127. A Battle Within the Temple
We steeled ourselves as we gave the temple’s door a gentle push and got ready to make our way inside.
Peeking through the resulting crevice allowed our eyes to catch a figure within the building’s deepest depths. The temple was dark, but we were able to make out the small framed individual regardless.
『Yup, that’s definitely Rynford.』
He’d yet to notice us. The old man had probably never in his wildest dreams imagined that we would be so quick in chasing him down. It looked like we were going to be able to blindside him again, but we were going to have to mix up our method of attack. The whole fire and wind based thing we had going earlier was a fairly solid tactic, but it wasn’t applicable given the strength of his protective barrier. I also held the sneaking suspicion that destroying the temple wasn’t exactly the best course of action. The Gods probably wouldn’t be so happy with us if we did. There was a chance that they might not consider Rynford’s evil deeds as something of enough note to counterbalance completely blowing up one of their places of worship.
That said though, we couldn’t just wait for him to leave or anything. Who knew what he’d do if left to his own devices?
Besides, our eyes had managed to catch themselves a little something of interest.
『Those crystal thingies he’s got are looking pretty suspicious.』
（Nn. Definitely of value.）
Three massive crystals sat around Rynford, each giving off an evil, bluish purple glow. They were probably why the temple’s energies seemed so off and misaligned.
『You two focus on the crystals. I’ll get Rynford.』
（No holding back. Will kill him. Here and now.）
『You sure? He might be able to give you some info on evolution.』
（I’m sure. Master promised, will make me evolve. So, will definitely evolve some day. Won’t need to rely on information from him.）
Right. I did tell her that when we first met. I’m glad she remembers, and that she trusts me so much… I-It’s not like I’m moved or anything! Whatever! Who cares! Either way, my motivation’s hit its peak.
『Yeah, you’re right. I’ll definitely make sure you evolve.」
『See, even Urushi says he’ll help you out.』
『So yeah, let’s do this. Short Jump!』
I teleported myself above Rynford, charged up my Telekinetic Catapult and launched myself towards him.
「Nuasdhf!? What the!?」
I had totally just rammed him from his blind spot, and his surprised reaction gave way to the fact that he hadn’t picked up on the attack in advance. In other words, his barrier was the automatic type.
「You again, girl!? How did you manage to…」
Rynford had started shouting at Fran out of surprise, but both she and Urushi ignored him and went straight for the massive ass crystals.
「Shit! What’s with this damn sword!? It’s keeping me from moving!」
Oh? Did I just hear what I thought I heard? So he can’t move while his barrier’s out? Good to know, good to know.
I continued to use Telekinesis to push myself against his barrier in order to stop both myself from flying away and him from moving. The act was even draining his mana as a bit of an added bonus.
Rynford fired a spell in Fran and Urushi’s direction. Surprisingly, it passed right through his barrier. Holy crap though, that barrier was hella amazing. It activated on its own, was strong enough to repel my Telekinetic Catapult, and even allowed attacks that came from inside of it to fly out. Not being able to move was honestly pretty fair as far as compensation went.
The old man had fired thirty odd projectiles in the pair’s direction, but neither of the two had gotten hit. There was simply no way in hell either Fran or Urushi would be hit by something as telegraphed as a clump of magic flying in a straight line. As the attack had failed to put any pressure on them, both my companions soon began unloading on Rynford’s magic crystals.
Claw, fang, blade and spell assaulted the mineral-like objects and sent them flying all over, and so, despite the fact that they’d been reinforced, they cracked. They’d probably break if hit a few more times.
「Will you stop that already? Shit! I have no choice but to first focus on getting rid of this damn sword!」
Yeah, I figured that’s what he’d end up deciding on, but yeah no. Not happening.
I purposefully backed off a bit before casting a fire spell a few times. The spell was actually quite weak, but, it would light the target’s surroundings on fire and keep the flames lit for ten odd seconds.
