Edit: I procrastinated a bit too much. So chapter's not ready. XD
Chapter 55 - Capture
The atmosphere freezes has the angel Ariel looks at Senna. Ariel has a slightly offended look as she returns Senna's gaze. "Imposter? Just what do you mean? I'm the real Ariel."
"Hah! Do you think I'm that stupid?" Senna scoffs puffing up her chest. "You made it perfectly clear with that aggressive display that you aren't her. Not to mention that malicious intent you've been leaking since the beginning."
"Hmph." The accused Ariel snorts. "Acting like a know-it-all when you've been obediently following me this entire time. Stop being silly and let's go." She reaches out to grab Senna's arm again, but Senna jumps back avoiding her.
"There's no point in following you now that you're exposed. Even if I follow you, I'll just overturn anything that comes my way." Senna replies confidently. She coats her body in a dense layer of magic to protect herself from a sneak attack.
"Che. An idiot that doesn't know her place." The fake Ariel grumbles swinging weapon trying to give Senna a clear smack on the head.
In Senna's hands, a katana formed from pure <Dark Magic> lands in her hands. She swings her weapon upwards with all her strength. The two enchanted weapons clash with a loud boom. Small explosions follow as the sparks of dark and light clash against one another.
The fake Ariel's sword skims overhead across Senna's katana creating flashes of black and white light as the two elements clash. Senna pushes away the fake Ariel's weapon slightly disrupting her stance. Senna steps forward aiming to close the distance.
However, fake Ariel instantly creates a barrage of <Light Shots>. Senna changes her plan stepping to the side out of the line of fire. Several light bullets fly by her head crashing into the cave wall behind her. As she takes a few steps forward, an intense wave of foreboding courses through Senna’s body as she changes directions jumping backwards. A blast of wind slices her cheek as the fake Ariel twists her body performing a powerful overhead swing. The strike misses but forms a large crater as the entire cavern shakes.
"Che. So the power attacker style wasn’t fake." Senna clicks her tongue facing a truly powerful swordsman with ridiculous striking force. She mentally shelves her reliance on her swordsmanship for her feints.
"Of course. What better way to strike down your enemies than through a direct strike." The fake Ariel smiles.
"So just who are you?" Senna grumbles.
"Rachel." The fake Ariel replies brightly. Despite giving her name, she shows no intention of changing her Ariel disguise. "Why don't you tell me how you figured it out? I thought I impersonated Ariel very well."
"... It's called a bluff Miss Rachel." Senna answers with a mocking smile. Rachel's eyes bulge out to the point they seem like they will fall out of their eye socket. "You just gave a weird ambiance because of your excessive clinginess, so I pressed you a bit. I wasn’t even fully confident if you were fake or if Ariel was just being excessive."
"Kuh. I can't believe I fell for such a stupid tap." Rachel grits her teeth.
"Even if it was the real Ariel in your position, I would have kept it up for a couple of hours to be sure." Senna replies with a smile.
"Shit. So it was my fault you figured it out." Rachel curses. She swings her blade releasing a wave of magic that instantly engulfs Senna and half of the cave. A cone shaped depression is quickly etched into the cave floor and ceiling before affecting the walls. Rachel vigilantly watches as the magic engulfs everything in sight. She mentally curses seeing her plans start to crumble so close to the goal.
"Well~ It's something like that." Senna casually responds. The spell begins to disperse sooner than expected. A faint black light appears within the sleet white light. The light from Rachel's spell evaporates as a pitch black darkness spreads.
"This is..." Rachel unconsciously takes a step back as the entire cave is quickly coated in pitch darkness.
"You're in the higher position after all. I need to take exploit any advantage I can find." Senna calmly smiles. The dark katana in her hand lightly taps the floor. The blade pulses as it absorbs the excess <Dark Magic> condensing itself within the blade.
Senna kicks off the ground charging at Rachel. Senna circles around aiming for Rachel's back, but Rachel follows Senna's movement. They gradually speed up reaching Senna's top speed, but she remains unable to covertly approach Rachel's back. Giving up on a stealthy approach, Senna switches to a more aggressive approach.
Senna casts <Dark Spire> creating a stalagmite of <Dark Magic> that pierces upward stabbing through Rachel's position. She casually dodges the attack as she condenses her magic for a counter attack. Senna continues to strike disregarding her failure with the initial strike. She tightens her grip on the magic katana slashing outwards. Making full use of her speed, she performs a cross slash creating two strokes of <Dark Magic> that fly through the air. The two arcs merge to form an X as they whistle through the air aiming to cut down the distant Rachel.
