“It is an Ant?”
Vikaros confusedly asked.
Unlike the creatures they had faced before, this one seemed quite calm. It stood facing them and did not rush to attack, seemingly waiting for them to come at it.
Its two large antennas waved at them, and its black eyes with faint Star blinked several. The gigantic abdomen nearly dragged on the ground, and there was a sharp sting at the bottom. It stood taller than a normal person. The six legs seemed to be made of metal rods, with sharp claws as its feet. And unlike the Spider and the Scorpion, it was not Silver, but dark grey.
Shazan was scared that it was something too dangerous, but after seeing a single faint Star in its eyes, he calmed down a bit.
“Yeah… It is an Ant.” Gerald nodded and readied himself.
They were all waiting for Shazan’s command.
“Let’s test its speed first. Daggers!” He commanded.
The Blood Knights threw their Daggers at the creature, targeting its massive face. To their surprise, there was no barrier, and the Ant did not even avoid the attacks. The Aura-fused Daggers all landed on its face and dropped down on the floor after a sharp-metallic-clank.
“Now we know where not to hit it,” Gerald gravely said.
From the sound of clanks, they could discern that its body was tougher than that of the Spider.
“Why is it not attacking?” Vikaros asked confusedly.
It was as if the Ant understood his question, and it replied gladly.
They all saw the Ant lift its abdomen, and then it crashed it on the ground, piercing the sting deep in it.
Fissures spread from the impact zone. The quakes got stronger with every wave, and it got to a point where they couldn’t stay still and started staggering. And then something shot out of the mouth of the Ant. A liquid ball, the size if a Basket-ball.
“Shield!” Shazan cried out and hurriedly assembled an Aura Shield with all his Strength.
Gerald, Amraaz, and Izna used their Auras to strengthen the Shield he had created.
The ball of liquid crashed on the Shield, and a sizzling sound spread in the cave.
They all watched in horror as smoke started rising from the Shield as it melted. Droplets of liquid dropped around them, and some crashed on the Shields of the Blood Knights, leaving holes in them. And the drops in the ground made holes as well.
“Acid?” Izna asked in a shivering voice.
The smoke had started devouring the air around them, and they felt short of air to breathe.
“We can’t afford to let the liquid touch our skin. And try not to breathe in the smoke. It is corrosive.” Gerald said to them. “Let’s go.”
Shazan charged at the Ant followed by the three of them. The other Blood Knights stepped forward but maintained a safe distance.
They Aura Swords clashed on the face and body of the Ant, but they could not injure it in the least. Even the Javelins only left faint scars.
The Ant ignored their attacks and lifted its abdomen again before crashing it on the ground once more. It took them all off-guard.
The ripples hit the four of them stronger than before, and Izna didn’t even get the chance to retreat. She fell on the shaking ground and watched in horror as a ball of the acid was shot at her.
She closed her eyes to meet her end, there was not even a moment for her to defend herself, but the ball never touched her.
Izna heard the familiar sizzling in the air and opened her eyes to witness smoke all around her.
Shazan stood before her, with his body covered in his Violet Aura. The smoke was emanating from his body, and the clothes he was wearing were disappearing. His flesh burnt, his hair burnt, and the blood inside started burning. The once ridiculously handsome man looked like a rotting zombie.
Pain assaulted him worse than he had ever been in. It was excruciating, but he did not cry out and only gritted his teeth.
The Blood Knights did not waste the time and attacked the Ant. They used the set of floodlights to target its eyes, and attacked it from all sides with all their might.
Shazan let them be and retreated. He sensed the damage the acid was doing to his body. It was horrifying, but he felt relaxed at finding that his blood was working against it. As his blood burnt, his flesh healed fast. It was even faster than the healing ability of the Bloodfallen.
He felt strength brimming inside of him, and his dark brown eyes turned to a shade of Wine. Everything in his sight changed to life strands and Auras, and he scanned the entire body of the Ant.
A cruel smile appeared on his face, and as soon as the last strand of clothing disappeared from his body, his Violet Aura shined brightly, covering his nakedness, and he disappeared from the spot.
