Shazan felt a chill run up his spine when he saw the bright Star in the Beast’s eyes.
“How many Discs do you reckon it has?” Izna asked Shazan.
“All mature Spiders have 9 discs. The number does not rise even if they evolve into a Two-Star Spider or more, but the size of the Discs increases.” Ella answered, but she kept focusing on the two Spiders that the girls were fighting.
The Spider was three meters high, and its bladed feet were more than six feet in length.
He glanced at the back of Ella, and a slight smile crept on his lips.
“Be careful. It is fast!” Shazan warned Izna and rushed at the Spider with a Sword.
His Violet Aura burst out as he unleashed all his strength, making the rest of them stagnate for a moment.
It was the first time he had displayed all of it. And it was the best he could do without going into the state of Aashur.
He paid no attention to the surprise of Izna and started dancing with the Spider in a heated battle.
The Beast was faster than he had expected. He was now worried that Izna would get injured if she engaged as well. By the time he achieved his goal of allowing the girls to draw the other two spiders away, his upper clothes were torn.
A moment’s negligence could cut him in several parts.
Sparks flew every time the sword in his hand came in contact with the bladed feet of the Beast. And to his dismay, he found his weapon on the verge of its end. There were several dings and dents on the blade and its edges.
He dodged an attack by a hair’s breadth and rolled back to pick up a Jevelin from the side of the wall.
Blocking the blade that was coming for his head, he rolled away using the momentum of the force.
Shazan used all his mental strength to try and control the mind of the Beast and barely managed to hinder its movements by a little. But that was not enough to give him a chance to even go on the offensive.
The Annihilation Beasts were not entirely immune to his Mind Control but had great resistance to it.
He did not bother using other means to attack it as he knew that those Discs would shield them. All he could do was keep dodging the attacks and hope that the girls would soon finish their battle.
Izna had assessed the situation calmly and decided to help the Girls deal with the small ones first. She realized that she would end up making things complicated if she fought together with him. The speed of the Beast was not something she could handle.
The scent of his blood spread in the cave as faint cuts appeared on his body. He paid no attention to the stinging pain and kept focusing on evading and keeping the Beast busy.
“We are set!” Izna called out after who knew how long.
They were all waiting for his call, and just as he gave the order, the floodlights set on the walls lit up.
In just a few moments, the entire cave was excruciatingly bright.
The Spider stopped and its eyes were closed shut now.
He did not go forward to attack it but drew away to catch some breath.
Everyone except for him and Ella was wearing the goggles that the King had given to them.
“You three are not to engage with it.” He kept his eyes on the Spider and told them.
Isha, Ilsa, and Maira obediently nodded to him.
“Be careful,” Ella warned him. “Its eyes might be shut, but Spiders have sharp instincts. The Discs would not be hindered in the least.”
“You are not going to help us?” Izna frowned and asked.
“We need to test it first by ourselves.” Shazan shook his head.
“I will intervene if it comes to a life-death situation,” Ella assured them with a smile.
“What are the chances of defeating it with just the four of us?” He asked.
“Less than 5%.”
He flashed a grin and then charged forward with Izna, Ezio, and Keira following right behind him.
The Spider sensed them as soon as they came close to it, but its attacks were full of confusion and only half as fast as before.
All four of them covered each side and attacked it, but no matter how hard they tried, even after five minutes, they failed to get past the Discs and get to its skin. But now they were used to its movements, and this was the right time to form a plan.
It was then that they decided to change the tactics.
Ezio, Keira, and Izna took the responsibility of engaging as many Discs as possible, and he was responsible for finding a way to get past its defense and harm it.
Shazan formed several spears of Concentrated Aura around him and held a Jevelin in each hand.
He was wasting too much of his strength, but there was no other way.
The three of them attacked it at the same time, and he coordinated with them as he hurled spears at the Spider from different sides, targeting its joints that connected the legs to its body.
He threw one of the Javelins to target the weakest joint that would be its neck, and rushed down at the same time to target the Spider’s rear-end.
The skin there was not as hard as it was at the rest of the places. It was not a weak spot, but it was the next best place to target.
