“Master, we are not specialized hunters. We are not even adventurers! Why must we hunt this beast alone!?” Alice complained throughout the journey. “What can the two of us possibly do!?”
“Counting yourself out already? Awfully kind of you,” Entri retorted.
“No, I was discounting you, and cease your incessant mocking tongue at once!”
“I shall not cease, nay, cannot cease, for your tongue flicks acid every which way, and while the ground withers as your salivation ends the world, your incessant tongue continues to dance.”
Alice went red in the face while Talia failed to suppress her endless chuckles. Since Entri rarely spoke unless needed, Talia was left to wonder who Entri really was, or at least who he was before he came here. With Entri now speaking more than ever, Talia was able to understand that his education was leaps compared to hers. Even his manner of speaking, although crude, is more sophisticated at times then Alice’s.
“If your flaps have finished their petty parlor tricks, then may I ask we put an end to this comedic drama? We are getting awfully close, and I do not wish to alarm our benefactor that we draw near.”
“And this is best you could gather?” Entri asked the village chief in front of two dozen males. Some of them were heavily wounded, only having been treated by Entri and Talia. Entri utilized his knowledge of basic first aid, which to the village’s surprise and delight, saved some who were thought to be too far gone. Entri didn’t do anything amazing however, as he simply cleaned their wounds and applied the herbal remedies that Talia made before applying the bandages. The village chief was included in those who had been treated, but since his severed ear could not be sewed back on, Entri only applied first aid and painkillers.
The other males, however, were a mix of boys and old men. The most able had been deeply wounded if not outright slaughtered by the bandits. According to the village chief, they were the first to charge against the bandits to defend their families.
Entri and Talia had hoped to find a diamond in the rough amongst the stones to accomplish their goal, but now Talia was more demoralized than before.
“An impressive following you have gathered. I do ask, do you intend to feed our enemy till the belly bursts? If so, I believe you are half a dozen short.”
Alice’s sarcastic remark strikes fear into the youngest of the boys and a few even run off as if they had been chased by the grim reaper himself.
“Alice, please stop,” Talia requested.
“Yeah Alice, you’re insulting your master’s well intentioned plan.”
“Ha, as if master would make such an idiotic pla-” Alice laughed before swiveling her
head at a red and teary Talia. “Master Talia?”
“Yes, an idiotic plan. An awful plan. I mean, what kind of plan could I possibly come up with compared to Entri? Gather a fighting force? After their recent hell? Hardly a plan. Hardly anything…” Talia muttered as she fell into depression.
“Master Talia, no, I didn’t-. Curse you, Entri!” Alice screamed as she attempted to calm her mentor.
Entri watched as Talia crumpled into the fetal position before speaking. “So we go with my plan?”
The village chief’s head turned swiftly from from Talia to Entri upon hearing his voice. “I…I suppose so.”
Since Alice didn’t want to participate in the first place, she only spoke harshly against any and all plans that were put on the table. In the end, only two plans had made it to consideration. The first was Talia’s plan, which was to muster what force the village had available. The available men would act as distraction, and by interchangeably changing the target’s attention, Alice, Entri, and Talia would find an opening and strike once the blind spot and weakspot overlapped. It was an overly enthusiastic plan to say the least, especially if what they believed was true, but it was a good plan if everything were willing to be in their rightful places. Sadly, it was not to be. The village did not have enough able bodied men for the process, and as for the women, they too, suffered greatly at the hands of the bandit. The ones who could fight were also the village’s only healers, and although they were nothing more than individuals capable of changing bandages and caring for individuals as if they were children, they were better than nothing. If they were to leave the ones in their care now, then then the wounded would likely perish.
Entri’s plan on the other hand, was beyond their comprehension. Entri’s weapon used liquid mana, which is basically mana that had been gathered and condensed to the point of becoming a liquid, much like forcing a gas to compress to the point it becomes a liquid. It is somewhat versatile, as it can be used as a form of energy, such as for Entri’s weapon, or even as a mana potion, albeit at a horrendous ratio. These were the main two reasons as to why a person would use liquid mana, but much like its use as a mana potion, the usage ratio compared to the amount consumed in operation was just slightly less horrendous. The worst part was storage, as mana had an inclination to revert back to its ethereal form, much like dry ice to its gaseous stage.
The final state that mana could be converted into was solid. There weren’t many uses beyond detonation due to its ability to remain as a solid. It did not wither away like liquid mana, but it was highly unstable. Liquid mana, if separated or thrown asunder, would act like liquid. Mana crystals on the other hand, if even cracked or chipped, would erupt in an explosion of energy. If many crystals were stored together, then a chain reaction was to be expected if even a crystal was to fracture. This was why Entri’s plan was made second to Talia’s. Well, that and the fact that the creation of mana crystals is illegal for safety reasons.