He appeared right on top of the Ant and formed an Aura Spear. He hurled it at the neck of the Ant and then proceeded to form a sword to attack one of its Antennas.
The Ant sensed the incoming danger and tried to brush off the attackers that were engaging it, but it failed. In its anxiousness, it shot out a random ball of Acid towards the enemies.
The Spear missed the target, but his Aura Sword cleft its antenna into two. Silver blood dripped out, and evaporated, causing the smoke around them to fade away.
They could finally breathe again.
Shazan dropped on its back and stood there, waiting for the Ant to attack him in some manner, but as expected, it didn’t. It was stunned at losing its antenna.
Gerald did not miss the opportunity and impaled the Javelin right in the Eye of the Ant, and Amraaz followed from the air as he impaled the javelin in its neck.
It was only stunned for a few seconds, but in that time, they took its life without giving it a chance to react.
The Ant fell on the ground, and then its body started evaporating, providing various benefits to the ones who managed to take it down.
When it finished, Amraaz pensively looked at Shazan. Dozens of eyes looked at him strangely, curiously, and fearfully.
There was an unusual suppression they felt on their Hearts, and a dreadful fear engraved itself on their souls.
Gerald was not like the rest. He was not seeing him in such a state for the first time. He willed his heart and appeared by his side, draped his cloak on his body that only had a layer of his Aura covering it.
Only after he was covered in some clothing, he suppressed away his shining Aura.
The Acid had stopped destroying his skin, and all his wounds had healed completely. Even the hair he had lost had grown back.
Shazan stood there with his eyes closed as he sensed the excitement in his blood. He wanted to bath in blood and battle, for as long as he desired. And his desire was limitless.
“After it shoots Acid, its antennas turn soft and are vulnerable for a fraction of time.” He whispered, but everyone heard his words.
He grabbed the Antenna he had cut. And he made them watch in amazement as he melted it in a liquid with just the strength of his Aura.
“This will remain soft after it has been cut, and then it will solidify in any state it would be in after a few minutes.”
He did not need to say anything more as one of the Blood Knight rushed out of the cave at an insane speed.
The Elders wondered where the person had run off to, but after he returned with the curved swords from the Scorpion, they understood it.
Shazan smiled and started performing refining right there. He divided the liquid into three equal parts and then formed handles for those blades. He bound the liquid around the blade in a manner that it would not break off, and designed the hilt in a simple but easy to grip form.
Exactly after nine minutes since it was cut, the liquid started to solidify. And three Silver Swords with Grey Hilts were made.
He nodded in satisfaction, grabbed a sword in his hand, and checked the hilt.
Gerald was more straight-forward. He attacked the hilt of a sword with an Aura Sword and used all his might, not caring if it would destroy the newly formed weapon. And to his pleasant surprise, the weapon survived. The hilt was not harmed in the least.
However, Gerald could not hold onto the sword for himself. A shade appeared by his side and grabbed the sword from his hands, and then went to the side to practice basic sword moves.
The mighty Gerald could not even say anything in response and only shook his head helplessly. He was helpless against his little wife.
Shazan chuckled at their interaction and then passed the sword he was holding to Izna.
Izna was the one who had taught Maira the swordsmanship. She was great at it, and it just happened that Izna preferred Shamshirs. This curved Sword was just like a Shamshir.
The look on her face was not pleased or surprised.
“You didn’t have to save me there…” She said the words grimly.
Everyone around them looked at Shazan in curiosity.
“I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t sure of my survival.” He lightly said and smiled.
The people around them were still confused at how he took a full burnt of the acid and managed to survive.
The Blood Knights knew that the healing speed they had just witnessed on him was something even Gerald did not possess. But that was what made them even more curious. They had seen him get injured before, but they had not seen his wounds heal at such a speed.
“What you must all understand is that you can not allow that liquid to touch you. If it had hit you,” Gerald turned to look at the Queen of Aryans, “You would have died miserably.” He sighed and said his next words. “Even I would have died to it.”
Shazan felt dizzy as the blood inside of him started to calm down. He felt weak and drained of all his strength even after the boost he had received from helping in killing the creature.
“I need to get some rest…” He weakly said and then staggered.
