Chapter 67: Eremus Gate (3)
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Leone Hendrickson pulled out his dagger and stepped up to the front while Kristina stepped back and pumped her mana. The magic circles in her heart spun and charged her veins with mana while Leone Hendrickson evened his breathing and looked at the approaching snake.

Eyes like green orbs shined through the desert. Its giant body, longer than the line of seven jeeps they had just seen, slithered from side to side, kicking up more sand into the air with each of its movements. The figure of the snake got clearer by the second. Its body, instead of flesh, was covered with sand and soil.

“Is that thing made of sand, Kristina Steitz?“ Leone asked, not moving his eyes away from the snake.

“It could be,” Kristina answered.

Leone brandished his dagger, pulling it to his side. Sparks of lightning surrounded the length of the short blade as his mana coursed through it. He took a short step ahead,  then another, his walk evolved into a canter, a run, a sprint.

Kristina blinked.

A flash of white light filled the skies.

“HISS!!“ 

A scream resounded in the air a deep gash ran through the snake's orb-like eyes. In an instant, Leone Hendrickson had enveloped himself into a stream of lightning and had landed a blow on the snake before it could even come close.

Leone didn't let go of his chance. 

[Lightning Strike (D+)]

The dark red sky flashed white again.

The air compressed around the face of the snake. The heat rose higher than the wastelands could have ever taken it to. In an instant, a bolt of lightning appeared from thin air and lay unto the body of the sandsnake. 

A piercing coalition of lightning tore through the sand at the back of the snake and then dug deeper and deeper. Sand kept shuffling away from the snake and soon, the bolt of lightning had passed through the snake and into the ground below. Not a drop of blood or a hint of flesh appeared on the body of the snake, but a gaping hole was left in its body as the sand around the point of impact melted and dripped down its body.

“HISSSS!“ A beam of sand emerged from the head of the snake. Leone who was stuck in free fall couldn't dodge in time. He braced his body in wait for the impact, but it never came.

The beam of sharp sand stood still in place as a membrane of purple mana surrounded it.

“What in the—” Leone Hendrickson got back on the ground and stared at the scene in front of him.

“Don't just watch!“ Kristina's call snapped him out of his surprise. She was standing a few meters behind him with a glow of deep purple mana in her hands. With a flick of her wrists, the beam of sand that was unmoving in the air screeched and turned, shooting toward the snake that it had emerged from. “No physical body, these monsters run on a core!“

Leone understood her intentions and nodded, he readied himself to use his skills again. The reversed beam of sand clashed against the sandsnake headfirst, it pushed into the monster's body and sent it reeling backward from the sheer force.

“[Lightning Stride (D)]!”

Leone disappeared once again, popping up right in front of the snake. He took a stance with his dagger in midair. Thrusting it ahead into the snake's forehead. 

Kristina used the chance to use the same psychokinetic magic and pushed away bits of the sand from the snake's forehead in perfect sync with her companion. Leone's strike went deeper than it could have as the snake reeled back again. 

In retaliation, the snake turned its face up and tried to bite down on Leone. Seeing them up close, he only now realized how the fangs looked like slabs of stone. He prepared himself to use the skill again, it was wasteful but necessary. Before he could charge it up, a gust of wind—No, a torrent stormed in and carried his body away from the approaching fangs.

“There…” Kristina muttered, her breathing uneven. “Was that a good gale? Damned bitch.“

Leone safely landed on the ground. Kristina saw him and nodded, but the boy was making a strangely concerned face. She furrowed her eyebrows when stalagmites of sand appeared all around her. Clicking her tongue, Kristina was about to run above the stalagmites, but Leone suddenly appeared in front of her.

The ground was lifted away from her feet and she was suddenly at the other side of the sandsnake.

“You alright, Kristina Steitz?“ Leone asked, letting her down.

“Yeah, you didn't have to,” she answered. Not even the tiniest hint of surprise on her cold face. “Leone Hendrickson.“

Leone looked at her for a split second and nodded. “Sorry. Please, cover me again.“

Kristina waved her hand and looked at the stalagmites of sand. She snapped her fingers and her mana rushed to the stalagmites on the opposite end, enveloping them in her hold before they could disappear.

A flash of light spread again. Leone Hendrickson had popped up toward the snake again, this time, right behind its mouth. The snake sent another shot of sand after sensing his presence, but it was countered by Kristina's spike of sands. As the two made impact, Leone charged in with his dagger.

“Not here! AGAIN!“

The top of the head, the center of the body, below the mouth, and behind it, they attacked everywhere on the snake's body.  As Leone emerged from the center, he ran away from the snake and turned to Kristina.

“I saw it! It's in the tail!“

Panting, Kristina nodded again. 

One final blow.

The spread her mana all over the place and the clunks of sand formed a gigantic spear, comparable to the beam that had first hit them.

“HISS!“ The snake tumbled and swung its body toward them. Rows after rows of sandy spikes shot toward Kristina, but Leone struck them before they could come close all the while running into the snake. He sent a bolt of lightning to the monster to attract its attention.

“It's done!“

With Kristina's voice as the cue, Leone Hendrickson jumped as far away from the snake as he could and rushed toward its tail.

Kristina roared and grunted as she swung her hands to the front. At her will, the spear of sand soared through the air and rushed toward the snake. The air tore apart and as the spear cut through it all. 

The snake growled ferociously and rushed toward the spear. Sand coalesced at its head as it prepared to attack it.

A boom spread through the wastelands.

Air bubbled in and puffed out as the spear and the snake met head-on. The two monsters of sand diving into each other.

“Die.“

The spear spun around itself as a torque set it in motion. Like a drill digging through the depths of a wall, the spear tore apart the head of the sandsnake and dived into its back.

“Leone Hendrickson!!”

“I GOT IT!“

Leone jumped high up. His dagger cackled as hundreds of thousands of streaks of lightning spread from him. As if the electricity from the clouds had descended, Leone charged toward the tail of the monster, towards its core. 

“[Lighting's Wrath (C-)]!!”

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