There were those in the order who seemed a lot stronger than Kalion, and there were others who had held a sword for a much longer time than him, so that was why she’d thought that “the strongest knight” was just a term of endearment. Not to mention, she’d never seen Kalion fight in person, so she didn’t know his skills. After watching him battle with her own eyes now, she had to admit that he was indeed the strongest knight of them all, compared to other knights she’d witnessed in action; it seemed rude to classify him with the other knights though.
Finally, Erna saw that they’d arrived at the location where she wanted to be, “It’s here. Stop.”
Kalion obeyed obediently and stopped walking, and then he scanned their surroundings while Erna looked at the magic formula floating in the sky. “From now on, I can’t move from here. I can’t help you. And I can’t protect myself. If I get attacked while applying mana, that spell will be impossible to cast.”
Kalion knew what she was trying to say, “I’ll protect you, so don’t worry. Just get started.”
Erna stared at him as his words continued to ring in her ears about him protecting her because she’d never heard those words said to her in her life. Not even her parents could protect her and, one of them had even thrown her out! And Vanessa, the head of the council, also never once said that she would protect her. She’d always just said that her job was to serve.
After she’d learned magic, no one would need to utter such words to her, and she felt insulted now. Who dared to tell the most powerful wizard in Hessenguard that they would protect her? Besides, she was the Archduke of Hessenguard. She was the one who had to protect the people of Hessenguard and not someone who needed to be protected. Therefore, she had never thought that she would have someone else needing to protect her and she felt highly offended that someone had said that to her. Who are you to say such a thing? Protection was for the weak, so she didn’t need it.
Erna spoke as she felt a strange tickling sensation at the tips of her fingers, “You said it with confidence, so keep it! I will trust you and work. If there is even a single wound on me, I will not let it slide!” Erna raised her head and looked at the sky, knowing that the fate of the people was in her hands.
The magic formula, which was losing its light, started to spin and shine again when a massive amount of mana flowed in. As it quickly regained its strength, the cries of the demons echoed throughout the forest.
Until a moment ago, they’d been drunk with victory when they’d thought that they’d defeated the humans who had tried to take their lives. They had seemed delighted that the spell was losing the power to threaten them, but when it started regaining its power they seemed to become anxious and fearful again. In unison, they turned their heads towards the location where they sensed the strong mana was coming from, knowing that they needed to get rid of it. High intelligence they did not have, but their survival instinct led the demons directly to Erna.
Kalion bit his lip as he felt the atmosphere in the forest change, and unsurprisingly, a rustling sound was quickly approaching the two of them. I must stop them. He glanced at Erna, who was in deep concentration, with her gaze fixed on the spell, and it seemed as if she was unable to hear the noise because it didn’t look like it bothered her in the least. He knew without even having to test her that she probably wouldn’t hear him, even if he called her name.
It had been said, that when casting spells, wizards focused enough to forget about the world and focused only on themselves and the magic formula. He had always thought that it was just a slight increase in concentration and had disregarded that information, but looking at Erna now, Kalion knew that that was not the case.
Right now, Erna wouldn’t feel a thing, even if a demon scratched her back, as she had entered a world where it was only her and the magic formula. As she concentrated, the magic formula began to spin rapidly, making a loud whooshing sound, and at that exact moment, two demons flew out of the thick forest, aiming for her head.
The sound of a sword, piercing through their tough leather skin, was heard, and the two demons got stabbed simultaneously, shrieking in agony. Kalion blocked Erna’s back with his own body, and the gooey bodily fluids splashed onto his face and clothes without a single drop landing on Erna. The demonic body fluid smelled of rotten fish, and it was clear that she would’ve been disturbed from her concentration by this, so he’d had to make sure that none of it touched her. Kalion promised himself this and moved his body again, aware that the demons would continue attacking them because they’d discovered where they were.
Drilled, cut, and kicked, watching the lives of their kind die every time Kalion moved, the demons did not stop attacking.
Meanwhile, the magic formula floating in the sky was busy being created. Kalion knew without needing to ask, and now, he just needed to hold on a little longer. Unexpectedly, he heard the sound of people approaching them.
