His fascination rose the more he watched the process unfold before him. It was something even he would call magical.
Ella was not using her Aura to shape the liquid metal. She was using her fire to melt it. She melted seven Spears and formed them into one.
Shazan did not understand how she managed to melt the metal to thread-like thinness. She weaved the thread on the body of the spear, making it so that it’s length remained at Ilsa’s height, and its shaft was not too big to grip.
Later, she attached the War-Hammer she had created with the metal from the Ant to the new spear, transforming it into a Halberd. It had a Spear end, an Axe, and a Hammer.
The little metal that was left was used to form several grips on the shaft, making it fit for different styles. And then she formed a hilt with an emblem of a Six-Pointed Star engulfed in a flame.
The weapon bathed in her fire right before their eyes, and slowly, inscriptions started to appear all over the weapon. Some were in the Language of Azeros, and some in the Language of Djinns, but they read the same.
“Zurkill; War Maiden’s Lament. Master: Ilsa Silverstein.”
It was the name Ella had given to the weapon and the name of its wielder.
The entire process continued for over an hour, and he stayed sharp to deal with any creatures that might appear, but thankfully, only one scorpion did that he and Queen Izna dealt with.
When the fire subsided, the Halberd floated in the air in all its majesty. It was a deadly yet strangely attractive weapon colored in shades of silver and grey.
Ella created a perfect heavy-weapon for someone like Ilsa.
The Kalstark Princess’s eyes were shining brightly in her infatuation with the weapon.
“How’s it?” Ella smiled and asked her.
Ilsa did not answer her, but the mistiness in her eyes intensified.
She carefully drew her hand and grabbed the weapon that was floating before her. She held it tightly, and let the hilt hit the ground. The muffled sound of the impact told them how heavy it was, and the slight tremors they felt from the ground hammered on their hearts.
“Thank you…” Ilsa whispered.
Everyone smiled when they heard her words. There was genuine gratitude in her voice that she did not bother hiding. And the smile on her face indicated how happy she was.
“You’re Welcome!” Ella giggled, and then placed her hands on her waist proudly. “Fire Djinns are the best Alchemists, and we are only second to Dwarves when it comes to smithing.” She told them.
“Ella!” Isha called out to her. “Can you make a pretty Sword for me?” She requested.
“Okay!” She happily nodded. “But let’s wait for better materials first.” She looked at the piles of Swords by the walls and sighed. “All these Swords are not good enough. They can do the job, but it would not be enough for a gift for you. I will make you a pretty Sword if we get lucky to see a Moth and a fully mature One-Star Scorpion.”
“Moth?” Shazan frowned and asked.
“Mhm…” She nodded her head. “They are tricky to face, but their wings are made of a very special metal that is light, very flexible, and soft to touch, but at the same time, it is one of the most durable metals. This material can be used to form sheaths for the swords, clothes, and works as a substitute for leather as well.”
“You want it for the Sheath and a comfortable grip on the handle?”
“Yes,” Ella smiled at him. “And I need three blades from a One-Star Scorpion to form three layers of the blade. Only then it will enter the One-Star Weapon rank.”
“What rank is that Halberd?”
“One-Star.” She answered with a smile. “It would only be damaged if it comes against a Two-Star or more graded weapon. But I doubt you would find any such weapon even in a level-two World.”
“What does the Star mean?” Maira asked curiously.
“The Value, Power, Durability, and the sign that it can be upgraded,” Ella replied with a smile.
“How do you upgrade it?” Ilsa hurriedly asked.
“You need to be in a Level-Three World at least. Then you must find a race that specializes in Magic to place an enchantment on the weapon. After that, whenever you find a higher grade of the material that the weapon is made of, it will simply devour it and upgrade itself.” Ella replied with a pale smile. “To upgrade this Halberd, you will need Javelins from Two-Star Annihilation Spiders, and then the Liquid Metal from the Two-Star Ant.”
