Any self-respecting Assassin would be able to cross three feet in no time at all!
Right now, Annie was a mere three feet away from Eugene.
In other words, Eugene would have no time whatsoever to react to her ambush. She would be killed in an instant!
Eugene was ecstatic upon seeing the massive meteorite decimate the entire human army in Orida Fortress. However, the ecstasy she was feeling was soon followed by surprise, which then gave way to frustration. After centuries of running rampant throughout the realm, why did things stop going my way only recently?
If this body were to be destroyed, she would have to look for a replacement.
However, no matter how fast her Assassin was, Eugene's situation was not completely hopeless. Rescue came in the form of the Naga Priestess Molina.
A few hundred feet away, Molina had noticed Princess Annie's presence sooner than Eugene did.
Everyone's nerves were stretched taut in the Army of Darkness in anticipation of the battle that was to come. Eyes darted about warily, expecting danger to jump out from every corner. Even a Legendary Assassin would have a hard time infiltrating such a place. With a combination of talent and sheer luck, Princess Annie was able to pull off such a feat.
Just when it seemed as if there was no hope left for Eugene, dark red light shot out from Molina's hands towards Eugene.
Though it sounded like the name of an offensive spell, it could also be used defensively. In an instant, the streak of red light enveloped Eugene's entire body. It then began revolving half a foot away from Eugene like a crimson cyclone.
Princess Annie immediately felt the sheer force of this Destructive spell as soon as it was activated. She could feel herself being lifted up by the swirling wind around the cyclone. At the same time, she could see that cracks were appearing on her leather armor. Her own hair was being shredded away, bit by bit. There was also an intense pain spreading from patches of her bare skin that were exposed to the wind.
From the corner of her eye, Annie saw that the huge rocks lying on the ground were immediately ground to dust by the wind. The bodies of normal Demon Warriors standing in the vicinity met a similar fate, collapsing to the ground before they even realized what had happened.
Shadow Battle Aura began swirling around Annie's body. In an instant, she had transformed into a mere shadow.
With this battle technique in effect, the Destructive Vortex's effect would be temporarily nullified. Even the wind it was blowing up simply passed through her harmlessly. Annie's body finally regained its movement.
The Shadow Cocoon technique would not be enough on its own to see Annie through this. She needed to defend herself against further interference from anyone else in the Army of Destruction.
As she lunged at Eugene, Annie suddenly raised her left hand up to her side. In an instant, a huge magical pistol materialized in it. From the corner of her eye, she took aim and triggered the pistol's magic seal, firing a couple of shots at Molina without any hesitation.
Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang! A total of six bullets simultaneously flew out of the pistol's barrel towards Molina's position.
The magical pistol was a Golden Rune Workshop creation, custom-made according to Annie's specifications. She had spent a good bit of money on it. Due to her status as a member of the royal family, a number of Legendary Magicians in Ferde had personally overseen the pistol's creation.
The pistol was also named as "the Flash" for its lightning fast firing rate. It was able to spew out all the bullets in its magazine in an instant, and each bullet's offensive power was as high as Level-9!
As the God of Destruction's priestess, Molina only served as a support to the Army's war efforts. In the face of such an attack, she immediately panicked. She was now forced to defend herself against Annie's attack, even if it meant leaving Eugene vulnerable to Annie's ambush.
This was the first step to Princess Annie's strategy. However, it was still not enough. She was now deep in enemy territory. She could be surrounded by powerful members of the Army of Destruction at any moment.
With a flick of her hand, Annie withdrew the magical pistol in her hand. A crystal ball appeared in its place. It seemed to be filled with a milky-white fluid, while numerous magic runes were engraved across its surface.
Annie lightly touched one of the runes with a finger. The milky-white fluid began to boil in the crystal ball, which then started to glow.
The crystal ball was custom-made as well. The fluid in it was mixed with highly-concentrated Level-10 Sunlight Power. Annie only had three such crystal balls at her disposal.
Annie was now a foot away from Eugene. She could see that Eugene had only just reacted to her presence and was about to cast a spell to defend herself. However, any kind of spellcasting would require time. Unfortunately, time was not something Eugene had in abundance right now. Annie was now so close to Eugene that she simply needed to reach out and drive a dagger into her heart.
Disregarding everything else, Annie threw the crystal ball into the air. She now only had one thing in her mind: ending Eugene's life.
With a dull fwoom, the crystal ball exploded. In an instant, there was a blinding white light in the air. Her eyes already shut tight against it, she continued on her trajectory towards her target, relying only on her acute hearing and previous estimation of her target's position.
"Argh! My eyes!"
"Argh, I can't see anything!"
"What's going on?"
Realizing that Eugene was in danger, every Warrior in the Army of Destruction immediately scrambled to her aid. However, none of them were prepared for this sudden onslaught to their eyes.
Nagas, Demons and Dark Elves were naturally accustomed to dim light and so were extremely sensitive to harsh light. As a result, they were all blinded by the sudden explosion in the air.
In the chaos, Annie felt her anti-magic dagger piercing through a layer of clothing before reaching the layer of skin beneath it.
Her skin feels thin. The fatty layer comes next. It feels thick. Must be the woman's chest. Next comes her ribcage. I'll just give the dagger a twist, plunge it through a gap between her ribs and... there, I've reached her heart.
