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Princess Knight Chapter 32

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Shell slowly chewed, quite stretchingly as if she was eating beef jerky. In fact, she would much rather have eaten that instead, after all, that was the usual go-to food for dungeon crawlers. Yet, this didn't taste as bad as she thought it would. Maybe the princess was right, it was most likely due to the mysterious nature of the azure flames of that bloodied eye girl.

She swallowed the lump down.

She didn't question how the girl could transform her hands into claws, nor how she could breathe fire. After All, any skill was possible within this world. From the simplest of simply summoning a water bubble to the more complex nature of momentum control—her own. Each held benefits, and each skill could be reshaped and used in different ways based on situations—with enough thought on a person's part. She figured slightly, that was what the princess had done with those golden blades of hers.

Yet, she found it hard to understand something.

Counting based on sight alone, Ashe seemed to have 3 skills to herself. That wasn't uncommon, but a person would be hard-pressed to find someone with even two skills, much less three. Reaching the realm of having three skills was extremely rare, and anything above could be called godly favoritism—even if the skills were nothing more than the simplest. If someone had four skills, just the combination of how they could possibly complement each other was already a grim fact on it's own. Yet, what if it was your first time fighting that person? You would be left with four surprises in a row.

'Ah whatever, so she has three skills? It's none of my business anyway.' Shell shrugged.

Yet, she couldn't help but think a bit deeper.

'A princess with a skill that seems to be extremely useful if used right and could be used in different ways, a prince hailed as a genius mage of the fire element and hasn't revealed his cards yet, and a person with three skills to themselves.'

She sighed.

A flash of light appeared at her hand, there was a small brown leather jug like sack—already opened. She took a sip before it disappeared back from whence it came.

Finally, Shell took a step forwards, stopped, held her left hand to her hips before pointing at the beast that was definitely missing body chunks and it's feathers having been long broken off and about—slightly scorched.

"What are you guys going to do with the beast?" She turned towards the group.

This people were currently stuffing their face full of its meat, huddled in a circular manner and sitting upon the floor in naturalness.

Maria glanced over, the ray of golden light disappearing from her hand and removing herself from Ais after watching the torn flesh of her left palm meld away.

She looked at the situation for a moment, and asked.

"We need to take the meat with us, right?"

"No," Shell shook her head, "all the floors are full of demonic beasts, we could always burn one down when hungry."

"However, that wasn't what I meant by my question. I mean, what are you guys going to do with the rest of its body?

"Already looking, the feathers could be used to craft some lightweight blades or armor while still having the same strength as iron itself. This would sell for a high price within the demonic beast material market. And even more so when sold directly to the adventure guild."

"Huh..." Arthur finally looked up after eating his fill.

He turned to the rest of the group, "We are the prince and princess, do we need money that badly?"

To which Shell rolled her eyes visibly.

Maria ignored him and turned her gaze towards her left.

"No," Ashe spoke straightforwardly, already knowing what she was going to be asked.

Yet...

"However, may I have its demonic core?" She questioned back.

Maria turned to Shell, "Do you need it?"

"Why are you asking me?" The dungeon guide tilted her head a bit.

Her thoughts caught up to her at that moment.

"You guys are letting me have it?" Shell raised a brow.

"None of us want it, and you did help in defeating it. So you might as well have its materials."

She shook her head, "Helping you defeat it is part of my job as a dungeon guide."

Arthur shrugged, "Why not think of it as a bonus?"

"A bonus huh?" She smiled, "Why not indeed..."

She shrugged, "I'll take a bit of the feathers. I don't want to crowd my space ring, after all, I only have a low-grade version."

"Mhm." Maria nodded in understanding.

At that time, Ashe stood up patting her skirt slightly of dirt.

She walked towards the beast calmly before reaching the over bigot head of it. Every member of the group turned towards her to glimpse at what she could be doing. Standing right in front of the beast, her right hand instantly transformed into furred claws.

A moment later, she had already pierced through the head of the beast in a small produced crack of soft bone.

A moment later, her hand came back out.

Slightly covered in blood, there could still be glimpsed a spherical wonder held in a grasp. Green in hue, as small as an apple or orange, and glimmering in a lowishly bright glow.

However, that bright dim didn't last for much longer.

Her hand produced a small spark of blue, followed by the blazing azure flame that swallowed the core whole.

At that moment, Maria was sure she heard a hollow screech enter into her ears as the orb within the girl's hand dimmed down.

"She devoured the remnant soul within." Shell's voice answered before she could ask.

She didn't know how the girl had done it, nor why, but hearing the dying roar of the beast—that could only be what had taken place.

"The core is useless now." She ended with a small sigh.

"Useless?" Maria questioned.

"The remnant soul within demonic cores are what allows them to be used in different ways and turned into differing types. After all, the mana of a being is stored within their soul."

'These beasts are beginning to no longer provide much of an effect.'

Ashe furrowed her brows as she watched the flame die down and the now dull orb fall onto the floor.

