Sunday, November 27, 2016

In That Moment of Suffering Chapter 52 – Preemptive Strike



Chapter! Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!


Chapter 52 – Preemptive Strike

In the Chaos continent lays a cave that has no sentient being approaches. Any traveler that happens on the cave escapes immediately after entering. The cave houses a particularly dangerous inhabitant that frightens anyone that approaches. Within the cave, tentacles can be seen covering every inch of the interior. Walls, ceiling, and floor are covered in the fleshy appendage without a trace of the stone walls. It is unknown whether the tentacles are all mere appendages of one organism or if they're all independent organisms.

Within the depths of the cave, a bright white light pillar shines through the cave. The nearby tentacles instantly scatter at the unknown light source revealing a mucus covered floor. Inside of the light pillar, a blonde haired, white clad angel gracefully descends into the cave. As her eyes snap open, her expression blanches seeing the horde of tentacles just outside of the light pillar.

 "KYAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!" She lets out a loud cry as she immediately casts her [Judgment Rain] spell. She escapes using the light pillar to teleport as swords of light forms. Disappearing, the spell launches indiscriminately attacking anything in their path. Some strike a tentacle while many of the tentacles barely escape allowing the spell to strike the walls of the cave. The light spears not only pierce their surroundings, but also explode after striking their target destroying many of the nearby tentacles. Thick cracks form as the entire cave starts to crumble. Within moments, a cave in occurs causing boulders to come tumbling down crushing everything within. After the dust settles, no movement occurs leaving the status of the tentacles living within as unknown.

In the Heavens, Ariel shivers taking a large amount of mental damage from the sight of the tentacle mass. The thought of her possible fate if she was caught makes her lose strength in her legs. After calming down, her fear turns to outrage. "WHHYYYY?!?! This is the 3rd time already!!! Why am I getting farther away from Senna!!!" Her voice echoes through the empty teleportation room that she secretly made use of to descend down to the land of Remia.

***

Back in Erein, the day starts off normally, but Iris' unease tips everyone off. Senna acts calmly, but Iris' face flushes every time she looks in Senna's direction. After being questioned about the strange mood, Senna readily admits the truth greatly improving the mood and embarrassing Iris. A bit of teasing from her family makes Iris become even more flustered.

Later, Captain Lewis seeks Senna for some help. The Royal Guards have given up on personally trying to extract any information from the imprisoned fake Royal Doctor. The fear of self-destruction weighs too heavily on their minds preventing them from a proper interrogation, let alone attempt to torture him for information. They earnestly request Senna to assist them.

Senna agrees with ease. She decides to fulfill her own curiosity about the situation and the underlying motivation behind the infiltration. In the dungeon, Senna casts layer after layer of <Barrier> spells and a special <Time Magic> spell to preserve the fake Doctor's heart to prevent it from exploding. With a few drops of the antidote as a torture tool, Senna obtains the information she wants after several hours.

Senna gets a full picture of the situation after mentally organizing the details and eliminating some of the bias about the doctor's master. The leader of the homunculus humans is a man called Baxter. Along with the brothers Aden and Cecil, they are triplets with a royal bloodline from a long fallen kingdom. Their kingdom fell when every major city banded together to revolt against the treacherous Royal Family.

The royal bloodline had the distinct ability of transformation into any appearance at will. The transformation only required a bit of blood from the target and could be maintained without a time limit. Unlike the normal transformation spell with a high magic cost and eventual time limit, it was a feared ability because of the strong possibility of spies in even the most trusted officials. The only residual sign of the impersonator was the bloodline insignia carved into their back.

The kingdom fell, but the branch family succeeded in sneaking their descendants out of the castle. After several generations the triplets were born with a transformation ability rivaling the destroyed royal family. With the revival of their bloodline's ability, the discussion of the revival of their kingdom naturally came up. Everything was set for their revival... or it should have been.

The interests and pride of the brothers clashed with one another to a level that their relationship deteriorated. The oldest Adel loved monsters and wanted to gather, train, and reign over monsters as the future kingdom. The middle son, Baxtor, sided with humans. However, it only applied to humans from the former kingdom's land. Using those citizens as a base and obtaining parts from other people to fuse them together to form a much stronger soldier to rebuild his kingdom. The youngest son Cecil believed that demons would be the best subjects. He infiltrated the Chaos continent posing as a demon to rally them together.

Their interests conflicted and inevitably led to a clash. At some point, one of them suggested a bet. The losers had to follow the winner's opinion while the winner constructed the kingdom as they wish and would freely reign without interference from the others. The bet would take place 10 years later. Each of them had to rouse an army that could defeat the other two armies to reign victorious. In addition, the brothers could not interfere with the confrontation after the war declaration was submitted. Without the threat of sabotaging another’s army, the brother could properly gauge their skill of ruling over their subjects. With the bet set, the brothers separated to begin their preparations.