Caius rushed forward and supported him before taking him out of the cave.
None of the people present dared to stop him and ask any questions. And some were worried after seeing him become so weak.
“You are not going to ask about what happened in there?” On his way out, he smiled and inquired.
“No,” Caius shook his head. “You would not tell me even I asked you about it.”
Shazan nodded to him and tried to breathe evenly to get over the dizziness he was feeling. But it only got stronger.
“When you go back inside, tell Queen Izna to follow Gerald’s lead.” He weakly said and closed his eyes.
“What happened?” Akash came forward to help Caius support him.
Everyone outside the Cave was shocked to see his state.
“He needs to rest,” Caius informed them, and then nodded to the Blood Knights stationed there.
The Knights came forward and helped him settle down against the wall. Then surrounded him in a defensive formation.
Shazan was not asleep, he could still feel things around him and hear what was happening, but he was too tired to even open his eyes. Only when he had them closed did the dizziness go away.
“It was a new creature, an Ant. He over-exerted himself to finish the battle as soon as possible.” Caius briefly explained to them and kept the detail of him risking his life for Queen Izna. “The arrangements he had made would stay in place. Gerald Bloodfallen will be leading the forces inside the cave for now.” He said and rushed back inside the Cave.
He ignored the whispers of the Guards and the concerned conversation of the King with Akash.
All his focus was on understanding the state he had entered. Shazan had experienced it for the first time in the War of Five Tribes. He had been gravely injured in that war, and then he mystically entered the state he called Aashur. It was the name he gave it, which meant ‘The Last Stand’ in the Language of Amazeros.
In the state of Aashur, his senses would heighten by several folds, and he could see all strands of life around him. He could see the Auras and even the secrets within one’s body. And that was how he managed to see the weakness in the Ant.
His strength, speed, and cognition had multiplied by two-fold. And all his injuries healed at a rate that seemed unreal even to him.
Shazan had kept it a secret, and only a few people in the world knew that he possessed such powers. And now the secret was bare before a lot of people.
It would have been a true trump card if he had control over Aashur. But he could only enter the state after suffering fatal injuries that could cause death. And it was only the start of complications.
The last time he had entered the state, he had battled for over an hour and killed dozens of enemies. The craving for Blood and Batlle had no limit. He was scared of Aashur not because he feared to lose his sanity in that state, but because he loved it. He loved the smell and taste of life in his enemies’ blood, and all he wanted to do in the state was shed more and more of it. And once the state would wear off, he would become utterly weak and vulnerable.
After the War of five Tribes, he had not been able to even stand or open his eyes for two days.
Shazan was glad that he had only been in the state for a few minutes this time. The weakness would last for a few hours only. Or so he hoped.
What he was observing were the changes taking place inside his body. His physical strength was dramatically rising, and even his mental strength increased. But strangely, he felt ridiculously tired.
The people around him could not smell it, but the scent of his blood had gotten stronger. He was pitifully weak in this state, but his mind was serene. And at some point in time, he drifted off to sleep.
When he regained his consciousness, a while had passed.
Shazan opened his eyes and looked around the Platform. There were Guards with torn clothes, and the Blood Knights stationed here were the ones that were the first batch to battle.
The King was busy talking to a few Elders, and Akash was in a corner, talking on a Radio Device.
A Blood Knight standing Guard by his side bowed to him.
All the Blood Knights ceased their defensive formation and spread out in an orderly manner.
“Water…” His throat was dry, and his words came out a little hoarse.
Another Knight brought a bottle of water for him, and only after he drank all of it, was he able to concentrate on things.
Akash rushed to him and put away the Radio-phone.
“You okay?” He asked as soon as he saw him stand up.
“I am fine…” He smiled and said before turning to look at the Charm Witches. “How long has it been?”
“Seven hours.” Akash palely smiled and answered. “Thanks for sav…”
Shazan waved his hand and stopped him from saying anything.
“There’s no need for thanking me.” He patted his shoulder. “Tell me about the current situation.” He changed the subject before any questions could be asked about Aashur.
Akash nodded to him and started informing him about what had happened in the last seven hours.
