77. The Rage of A Titan
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“[Swords of Liberation.]”

 

The cold energy swords swirled into existence and impaled the golems from their heads right through their entire torso. The freezing energy bound them in place and affected the liquid form of their body as it tried to heal.

 

With the Greatsword in hand, Rakna dashed at one of them, and as he injected mana into it, a red and black aura appeared around it. It solidified into a sharp manifestation that cut through its target like butter. At the same time, the other golem had its chest melted by acidic poison and its head corroded and fissured by Pronos.

 

Even so, the two stone puppets were not defeated yet. The weird slime-like substance continued to repair their missing or broken parts. They shattered the Swords of Liberation in a few seconds and retaliated almost instantly.

 

The one that had its head beheaded stepped forward and tried to ram Rakna, which was easily dodged with a swift Artzpul. However, the golem seemed to have expected that development as it grabbed its own head lying on the ground before throwing it at its opponent.

 

Rakna’s pupils dilated ever so slightly when he saw that and performed a midair kick that conjured a wind blade with his boots. The spell slashed the head before it exploded in the same way as the fist from before.

 

But he wasn’t done after that. Rakna gripped his weapon tighter and the Greatsword’s handle sprouted a few attachments similar to thorns. They pierced his hand to draw blood and he barely showed a reaction as the edge of the blade started dripping with a crimson liquid.

 

After a few seconds, Rakna swung the sword in a wide motion and a coagulated sweep of blood zoomed toward the golem and bisected it right down the middle.

 

In a similar fashion, Pronos cast a liquid jet of purple acid that was potent enough to tear through the entire golem he was fighting. He did that while also using his entire body length to crush the magical puppet.

 

When those two events were over, Rakna stood in front of a headless golem desperately trying to reconnect its body parts and Pronos jumped off a crumbling pile of rocks. When both of them thought this was over, the liquid stone stopped its attempts to regenerate and began to release a faint energy signature.

 

“Can’t be serious…!” Rakna muttered and rushed to grab Pronos. The fragments of the golems splintered and he boosted his wings to get away from their location. When he heard the explosion go off, he landed and wrapped Pronos and himself inside his wings like a cocoon.

 

❮ ◈ ❯

Liquid Stone Golem killed!

Liquid Stone Golem killed! (Partial Contribution)

Level up!

+0.1 Strength, Speed, Intelligence.

+2 Free Points.

Requirement for level updated.

Current Progress: 2/200

❮ ◈ ❯

 

Rakna grunted when he saw those pop-ups and spread his wings again with an invisible wince at the pain. Thankfully, it didn’t seem like it was enough for his Ireful Shell to trigger. It probably was because other than the pain, the injuries his wings suffered didn’t affect his health much.

 

He stood up with a huff while Pronos climbed back on his shoulder with an apologetic and thankful expression for having protected him. “Nothing too bad, little guy. You could have easily survived that but either way, I would have had to do this for myself,” Rakna consoled him as he traced his steps back to the tomb.

 

He glanced at the two craters on the ground and as well as the damages it had made to the walls and walked past them to enter the room from earlier. He looked around with a suspicious gaze then began to wander inside whilst staying close to the edges. Though, he also was shamelessly putting every valuable he passed by inside his ring much to the baffled amusement of his pet.

 

But, in contrast with his actions, Rakna wasn’t focused on the riches he was accumulating but, on the pedestal, and the ominous stone sarcophagus on top of it. He would be lying if he said that he was feeling unbothered by it. Just looking at it made his fur stand in alertness.

 

Additionally, his Fabled Sight was showing him odd things such as weird transparent waves of light coming from the ceiling and merging with the ancient coffin.

 

❮◈❯ Fabled Sight has leveled up! ❮◈❯

 

Rakna almost snorted. ‘Couldn’t ask for a better sign that something is weird,’ he thought and he decided to cast Appraisal on those weird things he was looking at.

 

❮ ◈ ❯

Ethereal flows of life force and soul force. They seem to be attracted by a dark force and siphoned of their purity and potency.

---

You have inspected something that cannot be perceived by natural means; Appraisal has leveled up!

❮ ◈ ❯

 

‘Would you look at that, a level up,’ Rakna quipped inwardly. At this point, he wondered if, in the future, every action of his would trigger one. If he continued to get skills at the same rate, it might happen. With these thoughts in mind, he switched his attention to the tomb.

 

❮ ◈ ❯

A sarcophagus dating from an olden period of the System. No hints can be found on the style of the tomb but the dark energy emanating from it and the life force that is being processed within it point toward a master of dark magic, death, and curses.

The creature lying inside appears to be gradually recovering its power as time passes from the forces it is collecting.

❮ ◈ ❯

 

“This isn’t good…” Rakna muttered as he read the results of his skill. One didn’t need to go far to understand what was going on. Anyone with a functioning brain cell would be able to tell that the ‘curse’ plaguing the dark elves was nothing more than the byproduct of this… revival.

