The Cave Passageway
"You little things, I hate your magic!" Viktor's hand was holding a dagger that was emitting a dark black light. His eyes were fixed on the two thin, frail young men who were surrounded in the middle.
Even now that he was brought back from the dead by magic, he still retained a high level of knowledge, and in a few seconds of observation, he clearly understood how dangerous those Magicians were.
He was sure that as long as he killed the twin Magicians, the three mercenaries would be nothing to worry about.
But he did think it strange, though, why in a mercenary band there would be a pair of identical twins, who were both Magicians. The coincidence was just too uncanny.
"Blast it all!" Occult Viktor couldn't understand it no matter how hard he thought about it, so he relented and put the matter aside.
When Viktor had reached closer than 30 feet, Jacker muttered under his breath and lifted his shield before charging towards Viktor.
An accurate charge consumed Combat Aura, required a special breathing technique, and concerted efforts from all the muscles in the body. It released an explosive amount of energy and the speed was very high. It was also very hard to dodge unless the charge was predicted beforehand.
But without any effort at all, Occult Viktor deftly dodged the attack like a weasel!
At the moment the shield was going to hit his body, he swiftly sidestepped, and that rendered Jacker's charge completely in vain.
"You're fast, but not fast enough!" Occult Viktor's voice was full of mockery. His body turned, and then at a speed as fast as the wind, he suddenly appeared right beside Jacker's body. His dagger was like a venomous snake; it easily skirted around Jacker's shield and stabbed Jacker in the neck.
His dagger's speed was simply too quick; Jacker had no chance of dodging it.
If Jacker was alone in fighting the Occult Viktor, he would've been finished off in that one move. This was how powerful the Occult Viktor was. But Jacker was not alone.
As his eyes were focused to go in for the kill, Viktor saw from the corner of his eye a flashing light. He then noticed that right in front of his dagger there was a sky blue sphere of light that glowed dimly.
What is that? The question flashed in Viktor's mind, but before he could react, the light orb exploded.
Bang! There was a loud explosion. Viktor could feel the back of his hands were hot. At the same time, his dagger was vibrating with energy. It wasn't a lot, but it was very condensed; it shook until he could feel a slight pain in his palm, and then it stopped.
It was Link. He had used Glass Orbs to rescue Jacker.
In that slight delay, Jacker came to his senses.
He didn't have the time to celebrate his luck and was quickly regaining his posture to prepare to counterattack. He held up the thick and heavy iron shield with his left arm like a giant iron hand and charged viciously towards Viktor. Jacker had developed this move through his experience in battle. The aim of this move was to counterattack when his charge failed to do damage.
If it had been an attack from Jacker in normal circumstances, Viktor, with his increased agility after being transformed by magic, would have easily dodged this move. But Jacker's body was geared up with Cat's Agility. His body might not be as agile as the Occult Viktor's, but he was still much better than the average Warrior.
Now, he flowed as smoothly as water, his movements just as quick, much beyond Viktor's expectation.
Bang! There was a heavy thud.
I hit him! Jacker rejoiced, but he felt something was not right. Why isn't he retreating?
Usually, hits as powerful as this would've knocked out or sent the opponent staggering backwards.
Jacker looked across from his shield and saw a terrible sight. Viktor had stopped his attack with just one hand on the metal shield. With just one hand, he was able to almost effortlessly counter Jacker's powerful attack!
He also saw three glass orbs exploding near Viktor's face. But this attack, which would've finished off a few bandits, did not even scratch his skin. In fact, Viktor didn't even crease his brows.
Viktor only closed his eyes, and waited for the orbs to explode. He knew that if he didn't open his eyes at the wrong time, he wouldn't receive any harm.
Of course, these attacks weren't completely useless, they did manage to control and limit Viktor's movements so that he couldn't attack Jacker further.
What strength! What powerful defensive magic! Jacker thought, but at the same time, he breathed a sigh of relief. The opponent might have blocked the shield, but it was not powerful enough to overwhelm him. This proved Link's words that Viktor was not unbeatable.
"I can block him here! You guys attack!" Jacker shouted. His right hand swung the war hammer at Viktor's head.
Seeing that Jacker could hold the Viktor in place, Gildern's courage returned, and he shot an arrow towards the Occult Viktor's head. Lucy charged towards Viktor as well.
Before she stormed forward, Link's voice urged her, "Don't try to draw out the battle! Just strike a quick blow, and cut his skin!"
The Occult Viktor's skin had a magical protective power. Link's magic was basically useless to him. But no matter how protective the skin was, ultimately it was just a protective shell outside of the body made up of the elements. If all elements were blocked from entering the body, life would then be impossible. Viktor's inner body could not possibly contain highly protective magic as well. So as long as there was some skin exposed, the glass orbs must be able to do some real damage.
"Understood!" Lucy responded. At the urging of the Cat's Agility spell, she looked just like a genuine cat, rushing towards Viktor.
At the same time, Viktor was facing Jacker's war hammer, Gildern's arrow, Link's spells, and Lucy's sword.
Before he died, Viktor was a Level-3 Assassin. Now, his power increased to that of a Level-4 Assassin. Still, it was impressive how a Level-4 Assassin could withstand the joint attacks from four sides!
Suddenly, Viktor felt crushed under the tremendous pressure. He briefly became careless, and his right arm was cut by Lucy's sword. The damn woman's sword was so sharp, that his skin was exposed!
"Damn you!" Viktor swore, and the black cloud around his body pulsed then covered the stab wound on his arm. At the same time, with speed fast as lightning, using the dagger that was glowing with black light, he stabbed Lucy before she had any time to react.
Viktor's movements were frighteningly quick. The dagger was swung violently as if in rage, and his hand moved so fast it was like a shadow, almost becoming invisible.
