Chapter 96 Absentee Instructors (Part 3)
Haeru and Leo had rushed in the direction that the mysterious woman had told them to go. They’d been skeptical as to whether they should believe her or whether it was a trap, but after they agreed that the power she held was more than enough to kill them without setting up such a petty trap they committed to their decision. They began at a jogs pace but soon realized the necessity for a full out sprint through the trees.
Although it seemed like they were really far, these past few days they had been walking very slowly and been trying their best not to make any noise as they made their way through the forest. They had intentionally been trying to create as little disturbances in the forest in order to avoid anything stronger than themselves or even an ambush. They had covered very little ground in the past few days and now that they were running at full speed, even with the trees to slow them down they felt like they are making good time. They weren’t even concerned about running into other monsters because that would be a good as well.
If they ran into monsters that prevented them from moving forwards, it would still be a chance for them to prove themselves and a fair enough reason as to why they couldn’t help out Damien’s group. Of course Haeru and Leo had different reasons for not wanting to help. Leo didn’t want to help due to his personal grudge with Damien after he’d insulted Marcos unnecessarily during the exam. Haeru didn’t want to help because he knew exactly how important the Knight family was in Lumea City. Regardless of Damien’s talent, he would be given a lot of special treatment once he entered Lumea Academy. More special treatment for him, meant less focus for Haeru. He simply couldn’t afford to be that generous with someone he didn’t really know or care about.
What they didn’t realize was that Professor Lydia had heard the entire conversation and had immediately tried to get into contact with Crimson once she came to her senses. Instead of being able to reach him with her talisman which was also created by the Vice-Headmaster as a means of communication between important members of Lumea Academy she realized something was wrong. There was no reason why he wouldn’t be answering if he had any choice. She used her mana to hear and see as much of her surroundings and figured that her group were safe enough for now and immediately made a beeline for Crimson’s group.
Although most of the participants were expendable, the strong support staff of Lumea City was not. Crimson was too valuable for her not to go help him if he was in trouble.
Unlike the children below her though, Lydia’s speed was on an entirely different level. She was moving at a break-neck speed as she used mana to enhance her legs and propel herself from tree to tree moving miles in minutes! Although she was moving at an astonishing pace, it was still barely human. She was after all limited in her abilities and understandings of elemental laws and what she could do with mana was limited to her own mana pool. If she moved too fast or pushed herself past what she could do safely, she could hurt herself in the process.
Moreover as worried as she was, she was still keeping her own safety in mind. There was no value to her if she showed up faster but didn’t have enough mana to do a single thing to help in a dangerous situation. At best she would be useless and at worst she’d get herself killed. She was far too experienced to make such an inexperienced mistake.
Luckily, she was moving at a breakneck speed above the trees. Not a single thing was impeding her path as she moved forward without second doubting herself at all as she focused her senses to their pinnacle and started searching for Crimson.
She’d run for less than an hour and her ears had already picked up the traces of multiple battles going on in the forest. The surprise on her face was evident as she kept moving forward but slowed down a bit as she considered her options.
‘Why are there so many battles going on?? This is crazy. Moreover why are there so many groups in such close proximity to one another? When we used the talismans to teleport into the forest, we should have all been so far from one another that none of the groups should have ever gotten anywhere close enough to catch a glimpse of one another. There is no way that I’ve already passed two groups and they aren’t even Crimson’s.’ Lydia’s thoughts were a mess as she tried to sort out what was happening.
Moreover she hesitated a few times as she ran and heard screams of people being mercilessly struck down. ‘Should I stop and help…?’ Lydia was frowning as she considered whether the other monitors were allowing this to happen or whether their hands were too tied to do anything to help.
‘If that’s the case… Then Crimson might be in the same situation. Even if I want to help… My focus is my own group. I’m responsible for keeping the talents in my group safe and to help the other instructors. I’ll find Crimson first and we’ll sort things out from there!’