The Javelin in his hand managed to pierce a few inches inside its skin, but one of the Aura Spears that had managed to hit one of its targets failed to do any significant damage. He barely managed to pull out the Javelin in time as the spider ignored everyone else and attacked where he was.
It earned the rest a chance, but all their attacks were blocked by the Discs.
“Are we going to keep doing this?” Ezio frowned.
“We need to move that Disc that protects its face.” Shazan thought of a plan and nodded to them.
They engaged in the battle again, this time, they were all focused on getting all the nine discs away from its face.
After a while, the chance finally arrived, and Shazan successfully managed to grab it. He stuck one Javelin between the jaws of the Spider, and then kicked at it with all his strength to lodge it there.
A painful screech resounded in the cave as the Spider went mad, trying its best to crush the Jevelin that was stuck between its Jaws, but no matter how hard it tried to crush it, it failed to do so. Its legs were not flexible enough to help it get it out.
The spider shot out a Jevelin and hit the one that was lodged between its jaws but failed to get it out. Blood kept dripping from its Jaw, the more the Spider tried to get it out, the more it hurt itself.
Shazan was not going to waste this chance as he coordinated with the rest to do more damage to it, but this time, the Spider kept one of the Discs to protect any more surprises to come near its face.
With one less Disc to worry about, he gained opportunities to hit the joints. They took their time and expended great strength, but after a battle that lasted for over half n hour, the Spider was not able to stand.
Five of its eight legs were useless now. The other three could not even support its massive body.
“Ilsa…” Shazan smiled at her and called her over. “Do as you please.” He pointed at the back of the Spider.
She happily complied with his words and started hacking all over the abdomen of the Beast with her halberd. All her attacks were stopped by the Disc, but she seemed adamant to get past it.
With the inclusion of Ilsa, the four people managed to keep seven Discs occupied with ease, and Shazan now only had to get past two.
The problem was that their Aura Weapons were not strong enough to do any significant damage to it, so they had to use the Javelins and Swords.
The Spider was scared of taking the Disc off its head, and he exploited the situation. He would use his Aura to hurl a weak attack on the head, just to keep the Spider alert, and then targeted two different places with the Javelins in his hands.
He managed to land a hit each time now, and in a matter of a few minutes, a Javelin was impaled deep inside the joint where the head was connected to the rest of the body.
The Beast was still alive, but it was taking its last breaths. And in its madness, it kept throwing our Javelins, but none hit them or even managed to dislodge the one that was stuck in its jaws.
“You two can come now.” He smiled at Maira and Isha and called them over.
“Attack the joints that are heavily damaged.” He pointed at the two legs at the back.
The reason why he did that was to allow them all to do some damage to the Beast. This way they would all get some benefits from killing it, and since it was a true One-Star Beast, he hoped that it would do them good.
None of them felt any pity for the Beast that was letting out painful screams. And soon the screams stopped, its body started evaporating.
“You took 67 minutes.” Ella giggled as she reminded Shazan how it had been since the Spider appeared.
“Why have no other Beasts come out?” He confusedly looked at the Dimensional Wall.
How things had been going, each hour, they would face a minimum of three Beasts, but now it was all so silent.
“That’s because the other Beasts must have run away when that Spider approached the Dimensional Wall. These creatures only band together with those of the same strength, and when the enemies like us are in front of them. At other times, the Strong Annihilation Beasts eat the Weak ones when no other lifeform is around.” Ella explained things to him. “I wouldn’t be surprised if no other Beasts comes here for another hour.”
She stepped near him and hugged him tightly, burying her face in his chest.
Her sudden display of affection brought a smile on his face, but he sighed when he found her taking deep breaths.
“Master…” She sweetly called out. “You smell so nice.” She planted a kiss on his chest that was now bare.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and let her stay like that for a while.
Keira, Ezio, Maira, Ilsa, and Isha were all standing a little away with their eyes closed.
The floodlights had been shut by Queen Izna. He found her sitting in a corner, and surprisingly, she too had her eyes closed.
He was sure that they could not be tired after gaining the benefits of killing the Beast. All the strength he had expended had returned, and he felt quite refreshed.
