169 The worst opponent II
The group had finally reached the border of the summoning ring. They could tell because right behind them was the usual forest with different types of trees all drenched in all the seven colors of the rainbow.
Lilith wondered if the reason the forest looked like that was because the process of summoning monsters from all over the world also resulted in many trees also being summoned by accident. If she looked around she could recognize some of the trees from both her hometown and from the city of emerald dawn.
If that was the case, she wondered if in a couple of months the place would look completely different from summoning a new batch of monsters and trees.
When she looked in front of her, however, all the trees looked the same and all were colored in a united tone of blue, almost as if the forest was somehow reflecting the sky.
"So I guess this is the memory ring?" Marcus wondered.
"Indeed... We all better get ready..." Detra mentioned.
"Whatever it is that we face, I can handle it!" Ellie declared.
"No! Not this time!" Detra told. She noticed that the young girl was confused by that statement and tried to explain her sentiment, "Fighting dumb monsters and fighting actual people are two different things. You saw how dangerous the rats became after they started to attack while using their brains. Beasts tend to just fight on pure instinct, but actual people will fight using their heads... You need to be extra careful this time!"
"I... I see..."
Detra looked at the group and tried to come up with a formation.
"Sword-lady, you will move on front. Use your future sight to keep us alert of any possible opponent that will show up that could try to launch a surprise attack on us."
"Fine by me..." Lilith stated, despite not being happy with being ordered by Detra.
"Marcus, you stay behind us. If We get attacked by any angle you need to use your speed and metal to protect our backs."
Marcus just nodded in silence. He still didn't want to talk with his mother any more than necessary.
"Young miss, you will be by my side while we stay in the middle. Once we safely get a good idea of who our opponent will be, I will give you instructions on how to properly engage with them."
"Understood!!" Ellie responded happily, showing that she was glad she would still be able to fight more and gain more experience.
"Very well... It seems like we are all set to go" Detra reported.
The group assumed their positions. Lilith was relieved that she would be able to fight again. She was really not comfortable leaving everything to Ellie. Marcus wasn't having a lot of fun having to stare at his mother right in front of him so much but he tried to maintain his focus on Ellie and tried to keep her safe.
Ellie was just moving like a dog that had its ears standing up trying to hear some noise. She was constantly looking around, trying to guess where the opponents would show up from.
Detra was sweating a little bit. She was honestly worried if they should have faced a few more monsters before stepping into this ring. Ellie was definitely stronger right now, but was she strong enough? Although, they only had six days left and this day was almost over already by the sight of the sun slowly setting.
If they managed to get over the ring of memories today, and dealt with the ring of fear tomorrow, they would reach the ring of time with days to spare.
Lilith suddenly halted her movement and raised her fist to signal the team to do the same.
"Someone is coming!" she whispered.
The group assumed battle positions. Marcus created a pair of blades, Ellie turned on her mirrored future sight and Lilith assumed her samurai stance.
"How many? How well armed are they?" Detra asked.
"Five knights... Two mages... The knights are fully armored and each carries a sword... One is carrying a shield as well, probably the leader... The mages appear to be healers."
"Very well..." Detra mumbled while indecently starting to devise her plan.
"I can take them..." Lilith added.
"And what good would that do?? We need the young miss to fight remember??"
"But there are seven of them! This could be dangerous!"
"That's the point, genius!! I want her to be able to handle dangerous situations! Now shut up and let me think!"
Lilith became irritated but she kept holding her position. The group started to become tense with the situation, waiting for the memory warriors to appear at any second. Detra then showed that she had finally finished her planning.
"Ok, this is how we will do this... Marcus, you will use your speed and take down the mages so that they won't be able to help their teammates. Young miss, I need you to make a wall of diamonds that will split the group into three the second the mages fall down. The swordswoman will take two of the small ones, and Marcus will take the other two. You will handle the shield leader, got it?"
"Got it!" x3
The three of them were pleased with the plan. Marcus and Lilith were glad that they would be doing most of the work and keeping Ellie safe, and Ellie was glad that she would get to fight the strongest opponent.
