Chapter 12:

Night battle

The Guardian

Alice looked around and she could recognize the clothes of Kratos's followers but she couldn't see Eric anywhere. 
("Just what happened here... with who were they fighting with?)

She continued to enter deeper into the forest, illuminated by the moon, when her battle senses activated and instinctively dodged an attack from behind. 

When she looked back, a giant sword made a small hole into the ground, and attached to it was the hand of a huge man with a muscular boy and scars all over it.

When their eyes meet, the man showed a creepy smile and a fierce look.

"And I who wandered who wiped out my team... so you were here!"

The guy in front of Alice was Gray. She fought with him several years ago after she was ambushed by him when she was escaping while doing a rescue mission. Although she won the fight, she couldn't kill him and was forced to withdraw and now it seems like he was holding a grudge against her.

Before Alice could say something, Gray quickly closed the distance and swing his big sword vertically again. This time Alice summoned two swords and disappeared from his view and reappeared behind him. She wanted to hit him from his blind spot but he quickly reacted by swinging his sword back horizontally. Alice didn't have time to dodge and took the blow head-on with her two swords that shattered after the impact. She was pushed back several meters and fortunately because she activated her shield on time, she ended up with just a few bruises. 

"Oi, oi, don't tell me that you are tired after defeating just some small fries!?"

Gray looked at her with a smile like he just made a good joke while Alice didn't respond to his provocation because her mind was thinking about something else while keep looking for an opening in her opponent's defense.

("Seems like he thinks that I'm the one who defeated those guys... but since I'm not... then who did this? Seems like I won't get any answers from this guy...")

Without receiving an answer, the smile on Gray's face disappeared. He didn't waste any more time and shortened the distance between them like a mad bull. 

Alice didn't wait for him to arrive. She put on more distance between them and summoned countless rays of light behind her that flew towards Gray. He didn't stop and used his giant sword to cover his body and keep advancing without receiving any damage.

When he arrived in front of her and was ready to slash, Alice hit the ground with her fist and huge ice spikes come out of the ground toward Gray. He didn't retreat and slashed the spikes like he was cutting butter, then slash vertically his sword towards Alice. 

Alice felt that the magic power started to accumulate into his blade and took a lot of distance while activating several layers of magical barriers right in time because after cutting the air, from Gray's sword left an invisible slash that cut all the barriers that Alice deployed. Seeing this, Alice summoned the two swords again and slashed in front of her. 

When the blades meet, a bright light emerged and Alice was thrown back in the air. She tried to regain her balance but when she almost landed, a purple magic circle appeared on the ground and she couldn't do anything about it. From that magic circle, countless thorns emerged and all she could do was to defend her vital points while the thorns pierced her. The blood started to come out from her wounds and a girl's laugh resounded from her back. 

"Ha, ha, ha! After so much time we finally got you!"

From the shadows of the forest, a girl with black hair and a military uniform come out. Although Alice's vision started to get blurred she could immediately recognize her. She was another person that she and her friends fought in the past.


Fayes walked past Alice ignoring her and approached Gray that had a displeased look on his face.

"Fayes! Why did you do that? I almost won that fight, I didn't need your help!"

"You said this last time too before you almost get killed by her!"

"I don't remember it going like that!"

"I do!"

While Gray and Fayes quarreled, Alice tried to maintain her consciousness that was slowly fading away.

("No! I can't die like this...I... can't...!")

Alice couldn't accept an end like this and started to gather her magic power. Gray and Fayes felt the change in the flow of magical power and stopped their quarrel. When they looked at Alice she started to emit a chilly air and her wounds were covered by a thin layer of ice. 

("I just need to resist until the girls arrive and all will be over!")

The ground and air surrounding Alice started to freeze and Gray and Fayes knew that this will be dangerous. 

"No, stop her! If we lose again because of you I will hunt you even if I become a ghost!"

"You don't need to tell me twice!"

Gray immediately raised his great sword and swing it down towards Alice but an invisible barrier stopped it. Alice's surroundings became more and more chilly and around one hundred meters radius completely froze. 

"I can't break that barrier, do something about it!"

Gray retreated after he couldn't break the barrier and wanted Fayes's help but Alice didn't wait for them. She hit the ground with her feet and Gray and Fayes couldn't move anymore. They struggled but their feets were completely frozen. After being sure that they couldn't escape, Alice gathered her magical power and made a huge ice ball, large as a building, and threw it down. 

Unfortunately, Alice couldn't see the results and fainted because of the overuse of magical power. When the ice ball almost hit the ground, Gray used his sword to break the ice and escaped at the last second. After escaping, they looked with grim eyes at the huge ball and then prepared for battle again but all they saw was Alice collapsing.

"Pfiu... that was close!"

Gray breathed a sigh of relief while Fayes looked at Alice with a cold look.

"We are lucky because she run out of magic power...!"

"No... we are lucky that I broke the ice, you should be thankful!" 

"Thankful my a*s, let's just go and end her, we still need to deal with the other problem!"

Fayes and Gray approached Alice ready to take her life but before they could do that, someone appeared between them and Alice. That person was with his back at them and he checked Alice's pulse.

"Seems like she is still alive..."

Gray and Fayes silently exchange some glances and then started to attack the mysterious person one from the left and one from the right. 

Gray imbued his sword with magical power and swing it down while Fayes hit the ground with her fist and made earth thorns raise towards that person. 

He didn't even look at them, lifted Alice with his both hands and when the two attacks almost hit him, two rhombus-shaped crystals appeared on each side and stopped the great sword and the thorns like it was nothing. The two crystals didn't stop here and created a light barrier that extended and hit Gray and Fayes making them fly backward until they hit a tree several meters further. They both lost consciousness and that person just ignored them and disappeared.