Nikki - The Monsters of Altimeraea
I braced myself as I stood on the front lines. All of us were facing the west side. Soldiers were lined right beside each other as we looked from afar. At least a couple of miles away, I could see a small sea of dark objects. From the looks of it, they were not human. It was still unknown where a large number of unknown creatures came from. Zidiania was large land, but there were still uninhabited areas in the middle portions of it. It was still an excellent place to prepare some sort of attack.
I gulped down hard as I recounted everything that had happened to this point.
To begin with, I couldn’t even remember how I got there. I just never took note of the fact that Zion would leap into action right away. He summoned Raea, and the rest of his so-called Kingsblade, then asked the Professor to take us to Gyroseus. A couple of other knights joined in.
The capital of Zidania was a large town and had many high buildings. I was just in awe that they had some sort of skyscrapers. The towers stretched towards the sky. It was quite an impressive thing to see in a medieval setting, but they were still nowhere the size of skyscrapers I’d see on Earth.
Gyroseus was pretty sophisticated. Anyone new to the city could easily get lost. To make things worse, there was no such thing as a GPS in Altimeraea. The medieval town was probably more than the combined land of New York’s downtown and midtown. It was located on the north-eastern edge of Zidania, right beside the sea. An expansive beach can be found on it, and there was some sort of defensive towers facing the sea just in case an attack came from that direction.
Based on the short history that I learned in the home of the Everglades, a strike from the sea was unheard of in Altimeraea. And it was an evil omen. I had no idea of the extent of this universe’s technology. Zidania was pretty much medieval, and I was sure wherever Prince Zion came from would be too far. But my mentor did mention another country far in the east that surpassed the technology of my own world. It was a wide gap in what kind of attack could happen. Anything was just possible at that point.
Since I was part of the young prince’s group, I was treated differently than the average soldier. When we arrived in the capital, I was given my own private quarters in one of the noble’s home. Most of the things that happened in the house were very similar to what happened in the Everglade residence. Like before, I was given my own servant that would attend to me. I thought that I was also a student of a High Magus. That’s why I was given some sort of noble treatment.
Prince Zion had a stern behavior ever since his guard’s announcement. It was so unnatural of him because of his innocence face. But since he had diplomatic privileges in Zidania, he was also invited to a private meeting. The Knights of Imperio also had intel about an incoming attack and would like to discuss it with them. Along with my mentor, she accompanied her former student and showed up with him. Only Sir Raea was allowed since she had other titles aside from being part of the Royal Kingsblade. It made me curious about how there was some sort of unique selection.
That night, Prince Zion gathered us with his other Kingsblade, Sir Coren, and Sir Sylva. All five of them plus my mentor and I shared a meal. The former was the young knight that deliver us that bad news. He had auburn hair and dark blue eyes that were really intense. I had to look away every time he would set his sights on me. It was really uncomfortable to look at.
Sir Sylva was the oldest among Prince Zion’s Kingsblade, according to Sir Ysverin. But his body looked nimble and fragile. It was very feminine and was akin to Sir Raea’s figure. I knew that the man would have a swift fighting style. He had long dark hair tied behind his head neatly, but his amber eyes looked very cheerful. It was similar to the young prince. And he looked younger than Sir Coren, who was in his late twenties.
None of the Kingsblades should ever be underestimated. Not even the young prince should be taken lightly. Sir Ysverin was the youngest knight in their country, but he gave me a hard time when we sparred together. He was not even trying. Sir Raea looked strict and formal. Sir Coren looked passionate. And Sir Sylva looked like he can take your head off while sipping a cup of tea.
In that room, I had the least battle experience.
A day after that, the alarm was sounded like a horde of creatures marched towards the capital. It came from the west. So, the civilians in the western part of the capital were evacuated towards the other side of the city. Families were gathered together first before they were helped by the soldiers to get to safety.
I had always pondered about the lifestyle on this other side. According to what I learned so far, not everyone was a gifted mage. Everyone has magic. But not all of them are efficient with it. Some of the Zidanians could only light up a fire on the tip of their fingers. But despite the power difference, there was not a form of caste system for their powers.
