Lena swept her vicious claws in a circular arc, aiming to gash both Bjorn and Kilian's throats in one move. But as the blow approached him, Kilian didn't bat an eyelid, his gaze chilled, and he stretched out his right hand toward Lena's incoming strike.
Faster than her eyes could follow, Kilian smacked Lena's wrist, bending her move and forcing her to backhand Bjorn instead.
Though incomparably stronger than the average man, an average man Bjorn still was. With Lena's strength that currently rivaled that of a Core Emissary, he had no means to resist, spiraled across the room and crashed into a nearby wall—encasing himself within.
But since Kilian controlled the movement's strength and trajectory, Bjorn merely passed out with minor injuries. The other afflicted in the room collapsed from a mixture of fright, and the oppressive scent that rippled from Lena. With a leftward flip, Lena landed back on her clawed feet.
But as she faced Kilian's sidelong, bone-chilling glance, the beast driving her floundered, and for a second she trembled in pure fright. Kilian spun, stepped forward, and vanished to reappear before Lena.
His right palm moved in an upward arc, striking Lena's jaw with the force of a full-speed truck! The world around her spun, and driven by the blow she backflipped on several meters before crashing in the opposite wall. Blood gushed from her jagged maw, and her body tumbled onto the ground.
"A fehl beast should at least be able to maul the average Core Emissary. Why can't I see that strength? Lena, you're turning into a disappointment," Kilian coolly stated and, as if to stress the words, put his hands in his pockets. Spurred by the scorn, Lena leaped back on her feet, arched her back, and released another feral roar!
Flaming red light surged from her form, turning into two arcane circles that rotated by her side. Fehl beasts possessed innate sets of spells that'd grow alongside them.
While the spell kicked in, the fur around Lena's arms and legs, her now black mane of hair and tail, all turned into blazing flames.
A ringing blast thundered as Lena stomped her foot and again charged at Kilian!
"Second Circle Spell: Explosive Step," Kilian appraised. A spell that enabled its caster to burst with six times their original speed for three seconds - as the name implied - Explosive Step belonged to explosion magic, a combination discipline achieved by merging fire and wind magic. Arcane scholars preferred the term fragomancy.
Typically, only High Emissaries could access advanced or combination disciplines. But fehl magic ignored all human laws, enabling its user to cast spells from any discipline, regardless of their innate attributes, without having to go through harrowing training and combination processes.
Indeed, the fehl-born innately possessed all attributes. Of course, not everyone could unleash their full potential, and even with that speed burst, in Kilian's eyes, Lena was no different from a turtle.
Hands still in his pockets, Kilian tilted his head back, channeling the dra within the atmosphere to weave a sky blue energy ward. Lena's claw collided with the ward, failing to leave the tiniest dent. Incensed, she burned her fehl dra to the limit, turning into a ball of orange flames to force her way through the ward—all to no avail!
"Not bad. You are worth sweating for. And if every single one of them shows the same skill, I must thank whoever created this virus," Kilian stated, and his lips curved into a smile. The nano-spider hidden within Lena kicked into gear, releasing nanobots that instantly took control of her neural system. Her flames dispersed, and she dropped onto the ground, kneeling before Kilian like a deactivated cyborg. At that time, Jezebel appeared beside him.
"So, there are two ways to go about this:
A) Use your profane rod to subdue her bestial mind.
B) Keep her under control with your nano-spiders.
C) Try to reverse the process," Jezebel began, causing Kilian to arch an eyebrow.
"Isn't that three?"
"Nah, the third one is bogus. If reversing fehl mutations was feasible, we wouldn't be here, to begin with." Jezebel gleefully replied while circling Lena's unconscious form. From her, Kilian learned that Ashera's Mark wasn't merely a tool for sublime sexual prowesses, but a weapon to spread and control the taint.
If used on non-fehls, they'd suffer rapid mutations and turn into fehl beasts. If used on fehl beasts, they'd regain their lost mind, and forever bind themselves to their savior. Undoubtedly, it was the swiftest method, but a short-sighted alternative.
On a one to one case, the method didn't show any immediate issue. But would Kilian have to seed the hundreds of monster girls awakening in the slums to solve the problem? Even if he could endure the blissful toll, what about the males? No - unless Kilian planned to escape Ostria with as many monster girls as he could seed - the problem required a more efficient alternative.
"I believe it is safe to assume that the 30,000 iniquitous are all infected, with those that now show no symptoms about to drop in the upcoming hours. About 1,500 fehl beasts will rise from the slums, each with the strength to maul Core Emissaries. Worse, if they organize themselves in packs, the situation will quickly reach an alarming stage," Kilian began while kneeling before Lena.
The nanobots kicked into gear, analyzing the virus' new form and feeding heaps of intel to Kilian's brain. Even the power behind this catastrophic event couldn't guess the virus would summon waves of fehl mutations. This wasn't something men could control...yet. Meanwhile, Jezebel stretched her senses throughout the slums, mapping out the overall situation.
"Oh? Interesting," she whispered with a beaming face. But knowing that "interesting" in Jezebel's vocabulary wrought no good, Kilian arched his eyebrows.
"It spreads. Their taint spreads," Jezebel stated. At first, Kilian believed the new batch of fehl beasts arrived earlier than expected, but then he registered the meaning of Jezebel's words, and his eyes widened in disbelief.
"You mean that…"
"Whomever those fehl beasts assault has a 5% chance of contracting the accelerated taint and becoming fehl beasts. Of the 300 guards you saw before, 14 are now raging beasts. The rest feed the worms.
As we speak, the beasts are forming a tide and exiting the slums to ravage Ostria. The viscount received the alert, and is readying his troops for war." The unfurling chaos made Jezebel's chest teem with excitement. Now, this was the kind of event that satisfied her fehl mind.
Pulling in a deep breath, Kilian stood up and, just like Jezebel, cast his gaze into the direction of Olaf's castle.
"That being the case, the mass production of nano-spiders is the only road to success. It is time Viscount Olaf makes his contribution to science," Kilian declared, but even without the words, Jezebel could sense his intent to assault and take over the viscount's castle!
"Do you need my help?" Jezebel inquired. But then again, she saw the answer coming.
"For an army of 15,000 trained soldiers backed by magical defenses and artillery? Please. Just take care of the communication channels. We can't allow Olaf to alert the capital or nearby cities," Kilian's words echoed like a dismissive appraisal, as if the challenge of the viscount's army was...well, no challenge.
With a step, he leaped into the sky, floating across rooftops at a speed the common man couldn't follow.