cunning beast seemed to notice Annelotte's position and swung its tail once more, knocking her straight into a wall.
Then, the crystalback snowlizard breathed in deeply to prepare for its final frost breath. Annelotte was already slumped in the corner of the wall weakly. Even though she managed to dictate a stoneskin spell on herself, the strike from the crystalback snowlizard was far stronger than that of the great snowfiend.
The girl who had easily dealt with the challenging battles along the way still got injured in the end. Annelotte looked coldly at the crystalback snowlizard, not fearing the upcoming frost breath even one bit.
But at that moment, a look of panic flashed past her eyes. Leguna's figure had appeared in front of her all of a sudden. Even though he didn't say anything, Annelotte could tell that it took all of his courage and determination to stand before her like that. That instant, the back seemed immeasurably stable like a mountain in the girl's eyes.
Perhaps he had been affected by the courage shown by Kuger before his death. Leguna felt blood rush to his head when he saw Annelotte gradually forced into a tough spot.
He raised his new weapon and rushed over without caring about anything else. All he wanted to do was protect her. He didn't consider for a single moment whether his slight frame could fill the space between the lizard's teeth.
When he faced it, he showed not a shred of cowardice nor of fear. He gathered all the impetus he could as he awaited the frost breath of the fiend. Soon, the longsword began to grow slightly thanks to the impetus infused within it.
Then, he flung the longsword forward. The longsword left his hand and flew straight into the beast's mouth. At that moment, the fiend finished its buildup and sent a cold breath of air of negative 150 centigrade straight for him.
All he could feel was his lungs freezing up into millennium ice crystals. He didn't think being exposed to extreme cold would hurt far more than being set on fire. His face lost all feeling as the blood within his body froze up within an instant. After that, he felt a strike on his chest and flew backwards, smashing straight into Annelotte's body.
It was the lizard's final strike. Within its body, the longsword Leguna'd tossed had already pierced into its heart. The engravings on the hilt of the sword glowed faintly as it frenziedly devoured the last remaining life force. Soon, the terrifying fiend lost all vitality. The colorless rock on the hilt of the longsword also looked more completely than before. It even had a slight sheen to it.
Leguna wore a dazed expression; the low temperature caused his blood to coagulate and flow incredibly slowly, hampering his thoughts considerably. Annelotte's face appeared in his vision, looking as cold and expressionless as usual. However, her eyes carried a look of confusion like it was asking why Leguna had done what he had.
"I don't have many friends, you see," he coughed with considerable difficulty, "Boss, Sis, and you... So, I don't want to lose any of you... You are all I have... and I don't want to lose anything... anymore... I can't afford to..."
"You... Aren't you afraid of dying?" asked the girl softly.
Leguna cracked an ugly smile.
"Of course... I do... But... Some things are even more terrifying than death... and... you've saved me three times already..."
As he spoke, his consciousness gradually blurred. At the last moment, he seemed to see the corner of Annelotte's lips curve upwards. She actually smiled!
As expected, you look best when you smile. was his last thought before he faded away completely.
Annelotte's fair, small hand touched his head softly. She knew the wound on his chest wasn't the worst of his injuries. The worst lay in his super low body temperature from taking the frost breath head on.
With a will from her, the frost elements in his body flowed away obediently, into her's.
The moment the frost elements left him, he began to look much better. He would be fine after his injuries were wrapped and taken care of.
Friends, huh? thought she.
She wasn't sure whether she had just made her first friend.
"Thank you for your help. Consider this special healing potion an extra token of gratitude. I hope Leguna will be fine."
Daver approached Annelotte from behind before anyone noticed.
She received the healing potion and nodded without saying much else.
"I wonder how Boss and Sis are doing now," said Leguna as he walked with the aid of a beaten up wooden stick.
Had it not been for Daver's special healing potion, he might even find it hard to crawl.
"You've been separated for three or four days already, right?" asked Daver.
Since the two had helped him deal with the crystalback snowlizard, he intended to keep his end of the deal and help them look for the millennium snowlotus and their two companions.
"Probably. We can't see the sun here, so I'm not really sure either," answered Leguna.
Annelotte had a bad feeling, something bad must have befallen her other party members. However, she did not express any of it. She was rather confident in Kurdak's abilities. Though, it didn't stop her from guessing what could've happened to the other two. At that moment, a subtle wave of energy flowed into her consciousness.
Annelotte stopped in her tracks and said to the rest, "I think I know where they are."
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