Book 1: Chapter 33 – “The Story of how an Adventurer Town was conquered by an Army of Insane ‘Ants’ – [Part 2]”
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orz.... well now... First off, I'll say I appreciate everyone that took the time to vote in last chapters Poll.

That being said, even after giving it a few weeks, it helped a lot less than I thought it would, hahahahha! With 166 votes (holy heck, that many people read this thing?!) 77 for the rewrite, and 84 for continuing (with 5 "other"), it was near dead even, though obviously a few more for continuing. 

So this is what we're going to do from here. As per the poll, I'll continue to write from where the current story is. When I have time, however, I'll work on expanding and rewriting earlier Chapters to better fit my vision, at the very least up until the Ant Wars. These rewritten chapters will be up on Patreon at first (first tier, free if I can figure that out) and then posted as a new work, with all chapters after that (Halirosa Takeover and after) being transferred over when its totally finished. (the "Old" novel will remain as a historical record).

That being said, this will be a much slower process than a full Rewrite, and I might be well into Book 2 or 3 before its done.

To reiterate, the Novel will continue from this point as a primary focus, with past Chapters being touched up on and expanded as I have time. They say you can never please everyone all the time, but at least you can find a happy medium.

If you have any suggestions that you'd like to see, or be expanded on from previous chapters (excluding Interludes, gonna do something with those) then feel free to post them in the comments and I'll take notes!

This Chapter is slightly shorter, than normal, and unedited, as I wanted to get something out before I head to work. The second part will be up later tomorrow, after I wake up, as will this one be edited. So if you want to wait for the edited version, hold off till tomorrow. If not, or don't care, then enjoy!.

Urick stood straight from the blow, his frown deepening as he tried to shake off the surprisingly sticky silver goop coating his fist. He glanced up at the others in the room to find they were each wearing noticeably different expressions. The eyes of the young male Wolfkin to Ashdales right were as wide as dinner plates, a slightly trembling hand snapping to his neck, while his female counterpart to Ashdale's left sat still and stoic, quietly writing down something on her small notepad as if not even noticing what had happened.

The two "guards" similarly had different reactions. The Dragonkin moved like a bolt of lightning, intersecting the more flighty servants who had made a break for the door as soon as their brains processed what had happened. He expertly herded them back into the room before speaking to the house guards on the other side, who had responded quickly.

The other guard, the overly large man, and the only other human in the room besides Urick himself, took a step closer to the Guard Captain, his hand resting on the strange weapon at his side, his eyes burning slightly with both Spiritual Energy and warning. Urick met the man's glare with a smirk, which further kindled the flames in the man's eyes. Interesting; to stand up to him meant the man was either foolish, new in town, or better able to hide his ability than most, most likely some combination thereof. Urick made a mental note to go over the man's file once he'd returned to his office, him and the Dragonkin both.

Still, it wasn't like Ashdale to hire "lesser" help, which meant either the people before him were more than they seemed... or he'd not had the choice. Either option was worrying, if for different reasons. As for Urick's friend, Ashdale simply sat bent over, his elbows on his knees, his face in one palm, while the other was raised to the side, blocking the advancing guard.

When the older Wolfkin finally looked up at Urick, the man saw eyes filled with pity, sadness, and a tired exacerbation he'd only seen after the worse Senate meetings. Then the tingling started.

It was at this moment, Urick knew...

The silvery goop on his fist twitched in that single moment that Urick had let his guard down. Then, like a flash of lightning, it moved. The goop condensed into dozens on thin streams, like tiny silver threads. Most rushed up his arm, even as a few tried to burrow their way into his skin. The latter was quickly blocked by a simple application of Spiritual Energy and Mana, while the former threads weaved and slid through even the man's nimble fingers.

Quicker than only three or four people in the room could follow, the threads reached Urick's neck, quickly weaving themselves into a thin, silver band. The band tightened and fused with the man's skin on a molecular level, soon appearing as nothing more than a silvery patch of skin around his neck.