It was worth noting that people with weak magical capabilities can still serve in their own military. However, only the elite and powerful mages could be part of the Knights of Imperio. The strongest mages were usually the nobles, so I concluded that it was being inherited by blood. But that was soon debunked when Master Shiraea told me that nobles also had kids with weak magical powers and vice versa.
But Zidania was only one country in Altimeraea. Other nations could have had a different culture. I secretly wished inside that I could explore the unknown world. There was just so much stuff to see. Altimeraea was indeed a world of magic. There were even differences in culture and the way they behaved.
Despite the loud alarm, people were awfully calm about it. They were very disciplined and could think about the well-being of others. Some of them would give way if they had to. And then some would even offer further help. The camaraderie was just incredible. How I wished the people in my own world learned a thing or two about the people here.
Sir Ysverin accompanied me in one of the western towers. He was annoyingly quiet. I really wanted to know more about him, but he felt like it was his duty to keep everything to himself. When we got on top of the tower, I saw a comprehensive view of the upcoming battlefield. My mentor gave me the task to summon undead eagles that could provide us with a good look from above.
Since I couldn’t consume much time, I started my ritual right away. We had to go back to our position on the front lines once the fighting began. And I had to meet the Praetor that was assigned to defending the capital. I was instrumental in giving insights into the positions on the battlefield.
Sir Ysverin brought the eagle in a cage so I could use it as a basis for my ritual. It was easy for me to summon the common critters because I studied their body structures and had a blood sample. But I never had an eagle as a blood offering since Madburrow was far from wildlife.
Within the next few minutes, I slit the neck of the fowl and offered it to my ritual. The circle was somewhat simple. I managed to produce a dozen of them and had spared some extra doses of blood so I could study it further on some other time. Animals were one of the best things to study in Necromancy, according to one of the books that Isis made me read. But in my opinion, they were often under-estimated by those who practice it.
The young Kingsblade and I left the tower after I sent all of my scouts to the sky. Within my mind’s eye, I could see the battlefield, and thanks to the superb eyesight of an eagle, I saw the monsters that marched below. My stomach turned at the sight of them. Not a single one was human. Each was a mix of demonic forms of various animals. I told Sir Ysverin, and we rushed to the meeting place. The Professor said to me to rendezvous in another western tower.
When we got there, Master Shiraea was waiting for the Praetor. Only a few knew about the meeting because my mentor insisted on keeping my Necromancer status a secret. It was a scarce sight, and most of the practitioners were considered endangered due to their powers. They were hunted and could easily be exploited for their abilities.
“I never thought that you would actually allow me to be here. My goals aren’t really about defending a city. I need to find Samael and end it.” I mentioned it to my mentor. She just shrugged it off and looked deeply into the distance. “How can I see my mother okay if I’m going to end up dying here? Have you seen those things outside?”
“How will you know that you are strong enough to defend her if you fall in battle here? It’s time for you to test your battle skills here.” High Magus Shiraea replied with a question. She wore a more fitted garment than before. Unlike our other companions, she wore thin leather armor and donned on a dark coat over her protective gear. But in my head, it wasn’t enough to physically protect her. “Besides, Samael will be here, according to intel. Open your eyes before someone else takes his head.”
I gripped my hand into a fist when I heard what she said. My mentor walked away as my attention was called by a curious trespasser. He was a boy of my own age—possibly even younger since he was short than I was. But I couldn’t figure out who it was because the boy was wearing some sort of helmet that covered his whole head.
The armor he was wearing looked from a sci-fi movie than someone I’d see in Altimeraea. It looked metallic and hard. Most of it had a dark gray color with glowing dim green lights that showed patterns. At the same time, it didn’t look like it was too robotic. The edges were rounded and looked very slender since the user was very young.
His helmet was faceless and looked like a futuristic headgear for bikers except for it being more skin-tight. The surface looked like some sort of carbon glass and wasn’t glossy like matte colors. Most of the armor had that same design, and he looked like a Motorcross rider from Star Wars. I couldn’t lie to myself because it really looked awesome.
The boy knew I was gawking at him but didn’t care.
A few moments later, the door opened, and my mentor stepped inside right away. When I got in, Prince Zion was there as well. Within the next few minutes, a few more people stepped into the room. There were three army divisions involved, and the three division commanders were all present. Surprisingly, the mysterious boy followed inside the room.