She didn't feel anything happen within the orb in her heart. Leaving only one option, her strength did not increase or it increased but by a simple minute amount.

[Consume the remnant soul of a human, that is the only way for beasts to truly grow the strongest.]

'No.'

[Denial.]

'No.' This time, her voice laced with an unwavering will.

'I will not fully become a beast.'

'Even if it is nothing more than a single part remaining.'

[Then face stronger opponents.]

'And die?'

[The only way to live is to die.]

'Redundant.'

[Struggle.]

'Troublesome.'

This two were quite unique, bantering in their own ways...however...

At that moment, Ashe noticed Shell-who had started picking the blackened feathers beside her.

She turned towards her and asked, "When are we leaving?"

"Hmm," Shell stood up from her actions, having collected quite a bit of the beast's feathers.

"We can start to go now."

Ashe wanted to give a nod, but...

"Wait, let me take a moment to meditate a bit." The voice of Arthur traveled into her ears.

She narrowed her eyes towards his seated location.


"Why?" Her voice oozed out.

"We just fought a gigantic bird, if there's any time to finally finish learning 'Flame Wings', this would be it."

"What?" She didn't understand what came out of the boy's mouth.

He sighed.

"Just sit and relax, I will be done in a moment—hopefully." He waved lightly with his hand.

She stared at him for a moment. Her crimson eyes cold, frigid, and unmovingly piercing. A myriad of thoughts ran through her head at that moment---and she came upon a single final thought.

"Fine."

And with that statement, she proceeded to sit a few spaces away from him—with Maria and Ais—as she looked slightly interestingly at what he was in the midst of doing.

At a distance, Shell Chrome did the same, looking a bit at the boy closing his eyes.

Although it would seem easy for him to learn a spell due to the nature of being able to activate magic without a need to chant, however, that was naturally not necessarily a true case.

For one, although he wouldn't use the chant, he did have to memorize it fully to the point where it would be ingrained within his head as if stored in a library that he could pull out from at any time. Yet, this part was the easiest of the three required steps.

Another necessity would be him having to study the diagram and how his flow of mana should be when activating the spell. After all, chant-less magic did not negate the need to shape mana into a suitable form for the spell to activate. He had to know and envision the most optimum way to shift the mana within his body in order to increase his actual speed, mana control, and efficiency. A single error and the spell would fail. And this was the part where the third and practically most important step came into play.

Imagination.


So you want to create and use wings of flames? Think to yourself; How would you shape fire into wings? How do wings move? How would the wings be attached to your body in order to lift your figure? How would you control your path of travel? After all, the spell is only there to help a person form the magic—everything else would be left to the brain of the person; whether it be using the diagrams within a spell book or taking help from the surrounding world.

Which was what Arthur was currently in the midst of doing.

Within his mind; recreating the image of the demonic crow at flight to help with his imagination.

Her hands were placed at her hips, her feet kicked the ground a bit. Finally, she rolled her eyes as a sigh rang and her shoulders fell.

Shell walked towards Maria, passing the boy and stood in front of the rest of the group.

"I've noticed something." She spoke bluntly, her hand stroking her chin for a moment.

"Hmm?" Maria glanced upwards at her.

"See, there's two things you guys lack currently and one in which you use too often." She held up three fingers.

Maria took an interest, "Which are?"


"You lack battle awareness and experience," She placed two fingers down.

"And we use our skills too often?" Maria thought on her feet.

Seeing the raised brow of the princess, Shell Chrome smiled lightly.

"I bet I can down you within seconds if we battle without using our skills."

Maria shook her head, "I wouldn't have a weapon if I don't use at least one of my skills."

Shell had her mouth agape for a second before realization dawned.

"You're telling me your sword is part of your skill set?" She asked.

"Yes, my armor as well."

"What the heck!?" The dungeon guide screamed.

"That's way too risky! You do know there are places that negate skills right!!?" She asked through a yell.

Arthur's eyebrows twitched and he opened his eyes momentarily, "Can you guys be a bit louder? I would really like to hear your voices more."

Ignoring her brother, Maria turned to the dungeon guide.

"I did not know." She spoke bluntly.

Shell facepalmed, a sigh rang.

She glanced through her fingers, "Fine, you can use this."

A light flashed into her hand, she tossed the item that had appeared.

"For?" Maria asked, staring at the weapon she had caught.

A double bladed weapon much like her 'Radiant Sword', it's blade gleaming a silver edge and a blackened hilt, the only difference, with a handguard of two protruding pieces.

Shell rolled her eyes, "A duel of course, the sword should be fairly similar to your usual one?"

Her weapon appeared in hand; two rings, a single thread like iron that glittered in a slight luster.

"Let me show you why you are too reliant on your skills."

She equipped her weapon and asked a simple question.

"Tell me, without your 'golden blades', how would you have killed that demonic crow?"

Maria held no apparent answer.

She sighed.

She stood up.

She grasped the weapon in her hand.

"Hmm, you are right." She smiled, almost a smirk.