“They are still gaining benefits,” Ella informed him. “Even though those three did not do much, Ilsa is already on the verge of going into Krytis, and the same goes for Maira. Isha is halfway into the second Realm.” She then turned to look at Keira and frowned.
“What’s wrong?” He confusedly asked.
“How is it that she is stepping into the Sixth Realm without going through Krytis?”
“Oh… She is special.” He chuckled. “Keira did not face Krytis after she gave birth to Roselyn. Renesme told us that she would never have to worry about Krytis. But even I do not know the exact reason.”
“So she’s Blessed.” Ella seemed lost in her thoughts.
”Blessed?” He was curious now.
“Mhm…” Ella nodded. “My Mother’s soul was blessed too by the Apostle of Annihilation. She never had to face Krytis. Her soul gave birth to me, and so I am Blessed too.”
“I see.” He frowned. “Is it a rare occurrence?”
Ella looked at him doubtfully, but seeing that he was serious, she nodded.
“Uncle Ezio is about to go into Krytis too…”
“What?” Ella frowned.
“You are now way older than him, right?” He chuckled.
“Age does not matter…” She folded her arms on her chest and pouted. “I will call him what you call him.”
“Okay…” He shrugged at her and then turned to look at Queen Izna. “How’s she?”
“Almost there, she should be able to touch the Half-Ascendant Stage in a few days.”
Shazan knew that his case was different. Renesme had already told him that but had not explained. What he wanted to see was if Ella could figure it out or not.
“I don’t know.” She doubtfully looked at him. “From the strength that you revealed earlier, you should already be in the Ascendant Stage. Why are you still a Half-Ascendant? Are you deliberately suppressing your Stage?”
“Could there be no other reason?” He smiled and asked.
“But how would that apply to you?” She tilted her head in confusion. “You do know that you need familiarity with your Law to advance, right?”
“Yes,” He nodded. “That and the required Mental and Physical Strength.”
“Mhm…” She tip-toed and looked right in his eyes. “But your Mental Strength is far greater than even the Ascendants. And your Physical strength qualifies too.”
“Renesme said that each individual has a different threshold for Mental and Physical Strength.” He told her with a bright smile.
“Are you trying to show-off, Master?” She smiled and asked, but then her brows furrowed. “Master, is Renesme stronger than you?”
Shazan sighed when he heard that.
Not everyone in the Palace knew about Renesme’s strength. Renesme only allowed him, Karen, Keria, Serafina, and Arianna to see her Aura.
Maira knew that Arianna looked for Renesme when she trained, considering how sharp she was, it was enough for her to conclude that. Roselyn was told by Arianna. Ilsa had been warned by Serafina and the Elder of her Clan that Renesme was the strongest in the Silverstein Palace. And Ezio knew as well. He doubted that anyone else in the Palace knew about it.
“She’s stronger than me.” He nodded.
“Stronger than you.” He lightly smiled at her and patter her head.
Ella thought that he was messing with her, but after he nodded to her, she finally revealed a shocked expression.
“Are you sure?”
“Can you kill a World Beast?”
“A Guardian Beast? No.” She shook her head.
“She can.” He told her.
He heard her heart thump hard at those words.
“But she’s only sixteen!” Her eyes quivered in fear.
“Yes, she is.”
He had never doubted her age after Renesme had told him about it the first time they had met. She could never lie to him.
“What happened to her?” Keira asked as she walked over to them.
“She’s in a state of shock.” Shazan chuckled.
“Why?” She wrapped her arms around Ella’s waist and curiously asked.
“Master said that Renesme is stronger than me…” She whispered.
“Oh…” Keira lightly smiled and looked Ella in her eyes. “If he says that, then it must be true. You can verify it when you see her. But why do you seem sad?”
Ella embarrassedly lowered her head.
“I was planning on asking her to let me be his Personal-Maid…” She whispered in a low voice. “But now I am scared if she would get mad at me.”
“Eh…” Keira unbelievably looked at Ella and then started laughing. “It’s Renesme we are talking about!” She reminded her. “She would never get mad at the Family. I would be more worried about Arianna.”
“Arianna wouldn’t allow it. I know.” She meekly nodded. “That was why I was planning on asking Renesme.”