Baxtor created the Royal Doctor two year after the bet started. He and several others were to infiltrate the Erein capital and gather people to use as materials for his future subjects. Princess Iris was a particularly important target that Baxtor wished to mold into one of his better creations. After infiltrating the castle, the Royal Doctor and his other companions spent 5 years gaining the trust of the Royal family as well as their peers. During that time, they prepared various poisons to condense Princess Iris in the best material for their master.

Unfortunately, Senna came and shattered their plans in an instant. Their long period of preparation came tumbling down once Senna helped subjugate every spy that infiltrated the castle. Curing Iris further destroyed their plans, not that the Royal Doctor knew about Iris' recovery.

After gathering all the information she could, Senna eliminated the Royal Doctor. The guards were particularly pleased with the development since they no longer had to risk death by an explosion. Senna later relayed this information to Captain Lewis and the Royal Family. Their immediate thought was to search the entire Capital for the insidious Baxtor. However, Senna stopped them. Her reasoning was simple. Someone that stained in blood would have already been found when she first searched the capital and eliminated. Therefore, the chances that he was in the city were extremely low.

The Royal Family relaxed after that, but still made a decree to summon any person with the name Baxtor to be investigated. Senna shrugged and let them do as they pleased. Senna made a note to be more cautious of Baxtor in any other city they visited.

During that time, Senna had Iris registered with the Guild. Because of her long standing illness and the lack of guards, no one recognized Iris' face, especially in an adventurer’s garb, making the registration proceed extremely smoothly. Senna had Iris take on simplistic jobs that mainly involved manual labor in a few shops to raise her Guild rank.

When they were not working, Senna was helping with the preparations for the tournament. With the sheer size of the plans, she took her time and constructed it over the course of the week. News quickly spread about the tournament because of the magically appearing coliseum. Time quickly passed with the flurry of activity in the city.

***

Five days later, a small army gathers outside the outskirts of Erein territory. Various rumors spread during the army's march causing the overall mood to remain at its lowest point. One of the army generals openly condemned the pope after learning about the secret attack and lack of war declaration allowing the news to spread through the entire camp. Many soldiers and officials secretly escaped in the dead of night abandoning the pope. By the time they reached Erein the original 20,000 strong army dwindled down to about 3,000 soldiers. The remaining soldiers were mainly comprised of loyal soldiers to the Pope and men greedy for the promised rewards after the upcoming slaughter.

"Damn! Those trash dare abandon me! Where is their sense of loyalty?!" The Pope slams his fist on the table, disgusted with the lack of support for his desires to be the sole ruler.

"Your Holiness, we've gathered the soldiers to participate in the infiltration." The Pope's trusted aide reports.

"Good! Poison them all and cause as much damage as possible to their army! We'll destroy them in one fell swoop!" The Pope cackles hearing that everything is going according to plan. As they step out of the Pope's tent, they notice everyone staring at the sky. A giant black mass blots the early morning sky engulfing their vision before quickly enveloping their entire camp. Before they can escape, everything is engulfed in darkness.

Senna's eyes snap open as she feels a strong response from her [Detection] skills. She sits up and scans the room and notices Mika stirring from her perch. Iris remains fast asleep clinging to Senna since the sun has yet to rise. Senna secretly slips out of bed and substituting herself for a pillow.

{Sis... what's happening?} Mika groggily asks seeing Senna wake.

{Don't know. There's a lot of magic in the air.} Senna responds as she slips through the curtain and opens the glass door to the balcony. The second the windows swing open, an earthquake erupts. In Senna's vision, blue light erupts from the horizon due to her [Magic Detection]. 

"Hm? Wh-what's happening?!" Iris cries out as the entire room shakes hooting her away with the unsteady bed. Senna ignores Iris cry and continues to observe the situation. The horizon continues to be dyed in a blue light from her skill preventing her from seeing anything concrete. Yet no new spell arrives contributing to the damage. Senna steps back into the room. "Senna, what's going on?"

"I don't know. Something happened on the outskirts. Maybe someone angered another party? Whatever it was, they received a combined spell that involved about 10 Master class magicians." Senna calmly relays.

"10?! How could they gather that many?!" Having you and the Royal Magician in the castle is already unheard of." Iris jumps hearing surprising enough news to jolt her awake.

"...I'm going to investigate now." Senna tosses on her clothes and armor getting dressed in an instant. "Stay here where it's safe and out of range. Mika guard her if anything comes."

