The landscape had been completely remodeled into a destroyed battlefield due to the ongoing dispute between Evlin and Leona.
The whole area was filled with craters, destroyed trees, pieces of rubble spread throughout the field, and small fires starting here and there.
It looked like a meteor had landed in the middle of the open field, returned into space, and crashed seven more times in different spots.
Evlin's enormous griffin made of diamond and Leona's immense gorilla made of fire kept exchanging blows on each other trying to take the other one down.
Every time one tried to land a hit on the other, a small bit of destruction would be added to the scenery.
The griffin would jump towards the sky and try to stomp its enemy making several craters appear, while the ape would throw a fireball as big as its fist on the winged opponent and burning everything around it in the process.
Between the two titanic creatures, the two women were also engaging in combat armed with weapons made of wood charged with magic energy.
Evlin was doing her best to strike Leona with a blast of raw energy from her crossbow while Leona herself kept trying to close the distance between them and burn Evlin's armor using the heat emanating from her body powered up by her allies.
Leona was proving to be a rather powerful adversary for Evlin with the power of the other six fire mages sending their energy to boost her attacks and increase her literal firepower.
Evlin herself, however, still was managing to hold her own due to the immense amount of wood at her disposal, as well as having access to her golden form to increase her magic output.
The mages aiding Leona could not tell which of the two had the upper hand at the moment. They wanted to jump in and help their leader, but if even a single one of them decided to stop sending their energy to Leona, Evlin would have the advantage and finish her off.
"This is insane!!" one of the mages said, "The crossbow mage is keeping up with Leona even with all of us sending our power to her!! What is she made off??"
Another one of the fire mages spoke as well, "Don't forget... This is the girl that defeated the demon leader that took over the southern kingdom when she was just a kid! She is not to be taken lightly!"
"Still! How can one person keep up with Leona like this?? At this rate... She might- Aaaghh!!"
The mages were so lost in their conversation that they didn't notice a massive boulder engulfed in flames flying in their direction and almost crushing them. The fright was so big that they almost severed their flame connection with Leona. Once the fear had passed, they took another look at the sight and watched the two mages fighting with all their strength trying to take the other one down.
Evlin had a crossbow in one hand and a gauntlet on the other. She was shooting at Leona with a barrage of raw magic while barely taking any time to breathe, but Leona simply kept blocking her attacks with a barrier made of fire.
Meanwhile, Leona tried to attack as well by summoning a colossal spear made of fire and throwing it at Evlin, but the black-haired mage simply used her earth and modeling magic to make a huge pillar composed of diamonds to sustain the blast.
The two kept this little game of throwing everything they had at the other while trying to block any incoming attacks for as long as they could hoping that their stamina would outlast their opponent, but it looked like neither of the two had any intention of giving up any time soon.
It reached a point were a blast from Evlin's crossbow and fireball from Leona's dragon staff ended up being throw at the same time and clashing with each other. The impact created such a huge shockwave that both of them ended up losing their balance for a moment.
"Man, you're annoying..." Evlin said, using this chance to finally catch her breath, "How much do we need to redecorate the landscape before you realize that I don't wanna go with you guys??"
"Trust me... I wish we could have met under different circumstances..." Leona answered, also trying to take advantage of their small time-out to put herself together, "But our orders were clear. Bring back the crossbow mage at all costs!"
"Of course... There is always someone trying to capture me... No matter how far I go..." Evlin mumbled while glaring at Leona, "Have you ever wondered that maybe the wonderful goddess that you love so much might be a huge prick and maybe you shouldn't just try to enslave people just because she asked??"
"Enslave?? We are trying to recruit you! She wants you to be one of us! Don't you see what a great honor this is?" Leona asked.
"No! No, I don't! What seems like an honor for you is a nightmare for me! I don't want to have anything to do with magic, monsters, or gods ever again. If I did, I wouldn't have tried to leave your world in the first place!"
"Please miss Evlin... If you would just give me a chance to show you what a great opportunity this is!"
