Chapter 12: Rhinearian Beetle
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What was before an unassuming boulder was now a towering behemoth. 

The creature that stood before him had a rocky, bronze carapace, opened up to reveal large wings underneath, and jaws of stone that looked to deliver a crushing bite. It had six legs, three on each side, and a large forked Y-shaped horn that was once a simple outcrop atop the boulder.

Rhinearian Beetle! 

Dalis stared at the beast with wide-open eyes and tried to rack his brain up with any ideas to deal with this situation. His initial thought was, in actual fact, to try and contend against the beast. 

After all, a Rhinearian Beetle was a beast that would provide him with a large amount of mana for his collection. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. 

Not to mention a day had already passed, and he is yet to have any points to be measured, putting him far behind the other candidates. 

Unfortunately, Dalis had barely had any clue as to how to effectively utilise a tri-section staff. The mechanisms of it? Of course that was out of the question. 

The ill fortune continued to go down south as the anatomy of the beetle was known for its solid defence. It was difficult to say if even the modified weapon artifact could penetrate its skin. 

Sigh . . . looks like I have to try Plan A once again.

The beast approached closer. 

Each past step was like a boulder hitting the very earth. 

Dalis dropped one of his arms that held the tri-section staff and reached towards his pocket. He made exaggerated ruffling sounds as if he was desperately searching for something within a myriad of things in his pocket. 

"JA JA JA JIAN! CALPUFER HERBS!"

Dalis stuck out with pride his only source of value in front of him. In Dalis’s delusional eyes, he could see the shining light radiate out in the background, and the text displaying ‘Calpufer Herbs’ below. 

The beast briefly stopped its movements, eyeing the herb in glitter. Promptly, Dalis’s lips quirked to form the mischievous smile of a Cheshire Cat. 

Now this is what you get for giving me a fright!

He proceeded to enact his sadistic torture, exaggerating the movements of his two hands to bend apart the herb as it wrapped and unwrapped on the held tri-section staff. 

The calpufer herb may be relatively tough compared to other herbs, but under the constant pressure it was starting to fray and be fixedly bent from the accursed hands of Dalis. 

Rhine!!!

It shrieked out on a level of anxiousness tantamount to the Green Razor Wing. However unlike that avian, the shriek conveyed a boiling anger!

Lowering its horn to level with Dalis, it charged towards Dalis, seemingly uncared for the safety of the herbs.

So in the end it’s a muscle head too?! 

He complained in his mind as he used his ‘Sudden Spin’ to dodge out of the way. There was no worry for its backlash when he was prepared for the maneuver. 

THUD!

With the evasion of its target, the beast collided its horn against the small tree from behind. The sheer force of the impact was worthy of the sound it generated: the small tree had been knocked down!

Did I just provoke something I shouldn’t have?

It made sense that with its weight and size that it would have the capability to topple down a small tree . . . but in one decisive attack? Dalis felt a little grateful that it wasn’t able to uproot it entirely. Otherwise, he would reluctantly flee.

Although the odds were low, Dalis was adequately confident in challenging a Rhinerian Beetle and killing it. While it may be tough with its physique, his small stature and exploitment of the environment allowed him to have the advantage, as long as he used his skills effectively. 

The condition was heavily weighted on taking advantage of his surrounding terrain . . . 

Dalis took a quick cursory scan of the place and grimaced.

He should be happy that he managed to find a good opening. There were only a few shrubberies and small plants inhabited within. 

Yet, in the current circumstance this environment was disastrous. 

It would be ideal for me to temporarily leave and then challenge it after making preparations or lead it to fight elsewhere, but that would likely not make much of a difference. Why is it that I always happen to encounter the noisiest and troublesome beasts? 

“Such misfortune!” he couldn’t help but cry out in vexation. 

Afterwards, he put the tri-section staff into his inventory and sprinted off deeper into the opening. To find a way to take down the beast.

The Rhinerian Beetle, having noticed it missed its target, turned just in time to see the figure of the human bully run off in the distance. 

Rhine!!

It returned its wings back into place and followed after him by foot.  

When the beast was deep in, it realised that the human was missing. With no outlet to quell its anger and still carrying its desire to deliver vengeance, the beast began to mindlessly search around the periphery. 

Meanwhile, Dalis was laying low and hidden amongst the abundant flora. Naturally he had already activated his two skills, allowing him to rest easy as he thought of what to do.

For now, I should attempt to test if it's feasible to face this in the first place. 

Squatting, he waddled his way like a duck. The beast was completely unaware of the Dalis who was creeping behind him and following it from behind. 

Like a mantis stalking a cicada . . .

Dalis squinted his eyes and looked behind.

But one aware of any potential orioles from behind . . .

Satisfied, he hastily quickened his waddles to make up for the short distance of brief delay.

Dalis’s plan was to aim straight between the crevices of its shell. Although it had a tough exoskeleton, Dalis figured from its anatomy that was in all likelihood where its weaknesses lied.

Since this would be the first genuine attack, he would not let this chance go to waste and make it count!

Evolving from a stealthy duck to a full-fledged human assassin, Dalis shoved his hand in the empty space and brought out his weapon. It’s steely surface gleamed under the sun as the chains glowed a translucent blue.  

The beast was completely unaware of the lurking approaching threat.

“Vanquish Strike!”

BAM!

Rhinee?!!

 

[Critical Hit!]

 

The Rhinearian Beetle screeched out in pain as it felt the joint of one of its back legs cry out in pain, right where it connected with the abdomen. The hit leg crumpled down to a slouch. 

But it did not have any time to rest as Dalis began to relentlessly deliver a salvo of strikes, concentrating as many blows as he could towards the crevice areas. 

