Chapter 87: Chestervania Reservoir Town
Summary: Previously, Vannessa & Micaiah in the Haunted Glade, managed to slay the Basilisk, the King of Serpents borne of darkness of the souls and human despair. Together with the other five mages, they resumed their journey to Chestervania Reservoir Town.
A/N: Hey guys, I am back with another chapter! :) Honestly, I am really happy that you guys are really excited about this story and have stuck with me patiently throughout. I have received positive feedback from readers asking me to continue this story and I will but I have to say that the updates will be slow... . I have too much of a workload from my university and that is taking up most of my time (including spare time)...but I will try to bring you upcoming chapters as soon as I am able to :) Once again, thank you so much! :D
The group of amateur mages finally convened with the two of them.
"What happened, Vannessa?" Elijah demanded with a concerned look on his face after being the first one to reach them.
The Dragon Slayer quickly waved a weary arm, trying to dismiss Elijah's concern and replacing it with a comforting smile. She had noticed the growing volatility in the group and she really had no energy left to spare to resolve any paltry conflicts amongst them; all was being conserved for the upcoming battle. "Don't worry; I'll be fine in a few minutes…just some overexertion is all." Weakly, she pushed herself once she had feeling of her legs just to emphasize the fact that she was simply overexerting. The other mage stared at her, looking slightly uncertain of her reassurance but he decided to not to pursue the matter further and finally looked away after a while.
Vannessa had felt the remnants of magic emanating from the barrier falling away somewhere in the near distance and her head snapped towards its direction. She shared a furtive glance with Micaiah and almost immediately, the wolf turned and began to head for that direction. The others began to follow suit, trailing slightly behind them.
They stopped just a few meters away from the entrance of the town; the Dragon Slayer still had that nagging feeling which was really starting to bother her.
Why is it that it persists even after I have defeated that Basilisk…?
"Everyone, be careful…something is still not right…" Vannessa echoed her concern, her eyes still fixed on the town before her.
Elijah stepped forward and surveyed the vicinity. "This town is weird…there aren't any people around. It's like a dead town…" he added.
"It'll do us all good if we stick together," Micaiah spoke up. "We don't know what's in there."
"Isn't the Basilisk supposed to be the only beast that was terrorizing this town?" Gabby demanded, looking distressed.
"It may seem so…only on the surface…" Vannessa started absently before she stopped, realizing her mistake.
Gabby's eyes widened and she spun on her heels to face Vannessa; she glared at the Dragon Slayer accusingly. "What do you mean only on the surface?" she snapped. "I can't believe this…there are more of such monsters in there?!"
"Calm down, Gabby. Don't be unreasonable…it's not Vannessa's fault," Elijah told her. "She's just asking us to move with extreme caution…"
Her hands were tensed over the hilts of her twin swords dangling off her hips as her mauve-colored eyes scanned as far ahead as they could for any signs of the predator that was lurking around, watching them. It was one shrewd character; it did not want to be detected by its prey which made it all the more difficult for Vannessa because that meant she had to call upon more magic. With the last Fallen Phase Transformation she had undergone, her magic reserves were running on empty.
She cursed under her breath; the Dragon Slayer wanted to 'power up' by going on another quest but instead she was doing otherwise.
"Stop," Micaiah spoke up suddenly and immediately everyone froze in their tracks. Vannessa turned to look at Micaiah questioningly but the wolf's eyes were narrowed and she was growling threateningly at something that was just a few feet before them. The Dragon Slayer withdrew her swords from their sheaths and stood at the ready. It was of no wonder that the town was still deserted even after she had defeated the Basilisk; there was yet another menace that had to be taken of. She could hardly sense where its location was.
From her peripheral vision, the wolf could see that the Dragon Slayer's back was stiff with anxiety as she tried to gauge the thing's whereabouts. "Vanessa, I will be your eyes this time, don't worry…" Micaiah allowed her voice to travel just within the hearing range of her wielder. "So you just concentrate on fighting." Without turning to the other mages, Micaiah raised her voice slightly. "All of you can serve as back-up for Vannessa if needed." There was no room for a question; it was a command and all five of them understood that. They nodded silently. During that one moment of distraction, it revealed its presence and attacked the mages. It caught Vannessa by surprise and its fangs grazed her right cheek, drawing a trail of blood. Its huge wings raised gusts of wind and caused them to lose formation, scattering the mages in a chaotic manner.
"That's a cockatrice!" Gabby yelled out in a terrified voice. "The spawn of the Devil; the Basilisk's twin! Heed ye stranger; thou shalt not to look in its eyes for its gaze will render you dead!"
Vannessa stole a quick glance at the monster that she was confronting but taking great care not to meet its eyes. "And what about its weakness, Gabby?" she demanded without looking at the other female mage.
"I heard it once from an old lady in the train on my way to this town – " Gabby's sentence was cut short as the cockatrice went in for the kill. The Dragon Slayer had already anticipated its attack and jumped up and threw one of her swords at it. It sliced through its delicate flesh and cut through bone, embedding itself deep into the side of its neck. The beast snarled in pain and clumsily took a step backward. Taking advantage of its distraction, Micaiah leapt up and sank its teeth into its wing and tore a chunk of it off.
The other mages were smart enough to fall back into their formation and followed suit, throwing one magic attack after another at the monster.
Vannessa landed on her feet clumsily and used her arms to support herself from falling flat on her face. She was breathing hard from the exertion.
This was going to be more troublesome than she thought. Just before she could regain her bearings, the giant monster gave a loud snarl and took flight, conjuring biting gusts of wind. "Gabby!" the Dragon Slayer yelled over the pandemonium, hoping that her voice carried over to the said mage. "It's weakness! What is it?"
Gabby recovered just enough and pulled herself to her feet after landing onto the ground with her left leg under her to cushion her fall; her ankle was sprained and her movements were limited now. She swallowed her pain and screamed one word. "Reflection!"
Almost immediately, Vannessa scanned her surroundings.
Perhaps, it is wise to make use of the terrain against it…?
For that, she knew that she needed her wings and right now, there was no way she could summon them without her powers. What was she supposed to do now? Where was Laxus when she needed him? Her eyes widened when she realized something; it just goes to prove that indeed she was dependent on Micaiah's magic. The air was thick with the ever familiar emotion that she had forgotten. Dragon Slayers, even ones that had gone rogue could regenerate themselves using the focal element that made up their being. Vannessa smirked inwardly at herself; had she really changed herself for the better? It really has been awhile…her expression molded itself into one of feral intoxication, her lips in a frozen snarl as she relished herself in fear, absorbing it into herself. She could feel herself getting energized from the thickness of the emotion emanating from not only the townspeople but from the other mages as well. Her once human eyes narrowed themselves into slits and she shifted her gaze to the cockatrice.
"Demon Wings of Horror…" she hissed as the pair of black raven wings burst out from between her shoulder blades. With a leap, she took off into the skies in hot pursuit of the flying beast.