 

The negative status, the weakened conditions, the fact that they can’t live long… These are signs of their life force being robbed throughout their lives.

 

The only question in his head right now was what he should do. If he wanted to stop this curse, he would have to confront the supposed corpse that resided here. How could he do that? Even as he stood as far as possible as he could from it, something at the very back of his mind was telling that it would be suicide to get close, much less touch the damn sarcophagus.

 

Rakna clicked his tongue as he finished circling the room. ‘Let’s back off for now…’ He decided and turned around. When he was about to leave, something suddenly made him stop in his tracks.

 

Danger. Irrational danger. He stopped breathing for a second when he heard something scraping a surface before falling on the ground with a loud noise. The feeling of danger increased several-fold and he slowly looked over his shoulder with wide eyes to see the tomb open.

 

A hand black as charcoal with blood vessels over it emerged from the inside and grabbed the edge of the rectangular box. A second one followed soon after and the owner’s upper body slowly began to rise. The figure was humanoid but everything else about it was simply wrong.

 

Charcoal black skin, red lines all over it behaving like pulsing veins, a head with no hair, nose, or eyes, and a large grin displaying two rows of perfectly triangular teeth.

 

The creature came out of what should have been its deathbed and revealed its body wrapped in half-shredded bandages. The being stepped on the ground and staggered a bit, still with its eerie grin, and exclaimed, “Hoho, it has been so long. This vessel is still weak, I see. How distressing. Had I stayed in slumber for longer, my power would have been restored.”

 

Rakna’s mind was working in overdrive. His body nearly refused to move in fear of provoking a predator that it couldn’t defeat. He was being oppressed in every sense of the word. He knew he could move if he truly wanted, he knew he could run, but he also knew that it would mean risking his life.

 

“Matters not. It feels good to wake up earlier as well,” the… monster said and turned toward him with its obviously fake and malicious grin. “So, was it you who saw through my illusion and routed my golems? How young. Tell me, what are you? I have never seen a tailed werewolf before. Is the birth of your kind something I missed during my slumber?”

 

Rakna stayed motionless and so did Pronos. The former was doing his best to come up with a plan to get them out of there alive and the latter only waited for his sign.

 

“Hm? What is wrong? Are you perhaps mute?” The thing asked with a light-hearted tone as if he didn’t know the answer to that already.

 

“…what are you?” Rakna finally spoke up and the being grinned wider. It stood straight like a noble and spread its skinny arms open.

 

“Take a look. You have an analysis skill, don’t you? Come on; I won’t block it.”

 

Rakna hesitated at his words but ultimately took his offer.

 

❮ ◈ ❯

Name: Asziquol Naberum Verias

Age: 1065 | Level: 99 (Weakened)

Race: Abyss Téras | Path: Sorcerer of the Upper Life

Affiliation: None

Title: Former Ruler of the Abyss - King of the Puppet Legion - ???

 

Attributes:

Strength: 5 | Endurance: 5

Speed: 5 | Dexterity: 99

Intelligence: 99 | Luck: 0

 

Sub-Attributes:

Stamina: 200/200 | MP: 1800/1890

Swiftness: 508 | Agility: 403

Senses: 508 | Atr Cap: 213

Attack: 126.5 | Defense: 20

Magic Attack: 497 | MP Regen: 12.9/min

 

Proficiencies:

- Art of War (Lv. Ex)

- Art of Combat (Lv. Ex)

- Art of Mana (Lv. Ex)

 

Magic Skills:

- Curse Magic (Lv. Ex ⋆) => [Death Storm (T.5); Decrepit Terror (T.8); Red Plague (T.10)]

- Abyss Magic (Lv. Ex ⋆) => [Oblivion (T.4); Drain (T.6); Warp (T.9); Null (T.10)]

- Illusion Magic (Lv. Ex) => [Oasis (T.6); Faux Pas (T.8); Double (T.9); Projection (T.10)]

 

Cognitive Skills (Passive):

- Abyssal Authority (Lv. Ex )

- Magical Damage Resistance (Lv.15)

- Soul Heart (Lv. 12)

- Despair Aura (Lv. Ex)

 

Spontaneous Skills (Active):

- Judge’s Compass (Lv. Ex ): ???

- Flash Step (Lv. Ex): ???

- Art of Reinforcement (Lv. Ex): ???

 

Unique or Racial Traits:

- Abyss Body: Immunity against dark magic. Decreased defense against light and fire.

- Téras’ Nature: A trait belonging to a breed of monsters that came out of Pandora’s Box. They feed on the aura of others to get strong at birth and can feast on souls to heal.