Evlin converted a huge chunk of her armor into a pair of crossbows and aimed them at Leona while saying "NOT. INTERESTED!", followed by immediately releasing a pair of massive bullets made of diamond surrounded by raw magic.
Leona saw the projectiles coming at her. She was aware that Evlin's diamonds were much more powerful than any type of material that she ever encountered. If she tried to stop these bullets, she would end with a pair of holes on her body, so moving out of the way was the only option.
The blond woman began to release an immense output of fire magic from her boots and burst herself out of the trajectory of the bullets.
"This was my warning shot..." Evlin said, making Leona turn her attention to her, "Up until now I have been using bullets of raw magic to try and knock you out... But if you really wanna try to prolong this even further, I'll start fighting for real!"
"Fighting for real??" Leona said while trying to hold her gasp. Evlin had been keeping up with her even with the aid of her teammates boosting her energy with the fire cloak. If that wasn't the full extent of her power, then Leona was in much bigger trouble than she expected.
Little did she know that was simply a huge bluff from Evlin. The mage was starting to lose all her remaining strength and was about to drop on her knees at any second now. The only reason she hadn't done so yet was due to Sphinx giving her some extra energy, but she knew that the second the two returned to normal, Evlin would end up spending a whole week stuck on a bed.
Fighting Leona was already hard enough, but she was also pretty exhausted from her aerial game of tag with Xadi from earlier. She needed a break, and she needed it soon. The woman began to think of a way to simply end this fight so she could return to trying to deal with her own problems.
She couldn't get too close to Leona or her fire magic would turn Evlin's armor into ashes, so shooting from a distance was her safest bet. But then, she started to realize that this was also what Leona expected, and she remembered from her past adventures that the best way to get your enemy off-guard is to do something that they would never consider.
"Time to end this..." whispered the crossbow mage.
Evlin then took aim of Leona one more time and released another shot of raw magic. Leaona noticed the incoming shot and created another barrier of flames to block the attack.
While she did so thought, Evlin aimed both her crossbows behind her and released another shot to send her flying towards Leona as if she was a human-rocket.
Leona saw the missile in the form of a woman coming right at her and began to boost the power of her cloak to strike Evlin at full power once she entered her range. As Evlin continued to approach her opponent, she began to turn her crossbows into gauntlets and readied herself to smack Leona with her full power. Leona was preparing herself to receive the attack but she then noticed small pieces of rock beginning to gather around Evlin.
The recreation mage was using her geokinesis to cover her whole body with an armor made of rocks, and once she was fully covered, she used her power of alchemy to turn the armor into diamonds.
"I hope you don't mind if I copy your idea!" said Evlin.
Leona panicked and began to shout to her allies, "Increase the output of the fire cloak!!! Give me everything you have!!"
The mages followed her order and started to send all the fire magic they had left to their leader. Leona's cloak started to grow in size, becoming so big that it was now incinerating everything around her.
Evlin kept flying at her with her body covered in diamonds and Leona kept increasing her energy output to receive the attack with her body covered in flames.
At the same time, both of their giant pets were copying their gestures. Evlin's diamond golem in the form of a griffin was flying at full speed towards the giant gorilla made of flames who itself was becoming bigger and bigger and preparing for the impact.
All the mages had their eyes glued at the scene just waiting to find out who was going to come out on top, when suddenly one of them noticed something moving in the middle of the battlefield.
"What is that...?" the mage asked. He took another look and saw a small group of animals coming out from a hole that was right in the middle of Evlin's trajectory towards Leona. It was a family of rabbits that were trying to find shelter after having their homes destroyed as collateral damage from the fight, and were now finding themselves caught in the middle of the battlefield.
"Huh!!??" x 2
Both Evlin and Leona were caught off-guard by the sudden appearance of the white rodents and realized that Evlin was about to crash right into them.
"Shoot!! I can't stop!!" Evlin said as she noticed she was about to bump into the group of animals and completely pulverize them. She then used her geokinesis to put the giant Sphinx in front of her to stop her movement.
She smacked herself against the diamond griffin, but the speed at which she was flying with was so high that she actually ended up pushing her pet on top of the rabbits in the process.
