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Chapter 74: Breaking into the Underground
Deep within the underground area of the Academy… Alexia was spending her time in the secret room that had been built just for her with the remaining demons who were also her guards.
She felt slightly insecure because of the disappearance of Octo, her aide, but Alexia was more composed than she had been lately.
Her complexion had improved a little, and she regained a bit of her former beauty.
The reason for this was the contents of the Styil that Diaz had sent.
“Please rest assured, Alexia-sama. Octo has successfully managed to lead the Saint out of the Academy for a while1.”
It seemed the plan that Octo had confidently told her about, in which he’d draw the Saint out of the Academy, had succeeded.
Octo had manipulated a student who had been filled with a twisted yearning and hatred toward Elrise, and had her act as the Witch before fleeing from the Academy.
Elrise then mistook her for the Witch and went to pursue her.
By this time, Elrise should’ve defeated Elizabet, the student who had been framed as the Witch’s double.
Since Octo still hasn’t returned, Elrise had most likely killed it already along with said student.
It was quite a terrible loss to lose her most faithful aide who had followed her since the moment she became the Witch; Even so, Alexia felt more relieved.
That scary Saint finally turned her gaze away from the Academy. There was nothing that could’ve made her happier.
However, there was still the chance that she would turn her attention here once again.
So for insurance, Alexia considered using several students who were close to Elrise as pawns.
It would be similar to how she’d manipulated Fara before and, once she had them here, they could be used as hostages just in case Elrise came.
This is a great idea. As Alexia praised herself, she immediately told Diaz about her plan, and was told by him that those students would be going into the underground today.
On the surface, it was supposedly a special lesson.
It could be considered as battle training against the demons within ruins, and the people would be sent to the 2nd floor of the underground that only a few teachers had access to for combat practice … Diaz used that excuse to deceive the teacher and the students and ensure that they came here.
There were a total of nine people, including the teacher. It was a somewhat large group, but this wasn’t a major problem for Alexia.
Rather, it was better for her to have more hostages.
If she only had one or two people as hostages, she’d have to treat them carefully even if she didn’t want to.
Hostages were both shields and burdens; at same time, they would also serve as her lifeline.
If she only had a few hostages, she wouldn’t be able to put them in danger. If she lost them, the situation would become a stalemate once more.
But if she had a lot of hostages… even if she used one of them as an example and killed them, there would still be others to replace them.
That would definitely make Elrise hesitate.
No, considering how naïve she was, she might actually commit suicide in exchange for the safety of the hostages.
Obviously, it wouldn’t be as easy as it sounded.
The eight students who had been chosen were those likely to become knight candidates, so their level of strength would likely be considerable.
However, there were four strong demons here, and Alexia was also present as well.
Even if they came in large numbers, in the end, they were merely poor prey who were already caught in a spider’s web. There should be no problem.
She didn’t notice it yet.
That by staying within the academy’s underground, she was the one who was caught in that same spider’s web.
“Ehh~ I never knew that there was an area below the underground training room.”
John said this with a cheerful voice, as he looked around.
He was actually quite nervous inside, but he was able to suppress it for now.
After all, they were currently still acting like students who “didn’t know anything” and were “just caught in a trap.”
The most important objective of this operation was to ensure that the Witch didn’t notice that they were actually assassins who had been sent by Elrise.
If the Witch noticed that Elrise had already located her, she would escape immediately.
They had to keep fighting, all while hiding this fact from her and having her waste her Mana. That was the role of Vernell’s group.
They advanced forward a little more and then reached the underground’s widest section.
What waited for them there was a girl who was clad in all black; she was escorted by four demons.
She hid her waist long white hair underneath her black hood, and she wore a black dress.
Her cheeks were sunken. There were thick black circles below her eyes.
Her lips were purple; she looked completely like how people expected an evil Witch to appear.
Black mist covered her body. As he saw that, Vernell couldn’t help but remember his past and he was filled with hatred.
Along with her were the Wyvern, Minotaur, Hippogriff, and Orthros …each of them were powerful. Even established knights would have a hard time fighting against them.
The Wyvern was a monster which had a dragon’s head, an eagle’s legs, and a bat’s wings. In place of a normal tail was a snake. They had the ability to fly in the air and could also breathe fire.
This species of demon had a long history, and had often been favored upon by several generations of Witches.
Their existence was first confirmed in Fuguten, so they came to be demon Fuguten was most known for; in a way, they were considered as an idol.
The Minotaur was a monster that was three meters tall, with a bull’s head and muscular humanoid’s body.
It carried an axe on one hand and exhaled heavily when it saw Vernell.
That fact that its shape was similar to that of humans was proof of it almost reaching the level of a Greater demon.
But due to its low intelligence, it couldn’t truly be considered as one… that was the Minotaur.
The Hippogriff was a demon whose front half was that of an eagle’s and whose rear half was that of a horse’s. It loved to eat human and horse meat.
They looked similar to a Gryphon, but were much more calm and composed in comparison.
Even so, it didn’t change the fact it was still a scary demon.
