"A trap." Grant cursed beneath his breath as he raised his staff. "Of course it would be a trap."
"Oh, Holy guardian of Light."
Talia began her chant even as the growing sensation of horror began to over-take confidence.
"Grant me strength to protect. If others are your sword, I am your Shield"
The white magics flowed, a layer almost like glass forming with the essences of mana as they domed over; rising from the ground like a bubble. Focusing her mind, she began to channel mana further, steady drain pulling down.
"It's not just a trap Grant." She managed to reply, eyes focused ahead at the approaching monstrosity. Each step towards them seemed to shake her bones, strumming through her chest like the beats of a drum. Still, she kept on, letting the glow of white magics intensify. "Look at the floor: this is a Sancuary."
"This is a pretty sorry excuse for a Sancuary, Talia." Grant spoke as energy collected atop the crystal piece of his weapon, eyes focused on the rising shape of a Giant monstrocity just now taking its first step. "Not exactly hospitable, compared to the ones I remember."
"We were on the run for a long time, I think must have gone down into an undiscovered layer." Talia poured her magics into the shield above their heads, imbuing it with faith. "All of the ancient sites of the dungeon originally possessed guardians."
"Guardians huh? Never through we'd be the types that went racing ahead of the expedition teams." More mana collected into the staff, torchlight and smoke burning atop the piece with the craft of a master-magician. "How much gold do you think a Sancuary is worth?"
"More than you can spend Grant. Do we have a plan?"
"Well, we have a choice to make." His hands lifted the wooden piece, muscles on his forearms stretching to their limits as the glow intensified. "I either try to break us out of the barrier by the doors, or I hit this thing really hard. Either way I'm going to be spent, this is everything."
"You're leaving this to me?" Talia almost lost her focus, mana slipping before the flow rightened itself again to continue their defense. Onward it went, with layer upon layer of faith blanketing the air above them.
"It's a Skeleton. It's roots are almost certainly in the chaos of black-magics, and not nature." Grant's voice trembled as the feeling of mana-burn seemed to radiate into the air above his head. "And even if we run back out, we both know there's slim chances we're going make it back up to the higher layers. If you're willing to fight, we'll fight."
"Grant..." Talia closed her eyes as she poured out the last readying spell of defense, opening them once more to a dome of milky white crystal. Beyond the strange translucent fog of purified mana, she could barely even see the beast approaching. All she could feel was the drumming steps.
This was her stongest skill. Of all the faith magics, the barrier was one Talia had always felt an affinity with. Truly, layered as it was now, the shield of white-mana was likely strong enough that could turn any normal undead to flame in cinder just by touching it. Perhaps in its current state, it might rival a lesser Saint-class miracle, but even so: she doubted it would be enough.
The steps approached, each more terrifying than the last. This was no ordinary undead. Whatever creature coming for them was something far more sinister.
Grant was right.
They were veteran adventurers. They were members of one of the strongest free-lance teams operating in the continent, and had more than enough experience to back such a claim- but this would be the last time they could fight at full strength. To run was to die slow, to fight was a chance.
The floor guardian before them was at a disadvantage to their professions, not a giant spider or beast- but an undead. Her affinity might be enough to pull a victory, but backing out and trying to flee would likely only earn them a slow and miserable death. It was now, or never.
"We fight." Talia whispered.
"That'a girl." Grant replied. "Let's give it hell."
"Blood and thunder."