224 Cat and Mouse


 "There's someone approaching in front!"

Behind a thicket of bushes, the Occult Dark Elf popped his head out and twitched his nose in the air.

"There's a strong smell of blood..." the Dark Elf reported. "There's the smell of human blood...and the blood of our kind...There's the stench of the evil God of Light as well."

The bush behind him rustled, and out emerged another Occult Dark Elf.

"Our comrades must've been injured, Darco," he urged. "We must go and help them."

Right after speaking, the Occult Dark Elf swiftly rushed forward.

The one called Darco hesitated for a while. In the past, he would've followed behind his comrade without the slightest pause. But now, there was a thick smell of bloodthirst in the air that was so intense that it gave him an ominous sense. There was another rustling noise behind him. Another fellow Occult Dark Elf had emerged and quickly followed the first one. He was surprised to see Darco still standing there not moving.

"Darco, what are you waiting for?" he asked. "Let's go!"

As he spoke, another Occult Dark Elf emerged. He said nothing, but he looked at Darco confusedly. His eyes seemed to be asking the same question as the previous Dark Elf.

Darco sighed and began to follow his comrades hesitantly.

The four Occult Dark Elves ran wild in the Black Forest. Their speed was lightning fast, and their footsteps were almost silent. Wherever they went, birds and beasts went silent while the bugs and snakes evaded them.

Half a minute later, their speed finally slowed down. The smell of blood in the air was very pronounced. A little further away, they saw several human corpses lying on the ground.

"We're near the battlefield now," one of them said. "I can only see human corpses. Can any of you see bodies of our soldiers?"

"No."

"Me neither."

Darco finally caught up to them, and he observed the corpses more carefully. He hid in the most secretive spot and observed for two minutes, then suddenly pointed to a certain direction.

"Look there!" he said.

The other three Dark Elves looked where Darco pointed and saw a pile of intestines among the branches. Judging by the scent, it belonged to their comrade.

Their faces turned stormily dark, as they realized what they saw.

No matter how strong they were, to have the intestines dragged out must mean that their comrade was suffering a serious injury. While he might not yet die, there was no way he could ever fight again.

"Those human scum must've dragged this soldier's body away," yelled one of them. "We must chase after them and crush them!"

"Wait, calm down," whispered Darco. "I can sense something wrong here."

"But we must not let our soldier's body fall into the humans' hands!" another Dark Elf spat out, turning to look at Darco with eyes full of disdain. "This is the great leader's command!"

"Are you scared, Darco?" asked a Dark Elf suspiciously.

"No," answered Darco, "but I feel that we should be more cautious..." The suspicion in his comrades' eyes made it difficult for Darco to continue. But he couldn't deny the strong, ominous sense he was feeling then, even though he couldn't quite put his finger on what exactly was wrong.

His comrades had by then become impatient of his dilly-dallying.

"The facts are very clear here, Darco," the Dark Elf beside him coldly said. "Our soldiers met the human scouts, and some of them got defeated because there were too many humans. What we must do now is seek revenge!"

The Dark Elf who'd just spoken was the strongest among the four. After he finished his sentence, he stood up and waved his hand at the others.

"Let's go," he said. "We must increase our speed and kill every last one of those humans!"

He was the first to rush forward. The other two then followed him without any hesitation. Darco had no other choice, so he finally followed them in the back. The four Dark Elves did not anticipate the ambush that was waiting for them in front, so they just followed the scent that was in the air and chased after the trails of the humans.

Three seconds later, the first Occult Dark Elf stepped onto a battlefield and found another human corpse. He immediately stomped on the corpse's skull and crushed it to bits. A second later, the second and third Dark Elf arrived. Then, Darco was there as well. They were eager to catch up to the human scouts, so they ran even faster now, not suspecting at all that their might be a trap set up for them in front.

Just then, they could hear a buzzing noise in the air. The three Dark Elves charged onward when out of nowhere, transparent ripples in the air appeared. The ripples didn't cover a big area, but they were big enough to envelop all four Dark Elves inside a bubble.

It all happened so suddenly that it was impossible for any of them to make an appropriate response.

In a flash, the four Occult Dark Elves felt as if they were being pushed forward by a mysterious force. Because they were moving at such a high speed, their bodies spent 75% of the time in mid-air. Just when the transparent force field appeared, it caught them when three of the Dark Elves were in mid-air.

As a result, these three were caught completely off-guard. Even though the pushing force wasn't that strong, it was enough to make them lose their balance. Only Darco managed to avoid the trap. When the force field appeared, his feet were safely on the ground, so he had enough time to crouch down and stabilize himself. The force field wasn't strong, and he possessed the strength of a Level-6 fighter, so naturally, he could dodge the attack easily.

"Careful, it's a trap!" he immediately shouted.

His heart was already filled with shock and alarm as he shouted the warning. After receiving the Lady of Darkness' blessings, they'd been nearly invincible in the forest and were the ones who'd always attacked the humans. Now that the situation was reversed, he couldn't help but suspect that something was awfully wrong.

Thud! Thud! Thud!