{Okay!} Mika chirps in both of their minds.

"Good." Senna nods and exits through the balcony.

"Wa-......" Iris wants to stop Senna, but Senna disappears too quickly to protest. "You should at least take us along." Iris pouts crossing her arms.

Arriving at the scene, Senna gives a deep sigh. At the impact site, a giant dust cloud conceals the true extent of the damages to the area. Invoking a strong gust of <Wind>, she reveals an incredibly large crater. Her initial guess at the crater’s size would be about 300 meters in diameter and unknown depth.

Senna dashes around the crater’s perimeter trying to find any evidence left. However, she finds nothing among the rubble forcing her to search in the depths of the hole. Unable to glean any information from her detection skills, she crouches and enhances her <Scan> spell as much as possible. The spell analyzes the entire hole as plunges down feeding the data back to Senna. However, her spell loses its potency after passing the 50 meter mark. She recasts the spell and gets a bit more depth, but not enough to reach the bottom. A few attempts later, Senna only finds out that the crater is deeper than 150 meters in depth by only scanning a small piece of the wall, but without any sign of the bottom.

Senna scratches her head wondering if she has no other choice but to jump down. “…Quartz, it would work if he could help…” The idea to ask the Earth elemental for help appears, but she shakes her head rejecting the idea.

“…You called?” A gruff voice calls out behind her making Senna jump. She quickly turns around condensing her magic into a light based blade, but relaxes seeing the earth golem in front of her.

She sighs relaxing her hand. “I wanted to ask for some help. I didn’t think you would answer since everyone’s been ignoring my calls.”

“Mmm. Busy. Mana’s 30,000th birthday. What help?” Quartz answers with a bit of impatience.

‘The question of who Mana is’ pops into her mind, but his hurried tone forces her to focus on the task at hand. Senna points to the hole. “Can you raise the bottom of the hole? I want to see if there are any remains from the attack.”

“Okay. Pay for help.” Quartz replies stepping forward. The ground rumbles with each step.

“I know. My magic right?” Senna nods condensing magic into an orb.

“More. Ill Friend. You cure.” Quartz points at Senna.

“A healing request? Well… ok. I’ll do my best. Do we go right away?” Senna thinks about the request, but nods since it sounds like a reasonable request.

“Later. On your travels.” Quartz ends the discussion focusing on the task at hand. The depths of the crater begin to rumble as Quartz’s body disintegrates returning to a pile of soil. Senna quickly watches for several minutes as the ground trembles. The ground promptly stops moving when the bottom of the crater becomes visible. Quartz’s soil body reforms next to Senna. “Done.”

“Thank you.” Senna sincerely thanks him for the help.

“Mmm. Going.” Quartz grunts and departs without another word. A dirt pile forms as the uninhabited body returns to normal.

“He must have been in a real rush if that’s all he had to say. I wonder why? …Maybe… he slipped out from the birthday he mentioned?” Senna silently ponders the unnatural urgency in Quartz appearance. “He wasn’t a fake, so that isn’t a concern… hahhh… Well it isn’t any of my business if he doesn’t want it to be known.”

She jumps into the hole and looks around. Her expression is extremely solemn seeing the mangled limbs strewn about at the bottom. Despite searching around, she is unable to find a single intact body. Broken and melted weapons are scattered throughout the bottom. The only real identifying item is a ripped hat from the Finity Church’s pope. She takes the hat and a few broken weapons and body parts to show the Royal family. Finished with the investigation, she looks into the horizon at the source of the spell.

Senna bites her lip with vexation. “…I was too naïve. They’ve haven’t moved since they got here, so I thought they were still preparing. Who knew they would go so far?” The defensive preparations to the city appear in her mind. During the past few days, she made a few barrier type tools. Unfortunately, she could procure only so much material before it ate away at her funds. The ones she made were enough to form a protective barrier around the entire castle. However, when she looked at the sheer damage created from their spells, she estimated that her barriers would only survive one hit before shattering.  She clenches her teeth even harder drawing some blood from her lower lip. At that moment,

{Senna!} Iris voice rings in her mind.

{Yes.} Senna calms her emotions as she focuses on conversing with Iris through their contract.

{What’s happening?!} Iris yells with worry.

{An attack with a lot of corpses. There are at least 2000 people dead.} Senna calmly reports.

{That’s…} Iris’ voice goes silent as she imagines the number of bodies dead.

{Pass on the information to the King. But ask him to wait before sending anyone. I still need to find the attacker.} Senna instructs Iris.

{You’re going after them?! But it’s dangerous!!} Iris cries out.

