The elemental was angry. It was very, VERY angry.
It was always the tiny four-limbed ones that harmed it. Always.
First, it was that couple that had dropped by into its cave several years ago. It had trusted them. It had let them stay in its chamber. It had helped them cultivate. And what had they done in return?
Betrayed it was what.
Oh, at first, they were very nice and respectful. And they told the most amusing of tales. They brought with them tidings of the outside world. A world the elemental would never be able to experience, bound as it was to the volcano it had converted into its lair.
The female four-limbs was especially interesting. Her mana was strange. It was fire, yet it was not. It was what appeared when flames didn’t burn hot enough; when they were starved of sustenance, when air was in short supply. She called it ‘smoke’.
The elemental had been young then; just a little over a century and half old. It was also extremely bored.
Before the four-limbs had come, it had spent a solitary century consolidating its fusion with its lair. In that period, it had slowly gained sentience as the degree of its fusion increased. After that, the Queen of a colony of the six-limbed ones had requested its shelter and offered their allegiance in return. Curious, it had agreed. The next five decades had been spent observing them, watching them build their nest by tunnelling through the rock.
It had soon tired of the monotony and the regimented nature of the six-limbs’ lives.
The Queen stayed in her chamber, cultivated and bred the next batch of eggs within her body. When it came to term, she would spawn the batch.
The workers took the eggs, arranged them in the hatcheries and looked after their needs, caring for them till they hatched. The soldiers patrolled the tunnels of the colony and the hatcheries, keeping watch for intruders.
Every single day.
Even their patrol routes never changed.
And the only six-limbs that did something interesting, the foragers, did so out of the range of the elemental’s observation. It could only speculate about the world beyond based on the variety of corpses and fruits they brought back to the nest.
So, yes, the elemental was bored out of its mind. After all, it had yet to cultivate the patience of its thousand-year-old progenitor. The arrival of the couple had been a breath of fresh air for it.
It had savoured the stories the female four-limbs told of others of its kind as a sommelier would the finest of wines. The mention of underwater volcanoes had specially piqued its interest. As a fire elemental, it had a natural aversion to the element of water. Imagining another one of its kind not only surviving, but thriving while submerged in a body of water that stretched from horizon to horizon was enough to engender awe in the very core of its being.
So, when the female had offered to teach the elemental how to harness smoke, insinuating that there might be a way for it to travel to other lands if it mastered the power, the elemental had taken the bait.
That had been its undoing.
The four-limbs couple were strong. Each of them was at the same level of cultivation as the Queen of the colony. They were powerful enough to have condensed their cores. The female’s crystal gave off a smoky impression to the elemental’s senses while the male was an orthodox fire mage.
When the female offered to embed her core into it so that the elemental could comprehend the element of smoke, it had been a bit leery of exposing the most essential part of its being – yet, finally, the temptation of being unbound had won out and it had allowed the male access to its core crystal so that he could place the crystal of his wife in contact with it.
The couple hadn’t lied about helping it learn how to wield smoke. What they hadn’t mentioned was that the female’s crystal would merge irrevocably with its own, forever altering its composition. They hadn’t told it that her consciousness within the crystal would attempt to wipe out its sentience and occupy its core.
It had been a close thing. If the elemental’s mind had been even a little bit weaker, its mana even a bit less potent, the six-limbs even a slight bit slower to respond to its calls for help and drive away the male who was attacking it to distract it and help his wife gain ground in their battle of wills, then the couple’s nefarious scheme would have succeeded fully. As it were, the elemental had survived the ordeal, the male had been driven away, mortally wounded, and the female’s will had only managed to occupy half of its core.
No matter how hard the elemental had tried to drive her out, the will had clung on tenaciously and in the end, it had to accept the sad fact that now, it wasn’t alone in its own mind.
In the following years, the elemental had been in a constant state of war with the will; both of them cultivating at the maximum speed, fighting over the fire mana present in the volcano to expand their portion of the crystal faster than the other in order to gain an advantage in their mental battle.
But just recently, an opportunity had arrived for the elemental to finally rid itself of the parasite. In a moment of inexplicable madness, the female had used up all of her mana to induce an eruption in the volcano.
Although that had weakened the elemental too, but its state was much better than hers. Now, all it wanted to do was to absorb fire mana to recover its energy as fast as possible so that it could launch an attack on the debilitated will of the woman.
But noo… the four-limbs had to obstruct it. AGAIN!
They had somehow penetrated to its core while the force of six-limbs (which the woman’s will had enthralled at some point in their struggle when it wasn’t paying attention) had been sent out to fight against one of the colonies that inhabited the lair of its progenitor. Then one of the annoying runts had interrupted its mana vortex and even managed to hurt it.
It could sense that these runts were weak – much weaker than the couple that had come before. But they were extremely mobile and crafty. No matter how hard it tried, it could NOT hit them.
Rage was bubbling up from within its core. The more it delayed, the more time the female had to recover. If it took too long, it might never have the chance to destroy her will again.
When things are taken to their extreme, they turn back.
The flames on its body that had been flaring hotter and hotter in proportion to its rage, the blue fire tinging with white at the tips, suddenly turned transparent and heatless.
Tier 4 ultimate magic: Cold Rage.
Dropping down on all fours and sitting back on its haunches, it raised its head. Its eight tails curved upwards, the tips pointing in front of its gaping maw. The air buzzed and warped as a tiny sphere of white formed at the point the tails pointed at. The brilliant orb began to expand as the elemental poured more and more of its reserves into the spell. The solid rock under its feet fissured and caved under the weight of the concentrated mana, forming an ever-expanding crater that began to melt into lava at its centre from the heat. Even space began to twist slightly around the orb.
The four-limbs, recognizing the threat, tried to disrupt its casting by attacking it furiously. But it simply ignored them, their magic not even able to reach within ten metres of it before being twisted and broken by the field of force generated by its spell.
Enough was ENOUGH!
They would die. They all would.