Chapter 163 – The Forest’s fog
Veronica’s eyes reflected the fifteen dragon heads that formed into a circle in the night sky. Even for someone as strong as her, she could not help but hold her breath.
The colossal beast that reached the clouds had captured the slight movements in the forest. But instead of moving back to that area, its heads began to spew mist which covered them. Only seven heads remained visible, with the mist forming into clouds.
A second later, thousands of projectiles made out air shot out from the cloud towards Veronica.
[Shit! The monster’s attack is just too big! ]
But it was Brendel who panicked. The projectiles covered a radius of a hundred meters in the blink of an eye. The white arrows of air that fired at the same time were beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Brendel could feel nothing but killing intent that stifled his breath. He rolled over to the side as ten arrows the width of a water barrel exploded into the ground. Leaves and grass were blasted away and craters immediately appeared.
Scarlett’s reaction was quite speedy as well, avoiding the translucent currents like a beautiful panther and joined up with Brendel. They intended to leave the area before the Lernaia Hydra’s second barrage came for them, but an angry roar entered their ears:
“Did I permit you to leave?”
Veronica received the most attacks out of the three. Hundreds of projectiles came together to form a frightening hurricane in the air. Under normal circumstances, even one who mastered their Element Power would be hurt from that. However, Brendel and Scarlett were shocked to find out that Veronica was uninjured and still had the energy to keep them from leaving.
Brendel studied Veronica’s condition and he found that a sky-blue transparent barrier had appeared around Veronica. The barrage of sharp projectiles collided into it and immediately dissipated into all directions. Even though the transparent barrier flickered constantly, it did not seem like it was going to break any time soon.
Veronica stood firmly where she was with her sword brandished, and she looked at Brendel with fury in her eyes. Brendel gulped, knowing that he had truly angered her. It was not his hobby to face a crazed Goddess of Combat.
Heat radiated from Veronica’s location, her Element Power melting the frozen stream of ice back into water in an instant, and an intense white light covered her entire sword. He leaped onto the other side of the stream the moment he saw her sword move; she pointed her into the air and the Sword Energy fired out before it shot towards Brendel at sharp angles, but it barely missed him as he rotated in mid-air and struck the ground instead.
An earth-shattering explosion of light filled his senses, with water instantly vaporized by the intense heat. For a moment, the stream of water that was ten feet wide had its flow of water cut for several seconds before it resumed flowing down.
[It’s too scary to fight a Sword Saint at their peak and using their full strength—]
Brendel could feel every strand of his hair standing. Scarlett also jumped and landed next to him, but she did not have the time to stabilize herself before Brendel roared in her ears:
“Scarlett, prepare yourself!”
The youth grabbed her hand and activated his Charge ability. He saw that Veronica was pointing her sword at him and instantly ran out. The burst of speed caused the Sword Energy that targeted him to miss, and he disappeared in a black blur into the forest.
A violent gust of wind happened as the Sword Energy mowed down dozens of tree trunks the size of a horse carriage, blasting them away in a cone shape into great distances, destroying the trees behind them like dominoes.
Veronica could not help but grit her teeth in frustration after she saw her two attacks miss. The previous time she lost her composure was during the highland war with the Hazell kingdom.
[This is too strange. That young man predicted my moves three times in a row and avoided every single attack. Is there some kind of link between him and me? But the Wall of Azure is a swordsmanship that’s only handed to disciples and never to outsiders. Not only that, it requires one to have the Wind Element Power….. Damn it, I can’t go after him unless I remove the Abatement Barrier.]
Brendel had not revealed his Element Power yet, but it seemed like he knew that the protective barrier she created was required of her to stay in a fixed position. She glared at the Hydra, wondering when it was going to stop attacking her. The Abatement Barrier was rumored to be an invincible fortress, but it was an exaggeration. If the Hydra attacked her with its full strength, she had to defend herself with everything she had.
She immediately widened her eyes. The seventh dragon head was dissolving into mist, but they were quickly turned into a flower-like shape before they fired at her with increased accuracy.
It was certainly a flower of death.
Veronica frowned and activated her Wind Element Power once again. The barrier of green light increased in density. Countless arrows made from air struck into it, but there was no change.
