“[Null]!” Verias mustered a whirlpool of all-consuming magic above him as a literal tide of magma fell on him from the sky. This spell, though low tier, was something that interfered with the very fabric of space and was equally as hard to learn as it was mighty.
But, even then, this magma blazing with ethereal heat and flames seemed to burn through it as if it was a normal obstacle.
“How could this be!?” The Abyss Ruler shouted indignantly and gritted his teeth as he was forced to dodge the attack, “[Flash Step]!” He intoned and his body fizzled out of view before reappearing on the roof of another house.
The one he had been standing on was instantly half-melted by the inescapable magma. Verias once again turned to look at the sky where the most outlandish of sights was reflected on his inexistent eyes.
A star. There was no other word for it. It was a crimson and orange star that discharged flames of the same color whilst leaking lava to the ground below. Its size was immense, at least a hundred meters wide, and almost took the entirety of the upper half of the underground village.
“Is this…!?” Before Verias could finish his sentence, two more jets of magma erupted from the star and took the shape of two giant wolves that lunged at him. “Enough!” He hollered and a disk formed around his hand. It looked like a miniature galaxy with dots of light flickering within it.
The sorcerer threw the disk in his hand as his status was updated with one of his past spells from before his slumber. The disk flew at the magma wolves and cut one of them in half before veering toward the other one and swelling into a sphere that swallowed it before waning without traces.
At that moment, Verias forgot one important thing as he focused on the star. A ridiculously large glaive dripping with lava was swung at him from above. He barely managed to dodge it in time before it could split him in two along with the house below him.
Verias traced back the giant glaive back to its wielder and groused as the tailed werewolf glared at him with the crimson whirls he had for eyes. Then, the blade of the magma glaive he was holding began to emit a worrying sound.
“[Warp]!” The Abyss Ruler was swallowed by a spatial tear right before the volcanic glaive exploded and turned the area he was in into a miniature volcano. His teleportation spell dropped him a few dozens of meters away and without giving him even just a second of respite, the volcanic star produced even more apparitions.
This time, at least ten giant wolves jumped out of the eternally thawing star and Verias responded in kind with the same number of Abyss Rings.
At the same time, he heard a booming and powerful voice. He snapped his head toward the source and saw the werewolf spinning a carved spear matching his size. Verias sensed the power within that creation and grimaced.
‘I should not have been so careless,’ he said to himself. “Judge’s Compass,” he uttered and a near-complete status appeared in front of him. He noticed that some elements were being blocked from his analysis but the two most important were revealed to him.
‘Star magic and Ascent of the Titan. How could a man like this exist? I should have killed him when I had the chance. I overlooked him because of his weak level,’ he thought angrily and the growl-like voice resounded again.
“Too late to regret,” Rakna spoke after his Soul Core detected the analysis that had been cast on him. He hoisted the fiery Gungnir above his shoulder and the polearm was engulfed in ethereal flames. “I’ll end this in thirty seconds.”
“Do not get ahead of yourself!” Verias shouted, his grin entirely gone by this point. “[Death Storm – Colossus of Madness]!” As he cast his spell, a large surge of mana manifested itself and took the form of an amalgam of curses.
They physically materialized as a sort of purple humanoid monster behind Verias. It had no face to speak of and its body was made of an intermix of thin threads of energy. The odd figure started expanding until it was as big as Rakna.
It slammed its palms together and more strings of all colors burst forth from between to fashion a sphere of corporeal curses. The volcanic star instantly began to rain down pillars of magma followed by wolves and a new addition; a beast with three pairs of wings, the body of a wolf, and the head and talons of an eagle.
Verias extended his hand upward and conjured several layers of barriers made with abyss magic to protect himself and his spell. The magma rapidly burned through them but he conjured more to replace the destroyed ones.
But some drops still managed to get past the defenses and fell on the colossus. The spots touched by said drops instantaneously dissolved and the threads flailed erratically to stitch it back.
‘How dreadful can star magic get… This magma can even burn curses,’ Verias thought grimly.
