Synopsis: A contest of strength in ice and snow
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As everyone knew, the strongest lord in all of Finanse was Lord Ansai, the leader of the Southern Alliance.
Only the Anleis River separated the southern extremities of my domain from this alliance’s territory, so if we did not want to attract their ire and still combat the pressure other northern powers were applying, our only option was to expand westward—the first fief we had to conquer being Lord Cyth’s domain.
Though their land neither had a large size nor a particularly menacing force, nobody dared raid their country and make an enemy of Lord Cyth in over twenty years.
This was because Lord Cyth’s partner was a demigod.
It was said that these powerful beings possessed the strength of the ancient gods and, once they come of age, had magical power that matched high-level sorcerers. But what made others fear them the most was their terrifying ability to perform curses; once hit by the spell, the cursed, his family, and all his descendants for many generations were doomed to a lifetime of suffering.
After coming to understand this, even the bravest and most fearless warriors in my army became silent.
But we had already come this far—if I were to give up now, only certain death awaited us in the hands of our countless enemies.
I consulted Fruys if he knew of any way to fight demigods, and his answer was to directly attack.
Using his words: “It’s just a demigod; what is there to be afraid of?”
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Lord Cyth’s demigod wife was called the “Snow Witch” due to her ability to control ice and snow. Rumors claimed that she was able to instantly turn a clear, bright day into a severe blizzard, and freeze over thousands of square miles of land in a single night. Having this kind of extraordinary power utterly frightening.
Our hearts became heavy when we heard this.
Andy and I intentionally picked a sunny day to march on to Lord Cyth’s territory to reduce the effectiveness of the Snow Witch’s powers, but sure enough, the sky became dark and gloomy when our troops were halfway there.
In a blink of an eye, dense storm clouds gathered above our heads and hostile, freezing winds came howling. Our soldiers started shivering one after another, and our warhorses were so cold that they dug their hooves into the ground and refused to advance a single step.
Upon seeing this, Fruys gave me a glance before spreading his wings with a lively flap, then shot upwards like a silver lightning bolt. Facing the sky, he released a thunderous roar.
Instantaneously, the mass of clouds scattered, and the air’s temperature quickly recovered. Sunlight once again shone on the earth.
The troops started marching once more.
When we arrived at Lord Cyth’s territory, the faces of the three sorcerers accompanying the army all paled in succession as they hurriedly reported back to me.
“Sir, you must pull back the troops immediately! This entire area is marked by an array of ice-type magic crystal runes, which, if we have analyzed correctly, will cast a forbidden blizzard spell on the army! Our magical power can’t compete against the Snow Witch’s; if we don’t withdraw…we will be annihilated.”
Beforehand, I had already carefully researched all matters related to Lord Cyth’s territory, and thus naturally heard of the Snow Witch’s forbidden blizzard magic. It was her most powerful spell and trump card, which is why I did not expect her to be so threatened by us that she’d bring it out at the very start of the battle.
However, it was too late now. The view before my eyes darkened all of a sudden, accompanied by ominous rumbles echoing from the horizon. The magical runes began to shine silver and the screeching of the cold winds were once again heard throughout the battlefield.
A sorcerer in front of me went white: “…My lord, the forbidden spell has been activated.”
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With the forbidden magic activated, there was no way to turn back.
I stared helplessly as an enormous gray cloud that was the manifestation of this forbidden blizzard magic formed over our heads. My first thought was to look at Fruys—I always felt like he would definitely have some kind of answer.
At that moment, I was surprised to see him plunge straight into the ominous cloud. Even the three sorcerers standing beside me gasped with astonishment as their eyes followed his blurred silhouette.
Fruys stayed the edge of the clouds for a while, and he was too high up for me to see what he was doing even when I craned my neck.
All I could tell was that the clouds actually started to speedily drift back towards Lord Cyth’s territory, as if they were commanded to do so. But the fast momentum of the clouds was soon countered and they slowed down, like they suddenly met resistance. However, ultimately they continued to move away from my army and into the direction of our opponents despite of it.
It was then that I noticed a white figure waving her hands and casting spells on top of a tower in Lord Cyth’s territory. Chances were, it was the Snow Witch.
She was losing this contest of magical strength.
In order to prevent the blizzard from landing on her own people, she cut off the forbidden spell before it was completed and was hit by a powerful backlash as a result. I watched her vomit out a mouthful of blood due to her heavy injuries.
The voice of the Snow Witch reverberated through the sky: “Who the hell are you? Even if you are an ice-type dragon, how do you have the power to suppress my ability to control ice and snow?”
She directed this to Fruys, but he did not answer.
The following battle was completely one-sided. No one expected that the Snow Witch wouldn’t be able to cast any of her magic.
To put it simply, all of the ice and snow elemental power in the area was now fully under Fruys’s control and would not heed the commands of the Snow Witch. It was as if she was a mere commander of ice and snow who encountered the god that ruled that domain.
The three sorcerers were completely stupefied by this scene.
I had stayed behind at the very back the entire time, and as the battle neared its end, I felt a gaze upon me. The Snow Witch stared straight at me, sending chills through my heart.
She spoke once more. “I wasn’t able to help my love protect his country, but I won’t let you taste the sweet joy of victory either.”
Fruys seemed to realize something as he had abruptly changed his course. From the very front lines, he flew frantically towards me as fast as he could.
In that moment, I had a bad feeling about what the Snow Witch was about to do.
I still remembered the time when I told Fruys how scary a demigod’s curse could be. Fruys had disdainfully sneered. “Demigods aren’t true witches, so they can’t curse people whenever they want. While it’s true that their curses are powerful, they can only use it once in their life. That is, when they die. In either case, dragons are immune to a majority of curses so if she really does casts one, you’ll have me there to block it for you.”
The Snow Witch intended to die.
I witnessed Fruys wildly hurtling towards me, and as everyone at the scene watched, he nimbly grabbed and clutched me tightly into his chest, and blocked the brunt of the curse.
At that point, my vision went black and I lost consciousness.
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When I awoke, I knew I didn’t die.
The Snow Witch had cursed me to suffer an unbearably agonizing and painful death but because of Fruys, I was able to stand here right now perfectly fine without the slightest amount of pain.
However, he was not able to completely block the curse.
I became blind.