The Praetor was an old woman who was possibly in her mid-fifties. Her long hair was fiercely red, and her gold amber eyes spoke strongly of her character. Even if she looked calm, her presence alone was intense. Even her light-toned skin showed the signs of her aging. Wrinkles were on her face, and the bags under eyes spoke of many sleepless nights. A white cape rested on her shoulders, and underneath it was a sleeveless red tunic and dark looking pants under it. The room was some sort of private office.
“I wished we had met under a different event, Cerva Auschkriv.” Master Shiraea greeted the Praetor softly. Both of their eyes locked on each other like old friends. But neither say anything personal about themselves. “The battle is at hand, and we must act swiftly. I’ll cast my spell right away.”
Under her breath, she chanted her magic and tapped the back of my neck. A drop of electrifying avroi danced on my spine, my mental space intertwined with hers to reach a form of telepathy. Since I didn’t have that kind of powers except those I have marked, she made herself like some sort of tether and communicated it with the rest of the people inside the room.
I forwarded the images that I could see in my head. The hordes of at least a thousand of those demonic beasts were marching before they waited.
“Everyone, close your eyes so you wouldn’t be too overwhelmed.” My mentor told everyone and nodded at me. Like them, I closed mine and focused on what my eagles could see. A second later, and I felt the rising tension in the room. A low gasp was heard from one of the commanders. “What you’re seeing is through the eyes of my student’s animal scouts.”
It went for a while before High Magus Shiraea stopped her spell. Two of the other captains looked very pale, and the other one looked frozen. Prince Zion had an uncertain face. But the two women in the room seemed very calm.
“What are those things?” Praetor Cerva asked.
“I honestly have no idea. Teios Kyr has been underestimated for far too long. Our warnings have been overshadowed by the threat of Fuhrstenvald for quite a while.” My mentor admitted. The Praetor simply took a deep breath and closed her eyes to consider her options. “We can study them later on, but we must first win this fight.”
“We didn’t expect that we would be facing other creatures.” Prince Zion added stiffly. But I could sense that his worry was beyond the nation that we were in. He was worried about his own country. Zidania had a powerful military. But the fact that the commanders were shaken meant that his own nation would have a hard time fending off enemies. ”
Over the next few minutes, the commanders suggested a few tweaks in their battle plans to contain the enemies. Based on what we’ve seen, our side had far more soldiers. Most of them were powerful mages since the Knights of Imperio gave support as mandated by their own kingdom.
However, the rest of the Praetors couldn’t make it in time. They were supposedly the most powerful mage of their respective element. Praetor Cerva mentioned that the High Praetor, who was the leader of the Council, was in a meeting with the head of the Ministry of Solus Magus regarding the matter of Teios Kyr. On the other hand, the other Ambassador Praetor was on a diplomatic mission within the Isvardian Continent. The other three Praetors usually stay within their own assigned districts of Zidania, and she was the only one left.
Praetor Cerva was decisive and listed down all the possible formations that could help contain the threat. The commanders kept nodding their heads while Prince Zion and High Magus Shiraea also stated other battle tactics outside of Zidania. Within minutes, the formations were rearranged, and all of them agreed to divide the flanks differently.
“Leave.” The Praetor commanded. All of them saluted with that weird tap on the shoulder and left valiantly. “Commanders, I expect you to adjust your flanks, as we have discussed. Minimize the casualties as much as possible. In the event of a worst-case scenario, the citizens’ safety is a higher priority than the elimination of the enemies. The High Magus and I will need to discuss a few things.”
All of us left the room. Prince Zion stayed behind for me because the other boy arrived and left without a word. No one took notice of his presence, but I was sure that he was not invisible. Not even the young prince said anything about this other person.
“Who are you supposed to be?” I confronted the armored boy.
“I was sent by Mr. Rutherford.” He replied mechanically. Even his voice was unyielding like his armor. But young and high-pitched, nonetheless. Because his face was hidden, I could discern what he was even thinking. “I’m here to test the weapons he had developed.”
“Aren’t you too young for that?” I asked him.
