Chapter 328: Skepticism
Finally she saw the room after trampling the guards. The name of the prison’s Lord was engraved on the door. There were signs of life inside the room.
There was no time for hesitation.
Vestaline hardened her spine the moment she stepped into the room. Her lungs felt the sudden heaviness of the air. It felt like she had swallowed a solid chill.
It was not just the low temperature, it was more than that, and it was freezing her body.
There was no doubt that the air was different from here. Vestaline even thought that she may have wandered into another world.
In that heterogeneous world, a man was standing still. It was the prison Lord Palome Bashar. He was looking at Vestaline while sitting alone in a chair inside the room.
As if he knew she would come here.
“Is he a sorcerer?”
Vestaline muttered quietly while suppressing the emotions that came from her heart. The only human beings who could create such anomalies were sorcerers who firmly shook hands with demons or who surrendered their entire body to demons.
Carefully, Vestaline moved her gaze into the room. From the patterns on the walls to the roughness of the fabric on the floor. This man didn’t appear to be hiding something. Undoubtedly, this man named Palome was in this room alone.
It was a strange scene. The air even felt strange. Even though there were guards in the corridors, there were none in the room to protect the leader. It looked way too convenient for the leader to be waiting alone.
There was no way this scenario would happen. This was a trap.
“Should I go in or should I not?” Such question appeared in Vestaline’s chest. That alone made Vestaline realize that her heart was not calm. There was no reason to enter just by looking at what was happening before one’s eyes.
「Come in. Don’t be shy. You came to catch me like an owl, didn’t you? 」
It was a heavy voice. The nobility tone unique to the aristocracy stood out, but it was not the only thing. This man’s voice showed the accumulated years of experience. Palome, wearing a mustache and sitting in an office chair, showed a grim expression.
Vestaline was silent for a moment as her spine bounced sensitively.
“I don’t want to hear his voice, nor do I want to face him.” This skepticism engulfed Vestaline’s heart. After all, her intuition was correct. She shouldn’t enter this room with easy thoughts and actions.
“…If it’s a trap, I must end it before it’s late.” With her body still tilted, Vestaline swung her throwing axe at Palome.
Then, after gaining momentum, she jumped her whole body into the room. There was still some distance to go, but the throwing axe did not stop its movement.
The throwing axe guided her to where she wanted to be. Her spirit and gaze were also fierce. “If I can do this much, then I no longer need anything else.”
The most unforgivable thing for a sorcerer was to proceed with things at the pace of the other party. They had a unique weapon called magic. The mercenaries had no chance of winning if they wielded their weapons freely without a plan.
Therefore, what one should do was act before a sorcerer invoked magic.
Be it a sophisticated chanting, praying blessings to the gods, a curse or even a powerful magic to kill the enemies. Magic had the power to make people lose consciousness, yes even before they could protect themselves. Vestaline knew it well.
That’s why she forgot to breathe and ran towards her opponent. She opened her eyes wide as she tore the sticky air. All she needed was a moment. It could be over in an instant.
The battle axe emitted a strong roar and fell on Palome’s arm. There was no hesitation or concern. The hollow broke immediately, screaming and tearing apart.
“I can’t pretend to kill this man. I must do this. He trusted me, so I am obliged to give it back.”
Vestaline raised her eyes high. There was a certain freshness in her skull.
“I must do it no matter what. This is the price for trust. In short, this is nothing more than a contract of equivalent exchange. It’s not like I’m bound by something else.”
The iron mass released from Vestaline’s arms with a brilliant will approached Palome’s eyes. In front of this deadly attack, Palome didn’t change his grim expression.
No, Vestaline could see that man’s mouth moving without even blinking.
「…What a cautious nature. I’m not arrogant enough to think that I can avoid your swing. Perhaps even a common soldier can kill me. 」
How strange. Vestaline’s swing was truly an instant event. There was no way she gave time for the enemy to exchange words.
“I’ve seen many enemies and I’ve seen the way this body of mine act in battle. However, I’ve never seen an enemy who showed such composure.”
Something cold licked Vestaline’s spine.
At the same time, the sticky air turned into a cold chill and clung to her body and limbs. Only then did Vestaline realize that she was unable to swing her axe down.
The axe was still swinging in the air, as if stopped in time. Even with the full weight of Vestaline’s body, not even a single limb moved. The throwing axe was solidified in the air as if frozen by the cold chill.
“…A magic barrier.” Those words passed through Vestaline’s mind.
It was not something that manifested itself for a moment, but it was something fixed by a previous ritual. Vestaline swallowed her saliva involuntarily.
This situation was awful. No matter what kind of trap it was, it was fine as long as she could attack the enemy. If so, at least a gap could arise.
But things like magic barriers were different. Vestaline didn’t know all the magic barrier types, but this one looked like one of the boundary barriers.
In other words, it could isolate a person from the enemies. Although it had no violent elements, it was undeniably unmatched when it came to protect oneself.
Palome moved his mouth while choosing his words carefully.
「I’m incompetent when it comes to magic…I was only able to learn this one. 」
Palome said with a heavy voice as usual. His mustache moved wildly, and his hard eyes stared straight at Vestaline.
There was some kind of color in that line of sight. No relief, no leeway. It was a color that seemed to hide an unknown anxiety for some reason.
「But it’s not an easy one to break. Give it up, you’ve lost this fight. You can’t capture me. Your companion can’t beat my guardian either.」
After hearing those words, Vestaline reflexively pulled away the battle axe that lost its momentum. To her dismay, her axe quickly returned to her possession. Everything about this place was strange.
This room looked outlandish. It seemed like a world isolated only around Palome.
“Even so, it is still not a defeat. Nothing has been decided yet. Yes, it hasn’t even started yet. Still, the fact that I received the letter of defeat is a betrayal to the person who believed in me and sent me out to achieve the greatest goal of the plan.”
“Impossible. Betrayal is a word that I hate more than anything else.” Vestaline bit her numb fingertips with her teeth and forcibly bent them. Then, she swallowed the cold air. She turned her thoughts around.
It was true that what Palome invoked was different from common magic, but it was still magic.
Then, in the end, its quality should depend on the spellcaster’s mentality and soul.
Unlike explosive magic that swallowed the enemy in an instant, this boundary magic was a magic of endurance. Even if the ritual was performed and fixed, wielding such power invited an unmistakable amount of fatigue.
“If so, then I have a good chance of victory.”
Vestaline carefully calmed her raging breath as she held her battle axe with great force. The impatience in her chest was increasing and her nerves were getting tense.
“And just like that, I tilted all of my consciousness to the magic barrier in front of me.”
…Vestaline didn’t notice. She believed that the signs of magic surrounding Palome just belonged to boundary magic.
The moment Vestaline swung the battle axe, she saw Palome muttering again.
「You should doubt people, you know. I do it all the time. 」
At the same time as Palome said those words, something chilly pierced Vestaline’s limbs.
Seems like everything just got worse…for both Lugis and Vestaline.
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!