Chapter 382 On the Way
Erika was extremely anxious.
The hired carriage slowly made its laborious way through Dragonblight. Accompanying her were six other apprentices and one witch responsible for escorting them. There were about four dozen guards in black armor scattered around the line of a dozen carriages.
These guards had been sent by the clan to escort them to the Tower of Fate.
Erika became even more upset when the thought of leaving her companions behind entered her head. She had to abandon the familiar surroundings of the clan and travel long distances to the Tower of Fate located in this desolate place.
She was born in the small town of Mostow, Moline. It was an area governed by the Dark Witches.
Erika had been discovered to possess talent as a witch and was sent to the tower of the Dark Witches by her family to study magic. She had only barely managed to reach intermediate level after twelve difficult years of study.
At the rate at which she was improving, it was doubtful she would advance to become a witch!
Her talent was considered as inferior among the other apprentices. Otherwise, she wouldn't have been selected as one of those to be sent to the Witch of Fate. She had secretly cried three times during this trip over this fact. It was Freya who had kept coming to console her during these breakdowns.
Freya was a kind and pretty girl. She was already at the level of advanced apprentice, even though she was only fifteen years old. Just a little longer and she would raise her Spirit to twenty points and advance to become an actual witch. The clan would most definitely shift their resources in her favor then!
Erika truly couldn't understand why they had picked Freya for this.
If the Dark Witches had abandoned Erika due to her incapability, why was a hopeful apprentice like Freya included in the list of apprentices sent to the Tower of Fate?
A commotion came from outside while Erika was still bothered by her thoughts.
"These are windwolves!"
Shouting and yelling came from outside the carriages, along with mournful wolf howls.
Dammit! More magical creatures!
These assaults hadn't stopped since they had left the Death Witches' territory and entered Dragonblight. There were far too many monsters wandering around Dragonblight. Every one of them was savage and ferocious. A large target like the caravan line was never going to escape the sensitive noses of these magical creatures.
All sorts of creatures had attacked them on the way here. Otyughs, umber hulks, ankhegs, gray renders, ironhide rhinoceroses, breathdrinkers, and even manticores. Eleven of the guards had died fending off these attacks. They would have lost even more men if it hadn't been for the Dark Witch escorting the party.
Envy would rise in Erika's heart every time she saw the Dark Witch floating in the sky and chasing away the packs of magical creatures with her black halos and shadow spells. She was so envious of the witch's ability that she wanted to cry.
She too wanted to become a true Dark Witch after so many years of study in the adept's tower. If she became a witch, she would possess the enviable Body of Shadows. She would gain control of numerous shadow spells, and most importantly, she would be able to leave her soul brand within the soul energy pool of the tower.
That way, even if she died in battle, she only needed to exhaust some resources to be revived in the energy pool. This ability was the main reason why most Dark Witches had such fierce and bold combat styles!
However, not all clan adepts could become Dark Witches. The selected candidates had to undergo a Dark Baptism before they could become Dark Witches. It was rumored that a tested adept would be sent into a lesser plane known as the Realm of Darkness. They had to complete a certain number of kills before they had a chance of undergoing the Dark Baptism.
These had all been part of Erika's plans. However, all these ambitions and designs of hers had faded into dust when she was sent on this journey to the Tower of Fate!
The howls in the distance had grown even more frequent while Erika bemoaned her fate.
It sounded like they weren't too far away from the carriages now!
"All apprentices get out of the carriages and help the guards in defending against the windwolves! Hurry. Get moving." The Dark Witch finally spoke when she saw the crumbling line of defense.
The thirty-two guards covered each other as they retreated while fighting. They soon re-established their formation around the carriages. A pack of windwolves had trapped four of their companions and were striking at the humans.
Windwolves. They were a type of magical creature that lived in packs. Individually, they were as powerful as a beginner apprentice, and they only knew how to use a single spell. It was a spell that called upon wind particles to envelop their bodies and increase their agility, much like the wind-attribute spell Windrun. However, once the pack reached over a hundred in number, elite windwolves who knew Windblade would develop. Windblade was a long-range spell that ordinary humans were incapable of defending against.
The reason the guards had been unable to turn away the pack of windwolves earlier was due to three such elites firing windblades at them. The green translucent blades slashed through the shields of the guards and split their bodies apart when the elite wolves focused their firepower on a single target.