"Hah! That kind of attack is useless if it doesn't strike." Rachel loudly scoffs dodging the distant cross slash. Internally, her heart trembles seeing the powerful strike performed so casually. The X slashes through the air missing Rachel by a large margin. Rachel confidently smiles readying her counter attack. However, her smile freezes when she realizes the flight path of the cross slash.
Rachel falters a few steps as she releases a layer of magic from her body. It condenses into a white armor that encompasses the entire body. At that moment, Senna’s Cross Slash collides with the <Dark Spire> shattering it. Shards of the spire splinter off creating shrapnel that explode out in every direction. Her armor radiates a divine aura protecting her body from every external attack. As the shrapnel reaches Rachel’s body, the magic aura erodes each shard of magic away into wisps of smoke.
Rachel confidently smiles seeing her defense completely nullify the attack. “Hah. Was that…” She starts to mock Senna when a slight breeze and a sense of danger reaches her back. Rachel turns around raising her sword to guard against the back attack.
A cacophony of screeching erupts throughout the cavern as their two weapons clash. Senna’s Dark katana and Rachel’s Light based sword clash as they vie for the upper hand. Rachel sneers and opens her mouth to resume her insults when her voice catches in her throat. She notices the smile on Senna’s face continue to widen despite the failed sneak attack.
“…Bang.” Senna quietly mutters. Despite Senna’s soft voice, the single word explodes in Rachel’s tense mind. She violently erupts shrouding herself in a pillar of light protecting herself from any further sneak attacks.
Senna’s expression does not falter and only seems to become even more vicious in Rachel’s eyes. At that moment, a hand bursts through Senna’s chest. A gust of black smoke burst from Senna’s body clouding Rachel’s vision. The protruding hand continues to dart forward aiming to attack Rachel.
The black smoke spreads as Senna’s body completely disintegrates even further leaving only wisps of smoke. The real Senna dashes forward through the remnants of her body double. She thrusts her arm forward performing a knife-hand attack as the light around Rachel starts to wane. Rachel snorts as she pours more magic into her protective barrier. The white light is revitalized as the barrier’s power is strengthened once more.
Senna’s expression remains unfazed as she continues to charge forward. Her serene expression causes Rachel to shiver. Rachel wants to evade, but Senna closes the distance in that moment leaving her no choice but endure the attack. Senna’s arm whistles through the air as she strikes.
As the attack approaches the barrier, Senna’s knifehand opens transforming into an open palm. She reveals a swirling orb of <Dark Magic> within the palm of her hand. “Got you!” Senna’s stoic expression flips into a dark smile as her magic clashes with the barrier. “<Black Hole>!” Senna calls out the name for her specially crafted spell as it explodes.
A pitch black vortex erupts from the contained orb enveloping both Senna and Rachel within the darkness. The cavern is plunged into darkness as the black hole devours the light within the cavern. Rachel’s barrier is no exception as the light is ripped from her control and thrown into the recesses of the black hole’s core.
After a chaotic several minutes, the black hole fades collapsing on itself. The dim lighting within the cavern steadily returns to the cavern starting from the edges furthest from the black hole. As the darkness recedes, two bloodstained figures stand near the center of the room.
Senna’s right arm, that held the <Black Hole>, is completely eradicated due to the backlash from the point blank range attack. The remaining chunk of her upper arm gushes out blood. Chunks of flesh are also missing from her face and torso. Senna’s left hand fared only slightly better with three fingers being severed and five gaping holes riddling her upper and lower arm.
In contrast, Rachel breathes heavily glaring daggers at Senna. She sustained far heavier wounds from the unexpected attack. One of her angel wings was completely ripped from her body and the other with only a quarter of the wing remaining. Both legs and one arm were completely severed from her body. Her remaining arm is mostly in tact with several gaping holes similar to Senna. A portion of the amputated leg lies in front of her. Rachel’s face is marred with various cuts and ripped flesh revealing bone underneath. Her blonde hair is awkwardly cut in various locations due to flying debris that forcibly passed through her hair.
Senna feels a slight pang of guilt seeing Ariel’s severely battered form even if the appearance is a disguise. At the moment, she is still friends with Ariel making the situation complicated and hard to stomach. However, she swallows the bitter bile welling up in her throat after remembering that her life is on the line. Senna focuses on Rachel’s chest. Wrapped around Rachel’s upper body is a wide, black sash. The sash pulses with a gray light preventing scattering any magic from approaching.
“Are you mad?! You could have killed us both!!!” Rachel angrily yells.
