'A woman?'

Anna became even more shocked. In the first place, there were not many women who had exceptional strength. It wasn't because they were less talented, but it was due to the nobility system, burying those talents with the so-called political marriage.

That was why if the opponent was a woman, it was easier to identify them, considering the woman's strength was exceptional.

'Who is—!'

It seemed that the opponent had sensed her hesitation and immediately released the next attack.

A huge ice pillar suddenly emerged from the ground, isolating Anna and dragging her to the sky.

She was completely frozen solid inside the ice, unable to fight back.

However, a lightning spark covered the pillar before eventually shattering the ice and breaking Anna free.

It took more than that to defeat Anna. The woman might have known this as she actually approached Anna during her time inside the ice.

As a result, she was already right before her eyes when Anna shattered the ice.

"Kh." Anna tried to swing her sword, but she was too late.

The woman grabbed her wrist, spun her body, and used the centrifugal force to launch Anna far away.

At the same time, four ice walls emerged from the ground, isolating a space with nothing inside.

Anna didn't understand what the woman was trying to do by expending all that spiritual energy, but one thing was clear. If she didn't get serious, she might be defeated by this mysterious woman.

Anna forcefully stopped her momentum by using the Enhance Forward Rune on her body and took the woman by surprise.

"!!!" The enemy hurriedly waved her hands down, but Anna was one step forward and slashed her.

A cracking sound echoed, and Anna couldn't help but click her tongue as the thing she slashed earlier was none other than ice.

When she turned around, she saw a thick layer of ice covering the woman's entire body.

Since it would be troublesome if the enemy gained a foothold, Anna hurriedly utilized the Enhance Forward Rune and struck the woman again, launching her back into the air.

But the ice soon cracked and the woman waved both hands.

Ice began to form like a wave from both sides, surrounding Anna.

Since she originally wanted to launch this woman back into the air, Anna had to go below her. However, it seemed the strategy had backfired.

Even if she used Enhance Forward, she couldn't pass this ice wave. The only way for her to avoid it was to fall to the ground.

"No." Anna pointed her palm to the side. She utilized the Rune Blast, causing her body to be launched to the side due to the force coming out of that rune. In other words, she didn't use the Rune Blast to destroy things before her. Instead, she just used it to avoid the ice wave.

As a result, the ice wave reached the ground at full force and spread its freezing power, covering an area of thirty meters radius in a thick layer of ice.

Anna realized how dangerous this woman would become once she reached the city. The growing city would be frozen in ice, and they had no choice but to rebuild it.

That was why she had made a decision.

Instead of facing the woman in the air, Anna chose to land on the ground. Her blond hair gradually turned white as lightning sparked in all directions.


"Hoh?" The woman looked impressed by the sudden spike in Anna's power. She was surprised once again by Anna, who suddenly disappeared from her vision.

In just a split second, she felt an impact hitting her from behind, knocking her down. Anna turned out to have looped around her, but she failed to deliver a killing blow as an ice pillar had protected the woman's back.

"You're strong. I guess I can get a bit more serious." The woman smiled and took out a pendant from her pocket.

"!!!" Anna used her fastest speed to gain some distance, feeling something dangerous. She thought, 'Everyone needs a weapon. Not only does the weapon channel spiritual energy or even boost one's power with a certain material, but it also can function physically.

'But the fact that she is using a pendant as her weapon, she must be a Spirit Magician. That pendant should be able to amplify her ice to a great degree. To think she hasn't even gone all out yet…' Anna frowned. 'I think I have to use it.'

Anna took a deep breath before pointing her palm at the woman. The lightning gathered around her arm and formed a dragon.

The lightning dragon was extremely powerful. The rampaging spiritual energy and lightning shattered the ground underneath it.

The woman looked like she was about to do something, but Anna took the initiative to appear in front of her own ability. A Multiplication Rune formed in front of her, allowing the lightning dragon to enter it.

The Multiplication Rune then shot forth a total of eight lightning dragons in all directions, startling the opponent.

Anna couldn't help but remember the time she used this rune to multiply Noel's attack. Back then, she could only support him and not use the rune herself.

'I can't use my ability when using the Multiplication Rune. I could launch my ability first and form this rune next, but I can't outrun my own lightning, so this was impossible back then. But because of the awakening, I can finally use this combination. Try to defend it if you can!' Anna smirked, challenging the enemy.

Unexpectedly, the woman didn't flinch despite finding herself in a pinch. Instead, she raised her hand and let the pendant hang in front of her palm.

Both of her hands soon joined together with the pendant between them as if she was praying. A terrifying amount of spiritual energy suddenly fluctuated as the air temperature dropped drastically.

A few giant roses tore the ground apart and bloomed, expanding in all directions. The lightning ended up hitting the roses and shattering them, but they couldn't penetrate them and reach the woman.

At the same time, the rose had thorns all over the stems. All those thorns extended themselves and curved toward Anna.

Anna jumped back to avoid all this, but the thorns kept expanding as if they had no limit.

But Anna didn't jump back to run away. Instead, she wanted to lower the enemy's guard and let these thorns pursue her. Once they were long enough, Anna stomped the ground and jumped toward the enemy.

With her speed, closing the distance only took a mere split second. Her sword had been sheathed before anyone realized it, and she was ready to pull it out to draw the blood of her enemy.

"Raging Lightning Descend!"

This was the same technique she used against Count Heirden. The lightning disappeared for a second as all the energy stored inside the blade was unleashed.

It seemed that her opponent had sensed its power and clapped her hands. A few roses bloomed again while the thorns created a net.

However, it was useless, Anna released all her might in this slash.

The lightning rampaged and destroyed all the ice in its way and continued forward. It didn't seem to lose its momentum even after destroying more than five roses.

"Haaaa!" Anna gritted her teeth. The temperature between these roses was extremely low. Because she concentrated all her energy on the slash, she didn't have enough energy to cover her body, which caused her to shiver.

She endured the cold and continued destroying everything on her way. Eventually, her strike reached the woman and all Anna needed to do was to complete her swing.

It was at this moment that she heard what the woman was saying.

"As expected, my daughter-in-law is amazing."

"!!!" Those words caused hesitation in her heart, allowing the woman to form another ice layer to block the attack completely.

If Anna didn't know that Noel's parents were not dead, she wouldn't fall for such a trick. But it was precisely the reason why Anna stopped at the last second.

If his parents were not dead, they would have definitely watched him from the shadows and would eventually reveal themselves at one point.

And it appeared the opportunity had shone upon her.

"What did you say?" Anna turned around in complete shock. She thought she had misheard it, but the other party actually took off her hood, revealing her long brown hair. Her smile showed a warm and energetic feeling.

Her face was a bit different from Noel's, but Anna definitely recognized her. After all, she had studied Luke, Leysha, and Noel when she was still brainwashed.

Her appearance hadn't changed in the slightest. In other words, the one she fought this whole time was actually Noel's mother.

She said, "It seems that you're already aware of the circumstances, so I can safely assume that the child's also known as well."

"Are you really…" Anna started breathing heavily as if she couldn't believe what she saw. "…Leysha Ezenholm?"

"Since both of you are already engaged, shouldn't you suppose to call me mom? Nonetheless…" Leysha waved her hand. "…hello. I'm Noel's mother."