Opening Another Gate
"This is something you have to decide for yourself," Annelotte said, "I believe that fellow wouldn't want you to enter this kind of world either, but I believe you have your own thoughts and opinions about this. You should understand that only the naive Eirinn would actually go along with his single-mindedness about this. You… don't necessarily have to make that choice. No matter what you choose, I will support you."
She gave it more thought and nodded. "I understand."
"So, what is your decision?" Annelotte asked curiously.
"I want to become strong and amazing. This is my choice! I wouldn't have come if hadn't made up my mind anyway," she said resolutely.
Raising her small hand, she dictated a powerful blizzard spell in the most correct position Annelotte had taught her.
The ice elemental aspects raged fiercely as they cut through the Stokian ranks like a rain of bullets.
The Stokians cried out in agony from the frozen baptism. Quite a number of them had their skulls shattered by large chunks of hail. The cold froze their blood and nerves and their only fate was death.
"Perfect!" Annelotte praised, a sure sign of how well the spell was pulled off.
She didn't instruct her one bit at all and wanted to see whether she could adapt and make judgments on her own on the battlefield. Unlike other warriors and archers, magi numbered few, but any spell of theirs could shape the tide of battle.
Choosing which spell to use and where to use it on was a crucial aspect.
Innilis's performance just now was nothing short of spot-on. While a blizzard spell wasn't as destructive as a fireball spell, it excelled in range and crowd control.
Her choice to use that spell there and then was far better than choosing fireball.
After all, magi couldn't be expected to kill every single small fry they came across. The thousands of enemies in Fort Kesta wasn't something a few rookie magi could clear out.
Their mission was not to kill the enemy, but rather, control the enemy troops that were trying to retake the gate and buy time for the main Hockian force.
That was why it didn't really matter how many enemies were killed by the magi or the knights. All they needed was to maintain control over the gates and the main force could deal with the enemies when they came.
After being informed by Alissanda that morning, Annelotte told the students about the situation.
But the results turned out as she expected anyway. Even though she had taught them that controlling the battlefield was key, the youngsters were instantly overwhelmed by fear and terror the moment they reached the battlefield.
Though she had dictated a physical attack barrier for them the moment they arrived, they still fell into confusion from the fear of death.
Their first panicked reaction was to begin tossing fireballs. It was the most common attack spell they used. Perhaps doing so made them feel the slightest bit safer.
Innilis, on the other hand, didn't dictate when she arrived. Apart from making up her mind, she also made sure to observe the situation on the battlefield.
Though she was now a mid-order magus, level-four spells were still the limit of what she could use. Given her limited amount of mana, she had to optimize her spell usage to be able to complete their mission.
The blizzard spell she had dictated kept the enemy at bay for a whole minute. Had she not halted the Stokian advance, they would've lost ground long ago. While Alissanda could still fix the situation, that still didn't diminish how impressive Innilis's observation skills were.
"Thank you for coming, Miss Annelotte." Alissanda pulled his sword back even though he was ready to strike. While he usually led the charge in battle, he decided to stay with the magi to protect them since their current mission was to defend the gates.
"Your Highness is too courteous. Serving the empire has always been Second Magic Academy's main directive," she replied without emotion. For some reason, she didn't seem too keen about this prince.
Though she couldn't quite think of a reason why she would feel that way, she just couldn't bring herself to like the all-too-handsome prince. Perhaps to her, he only seemed to be a normal person slightly more important than the others.
It didn't help that she wouldn't regard normal people that warmly in the first place.
Alissanda scratched his hair awkwardly after being given the cold shoulder. He did want to establish a good relationship with the principal of Second Magic Academy, after all.
If First Magic Academy established a complex network of benefits between nobles and rich merchants, Second Magic Academy excelled solely in the potential talent each student of theirs had. Being able to have good relations with such an institution would only bode well for him in his struggle against his elder brother.
Even if he put the academy aside, Annelotte herself was someone he should network with. She was publicly acknowledged to be among the strongest of her generation and her father was the swordsaint that defended their empire. That was why he decided to have good relations with Leguna. While a part of it was due to how well he got along with him in the first place, the other was in consideration of Annelotte. Apart from going through Leguna, there simply wasn't any better way to approach her.
What troubled him was even after getting her support through Leguna, he still wasn't able to gain her friendship. That woman was too hard to deal with!
However, since she didn't seem keen, he wouldn't keep pressing it. He decided to focus his attention on the battlefield for now.
"Miss, Annelotte, please look after Lisana for a bit. She…" He hesitated, before he decided to hide it. "She got a little injured in battle, but we can't exactly retreat now. I think she'll be safer with you."
"I will," she said after seeing the dejected girl behind him. Lisana was Marolyt's only disciple and she wouldn't mind taking care of her at all.
However, she couldn't tell where she was hurt. It seemed to her that she was in that state because of some mental troubles.
"Anything on your mind?" she asked. Given how well she got along with her during their stay in Galestorm Manor, Annelotte became really direct with her.
"Yes…" She didn't bother to hide it from Annelotte.
"Need my help?" She didn't ask the reason for her troubles, because she knew Lisana was a smart girl. Whether she needed help to solve it was something she could decide for herself."
"I'm sorry, Annie… Let me deal with it myself. Don't mind me, the battle now is more important," she said, shaking her head. how could she get Annelotte to help her with something like this? Would breaking through to the next stratum help?
Annelotte gave her a few glances and nodded. "Alright."
She dictated two spells in quick succession and flew into the air. a few arrows came her way, but they either fell before they hit her or struck her barrier before falling downwards.
She turned and saw that the main force traveled much slower than anticipated. At that rate, they would take another half an hour to forty minutes to be able to reach and take control of the fort.
By then, the strike team and the students she brought would be in danger.
She looked around and descended back beside Alissanda, who had gone to strengthen the defenses of a weak spot.
"What is it?" he asked without turning back, his holy-impetus-infused swing bisecting three enemies at once.
"Have a unit split off and rush to the northeastern part of the fort," she said, pointing at the far end near the cliff.
"What are you going to do?" he asked, surprised.
"I want to open another gate."Previous Chapter Next Chapter