 

Note: One of the ancient rulers belonging to the organization of the Abyss. After betraying his superiors, he was stripped of his powers and forced to run. He ordered his servants to build a tomb so that he could one day come back to the world of the living.

❮ ◈ ❯

 

Rakna had to consciously force himself to not react too badly to the information that appeared in front of him.

 

“How is it?” The Abyss Ruler spoke with a smirk. “It is a sight to behold, is it not? I apologize, however. Most of my abilities have been taken away from me after all these years. I’m afraid I cannot even cast all of my spells. How inopportune. I couldn’t even return as a First Ascent and my physical prowess has simply gone down the drain.”

 

Verias cocked his head to the side with a maniacal smile. “On top of that, you even tried to take my gold… how unruly,” he said with a growly tone before humming serenely. “Oh well, it is no bother. There is a convenient nourishing jar above us, after all.”

 

Rakna’s eyes twitched at that; making an assumption that he really didn’t appreciate. He almost activated his Titan skill right then and there; he couldn’t let this thing live.

 

The abyss creature seemed to notice his small resolution and instead of worrying about a fight, he cackled with an unbreakable smirk. “Hoho, are you perhaps scared of what I will do to those little snacks? Don’t be. I won’t do anything to them,” he said with a disturbingly honest tone.

 

“After all, my mana isn’t full…” He trailed and laughed. “It is not a question of if I will, it is already done!”

 

Rakna’s eyes narrowed and turned gold as massive waves of life force suddenly entered the room they were in. His mind suddenly became chaotic. “No!” He shouted and turned into a wolf while activating his aura before bolting through the tunnel at full speed while Verias savored the energy he was absorbing.

 

“Answer, dammit!” Rakna cursed as he tried to directly call Gray through his friend list. When the call picked up, he didn’t wait for the other party to say something. “Fifth Plateau. I need your help. A tomb and an Abyss Téras.”

 

He was concise and straight to the point. The clown would probably understand more about the situation than him with these words alone.

 

“{Shit. I can’t teleport to you,}” the clown replied after a few seconds. “{Listen, I’m coming to the Fifth Plateau as fast as I can. The System will tell me where you are thanks to the friend panel but I’ll need at least three minutes to reach you. And that’s only if you are close enough. God knows where the random transfer dropped you.}”

 

Rakna gritted his teeth as he reached the bottom of the tunnel and the beginning of the stairs from earlier. He didn’t even bother to answer the clown and closed the call. As he was about to land in front of the stairs and shoot off upward to go back to the old house, a figure jumped him out of nowhere and knocked him out of the air. In his moment of haste, he hadn’t even sensed it.

 

He rolled on the ground and stood back on attention to see what the threat was. It didn’t feel like that abyssal mummy but it reeked of something as foul. When he took a look at the aggressor, he shuddered.

 

It was the corpse he had passed by earlier; the chief’s corpse. It was standing on its feet with its mouth wide open while making growling sounds. Its eyes were completely white and its body was hunched as if it couldn’t properly control it.

 

❮ ◈ ❯

Abyss Puppet

A corpse robbed of its soul and life, causing it to turn into a perfect vessel for dark energy to take control of it. It has now become a puppet at the service of the Abyss Ruler. It possesses all of the abilities of its alive counterpart and more.

A single bite from the puppet will cause a transformation in the victim if they are not capable of resisting it.

❮ ◈ ❯

 

“Fuck!” Rakna’s left eye turned red and he crushed the head of the literal zombie in front of him with a swipe of his claw. He flew up the stairs as fast as he could and returned to the dilapidated house.

 

He rushed to the door and broke it apart after turning into a werewolf. The instant he saw what was happening outside, a part of himself broke apart again and half of his aura turned red.

 

Rage was overtaking his mind as the cries and growls of the dark elves attacking each other, biting each other to spread the affliction. This entire village was probably done for already. The artificial light that had been lighting the cavern was also gone and had plunged the village into darkness.

 

Rakna flew off and hurried over to Vivi’s house. As he got closed to it, he heard the little girl’s voice screaming, “Daddy! Stop!”

 

He accelerated and burst through the roof as he landed with a snarl. A crying Vivi was in front of the unmoving figure of her mother while another male dark elf with gray and red skin was about to bite her as he clasped her arm.

 

Rakna deployed his wings and a dozen of feathers instantly tore through the air and found their target in the skull of the Abyss Puppet. The corpse collapsed and let go of Vivi who dropped on her knees whilst sobbing, “D-daddy…”

 

Rakna’s eyes and aura turned back to normal at the sight and he shifted into a human form before rushing to her side. He first checked Vina only for his rage to return almost instantly. There was a knife in her hand and her temple had a very clear mark.

 

‘She did this to herself. Probably to protect her daughter,’ he guessed and turned to Vivi who was staring at her hands covered in blood. “Vivi,” he said but she didn’t react. Her eyes were hollow and she couldn’t hear him. “Vivi!” He said with a louder voice and her tears flowed stronger.

