Just as the intensity of their duel hinted at an impending escalation, Frank abruptly disengaged from the battle, stepping away from the fray to retrieve his fallen sword. His voice broke the silence as he addressed Ishmael, his words carrying an enigmatic tone.
"The timing isn't right for this, my friend," Frank declared, his eyes locked on Ishmael. "Let's hope our paths cross again under more favorable circumstances," he added before swiftly retreating, his gaze never leaving Ishmael's form.
Observing Frank's departure, Ishmael made a rapid decision, his instincts guiding his actions. He initiated contact with Boyd, his voice laced with urgency. "Boyd, how much time do we have left?"
Boyd's reply was swift and laden with concern. "Leader, we might have less than two minutes. I've infiltrated their system and made some adjustments, but our actions won't stay hidden for long."
ραΠdαsΝοvel.cοmAcknowledging the tight timeline, Ishmael didn't waste a moment. "Excellent. Prepare the ship and pilot it toward our location. Simultaneously, gather any information you can through hacking," he instructed Boyd. With that, his bat-like wings unfurled, propelling him forward at astonishing speeds, and transforming him into a blur as he raced toward the rendezvous point.
On the other side of the battlefield, Adam and his team, separated from Ishmael and Boyd, raced toward the designated rendezvous point. Their approach brought them within view of two spacecraft: one a nondescript merchant vessel and the other a sleek black scout ship renowned for its incredible speed. However, before they could reach their destination, an unexpected interruption occurred.
A mysterious object sailed into their midst, and Carey, the squad's weapons expert, swiftly identified the threat. Her voice rang out with a sharp warning, "Jump away, it's a grenade!" The urgency in her tone propelled the team into immediate action. They scattered in all directions, each member except Adam seeking refuge from the impending explosion.
In contrast to his comrades, Adam responded with a calculated, almost audacious move. He drew his sword and assumed a protective stance, summoning forth a translucent shield of energy to envelop him. As the grenade detonated, releasing a violent burst of force and fiery chaos, the protective shield absorbed the brunt of the impact. It shuddered and rippled under the explosive assault, but Adam remained steadfast, locked in position.
What followed was a striking clash of swords, with Adam's weapon engaging in a fierce duel against Rager's blade. Rager had anticipated that his adversaries would be thrown into disarray by the grenade's explosion, providing him an opportunity to swiftly kill one of them with his rapid swordsmanship. However, the outcome played out quite differently from his expectations, drawing a sardonic chuckle from his lips.
"You're rather alert, aren't you?" Rager inquired, impressed by Adam's quick response.
In the midst of their intense standoff, Adam decided to add a touch of provocation to the mix. He began a bit of trash-talking, his words laced with a cheeky tone. "Your boots," he began, "they're a bit too noisy for your sword style. And as for your fashion sense, well, let's just say even a beggar might outdress you."
Adam's sardonic remark appeared to have rattled Rager. His confident smile vanished, replaced by a determined expression. He decided to disengage from the verbal sparring and distance himself from the confrontation. With a swift, fluid motion, he sheathed his sword, locking eyes with Adam as he spoke to someone behind him.
"Mr. A, please leave this kid to me," Rager instructed, his tone commanding. "You can handle the rest of them."
A voice from the shadows responded with a chuckle. "As you wish, Mr. Rager. You and the kid can have fun. I'll take care of the others."
With this agreement, Rager adjusted his posture, subtly preparing for an Iai strike. His gaze dropped from Adam's eyes to the ground, breaking the intense eye contact. On the other side, Adam remained in his defensive stance, his unwavering gaze locked on Rager's katana. In this suspended moment, the settling dust from the grenade explosion created a striking picture, capturing the essence of two swordsmen poised for battle.
The moment of stillness was abruptly shattered as Rager, with a flash of movement that defied human perception, drew his katana in an Iai strike. The blade sliced through the air with incredible speed, aiming for Adam's midsection.
Adam, relying on his heightened reflexes and skill, managed to twist his body just in time, narrowly avoiding the deadly edge of Rager's katana. The blade missed him by a hair's breadth, but the sheer force of the strike sent a shockwave through the air, rustling Adam's clothing.