“Tell that to me when you’re ten years older. I’m here because I’m great with what I do.” The boy shot back. His accent was British and was possibly a blood-relative of Mr. Rutherford. Both of their personalities stink. “The prince is young as well. You shouldn’t be surprised anymore what kids could do these days.”
“Fine. But do you have a name?” I inquired.
“I’m not allowed to disclose that.” The boy replied dryly. Then he walked away like I was some sort of nuisance. The way he walked was so smooth despite carrying a metallic armor. Everything about him was mysterious. “You can call me whatever you want.”
“You should have asked me instead.” Prince Zion said out of nowhere. “You didn’t have to antagonize the small kid. For all we know, he could have been nervous out of his mind, and he’s just too hardened to admit it.
“I thought you were going to introduce me but didn’t,” I replied. But the young prince didn’t buy my excuse. He sensed that I felt something towards the mysterious boy. And he was trying to toy me around.” That’s why I took it upon myself to know who this other guy is.”
“It’s tough to introduce you to someone I’ve never met before, either. Mr. Rutherford showed up as a hologram the morning we left your universe and told me to expect an addition to our group. And I was delighted to see that he was closer to our age.” Prince Zion explained. His bright, colorful eyes twinkled with excitement like a kid. It really weirded me out that he could act that way and then snap into an adult when things get serious. He was some sort of paradox. “But Mr. Rutherford never told me anything further than that. After seeing him in the room with us, it was pretty obvious.
“He could be an enemy,” I suggested. “What if he’s from Fuhrstenvald?”
“None of us ever saw what the people there could do. It’s hard to assume.” He replied. “That nation is really good at hiding what they can or cannot do. Most of the ambassadors that they have barely had any avroi. But despite that, they were brilliant in negotiating for their autonomy.”
“Shouldn’t all the nations be open about what they have? What if a nation is plotting already?” I asked genuinely. Politics was definitely not my strong point. “I think the reason why there is this problem with Fuhrstenvald is that there is a lack of transparency. How on Earth did peace last by this long without that?”
“Zidania and Sevel had always pushed for the transparency of a nation’s economic and military progress to avoid upsetting the balance of power. Even if there is peace for a long time, we must not be complacent with such things.” The prince expounded. It wasn’t a surprise that he knew all of that since he was meant to inherit his kingdom’s throne. It was a necessary thing that he knew how politics and international relations worked. “But Shintotsukawa, Qah’livan, and Fuhrstenvald all rejected the idea of being fully transparent. Teutesus never had a formal government, and the High Chieftain, who represented the country, stood on neutral grounds. They are still tweaking an effective compromise for this law over recent years. That’s why I was studying how the United Nations in your world work.”
“I didn’t expect that you’ll be very involved in politics. You’re really smarter than me even if I beat you in video games.” I admitted that even if I hated doing that. But Prince Zion looked like he enjoyed learning and explaining these things to me. Not only was he a strong warrior, but also a knowledgeable leader. “I also heard rumors that Fuhrstenvald had the technology more advanced than ours. That doesn’t look like something that could come from my world.”
“You’re quite forgetting that Mr. Rutherford was also the mind behind the new technology in your world.” He reminded me. It was true. Hologram technology was still new to our world, but he seemed to had a good grasp of it already. Furthermore, FordTech suddenly shot up to be the world’s leading tech giant. Other competitors were slammed down so hard. The technology was being monopolized because the man was a great visionary. “If he was able to do all that without learning the real craft of Magictechnology in Fuhrstenvald, then Mr. Rutherford is an insanely smart guy. It would really be better if he was siding on us.”
“What if Mr. Rutherford was from Fuhrstenvald? We could be playing right into the middle of his plans.” I asked. But I knew for myself that it was a stupid question.
“If he was, he wouldn’t ask you guys to infiltrate that country.” Prince Zion pointed out. Then I remembered the mission that was trying to give us. For some reason, the Professor was cooperative about it. “That guy means business. He thinks way out of the box, and I wouldn’t doubt if he considered that boy to be the best option to test his new inventions.
Before I could think of a rebuttal, Praetor Cerva and High Magus Shiraea walked through the door. The older woman’s poise was confident, and my mentor urged us to follow them. We went even higher up the tower and waited on a balcony facing the battlefield. I saw some of the soldiers escorting dozens of people inside the city walls. It seems that the outskirts of Gyroseus were mostly used for cultivating agriculture and livestock. People were there, and they were in danger of being slaughtered.
