The few seconds Lith spent in that blazing inferno felt like hours, constantly wishing for the pain to stop, while his lungs were desperate for air.
When it finally ended, he crashed on the ground, tumbling multiple times before coming to a halt.
The first breath of fresh air he took, was the best he had ever had.
His normal vision was blurry, but Life Vision showed him clearly that there was still no trace of his enemies.
Playing dead had no sense, they had discovered him once, they could do it twice.
Lith immediately started healing himself, using Invigoration at the same time.
Thanks to the world energy, his wounds healed much faster than normal, the bones mended and the burns disappeared without leaving any scar.
- Solus, any sign of those b*astards
You travelled several hundred metres because of the explosion, but they are catching up fast.
They\'ll Blink here before you are finished healing.
Damn Blink! I can\'t get close, while they can escape anytime.
Also, from range they can dodge or block everything I throw at them.
It\'s only a matter of time before they kill me for good.
I\'m almost out of tricks. –
Determined not to die, Lith stood up, waiting for the enemies while racking his brain for a solution.
By the gods! He is still alive! Beruit and the three survivors were all that remained of the Talons.
That\'s impossible! Lieutenant Calant couldn\'t believe his own eyes.
That was a f*cking War Mage spell! It\'s supposed to blow open castles and can\'t even kill a kid
That\'s no kid, Lieutenant, that\'s a monster.
I\'ll cast Raging Sun again, you three prevent him to interrupt me or run away, at any cost! We owe it to our fallen comrades.
The three Talons assumed a triangle formation, but didn\'t dare to approach.
If four had failed, there was no reason for three to succeed.
- Damn! At this distance, I\'m powerless.
Think, Lith, think.
How can we save ourselves There must be something we can do.
Something only us can do, that will take them by surprise…
A cruel smile appeared on his lips, there was still hope.
He dashed toward the chanting woman with air fusion, using Full Guard again to not miss any movement.
The three performed a Blink, planning on using hit and run tactics to not fall prey of the tentacles.
But thanks to the combination of Life Vision and his enhanced speed, Lith was able to see where the Gates would open, and react accordingly.
He changed direction, aiming for the nearest Gate, punching with his full force before the enemy appeared.
The hit crushed the Talon\'s trachea, even severely damaging the spine in the process.
Lith kept moving forward, while the corpse still stood up, with a shocked expression on the face.
The two remaining Talons reacted by instinct, thinking their teammate had simply missed, letting the target slip away.
They Blinked together, one in front of the target, the other at his back, only to discover he was ready for them.
Lith grabbed them by the throat, his hands were strong like a vise, snapping their necks with a twist of his wrists.
Thanks to the distance, Beruit was barely able to distinguish what had happened.
Just like the Queen years ago, Lith\'s movements appeared only as a blur, but years of training told her to run away.
Lith\'s smile grew wider, while his spirit magic was coiling around the last enemy.
He twisted her hands behind her back, to prevent her to cast spells or use magic rings, choking her at the same time.
Even if Beruit had been able to talk, Lith wasn\'t willing to listen.
He knew that if not for the fact of being an Awakened one, he would have already died many times.
He feared her and what she was able to do.
Letting her live was too big of a risk, blocking her hands and mouth wouldn\'t stop her from using first magic, nor he had any idea what kind of artifact she could use against him if given the chance.
By clenching his fist, Lith lifted Beruit in the air before crushing her head.
After checking there was no enemy still alive, Lith gave out a victory laughter.
- I can\'t believe I\'m still alive! It\'s the first time I had to gamble so much.
These guys\' strength and teamwork was insane.
Who the heck where they
I don\'t know, and I don\'t care! Solus was brimming with joy.
The only important thing is that you are well and all in one piece.
What do you mean with \'almost\'
Your hair. –
Lith\'s hand ran over his head, discovering that he was almost bald.
With Invigoration, he assessed that his hair had almost been burned down to the root.
- How did I get them back the last time
Manohar. Solus said, like it explained it all. –
Looking at himself, Lith discovered that most of his uniform was gone.
Between the cuts and the burns, he was as good as naked.
After a quick change in farmer\'s clothes, he realized he had another problem.
- Solus, do you have any idea where we are
What about you
Well, I know that moss grows on the north side of the trees.
Yeah, too bad this is a grassland. She sneered.
And I was being sarcastic! Without a landmark, maps are useless.
We could be anywhere between the academy and Kandria.
Yeah, I think we should… run for our life! –
Lith didn\'t knew what Solus had noticed, but didn\'t stop for asking.
He moved as fast as he could, casting a flight spell to get the higher ground.
The corpses of the Talons exploded, leaving nothing behind.
My loot! Lith screamed.
- As soon as you killed that woman, I noticed something had changed in the mana surrounding their equipment.
At first, I thought it was some kind of protection that was being depowered by the user\'s death, but then I noticed that instead of decreasing, the energy was actually overloading.
They sure were a careful lot.
Who cares about that All this work for nothing!
Did you just dare to call your life \'nothing\' Solus sounded really angry.
Yes… I mean, no.
Damn, where the heck are we Lith decided to change topic.
After thinking a bit about their predicament, they decided the first thing to do was to get away from the fighting scene.
Lith would have a hard time to justify how a team of six experts had died, while a simple student had survived.
The simplest explanation was to say he had no idea what had happened to the corps after they had helped him escape from unknown assailants.
The self-destruction mechanism had undoubtedly hurt his pockets, but at least helped covering what had really happened.
In a battle involving the corps, the fact that so many of the dead bodies had broken necks and exploded heads, instead of weapon marks, would have stuck out like a sore thumb.
- If you think about it, it\'s a blessing in disguise. Solus pointed out.
If the equipment remained along with the bodies and you looted it, there was no possible way to justify how a naked unit could fight on par with the corps. –
Lith didn\'t reply, but only because he understood she was trying to cheer him up.
It would have been quite easy for him to make the best equipped members of the Talons disappear and stage a more balanced clash.
After flying for a while in the direction he supposed was south-southeast, getting even more lost, Lith landed near a group of trees.
There, he took out his uniform, hoping for its self-repair magic to make it less tattered.
At that point, all he had to do was waiting for someone to notice he had disappeared.
First, he ate a lot of food from his reserve, to made up for the body mass lost after healing such extensive wounds, then Lith spent the following hours using Accumulation.
While refining his mana core, Lith reflected on the battle, analysing all he had discovered about tier five magic, searching for a way to reproduced it, but most importantly how to defend from it.