Sentar\'s head snapped back on impact, losing control of its flight and letting the prey go.
To make things worse, Lith quickly snapped his fingers in succession, generating several flashes of light and booms near the Cron\'s head, making it blind and deaf.
- Damn, I took my sweet time enjoying her screams and that\'s what I get in return.
I was no Cron, more like a sitting duck.
Now I can\'t even get where\'s the up and down.
If I crash land because of a pup, the boss will never let me hear the end of it. –
Lith would have liked to keep striking the iron while it was still hot, but the black-haired girl was plummeting like a brick.
Cursing her stupidity, Lith swooped down with a swing motion, first down then up, to avoid breaking her ribs during the catch.
The rescue was successful, but judging from the smell, Lith understood that she was relieved from fear on several levels.
What the heck were you doing He yelled in her ear, thinking how ridiculous were in real life those romantic moments in action movies, right after the hero saved the damsel in distress.
Between the smell and the impending danger, there was no space for romance and tender one liners.
The only thing they both wanted was a safe haven and a hot bath.
Don\'t you know first magic Why did you let it drag you around like a sack of potatoes More importantly, do you know a flight spell
She nodded while holding him tight with both arms and legs, like she was trying to get inside his clothes.
Then go ahead and use it! My spell is not meant for two, I can only glide while carrying you around.
Once that thing recovers, we will be doomed.
Do something, remember they are watching us!
Free from the grip of fear, she realized that the whole staff of the academy had been spectating at her humiliating performance.
The girl became purple from head to toe for a second, before letting him go and chanting her flight spell.
Let\'s get the others and retreat! In the open we are too disadvantaged.
They both quickly returned to the ground, pulling the other three back on their feet, and literally kicking their a*ses to force them to recover from the terror and get them moving.
Take flight, fast! Lith yelled.
We have no hope of shacking them off on foot.
But keep close to the ground, the Cron will turn us in mincemeat if we try to fight in its element.
To his teammates, Lith words sounded those of a strong and experienced leader, that had full control of the situation.
The reality, though, like the Professors could assess while facepalming, was that he was just remembering them common sense.
This year\'s batch is awful. Said Scarlett in its communicator amulet.
They always are on the fourth year. Linjos replied with a sigh.
Remember our pact, and don\'t be stingy.
I want their weight\'s worth in meat, and I mean the good stuff, no bones or nerves.
And tell your servants to play by the rules, you don\'t want to see me getting ugly.
Linjos had the communicator in conference call mode, so everyone could listen.
The Professors didn\'t like being called servants, but they understood very well that in the wilderness the strong ruled above all.
The Scorpicore\'s help guaranteed that no student would be seriously harmed before being rescued, not to mention that such a powerful guardian defending the academy was worth far more than just meat.
They were truly blessed by having a monster at their disposal, reasonable enough to be useful, but stupid enough to not understand its true value.
After closing the communication, Scarlett had a smug grin on its feline snout.
- Imbeciles, I don\'t care about the meat, I would do it even for free.
Your stupid lessons allow me to train the magical beasts in anti-magician tactics.
They use us as sparring partners, but that\'s a game that two can play.
Another bonus is that when the fifth-year students train in the forest, I get updated about the tactics they employ and the spells they teach.
I bet they sleep much better at night, believing me a dumb monster that only wants food in its belly.
Meanwhile, M\'Rook had joined the fray, and was rapidly catching up with Lith\'s group using air magic to move faster and his sense of smell to not lose their traces.
Lith was on the verge of tears, this experience was a full-blown disaster.
He was sick and tired of playing baby-sitter, but what choice did he have left He slowed down, detaching from the group, appearing beside the Ry.
It followed a quick exchange of spells, since Lith never allowed M\'Rook to get close to him.
He kept moving in all the three dimensions, gaining a tactical advantage since the magical beast was only relying on its legs to manoeuvre around.
Lith wasn\'t trying to harm it, he used only tier one and two spells in quick succession, with the aim to ruin the opponent\'s focus and slowing down its movements.
- Who the heck is this pup M\'Rook thought gritting its teeth in raising frustration.
It\'s like he learned how to fight from a Ry, he anticipates almost all of my moves.
But that\'s impossible! – In the Trawn woods, Protector\'s ears were burning.
Lith used a fine mist to detect incoming invisible wind blades, while moving around with no pattern to avoid lightnings.
After stumbling on a conjured mound, M\'Rook finally lost it, jumping with all its strength trying to catch the pup with the jaws.