{I’ll be fine. Who do you think I am?} Senna takes on a joking tone. {Pass on the information and stay there. I’ll be back soon. Don’t worry~}

{Okay. Please come back safely.} Iris reluctantly agrees.

{Good. Take care.} Senna cuts off the connection with Iris. She sends a separate message to Mika to protect Iris and to keep her out of trouble. Finished with the talk, Senna slaps her cheeks focusing on the task at hand. “Let’s go! Need to finish things fast. ” She runs at full speed creating a large plume of dust behind her. In a few minutes, she charges directly into the forest and locates the clearing where a lone mansion sits. Senna throws a magically powered punch at the edge of the clearing while still moving at top speed.

*BOOOOMMMMMMMMMM*

Her fist collides with the barrier protecting the clearing. The resulting shockwave uproots several nearby trees causing them to crash into other trees. The barrier bends inward under the force of her punch and starts to fracture. Senna puts her entire body weight into the attack as she increases her magic output ripping open a hole.

“WE’RE UNDER ATTACKKKKK!!!!!!” Some voices yell out from within the mansion.

As she passes through the barrier, a loud blaring alarm announces her arrival. Behind her, the barrier continues to fracture and disintegrate. After half of the barrier is destroyed, the remaining portion suddenly shines repairing the damage. In one brief moment, it completely repairs itself sealing Senna inside. Five demons carefully open a window before carefully flying out. Their initial anger turns to shock and concern after spotting Senna.

“IT’S THE TARGET!!! WE’RE UNDER ATTACK BY THE TARGET!!!” One of the demons yell into the mansion.

“What do we do?!”

“We’re not done yet! You came too early!”

“Oi! Can you come back?! We don’t have our orders yet!”

“Do we fight her?!”

An odd panic spreads through the demons, but Senna puts it in the back of her mind. She calmly addresses them with a stern expression. “I received your battle declaration. There’s no need to put it off, so let’s get started. <Sacred Javelin>” Senna releases the Master class spell that she had been preparing along the way. 100 javelins made from light magic litter the sky aimed at the demons and the mansion.

“AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! RUNNNNN!!!!”

The demons pale and scatter escaping back into the mansion for cover. {Even at level 100, it seems most people wouldn’t be sane enough to take on the attack directly.} Senna swings down her arm bombarding the mansion. The light javelins approach the mansion, but disperse before touching the building. A blue light emanates from the mansion blocking every bit of Senna’s spell.

“Che. Another <Barrier>. I should have expected as much.” Senna clicks her tongue seeing everything being repelled. “Second volley! Fire!” She raises her hand in the air pretending to recast her magic. She secretly releases another wave of <Sacred Javelin> that she prepared from her [Storage]. They spin in her hand converging into one giant javelin and target the mansion. With a flick of her hand, the javelin launches through the air.

A demon blasts through the front door of the mansion and swings his claymore upwards. Sparks fly as the <Sacred Javelin> and claymore meets. The light javelin pushes back the demon making him skid across the ground, but it quickly loses force as the demon begins coating his blade with <Dark Magic>. Within seconds, the demon completes his swing pitching the spell into the air and away from the mansion.

Senna kicks his exposed side at that moment. He calmly meets her kick with his fist making a shockwave erupt between the two. Senna jumps back after losing the momentum from her attack. “Che. Not enough power.” She clicks her tongue seeing her attack fail. {Level 160. He’s stronger than I thought. Fighting him while I’m still restricted would be impossible. Not to mention everyone else in the mansion.}

The demon readies his claymore and glares at Senna with bloodshot eyes. “You! What do you think you’re doing?! What if you scratched the paint?!”

“…What…?” Senna falters at the ridiculous reprimand. She blankly stares at the powerful adversary forgetting to ready a new spell.


Author’s Note

New chapter out~ I somehow got this out despite the random stuff that popped up during the Thanksgiving holiday. That and my gaming binge occupied the majority of my time. No chapter next week.

I packed a lot of different stuff into this chapter. Hopefully it wasn’t too confusing. I finally brought up the motives for the three brothers. Adel appeared in Chapter 13 in the SS. Cecil appeared in chapter 31, the second to last scene. Baxtor is recent, so I’ll skip saying anything more about him. They’ve set themselves up in their respective areas and amassing their troops at this moment.

With Senna’s clash with the demons, I’ll apologize for the weird cliff. XD  I wanted to get through the entire conversation, but I’ve past my normal length already. Plus I doubt I’ll finish the entire conversation in time.

2 comments:

  1. too many different things to comment on in this chap, but I did end up having the best Thanksgiving in a while

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! That's good you had a nice Thanksgiving~

      Delete