I closed my eyes and checked what my scouts could see. However, I couldn’t connect anymore. All I saw was blackness. If my scouts were killed or captured, I would’ve felt it. But that wasn’t the case. Although, I could sense that the eagles were still reanimated as my summons.
“Professor, I think have my scouts.” I alerted her immediately. Her expression was still calm, and gazed from afar. Praetor Cerva also had the same expression on her face. Both of their demeanor was intense. “Should I send more?”
“No. Don’t waste resources. We still don’t know how durable these things are, and we can’t afford to lose the only Necromancer we have.” She replied. Then her stare found something on the battlefield. When I looked at it, a small group of the beasts started running towards the main gate. People still had not yet evacuated successfully, and the watchtower defenses were still not prepared. People were about to die with no security. “If the enemies have access through Asphodel, then you and I are this city’s only line of defense. We have the hardest task.”
I gulped at what those statements meant. Praetor Cerva stepped forward and did some sort of battle stance as if she was ready to punch with full force. When I looked below, all the soldiers were rushing towards their designated flank due to the enemies’ preemptive charge. On the walls were a series of mages who started to cast long-range attacks to intercept.
But the Praetor suddenly punched the air. I felt an intense amount of avroi shot through to open space like a zipping arrow. It was literally invisible, and only my senses felt them ripple towards the enemies. And the next thing I heard was a loud explosion from the battlefield. Seemingly spontaneous combustion blasted through the small group of beasts as if a battleship fired on them. The detonation was huge and engulfed everything in flames. The monsters were shredded and burnt into pieces.
A loud cry erupted from the soldiers as I gawked at the Praetor in awe. She didn’t look like she exerted any effort at all. Praetor Cerva stood up again as if her dress was the best one in a gala. She was just full of elegance as she crossed her arms casually and observed how the enemy reacted.
A few small groups emerged from the sea of monsters and ran in different formations. They started to scatter to avoid getting blasted together. This time, it was my mentor who took the initiative and chanted a long spell in Qraellic. Frozen arrows shot through the tip of her fingers and flew like many homing missiles towards their intended targets. As soon as each arrow blew up, a small tornado emerged from the explosion and dragged nearby beasts in the center. The wind was deadly and sliced through the creatures like a hot knife through butter. But the gust of wind didn’t last.
Most of the innards flew everywhere on the battlefield as black blood covered the plains. When I looked at High Magus Shiraea, she already cast her spell, and her eyes were glowing white. I remembered her using that to see things from afar. She frowned as she scanned the remnants of the first strike.
“This is bad for agriculture. The blood of those things is corrosive, and it’s damaging the land.” My mentor commented. That was the first time that High Praetor looked distressed but only for a short moment. “We need to shift to the offensive. If we kill these things nearby, then the ground would be too damaged.”
“Xavius, inform the division commanders of this new intel. Move to Formation Delta and send an emergency message to the rest of the Praetors that we require backup. Now!” Praetor Cerva dictated to the nearby guard behind us with a dignified voice. The space around her started to heat up that I had to step away slightly. “An offense is impossible. Only the division commanders can stand up to these. Most of the soldiers are mid-ranged attacks, and those things can really move fast. The Knights were not supposed to get here until tomorrow.”
“Do you need my help? You’d burn out quickly if you took everything upon yourself.” My mentor asked. It sounded sarcastic, but I was sure that it was a genuine question. “We need to buy time before the Knights arrive. Even if they can teleport here, it would take an hour to even deliver the message and let all of them know.”
“And a lot can happen within an hour.” Prince Zion added sincerely. His hand gripped Arondight’s hilt tightly. Even my Nyxian Blade ”
“We need to create a protective barrier to avoid them from getting too near the city walls. We have to know whatever these things so we can deal with them accordingly.” Praetor Cerva observed. Then she looked like she already had an idea of what to do next. “Where on Shivborh’s name did these things come from?”