Without missing a beat, Adam retaliated. His sword left its scabbard in a blur of motion, meeting Rager's sword in a resounding clash. The force of their collision sent sparks flying, creating a dazzling display of steel against steel.
The duel intensified as they continued their intricate dance. Rager unleashed a flurry of rapid strikes, each one meticulously aimed at Adam's defenses. Adam, equally skilled, parried and countered with a mix of precision and fluidity.
The battle between Adam and Rager reached a fevered pitch, each combatant pushing the limits of their skill and stamina. The air around them crackled with energy as they continued their relentless exchange of strikes, parries, and dodges.
Amid their fierce combat, Adam's keen eyes finally spotted a minuscule opening in Rager's defense. It was a split-second opportunity, a momentary lapse in Rager's otherwise impeccable technique. At that moment, Adam seized his chance.
With precision and swiftness that bordered on the supernatural, Adam executed a masterful feint, leading Rager to commit to a strike in the wrong direction. It was a calculated risk, and it paid off. As Rager's blade whistled past him, Adam capitalized on the opening.
In one seamless motion, Adam shifted his weight and brought his sword around, striking Rager with a force that was both surprising and devastating. The blade connected with Rager's side, sending him hurtling through the air. With an impact that reverberated through the ground, Rager crashed to the earth, his sword clattering beside him.
The battlefield fell silent for a moment as dust and dirt settled around the fallen swordsman. Adam stood there, panting heavily, his sword held firmly in his grasp. Rager, on the ground, grimaced in pain, clutching his side where Adam's blade had struck.
As the squad members found themselves separated into three groups of two after leaping away from the grenade, they quickly realized they were each confronted by an opponent. The division placed Chris with Lycus, Zara with Zephyr, and Brutus with Carey. Each opponent was a 4-star level combatant, but this particular match-up favored the squad, as they were all at this level, except for Adam, who stood apart.
Without hesitation, Chris unleashed a spell known as Frost Spikes, his instincts guiding his actions. The magical attack formed a cluster of icy projectiles that surged toward his adversary. Chris aimed to gain the upper hand swiftly and reunite with Adam, who was locked in a duel with the swordsman Rager.
Just as it appeared that Chris's opponent would be overwhelmed by his spell, the adversary uttered a single word, "Disintegrate." In response to his command, the rapidly approaching ice projectiles dissolved into nothingness, as if they had never been conjured in the first place.
Witnessing his spell being dispelled so effortlessly, Chris's brow furrowed in frustration. He had anticipated that his attack might not cause significant damage, but this level of counteraction was beyond his expectations. He didn't divert his gaze from the opponent but directed his words to Lycus without turning, a sense of gravity in his voice.
"Lycus, flank him from the right. I'll engage him with spells to keep him occupied while you search for an opening. This must be the individual Boyd warned us about." His tone conveyed a deep sense of seriousness.
Undeterred by the apparent futility of his magical onslaught, Chris continued to unleash one spell after another in rapid succession. His determination to breach his mysterious opponent's defenses fueled his relentless assault.
First, he cast Frost Nova, spreading his palms wide to summon a sudden and biting cold. The spell generated an icy shockwave that extended outward, but before its frosty tendrils could reach the adversary, they inexplicably vanished into thin air.
Next came Lightning Bolt. Chris directed a bolt of crackling electricity from his outstretched fingers, intending to strike his foe with a jolt of electrifying force. Yet, like the previous spell, it too dissolved harmlessly mid-flight.
Undeterred, Chris conjured a Fireball, gathering flames in his palm and shaping them into a fiery projectile. With a deft flick of his wrist, he launched the searing sphere toward his opponent, only to witness it disintegrate into nothingness upon approach.
Throughout this relentless magical barrage, the enigmatic adversary remained eerily still, his sole focus on negating Chris's incoming spells. A palpable sense of frustration surrounded Chris as he continued to fire spell after spell, each one dissipating into the void without making an impact.