Why is it that whenever I try to have a nice chat with father, I am always interrupted?
It happened when father had to leave right after his duel with the Sun Wolf to take up his post in the army. Then again when news of the Calamity arrived right in the middle of our conversation. And now, when we were just opening up to each other seated above the clouds.
I dodged another jet of fire from the Tier 5 queen ant that had suddenly tried to invade our airspace all on her own while the rest of the ants mobilized comprehensively. Just my luck to be stuck fighting a queen so soon after I'd escaped from another one… At least, this time I had father to back me up.
The problem was that the cultivation of the queen was higher than his. After all, only half a year had passed since father advanced to Tier 5. That was why even while fighting him, the ant had enough energy to spare to pay attention to me.
I couldn't do much to the queen on my own, my magic bouncing harmlessly off her Domain enforced carapace. The best thing for me to do would be to descend to the barracks and fly Lieutenant Neera here so she could use her water mana to restrain its fire.
Father, Lieutenant Corvus and I were the only three people in the camp that could fly. Flying required either a Pluma heritage and the wings that came along with it or a mastery of the Aspects of either Wind or Gravity. The three Majors that had come to reinforce us didn't have a wind mage among them and none of the earth mages had reached mastery over Gravity yet.
Time and again I tried to get away from the battlefield but despite father's best efforts to shield me, the queen kept forcing me back in her range with her attacks.
At Tier 5, the queen had substantial wisdom and she could make out that father was protecting me. I was his weakness. By attacking me, the queen forced him to give up his superiority in speed and forced him to meet her attacks head on. Fire being the most offensively focused element, this situation put father at a massive disadvantage.
Avoiding weakness and enhancing strengths. Even this kind of basic strategy when coupled with the intrepid body of a beast and near instantaneous cast times increased the queen's threat multiple times.
Once again, I called upon the winds and shot forward in a bid to escape. Just like it had every time I tried this, the queen tanked father's attacks with its body and sent several streams of fire at me, caging me in. It didn't attack me directly since it wanted to imprison me and use me against father.
The previous times, father had to abort his attacks and break me out of the fiery cage before it could fully form. But this time he ignored it and committed to attacking fully.
My lips curled upwards as I passed directly under a cloud's shadow and integrated into it, causing the prison to come up empty.
Just as I appeared out of another shadow, with a thunderous rumble and a blinding flash of lightning, father's full-powered spell hit the queen. Tightly shutting my eyes, I enveloped my ears with vacuum to protect myself. Even then the shockwaves travelled through me, injuring my internal organs.
I tasted blood in my mouth.
Swallowing it down, I accelerated myself with wind, hurtling towards the ground.
How could a mere beast match man in intelligence? We had been laying a trap for it by utilizing its inertia of thought. I had hidden my ability to use multiple elements and repeated the same futile action several times along with father giving it a false idea that we had no more cards left up our sleeves.
Thus, when we finally acted, we had been able to predict its actions effortlessly.
I just hoped that father's attack had injured it enough for him to gain the upper hand in their battle and persevere until I could come back with Lieutenant Neera. As for the attack being enough to defeat it, I didn't harbour any impractical fantasies. With how tough and resilient beasts – especially high Tier beasts – were, there was no way it would be enough.
A flash of darkness at the edge of my vision caused me to turn around to see Lieutenant Corvus winging his way towards me from below, probably attracted here by the aerial fight.
As he passed me on his way to where father was fighting, he transmitted his voice to me, "Go get Lieutenant Tauros quickly. I'll help your father constrain the ant as far as possible." He didn't wait for a reply, speeding towards the battle in the clouds.
Clenching my teeth, I accelerated myself even further by slicing through the air resistance with my magic. The camp swiftly enlarged in my field of view and I had a few moments to get an idea of the tactical situation before I had to arrest my free-fall and pull myself up into a gentle glide towards the alchemy division.
The ants had launched a large-scale offensive, slamming against the wall like a sea of fire. The soldiers off duty were scrambling to get to their posts as only the ones in the current rotation wouldn't be enough to hold off the crazy attacks.
There was a circular gap in the ant regiment as they gave the battle between the Wolf ancestor and the other queen a wide berth. Still, a large number of them kept getting wiped out by the complimentary waves of the fight.
Blinding light and scorching fire interweaved as the two behemoths battled.
Unlike a Tier 4 mage who would be overwhelmed by the numerical superiority of the ants, as a Tier 5, the usual tactic of wearing away a superior opponent with a tide of cannon-fodder wouldn't work. No matter how many Tier 1 And 2 ants attacked Hei Lian's grandmother, they would just be throwing away their life in vain. That was why the queen had personally engaged her in battle to preventing casualties in the ant legion.
Seizing the opportunity, the wolf ancestor had deliberately dragged the queen into the middle of its armies, causing collateral damage.
Bleeding off the speed I'd gained by diving out of the sky, I landed in an open space by the alchemy division at a run. Grabbing a water mage who was hurrying to his station, I inquired Lieutenant Neera's whereabouts.
But before he could reply, the Lieutenant herself exited the concoction pavilion and hurried towards me. Ultramarine currents of some potion I'd never seen before revolved around her body in interlocking rings.
"You're here to take me up there, right?"
"Good. How do I coordinate?"
"You don't have to do anything… just don't resist when I lift you. Oh! And you can't use your Domain when I'm carrying you, otherwise I'll lose my hold on you."
Restraining her mana almost completely within herself, Lieutenant Neera made the currents of potion circling her shrink into a form-fitting ultramarine liquid armour that accentuated her explosive curves.
Turning to me, she said, "I'm ready."
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