“I could only assume they have finally made contact with Tartaros.” High Magus Shiraea lamented. Then I saw her fingers twitching fast as she chanted in a whisper to prepare all of her support enchantments. Spells upon spells were thrown into the fray as my mentor’s eyes started to glow even fiercer. “Let’s go.”
Out of nowhere, Praetor Cerva ran to the edge of the balcony of the tower and jumped. High Magus Shiraea followed through, and I gasped at their behavior. My feet ran on its own towards the edge, and saw both of them flying towards the front lines. The professor summoned large eagle-like wings and soared through the wind while the Praetor emitted intense white flames on her firsts. She zoomed through the air as if she wore a jetpack to battle.
The next thing I saw was a series of explosions as the two women confronted the demonic beasts that charged at them. Each of the Praetor’s punch would result in a powerful blast as if a battleship cannon was firing through them. High Magis Shiraea, on the other hand, relied on speed and versatility to cut through the hordes of numbers as she started to summon her golems.
She would repeatedly appear and disappear in short successions. My mentor taught me that weird fighting style wherein we would swing between the current dimension and Asphodel. But doing that consecutively tired me out. My only option was to activate my Mark of Asclepius to give me the extra avroi to pull it off.
Praetor Cerva punched through the ground. The piece of land in front of her dissolved into a sea of lava. The beasts fell into it, and the shrieks could be heard from our position. It looked like an efficient idea and started turning rows of land and created a long moat of burning rock and soil.
Their enemies were monsters. But I never knew that monsters could also take the shape of human beings. Both High Magus Shiraea and Praetor Cerva were an army on their own. They were the monsters of Altimeraea.
And I was positive that there were more of them.
As I looked at the soldiers, three groups emerged and charged towards the enemy before halting a reasonable distance from the lava moat. It was a practical barrier, but the beasts didn’t die from it immediately. The groups stayed from a distance and launched mid-range attacks to keep the creatures from crossing over our side. The two women created a barrier with a lava moat as the soldiers supported by keeping anything they missed at bay.
“This is really bad. If those things attack Sevel, then we’re done for. My own Kingsblades are strong, but they cannot contend with enemies like that.” Prince Zion said anxiously to me. I didn’t know what to say since my first major battle, and death was supposed to be my ally. My stomach churned and felt heavy as I grabbed it. “We pride ourselves on being the best melee fighters in Altimeraea. If the blood of those things proves too fatal, then we would lose all of our soldiers in one battle.”
“I thought they were avoiding the land from getting too damaged. Why would the Praetor create a river of lava?” I inquired Prince Zion, ignoring his worry. It was the only thing I could think of to ease his restless thoughts. The bright twinkle on his eyes slightly faded. “I’ll check the other side in Asphodel. Do you want to come with me?”
“How?” He questioned. The young prince was perplexed, but I already knew what he meant by that. “I thought you’re going to lose your life when you stay there for a few minutes.”
“I learned a thing or two from the High Magus. Rune Mages were also not welcome in Asphodel because they were not designed for it like Necromancers are. I think it was a huge hassle at some point.” I expounded. And he seemed to take it all in. My mentor did mention that he was naturally smart. “But those mages are resourceful and found a way. Master Shiraea taught me how to integrate that so I could bring allies on the other side.”
“Should we bring a whole team?” Prince Zion asked me. He looked like he was ready to go even if he knew he might be on the losing side. I could only hope that I could someday display that same passion as he did. “I’m not sure if we can gather a lot of people to bring over to Asphodel. Plus, the guy that Mr. Rutherford sent is just below and is awaiting orders.”
“Just you and your Kingsblades. And maybe that kid. We need to keep a close eye on Mr. Rutherford as well. He’s the middle guy.” I suggested but with a bit of hesitation. Although his face was distraught to let me know that he didn’t like my distrust of the British man. “Each person will drain my avroi to compensate for your presence there. It’s the rule of that dimension. All seven of us will be taxing enough already, but we need to be prepared just in case.”
Prince Zion cracked his knuckles, and the four Kingsblade at his disposal came in like he was in danger. The tension rose as the cyborg looking kid walked up the stairs as well. Behind him were a couple of giant robotic arms and hovered. I and the other eyes just gawked at it. I could understand what it was, but the people with me were most likely engrossed in the weird object.