Lydia made her decision and started moving forward at the same pace as before. Despite having made up her mind, she’d unintentionally begun to divert some of her mana from her other senses to further amplify her hearing. In doing so, she couldn’t help but shock herself as she realized just how many groups were doing battle. It wasn’t just their groups as it seemed in some parts of the woods beasts were fighting other beasts.
‘It’s like the entire forest has gone mad! Everything is so chaotic!’
Lydia’s heart was pounding. She was one of the few professors who could amplify her senses as that was something that required even further control and understanding of mana and the body to do than even amplifying muscles or bones.
Therefore she knew that there were few other professors who would know what was going on aside from her. Just as Lydia was beginning to reconsider whether she should branch out and help any of these groups and try to gather some information from one of their professors she saw a flash of light that barely lit up through the trees.
Lydia wasn’t sure it was him, but she had a pretty good feeling about it. Despite his name and some of the assumptions a lot of the students of the academy made when they first entered, Crimson did not practice anything related to the element of fire. Crimson was just unlucky enough to have a father who drank far too much in celebration of his birth and a mother who drank just as much and just as merrily when they decided to name him.
Immediately propelling herself forward in the direction she’d seen the light, Lydia let herself fall from the trees.
The trees themselves were around 100 feet high. No normal person could fall from such a height and survive. Lydia was no normal person. Even as she let herself fall her senses were focused on finding any sign that Crimson was around as if completely ignoring her descent as her speed increased.
Her eyes finally caught sight of Crimson who seemed to be running from his position as he was given chase by a small black creature whose movement she could barely keep track of even with her vision.
Without even thinking about it, as Lydia was falling she extended her hands as she lifted them straight above her head just in front of her face as she caught a tree branch and used the branch to flip herself completely around the branch making a full rotation and using that momentum to shift herself forward instead of down.
Having pushed herself forward Lydia began pushing herself through the trees as she landed on one tree branch after another trying to keep up with Crimson and the black blur. Every so often she could make out a little more detail but then the blur would move erratically and she would lose track of it from her vision yet again. ‘What the hell is that thing!?’ she wondered.
It was clearly fast. She couldn’t keep track of it at all even with her fortified vision with mana. It was probably strong too if it had forced Crimson to retreat. He was already using his “light steps” technique as he seemed to disappear in a flash of light and reappear further off in the distance. Yet this dark blur was keeping up with him even with his continual use of his skill making Lydia wary as her stomach sank as she considered its speed.
She didn’t dare try to narrow down the possibilities of what it could be. In this forest monsters and beasts kept evolving, eating one another, getting stronger and coming and going. ‘There’s no way I can narrow down what it is. All I know is that it’s very fast. Faster than me. That doesn’t say much… How many creatures in this forest could be faster than me? I couldn’t even name all the races if I tried! Ugh! At this rate they’ll move too far out of reach.’
At that moment Lydia finally realized why Crimson hadn’t answered her call, except soon he would likely have to stop using the flash skill, and when he did she’d be able to contact him again.
They kept moving at a faster pace than she could keep up, but with her vision and hearing, she could continue behind them, following in their wake.
In just minutes Crimson had finally resorted to running through the ground, probably hoping to conserve some of his energy and gauge the distance between himself and the beast following him.
Although she couldn’t see either of them at this point, Lydia could still hear, and she could hear a steadier sound of footsteps coming from Crimson.
Using her talisman and seal, she contacted him immediately “I’m following behind you! Double back and I’ll set up a trap. It’s too fast to take head on.”
Even though he didn’t reply, she could tell he’d heard because his running footsteps came to sliding halt and the depth of the steps took a change. He was heading back her way.
’Time to get to work!’ Lydia thought as she she unfurled a slew of wire from her body.
If anyone saw the scene they would have been shocked by the sight, as the skin tight black clothes on her body unfurled into thousands of wires as they wrapped around every tree in the area turning the entire space into a death trap for anything foolish enough to run into her space unprepared!