217 Making your own path
Gustav was still trying his best to avoid getting captured by Mia's army after she decided to shift a lot of her focus into him.
Her soldiers just kept coming one after another as if they were sharks being attracted by blood in the water.
The blond man wanted to try and lose them but Mia wasn't taking her eyes away from him for even a second. It appeared that his ability to release imprisoned souls really put her on edge.
"What's wrong, Gus?? Don't you wanna play with my friends??" the lady in red clothes yelled.
Gustav didn't mind it though. He was more than glad to keep Mia distracted while the rest of his teammates continued to recover their breaths while others still tried to contain the giant water hydra that appeared that it was going to be much bigger trouble than they expected.
On top of that, he still could rely on the power of the holy metal he was wearing to increase his agility, so dodging the enemy attacks was no problem for him.
"I don't mind playing... But are you sure they can keep up? Or should I try to go slower to give them a chance?" he replied.
A group of monsters leaped towards him and tried to capture the man, but Gustav just quickly moved out of the way and charged his fists with purification power.
He dashed in between them and unleashed a series of quick light punches that managed to hit the beasts in their weak spots, followed by removing the cursed energy from inside of them.
A huge blue tiger with horns was turned into a small cat, an eagle with three tails that had fire wings became a regular bird no bigger than a fist, and a humanoid figure with four arms that had snakeheads in the place where its hands should be was turned into a small white rat.
"... Uuuhh... How did... Ugh... never mind..." Gustav grumbled as he was about to question the logic behind that last monster's transformation, but he had other things to focus on, such as staying alive.
More enemies kept on coming, but the champion of the south just continued to act with smart fast movements and used his blessing to remove the red energy from inside of their bodies.
They were mostly monsters thought, Mia was being very careful to not send any possessed mages after Gustav and run the risk of losing her biggest hitters. Losing Daren was already a major blow in her arsenal.
"How hard it is to take out one guy???" Mia complained.
Gustav was in the middle of purifying another demon but he heard the lady's comment and decided to challenge her.
"If you think your followers are no good, why not trying taking me yourself??" Gustav declared while opening his arms wide as if he was trying to look like a big target for Mia to chase after.
Part of her truly did want to go after him, but because of her contract with Detra, Mia was under the obligation of not entering any fights until after she tried to take on Ellie. The army probably wasn't aware of that fact, so she wanted to play smart and keep herself ready until the mirror mage appeared.
"Pass... taking on you is below me... I'm only after the big fishes!" she commented while trying to hide her true intentions.
"Could it be that you're scared of a mere human?" Gustav tried to continue his taunt.
"Scared...?? Of you?? Don't make me laugh! Until a few minutes ago, I didn't even remember you existed!"
"So you say... And yet, the second I show up, you start to focus all your efforts into finishing me off!"
Mia started to wonder about that and realized that Gustav was right. She was really trying hard to get him, but not because of how much of a threat he represented. For some reason, she really hated him, and she couldn't really put her finger on why.
"Come on, Mia!! Show me what the demon queen can do!" Gustav continued.
However, Mia was just lost trying to understand her feelings. The more she looked at Gustav the more her anger continued to rise until finally, something started to clear up inside her mind.
"... I know you..." she whispered.
"It was you... wasn't it?" she whispered while gripping her hold on her diamond chair.
Gustav just seemed lost at the sudden change in the tone of the woman in red.
"That's right... I remember now... You're from her memories..." Mia continued as she raised her hand.
The ground started to shake and a group of diamond golems with the appearance of a certain girl with messy black hair Gustav recognized started to emerge and crawl after him.
Mia kept focusing and finally could see the memory with full clarity. It was an image of him trying to apologize to the same girl with messy black hair and getting yelled at by her and punched into a lake.
"You were the guy that made Evlin cry!!" Mia yelled.
"Excuse me...???" Gustav responded while feeling like he was missing some context.
The golems stood up and started to jump on top of him while trying to hold him down.
Gustav tried to fight back but these things were much harder to hit than a regular monster or demon. He attempted to purify them, but there were no souls in their bodies, Mia was moving these dolls with her will.
