9 Dark Huntress and the Saint

*At the same time, roughly 2.000 miles to the northwest*

The Republic of Chartia was one of the frontier nations of the north. Occupying the freshly reclaimed lands on both sides of a thin sea, most of its populations was centred around several towns. On its outskirts, the wilderness reigned supreme.

That's why, when a huge ball of light suddenly shone several meters above the ground, there was no one to witness it. Passing unnoticed, this glorious, godly sight quickly diminished, blanking out into the nothingness of the dark sky.

But even if someone was lucky enough to witness this sight, they would still fall to notice two figures that appeared from that strange sphere of light.

Instantly falling down to the soft grass of the plain, by the time the two of them reached the ground, they already changed their location to a more suitable one.

Landing on her feet before dampening the momentum on his knees, Yelna released a pained groan. Holding the body of her husband in her arms, it was hard to soften this kind of drop.

"Thanks for the help." Winking to the girl, Markus jumped down from her arms. Taking a quick look around, his usual, calm face stiffened.

"What the hell is this?" Cursing the unknown perpetrator of this disaster in her mind, Yelna pulled out her universal knife. Customised according to her own instruction, it was the only weapon she needed besides her enhanced bow to survive in any place and time.

But that didn't make it any easier to comprehend what was going on.

"It seems that my interpretation was off. Such changes to the terrain…" Kneeling down to grab a handful of earth before standing up and looking around, Markus looked down towards the line of the horizon.

"Stop playing around and just tell." Cutting the mystical play of her partner, Yelna looked at him with a dark expression. Noticing the unfavourable look in his wife's eyes, Markus dropped the earth from his hand before taking a stoic expression as well.

"I think we… no, the world moved way further to the past than what we expected. I saw the effects of that arcana, it didn't interfere with our place, my barrier held against it properly. And that means…" Spreading his arms wide, Markus' expression soured.

"The first records of civilisation in the holy state reach as far as to the first era of the ancients… Could it be?" Bringing her hand up and rubbing her fingers against her chin, Yelna tapped her finger against her bottom lip.

"You know those records were quite doubtful. Let's not be as negative. After all, there is no possible way to gather sufficient energy to push the entire world so far back to the past!" Protesting against his wife's suggestion, fluttering his white saint's robe to the back, he blinked a few times before looking again at his wife.

Her elegant, simple outfit that she liked to wear turned now to its battle version. Creeping upwards of her skin, it quickly covered the entire body of the female. Due to its dark and green colour, it instantly melded the girl's figure into the background, making it extremely hard even for Markus to spot her.

"Then all we need to do is to find the culprit and get him to reverse the spell. Isn't that right?" Raising her hand once again, Yelna suddenly noticed the motion, forcefully stopping her hand in the tracks.

'Stupid habit.' Cursing her tick more than she did the situation, Yelna proved how little she cared about her current circumstances.

But looking at it from another perspective, it would be strange for the two former members of the hero party to be discouraged by something they already knew was coming! Due to the time restraints, Markus only managed to fetch his wife before the apocalyptic event struck.

Shielding the two of them with his holy barrier, even as a Saint he barely managed to hold on against the onslaught. And due to the distance that separated him from the source of the disaster, he got to experience its full scale on his own skin.

Back when the state of the mana in the world was disturbed, Markus was already prepared. Cuddling the girl to his chest, he could see how the entire world around him started to wither… backwards. Even before the destructive wave of the magic plasma could reach his location, the effects of the time-reversal already started to work.

Then, death came. Over and over again.

As soon as Markus and Yelna would die to the outcry of magic so strong that no shield could ever stop it, the time-reversal would bring them back to the moment before Markus' antimagic shield collapsed.

Dying and reviving many, many times every second, it took nearly three hours before the catastrophic mana disaster ended its lethal phase.

Shocked and terrified to no end, the two of them could only cuddle together as they saw the changes happening to the world. But Markus knew all of it would happen. It was this knowledge and his faith that allowed him to not only survive the ordeal but also be a support for the hero herself, the dark huntress Yelna.

"It won't be easy. All I know is the direction… and even this is only a general one. Unless he will somehow mark his presence, we will be blind to his moves. And don't forget that in this direction…" Elaborating once again, Markus shook his head. In the many years that surely passed under the influence of this gran arcana, the shape of the land would change.

But there were some things that would remain all the same.

Using a small amount of his remaining mana, Markus could sense the magnetic field of the planet. Adding the relative positions of the stars and the knowledge of the movements of the tectonic plates, he was more than capable of judging the distance they would have to travel.

And it was ranging from just a few days worth of walk, all the way to over five thousand miles!

"Well, it doesn't matter." Shrugging her arms in reaction to Markus' scary estimates, Yelna took her first step forward. "Sooner or later we will find those responsible for this."

Taking another step, the girl's lips curved slightly up.

"And then we will force them to bring us back."

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