Shazan frowned when he heard that.
“Aren’t these insects all One-Star?”
His question alarmed all the girls and they looked at Ella, hoping that she would not reveal something dreadful.
Ella laughed when she saw their tensed expressions.
“Don’t worry. All Insects in the Tests of Annihilation are only One-Star. You won’t face Two-Star Insects. They can’t even enter this Channel.”
“You don’t need to worry about that for now.” Ella interrupted Ilsa’s next question and shook her head.
Shazan knew that too much information would do them no good at the moment.
“Spider, Scorpion, Ant, and Moth.” He changed the subject and turned to look at the carvings on the Walls. There were several carvings, but he managed to find three more Insect Beasts. “Dragonfly, Mantis, and… what’s that?”
“Beetle,” Ella said with seriousness. “Its Wings are of the same material as that of the Moth, but there is one more material that it provides that is more precious. It’s the Scales on its Wing-Casings. They are best for making shields.”
“How strong is it?”
“The Beetle?” She flashed a bright smile. “Its body is tougher than the Ant, and those Wing-Casings are nearly unbreakable because of those scales. But what is scary is its Ability.”
“What does it do?” Queen Izna inquired.
“It controls one of the most mystical powers; Gravity.” There was no smile on her face. “It can generate a domain in which the Gravity can rise or fall at its will. And it loves crushing its enemies under its body or with its horn after rooting them in a place. What is even more dreadful is that it can choose which creatures would be affected by the change in gravity. The other Annihilation Beasts in the domain would not be hindered. The Domain lasts for a duration of time and then goes into cool-down. But the duration is quite long. Unless someone is stronger than the Beetle in strength, the Gravity Manipulation would affect them.”
All of them sucked in a cold breath at her words.
“Moth will be just as tricky, but since we are inside a cave, it won’t be able to fly around at will, which makes it easier for us to deal with it. But be very careful of the Mantis. It is the Insect that is the best in close combat. And the Dragonfly is venomous and fast, it wouldn’t be hindered much even inside the cave.”
The Dimensional Wall rippled again as soon as she finished her words.
Except for Ella, everyone else was tensed. No one wanted to see a Beetle or a Mantis come out of it. They did not even want to see a Dragonfly.
Luckily, what appeared out of it was a giant Scorpion.
“Let’s go…” Ilsa grinned as she readied her Halberd for the battle. She was eager to test it out.
“Mhm.” Ella smiled at her. “But don’t push yourself too much. You are not yet familiar with this weapon. Don’t hit us with it.”
The girls followed Ella’s lead and engaged the Creature in a battle.
“You are not going to participate?” Shazan looked at Izna and asked.
“They can handle it. And you heard what she said.” She clenched her fist. “I want to stay alert and ready to cover them in case one of those things appears.”
He had trust in Ella’s strength, but that didn’t mean he would drop his guard down. Now that he was certain that things could turn unfavorable at any moment even with Ella present, he was not going to slack off.
“Where did you send Sir Ezio?” Queen Izna inquired.
“He’s assessing the situation of the Forces,” Shazan explained to her the new plans. “The average strength has risen. And it will keep rising, therefore, more balanced teams are required now. The Charm Witches will stay banded, but other groups will be broken.”
“You are finally taking measures against the Elders.” Izna smiled at his words and nodded in approval. “Are you going to mix in Blood Knights with the Elders and High-Guards?”
The Second Queen of Aryans turned silent at his confirmation. She looked at him meaningfully and then sighed.
“You are certain that we will accept your offer of the Blood Contract. And so you want to make them recognize each other as comrades.”
Shazan did not say anything in reply and only smiled.
“Next time, kill anyone who behaves like those four Elders.” Her words were grave. “This is a battlefield, and when someone disobeys the code and tries to sow dissension among the ranks, they need to be taken out as soon as possible. You have already given out a warning and set an example, the next time if something like that happens, draw your sword.” She advised.
