The orcs have the home advantage, are physically superior, and have a magician on their side.
We can\'t set a trap without being noticed nor can we handle eight adults at once.
Also, the children\'s position is highly suspicious.
I don\'t think they are close to the tent to keep them safe, but rather to use them as sacrifices.
A single one could throw our formation into disarray and doom us all.
Not to mention we cannot even bombard the shaman\'s tent without the crystal exploding.
I agree with your analysis, Corporal. Tepper nodded.
Their behavior is highly unusual, even for the presence of a shaman.
The orcs were supposed to send another wave of warriors and attempt to escape after their second failed attack.
Orcs being cautious is almost unprecedented.
They regard humans as food, not enemies.
Yet they are acting as if they are afraid of us.
We need reinforcements.
Lith, you can use dimensional magic, right
Lith nodded while watching his companions\' expression turn to a mix of surprise, envy, and hate.
Tepper noticed it too.
He is not a noble.
Lith comes from a family of farmers.
He became a magician thanks only to his own hard work.
Show some respect. The Sergeant\'s words left everyone dumbstruck.
To them meeting a magician of commoner origins was like finding a unicorn under a rainbow with a pot of gold in its mouth.
Bring us back to the camp. Tepper ordered.
Lith attempted to open a Warp Steps, but the dimensional door quickly became unstable, shattering before it was fully formed.
This is bad. Lith clicked his tongue.
Something like this has only happened to me once in the past.
It means the orc shaman is preparing something big and powerful enough to upset the normal elemental balance.
\'Solus, why didn\'t you warn me of the array\' Lith was surprised, it wasn\'t like her to make such a rookie mistake.
\'There is no array.\' She explained.
\'Nor any significant disturbance in the world energy.
Quite the contrary, the air is really quiet and the mana thin.\'
\'How thin\' Lith asked.
\'Not much, but now that you mention it, there is something wrong.\' Solus needed to focus her mana sense to the extreme to separate the world energy into the six elements that composed it.
\'By my maker! This is exactly the opposite of what that wyvern did.
There is no abundance of an element this time.
The earth magic in the air is less than half of what it should be.
I can see it being siphoned towards the orc encampment!\'
Do you mean you can\'t Warp us back Tepper inwardly cursed.
Even if he called for reinforcements, it would take them too long to find the unit\'s actual position.
I think I can, but it will take time and effort.
I need you to watch my back. Lith said to his comrades, but he meant those words for Solus alone.
She was still tired from the overuse of her mana sense, yet Solus reassured him and kept watch.
Ragh\'Ash had used Invigoration though the mana crystal as if it were a part of her own body.
With the combined effect of Invigoration and the natural ability of purple crystals to absorb the world energy, the shaman had collected an enormous amount of mana.
Ragh\'Ash had called upon earth magic in particular, to make her pawns invincible.
The world energy seeped into the warriors\' mana cores, temporarily boosting them from the red level to the yellow one.
Such unnatural status would have been their demise if not for the orcs\' peculiar physiology.
Their bodies contained very few impurities, allowing them to grow strong enough to withstand the power of an Awakened core, even if only temporarily.
The crystal was a key element in the process.
It was not only capable of storing the necessary world energy, but it also kept it pure.
If Ragh\'Ash had attempted to give them her mana, it would be like poison to them.
Only in its purest form could world energy be absorbed without being rejected.
The earth elemental energy coursing through the warriors\' bodies would double the effects of earth fusion, making them immune to lightning and resistant to all the other elements.
Yet, it came with a price.
Only the strongest orcs could survive their cores being enhanced not once, but twice.
Ragh\'Ash could see energy cracks appearing on the skin of five out of the eight warriors she had blessed.
They only had a few minutes left to live.
\'The weak can only blame themselves.\' Ragh\'Ash thought.
\'The demon\'s meat is too precious to be wasted on failures.
Their death was only a matter of time.\'
While the orcs charged towards the humans\' position, the shaman and the chieftain followed them from a distance.
Testa\'Lhosh carried the holy crystal on his back, while the ground emitted a low rumble wherever Ragh\'Ash stepped.
Orcs incoming! Vipli screamed on the top of his lungs from the top of a tree.
Lith inwardly cursed while pushing his willpower to the limit to compensate for the lack of earth elemental energy with his own mana.
Finally, the Warp Steps appeared, but instead of being static as usual, its edges spun like a buzz saw.
They emitted sparks every time Lith sent new waves of mana to prevent it from collapsing.
One after the other, the cadets rushed through it until only Nhilo and the Sergeant were left.
We can\'t leave Lith behind! They will kill him! As the commanding officer, Nhilo felt it was her responsibility to remain behind with him.
That\'s why I\'ll stay here. Tepper said while throwing her through the Gate.
There\'s no need for us all to die.
Indeed! Lith used spirit magic to push the Sergeant away before closing the Warp Steps.
When Tepper\'s face hit the boot camp\'s ground, he wasn\'t angry.
Quite the contrary, he was almost moved to the tears.
That idiot! Together we had a chance, alone he is as good as dead.
Shamans can prevent an opponent from flying.
Without Warp Steps, he has no way out.
I misjudged Lith.
He preferred to die a hero rather than see one of us die.
He ran to the HQ to request immediate backup.
With him as a guide, the mages would only need a few minutes to reach the orc encampment.
He could only hope Lith would survive long enough for it to be a rescue mission instead of a revenge one.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the crumbled Gate, Lith was overjoyed.
He was wearing his Skinwalker armor again.
The Gatekeeper sword was firm in his hand while Invigoration gave Lith back his strength.
With no witness messing with my plans, I can pretend to be a hero and get myself a purple crystal.
Two birds with one stone.
Lith took flight, weaving several spells at once just to be safe.
Two orcs leaped toward him while swinging their weapons, only to be chopped in half like fresh fruit.
Lith\'s flight spell made him even faster than he was with fusion magic, whereas the orcs were sitting ducks while in mid air.
\'Worst case scenario, I can rain spells from the skies until they are all dead or I can run away if the unexpected happens.
Killing non flying opponents is child play.\' Lith thought.
He readied his sword for the second wave of enemies while pouring air magic into it to enhance its edge.
Ragh\'Ash saw Lith descending upon her warriors and acted accordingly.
Her hand touched the holy crystal, depriving the environment of the air element and causing the flight spell to fail.
Lith crashed in the middle of the orcs who immediately surrounded him.