"Show me."

When she realized, it was already too late.

A full force of a punch landed onto her face.

Her body skidded backwards, yet, she forcefully stopped her own motion to swing her weapon.

However....it happened yet again...

The tip of her blade met with the air, passing against nothing.

In reflexiveness, and partly due to remembrance, she quickly moved her weapon to the side of her left cheek.

Yet, dazed as she was, she could still see...

...Bending

The figure of her opponent stopped short...her right leg came back down...and the left came up.

Late, too late.

Her body produced a slight lift as she skidded sideways. Her vision blurred momentarily.

Logic took over...

Her ears picked up the shifting against the earth.

'There!' She thought

...she turned rightward and slashed downwards.

The iron string coiled around the weapon in effortlessness.

Her blade refused to budge no matter how much power she drew into it.

Taking that chance, Shell latched her right foot forwards, hooking around Maria's neck before bringing her strength along.

As the princess fell, Shell Chrome had already unsheathed the dagger at her ankle.

A loud thud.

Dust.

Maria opened her eyes to see the grim blade of a dagger at her throat.

"You lose." The icy blue irises of the girl stared directly into her's.

"There were two main things you did wrong there."

"Number one, fighting me head on. Not having any experience fighting someone who uses this type of weapon as I have, you had no idea that I could cut off both your weapon and negate the force of your strength through it. You should have taken to a reclusive and slow battle to first see the way I fight."

"Never fight an opponent you haven't understood yet head on."

Her words were bitter to the ears.

"Number two, not retaliating effectively. When you realized that your weapon wouldn't budge, you should have let go of your weapon and retaliated with what you had on you---in this case, your fists and legs. Or at least jumped back to evade an anticipated attack."

"No matter how dire a situation, always look for a way out."

Shell stood up from her position as she unwrapped the thin film of iron from Maria's blade.

She looked down once more, "I would give you a 2 out of 10 for at least managing to get a kick in. Not many can do that against me."

"Overall, you're too reliant on your 'golden blades' and have little real fighting experience or battle awareness."

With her final statement, she extended a hand forwards.

"However, I have to admit, you're good at quick thinking when fully focused."

'I had been toyed with.' Maria laughed lightly.

There were light bruises on her face.

'Her easily shifting movements were too hard to keep track of.'

She sighed right after.

[She could have taken your life at any time if she wished.]

Her breathing was a bit roughened.

Throughout the entire fight, Maria had realized a simple fact: Shell Chrome was a person that made full use of her reflexes...

'Evasion, sudden movements and seamlessly changing attacks, seems to be her specialty.'

[She is not faster, simply better.]

Her blade would head towards her neck, and within the next moment, her opponent would provide a narrow dodge.

Had she used her skill? No, Maria didn't think her opponent had any reason to lie about whether she used her skill or not.

...as if having learned the ins and outs of that which was born with her.

'I lost...bitterly.'

Yet, still...

'She does make a good point.'

...Maria grasped that hand.

As she stood up, she couldn't help but comment.

"I guess stats do not mean much then."

"No," Shell shook her head, her weapon disappearing from her hand.

She smiled, "In this world, stats mean everything. If you can use them right."

Maria saw something within those eyes of hers.

She couldn't help but ask, "Something wrong?"

Shell questioned back.

"Tell me, do you know about a certain thing called a 'breakthrough'?"

"No," Maria shook her head.

Shell sighed.

"A breakthrough is what we adventurers like to call it when someone breaks through their limits and increase their stats."

"How much do the stats increase? Two levels? One?" Maria raised a brow.

"You don't understand," Shell shook her head with a slight chuckle.

"The stats don't merely just jump in level, no, with every time you break through your limits—every single one of your stats increases by a single minor rank."

"An example would be from rank to the A rank."

"That is why being born with such strong stats as all A ranks is an extreme advantage. Afterall, It has been said that ninety-eight percent of people would only be able to breakthrough 2 major ranks in their lifetime and that no matter how much more they continue to try as they might—they will never be able to break through any higher."

"Which is quite something seeing as you can toy with someone in any plate if you happen to be 2 major ranks higher in that specific plate."

At that moment, something clicked within Maria's head.

"What ranks were you born with?" She questioned at the next moment.

Shell's expression crumbled.

A light smile made its way to her lips.

Maria could tell immediately that it was forced.

She turned away, her back faced Maria

A sigh rang.

She turned right back around, "C minus across the board."

Maria's eyes opened a wider at that moment as realization dawned.

"Yes," Shell hummed a nod, her eyes focused and crystal clear.

She looked down for a moment.

"I've already reached a full plate of B rank. I'm gonna reach the end of my limit soon. My stats can only ever reach the A minus rank in the future."

"This is why I would advise you to put experience and battle awareness above all. Afterall, that can make up for even a bit of shortcoming and increase your overall rank."

Momentarily, her right-hand gentle placed itself atop Maria's head.

She produced a hollow laugh, "I guess, after you fully obtain battle experience and awareness, you will always be stronger than me in the future."