“Let’s hope that situation doesn’t arrive.” He sighed and nodded.
“It surprises me that all the women around you are so harmonious with each other.” She smiled as she observed the girls battle together with complete trust. “It is as if they are all sisters. You are truly blessed to have such a family.”
“That I am…” He smiled. “But there are reasons why things are this way.”
Queen Izna curiously looked at him.
“I would never make a girl part of the family that I know would break it apart.”
“How would you know?” She smiled. “Men are lustful, and women are envious. Anything could happen.”
“I do know it when I see a girl. It’s a blessing I guess.” He shrugged and flashed a bright smile. “But you are right. Anything could happen, and that is why Arianna and Renesme are there to manage them.”
“Your Empresses…” Izna frowned. “I haven’t met them yet.”
“Mhm…” He nodded. “Arianna worked hard to form up this family. She makes sure that all of them are happy and that none of them are dissatisfied. And she knows exactly when to be strict and when to be lenient with her sister wives. And they are all scared of her because they all love me and I love her the most.”
“You say it without any guilt.”
“I am not guilty.” Shazan shook his head. “I can’t be. It isn’t in my control how much I love them.”
“And your Renesme?”
“My love for her is only second to that of Arianna.” He replied without any hesitation and doubt. “And she is one that helps Arianna hold the family together. No one else can compare to my little sister, but her.”
Izna kept her eyes on the battlefield, but her attention was mostly on her granddaughter.
“It was Renesme who had told me about Maira.” He told her a secret.
“What?” Izna confusedly looked at her.
“There’s a Princess in this World, a future Queen of Beauty and Might. Want to see her?.” He recalled that day. “Those were her words. And I was tempted to see the girl that she would call a Queen of Beauty and Might. She told me where to look for her, and I found your family on a vacation in Florence. That’s where I saw her for the first time. And yes, Renesme was right. All it took me was a look to fall for her.”
“Things would have turned out differently if you had shown some patience back then.” Izna shook her head in a complaint.
Shazan smiled at her words and then glanced behind him, seeing Ezio walking over.
“What’s the situation, Uncle?” He asked as soon as Ezio arrived to stand by his side.
“The King is resting, but he can’t seem to take his mind off the battle going on here.” Ezio sighed and answered. “New groups have been formed. Each having Two Elders, Two Blood Knights, and Six High-Guards.”
“How many High-Guards are there now?” He frowned and asked Queen Izna.
“A batch left with the Royals that evacuated Arkaya to keep them safe.” She replied. “Now, we should have 120 High-Guards present here, after a few have died.”
“Yes,” Ezio nodded. “There are 18 Guards in the Third-Realm, 71 in the Fourth-Realm, and 31 in the Fifth-Realm, 120 in total.”
Shazan was clear about the Strengths of the Blood Knights and the Elders.
Out of the thirty-six Blood Knights, thirty were now in the Fifth-Realm, and six were in the Sixth-Realm.
With one Elder dead, and four disbanded, there were twenty-three Elders in total, excluding Amraaz. Of the twenty-three, five were in the Seventh-Realm, and eighteen were in the Sixth-Realm.
Unit-S, which originally had twelve members, now had sixteen members, with Original Twelve all now in the Sixth-Realm, and four new members entering the Fifth-Realm.
“If we count every one of us, the total number of Force is 209. That is after excluding those Four that you have thrown out. And leaving you, Sir Gerald, Queen of Aryans, Elder Amraaz, and Lady Ella out, there are 204 of us.” Ezio informed him. “All in all, 18 Third-Realm, 71 Fourth-Realm, 36 Fifth-Realm including Prince Akash, and Lady Keira. 38 Sixth-Realm including Prince Vikaros, and Caius. We have 6 people in the Seventh-Realm including King of Aryans and excluding Her Highness.”
“What do you suggest?” Shazan frowned and asked.