“I see.” Keira nodded at her words. “You can still ask for it. I am sure she wouldn’t mind it. She is our Empress, and she only chose to become his Personal-Maid when you guys were not around. So, don’t worry.”
“Really?” She looked at Keira and then at him.
They both smiled at her and nodded.
“I will be the best Maid ever!” She cheerfully smiled and answered before escaping Keira’s arms and hugging him.
“Okay.” Shazan couldn’t help but laugh at her innocence.
“Oh, I forgot!” She then separated from him and held Keira’s hands. “Congratulations on advancing to the Sixth-Realm.”
“Thank you!” Keira gratefully nodded at her.
All three of them turned to look at the direction of the entrance at the same time.
A while later, Caius and Vikaros appeared before them.
“My Lord,” Caius bowed to him first and then greeted Keira and Ella.
“Lord Silverstein,” Vikaros too politely greeted them.
“How are you two feeling?” Shazan asked with a smile.
“We are fine,” Caius replied and Vikaros nodded. “We had a spar to get used to the new strength, and we are in perfect shape now.”
“That’s great.” Shazan nodded at them. “You two will be on the same team as Keira, Ezio, Ilsa, Isha, Ann, Maira, and Akash.”
Caius did not ask any questions and nodded, but Vikaros frowned when he saw his daughter and Isha present there.
Shazan glanced back at the people who still had their eyes closed as they focused on realizing the changes in their bodies, and then turned to smile at Vikaros.
“I wouldn’t allow them here unless I was sure of their safety.” He assured him.
Albeit hesitantly, Viakros finally nodded and walked past him to talk to his daughter.
“Where are Lady Ann and Prince Akash?” Caius asked as he looked around.
“Krytis,” Keira told him.
“Uncle Ezio, Maira, and Ilsa will soon go into Krytis as well. Your team will be short of members, but I hope you will still hold on.” Shazan smiled at Caius.
“I will do my best!”
“Which weapon do you prefer?” Ella suddenly asked him.
The words surprised Caius, but he politely smiled and answered.
“Since these Swords are not my type, I prefer using the Javelin.” He drew his hand to one of the Javelins that was placed by the wall, grabbed it with his aura, and brought it in his hand.
“Is this the perfect size and weight?” Ella looked a the Javelin and asked casually.
“Almost. A little thinner would do, but the length is perfect for me. And weight, yeah, I guess it is fine.” He sighed.
“Wouldn’t mind a little more weight, right?”
“Yes,” Caius nodded.
“I will make the perfect one for you.” Ella excitedly smiled and then grabbed all the Javelins that the true One-Star Spider had shot out.
There were nine of these Javelins, and they were heavier, longer, and thicker than all the ones that the smaller Spiders had shot out.
“A big spider came?” Caius curiously asked Shazan.
“Yes,” He nodded. “A true One-Star Beast.”
Caius’ eyes glimmered in excitement, but then it soon vanished as he realized that he had missed out on a good show.
However, he was soon enchanted by the fire that suddenly burst out in the air before engulfing two of the Javelins. He was surprised at seeing Ella control fire, but he kept all his questions in his heart and obediently watched the entire process.
It took over twenty minutes, but Ella masterfully melted both of them. She then formed a Spear in the measurements Caius had given.
The shaft was thinner than the one he held in his hand, and the length was perfectly the same. She formed a sharp spearhead and gave it equally sharp bird-like wings. After attaching the spearhead to the shaft, she formed threads with the remaining metal and wrapped it on the new Spear. And then she created a star-shaped pommel and fit it at the base.
The spear basked in her flames as inscriptions started to appear on it. At the base of the spearhead appeared a six-pointed Star bathing in flame.
“Rukh; Spear of Pride. Master: Caius Aster.”
After watching the process that continued for nearly forty minutes, Caius was shivering in excitement. The Spear was floating right in front of him to grab it, but he first bowed to Ella.
“Thank you, Lady Ella.” He voiced his words with respect and happiness. “Please name it.”
“Already did.” Ella smiled and nodded her head. “Its called Rukh.”
Hearing that, Caius flashed a bright smile and happily grabbed the Spear.
“I will take care of it.” He promised.
♛ Author’s Note:
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