- Imbecile! That\'s what I/he was waiting for! You can\'t dodge in mid-air! – Lith and Scarlett thought as one.
Checkmate Spears! Lith yelled, releasing the tier three spell stored in his ring.
Thanks to various experiments, he had learned that he could store even charged up true magic spells, as long they didn\'t exceed the ring\'s capacity.
Hence, he was able to unleash his most powerful spell in its empowered version in a split second.
[F*ck me sideways!] M\'Rook whimpered when dozens of ice spears as thick and long as small trees encircled him from all directions, before crashing against its body.
Their mass was too big to deflect them with a simple air barrier, and fire would need time to melt so much ice before rendering it harmless.
Desperate, M\'Rook used its strongest attack, Flaming Tornado, on itself.
By combining its best fire and air spells, M\'Rook used the strong winds to deflect the spears from its vitals, hoping for the scorching hot temperatures to smooth down their deadly extremities.
When the Tornado disappeared, M\'Rook was alive and well, but its body was beaten and battered with countless small wounds.
Between the spell and its tick fur, the spears hadn\'t managed to pierce, but they still hit like a truck.
Lith wasn\'t there to gloat or to deal another blow, he had already returned to the group yelling trivial instructions.
Use the fist magic darkness spell Conceal, you idiots! Do you think a Ry\'s nose is for decoration Hide your smell, now!
He took out some old clothes from the pocket dimension, turning them into shreds with air magic, and sprinkling them with the sweat he had always forgot to throw away since the run to Professor Vastor\'s first lesson.
Then, Lith threw the shreds in the wind, hoping to create multiple false leads for the magical beasts to follow.
-Not to be the Lith of the situation, but I don\'t think your group will last a week. Solus giggled at her own joke.
No sh*t, Sherlock.
I bet we will be wiped out by tomorrow.
Tomorrow is too soon.
My bet is full annihilation within three days.
They kept flying for about ten minutes, before feeling safe enough to take a break.
The group had come across a small hill, about ten meters (33 feet) high.
With the backs against something solid, they could finally catch their breath.
Lith scanned the surroundings with Life Vision, allowing himself to relax only after finding nothing stronger than a normal beast in the surroundings.
How many hours do you think have passed since the exam\'s start Asked the boy, looking around like a cornered mouse.
Less than one. Lith replied after checking the sun\'s position.
But if felt so much longer. Said the tallest of the black-haired girls.
All of them had a dejected expression, there was no trace left of their previous overbearing pride.
Lith brought the index finger against his lips, remembering them to be quiet, then he started circling around the hill.
The other four promptly followed him, forming a single line.
-Aww, your ducklings are so cute, Mother Goose. – Solus said.
Lith made a complete lap, checking for caves.
They had been lucky, there was none.
A natural cave was too much a convenient asset to be left vacant, and he couldn\'t afford to drive off wildlife with the risk of being exposed.
After choosing a spot devoid of grass or vines, he used earth magic to create an artificial cave, by condensing the porous soil, and turning it hard enough to hold the improvised ceiling.
At the same time, Lith erected small stone pillars to support the whole structure.
It wasn\'t much, but still big enough for all of them to sit and rest comfortably.
While the others were looking at him in a daze, he added more pillars along the walls.
He wasn\'t an engineer, and preferred to be safe rather than sorry.
The boy walked toward Lith with a big smile and holding out his hand.
I\'m not going to touch any of you until you have cleaned yourself properly.
I suggest using darkness magic, it will clean the dirt and remove the smell.
After everyone was cleansed, Lith used first magic to close the entrance with a thick layer of earth and to light the inside of the cave.
Then, he pretended to cast a spell while activating Hush, generating a small air dome.
Thanks to that, no sound nor smell can escape, so we can talk freely.
I\'d say that our introductions are long overdue.
I\'m Lith from Lutia, and I\'m supposed to be the healer. His voice was exuding sarcasm.
Several kilometres away, Termyn and M\'Rook had finally collected all the cloth shreds, destroying them to not be swayed anymore by their strong smell.
Sentar landed near them, ready to report.
[Can\'t find them anywhere.
It\'s like they disappeared.]
[Same. Replied M\'Rook.
[Aside from these things I can\'t smell them any longer.
Boss, we need your trinket.]
[That would be unfair! It\'s you versus them, I\'m just enjoying the show.
You\'ll wait until after noon before resuming the search.
You need some time to heal properly, and they deserve a little rest.]