Chapter 946 Battle at the Selnes Country: Earth Drill Centipede I
The warriors, including Alice and Eilish, gazed upward at the figure hovering in the air.
"He had grown stronger once again..." Eilish murmured.
"Keeping up with him is becoming increasingly difficult," Alice remarked with a wry smile.
"I hoped for some rest, but it looks like we'll have to wait until Souta and Kessa finish off that monster," Eilish said, settling against the wall and clenching her fist. She looked downward, determination etched on her face. "I must become stronger too. Breaking the Third Shackle isn't enough... Not for my brother or for him..."
Alice briefly glanced at Eilish, her eyes reflecting a mixed of emotions, before returning her attention to the radiant figure in the sky.
Souta remained composed, observing the clash between the two fifth-stage monsters before him.
An unfamiliar emotion swirled within him—sadness. This feeling was unlike the usual volatile emotions that spurred his desire for retribution.
Huffing out a dark smoke, Souta directed his gaze back to the intense confrontation unfolding.
Raising his hand slowly, a deep resonance filled the air.
The ground quivered as masses of blood floated into the air.
The blood amalgamated and expanded, engulfing the entire area in a deep crimson hue. The barrier's edge was now adorned with a thick layer of blood, its acrid scent permeating the surroundings.
Amidst the chaos, a colossal tree stood at the city's center, while two monstrous entities battled nearby. At the barrier's edge rested a small red sphere, reminiscent of a miniature sun.
Souta felt a surge in his strength as a result of this. [Twilight Zone] was an ability enabling him to create a field akin to twilight, yet distinctly different, enhancing all Crimson Twilight species in the vicinity.
Bending his knees slightly, he propelled himself forward toward the Earth Drill Centipede.
The centipede swiftly detected Souta's approach, maneuvering its massive body while launching hundreds of beams toward the Nine-Headed Hydra. Simultaneously, it directed another beam at Souta.
Souta evaded the beam, but noticed it altered its trajectory, homing in on him.
"A homing attack...?" Souta narrowed his eyes, spinning in the air and wielding the vajra sword. Swiftly, he slashed the air multiple times, releasing energy blades that intercepted the homing beams.
Meanwhile, Kessa absorbed the beams directed at her with her nine heads sprawled out. She retaliated by unleashing [Bestrou] simultaneously.
The ground trembled as the conflict escalated, causing horror among the onlooking survivors. Civilians struggled under the immense energy pressure in the atmosphere generated by the battle.
The Earth Drill Centipede seemed consumed by madness, a relentless machine driven solely by a desire to kill. It attacked recklessly, showing no restraint.
Souta and Kessa understood that reasoning with this creature was futile; it had lost its sanity. The only solution was to put an end to its rampage by defeating it.
In an enraged frenzy, the centipede underwent another transformation, activating its [Monster Orb Release], intensifying the quaking vibrations that reverberated throughout the area. The atmosphere grew even heavier.
Roaring, Kessa took flight and seized the centipede's head, her form shifting as she dragged the creature toward the ground.
[Monster Orb Release]!
A colossal explosion erupted as the two immense creatures collided with the ground like a meteor. A vast crater, five kilometers in diameter, obliterated everything in the area—buildings, living beings, reduced to nothingness, leaving only the colossal monsters behind.
Souta maneuvered across the centipede's body, dodging the relentless onslaught of energy beams. With each passing moment, he slashed his sword repeatedly, unleashing hundreds of energy blades at the colossal creature.
The centipede's massive size made it an easy target, but its defenses were staggeringly resilient.
"It's tough," Souta remarked with narrowed eyes. He gestured with his free hand, summoning crimson-colored lightning that crackled above. Gripping his sword tightly, he leaped into the air, the lightning spiraling around the blade.
[Lifeless Blood Lightning]!
A surge of crimson energy erupted, causing massive fluctuations. The centipede's body crashed into the ground, triggering a colossal explosion.
It formed a maelstrom of violent energy, with dark and light elements whirling at high speeds while lightning struck relentlessly thousands of times within moments.