“That thing won’t help you,” Rakna declared and without any warning, he hurled Gungnir which was boosted by the explosive power of the volcanic star energy.
“Colossus!” Verias shouted and the monster of curses behind him grabbed the sphere it had been weaving until now and shoved it toward the incoming spear.
When the two spells clashed, the area around them was struck by a powerful shockwave that turned a large portion of the village into ruins while simultaneously bursting into flames.
As the clash of magic continued, a winner seemed to be emerging. The Mad Colossus’ strings coiled around Gungnir and seemed to be slowly draining it of its power. Soon after, the spear shattered and exploded, bringing down the colossus along with it.
Verias grunted as the aftermath reached him which he resisted by pushing his Reinforcement to its limits. His satisfaction from stopping the spear died as soon as it came to him though. Because beyond the settling smoke, he saw the werewolf summon a fiery bow to nock a strange-looking arrow on it.
But that didn’t stop there, the volcanic star that had been continuously barraging Verias suddenly stopped generating more artificial creatures and twisted peculiarly. It looked as if the bladed arrow was attracting the star as a magnet would do to metal.
At first, it was only a small trail of red light but it soon turned into a stream as the entire star was siphoned by the arrow and bow. It was impossible to grasp how such a massive concentration of energy could be absorbed by such a small object.
The Abyss Ruler gritted his teeth until they chipped and rattled audibly. “To think I would have to risk such a spell in this state because of a measly level twenty dog,” he spat and two cuts opened on his face and bled profusely before spreading and revealing a pair of uniformly white eyes.
He made a wide motion with his arms and mana gushed out of his body until it felt like someone would be able to taste it in the air. Then, countless black fissures appeared in midair and expanded until all of them were the exact copy of Verias’ eyes.
At the same time, Rakna had finished absorbing the whole star and the arrow on his bow radiated more power than even he could handle. Something that could easily be observed from his wobbly arms and the random spurts of blood across his body.
“This is the end for you,” the Téras sneered and opened his mouth to trigger his magic. “[Obli-]”
“[Ace of Diamonds,]” Rakna interjected and an imposing playing card lashed brightly above his head before vanishing as fast as it had appeared.
“[-vion!]” The Abyss Ruler finished and silence fell. The eyes he had summoned departed as if they had never been here, the mana he was emitting dissipated, and the magic he prepared had been dispelled without warning.
“…what?” Verias uttered dumbly as Rakna let go of the string he was holding. The former could only watch in disarray as his vision was gradually occupied by the fiery projectile’s light.
The world slowed down from his perspective and he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. ‘No, this cannot be happening,’ he said internally. ‘I cannot die here.’
“THIS CAN’T BE TRUE!” He screamed as the bladed arrow engulfed him and dragged his body until the walls of the cavern. The spinning blades were then released before detonating near instantly.
Unlike the cold energy, the volcanic energy was unrestrained and the explosion looked as if a meteorite full of explosives had just crashed, causing an earthquake to ripple through the earth.
It was followed by a massive production of ardent magma that shot up in the air and cooled down halfway to create a magnificent bouquet of solid black stone.
Watching it happen, Rakna lowered his bow and coughed blood as he staggered backward. He let out a grunt and an incessant current of bloodthirsty thoughts and voices invaded his mind.
[Heavily Injured. Rakna, I recommend you quickly disengage the Ascent of the Titan. Your body is already starting to reject your own power because of the Star Manifestation’s drawback.]
“Shut up, I know,” he replied with a snarl and his fur reverted to black at the same time. “It’s not over yet,” he uttered and kicked the ground. His enlarged body leaped through the air and landed next to the site of the explosion.
His eyes tightened and turned into a mixture of gold and red. His arm blurred and reached for an empty spot in front of him. But, surprisingly, his hand grasped something invisible which he readily slammed on the ground with all of his strength.
The magic was broken right away and the injured appearance of Verias appeared. His body was covered in silver-colored blood and three of his limbs were missing; only his left arm remained.