Give it a proper bow2.
The Orthros was a demon that looked like a black dog with two heads and had a snake for a tail.
Out of topic, but it seemed to me like demons having “snake tails” was quite mainstream.
These four demons were still lacking when compared to Dragons and the Greater Demons class, but there was no doubt that they were still scary monsters in their own right.
But for these demons to become the Witch’s aides, it clearly meant that they were clearly lacking already in terms of fighting capability.
The fact that only these demons remained showed how pressured the Witch was.
“Who, Who is that!?”
Vernell cried out as if he was scared.
They were currently acting as if they were just poor prey that got dragged into a scary place.
By ensuring that they appeared as such, they could make her lower her guard.
“He, Hey. Isn’t this weird..?”
“Teacher! What’s the meaning of this?!”
Eterna stepped back, while Fiora shouted toward Supple as if to blame him.
Supple’s role here was to be a foolish teacher who knew nothing besides what Diaz had told him to get him to bring students here.
So he deliberately showed how agitated and confused he was.
“I, I don’t know! I don’t know anything! Why are demons being kept down below!? A, also… who is that woman…”
The Witch seemed to be completely deceived by Supple’s acting; she stepped forward with a derisive laugh toward her prey.
Then Vernell’s group stepped back to keep their distance, while Supple squealed out, “Hiiih!”
“Don’t be scared. You poor, little lambs… If you don’t resist, then you won’t be injured.”
“That mana… don’t tell me… the Witch…?!”
Mary let out a trembling whisper as if to confirm this unknown girl was the Witch based on the pressure she unleashed.
Then the Witch’s smile grew as if to confirm it.
“Like hell I’m going to stay here! I want to go home!”
“We need to let Elrise-sama know about this as soon as possible!”
Crunchbite and Aina turned back and attempted to escape.
This was all part of the plan.
If they honestly and straightforwardly said, “Let’s defeat the Witch,” she might pick up that something was off instead.
That’s why they needed to show they were trying to escape.
The mentality of humans made them want to chase others who tried to escape, and attempt to escape when they were chased.
“Oops… don’t think you can run away.”
As if to block their path to retreat, two stone statues suddenly moved in front of the exit and barred it.
A barrier was added on top of that, making escape impossible.
“Too bad. You can’t run away from the Witch.”
As the Witch said this, her mouth twisted to smile.
…The plan was successful. With this, it would make her think that she was someone who was trying to prevent prey from escaping, and not focus on securing escape for herself.
It made her think she was the one on the offensive. It allowed her to mistake herself as the person who was on the hunt.
On top of that, the Witch was scared that information about her might reach Elrise.
So there was no way she would let Vernell’s group escape.
At this moment, the option of her escaping had already disappeared.
The preparations were complete.
All that was left for Vernell’s group to do was to play their part and act like cornered prey, and that meant only one thing.
“Fuu… the one who just lost their escape.”
Since Alfrea almost seemed to say something unnecessary, Eterna and Fiora both hit her on the head.
Why is this fool trying to act all composed?
She almost ruined everything.
“Si, since we’re unable to escape … we can only fight for our lives!”
“Yeah, we are also Trainee Knights!”
“I will do it… I will do this!”
“No! This is impossible!”
Vernell, John, and Crunchbite seemed to brandish their weapons in desperation, while Aina cried out in despair.
Their only path of escape is blocked; even with the clear difference in power, the weak have no choice but to resist… They fooled the Witch into thinking such, and she let out a twisted smile as if looking at people who were already doomed.
This feeling of superiority could sometimes ruin people’s judgments.
Things that were obvious would no longer be considered due to such lines of thought.
Because she thought “I’m superior compared to them,” everything else was centered on this premise, and thus, she made mistakes.
People call that arrogance.
“Let’s go, everyone!”
Vernell shouted, and they broke off into two groups.
Firstly, they needed to isolate the Witch from the demons so they would be unable to work together.
So they split into two teams: one that focused on blocking the Witch, and another that focused on destroying demons.
Vernell, Mary, and Supple took on the role of blocking the Witch. Meanwhile Eterna and Alfrea took on the Wyvern and Minotaur by themselves.
The team was allocated as such so they could quickly defeat the demons and isolate the Witch.
Eterna and Alfrea could easily solo demons, so there wouldn’t be any problem on that end.
The other two demons that were left would be held back by Aina, John, Fiora, and Crunchbite; as soon as Alfrea and Eterna finished killing their demons, they would then move on to the next targets so all four demons would be quickly defeated.
Finally, they would attack the Witch together then, forcing her to waste her mana. If Alfrea and Eterna attacked together and managed to force the Witch to deploy a barrier, it would be considered a success.
The power of one’s magic depended on the amount Mana consumed.
Thus if two Saints used all their mana to attack, then the Witch would need to use an amount of mana beyond that to defend herself.
If she did so, there wouldn’t be any mana left for her to Teleport… that was how Elrise read the situation.
In this time and place, everything would end with this generation.
For the sake of that goal, Vernell’s group fought against the Witch.
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