“Sir Kalion!” Cedric shouted.
It was the voices of wizards and knights. The closer their voices got, the fiercer the demon attacks became. Kalion then focused all of his energy on holding his sword with both hands, because when they reached them, it would be easier to protect Erna.
Suddenly, several monsters had appeared before Erna, and he knew it the moment he saw it that if he tried to block them, he wouldn’t be able to stop them all, so no matter how he approached this, at least one would escape and attack Erna.
At that moment, Kalion threw the sword he was holding in their direction, and he stood in front of Erna with his arms open. The demons that were running to attack her followed their instincts and rushed to the defenseless human that appeared in front of them instead.
Kalion screamed in agony as the demons, distracted by the prey in front of them, scratched and bit his neck, shoulders, arms, and even his legs. He looked back in terrible pain and saw Erna staring at him with round eyes filled with terror. If she was staring at him instead of the spell, it meant that she hadn’t cast it as yet, and he felt a moment of sheer panic. All of a sudden, a light brighter than the sun appeared in the sky, and he realized that the spell had been completed.
Everyone standing underneath the intensely bright light covered their faces with their hands and squinted through their fingers. The light was so intense that they couldn’t see the person beside them. Although they couldn’t see well because of the blinding light, they could hear the sound of thousands of demons screaming within the forest.
All of the monsters who had entered the forest started to twist their bodies and shrieked in pain. It sounded as if they’d fallen into the fiery pits of hell. Some of them struggled, while others just collapsed as they couldn’t handle the pain; they all died just by being touched by the light.
The few that somehow survived quickly turned and ran towards the lake, diving in and floundering like crazy as they disappeared into the depths of the dark-blue water.
Then, a large pillar of light appeared around Erna, and as it grew bigger and bigger, like the ripple effect of a stone dropped into a pond, the light slowly spread in all directions, as if soaking the surroundings with light. The remaining demons tried to run away from the light frantically but to no avail.
Soon, a thick wall of light had formed around the entire area, and the demons frantically scratched at it with their claws, but the wall didn’t move. In the meantime, the light that grew from within gradually encroached upon the demons. The light, which did not affect people, burned the skin of the demons like a hot iron as it pressed down on their bodies, as they gradually became squashed between the wall of light and the pillars of light. People didn’t even have to look away because they couldn’t see anything in the blinding light anyway.
The world around them was full of lights, the screams of demons, and the sounds of their bodies being crushed. Then, just as quickly as it had appeared, the light vanished, and not a single demon remained alive in the Haldis area.
Kalion had managed to stay standing but now slowly fell forward, startling Erna, and she reached out and tried to catch him, but her strength was not enough to withstand the massive unconscious body, and both their bodies fell to the ground together.
“Hey? Hey!” Erna yelled as she slapped Kalion’s shoulder, but his eyes remained tightly closed. She saw how messed up he was as she looked at his torn clothes and saw that his face, and body, were covered in deep scratches and teeth marks; it was the price he’d paid for blocking the demons with his body.
Just because the demons were dead didn’t mean that their poison would disappear, but Erna was still surprised to see that the skin around the bite marks had turned black, and she speedily drew a healing magic formula. However, she had just poured out all of her mana to complete the gigantic magic, so there was very little mana left inside her.
“Not now!” She screamed in frustration at the loss of her mana. It was of utmost importance to treat the poison from the demons as soon as possible. If this golden opportunity was missed, the after-effects would last a long time and, she felt panic rising as she tried to care for him.
Earlier, when she’d completed her magic and had regained full consciousness, she’d seen Kalion standing in front of her, protecting her from the demons. She knew that he would continue to protect her until the spell was ready so that it could conquer the demons. She had just never thought in her wildest dreams that he would go as far as throwing his body in front of her to keep her safe.
Erna stood up and grabbed Kalion’s arm, trying to pick him up, but it wasn’t easy to carry the body of a big man who was unconscious. As she grabbed his bulky body and shook him, he moaned, which was proof that he was alive but, she became quite anxious. Even though it was a brief moan, she could somehow feel his deep pain.