The three Occult Dark Elves were flung out and slammed into the trees. The impact wasn't serious. There wasn't even a scratch on their skin, although they did get annoyed for falling into such a simple trap.

"Damn it, it's a Magician's trap!" said one of them.

"Come out, you bastard! I'll tear you into pieces!"

"I detest Magicians the most! They're weak, and they like to play dirty tricks!"

During their fall, the three Occult Dark Elves didn't feel that they were in much danger, but they did become furious. Just when they landed on the ground and were getting back up on their feet, they were hit by another wave of attacks!

Clack, clack, clack!

A strange sound suddenly emerged out of the silent forest. In the next moment, a silvery net made of Sacred Silver appeared out of nowhere. This net captured the three Occult Dark Elves within it and because they hadn't fully recovered their balance; there was no way for them to escape.

Then, there was a sound of metal piercing through flesh followed by the loud cries of the three Dark Elves. These ghouls who were supposed to be invincible were wailing in pain so loudly that it rattled the leaves in the trees.

The tough leather of their armor, their thick skin, and their strong muscles had cushioned the impact of the arrows piercing through their skin, preventing them from harming their vital organs. However, these arrows could still cause excruciating pain that was comparable to hornet stings!

"Ahhh! The damn humans! Kill them! Kill them!"

The three Dark Elves still had some ability to move. They'd already noticed the attackers in the bushes and tried to pull out the arrows from their skin while screaming murder at the attackers. Still, they had been injured after all. Their injuries were quite deep as well because the damned arrows turned out to be poisonous and seemed to suck the strength out of their bodies.

Their running speed was considerably slower now. It was no longer the kind of speed that no one could hide from anymore.

"Shoot!" Annie shouted.

The effects of the attack were alarmingly successful. This gave the scouts a great deal of confidence. Each of them had two crossbows, and one had already been shot, so it wasn't loaded. They then immediately shot with another crossbow and another silvery net emerged and headed towards the Dark Elves.

One of the Dark Elves stumbled as he attempted to dodge the net and the arrows shot straight into his eyeball, piercing as deep as five inches into his skull.

A brief scream escaped the Dark Elf's mouth, but it abruptly ended as he fell to the ground. Although he was still writhing about, it was obvious that he'd lost consciousness.

Darco was horrified at the sight of his comrades in pain and dying. He was the only one who escaped the ambush unscathed. He yelled out in fury and charged towards the scout nearest to him.

He was uninjured, so his powers were still at its full potential. He burst into full speed. In the eyes of a Level-4 Assassin, he would seem like a hazy shadow.

In the past, such a ghoul could easily kill eight human scouts in less than half a minute.

But this time, the situation had changed.

As soon as Darco took his first step and his body was aloft in the air due to his speed, a transparent ripple appeared in the air in front of him and slammed his body forward. Darco lost his balance immediately and was flung forward. Although the force wasn't that great, it happened at just the right moment, causing Darco to fall into the trap completely.

Half a second later, when Darco's body landed, he learned from his comrades and did not hurry to get up on his feet. Instead, he rolled on the ground until he reached behind a tree, then slowly got himself up.

The look on his face was now full of horror.

He discovered that behind those scouts was a powerful Magician hiding in a dark corner of the forest! The Magician's level might not be that high, but his ability to find the right moment to unleash his attacks was simply terrifying. With him, the lightning speed that used to be his strongest skill was now wasted.

For a time, Darco hid behind the tree, not daring to make a single move or to attack the scouts. But even if he didn't move, that doesn't mean that the scouts would do nothing but wait.

He only stood there for two seconds when he heard the horrifying screams of his comrades again. He took a quick peek and saw that one of them had a large hole in his chest which had been filled with a silvery liquid. The Dark Elf was struggling madly to get the liquid out of his chest and was writhing in pain on the ground. It was truly a horrifying scene.

Ever since receiving the God's blessings, Darco had never felt afraid before. But at this moment, his blood had run cold.

The puzzling tactics, the hidden Magician, the fearless scouts-all these things had finally made Darco's courage fail. With a grievous sigh, he turned around and escaped from the battlefield as fast as he could. He was not their match; he must run now and report this to their leader!

However, he'd only taken a few steps before the force field appeared again. What was truly frightening was that Darco had anticipated this move and was prepared for it, yet he was still hit by the force field anyway.

Bam!

Darco was flung through the air.

He didn't give up and climbed up to his feet and started running again. But then the force field reappeared and struck at him again. Darco got up and ran again; then he fell again. He got up once more and ran only to fall yet again. He was like a mouse caught in a cat's paw. No matter how much he tried to escape, he just wasn't successful. No matter how much he tried to dodge or hide, or even crawl on the ground to escape, nothing worked. As long as he exerted the slightest amount of effort to escape, somehow the opponent was able to thwart his moves!

In short, he was now completely at the mercy of the opponent.

After his 30th attempt, Darco fell to the ground and was motionless. He was neither injured nor tired, he just gave up and accepted his fate.

How could there be such a frightening Magician in this world? Darco wondered in full horror.