“The 6 people in the Seventh-Realm would form a group that will serve as the Guardian Force. Then we have you, Queen Izna, Elder Amraaz, and Sir Gerald in your group of four. You will also serve as the Guardian Force.” Ezio told his plan.
“You suggest putting the King on the battlefield?”
“Mhm..” He nodded. “I saw him. And since the people have been safely evacuated, he had been fighting here. And now that he will be entering the Seventh-Realm, his heart wouldn’t be at peace if he is not constantly on the frontlines.”
“What do you think?” Shazan turned to look at Queen Izna and asked.
“He’s right. Let him fight.” She nodded in approval.
“Alright.” He sighed. “Maira, Isha, Ilsa, Keira, Ann, Caius, Akash, Prince Vikaros, and you will be on the same team.” He told Ezio. “Ella is on her own.”
“As you say.” Ezio politely nodded.
“How many people do we have ready to battle at the moment?”
“Sixty,” Ezio replied. “Charm Witches, Elders, and Blood Knights are all resting. 18 Third-Realm and 42 Fourth-Realm High-guards are ready.”
Shazan sighed at the words. There was no way he could allow them to battle on their own. He needed to wait for the rest of the forces.
“Prince Vikaros has woken up. He said he will be coming here in an hour. And Caius is ready as well.”
“Good. For now, your Team will be battling here under the protection of Ella. You have to hold on for a day.” Shazan smiled at him.
“Thank you!” He smiled and went closer to the girls that were battling the Scorpion. He did not enter the battle but chose to watch over them for now.
“You should get an armor now,” Izna advised him as she glanced at the latest patch on his arm.
“I will be fine.” He assured her. “And you need to go and see your Husband once Vikaros and Caius arrive here.”
Izna frowned at his words but then sighed and smiled.
“No worries.” He chuckled and looked at the rippling wall. “Looks like we are up.”
What appeared out of the wall was a little Ant.
“No, we are not.” Izna shook her head as she watched the Ilsa crazily hack the head of the scorpion with her halberd.
The poor creature died after suffering at the hands of the girls for nearly a dozen minutes.
Ella was making sure that she was not making things too easy for the girls. She was giving Maira, Ilsa, and Isha enough time to get used to fighting the creature before helping them finish it.
The group of girls excitedly rushed at the Ant right after they finished the Scorpion.
His heart thumped hard when he saw the Ant spit a ball of Acid at Maira, but a Fireball clashed with it and burst it into smoke that soon vanished.
The Beast was not taking any chances with the people rushing at it, and it nailed its sting right in the ground below, spreading tremors all around, causing Isha to fall, and making Maira and Ilsa drawback.
The Kalsatrk Princess was angry at the Beast as she rushed forward again, she ignored the ball of Acid that it threw at her, and kept advancing. Ella saved her with another Fireball, and Ilsa managed to strike her Halberd right on the head of the Ant.
Shazan frowned when he saw a gash appear on the Beast’s head. It was the toughest part of the Beast, and he knew that he needed all his strength to leave such a mark on it, but Ilsa had done it on her own.
“That weapon is scary.” Izna had the same thought as him.
“But it is a weapon suited for people like Ilsa who have innately monstrous physical strength.”
The girls managed to finish the Beast in under two minutes. It was a slaughter.
However, the group did not get the time to catch their breath as two spiders walked out of the Wall not long after they had finished their battle.
Ezio finally moved and joined the group of girls. Both the Spiders had four Discs. They were not going to be easy to deal with.
Ella glanced at Shazan and smiled.
He did not need to hear words to know what she wanted to convey.
“She is going to make it hard for girls now. We have to take care of any other creature that comes out during their battle.” He informed the Queen of Aryans.
“I am ready.” She replied by drawing her sword.
Everything was under control for a few minutes, but their luck soon ran out.
What appeared out of the wall was the first true One-Star Beast.
♛ Author’s Note:
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