Path of Sacrifice
Alissanda calmly watched as Angelista got swallowed up by the dragon's breath. He had wanted to take the blow for her, but he didn't do so after a moment's hesitation.
A few seconds ago, he wouldn't hesitate to defend a high-order magus like her, but it was different now. She had expended her mana, and no matter how powerful she was, currently, she was no different from trash on the battlefield. He was still confident he could charge into the sea of corpses to save other warriors who could still fight, but he wouldn't waste time saving a magus that could no longer fight since that did nothing to help the battle. Not to mention, she was a dark elf with a rather bad reputation.
In another sense, he knew how big a role he played in this battle. He was the moral support of the other warriors and he couldn't fall that easily no matter what.
The first epiphany he came to after many years of battle was he wouldn't be able to save everyone. It was precisely because he understood that fact that he wanted to win in any battle he fought. Only winning could ensure the survival of the most number of people. For the sake of that goal, he would be willing to sacrifice the interests, or even the lives, of the minority.
This time around, he took the whole battlefield into account and decided to sacrifice Angelista. Only by not saving her could he remain unharmed and stand a chance against the bone dragon, and only by defeating the bone dragon could he help even more warriors survive. It was simple logic.
The dragon breath struck her. Heavily wounded, she landed powerlessly on the corpse-filled ground.
"Teacher Angelista!" Innilis and Sasha cried at the same time. They didn't care about the horde of undead at all and dictated flight spells on themselves.
The bone dragon had just suffered quite a bit from Angelista's powerful attack. Seeing two more hateful magi that completely ignored it caused it to bellow angrily. It breathed in deeply and prepared itself to wipe those two insects out.
But Alissanda didn't let it have its way this time. He jumped high into the skies and slashed his greatsword downwards at the bone dragon's head. It was the most powerful strike he could muster. He had thought he would be able to at least crush much of the skull, but it didn't think it would be that tough. Even with a blade like Lunaminous that could cut steal like mud, it only left a few marks on the skull of the bone dragon.
Fortunately, the strike did manage to divert the breath away. Not only were Innilis and Sasha spared its wrath, many corpses suffered the consequences of the diverted blast.
The bone dragon didn't care about the obliteration of those insignificant bugs in the slightest. It roared and turned to look at Alissanda with its two crimson eyes embedded deep within its eyeholes.
Alissanda didn't seem the slightest bit afraid. He took a deep breath and let all his impetus surge before he started fighting the bone dragon.
Innilis and Sasha checked on Angelista worriedly. Surprisingly, she wasn't as badly hurt as they imagined. While she suffered quite a bit of frost burns, her breathing was still stable. It couldn't even be considered heavy injury. The two of them carefully lifted her up and flew back to the fort.
After that, they started checking on her injuries in detail. Like before, she didn't seem to have suffered a fatal injury.
"It's probably caused by having her mana completely drained," Innilis concluded in an instant. She took out a super mana potion from her dimensional pocket and fed it to her.
A minute or two later, she gradually opened her eyes. Clutching her forehead, she said, "Having your mana drained doesn't feel good at all…"
"Teacher, are you alright?" Sasha asked concernedly.
"I'm fine," she said, shaking her head nonchalantly. "I managed to block the dragon breath at the last second with my enthymemic barrier. I fell only because I ran out of mana and enthymema. By the way, what happened to the bone dragon?"
"It's still there…" Innilis turned back and saw Alissanda fighting the dragon. Even after Angelista's attack, the ruler-class undead creature was more than capable of facing off against Alissanda and even held the advantage. A part of his armor had been chipped off by the bone dragon's sharp claws. Even with his Host of Radiance, he still recovered slowly thanks to the corrosive properties of necromantic energy.
"Quick! Give me five more bottles of mana potion!" Her eyes glowed once more after seeing the bone dragon. She rushed Innilis for more, knowing that the potion she had was far more effective, being the amazing herbalist that she was.
"Your mana recovery speed won't get any faster no many how many bottles you consume," Innilis reminded, but she still complied.
"Don't forget that I'm a soulgrasper!" She downed one bottle after another immediately.
After that, she sat cross-legged and her silver eyes glowed. It was a special soul technique only soulgraspers could use. She channeled her amazing enthymema into her body and quickly absorbed the mana potion's effects. As doing so consumed quite a lot of enthymema, she could only use it once in a while.
On the other hand, Alissanda seemed to be reeling from the pressure. Warriors didn't have destructive capabilities that could rival magi. Even with the help of his gift, he was nothing more than a meat shield that could take a heavy beating.
Host of Radiance's intense recovery was starting to not be able to keep up with the damage the bone dragon was dealing. He felt pain all over his body and his legs were as heavy as diamond. In his hands, Lunaminous felt as heavy as a mountain.
His consciousness began to blur. He was still fighting the dragon subconsciously, but his mind actually wandered through the memories across his life, all the way from being trained in swordsmanship by Kevin at the church and learning the path of light, bidding his father farewell in the palace to join the army, his battles throughout his military career, the initial pain of losing comrades from every battle, to how he eventually learned to get over it. Now, casualties were mere numbers to him, cold, hard statistics.
He didn't think war had made him cruel. War taught him two things. The first was that he wouldn't be able to save everyone no matter how powerful he was. The second was even if he managed to save some, sacrifice was still inevitable. Eventually, the people he rescued and those whom he couldn't became mere numbers. He only had to get one high and the other low. He considered his line of logic the path of sacrifice.
Is it my turn to be sacrificed today? he wondered. He wasn't afraid of sacrifice, be it others or himself. Wasn't he doing so nonstop? In every battle, he would always stand at the very front and appear where it was the most dangerous. If not for the gifts he had that rejuvenated him nonstop, the wounds he suffered would've killed him ten times over. And now, it seemed that even they wouldn't be able to save him.
Guess this is the end of the line for me… So be it. He watched as the claw of the bone dragon widen in his vision. Yes, just like that… give up…
No! I can't!
Newfound strength surged out of his body. If he had been emanating sacred impetus the whole time, this time, he was radiating light! Pure sacred light! He was glowing as if his being was made of pure light.
The bone dragon was struck back by the explosive strength. It struggled to get back up and once it did, it growled threateningly to the shining existence. However, contained within that sound was a hint of fear.
"Anyone and anything can be sacrificed to save the majority! However, the sacrifices must not be in vain!" Alissanda raised Lunaminous up high as his blonde hair shimmered and fluttered. Pure gold sacred light shot out of his eyes. "I will never let their deaths be in vain!"
"Wow!" Angelista stood back up after replenishing her mana. She shot Alissanda a complex gaze. "You two midgets are really lucky."
The two looked at her, puzzled.
"You have just witnessed the birth of a saint," she muttered, not taking her gaze off him for a moment.Previous Chapter Next Chapter