“So what? This is a battlefield. If I want to stake my life on a suicidal attack is my own business.” Senna scornfully laughs.
“YOU’RE INSANE!!!” Rachel retorts.
“Obviously.” Senna smiles while giving her a questioning look that says ‘You’re just figuring this out now’. “It’s not like I was ever a sane human to begin with.”
“AGHHH!!! You’re not going to get away with injuring an angel like this!” Rachel roars hoping to tear Senna to shreds.
“That you elaborately impersonated my friend shows enough reason for me to not care about such things.” Senna scoffs at Rachel’s tantrum. “I’m not going to roll over and offer myself on a silver platter just because some angel told me to.” Rachel grinds her teeth unsuccessfully stifling her rage.
Senna casts a bit of healing magic to patch the smaller wounds. To conserve her magic, she uses <Earth Magic> and dirt to replace her missing arm and fingers. She similarly stops Rachel’s bleeding by patching her with some soil. “Trash! How dare you taint my body with some common soil?!” Rachel seethingly glares at Senna.
“…You survived my <Black Hole> spell despite the fact that I sealed all of your magic partway through. A little dirt isn’t going to do anything.” Senna shakes her head at her excessive pride.
The reason for both of their extensive injuries is due to Senna’s suicidal follow up attack. Instead of focusing on protecting herself, Senna threw out a number of magic sealing clothing in the middle of the <Black Hole> spell. Most of them missed and were sucked into the tear in space. Because of the distraction, her spell was able to rip through her barrier disconnecting her arm as well as inflicting various injuries through the shattered barrier.
Rachel unluckily got bound by one the Magic sealing sash as it wrapped around her body. Senna’s spell directly devoured all of the Light energy from her defenses without needing to shatter it leaving her with only pure magic for her defenses. However, once she was bound and her magic sealed, she could only rely on her own physical body to endure the attack. In a disarray, Rachel suffered the full brunt of Senna’s heavily compacted spell.
“With that kind of look, there’s no point in speaking any further.” Senna starts at Rachel’s hate filled eyes and scraps the idea of an interrogation. She wants information, but it would take too much time based on the current situation. Since this is her first time fighting an angel, she chooses to move quickly before a hidden trump card appears. As a result, she opts to kill first and piece the information together later.
Senna reforms the black katana in her hand and performs a swift vertical strike. A flash of worry passes through Rachel’s eyes seeing Senna completely skip the interrogation phase. The looming feeling of Death’s embrace instantly courses through her body.
“STOP!!!!” A voice yells out dashing in from the next room. Hearing the voice, Senna accelerates her attack in response hoping for a quick kill before engaging the new enemy. The female voice clicks her tongue seeing Senna’s aggressive stance. “If you don’t want them to die, then stop!!”
Senna’s forcefully twists her hand barely diverting the attack. The katana misses Rachel’s head by millimeters slicing into the hard bedrock floor. “Che.” Senna clicks her tongue when the worst case scenario appears in her mind. She turns to the source of the voice and sees another Ariel. Senna opens her mouth, but clamps her mouth when she compares the voice with her memories. Senna cynically laughs at the new arrival with a scornful tone. “Another one impersonating Ariel? Just how many of you are there?”
Instead of replying the new impersonator, throws a simple <Light Shot> towards the opposite wall. Senna warily watches fearing the moment when Iris and Mika appear in her vision. The spell strikes the wall acting as the key dispersing the specially crafted barrier in a flash of light. Reflected in their eyes are three lightning based organisms. At a closer look, they resemble miniature humans giving off purple arcs of electricity making Senna think of a fairy. With [Identification], she finds out the fairies are called Lightning Sprites and are a lesser form and subordinates of an elemental.
Senna tightens her grip on the katana poising it against Rachel’s throat. “I do try to help people when I can, but only when I can. I don’t know any Lightning Sprites. Why should I care about them?”
The imposter Ariel smirks revealing a thin rod engraved with unknown symbols. “Once I release the spell, those sprites will die. During their death, Lightning Sprites will violently explode discharging all of the energy accumulated in their lifetime. I’ve made it so that the lightning will set off an even larger seal. Under. All. Of. Erein.”
Senna’s hand strongly trembles barely keeping the katana steady. She bites her lip trying to determine the validity of her threat. Unfortunately, her [Analysis] shows nothing to indicate it is a lie. It is possible that her skills are unable to get through any of the angel’s concealment since both of the angels’ names still show Ariel with her [Identification] skill. Various possibilities appear in her mind. However, Senna couldn’t gamble everything on random guesses and divert things towards the worst possibility. Senna leaves out a heavy sigh dispersing her weapon. She removes the magic binding sash from Rachel’s body and holds both hands in the air.