It looks immense and metallic with a dark alloy. Green lights lined up in a pattern, and when I looked closely, they were similar glyphs that my mentor uses. Both arms were taller than I was and looked very intimidating. Both of them also looked like they were torn off from a giant robot’s shoulders.
But our study of the mysterious gadget was interrupted by screams from the sky. None of us could fly, and there a few monsters coming in that had enormous bird-like wings. Their arms were longer at had great talons that could easily rip human flesh to shreds. Large fangs also protruded from the mouth. It zoomed towards us at blinding speeds, and my Nyxian blade summoned itself in my hands. I raised it in defense, but before it could reach me, the cyborg kid’s robot arm slammed itself into the monster’s head. It was a giant sucker punch that made a satisfying crunch on the beast’s skull.
“I’ll defend the skies!” The kid roared as he gracefully leaped from the balcony of the tower. Some sort of contraption emerged from the robot arms and attached itself to the kid’s back like booster rockets and propelled his flight. “Defend the other side!”
“The other side?” I asked.
“I think he heard us planning to check Asphodel if there are enemies there. I think we better not waste the time he’s buying us.” The young prince urged. His eyes twinkled with courage as I nodded back to him. “Do we need to do anything?”
Another scream came from above as I saw the fight. There were a dozen beasts that were trying to catch the kid in mid-air. But his propulsion was superb thanks to his detachable gliders. The arms acted like a support system that could supply him with a different form of weapons and tools. One moment it was firing mini-missiles, and then it was blasting enemies with lasers with on its palms. After that, it disassembled itself into many parts until there were a bunch of flyings blades that had a beam saber on its tip.
A lot happened in the fight above the skies. Mages on the ground were a bit astounded at how that child could fight fiercely against multiple opponents. He couldn’t do much damage, but he was pretty great at dodging. All of his tools were constantly transforming into different melee and ranged weapons. Mini drones also jet around him and would open fire at the first chance of vulnerability. There were a few times he almost got caught between a beast’s meaty arms. For some reason, he had excellent spatial awareness. But one strike was enough to kill him because of his small body. And his armor didn’t look too thick to effectively block much of the physical damage those things could dish out.
Some of the beasts fell out of the sky when the tools would reform back to the huge arm and would pommel them square to the fact. With boosters placed at good strategic points, it could unleash a greater pounding force. Then it would break apart again to form a couple of beam sabers. The only disadvantage the kid had was his poor swordsmanship skills. But he was an ace in blasting enemies mid-flight. The British man’s mysterious assistant was keeping up a good fight despite his young age. And the inventions that Mr. Rutherford created were lethal weapons. I couldn’t fathom how much damage it can do if it fell to the wrong hands.
I focused back on my finishing my passage ritual. I slammed the palm of my hand to the ground, and shadows erupted from below. The Kingsblades didn’t expect it and almost defended themselves, but my binding spell was too fast. It wrapped around on their arms and left a mark that would feed off of my avroi. They needed to live in Asphodel. Apparently, a necromancer’s avroi has properties that enable a mage to exist suitably in the other dimension. I activated my own mark right away to feed off the avroi that I had stored for months. There was a slight pull in each of their direction. It was faint, but it will grow stronger if distance grew between them and the host of my mark on them.
But a deep grumble started to shake the Earth. Then it was followed by a loud, bloody roar from the eastern side of the city. All of our attention went on it as the oceans started to rise. A monstrous head erupted from the still waters. Another beast far bigger than all of them combined moved towards the eastern side where the civilians were being kept. The head alone was probably greater than a blue whale, and the next below were still underwater. It was at least a mile away, but the sea-monster’s enormous size frightened everyone of us.
“What on earth is that?” I shrieked. Even the outpouring of my avroi into my allies wavered. A gripping feeling crawled on my skin, and I froze on the spot. The thing started to move towards the shore, and it looked impossible to stop. “That thing looks un-killable!”
Go to Asphodel! The other Praetors are almost here, and the thing will preoccupy us. I voice came into my head. It was familiar, and I knew who spoke already. Her thoughts were slightly disentangled as it came to me. And I knew that fatigue had already started to set in. She was a monster of a mage. But she was still mortal nevertheless. We’ll take care of defending this side. Find Samael! I’ve trained you for this.