Burst Flame was the perfect skill for this situation. It was weak, but I could pretty much spam it to force him to keep his barrier up. Better yet was the fact that the flames obscured his vision and prevented him from tracking me down. As a result, he pretty much ended up being stuck randomly misfiring his attacks.
The crystals were ultimately unable to endure Fran and Urushi’s endless assault, and hence, one soon crumbled.
Oh sweet! The whole evil atmosphere has cleared up quite a bit! Looks like the crystals were what’d been causing it in the first place.
「How… dare you!」
Rynford seemed to understand that one of the crystals had been destroyed despite not having any vision of it, for he let loose a hate filled groan. I couldn’t help but want to smirk as I realized that our strategy had been extraordinarily effective.
「The path will close if she destroys another crystal… It looks like I have no choice, but to… 」
The old man suddenly turned off his barrier so he could better protect the crystals. His strategy was reasonable given Burst Flame’s relatively low power, but still, it was risky. It was a move that he wouldn’t have been able to choose had he not resolved himself for death.
Rynford dashed towards Fran, his body cloaked in a layer of flame.
However, I’d long predicted that this would happen. I knew he was eventually going to switch to suicide bomb mode, and so, I’d already plotted my next move in advance.
I repeated the action I’d taken at the battle’s start, and teleported above him before releasing a bunch of telekinetic energy.
Blood splurted from Rynford’s mouth as he let loose a pained scream. I had landed a direct hit, and my blade had pierced right through his torso.
The man had been split in two by the attack’s force. The angle from which I hit him had made it so that the upper portion of his body almost kind of looked like the busts you’d find at art exhibitions.
I had applied a bunch of telekinetic force in order to hit the brakes the moment after I collided with Rynford, and so, I had luckily managed to avoid giving the floor anything more than just the slightest nick.
Technically, I had caused a bit of damage earlier as well. I tried to stop Burst Explosion’s flames from spreading, but, I had ultimately ended up leaving the floor a bit scorched. Just a bit though! The Gods won’t mind. I mean, I’m working against the Evil God’s followers here, so they shouldn’t, right? Right…?
I gave the sculptures in my vicinity a bit of a fearful glance, but it didn’t look like they’d reacted in any which way. I guess that made sense. They hadn’t even done anything to Rynford after all, and normally, you’d expect his actions would incur all sorts divine wrath and punishment, so I’m sure I’m still safe.
I’m really sorry. Seriously, I swear I am.
「You sons of bitches! You’re not getting away with this!」
Rynford began screaming curses as I took my sweet time apologizing to the Gods above. Wait, the hell? How’s he not dead? The old man should’ve long been turned into a corpse, but it looked like he was still just full of energy.
「I swear I’m going to fucking break that sword, put it on an altar and sacrifice it to the Evil God himself!」
We immediately tried to finish Rynford off, but he’d already deployed his defensive barrier, so our attacks were unable to reach him. Moreover, he had even begun to regenerate. It looked like he truly had long become something inhuman.
「Zerrosreed! Get the hell over here, right this instant! Summon Clan!」
Rynford had realized that he was at a disadvantage, and thus, he opted to summon one of his subordinates. I’d planned to focus fire said summon the moment it arrived, but was denied the option altogether. The sneaky old bastard had managed to cast the spell within his barrier’s confines.
And of all people, he had to have summoned Zerrosreed. We’d yet to meet the guy, but I knew for fact that he would be our toughest opponent yet. He, as a human, had been powerful enough to considered as strong as a B ranked adventurer.
But now, he’d likely transformed into an Evil Human and become even more powerful. It’d probably be best for us to retreat. We couldn’t match something on that level by ourselves.
Or so I thought…
「W-What!? It didn’t work? Summon Clan: Zerrosreed!」
Huh, interesting…? The spell had managed to generate a magic circle, but once again, summoned… absolutely fucking nothing.
「What the hell do you mean, he refused!? C-Could he have betrayed me!?」
Apparently, the old man and his companions had had some sort of falling out.
『Well, I guess this our chance to finish him off.』
「Nn. Will defeat here and now.」