“How… did you… find me…” He asked with faulty vocal cords.
He scoffed. “What… a… joke…” Rakna gazed at him emotionlessly and scooped him from the ground before lifting him to his line of sight. “What… are you… going to do… now? Torture me… for killing… the child?”
The werewolf didn’t reply. His macabre and inhuman eyes appeared cold, hollow, sharp, dull, and wrathful all at the same time. “Only in your dreams that I’d give enough shit about you to do that,” he growled and dangled the incapacitated creature above his opened maw.
“Wh-what are you doing!? Stop it!”
His shouts were unheeded and Rakna simply let go and dropped the Abyss Ruler in his mouth. He chewed as hard as he could for a few seconds and then swallowed.
❮ ◈ ❯
You have killed Asziquol Naberum Verias!
You have killed a foe more than five times your level, experience sexdecupled!
The difference between your levels amounts to 79!
3950 additional experience has been awarded.
+1.8 to Strength, Speed, and Intelligence.
+21 Free Points
Requirement for level up updated.
Current progress: 306/380
Core Genome Updated: Three Tails Unlocked. Next Tail: Lv.38/Lv.50
Number of Skills Affected: 2
Number of New Skills Attuned: 1
- Shadow Step has been attuned!
- Smell of the Wolf God (Incomplete) -> True Smell of the Wolf God
- Shape Shift: A skill exclusive to the Nine-Tailed Werewolf. Grants the ability to shift between three forms; Wolf (speed +73% -> +76%), Werewolf (all attributes +53% -> +56%), Therian.
Heart of Lv.99 Asziquol Naberum Verias absorbed. Absorption Factor = 3.5%
You have completed a Hidden Quest…
❮ ◈ ❯
“Cut it off,” Rakna said and the system windows stopped scrolling. His body then started shrinking until he was a normal therian again.
He crumpled to his knees and gasped as the tips of his ears and three tails turned white again and his eyes regained their purple shade. Everything about his body was making him want to faint but he held on with nothing but his perseverance. A hiss sounded and Rakna looked up to see Pronos approaching whilst carrying Sonata with him.
He groaned and tried to stand up only to fall back. “Fuck…” He muttered and used the very last bits of mana he had to reinforce his limbs.
He threw a healing pill in his mouth and shakily stood up. He stepped over the incinerated vestiges of the village and through the fires he himself had ignited. Step by step, he unsteadily walked away, closely followed by Pronos who looked at him worryingly; for more than just his physical injuries.
After a few minutes of agonizing march, he reached his destination and collapsed against a semi-broken wall. He exhaled and pulled out a cigarette with trembling hands. He put it in his mouth and slowly lit it.
After that, the strength in his arms faded away for good and fell limp at his sides. He grunted and turned his blank stare toward three figures lying on the ground in front of him. He stayed there, with the village burning around him, for what felt like hours.
After a certain period of time that even he could not tell how long it was, he heard something being smashed in the distance followed by a loud voice, “Hey! Rakna! Where are you?!”
Pronos perked up at the call and put the scarf back around his master’s neck before dashing away to tell Gray where they were. When the clown arrived with the little snake in tow, he froze in place when he saw his Guild’s newest recruit. He was covered in injuries, he had a new tail, he felt much stronger than before, but most importantly, his eyes were empty and lifeless.
Any question that Gray might have had about the situation got stuck in his throat. He slowly traced Rakna’s line of sight and ended up looking at three corpses that had obviously once been a family.
Gray looked back startled at the battered young man.
“Promises are hard to fulfill… aren’t they?”
The cyborg squinted and took a few seconds second to answer, “They are…”
“That’s why I avoid them,” Rakna whispered as his eyelids became heavier. “But… it never makes it any easier…” He added before he finally blacked out; his body demanding rest. Pronos hissed sadly as he curled up on his chest.
Gray pushed down his hat. “Indeed…” He muttered as the crackles coming from the blazing wood echoed noisily throughout the devastated underground village. “You are right.”