 

“Why… why… mommy said her head was hurting… then the screams… then mommy grabbed a knife… and… and…” She choked on her own saliva and cried even harder. Pronos hissed softly at her and Rakna clenched his fists.

 

“Hoho, so that’s what you came here for. A Night Elf, is it?” A voice resounded from the entrance and he immediately used his wings to shield Vivi as he looked at the source.

 

Verias was nonchalantly standing near the front door. His grin was plastered on his face and his physique seemed to be considerably healthier compared to a minute ago. He had gained enough body mass to completely erase the fact that he had spent years inside a tomb.

 

“How cute,” he said with a tilt of his head. “Truly, the beautiful work of emotions. Sadly, they are so… fragile.”

 

Before he could react, Rakna felt something reach for his hand. His instinct had already made him aware of what it was but he couldn’t accept it. He didn’t dare to turn around to confirm it even when something pressured both sides of his hand before penetrating it.

 

❮ ◈ ❯

A foreign energy has entered your body!

A mutation has begun. Soul power drain has begun. Lifeforce drain has begun.

Your Nano Machines have identified the menace. Your Soul Core has reacted.

The Eion Energy has counteracted the mutation.

Soul Drain has been counteracted.

Life Force drain has been counteracted.

❮ ◈ ❯

 

Rakna’s face stilled and from the corner of his eyes, he saw Vivi with tears in her eyes biting his hand. Her skin was turning grayish rapidly and red vessels surfaced on her skin. One of her eyes had been emptied of its iris and pupil already.

 

“Big… doggy…” She uttered with her teeth still biting in his flesh.

 

She seemed to still be half aware but that small part of awareness was already dissipating along with the life in her remaining eye. “Please… I want… to… be with… mommy,” she voiced and Rakna abruptly relaxed his entire body in the oddest of manners.

 

He hid his face from Verias and hugged the little girl after freeing his hand. He pushed her to his chest and rested his chin on her head. “It’s all right.”

 

“I’m afraid it is not all right,” the Abyss Ruler retorted, taking amusement in the situation. He even failed to notice the increasing temperature in the surroundings. “An Abyss Puppet can never be saved from its suffering. My encroachment targets the very soul. Even mid-rank Celestials would have trouble saving her past this stage. She is gone.”

 

No answer was voiced but Pronos had the required perspective to see his master’s face. The little snake promptly lowered his head in a cold sweat and made himself as small as possible.

 

“It will… be all right,” Rakna spoke with a cold voice. Verias scowled in confusion as he watched the werewolf gather cold mana in the hand that was holding the child’s head.

 

Vivi’s last shred of awareness felt something both cold and warm wrap her body. Her mind slowed down and she started feeling sleepy. She then heard a voice say something, “Now, sleep. When you wake up, your mom will be there.”

 

She couldn’t think properly anymore and the cold energy that was infiltrating her brain finally made it lethargic enough to shut it down with no pain or damage whatsoever.

 

Rakna felt her go limp in his arms and gritted his teeth. He carefully placed her next to her parents and stood up. His aura flared like never before and the tips of his tails and ears changed from white to red. The cold nature of his mana entirely disappeared and was replaced by a fiery behavior and color.

 

Verias raised an eyebrow at the drastic change in presence. Then, the young wolf turned his head halfway to look at him. Immediately, the Abyss Ruler began to think that he might have made a mistake.

 

An expression twisted in rage, crimson irises drowning in bloodshot scleras, and a red star in the place of the pupils. “[Ascension of the Titan,]” Rakna rumbled and his body started expanding.

 

His red aura illuminated the entire house as he transformed once again. But, this time, he didn’t stop at three meters. He grew bigger and bigger until the house was demolished by him. His wings also underwent the same fate and passively protected the bodies of Vivi and her parents from the debris.

 

Verias began to panic as the aura he was sensing was turning out to be even stronger than his. He retreated out of the tumbling house and leaped tens of meters to distance himself. He then took a proper look at the now fifteen-meter-tall werewolf standing amidst the debris of the house.

 

Those daunting eyes were all the more intimidating now but as if it wasn’t enough, something else happened after that. Rakna’s fur began to turn into a mix of dark red and dark orange while the tips of his appendages retained a vivid shade. The new coloration started from his head until the tip of his tails, as if a pot of paint had been emptied on him.

 

But that was not all of it. Something much more intimidating coalesced above the giant werewolf and brought light back inside the village. A light that was so warm and natural it went against all common sense.

 

Verias now felt as if all this had been a farce since the beginning and that he had actually never stepped out of his tomb. He must have been trapped in Hell… because the monstrosity that was hovering in the sky couldn’t possibly be real.

 

“[Volcanic Star Manifestation - External Release.]"

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