She roughened those strands of peach blonde hair a bit.

"I'm..." Maria couldn't find the right words.

Was she sorry? The answer would be no...there was no reason for her to be, it wasn't her fault, she knew that much.

Then what was she?

"What are you being sympathetic of me for!?" Shell laughed.

Yes...that was it.

"You just gotta learn to live with and accept the rules of the world, you know?" She scratched the back of her head.

"Let's just continue on with the dungeon!"

"Oh?" She turned to glimpse at Arthur's sitting figure.

"It seems he's reaching the end?"

"Ah, I would learn magic too...if I had any talent in it. Eh, but I'm not too good at reading diagrams. Who the hell even created those books anyway?"

Maria shrugged lightly, "The dragons?"

"What dragons?" Shell asked.

However, she was bound to not receive an answer.

The weapon in her hand disappeared, Maria turned towards her brothers' location. Every person currently focused on what he was doing, even if they didn't fully understand.

His eyes were fully closed shut, hazy glimmers of red light began to slowly wallow into existence and float about within his immediate area as if countless twinkling crimson stars.

'First time, take it slowly—one step at a time.'

As his thoughts guided him, slowly, those same light shifted and floated towards one instinctive direction with his command—his back. They moved as if having a will of their own, before finally shifting into place. Forming, in all its glittering glory, the vague shape of wings onto his back-as if a bird, those two wings outstretched both sides of his sitting figure, heaving up and down with his breathing.

A smile crept onto his face before it faded just the same.

There were still two more steps.

And the first of the remaining steps was one that he would only ever truly use within practice; actually chanting the spell...

"Grandeur flames, mobility is my Achilles' heels, provide me with wings of fate of my own element." He spoke all this within a single breath, calming, simple, but quick.

There was a spark.

As if ignited by fury, the wings at his back instantly blazed into full form.

Their fiery figures showing themselves to the world in full. They were in simplicity flames shaped into wings---not a single outline of feathers was shown, only the blazing fire.

The air burned and scorched immediately after, the temperature around the area increasing in one fell swoop.

'Flame Wings?' Ashe raised a brow.

Meanwhile, on the other side...Shell couldn't help but ask, with widened eyes, "Wasn't 'Flame Wings' supposed to be one of the difficult spells?"

Maria nodded as she watched on, "Yes, in the order of things, however, he said he skipped some magic spells he deemed useless to him. Overall his current spells are simply a select few; Fireball, Flame Trail, Flame Rope, Flame Spears, Coat of Flames, Armor'd Flame, and Flame Enhance."

"What the heck?" The dungeon guide could hardly believe her ears, "Except for the first three, aren't the rest simply Tier 3 spells and up?"

"He wanted quality over quantity, after all, his mana isn't infinite." The princess shrugged her shoulders.

If it had to be said; Tier 1 and 2 spells were Beginner classes, Tier 3 would be considered Advanced class, Tier 4 would be Master class, Tier 5 was Grandmaster class, Tier 6 would be considered Sage class, and the final Tier 7 would be considered at the GreatSage class. The tiers were not just simply there for looks, they were a measure of how hard a spell was to learn, apply, and how much mana it would drain. Usually, a mage's strength was based primarily on the highest Tier of magic they could fire before draining their mana.

In fact, currently, Maria herself only knew one Tier 1 spell, ; and one Tier 2 spell, --the most beginner of beginner class light spells.

On the other hand, her brother wasn't called a genius for nothing. The first two spells she had spoken were Tier 1, the next was a Tier 2, the following three spells were Tier 3. Finally, Armor'd Flame was the only Tier 4 spell he had within his arsenal at the moment...while Flame Wings, if successfully mastered, would be another Tier 4 spell.

Shell shook her head, "Haha, I guess geniuses do think differently from the rest of us huh?"

Maria nodded, "Indeed."

"I used to think he heard a whole arsenal by now and was a bit speechless when he told me he was focusing on ones he deemed useful."

She herself wasn't a genius at magic arts, in fact, she didn't know if she could even be considered adept while only having mastered two spells of the beginner tiers.

And thus, she watched in interest.

The usual annoyance of a boy looked truly angelic within his meditative stance. His eyes closed shut, his legs crossed, and the wings at his back drifting gently amidst the wind.

The first activation of the spell took from Arthur's mana, draining him of an estimated 15% of his overall mana. However, thankfully, for the rest of its duration, it would instead continue to exist by feeding on the world's mana itself.

Though, it was now time to truly move the thing.

The flame wings didn't truly touch his back, rather, there was a cove of mana connecting the two segments to his muscles—passing through the welded cotton cloths he was equipped with.

'Final step,' He stood up.

The fiery flames folded into a full show, the air tracing with a hazy outlook.

He looked up.

The hazy wings of flames flapped once.

With that single flap...his body propelled backwards.

Maria sighed, "It looks like it's time to go."

Shell nodded, "Yup."

"Hmm, should I give you back your sword?"

