According to the witch's notes, an aquatic zombie was no stronger than a male adult. But unlike most of the undead, these zombies were way faster and swift, while they still carried the features belonging to the undead — strong resistance to physical damage and other immunities. Therefore, common people and even some knight squires usually did not have any chance to survive when facing these zombies, unless they had a significant advantage in numbers.
Since aquatic zombies were extremely afraid of Fire and Light magic, a torch could burn them down if it was used properly. However, this zombie just showed up from the water, which meant its strength and agility would be increased significantly. Fire magic was also not that powerful anymore because of the water. Only Light magic could be helpful under this circumstance.
Lucien was absolutely not prepared. Although he knew that he had to confront aquatic zombies some day, it definitely should not be today. The witch mentioned in the note that there was a kind of material called Flame Jelly which could be used for alchemy. A piece of jelly could even burn in water for a while. However, at the moment Lucien mastered no useful Light magic and also had no such jelly. Even worse was that somehow he felt the zombie he was facing was way stronger than the common ones described by the witch.
Regarding Light magic, sorcerers could never compete with pastors. Aside from Light Rays in the first circle and on, all Light-related spells of apprentice level were not for attack purpose.
Nevertheless, among Element magic Fire magic ranked top mainly because it was hard to be brought under control. The only Fire magic in apprentice magic list was Marius's Small Fire, which could only be used to kindle firewood when an apprentice forgot his or her flints in the wild.
Escape was the first idea in Lucien's mind. At the same time, the mutant zombie had finished the gangster's brain and swiftly jumped on one of the beggars. Then Lucien heard a crisp crack in the beggar's neck. Pressing its fingernails deeply into the skull, the zombie opened the beggar's head very easily like opening a walnut.
Its speed and strength made Lucien stop. After seeing that, he understood that escape simply meant death. There was no other way to survive other than fight back, and for that he needed to calm down.
Lucien's brain quickly started analyzing.
"The zombie's afraid of light. But it's very early in the morning and it is still dark outside.
"The zombie won't give me enough time to light anything with my flints.
"Marius's Small Fire… No, I don't know how to cast the spell yet."
Lucien was standing there, watching the zombie finishing the brain and then jumping onto Skar. His mind was being occupied by different thoughts and plans, but each of them was denied by him calmly.
The ability to stay calm was the most important character of an outstanding sorcerer.
Mutant zombies could impose a magical effect called Dread Aura on their targets to freeze them with fear. But Skar's fear of the zombie was so great that he managed to move his legs and started running for his life.
However, only after few steps, the zombie swiftly overtook him and grabbed his feet. Skar squeaked out shrill cries desperately.
"Disarming Loop, Eyes of Stars, Mage Hand, Extinguishment, Acid Splash, Freezing Ray…That's all I know.
"Among them, Eyes of Stars and Extinguishment are of no use here.
"Disarming Loop is useful, but it's far from enough to stop the monster."
Lucien was still standing there, his eyes staring at the monster.
The zombie raised Skar with its two claws and directly tore him in half. Lucien could hear that Skar's heart, liver and guts fell onto the ground with profuse bleeding. Skar's thrilling scream was still echoing in the pipes.
"Mage Hand… also not powerful enough.
"… Acid Splash… Wait! Sulphur is required to cast Acid Splash, which is also a component of gunpowder. And during the casting process the sulphur is lit."
Lucien's brain was striving for survival. He would not let his brain become another feast for the monster.
The zombie opened Skar's head, in which the white brain tissue was still slightly shaking like a bowl of jelly.
Lucien could feel the effects of its Dread Aura. His heart was racing and he felt breathless.
He knew he couldn't lose his mind. Thus, he started analyzing the magic structure of Acid Splash, while his right hand reached into his pocket and grabbed a handful of sulphur.
"I gotta stop the magic reaction halfway when the sulphur is lit.
"The notes mentioned that it would backfire. The consequence going from exhausting spiritual power to severe damage in soul, or even worse."
Analyzing the structure of the magic, Lucien tried to break it down into several parts to skip the acid-reaction part during the casting process and only keep the fire from the sulphur.
The process of deconstruction and reconstruction needed to be repeated several times. Even if Acid Splash was only a very simple apprentice-level spell, it was still very challenging for Lucien.
Honestly, he was not sure if he wouldn't kill himself by doing this. But he had no other choice.
The zombie devoured the brain and threw Skar's body away. Slowly it turned to Lucien and suddenly started running towards its last target. In Lucien's eyes all of these was like a slow motion, he could smell the stink of death and feel the overwhelming horror.
No one could tell Lucien's fear from his face. Lucien didn't move at all. He was just standing there with the sulphur slowly falling through his fingers.
The zombie was even faster than Lucien thought. In a second, the horrible creature was only a meter away from him.
In the meantime Lucien started casting the spell and then forced himself to stop before it was completely finished. As if he was hammered in the head, dizziness seized him and his nose started to bleed, but instantly a trail of fire showed up in front of Lucien.
The claw of the zombie was just a few inches away from Lucien's head.
Lucien's power was completely exhausted and he could not sustain the fire and let it grow anymore. In the last moment he released the fire and fell onto the ground.
He had tried his best.
The zombie's claw got his clothes and left a long tear on them.
Suddenly a fire wall exploded between Lucien and the zombie. He raised his injured hands instinctively to protect his head, and then rolled away from the blue fire.
The fire wall did not last long. However, after a whoosh the zombie was covered in flames like a human-shaped torch.
Swinging its claws, the zombie stopped attacking Lucien and started stumbling towards the water, but the monster became much slower now.
Of course, Lucien wouldn't let it go back into the river.
Grabbing the dagger, he stood up and caught up with the zombie. Lucien fiercely kicked the zombie down and stabbed the dagger into the holes where the two white flames were flickering. Lucien felt the burning pain caused by the heat.
Once, twice… Lucien was too afraid to stop himself from stabbing the monster, as if the zombie would seize the chance and tear him in half if he lost the momentum for even a second.
Even though, the zombie was still crawling towards the river with flame on its back. But few meters away from the river, the white flames in its eyes were finally extinguished and its bones collapsed.
Gasping with great effort, Lucien took out the zombie's brain with his dagger. He still remember that he needed it.
After its brain had been taken away, soon the zombie turned completely into ashes, in which something small was shining there.