The bandits minions immediately fanned out and surrounded me, slowly closing in on me with blades pointed forward and ready. One by one, their blades swung down on me without any reservation, their aim, to kill me. Thankfully, my identity had already been exposed so there was no longer a need for me to hold back.
The moment the bandit troop leader barked out that command, I had already begun channelling my mana into a spell. As cold steel rained down on me, a bone wall rose out of the ground beneath my feet and propelled me into the air in a burst of dust and soil. With the rising momentum and the bone wall as a stepping stone, I kicked off into the air and flipped over the bandit encirclement.
With my body slightly curled up, I drew my enchanted straight blade mid-air and swung downwards on a bandit minion who just happened to be in my flight path, cleaving through the unfortunate minion in a ruthless chop boosted by the momentum of my fall. Straightening up my crouched posture, I turned around to face the remaining minions, their comrade’s corpse crumpling to the ground behind me with a thud as I began channelling my mana once more.
The flames roared to life in my right hand and engulfed my straight blade in an instant as I willed my mana to materialize. In less than 2 seconds, a 7 meter long whip born of the flames crackled to life and flew out towards the minions. As the flames seared through the air, it carved out a fiery line across the battlefield that scorched the air itself along its destructive path.
Having been strengthened by the enchanted blade, the flame whip not only grew two meters longer but had its offensive power boosted significantly as well. Those unfortunate enough to stand in the way of its serpentine body instantly caught fire and in just a few moments, were burnt to a crisp. It didn’t take long before the clearing was polluted with the acrid smell of burning flesh and blood.
Perhaps they chose this clearing as it made it easier to surround their target but this bit of cleverness ended up backfiring on them. With no trees and foliage standing in way, there was naturally no need for me to hold back on my fire attacks out of fear of causing a forest fire.
Truthfully, the moment I discovered that my enchanted straight blade had a fire enhancement property, I immediately began formulating a new battle plan. This whip attack was definitely not something I did in the spur of the moment but was instead a tactic I had deliberated on.
Like the fireball, the flame whip was, strictly speaking, a growth type spell which meant it grew stronger the more mana you spent on it. However, unlike the fireball, the flame whip was all about sustained control while the fireball was more about a sudden and explosive burst of power. If one was to channel a fireball for too long, it would most likely cause a magical backlash from the volatile buildup of fire elements.
In short, the flame whip was easier to control and was perfect for such close quarters combat.
Speaking of which, close quarter combat was the common weakness of all mages especially when fighting against an assassin who could take advantage of his weak physical defenses. Even so, this weakness wasn’t enough to cancel out the sheer power magic afforded oneself.
Mages were after all, an occupation of the nobility while warriors were merely commoners. Nowhere was this difference in power more apparent than in their range capabilities. A warrior had to close in on his opponent before he could harm him while a mage merely had to fling a spell.
Not only that, a mage of equivalent stars was significantly more powerful than a warrior, not to mention that a mage was able to control the weather and terrain once he reached the higher stars. Thus, a mage was in every way, a more superior occupation.
Right now was a textbook example of how a mage was stronger than a warrior. Thanks to my sword training before reincarnating as a devil, I was more of a magister now (TL reminder: warrior+mage) and had both close and long range capabilities. With my snaking flame whip, I was able to easily keep the bandits at bay with a flick of my wrist. Even in the face of their throwing knives, I was able to rely on my warrior background to nimbly avoid their projectiles.
In just under a minute, over half of the bandits were downed by my flame whip. As the flames licked their bodies, all they could was roll around on the floor while screaming in pain. Yet no matter how much they tried, the flames simply couldn’t be put out.
Seeing their encirclement fail spectacularly, their morale swiftly plummeted. Knowing that this mustn’t continue on any further or he risked losing the remaining half of his troops, the bandit troop leader finally took to the battle himself.
“Move aside you lot, I’ll deal with this demoness myself…die devil!” With his long blade raised high into the air, he broke into a sprint and lunged at me. Noticing this newcomer, I immediately lashed out at him with my whip yet his furious charge wasn’t one to be stopped so easily. Ignoring the coils of my whip, he broke through the fire while swinging his blade downwards at me with his all his might.
Given my horrendously low strength which was barely able to defeat a human agility focused warrior, strength type warriors like this troop leader were clearly opponents I couldn’t take head on. In fact, that thought didn’t even cross my mind as I promptly back stepped while attacking once more with my flame whip. With a flick of my right wrist, I swung the flames back towards the bandit in another coiling attack.
Naturally, the troop leader was able to react to this and immediately tried to deflect the whip with his long blade. However, the flame whip was made of pure fire energies and naturally couldn’t be damaged by such physical attacks. The flames wrapped around blade, dancing around its steely edge as it wrapped its crimson tendrils around the troop leader.
Being a strength type warrior, agility clearly wasn’t his forte. At this distance, there was simply no way for him to prevent the flame whip from coiling around him.
“AHH….” yelled the man as his body burst into flame right away. As the scorching pain tore through his body, it instantly robbed him of any ability to fight back. All he could do was roll around desperately and hope that this would put out the flames. Unfortunately for him, his minions had already tried this and that didn’t work for them.
In the end, the bandit troop leader was merely a two-star warrior and two-star warriors weren’t able to wrap their bodies in Fighter’s Aura like the three-stars. This meant that they basically had no defenses against magical attacks and could only soak the damage with their bodies; last I checked, humans weren’t born with an innate fire resistance.
“How…RUN…” Seeing their leader get taken out in a move, the remaining minions immediately fled, leaving their leader to fend for himself.