The process took only a few seconds. Princess Annie had perfected the art of stabbing people in the chest ever since joining MI3's Assassin division. She had quite a stellar body count, which mostly comprised of Dark Elves. She had killed thousands of them with her bare hands.
She was now more than familiar with the sensation of a blade cutting through Dark Elf flesh and any energy feedback it might receive in its path. Even though she had her eyes shut, she could still tell how much damage her target had sustained from her blade.
Her heart's been punctured. It should rupture if I channel a bit of power into it. There, the deed is done. I probably should retreat now!
She would probably be trapped there if she stayed on any longer.
Annie pulled out her dagger and opened her eyes. The crystal ball's blinding light still illuminated the place, its intensity diminishing not one bit. As a human being, Annie only needed to squint in order to withstand the intense light.
Shadow Battle Aura began surfacing from Annie's body, reducing it immediately into an indistinct, mist-like form. As the light subsided, she silently faded away into her surroundings.
Annie decided to linger around the Black Forest for a bit, instead of directly returning to Orida Fortress. It would probably not be safe for her to choose the latter option, as her enemies would probably expect her to do so.
The harsh light in the sky finally subsided when Annie was 300 feet away from the Army of Destruction.
Boom, boom boom!
A number of spells flew out from the Army of Destruction before coming down on the space between the Army itself and Orida Fortress. As the Assassin was nowhere to be seen, area-of-effect spells were cast at that moment in an attempt to smoke her out from the shadows.
However, Annie had already anticipated such a reaction from them. She was now completely out of their reach.
After following a circuitous path through the forest, Annie finally returned to the fortress. Once inside the fortress's command post, she was immediately greeted by a couple of generals.
"Your Highness, how did it go?" asked one of the generals.
The cold, uncompromising air that she had assumed during Eugene's assassination lingered still on Annie's face. "I managed to stab the Dark Elf Princess in the heart. Her heart has ruptured completely. Even if she managed to pull through, she would still sustain severe damage. For now, she won't pose much of a threat to us."
"That's great news!"
"Your Highness, you've saved the fortress!"
Everyone in the command post heaved a sigh of relief. The Dark Elf Princess was far too dangerous to be left alive. They probably would not survive another one of her Legendary spells in their current state. The realm's entire south side would be engulfed in the flames of war if Orida Fortress were to fall now.
At that moment, Annie was unusually calm. She said, "It's too early to celebrate now. Don't forget about that Doomsday Meteor from before. We aren't just dealing with the Army of Destruction here. A more terrifying enemy lurks still in the shadows as we speak."
"Yes, of course." Some of them nodded in agreement.
How should they proceed with things right now? The opposing side had its own share of formidable Magicians. So too did the humans of Orida Fortress, who had at first been quite confident in their ability to fend off the Army of Destruction on their own, and so had chosen not to ask for any magical assistance from Ferde.
"There's been a drastic change in our situation. We should probably bring Ferde into this."
Ferde presently had a total of four Legendary Magicians, who were individually a force to be reckoned with.
Annie simply could not be bothered with this. She made her way towards the stronghold in the middle of Orida Fortress, where Kanorse's corpse lay.
She could see the fortress's medics bustling about in the stronghold's great hall, applying treatment for the injured and fallen. Three bodies were laid out in the middle of the great hall. They had belonged to the Legendary Warriors who had tried to resist the Doomsday Meteor's impact. Kanorse's condition was most severe. Both his arms were badly damaged, and parts of his body were twisted out of shape.
Strangely enough, a crowd of medics and priests had formed around Kanorse's body. They seemed to be in the midst of resuscitating it, stitching its wounds up and applying healing magic on it.
Could it be that Kanorse hasn't actually passed on? Annie was overjoyed for a moment. All of a sudden, the world seemed to light up around her. She quickened her pace towards the commotion. She then asked, "How's it looking?"
One of the medics who was busy tending to one of Kanorse's open wounds replied without turning around to face her, "Not good, I'm afraid. However, the Marshal is a well-built man, and there is a chance he might live through this to see another day. It's still too early to say if he will be able to pull through, though.
Annie was ecstatic upon hearing this. She stood to one side, silently watching the medics and priests proceed with Kanorse's operation.
After a while, she sensed that something was wrong. She asked one of the Light Priests standing in a corner, "Why aren't you using your healing magic on him? The Marshal's arms are still bleeding."
The Light Priest smiled weakly. "For some reason, my power seems to be draining away quickly and still hasn't fully recovered."
"When did this happen? Why didn't you say anything?" Annie was taken aback.
"It's been like this ever since the battle started. We aren't quite sure what's going on. The Archbishop is now praying in the prayer room for an answer," said the Light Priest with a helpless look on his face.
Just then, the Archbishop appeared before them. When Annie saw him, she immediately sensed that something had gone horribly wrong.
The Archbishop's face was a deathly grey. He was now walking towards them unsteadily. He also seemed to have aged a lot. One of the younger Priests immediately hurried over to support him.
"Archbishop, what happened?" asked Annie.
There was a troubled look on the elderly man's face. "I couldn't feel the lord's presence. No matter how hard I prayed, all that I could feel was a dark and terrible power. What... how?"
"How is this possible?!" exclaimed Annie.
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