"Noooooo!!!!!" Evlin shouted.
"I got you!!" Leona decided to help and moved her fire ape to hold the falling griffin and stop him from squashing the rodents by making him fall to the other side.
"Eh...??" Evlin whispered, completely surprised that Leona decided to help her.
The family of rabbits rushed out of the way afraid of the giant beasts and finally got safely out of danger.
Evlin and Leonda dropped on the ground completely tired and unable to cast any more magic to fight. The diamond griffin began to crumble and the fire gorilla started to vanish.
The two looked at each other for a moment until Evlin decided to talk to her, "Why did you help me...?"
Leona looked at the other way as if she was embarrassed to say something afraid that her team would hear her. She then finally whispered with the lowest voice she could, "I wasn't helping you... I was helping them..."
"... What...?" Evlin turned her head confused as Leona pointed her staff at the runaway rabbits.
Leona them pulled her hood down in order to cover her face, "I... I love animals..."
"You... Love animals...?" Evlin said while covering her mouth as if she was about to cry.
"... Yes... When I saw that they were in danger my mind just went absolutely blank and my body moved on its own..."
Leona looked at Evlin expecting her to start mocking her for revealing that small bit of information about herself. Evlin, however, simply rushed towards Leona and held her hands with tears coming out of her eyes, making the fire mage very confused.
"I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL!!!!" she screamed, making Leona paralyzed by her loud voice.
"When I saw those fluffy ears, and those tiny legs, and the fact that they were just a family trying their best to survive... I felt I was going to have a heart attack if something happened to them!!" Evlin said while shaking Leona's hand up and down.
"For a second I thought I was going to bury them with my attack!! If something had happened to them because of me, I don't think I could ever forgive myself!!!" Evlin said while now hugging Leona.
"Thank you!! Thank you so much for stopping me from harming them!!"
"You... You're welcome..." Leona said while looking at Evlin wondering if the woman she was fighting until now had been replaced by another person. Many people were familiar with how powerful and short-tempered Evlin could be, but very few knew that the woman was absolutely defenseless when the topic was animals or children.
Evlin always had this inner voice inside her mind that always screamed that she should try to raise and protect anything that could not protect itself, so watching Leona trying her best to protect that small pack of bunnies started to make her wonder if the two could be kindred spirits.
Leona herself, though, was simply lost as to what to say. She imagined that Evlin would have used this chance to try to attack her while she had her guard down. She definitely did not expect the great crossbow girl, famous for taking down the east goddess and defeating the demon leader to start geeking out like a highschool girl.
"I'm so glad to finally meet someone that shares my love for animals!! My sister and my mother always look at me as if I am a weirdo, and even my niece acts like she only cares about magic and stuff!! This is such a relief!!"
"Please! Don't say that out loud!! It's embarrassing!!" Leona whispered trying to cover Evlin's mouth.
"What's embarrassing about proudly proclaiming that you love what you love?? Animals are cute and adorable!! And anyone that doesn't love them is out of their minds!!!"
The group of mages kept staring confused while Evlin continued jumping up and down and randomly shaking Leona while their leader kept trying to hide her face under her hood for some reason.
"What are they doing...?" one of them asked.
"I think... They became friends...?" another answered.
"... So what do we do now...?"
"I'm... Not sure... Let's wait a bit and see if Leona can get her on our side..."
As the fire mages kept whispering to themselves, Evlin suddenly spotted something approaching them. It was a red Mercedes driving at her direction throughout the completely destroyed battlefield with two women inside of it, one with long black hair tied up on the passenger's seat and another with short black curly hair driving it. Lilith and Chloe.
"Evlin!!!" Lilith shouted while sticking her head out of the window.
"Lilith...? Chloe...?" Evlin said while slowly walking towards their direction.
The vehicle finally stopped and the two women rushed towards Evlin looking like they had seen a ghost.
"Guys? What's wrong?" Evlin asked, worried about their expressions.
"Evlin, you need to come, NOW!!" Lilith said while holding her shoulders, "Your school is in danger!!"