Facing this kind of attack, a mere Level-2 Archer and Lucy had no ability to evade or dodge.
She remembered Link's words, once she had attacked the opponent she must retreat, but her speed was too slow, and she had no time to dodge Viktor's attack. She felt the skin over her heart tingle, and she knew that she would be stabbed there by the dagger!
Is it over then?
At the very last moment, time seemed to stop. Lucy saw her life saw flash before her frame by frame-from a peasant girl to a beautiful young woman, and then being sold off by her drunkard father to an old nobleman as a maidservant in the castle. She then sacrificed her body to a knight in the castle to learn swordsmanship, and then she escaped from the castle and became a wandering mercenary.
In her life as a mercenary, she met Jacker and Gildern. They formed their own small band of mercenaries and made a pact that they would earn money together and found their own mercenary troop.
She struggled her way out of the lowly mud that she was born in so she could one day fly high like a bird, but now, everything was in vain.
She saw the dagger, it had a pitch-black glow surrounding it. It was gradually edging in closer to her heart, she knew she would soon be dead.
Is this where it will all end for me?
Bitter, ordinary and nameless. Is that how it will end today for her, unknown and unmissed in a pitch-dark cave?
I'm not willing to give up my life yet! Lucy shouted internally, but she had no power to resist or fight anymore.
Just at that moment, a crystalline Flame Blast that shone with a light blue glow appeared. The Flame Blast was like a messenger of God, moving inexplicably in curved lines, skirting around the other arm of the Occult Viktor. It accurately hit the blade of his dagger.
The Flame Blast exploded, it was as if a hot wave detonated between Lucy and the dagger, blocking it from piercing through her skin.
But this was still not enough!
Viktor's body was geared with very high protective magic. He was exceedingly powerful, a Flame Blast's attack could only block him for a second, a period of time too brief for Jacker and Gildern to rescue Lucy!
But then, Lucy felt her body being pulled back by a strong force. She was pulled backwards at a speed that was at least 50% faster than normal!
It was Link, who used the Level-1 spell Vector Throw on her.
With the help of this spell, Lucy narrowly escaped the claws of death!
"Whoa!" gasped Lucy. Viktor's dagger had punctured Lucy's leather armor, leaving dark traces on the black leather like that of venom. But right before Lucy's skin was pierced with the dagger, she was out of Viktor's range.
Life or death was decided at that very critical moment.
The prey had escaped and Viktor's efforts were in vain. Not only that, he had put himself in a risky position as well, because now he was in a spot where he could not escape Jacker or Gildern's attacks.
At least, that was what the two mercenaries thought.
But Viktor still had a trick up his sleeve!
The black cloud that surrounded his body flashed again in a violent pulse, and then it was as if he was instantaneously transported out of the combat zone, 15 feet away!
"That's impossible!" The three mercenaries were stunned at the strange turn of events.
"It's an Assassin battle skill-Instant Flash!" Link shouted to reveal Viktor's trick.
Level-3 Assassin Battle Skill
Effects: Explodes Combat Aura to allow the traversing of distances under 30 feet at unimaginably high speeds.
(Note: Uses up a lot of Combat Aura, do not use excessively.)
"He can only dash up to 30 feet away! And he can't use it too many times!" This warning was uttered by Link's avatar, not Link, to confuse Viktor.
Jacker and the rest were initially shocked, but after hearing what Link shouted, the three instantaneously heaved a sigh of relief.
The terrifying thing was the unknown. But now that they have a knowledgeable Magician on their side who could reveal the opponents tricks one by one, what more did they have to fear?
Jacker had no more doubts; he attacked Viktor with another charge.
The charge cost a lot of Combat Aura as well, but that was fine with Jacker because he wasn't alone-he had three more teammates along with him!
On the other side, Viktor's Instant Flash had just ended. He felt a gust of wind in front of his face and a shadow flew towards him, gradually resolving into a big figure-it was that damned Warrior!
The attack this time was a swift one. Viktor realized he was unable to respond quickly enough. He had no choice but to explode his Combat Aura again. He then aimed one of his palms at the shield.
Jacker's charge was stopped by Viktor's hand, but Viktor was not unhurt. The impact from of charge was very strong, and even in his strengthened occult form, it was still quite unbearable. His right arm had been hurt originally, and now it was damaged further to the point of no longer being able to lift it.
"How about another arrow from me!" Gildern's confidence started to grow; he and Jacker made a great team. He fired an arrow that shot past Jacker's ear, bringing with it some of Jacker's hair, and continued to glide towards Viktor.
Having been cut by the blade of the swordswoman, Viktor could not risk being shot by the arrow that glowed with the same blue light again.
He managed to dodge the arrow at the critical moment, but as he dodged, he heard the sound of rushing wind. In the corner of his eyes, he saw Jacker's war hammer being swung towards him again, and on the other side, a longsword glowing with a blue light striking down at him.
This time it was Jacker and Lucy's joint attack!
Even more dangerous than that, the Magicians were casting spells at him too. An orb glowing with dim blue light hit the wound on his arm accurately.
It hit with a bang, and Victor felt pain and then numbness in his hand, and on the stab wound, he felt an extraordinary heat flowing into his body.
This joint attack was fatal, and Viktor had no time to react. Still, Viktor was extremely cunning. He saw that there was no way out for him, so he used his Combat Aura one more time and activated Instant Flash!
But this time, Viktor Flashed not in retreat, but forward, towards Link.
Those two Magicians had been the blame for all his woes. He hated their guts and he was resolved to kill them!
After the previous Instant Flash, he activated another one!
In a short instant, Viktor had reached Link.
"Die!" Viktor angrily shouted as he stabbed Link with the dagger.
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