Ashdale sighed in defeat, even as Urick scratched in vain at the mark. He'd hoped it wouldn't come to this, at least not without an opportunity to speak to his friend. But having known Urick Stonewall for nearly two centuries, he knew it was an inevitability, especially with that insane "AI" creature. Still, all Ashdale could do was damage control for Urick's sake and Halirosa's.

Suddenly, a surge of energy drew Ashdale's attention, and his eyes snapped to his friend.

"Urick! Don't!"

But it was too late; Urick's body swelled with Spiritual Energy and Mana, even as the silver band around his neck sparked to life. This was the Secret of the Stonewall clan; bodily energy the Stonewalls liked to call "Ki." A fusion of Spiritual energy and Mana, something though previously impossible (or at least the stuff of legends), Ki took the energy of the Spirit and the energy of the Body and melded them together to create something both greater and lesser.

Unlike Spiritual Energy, which could manipulate the fundamental Laws of the world, or Mana, which commanded the Magi, the elemental spirits, Ki couldn't affect the outside world directly. Instead, all of its power and potential was focused inside, within the user's body. While technically still following the "Path of the Spirit" like most Spiritual Cultivators, Ki users, nicknamed "Body Cultivators" by those outside the Stonewall clan, were able to amplify and magnify the power of their body to their extremes.

In terms of bodily power, a Ki user was several magnitudes more powerful than a Spiritual Cultivator.

This fundamental truth was put on full display as Urick's entire body bulged, enhanced muscled straining against his uniform even as arcs of electricity surged through him from the silver band, several scorch marks slowly forming on the once pristine fabric.

"Urick, stop! You can't keep this up, just calm down and listen to me!"

Urick didn't respond and instead turned his bulging, bloodshot eyes towards Ashdale, staring at him for an intense moment.

Then, to the shock and horror of every person in the room, Urick Stonewall reached up with a glowing hand... and plunged his fingers into his own neck.

With a sickeningly wet sound, Urick wrapped his fingers under the silver band where it had fused with his skin and pulled. There was a tense moment where the band held firm, wiggling slightly in the Guard Captain's hand before it snapped with a metallic twang. With a flick of his wrist, Urick threw the metal band away, even as it continued to squirm and spark with energy before it dissolved into a silvery mist.


The Guard Captain gurgled wetly, throwing off the young male Wolfkin who'd rushed to his side, hands glowing with white mana, as he reached into his blood-soaked jacket and withdrew a small crystal vial filled with a pure black liquid, accented by flickering gold light. In one motion, Urick downed the vial's contents and dropped it. The man's body bulged once more, turning bright red, as the flesh around his neck wiggled and weaved itself back together at a visible rate beneath the bubbling blood.

In less than 10 seconds, nothing but dried blood remained of the wound.

The room stood in silence, broken only by Urick's heavy breathing, before the large man plopped back down on the blood-stained sofa. No one dared speak, let alone move; few could process the scene they'd just witnessed. The man leaned his head back, one hand over his eyes as he gently massaged them.

It wasn't until a silvery mist swept across the floor and condensed atop the table that Urick finally lowered his head forward. His eyes narrowed, though not enough to conceal the small Ki flame glowing in their depths, and he took in the form of the large, rat-sized silver Ant he'd pulped only a few moments before.

The two stared at each other for a long minute before the "Ant" spoke.

"Well, now. That was impressive. General Uriel's the only one who's ever been able to resist a Heavy-Class restraint band. And even HE took a few minutes to get it off. "

Well, there WAS Si'dia, but he'd never actually be able to get one on HER... not that he'd tried after the first time *shiver*.

"I don't think we've been properly introduced. I'm Alpha. I believe it's time we had a talk, Mr. Stonewall".

Urick Stonewall stared down at the small creature and frowned before leaning forward.

No one in the room could call the man on the couch Urick Stonewall, friend and confidant of Levi Ashdale, any longer.

No, the man who sat there, who would decide the fate of both them and the city of Halirosa, was Captain Stonewall, Guardian of Halirosa and the Blood-Red Demon of Destruction.

"Yes... I believe you're right... "