In many ways, it seemed a good thing, Maria reasoned, that she was the one out, and not Nita. The Pergrandian girl would have strived to save everyone, which would either be impossible, or put her at a disadvantage while trying to protect lives, which would ultimately be in vain if she was defeated. That being said, Nita would probably not have gotten Medeia as angry as the dark angel presently was. And then, if that was the case, they would have probably been still bantering in the cathedral, with the people outside still worrying whether they were safe or not. Maria knew that her host would disprove of her apparently callous viewpoint when it came to utility. While Medeia’s provocation was very likely to cause more collateral damage, it would result in a more decisive conclusion to their spat, which the less patient Maria was much more in favor of than bandying word with an enemy whom one was unwilling to provoke. If people died, then that was a pity, but Maria would not agonize overmuch. She would attempt to protect more innocents from dying, or she would take vengeance for the fallen. But in the end, the onus of whether lives would be lost or not rested solely on the dark mage’s shoulders. If she was willing to kill people because she was angry, that was her problem. But it was certainly a problem that would more likely make the next meeting between Medeia and the Chosen of Arcanos, whether it was Nita or Maria in charge, much less pleasant, for both parties involved.
For some reason, Medeia seemed unwilling to come in contact with the shield; maybe she perceived that the holiness of the spell would probably work her some woe, despite her celestial origins. The dark angel had wordlessly turned into a shower of sand, and was gone. Most likely the same teleport that she had used when she had begun her assault against Maria. Wherever she had gone to, it was not behind the goddess, as her magical sensory faculties would inform her, but outside the cathedral. Immediately, Maria suspected the stratagem that the dark angel would use. And it was quite a useful ploy too. If Medeia chose to go attacking the people of Cedar, Maria would have no option but to leave the safety of her brilliant shield and go after her. But the goddess had an idea of her own. It was in times like this that she was grateful for the magical baubles she had acquired on her adventures, although she was sure that Medeia had a lot more than she did. Still, she would use the ones she had to as good an effect as she could afford. For starters, the Matiasma, the weird but beautiful necklace round her neck, had among its interesting effects, the ability to double her spell range. Her affinity with Arcanos increased the distance to which she could cast spells even more. So Maria expanded the Resplendence of Dawn shield till it reached its maximum range, over two full kilometers in radius. Medeia was still outside it, so the dark angel would not be touched by the shield. But what Maria’s intention was was to create a sanctuary for the beleaguered people of Cedar, using her shield. She just hoped people would have the sense to run into it.
Teleporting to the edge of her zone of refuge, Maria saw the bloody clones as they rushed after the people of the city. That was a problem with humans, she thought. When danger came, instead of giving it as wide a berth as possible, the fools thought that if the threat did not directly target them, they would be able to stand around and be bystanders. She would have shaken her head if she wasn’t hard-pressed to save them from an unpleasant fate. In any case, one of the clones was even charging at her, bloody weapon upraised. It was time to handle two birds with one stone. The goddess raised her spear, as her weapons shone in a fierce white light.
As the area darkened, and the ‘stars’ of pure energy descended on the battlefield, the people of Cedar caught in the blast would be surprised to see that they were absolutely unharmed by the lights and explosions. The bloody clones would not be so lucky. But Maria was not done yet. She knew the weakness of using her Lunar God Force, and this meant that she had no time to waste. One would have probably imagined that she had been a bit hasty in entering the powered-up mode, but with the spells she was about to cast, her magic power would probably suffer noticeably if she could not cast recklessly like one could in Force mode.
”Night God Form: Sixteenth Phase! Relativity God Equation Pi!!”
As people ran past the goddess into the scintillating light that protected the cathedral, Medeia would notice that Maria had dispelled her Force. But the dark angel would also notice that the goddess had a new sort of aura. Strangely colored flames and shadows wrapped around her body, which was marked with weird, glowing linear designs. Casting all the levels of her Night God Forms and Relativity God Equations at once were difficult to use due to the large amount of mana used up to cast them, but Maria had used her Force to do so, and then had turned it off, to save her mana pool for more work. Although the Forms and Equations were not indeterminate in duration, they did boost her spell damage and speed to almost implausible degrees. Hopefully, she would be able to accomplish something before their durations expired. Using her incredible speed, Maria closed the distance between herself and her opponent, as she thrust at Medeia with her spear, her shield held in front of her body in case of a counter-attack.
”My oh my. Someone seems inordinately angry today.”