The forces fought against thirteen Annihilation Beasts. Four were little spiders that were easily dealt with by the Guards. And the five were bigger Spiders. The strongest one had six discs. However, the situation turned dreadful when an Ant came out while they were engaged in a battle with the big Spider. Several Guards were injured, and the Elders suffered more. Some fell unconscious due to the corrosive smoke from the Acid as they were closer to the creature.
In the end, the forces managed to eliminate both the Beasts, but Amraaz and Gerald were grievously wounded. Amraaz was shifted down in the Training Grounds to get some rest. But the Bloodfallen recovered his strength in a couple of hours and was still inside commanding the people.
“The Rest of the three Beasts were Scorpions. The Blood Knights dealt with them as the Elders were taking rest at that time and eliminated them without any casualties.” Akash gratefully nodded to the Blood Knight standing by his side.
“So no casualties?” Shazan frowned and asked.
Akash clenched his fist and took and lowered his head.
“One of the Elders who had fallen unconscious died in his sleep a few minutes ago.” He said solemnly. “The smoke did irreparable damage to his insides. He had fallen unconscious before even contributing to the battle, the killing of the Beast did not heal his injuries. The Medics stationed up on the Platform tried their best, but failed.”
“And the rest of the ones that fell unconscious?”
“They will survive, but won’t be able to battle for a couple of days at least.”
“Prince Vikaros and Queen Izna?”
“They took some rest, and just went back inside the passage with the recent batch.” Akash worried said. “They are pushing themselves…”
“I will make them get some proper rest. Don’t worry.” He stretched out a little and felt awkward at the reminder that he was naked inside the Cloak of Gerald. “I need some clothes.” He smiled and said.
“Sure.” Akash laughed lightly and ordered a Guard to get him a training-outfit.
A moment later, the two Elders of the Charm Witches arrived on the small platform with the rest of their people. The younger one scanned the people and frowned when she found Shazan there.
“Lord Silverstein…” She respectfully bowed and came to stand by his side.
Shazan curiously looked at her and smiled.
“What is it?” He asked.
“We are ready for the battles now.” She straightforwardly said. “You can test us.”
The rest of the Charm Witches assembled after paying respects to the Aryan King.
“You are going inside?” The King asked as he came up to him and looked in his eyes.
As someone good at reading people, The King searched for any troubles he might be in, but Shazan smiled and nodded.
“I am fine.” He answered confidently. “Better than ever.”
“Alright.” The old man nodded at him. “We received a message from your Empress. Ezio Ragzar will be coming to Arkaya to help out with the Evacuation, and then he will join us here. Your Queen, Keira, and the Princess of Kalstark Clan arrived on Arkaya an hour ago.”
Shazan nodded to him and sighed.
“Were there any troubles?”
“Miss Ilsa tried to come here, but your Rani-Ma stopped her. However, we are not sure how long we can keep her put.” The King smiled and then started laughing. “Your Rani-Ma says that she is a stubborn girl. And someone she considers as stubborn ought to be interesting.”
“She is stubborn…” Shazan shook his head. “Do not allow anyone to come down here. Not even Ezio when he arrives.”
The Charm Witch obediently stood there without saying a word as they conversed, and only after they finished did she ask again.
“I do not doubt your capabilities.” Shazan smiled at her and then looked around at the rest of the Witches. “And now you look ready for battles.” He nodded in satisfaction. “However, you must coordinate with the other forces, and not exert yourself more than needed. Your job is not to save lives, but to assist in the battles with the best of your abilities.” He asserted his last words.
“Yes!” All of them felt better after hearing his approval.
How things had turned out for them had made them feel like they were responsible for the deaths of the people, and that was why they were sent away from the battle-field. Now they realized that he had only sent them away intending to have them in perfect form to assist.
“Go inside,” He smiled and nodded. “I will catch up in a few minutes.”
♛ Author’s Note:
The final chapter of the day! The Poll is up on my Patreon that will determine which Story I will be working on in the month of June. If one of the other two stories is chosen, Sins of Love will again go on Hiatus. The Poll ends on Sunday. If you wish to place your vote, do subscribe to my Patreon.
To know the result, you can join my discord server. The link is on the ToC page. See you there!