[Why is this Hydra splitting up the projectiles? It’s weakening the strength just to ensure accuracy? But it’s not effective at all. How peculiar, this creature should possess higher intelligence…… Which means there’s some kind of trick?]
She became alert and looked around her. The air projectiles that she thought had dissipated had reconverged and formed into mist.
The mist that subtly surrounded her was converging together and formed into knights. They were bigger and taller than a Centaur and wore a suit of unique armor that did not resemble any kingdom’s style.
[Not Elven, not Dwarven, not human or even the undead. What are these things?]
She realized that the barrage of projectiles were not mere arrows. She released her barrier and waited to face the strange new enemies.
=========== Brendel’s POV ============
Brendel ended up moving hundreds of meters in an instant across multiple obstacles. He was afraid of Veronica or the Hydra catching up, and did not dare to slow down and continued to run. He checked his surroundings before he and Scarlett moved along to the southern valley. As long as Veronica was blocking the way back, it would not be possible to go back to the White Cliffs of Divinity.
For some strange reason, he realized that the Calamity of Frost had ended abruptly, and it would not be a problem to stay alive in the Dark Forest.
[Still, not returning means that I will make Amandina worried. But there’s no helping it.]
“Watch out!” Orthlyss suddenly warned him.
A lance suddenly parted the mist and was thrust straight at his face. The entire process was done without a sound and he nearly walked straight into it. He frantically jumped backwards and knocked straight into Scarlett. The impact onto both of them caused them to murmur in pain, but he was unable to care whether she was hurt and instead pulled her to the side, allowing the lance to brush past his chest.
He saw what he was facing for the first time.
[A knight riding on a Dragonbeast? No, that’s not it, some kind of entity formed into humanoid-like shapes by the fog?]
The Mist Knight with a blurry face rode out slowly on its Dragonbeast, withdrew its lance and looked at Brendel. The youth shuddered and his hair stood up on end again.
[A Lernaia Hydra isn’t enough? There are mobs too?]
But his thought was once again interrupted by the knight. It raised and thrust its lance, with its attack fast and accurate. The attack was unique in the way that there was hardly any vibration in the air, and it made Brendel feel highly unused to it. But he discovered that the knight’s capabilities were not very strong, and was around a mid-level Gold-ranker.
[It seems like it’s lacking in intelligence.]
In order to prove this point, Brendel stepped forward and showed an opening, inviting his opponent to attack. It was one of the game’s common feints, and the Mist Knight indeed fell for his trick. His body shifted subtly and allowed the lance to slide past it, while his left hand went to grab the lance at lightning speed.
However, he managed to grab nothing but air.
Brendel jumped a little, but his right hand immediately went for Halran Gaia and thrust at the Mist Knight’s head. The sword was a Fantasy-ranked weapon, and it disregarded whether entities had a physical body. The magic on the blade simply rushed straight at the Mist Knight’s core and destroyed the Mana on it. The Mist Knight gave a shriek and returned back to fog, disappearing into the forest’s air.
– System Notice: You defeated Demonic Fog Nightmare (part), 1510 XP gained.
Brendel’s jaw dropped slightly, revealing his white teeth.
[This thing has 1510 XP? That’s pretty close to a Direwolf. It’s not even an Elite creature. Also, it said defeated, not killed. This feels like some specific types of undead where a spell is needed, or a weapon like the Thorn of Light that purifies and kill them permanently. Otherwise, I’m just disabling these things temporarily with Halran Gaia.]
“Boy, this thing has a familiar air about it.” Orthlyss suddenly said.
“What about it?”
“A hint— The Lernaia Hydra.”
“Wait!” Brendel seemed like he understood: “You mean to say that thing is formed by the Lernaia Hydra?”
“You think quickly.”
[Well, not exactly the Lernaia Hydra. The system said Demonic Fog Nightmare (part), and it has the ability to rebuild itself. The Lernaia Hydra is just a bluff. It’s some kind of creature that’s living in the Dark Forest’s fog and making use of it. Demonic Fog Nightmare…… I seemed to have read about it somewhere in the forums. But this thing still looks like a ridiculously overpowered monster.]
Scarlett tapped Brendel’s hand gingerly as he was lost in his thoughts again, directing him to look at the area ahead of him. There were quite a few humanoid figures.
Brendel subconsciously raised Halran Gaia, prepared to fight.