The group finally appeared. Just as Lilith told, five warriors and two mages, all coming out of the blue-leafed bushes as if they were on a parade. They were all covered in hoodied cloaks that covered their faces. The warriors all had armor underneath their cloaks while the mages had regular clothes. One of the mages had its staff in full display while the other appeared to be hidden. One of the warriors appeared to be much shorter than the rest, which made that person stand out a bit.
"They are all just memories right...? They are not real people or anything?" Marcus asked.
"Yes! You don't have to worry about breaking your moral code or whatever..." Detra assured.
"Then I'm going all out!"
The ladies opened a path for Marcus to move past them. He rushed straight towards the two mages that were walking in the back of their team with his blade to strike them down.
As Lilith kept observing the group emerging from the shadows, her face began to lose color.
"Oh, no... MARCUS, STOP!!!!" She shouted with all her strength.
By the time she released her cry, Marcus was already inches away from the group, but the moment he tried to swing down his arm, the blade got parried by another sword.
"What!!??" Marcus gasped. His metal should be able to slash anything, and yet it still got parried somehow.
"MARCUS!! GET BACK HERE RIGHT NOW!! I MADE A MISTAKE!!!" Lilith screamed again.
"Mistake...? What kind of... Oh..." Marcus stared at the warrior with a shield. He was the one that managed to parry his attack. Lilith assumed that the man had a sword, but what actually happened was that the man's arm was the sword.
Marcus saw the man's face and could barely speak while acting like he had seen a ghost. It was a strong-looking man with black hair tied up by a short ponytail, exactly like Marcus, and exactly like a certain person he knew.
While Marceus kept staring blankly at Marcus, one of the mages that were in the back raised a crossbow from under its cloak and aimed it at the lad.
And before anyone could react, Marcus was completely blasted by an immense release of raw magic energy that sent him flying all the way back to the summoning ring.
"You gotta be kidding me..." Detra murmured.
"Is that..." Ellie could barely believe in her eyes, "Aunt Evie!!!"
As the fifteen-year-old Evlin heard her name, she locked target onto Ellie and aimed her crossbow at her group next.
"Oh, no... MOVE!!!" Lilith shouted as the memory of Evlin tried to blast them as well.
Lilith grabbed a tight hold of Ellie and her and Detra jumped out of the way in the last second. Part of the forest had been completely decimated.
Detra, Lilith, and Ellie tried to get themselves together and figure out what to do.
"This is ridiculous!!! The moment we take two steps into the memory ring, we already come face to face with some of the worst possible opponents!!" Detra shouted.
Evlin's memory released another shot that forced Lilith and the others to dodge one more time. The moment she finished escaping the attack, she noticed two of the warriors coming at her with their blades ready to impale her.
Lilith raised her own blade to block their attack. She was wondering why their weapons stayed intact, but then she took a closer look and realized something.
"Blessed swords... These guys are using Marceus to make weapons for them!!"
The other mage that was by Evlin's side aimed his staff at Lilith and released a blast of wind magic to push her away.
The woman took the attack head-on and got knocked against a tree, severely injuring her back and causing great pain on her body.
"Lilith!!" Ellie shouted.
The girl then raised a wall of diamonds to keep the warriors away from her. They tried to slice the wall with their blades but Ellie kept making more pillars to push them back.
She kept doing so until the two reunited with their group, but suddenly, another one of the warriors jumped in and raised her hand.
She was the shortest one in that group. Her head reached all the way to the waist of Marceus.
As she touched the wall of diamonds, a small mouth started to show up in her hand and began to absorb the mirror magic Ellie was using, making her diamonds vanish completely.
"No..." Ellie gasped.
The wind mage blasted Ellie while she was distracted, and the little girl's hood was blown off, revealing a child with black hair tied up by two ponytails.
"Mia..." Ellie whispered.
Lilith raised her head and she became even paler than before. The third warrior that Detra was talking about before was the same one who caused them all to come to this forest in the first place.
Right in front of her, was a group of memory warriors whose members included the strongest blessed energy user, the strongest magic energy user, and the strongest cursed energy user.
Detra just stared at the situation with hopeless eyes.
"Sure, why not..."