"Is... is that all?"

Eliza whispered to herself, her form still and resolute within the confines of the Soul Seed Insertion Array Formation.

In response to her inquiry, the heavens above unleashed yet another storm of lightning strikes, each bearing the potential to obliterate hundreds of lives in a mere heartbeat.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

The earth surrounding Eliza, scorched and seared to a deep obsidian black, bore witness to the lightning's relentless assault. Each bolt homed in with surgical precision to target every inch of her being.

A peculiar scent of concentrated ozone permeated the air inside the Birdcage Barrier, making it feel as if inhaling too much oxygen would lead to suffocation. Even the fiends inside the Bircage Barrier couldn't help feeling frustrated and intimate by witnessing this form of Calamity.

It could be said that the fiends created by Eren had really lucked out surviving the Calamities they were subjected to. If they had to face Sage Eliza's Calamity for themselves, no fiend would have survived.

Throughout Eliza's trial, Layla had maintained the northern Array Eye's operation. Consequently, the lingering essence drawn from Lady Zee, her own old and mummified constitution, and Reen's essence worked to mend her wounds sustained from enduring the Rankers' Calamity.


Every problem came with a set of solutions and every storm had an end.

As swiftly as the calamity had descended upon the battlefield, it dissipated, leaving behind an unsettling stillness—the calm before the storm, witnessed by all the present Rankers.

Though the Calamity's duration was fleeting, it left an indelible mark on those who had borne witness, their awestruck gazes locked upon the spectacle. Even the Sages themselves couldn't help but be unnerved by the ordeal Eliza had overcome in her quest for a new lease on life.

Some Rankers still found themselves tingling with unease, replaying the horrifying moments in their minds. They pondered their own chances of survival in such a harrowing predicament, and most couldn't muster much optimism, estimating their own endurance at mere seconds.

'It… it's settled now. We really did it.'

As the skies began to clear and the tempestuous winds subsided, Layla breathed a sigh of relief. It was clear to her that Eliza had triumphed in her trial. The harrowing journey Eliza had undertaken served as undeniable proof, cementing her right to a fresh start after emerging victorious from the crucible of the Calamity.

Layla and Eliza had to sacrifice three voodoo dolls to weather this cataclysm. In doing so, they expended nearly all of their resources to ensure Eliza's survival.

'Hm? Is that all? Did I pass the test? This… This can't be. I thought it would take much more time considering my actual age and my state. Something feels off.'

Eliza wondered, her face etched with a mix of shock and doubt as she gazed skyward. The storm's eye had vanished, and the clouds drifted away into oblivion, confirming that her trial had indeed come to a close.

'The test really ended. But how? How did it end so quickly?'

Eliza pondered as she straightened herself.

'There's no use thinking about this. Anfang's World Will might subject me to more tests in the future. But for now, let's just take this as my temporary win.'

Eliza shook her head and refocused her energy on self-recovery using the northern Array Eye. Now that she had overcome her Calamity, dwelling excessively on the matter seemed futile.

Eliza remained enveloped in residual arcs of lightning as she reconstituted herself. This time, her presence seemed more stable, and she appeared more grounded to reality than before the Calamity had struck.

It was as if the trial had helped Eliza take control over her new vessel, securing her soul within it. Her soul had been successfully anchored to this new vessel at this point, attesting to the fact that she had indeed been granted a new lease on life.

With a snap of her fingers, Eliza summoned a fresh set of attire. She turned to Layla and spoke with restrained excitement.

"Layla dear, let's not wait any longer. Let's start the next phase of our plan," the Witch of the Enderflames urged. "I have no intention of roaming as a mere Novice Ranker for long. The Calamity couldn't kill me but I might just die of embarrassment if I remained as a Novice Ranker by the end of this day," she declared, fists clenched in determination.

Eliza's new body, having emerged unscathed from a Rankers' Calamity, was ripe for transformation. Her mana core and physical attributes were open to evolution for a limited amount of time.

Although there was still ample time for Eliza's transition to stabilize at the Novice Ranker level, she was keen to reclaim her Sagehood promptly to avert potential complications.

"Yes, Master," Layla acknowledged, poised to activate the subsequent stage of their strategy. Just as she was about to tap into the stored Mana Essence outside the Soul Seed Insertion Array Formation, Eren's voice interrupted her.

"Layla, the next phase doesn't require Reen to remain within the Array, does it? Would you mind releasing her to my care? Our agreement is now fulfilled, especially since Sage...uh, Miss Eliza is perfectly restored in her new vessel," Eren remarked nonchalantly, casting a glance in Eliza's direction.


Layla stood in stunned silence at Eren's words, her gaze shifting to Eliza as she sought to find the response to Eren's inquiry.

The Witch of the Enderflames graced Eren with a subtle smile before speaking in a charming tone. "What's the rush, little kitten? Technically, our pact isn't complete just yet. I'm sure Layla had briefed you back then about the sacrifices.

I'm still a Novice Ranker, you see. So… I'll relinquish Reen when I've reclaimed my Sagehood," Eliza asserted confidently.

"Alright. But make it quick," the butcher replied after taking a second to think.

Eren's swift agreement caught Layla and Eliza by surprise. They had anticipated a more protracted negotiation before he acquiesced to their terms.

'This little kitten has his plans,' Witch of the Enderflames thought as she smiled graciously at Eren.