Magical attacks were the biggest weapons in a mage’s arsenal so the outcome of this fight was essentially decided before it even began. Without the ability to wrap oneself in Fighter’s Aura, a mage could easily dominate a warrior.
Assuming, of course, that there was sufficient distance between the two parties and that there was enough time for the spell to fire off and hit its target…mhm, hitting a target is important as well…don’t forget, most mages were basically geeks.
With that, those that could still move, fled while those who couldn’t were basically dead or crippled.
Regarding those who fled…I’ll leave them be for now. The most pressing matter now is to check up on the hunters. Don’t tell me they were really ambushed by Dawson and his wolves…and what about those prostitutes? Will the wolves attack them? And why hasn’t Dawson shown himself yet? Isn’t his goal Shadowfang? In that case, why…
“Ohh, you’re already done? That’s pretty fast, looks like I underestimated you.”
Hearing that, my head whipped around to find a cold pair of eyes staring back at me. His lips cracking into a slight grin that seemed to flaunt his control of the situation as he said, “Lucky for me I decided to put in the extra effort to check up on this area otherwise I would’ve missed out on this opportunity.”
That’s right, the person standing before me now was Dawson. Standing 10 meters away from me was the bandit chief clad in the same outfit as yesterday, with his signature greatsword clasped behind his back.
Without wasting any more words, he cut straight to the point and pointed at Shadowfang: “Hand that blade over to me and I might just spare your life.”
“You want it? Come get it.” I knew right away that was no reasoning with this man. From the look on his face, I knew that he recognized Shadowfang. Even if he didn’t actually know of it, he definitely recognized its power which meant that even if I handed it over to him, he definitely wouldn’t let me go in order to prevent this news from spreading. Seeing as it was going to lead to a fight either way, there’s no point wasting time on words.
As I said that, I preemptively cracked my whip towards him, however this was easily dodged by Dawson with a quick flash to the side. By the time I located him once more, he was already on the opposite side of where he stood. With another flick of my wrist, I sent out the whip once more in a similar attack pattern.
Dawson was naturally able to react to this but just as he was about to dodge it, his body banged into the bone wall I had summoned beforehand. With his escape route cut off, all he could do now was take the whip head on.
Got him! With the hindrance of the bone wall, the whip was able to coil itself around the bandit chief; all that’s left now was to burn the man. Yet Dawson didn’t seem the least bit concerned about his impending demise. Glancing nonchalantly at the whip, he let forth a thunderous shout after which a burst of Fighter’s Aura exploded from his body and tore apart the fiery bindings in an instant.
Was this the power of his aura? Terrifying…
Strictly speaking, the strength of the flame whip lied in its ability to deal continuous damage, the whip strike itself didn’t do much instantaneous damage so it was particularly vulnerable to instantaneous abilities. Naturally, I knew of this weakness as well when I struck Dawson with my whip…it’s just that I didn’t expect his aura to dispel my whip’s binding so easily…maybe he’s just a unique case, mhm.
Damn it, if only my flame wall could be erected instantly as well…I guess there’s no ifs in life huh…the whole point I favored my bone walls was because they could be cast instantly in the first place while the flame wall had a short casting phase.
With the flame whip taken care of, he immediately pounced on me with a lightning fast speed that barely gave me enough time to dodge let alone chant another spell. Focusing my will, I swiftly erected a bone wall to block the bandit but this was promptly destroyed by Dawson’s charge. To the three-star bandit, these quick-cast bone walls which barely had any mana infused in them were nothing but a bunch of paper walls.
Damn, here he comes again! I rapidly took a few steps back. In terms of melee combat, there was no way I’m a match for him; he might even be able to kill me off in one move. Unfortunately for me, my retreat barely accomplished anything seeing as his speed was faster than mine in the first place. As I watched his looming figure close in on me, the only option left was to activate my Shadow Guardian, hopefully it will be able to restrain him for a moment.
The shadowy skill activated with a mere thought and rapidly elongated itself in a strange manner as it shot out towards the approaching bandit. As its attacks came from the ground, its stealth factor was rather high. Dawson was completely clueless about the origins of this strange black attack even after he was hit but the…it’s not like he needed to know either.
With a burst of Fighter’s Aura, he swiftly dispelled the attack.
Damn it all, the level difference means that my Shadow Guardian is worthless as well!
Thankfully, it was still able to buy me some time. With the straight blade in hand, I used it as an interim magical staff and boosted my casting speed to swiftly erect a flame wall right in the path of his charge.
However, this fiery obstacle didn’t even cause the fearsome man to bat an eye as he plunged straight into it with his aura clad body. It didn’t take long before he charged through the wall and appeared right before me with greatsword poised for a deadly hack!
Not daring to face that attack head on, I had no choice but to perform an emergency tumble to the side. As I scrambled to my feet several meters away, I unsheathed the straight blade and drew Shadowfang as fast as I could.
With both my hands clasped tightly on its hilt, I broke into a running charge and stabbed at the bandit.
“So you’ve finally pulled her out.” Seeing me reach for the epic-grade blade, he didn’t make a move to stop me. In fact, he seemed excited as he declared: “This is fine as well. Before I attain her, let me have a look at her prowess!”
As those words left his mouth, the epic-grade blade pierced through the gigantic sword in his hands like tofu…without a shred of doubt, his weapon had been destroyed by Shadowfang.
Thanks to his inhuman reflexes however, Dawson managed to retreat a step right as the metallic blade gave way and thus narrowly avoided being skewered.