Wall Breaking (2)
When the gigantic golden arm appeared beside the walls, Alissanda looked completely shocked.
"Bigsby's… Vajra Palm?" he muttered. As a prince, he had been given an education in both the magic and martial arts. It wasn't that Larwin wanted to train his sons in both disciplines at the same time; he only wanted them to have complete exposure to either discipline so they would make their own choices most suited to them for growth.
Geoffrey eventually became a high-order magus and now, Alissanda was a high-order paladin admired by many.
While he wasn't that adept at magic, he could use some simple level-zero or level-one spells thanks to the little magic education he had. Additionally, he also had quite a good understanding of the world and structure of magic as well as the levels in between. At the very least, he knew most of the signature high-order spells.
The spell Annelotte was using now, as far as he knew, was a level-eight evocation-type spell, Bigsby's Vajra Palm.
The series of Bigsby spells, namely, Bigsby 's Palm of Defense, Bigsby's Crushing Palm and Bigsby's Vajra Palm, were, as their name suggested, created by a magus called Bigsby millennia ago. Based on the composition of the spell formations, they were basically identical apart from scale.
In terms of power, Bigsby's Vajra Palm was stronger than Palm of Defense but slightly weaker than Crushing Palm. Apart from pure power, it had nothing more to show for itself.
Yet, Alissanda knew that even a level-eight spell like that wouldn't be enough to destroy the tough walls. At least, it wouldn't be able to do enough damage to let the main force enter. What was she planning in the end?
But later, something he would never forget happened. Annelotte had used one hand to stabilize the formation in front of her and raised her right hand to start another dictation.
"Layered… dictation?" Sweat formed on his forehead. It was a rather difficult spellmutation. As far as he knew, nobody but Archmagus Myr had mastered that skill in Hocke.
Many spells couldn't be unleashed through dictation alone. After the spell formation took shape, the magus would have to guide and control the flow of mana. Bigsby's Vajra Palm was one such spell.
Normally, when a magus was guiding a spell, they wouldn't be able to dictate another given how their attention was already focused on the task at hand. Their diatagi would also be channeling enthymema to guide the flow of mana.
But layered dictation could override that restriction. Strictly speaking, that technique was slightly different from instant casting and silent casting. It didn't require any additional mana consumption, unlike instant casting, that quadrupled the amount of mana needed for a spell.
Layered casting, instead, was more of a refined skill than a different technique. It tested the spell user's ability to multitask while maintaining fine control over their enthymema.
Yet, most magi weren't able to do those two basic things concurrently. It was far too difficult.
But Annelotte could. She had mastered that spellmutation since who-knows-when and could even use two level-eight spells layered on top of one another at the same time!
The second spell she chose was Solar Flare Blast, a supercharged version of fireball. The light it cast alone was enough to blind the enemies.
Alissanda narrowed his eyes, still not understanding what she was up to. So what if Bigsby's Vajra Palm was followed by Solar Flare Blast? It would only cause the wall to crumble a bit, but it still wasn't enough to break enough of it off to open a path.
However, the white powder that covered the walls caught his attention. It wasn't the result of a spell. Instead, it was something formed naturally: frost.
Due to the distance, he didn't detect the change in temperature near the walls. Anyone there would notice that one part of the walls had been frozen by her Glacial Domain. Given the wide range she used her gift over, the walls weren't that cold; they were still shy of negative twenty degrees Celsius.
However, that was enough for her.
"Using the rapid change of temperature to weaken the walls' structural integrity, huh… That's a rather splendid idea." He was no fool and knew what she was going for. "However, it still isn't enough!"
But what happened next shocked him even more.
As the gigantic fireball with a diameter of two meters approached the ten-meter-high wall, its core gradually glowed an eye-piercing golden-red. The heat it let out was a sign that it was on the brink of explosion.
Right after that, the gigantic palm descended, but it didn't crash into the walls. Annelotte controlled the palm and enveloped most of the fireball with it.
The heat and expanded air from explosions needed space. But if there wasn't space for them to go, they would be redirected to where the pressure was the weakest and gush out from there in a focused manner.
Currently, all five directions of the fireball were covered up by the giant palm. The energy from the explosion could only be directed forwards. It went without question that Annelotte was targeting all that energy at the chilled and battered wall.
When the piercing light the fireball let out was covered up by the palm, quite a few Stokians breathed a sigh of relief. They thought the magus foolish to cover up the glow of her own spell to lesson the damage it did to them.
But a few seconds letter, an explosion so loud that it shattered the eardrums of most normal people could be heard. The flames didn't shoot up like before and instead went in one direction like a beam towards the walls. It looked just like a magic cannon as it fired.
But it was no mere magic cannon. It was one Annelotte had made using two level-eight spells, and it contained energy far beyond what a single cannon could muster. The energy contained in level-eight spells would be able to destroy the walls in theory, but the main issue was how efficiently the energy was used.
Annelotte's solution perfectly solved that problem. An incredibly large hole was bored right before their very eyes. The Hockians could well march into it without anybody being able to stop them.
She used Glacial Domain once more, making sure to control her output this time. All she wanted was to cool down the wall for the soldiers to pass through without being boiled alive.
Half a minute later, she dictated another blast flash spell. The commander, Olif, saw the signal and pointed his sword towards the fort. "That fort belongs to us! Come with me and take it back from the southerners! Charge!"
When the Hockian troops entered Fort Kesta from another opening, Alissanda felt the pressure on his side wane considerably. He wiped the blood off his face and continued slaughtering away.
Lisana watched him in the distance with a complicated expression.
She had just realized how truly powerless she was. She wasn't as strong as Alissanda, someone she should protect. It was as if she was just living by his side doing nothing of importance. She wasn't useful to him at all. She couldn't command troops; she didn't even do a good job of leading her little strike team. Had he not made preparations beforehand and had Annelotte not been powerful enough, Lisana would've committed a grave mistake.
She was powerless just as she had been during the time she still lived in her hometown.
It occurred to her that the past few years she experienced was quite laughable. She was merely the daughter of a fisherman. Even though she was lucky enough to become the disciple of the empire's swordsaint, she was nothing more than a savage woman who knew only to fight and kill.
What had she been thinking? She had wanted to be the wife of the prince, the most talented prince the empire had to offer. He was ever so dazzling and amazing, but she was just a fisherman's daughter that couldn't do anything but fight. She was even inferior to Alissanda at the thing she did best.
She wasn't just out of his league, she was on a wholly different plane of existence!
When she realized that fact, she made up her mind to hand in her resignation after the battle.Previous Chapter Next Chapter