Tough!

With every thrust and swing, he felt a stream of vibration course through the tri-section staff and jolt his body. There was no jolt when he initially attacked when he activated his skill ‘Vanquish Strike’, but the consecutive attacks thereafter forced him back with some recoil. 

More than half of the attacks had failed to reach the weak spots! On the off chance it successfully did, much of the staff would connect and hit the outer shell as well. 

Thus, reducing the overall inflicting damage! 

He managed to land solely ten strikes before he was impelled to duck down from an oncoming horn that threatened to toss him into the dirt. As it whooshed in the air, he felt his attire and hair rise slightly for the moment.

Dalis was surprised. 

He had underestimated the length of the horn and its unexpected velocity. It barely missed him. 

I must retreat!

Dodging the onslaught of swings, he gripped his tri-section staff tightly and dived over to the bushes. The rattling of the staff and rustling of plants could be heard as he desperately tried to run, camouflage, and hide himself, leaving behind the roars of the incensed beast. 

. . .

 . . . 

Finally having a room for a breather, he calmed his breathing and stored away the tri-section staff. His mind drifted to reflect on his results of his test.

Judging from the beast’s reaction, it seems that its weakness is indeed between the gaps of the shell. Yet, not only is it difficult to aim at due to its limited surface, it was also rather hard. While it is incomparable to its exterior shell, it didn’t seem to be too fazed at all from my strikes, besides my first strike which was where I activated my skill to buff my weapon. 

Vanquish Strike was a standard Vanquisher technique he had learnt in the Orphanage. It strengthened his next attack to deal additional damage against a beast, making it very potent. While it came with no cost, the cooldown was 3 minutes. Because he was alone, this 3 minutes was dire if he was confronted with nowhere to run. 

Unfortunately, this was the only Orphanage-taught technique he had managed to learn as a recognised skill in spite of learning many things during his time there. 

It was not shameful at all. 

Learning a skill was a significant feat and usually meant that one has achieved mastery in that area, birthing a skill to be formed through the System. Dalis’s version of the skill was particularly strong as there was no restriction to how it can be used: he could use his fists or a weapon to use it. 

The recoil. While it is something that was manageable, I do not believe it would go as planned in my future endeavours. Much of it due to my inability to use the tri-section staff properly.

Truthfully in fact, the staff had almost slipped out of his hands while he was in the middle of attacking. But the bigger problem was the rebound as the staff lashed back at him dangerously when he let up some of its control. Luckily, he had followed his knowledge of the staff and relied on both of his arms.

?!! 

Rumble.

Rumble.

Rumble.

Dalis, in the middle of his thoughts, was slammed back into reality as he lost balance from his crouching posture, falling to the ground. 

He managed to avoid having his face hit the moist floor, using his marred elbows to rest his forehead, but he struggled to regain a comforting balanced posture with the constant rumble of the earth. 

To him, it felt like he was digging himself into a mushy marsh while being subject to an earthquake.

The shaking Dalis disgruntledly held onto a thick branch and glimpsed over to the source. 

He saw the Rhinearian Beetle lifting up its girthy legs, stamping the ground in a rocking manner, lifting its legs from one side to the other perpetually. 

Regardless of which side, the movement was ample to cause the entire place to undergo a series of tremors. When it lifted his legs to the side closest to Dalis, he couldn’t even stand or slouch. The whole time he was forced to obediently stay attached to the floor. If it weren’t for him gripping to his surroundings tightly, he wouldn’t even be crouched. 

Could this skill be ‘Stampede?’ The skill mostly commonly used by beasts of considerable weight? Yet, it doesn’t seem to be covering much distance as I had heard?

Actually Dalis’s guess was correct and it was indeed the skill Stampede. Usually when Stampede was used, the operator besides stamping, would make distance in a hustling manner like a stampede of horses. 

But because there was no visible target to domineeringly stamp to, it could only stamp on the spot mindlessly. 

And Dalis would have no doubt that this skill was in fact Stampede. 

Why?

Because for some stroke of luck, the beast had happened to stamp towards his direction. 

While Dalis was begging not to be found and putting all of his hopes of his skill Camouflage to slip and be undetected, the Rhinearian Beetle moved closer. 

Three metres.

It stopped moving.

Did it find me?

RHINE!

RUMBLE!

The tremor’s magnitude increased in a spurt. Nearby dirt was heaved up and feeble plants were uprooted from their soil. Dalis was tossed in the air a scant, enough for the Rhineareian Beetle to see it for a brief moment before Dalis descended to the ground back into his hiding place. 

The stamping had ceased.

Ughh. I can’t believe this is how I am revealed.  . . . What’s that noise? 

Bzzz

Bzzz

BZZZZ

Spitting out some dirt that managed to make its way through his mouth, the soiled Dalis hastily rose and looked up from his grovelling position.

Before his eyes, he saw the exact same scene that had transpired earlier when he saw the rocky, bronze carapace open up to reveal its true form. Only this time, he was in a sorry state, having the very privilege to be seated directly on the stage—

—Bearing witness to its large spectacular wings flapping and vibrating, rapidly and crazily.    

 

Announcement

Vanquish Strike Lv 1- Standard Vanquisher technique. Buffs your next attack to deal additional damage against a beast. Cost 0. Cooldown 3 minutes.

Important: Uni is starting again very soon, and it will definitely be much harder than before.  I will try and keep the story frequently updated. Don't be surprised if I don't upload for a week, but you can expect a mass release. You can follow me for updates! I will let you guys know a chapter before I do the mass release. There may be a surprise if I do ~

Thanks for reading everyone!

 

 

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