The dungeon guide raised a brow, "Of course?"

"I would like to see how far it and it alone can take me," Maria explained.

"Oh? Interesting."

***

Shell couldn't help but shake her head, her eyes looking a bit to her right to see the princesses lips tinged with a hint of a cheeky smile-yet, her posture remained nonchalant as she followed her footsteps. They both knew, in fact, everyone within the group knew.

Ironically enough, they had descended the small mountain using Maria's golden blades.

Arthur grinned from ear to ear, walking along the left side of Shell, he couldn't help but laugh a bit.

"And you said we used our skills too often?"

Although he had been in meditation, their voices were quite clear, especially the yells of this dungeon guide of theirs.

Shell merely gave a small glimpse at his figure, before turning back to the road ahead--well, there wasn't actually any road in all honesty. It was nothing more than the full forest, with the sun shining through the small snippets between the leaves of the towering trees. The group moved in tandem, their feets crunching against the hardened grass.

Maria wasn't an expert, but looking, it was quite clear Shell Chrome was leading them towards one of the towers which could still be seen through the breaches of trees even as they strode at the bottom of the so-called 'Goblin Forest'.

There were the constant ringing of battles that could be heard; from the roars of beasts, to the clashing of swords against tough hides.

Her thoughts wandered a bit, and eventually, she gave in to a single curious question.

She turned her head slightly to her left, "Why did you pick our group amongst the others?"

Indeed, they hadn't been the only group. Afterall, the whole area had been a bustle of activity with countless other adventurers wishing to enter the dungeon. Yet, this dungeon guide had seemed to instantly zero in on their location as if being guided by something of sorts.

"Hmm," Shell caressed her chin in thought.

"Well, for one, your group was the only one fully composed of females-until your brother came along of course. Don't know if you realized, but I'm not in the mindset to spend two to three days with a full group of males within a dungeon with no real laws governing it." She smiled slightly.

Arthur shrugged at the mention of himself.

Shell continued.

"Second, you guys look rich; from your outfits to your aura, you don't seem like the type that would haggle over a price of 5 gold coins."

"Though, I now regret not asking for more." She chuckled.

"...", Maria couldn't help but stare at her for a moment.

"What?" Shell shrugged carelessly, "This is the first time I've led a group that knew absolutely nothing about the dungeons."

Ah, the princess was lost for words, but the dungeon guide had already moved on.

"And for the third and last reason; no offense, but, you guys..." She pointed to the two people besides her and the two at the back.


"Look like total noobs-Well, except for that guard of yours, I don't think I've seen her used her skill yet?"

Ais's monotone voice spoke out, "There was not a need."

"I see."

"Wait..." Shell suddenly stopped in track as her hand drew into the air as a sign.

She arched her head.

"Do you guys hear that?" Her question came naturally after.

With that statement, her eyes wandered across their surroundings as they looked through the trees.

The group stopped for a moment and followed her idea, taking in the sounds of the area.

Aside from the usual sounds of distanced fighting, there was something new...

...constant pounding against the earth, it was minor, short, and brief in elapses; barely audible.

If Maria had to describe it, it sounded like the shifting of feet.

Shell narrowed her eyes through a gap...

...the first thing she spotted was green.

...the next thing she saw was a small spear held in the beast's right hand.

"Prepare for battle! Now!" Her voice instinctively boomed.

"Dodge them!"

There was the sound of cutting wind.

"Huh?" Arthur looked up to see the sharp and pointy end of an iron spear headed straight for him.

Shrill

A blade grazed against the iron shaft, producing a small but sharp shrill with it's passing.

The breeze rushed.

Arthur stared wide-eyed, small freckles of his red hair floated down to the grass, accompanied by the crimson blood oozing down his left ear.

The next thing he knew...

He took a deep breath.

...his ears rang with unrushed beastly roars of echoing combatants.

When he noticed, Ais was already standing before him, her eyes staring at the group of 'Goblins' currently ahead staring daggers at their figures.

'Thirteen.' Her eyes traced over the group gaping through the trees.

Green figures the size of seven-year-old children and as lean just the same, dressed in clothing that could only be seen as rugs, with bits and pieces of iron armor strewn hazardously. Their eyes glowing a deep red marking them as demonic beasts and their teeth jarred beyond belief as if they had spent their whole life feeding upon bones.

Maria held the blade in which Shell had given to her, she had already placed herself at the rightly side of her brother, her figure fully within a stance as she looked at the area.

The trees within the parameter had blocked some of the spears, something visible thanks to their protruding figures. The rest of which were impaled within the ground from the group having narrowly escaped the jaws of injury--or worse, death.

At that moment, however, Shell's voice rang.

"Ais, right? Would you mind stepping back and allowing them to fight on their own?"

Maria looked up to see their dungeon guide already standing upon a tree, her figure leaning against its trunk.

Her brows creased for a moment before taking a look towards Ais.

"Listen to her, save us if you see the need."

With the duel against Shell, Maria had realized a single fact at this point...