The three elite windwolves made it impossible for the guards to keep the wolves at bay with just their shields and armor.
The guards that retreated to the carriages gathered into a simple formation that protected the witch and the apprentices behind them. The apprentices all started to chant their spells while the windwolves charged towards them. The two plant-attribute apprentices even threw thorn seeds to the outsides of the perimeter.
Soon, over a hundred and thirty windwolves leaped upon the guards. They raised their snouts and howled into the night as they attacked.
The first things that made contact with the wolf pack were the thorn seeds whose growth had been accelerated.
Roots emerged from the magic seeds and planted themselves in the earth. The seeds then started to swell and expand in size. A massive thorn vine grew out of a seed. It then split into four or five more, slightly thinner, vines. All of the vines had purple-black thorns and fang-like barbs on them.
The vines that had instantly grown out of the seeds waved about like the arms of a living creature. A mouth filled with sharp and delicate teeth would open at the ends of the vines every time they entangled or hit a windwolf. The vines then dug into the bodies of the wolves.
If they succeeded in digging their way into the flesh, the thin vine would instantly start to swell. A chilling grumbling sound would then ring out.
In the blink of an eye, the seven windwolves in the lead had turned into the magical vines' victims. They struggled furiously and tore at the vines with their claws and fangs.
A powerful plant hadn't been used to create these apprentice-level vines. Consequently, they were relatively weak. The vines were continuously being torn apart even as they continued to assault the wolves. All the acid and indigested flesh in the vines scattered across the place.
Even though the magic vines tried their best to resist, their quality and numbers were still insufficient to deal with the windwolves.
Soon, the wolves broke through the first line of defense and neared the wall of guards.
Seven apprentice witches had managed to complete their spells in the time the wolves had taken to break through the plants.
Erika stood at the edge of the formation and also fired a spell of her own. Shadow Assassin.
It was a low-grade shadow spell. It summoned a humanoid assassin in the shadows near the enemy that dealt eight shadow damage to all creatures around it. As long as the assassin's shadow core remained intact, it could continue to damage enemies for as long as three hundred and eighty seconds.
It was the only area-of-effect spell that Erika knew!
In comparison, Freya used Sonic Hunt.
She stuffed a bunch of Screech Herbs in her mouth and cupped her mouth. She then let out a terrifying soundwave.
All the windwolves in a cone before Freya howled in agony and fell to the ground. They had lost all control over their bodies. The guards seized the opportunity to move forward and slay these incapacitated windwolves.
The Dark Witch immediately noticed the three elite windwolves when they came close to the group.
She didn't do much. The witch extended her hand and made a grabbing motion at the location where the wolves were, and the beasts instantly plunged into a situation of life and death.
Vast swathes of shadow erupted from underneath the three windwolves. The black mist quickly enveloped their bodies and dragged them into the shadows beneath them. It was like a tunnel had opened into the Shadow World. It didn't matter how much the wolves struggled. They couldn't break free of the black haze. Bit by bit, they disappeared into the shadow.
The black mist dispersed once the wolves were gone.
Only brown dirt and pebbles remained on the ground.
The three wolves had vanished entirely!
The loss of their leaders quickly threw the wolves into chaos. After suffering the loss of almost one-fourth of their entire pack, the wolves chose to retreat!
Another seven guards had died in this battle, and the rest were also injured.
Fortunately, the apprentices were unharmed. The Dark Witch was relieved at this outcome.
These seven apprentices might not have had much potential and talent, but the clan had still exhausted a lot of their resources to train and raise them. The decision to give them away to the Witches of Fate undoubtedly caused dissatisfaction among the clan witches!
However, the escorting Dark Witch couldn't help but feel a little glad that the Witches of Fate had to waste their resources on these 'trash'!
If she were the leader of the Witches of Fate, she would have a significant headache figuring out what to do with these apprentices.
Waste resources on them? But every one of them was an untalented apprentice that wasn't worth the effort. Even the occasional apprentice with decent potential was likely a spy from another branch.
With no options left to her, what would the Witch of Fate known as Alice do?
Editor Ryu: I know exactly what Alice would do. Torment them, boss them around, crush them til she finds out their true natures. The weak shall be uplifted. The spies, well... half will be turned into pigs, and the others will have to clean up pig crap for a hundred years.
*Ryu doesn't actually know- do not take this joke as an actual spoiler