I took a peek again at the monster that came when a blazing fireball came over our heads and shot through the air at infuriating speeds. The massive detonation came right after it hit the creature’s head. And it looked like an angry Godzilla that was about to lay waste on the city. That was when the people finally felt panic and started to run towards the middle of the town. Both directions were surrounded and the only directions left were either north or south.
As the giant and ancient dinosaur-like creature swam slowly and patiently towards the shore, a blast of lightning came from the skies. Followed by another one. And then another one. It was like Zeus himself was angry at the creature. That was when I saw a lone mage hovering above the skies. The person was too far to even recognize who it was. Out of nowhere, the mage was struck by lightning. The person absorbed it and then redirected it towards the beast. The lightning’s flash turned into a purple hue. Some sort of lightning storm was summoned around the beast’s head and continuously hammered it with lightning strikes.
“Nikki!” Prince Zion woke up from my thoughts. I wanted to fight. But watching all the powerful mages around me made me want to just watch them instead. My mind was just filled with awe. High Magus’ Shiraea versatility couple with Praetor’s Cerva ferocity was a force to be reckoned with. “We won’t be useful here. We have a task to fulfill!”
“Right,” I mumbled and took a deep breath. “Hold on to me!”
I felt hands grabbed my shoulders as all six of us were transported to the other side. The sinking feeling followed by that cold atmosphere showered down on my body. I hated to admit how Asphodel brought me so much solace despite every bad thing that happened there. Darkness loomed over us as I opened my eyes. The young prince and the Kingsblades were immediately on the lookout for the enemy.
“Zion, what was the thing we saw on the beach?” I asked. My throat felt dry at the sheer terror of seeing it. The large monstrous head and basilisk-like golden eyes that could be seen from afar shaken my thoughts. “Is it normal to see a creature like that?”
“They were nothing but legends. Those things never had a name. They were simply called calamities.” Prince Zion explained. His lips quivered as he tried to remember as much as he could. I couldn’t help but recall what Eran said that there were creatures that would put Godzilla to shame. “And they were not seen in the realm of Altimeraea for thousands of years. Everyone concluded that they were nothing but myths. Looks like we were wrong.”
Out of nowhere, a couple of huge bat-like creatures emerged from the shadows and was about to attack us. But Sir Raea immediately moved into place in a quick draw stance of her blade. In one flash of a second, a strong blast of wind and lightning struck the creatures. It didn’t take a second for it to be shredded to pieces. My eyes didn’t even follow her swordsmanship because the next thing I saw was her blade already being slid back to its scabbard. Burnt limbs were blown off away from us.
Sir Coren and Sir Sylva both leaped below the tower, and more of the creatures were eradicated by their hands. A Katar dagger was equipped in Sir Coren’s hands and a chained dagger on Sir Sylva’s. More of the same creatures surrounded us as Sir Ysverin slice his hand open with the tip of his golden scythe. The blood that he drew came to life, and as he spun his scythe around, the crimson fluid danced around like a whip and sliced all the creatures around us into pieces. The drops of blood reformed and covered the blade, turning it into a rose gold color. It was impressive that they manage to move a lot despite wearing full armor.
Prince Zion had not yet drawn his blade, but the Kingsblades were already in an all-out formation to protect him. They didn’t look like they were forced into it. But instead, they look up to the young prince with love and reverence. They were proud to defend him with such nobility. They simply loved and respected him. They just found Prince Zion as admirable.
A loud series of claps came from above. Someone appeared from one of the towers’ balcony. Then a group of hooded figures also followed him. He had a
“I really thought no one would notice that I would be hiding here.” The man mused with a sinister voice. “What do you think of Teios Kyr’s new invention? We’ve been preparing them for a long time. But these beta creatures are finally worthy of being run on a test drive basis.”
“Samael!” I growled with painful agony. A flash of my mother’s face, followed by Phineas’ decayed body, burned in my mind’s eye. Her dry, almost dead skin and his glassy empty eyes couldn’t be removed from my head. My temple pounded, and my neck heated up at the sight of him. I raised my blade in a provocative stance towards him. “It’s time for you to die by my blade, Haros!”