'My entire fighting style and tactic has relied fully upon my mana blades since the beginning.'

[Indeed.]

'A weakness.'

[Indeed.]

'I should change that.'

[Indeed.]

Ais stared for a moment, her expression wholly unknown. Finally, the blade within her grasp disappeared in a flash of light.

With that, she stepped away, passing past the figure of Ashe who had positioned herself to the left of Arthur--her hands crossed and her eyes closed in slight disregard.

"Let's see here," Shell smiled watching from overhead.

"I want you guys to fight this battle without using any of your skills."

Ashe's eyes opened, their crimson glow locking onto the group of goblins already charging over.

'Should we?'

[You are currently in control.]

'I see...we might as well then.'

All this while, Arthur also held a thought.

'I'm guessing this counts for my Instant Cast?'

Yet, reality didn't await him.

The next moment, a segment of the horde of goblins were already charging towards them.

From the thirteen, came ten crushing through the midst of the trees.

And just the same, Maria and Ashe stepped forwards to receive them while Arthur began in a chant.


"Grandeur flames..."

Maria's blade clashed with another, momentarily, she stared into the crimson eyes of the figure.

'Hmm...'

Yet, as she saw the other bladed weapons and snaring faces headed for her, she grabbed the head of the goblin at her front and jumped up.

"...destroy my enemies!"

She felt a rush of heat passing from the spot she had just left.

'Against these Goblins, one would think I was strong.' Maria shook her head slightly.

Bang

[No, you are strong. You have simply fought against opponents above your league since the first time you held your blade.]

The thrill of the wind echoed has the hazardous roars of the goblins echoed.

Maria's left hand grasped a branch as she used her momentum to fling herself upwards.

Her feet naturally landed against a thick branch of the tree in a crouched manner before she steadily raised herself.

'Hmmm...'

There was a deep imprint of flames within the rightward section of the group of monsters, of which, three of the beasts laid motionlessly dead--their body either having been crushed by the explosion or flung about.

Overall, clear blood trickled against the grass.

However, she turned her direction towards the group at her back.

Three goblins, each already knocking an arrow against their bows.

And each currently pointing their weapon towards her.

The release of the bowstrings resounded.

She had already jumped back into the mix of the small horde.

Ashe's right fist found its way into the green-skinned head.

With the echo of a crunch, the creature flung backward and crashed into the remnants behind it.

Her body swerved lightly, narrowly dodging a bladed dagger headed for her shoulder.

She crouched lightly.

Her right leg hooked upwards.

A straight force pummeled against the chin of the unlucky goblin.

It found it's jaw dislocated, it'd dagger leaving its hand, and it's body flinging upwards.

Yet, as Ashe looked up, she saw the shadows of three arrows headed for her.

Clank Clank Clank

A silver blade passed in front of her, held sideways, it deflected the ranged weapons.

The whole area was a bit chaotic, but, Maria still managed a small statement.

"I will take the archers."

Meanwhile....on the other side....Arthur began his ascent at climbing a tree?

Ashe briefly spied him at the corner of her eyes...wondering what the heck the boy was doing for a moment.

She slightly shook her head.

Her fist came down.

A single quake echoed as the goblins figure came down, it's head turning into nothing more than a bloodied mess as

She didn't waste a moment, her crimson eyes gleaming, turning around, her right leg met with another.

She felt her leg connected against bone, the goblin was effortlessly tossed sideways into the others by its side.

Thump

It had been a long time since she had battled without the use of the 'curse'.

Thump

[Lively.] Within the 'Soul Sanctuary' in all its eternal darkness, chained into the air, Ain grinned.

Ashe's hand grasped against the neck before her.

With a resounding crunch, blood flowed.

Maria's weapon thrusted forth, easily evading the block of the goblin and continuing on.

A gaggle rang as her blade pierced through its throat.

'It's softer than I thought.' She briefly

Removing her weapon immediately after, watching the blood spray out as the beast began its descent, she swung rightward.

[It is anything but soft, your blade passed through in effortlessness simply because an average goblin's strength rank is C or C-.]

A crack resounded, the bow of the guarding goblin was effortlessly sliced into two.

'So?'

He stepped back a moment to evade the broken bow swung at her.

[Two ranks higher in any rank than an opponent, and you will be able to toy with them in that area with stats alone.]

Maria slashed archly rightway upwards.

'Is that always true?'

The hand of the goblin came cleanly off.

[If an opponent is experienced enough, they would be able to effectively manage by sheer skillfulness alone. However, it is a general rule of thumb.]

Following that motion, her hand came back down.

'I see....' She turned her head momentarily to see Ashe already within rampage, the hoard becoming nothing more than a disorder.

Her blade met with the skull of the opponent and inserted itself at the dead center.

'...that must also be the reason for her ease.'

Yet, at that time...

"Grandeur flames, shield me from all that wishes to harm me!"

Standing upon the tree, overlooking the area, Arthur's lips formed a devilish grin as he looked at the glistering red light that spanned just above the sky.