Rachel quickly regenerates her limbs with her magic unsealed. With her restored hand she grabs the binding sash and wraps it around Senna. When her legs reform, she directs a strong kick at Senna. “Take This!” Senna obediently stays still watching the kick strike her directly in the stomach.
Senna is lifted off her feet and flies through the air crashing into the wall. Dust flies into the air as Senna makes a deep depression on the cavern wall. Senna coughs waving the dust away. Luckily her defense is so abnormally high that it only left her mind a bit rattled.
“Tch. As expected of someone blessed by the Goddess.” Rachel shakes her now broken leg healing the injury.
“Let’s hurry up. We wasted far too much time because of your terrible acting.” The fake Ariel complains.
“It’s not my fault Miriel! She’s the one that figured it out!” Rachel argues with a shriek.
“You’re the one that insisted on the façade even when you have no skill in acting.” Miriel retorts. Senna watches their argument and uses the time to think up a few ideas that may help overturn the situation. “Enough. Let’s hurry up and deal with her.”
“Just what is it you want from me? I only have a few material items that would only have so much value amongst the angel race.” Senna asks wondering what she has that will motivate them so much.
“Hah! Like we want any of your trash. We’re taking a piece of that pure body of yours!” Rachel sneers arrogantly pointing at Senna. Miriel punches Rachel interrupting her.
Senna’s eyes bulge out hearing their answer. “You wanted to have sex?!?! All that commotion just because you wanted a bit of action?! What the hell?!?! Couldn’t you have propositioned to me normally?!”
“So what if we did?” Rachel answers before receiving another punch from Miriel.
“Be quiet.” Miriel glares at Rachel forcing her to step back.
“You’re going a bit far with using genocide as your bargaining chip for a bit of sex? You’re going to lose your standings as angels with such a mindset.” Senna continues to talk trying to gather information while stalling for time.
“Our status is none of your concern.” Miriel shoots down Senna’s attempt at information gathering.
Unfortunately for Miriel, Rachel has a big mouth despite the repeated hits. “That’s right. Besides, the Goddess will not punish us over the deaths of a couple of humans. It’s just…” She happily talks, but closes her mouth partway under Miriel’s withering glare.
Miriel turns to Senna. “We’re not after your body. We’re after your soul. With such a delectable treat in front of us, how can we not sneak a taste of the treat that the Creator made for her daughter?” She licks her lips as she stares down at Senna.
“My soul…” Senna blankly mutters. As she mentally repeats the words, a revelation enters her mind. The [Soul Engraving] skill directly carved all her abilities into her soul. If they wanted to eat that, then it could probably increase their growth in various areas. Cold sweat forms over her body thinking about what happens after her soul is eaten. The thought of fleeing appears, but Miriel’s threat looms over her mind. Even if it is a lie, she can’t run and sacrifice everybody. Her only choice is to aim for when their guard is down.
Miriel flicks her finger creating a magic circle over Senna’s body. Senna immediately feels the effect as her entire body freezes in place. Her mind is still functioning, but her muscles and magic feel as if they were completely cut off.
“We can’t waste any more time. Let’s eat and go before we’re caught.” Miriel responds.
“Yes! Let’s!” Rachel happily agrees licking her lips. Miriel stretches out her hand piercing into Senna’s flesh.
“DON’T YOU DAREEEEEEEEE!!!!!!” Just as Miriel clenches her hand, a powerful voice causes the cavern to tremble. A foot lands on Miriel’s face launching her into Rachel. “I made it!” Senna sees another Ariel as she land in front of her. “I won’t allow you to touch Senna!” Ariel loudly proclaims as she releases a large pulse of magic.
So I’m late by a week. Ended up procrastinating a lot more than I expected after my vacation. This brings me to my next point. My motivation for writing is extremely low right now. I’m more interested in reading web novels and gaming at the moment, so my writing speed is grinding to a halt. Not to mention my quality for the last few chapters have been shoddy in my POV.
Rather than tease readers with undetermined dates, I’m going to announce an extended hiatus after the next chapter. I expect it will take two weeks at my current pace to write one more chapter and go on hiatus then. I’m not even sure when I’d return if I do this. :P
I do plan to write here and there at a slow pace, but will keep it to myself since I can avoid the painful editing process for a while. I expect that I’ll have at least a few chapters to release when I return to whoever is around.