Souta's power surged incredibly. The effects of the [Emperor's Blessing] card, combined with other active equipment skills, persisted as it hadn't been long since he invoked them.
Soon, the centipede's body emerged from the intense onslaught. A thin, seemingly translucent membrane appeared on its carapace, shielding it from most of the damage inflicted by Souta's attacks.
"This is tougher than expected..." Souta murmured, shifting his gaze toward the centipede's head.
Meanwhile, Kessa engaged in a fierce battle at the centipede's head. The clashes between them unleashed devastating attacks, obliterating everything in their path.
Kessa's form had drastically changed. Employing her [Monster Orb Release], she grew to a towering height of five hundred meters. Her body was covered in glossy dark scales, emitting black smoke from the gaps.
The black smoke possessed corrosive properties that slowly dissolved the ground into a liquid state. However, the centipede seemed impervious to the effects of the smoke, its tough carapace barely affected by it.
Pressing on, Kessa lunged forward, her heads clamping onto the centipede's mandible. With a resounding roar, she unleashed another relentless assault of [Bestrou].
Explosions echoed across the battlefield.
Adel and Shen Yao, observing from the air, wore grave expressions.
"This is dire..." Adel muttered with a sense of gloom.
"Yeah, the energy levels are escalating rapidly. If it spreads across the entire country, countless lives will be lost," Shen Yao said grimly.
The energy radiation emitted by a fifth-stage monster posed a terrifyingly lethal threat to living beings. Once it reached a certain intensity, it had the potential to annihilate nearly everything in its path. Perhaps, only a handful of survivors would remain across the entire country if such an event occurred.
"We have to ensure the safety of the civilians," Shen Yao affirmed with a determined expression.
"You're right. But where's that damned exorcist? She vanished after sending her shinigami," Adel remarked, scanning the battlefield for any sign of Naruse. Her absence in this crucial moment only added to their burden. It seemed odd that she would disappear during such a critical situation, leaving them to face the threat alone.
Realizing Naruse's absence, Shen Yao contemplated if she had another motive for being in the country besides aiding them in battle.
"Let's create a protective barrier to reduce the impact of the energy on the civilians," Shen Yao suggested, her focus on the immediate task at hand.
Adel nodded in agreement, and together, they swiftly moved to create a shielding field to safeguard the citizens from the escalating energy pressure.
In another part of the area...
Erkigal observed the ongoing battle and made a decision. "It's time for me to act. I need to initiate the final phase of our plan."
Vashno turned to her, inquiring, "For Clan Leader Hoei?"
"Yes, he has a task to fulfill. It's the only way to lift the curse and liberate the people in this country. If Hoei doesn't succeed, we'll be trapped in the midst of powerful organizations' conflicts. We won't be able to leave," Erkigal explained, a grave determination in her eyes.
"Do you believe he can accomplish it?" Eztein asked, a hint of doubt in his tone.
"He must succeed. Many of our comrades have sacrificed themselves in this war. Failure isn't an option," Erkigal asserted firmly, her fists clenched in resolve.
Franklin interjected, "Staying in this situation isn't so bad, in my opinion."
"That's because you're eager for a fight," Eztein replied to Franklin. "But consider this: the battle's scale will shift drastically after this confrontation. Heroes and even fifth-stage monsters are engaging both inside and outside the country. Were it not for the All-Filter Barrier Formation, the consequences would be far worse than what we're witnessing now."
"Assist the other civilians. I'll handle this." Erkigal instructed her comrades before vanishing in a swift motion.
Within moments, Erkigal materialized in a dimly lit chamber, adorned with a complex magic circle etched into the floor, surrounded by flickering candles.
Inhaling deeply, Erkigal strode into the center of the magical sigil, lighting all the candles around it with a deliberate motion.
The ambiance shifted, and the magic circle began to radiate a faint luminescence.
"Our Lord, guide us and grant us your blessing to survive this catastrophe," Erkigal murmured softly, pressing her palm against the floor. This was the pivotal stage of their plan. Despite the unexpected emergence of the colossal tree, she remained resolute, determined to proceed and ensure that Hoei fulfilled his task. This ritual could potentially ease their path if executed successfully.