Whoever said a defensive spell couldn't be used for attack?

"Checkmate."

A blaze instantly ignited above Maria's head, instantly overshadowing the area in a burning heat that elapsed the air.

She looked up to see the flames that had once shielded her from lightning crashing down upon the area.

The first thought that rang within her head was...

'?'

And naturally, her next thought was...

'Surely, my brother is not an idiot right?'

Oh..the flames crashed down anyway...

Their radiance scorching in bliss.

...Yet, Maria felt nothing more than a soothing heat as she watched it descend onto her figure.

As if making way for her, it directly passed through her figure before crashing downwards.

The earth rumbled momentarily.

The next moment she looked around...

...the area had become nothing more than the incinerated corpses of goblins.

Nothing happened to any of the trees nor the grass, they remained as dandy as they had been as the wisps of flames began to disappear.

For a moment, she didn't know what to think of this situation.

For her moment, her eyes met with Ashe who was within the same boat as her, having passed through the flames unfazed.

After a moment, they both turned towards the boy that had just jumped down from his position.

He crouched lightly before rising back up.

Finally, he grinned "Calm down, I am a flame mage, my flames will only harm those I want."

"Then why did you always burn your arms when you were younger?" Maria raised a brow.

"Huh? I was still learning how to control my spells back then wasn't I? Did you expect a child to be able to finitely control his mana?"

However, at that moment, a pat landed on his shoulders.

"You're still a child though."

Arthur crooked his head backwards and narrowed his eyes, "How old are you?"

Shell laughed lightly and folded her arms to her chest, "Seventeen."

At that moment, Arthur smiled, "Only two years older than me and you act as if you have seen everything."

For a moment, she was speechless, however, her expression crumbled before shifting to normality.

She coughed lightly and turned to Maria's gaze.

"What did you learn?"

Maria smiled.

"I thought of a way I would be able to kill the demonic crow without my golden blades."

"Huh?" Shell crocked her head.

Arthur chuckled, "You're welcome."

"Huh!?" She crocked her head once more.

However, she did not have much of a chance to think before Ashe walked towards their location.

"You know, was this dungeon not supposed to be hard?"

Shell stared dumbfounded at this girl for a moment...

...finally, a laugh escaped her lips as she struggled for a bit.

"Just because you killed a bunch of goblins?"

Her words lingered for a bit before her expression turned into a simply sly smile.

"This dungeon is hard. You've just killed a bunch of mobs is all...."

"...Just because it's called the 'Goblin Forest' doesn't mean they are strong, goblins are simply the most famous demonic beasts on this floor..."

"...the real show begins when you try to climb the dungeon by killing the bosses."

***

Meanwhile, at the same moment, elsewhere.

As it stood up on its two legs, the ground rumbled from just that simple motion. The earth quaking in disbelief.

It towered over the trees, it's furred body darkish brown and crawling atop it's entire, the fangs on its teeth protruding sharply, it's crimson eyes staring deathly down at the puny figure before it.

Rain stared for a moment in disbelief...this would be his first time standing in front of the rumored 'Great Ape of the Forest'.

Just the legs of this figure alone were already more than twice his own full height, and it's arms outstretched below its waist and hovered just above the sandy ground amidst the forest.

Yet...above all...

...his father wanted him to defeat the beast.

"Goodluck!"

He turned his head briefly to see his father simply seated onto a chair, a table at his front and a mug of beer at his hand.

"Make sure you use that 'Counter Flow' sword style you seemed to have magically learned a bit of off-screen!"

After raising it to cheer him on, he took a full swing, placed it back down, and relaxed back onto the chair. His eyes looked briefly at the sky before closing in somberness.

'Ah,' Lambert thought, 'that boy's protagonist's luck is growing.'

Rain didn't have a moment to think, grasping his blackened blades, he stared ahead at the ape-like figure already lunging towards him.

He could feel the rumbling under his feet with every step of that beast.

He gulped.

He didn't know its strength.

An area of brown twinkling light began to wallow out and form onto his two blades.

...thanks to his abysmal mana control, he needed to set this up moments before actual need.

The air flew as if breaking apart.

As the roar of the beast echoed with its fist pouncing forwards, Rain swung his crossed blades.

At that moment of contact...at that moment he released the stored mana...

There wasn't any surprises...

...feeling that massive pressure pummel onto him...

...his body directly crumbled backwards as if stood away like a fly...

"Uggh!"

Blood sprayed from his lips as his back crashed into the trunk of a tree.

For a moment, his vision blurred...

...and when he came to...

He found another fist descending onto him and only a single sword left in his right hand.

Quite plainly, his instincts kicked in, he jumped rightward.

His figure tumbled away.

Standing moments later to see the tree slightly uprooted, but still left intact to stop the punch of the beast.

As the crimson eyes traced towards his direction, he gritted his teeth.

The next moment, he ran forwards well grasping that single blade he had left.

His pair of mystifying eyes focusing entirely onto the beast's movement.

