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97 Hoho, We’re Doomed

 Morphesto sliced at the entangling tendrils and pulled at his chocobo's leash, planning on leaving the tentacle infested land and restarting his charge after putting some distance between them and the village.

He was the commander of the mountain bandits' raid.

During the afternoon, Beardy and his group of bandits went out for their routine survey of the surrounding area and never came back. Soon after their departure, their souls appeared in the Soul Lamp all mountain bandits were bound too-they had died.

They hadn't expected there to be someone brave enough to provoke their gang. The leader of the mountain bandits was outraged, he sent Morphesto and his group to take action, ordering them to launch their attack immediately. His words were clear, "Burn that village to the ground, leave no person left alive!"

But from the looks of it, they were facing some unexpected issues...

"What the hell is this!"

A mage next to Morphesto was glaring at the squirming tentacles.

"You don't recognize this magic?" Morphesto asked politely.

Although he was the appointed commander of this operation, Morphesto knew that the group of old mages placed much higher than himself in his boss's heart. If he were to act rudely towards the mages, he would be in for some punishments from their boss when they got back.

"This isn't magic, it isn't even a Divine Art... It's more like a ritual of the fishfolk, but people on land usually wouldn't be believers of the Ocean God... Could it be that the revenant mages of the Black Tower have discovered some new form of revenant summoning magic?" The old mage was doubting himself.

Looks like he wouldn't be of much help any time soon.

Morphesto let out a small sigh, but he was also glad that it seemed like the youngster using this magic had not properly mastered it yet. Although the magic was pretty gross, it wasn't all that strong.

Once the chocobos start accelerating, these octopus tentacles wouldn't be able to latch onto them!

Even so, during their confusion, the other sword-wielding kid had already rushed into the swarm of tentacles, easily cutting down a few unlucky riders who couldn't free themselves in time.

In just a single charge, they had already lost a tenth of their men, Morphesto knew he couldn't underestimate the two kids.

He cracked his whip in the air rhythmically according to the signals the mountain bandits had previously established, the remaining riders immediately split into two groups, planning on sandwiching the teens in the middle.

They were forty-something fully grown bandits against two short, lanky, twelve to thirteen-year-old kids, and yet they had to fight this seriously, they would become laughing stocks if anyone else knew.

But Morphesto knew that some people in this world didn't play by regular rules... He had seen such a monster in the holy city of Instan before becoming a bandit.

So after realizing he wasn't up against normal humans, Morphesto wasn't going to judge a book by its cover, he had to give it their all and destroy their enemies in a single blow.

His decision was proven to be correct.

The two kids were extremely powerful. Morphesto felt that even the guards of the holy city couldn't beat them in a 1 v 1, but against a stampede closing in on both sides, plus countless attacks from all directions, they were overwhelmed and lost their bearings-taking several direct hits from the bandits!

The kid that could summon weird aquatic creatures seemed to have a limit of how many summons he could have at a time, after confirming this fact, they weren't too hard to beat.

"Don't kill them, I want to make them my test subjects for my soul experiments!" a few of the mages ordered.

So Morphesto had to hold back his bloodlust and let his other riders continue wearing them down and look for openings to land a few more non-lethal strikes, making them lose a lot of blood so they couldn't fight back.

What he could understand was how these two were still standing. Their bodies had obviously taken a beating, and with how much blood was drenching them and the ground beneath them, they should be passing out any second, but they weren't even showing any signs of fatigue... Actually, aside from the original burst of blood from their wounds, their wounds somehow started to eerily look like they were only drawn on.

Morphesto couldn't even order any of his men to go capture those meddling villagers! As soon as fewer people were on them, it was possible that the teens would take the opportunity to retaliate!

Maybe they should start negotiating instead.

Just as Morphesto was planning his step, the bloodied cross-wielding kid suddenly leaped towards the casting mage, ignoring the multiple stab wounds on his body and swung the cross in his hand, "Skyward Slash!"

The mage didn't have time to react. His chocobo was sent flying out from beneath him at an absurd angle from the cross's strike. The mage naturally fell from his mount-landing heavily on his back.

The next moment, the sword-wielding kid rushed up to, jumping over the several riders pinning him and skewering his long sword through the mage's skull!

"D*mn it, wrong guy, this blabbering one isn't their leader!" After the two finished off the mage with a single combo, the cross-wielding kid looked at the rest of the unflinching mountain bandits and let out a groan, "The Boss is someone else!"

They had wanted to kill off the leader in one blow so the other fighters would lose their orders to turn the tide? No, before this, how did they even communicate and formulate such a strategy? If they hadn't communicated, how would it be possible for them to work together so perfectly?

Morphesto was getting worried.

This wouldn't do. Even if it meant angering the other mages, these two dangerous children couldn't be left alive, they had to be killed immediately!

Thus, he cracked his whip again, sending out orders.

But this time, his enemies seemed to notice-the cross-wielding kid had a fire in his eyes as he stared at Morphesto like a wolf staring down its prey!

Morphesto calmed himself, 'It's okay, they're heavily damaged and won't be able to last much longer, plus we outnumber them, we have forty chocobo riders, tell me how we could lose!'

"Attack! Don't let them escape!" Since he was found out, there was no more need to hide, Morphesto shouted loudly, rallying his men, "We outnumber them, they only have two people!"

The next second, a loud boom rang in the air.

Morphesto had thought that one of his mages had started attacking, but he realized something was wrong, why was the sound coming from behind him?

He turned to look and his whole body stiffened.

A few commercial carriages appeared out of the woods god knows when, but the carriage was filled with people, even a rough estimate counted fifty to sixty people.

They even used their abilities to clear out obstacles in their path to help the carriage move smoothly, leaving a straight path of destruction behind them...

"I hear," a young mage said as he hopped off the carriage, smirking slightly at Morphestus, "You outnumber us?"