Realizing that this would not be the same kind of opponent he could easily take down, Gustav tried to get as far away from that spot as possible, but before he noticed, he was completely surrounded.
He looked back and realized that Mia was glaring at him with a look of absolute despise as if he was a cockroach she just wanted to squash.
"You... made... me... her... cry..." she mumbled.
"What... What are you talking about??" Gustav asked while showing he had no idea of what was going on.
Mia snapped her fingers and all of the golems tried to attack him at the same time. He prepared to try and evade them but soon realized that there were no safe openings.
He succeeded in dodging one, then two, and then three, but once the fourth one showed up, it managed to stab his arm.
"Guaahhh!!" he cried in pain.
The man rolled on the grass after being hit and watched as the red golems that looked like Evlin continued to follow after him over the grass that had been tainted with his dripping blood.
"Something is wrong... Mia is acting even weirder than usual..." he whispered.
The golems all started to change their arms into spears and kept getting closer to Gustav to try and stab him, but the ground beneath them started to shake and suddenly, a new wave of golems appeared, also looking like Evlin, only this time, they were composed of blue diamonds instead of red ones.
"What!?" Gustav whispered.
The two groups of golems started to fight each other leaving Gustav in a dazzle not knowing what was going on. He then looked at Mia and noticed she was looking like a kid who just received a birthday gift.
"She's here..." she whispered while standing from her throne, followed by shouting, "she's here!!!!"
Gustav looked at the direction Mia was staring at and noticed a girl running across the field and coming closer and closer to him.
A pair of monster lions with green fur tried to pounce on her but she just raised her arms and made a pair of blue platforms appear from the ground and smack them out of the way.
A large humanoid demon covered in fire attempted to stab her with a sword made of bones but she reacted by making her entire skin turn into metal, stealing his sword, and stabbing him in the heart.
Finally, a possessed mage tried to unleash a wave of magic power to try and stop her, but she just raised her hand and absorbed the energy with little to no trouble, followed by getting closer to him and smacking his stomach with a diamond fist.
"What in the world..." Gustav mumbled.
The girl just kept running in the middle of the battlefield and quickly dealing with any kind of threat that tried to come her way. She was like a bulldozer just disposing of anything that entered her path with a wide range of different types of attacks.
Wherever she passed, her allies just gazed in surprise while wondering who was that girl and why the hell weren't they using her from the start?
As she continued to dash, Gustav noticed that her appearance when she wore a pair of gauntlets was very similar to a certain person he knew, and he finally realized who that child was.
Ellie finally locked eyes on her target and without even stopping, began to gather fragments of blue diamond over her amputated arm once again to create a blue gauntlet to use as a fist.
Mia dashed right past Gustav, which surprised him as she had spent so much time trying to avoid confronting the man, and proceeded to created her own diamond gauntlet.
Their eyes meet, and for a couple of seconds, it felt like everything else had vanished. For these two, nothing else mattered besides the opponent right in front of them.
It felt like the world was moving in slow motion as Mia's and Ellie's fists clashed with each other and a huge shockwave was released upon the field.
The shockwave and the sound it created were both so powerful that the entire army stopped whatever it was that they were doing to pay attention to the red bride and the diamond princess finally facing each other.
"You kept me waiting..." Mia muttered while releasing an immense smile of delight.
Ellie just glared at her while trying to push her back with her fist, "I didn't come here for you..."
Mia started to gather diamonds on her other hand and managed to make a red claw to try and pierce Ellie, "Is that right??"
Indeed it was. Ellie actually wanted to use her mirror magic to copy Gustav's purification ability so she could use it on the red mages, but once she saw the man in danger, she realized she would need to save him first.
Ellie used her future sight to see the incoming attack and covered her skin with metal to block the claw. The impact pushed her back a little, but she continued to struggle.
"That's right!! I came here for my family!!" she shouted while forming a spear of diamonds.
"Then come and get them!!!" Mia yelled back while raising a claw of red diamonds.
Gustav just kept watching as the two started to engage in a fight that was about to completely change the course of this war.