There was an earth-shaking roar.

Followed by that lengthy arm coming down towards him.

He jumped.

With the crash of the ground echoing into his ears, his feet found footing onto the beasts arms as his legs propelled him forwards in an awakenment of speed.

'Faster.' That was the single notion within his head, ringing lightly with narrowed eyes.

He felt the 'footing' below him beginning to rise in great speed.

And just like that, his vision found the air the next moment.

However,

His body flipped within the air, the tip of his blade pointed downwards.

As his feet found themselves against the shoulders of the beasts...

His mystifying eyes focused beyond control.

Grasping his sword with both hands.

...he had already thrusted his blade with impending force.

A frenzied roar ensured as the beasts figure began to rage, flailing and it's hand already shooting up to try and throw the boy off.

However...

Feeling his blade bypassing a barrier with a resounding crunch followed by a sudden hollowness.

Rain pushed down with his final strength...

...and twisted his sword.

There was a sudden end to the roars of pain, to the flailing of the beast.

Before he realized, its body had already begun to tumble down.

***

There was a sound, as if something breaking through layers, anything's was amidst a descent. Breaking the air with its fall.

Maria looked upwards, crooking her head slightly, the rest of the group followed her vision.

The hazy sky was already at the turn of late afternoon, dimming slightly, yet, they could still see what transpired.

Followed by a hazardous roar, two hazy figures came down as if falling stars.

Boom

The ground echoed in a thundering pressure, for a moment, the entirety of the forest seemed to shake.

For a moment, all was silent, nothing could be seen but the huge cloth of dust that shot into the air.

For a moment, the world seemed to stagnate before finally standing still.

However, the next instant, with the release of an ear piercing roar, the world regained its sound.

The ground thundered.

Even as she couldn't see what was happening, Maria could hear the cracking of trees being broken in half. She could see the rise of dust as if a typhoon was passing through with each pummels of force she heard.

Quite clearly, two figures were in the midst of a battle.

"Huh, do we go check that out?" Arthur raised a brow.

Shell was dumbfounded, however, her lashing began shortly after.

"Are you an idiot!? That's not the level of battle you guys are ready for! You don't see them literally rampaging every which way!?"

"That's at least S rank strength right there!"

'What does she mean by S rank strength?' Maria questioned.

[In this world, there are certain ranks in which a massive power boost is given; S rank, U rank, and OverLord. This does not pertain to overall rank, but the actual rank of your stats.]

'Hmmm...'

Maria turned towards Shell, "The battle is in the way of our destination, do we make a detour?"

"Yup," Shell, directly turned around, her facial expression as straight as a thick wall.

"Second rule of Albion's Dungeon: Don't be a Hero or a nosey body; unless you're ready to give your life away, working with a person or someone is your companion, simply ignore any other fighting or loud noises made and be on your way."

"After all, everyone knows what they were getting into when they entered, and no one is planning to just jump into a conflict not of their own."

Maria gave a nod, "I see."

"..." Shell's expression was currently aghast.

When she said detour, this was not what she meant.

The whole area was a clearing amidst the forest, seemingly without any life taking the space, and the trees magically not growing there for some unknown reason. The only thing that was within the area was the smooth jaded grass beneath their feet.

However, this was what Shell feared above all.

"Holy shiet..." She looked and swerved around to get a full glimpse.

"Big open area." She took a stumbling step back.

In the beginning, she had continued walking thinking it was nothing more than a small special space...however...

"No enemies."

...it was now a no-brainer no matter how she thought about it.

"This is a fu*king boss area!"

Ais tilted her head, "A boss area?"

Shell barely believed her ears. This guys really didn't learn anything about the dungeon before coming here.

"To get to the next level of the dungeon, a person has to participate somewhat in defeating three tower or area bosses. And you can tell how much you've defeated or contributed based on the sigils that shows at the back of your right hand. Those sigils are basically what you need to either place an escape magic circle or a level jump magic circle—combining the sigils of your teammates can allow one to move as a group."

"However..."

"An area boss is many times more powerful than a tower boss! My earlier plan was to have us conquer three towers and get it over with!!"

"Soooo?" Arthur asked.

Ah, but Shell had already turned around and tucked her tail away. Her ability instantly kicking in, her momentum instantly busting forwards. Her legs were already moving away from the area.

"Run you idiots!!" She cocked her head a bit, still pacing away from the area.

"Do you want to di-!!?"

However, her words where died down as a roar landed in the ears of all that were present.

When she saw the beast land right in front of her figure, it's huge body standing up.

Her speed quickly halted within moments.

She was speechless

'We're screwed.'

Those were her first thoughts before it spoke.

"You humans dare to trespass into my territory!"

It was now time for the rest of the group to be speechless.

'Since when could demonic beasts talk!?'

Meanwhile, Ashe was unnerved.

'That is not an Emperor grade beast right?'

[I...I do not know.]

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Princess Knight Chapter 32 summary

You're reading Princess Knight. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): samspd71. Already has 63 views.

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