As soon everyone was in better condition and ready to head out for another fight Joshua took the lead with Jayce staying close by since he was the other tank in the group. Lilly put Tank away so that they wouldn't make too much noise while traveling through the forest. Instead she was on the back of Mr. Hoppy for the moment with both Julia and Monika riding alongside her. It came as no surprise that Lilly was making quick friends with the two girls with her bright personality. Allen and Marcus stayed a little bit behind Jayce and Joshua. They were ready to charge in at any hint of danger.
One thing Jayce's group noticed while traveling with Joshua was the fact that Marcus could relax a bit more with Joshua using his aura pulse ability to scout ahead. Instead he focused on mapping out the area more since the system map wasn't very detailed and only showed the terrain. Whenever they passed by a nest or something of the sort Marcus would put it on the map and update everyone's info. This made things easier for them in the long run while Joshua avoided any weak opponents. He was looking for beetles that had at least three stars to give a challenge to Jayce and his party. Otherwise it would have been pointless for them to come deep into the forest.
Although they were traveling together they weren't in the same party. This was because Joshua didn't plan on taking any of their experience when they fought against the beetles, but he also didn't want them to take any of the experience when he and Lilly took on any swarms. In this area of the forest swarms were far more commonplace and that was why people tended to avoid it, but the area also had stronger beetles in quite an abundance in comparison to other spots. It didn't take them all that long to find a pair of level thirty-four three star beetles that were collecting twigs and branches together in an area that was cleared out a bit. Apparently they were planning to put a nest together there.
"Well here's your target. Show me what you guys' have got. Lilly and I will be nearby just in case things go bad." Joshua said patting Jayce on the shoulder. The large man looked more like an excited puppy with the way he looked back towards Joshua.
"Don't worry Boss we've got this!" He said excitedly. Joshua just sighed at the title that Jayce had given him and just tried his best to ignore it. Jayce put on his helmet for protection and took out his large shield and one handed sword before leading his group for a surprise assault on the unsuspecting beetles. Jayce got into a position where he was in between the target and the rest of his group ready to block off the giant beetles path the moment they were noticed. Allen took a position behind Jayce ready to charge in the moment Jayce had taken the first charge while Marcus stood further back with his cross bow ready.
To start things off Julia started to chant something in a low voice before a small ball of fire formed in the palm of her hands, then she seemed to concentrate and the fire turned a more purple hue that was similar to her hair and she shot it towards the pair of beetles. Instead of exploding on impact like a lot of the ones she had used against the swarm in a time of panic this one screeched loudly causing the two beetles to turn around as it exploded right next to their faces. The explosion wasn't all that powerful, but it was enough to anger both of the large beetles. Even so Julia smiled at her success since her attack did something more than just explode. The purple flames seemed grab on to the two beetles and slowly burn their exoskeletons continuously. It seemed to be an attack that did damage over time.
The two beetles screeched in anger and pain at the constant burning sensation. One started to vibrate its horn trying to disorient Jayce's group, but before it could take effect Monika cast a spell that shined a bright light on everyone in the party. Whatever the spell was it negated the effects of the beetle's ability. Jayce laughed loudly at the beetles confusion before banging his sword against his shield and letting out a roar. His body shined for a moment and whatever he did seemed to work since both beetles tensed up and immediately turned towards him instead of glaring towards Julia. Both of the beetles charged over as Jayce shield started to shine. He slammed it into the ground and hunkered behind it as a large projection of a shield that covered about ten feet from side to side formed in front of him.
When the beetles slammed into it they pushed him back a few feet, but the shield held up and stopped all of their momentum. "Let them have hell guys!" Jayce shouted excitedly. Not more than a second after he shouted a bolt came flying past him and slammed into the eye of one of the beetles while a spear came from the other side and stabbed through the mouth of the other one that was busy screeching. Before the large beetle could back away an aura generated around the spear and seemed to extend it causing a large portion of the beetles face to be torn away when it moved back.
The damage to the two beetles wasn't lethal, but it greatly hindered them. One was now partially blinded while the other had a giant wound on its face that was bleeding profusely. What made matters worse for the beetles was the fact that the purples flames started to cling on to their wounds and burn hotter causing them scream in pain. Joshua could see that Julia was controlling the fire and smiling a bit vindictively which sent a chill up his spine. Just imagining Laura doing something like that with her far stronger flames terrified him.
Before the beetles could back up anymore Jayce shouted as his shield brightened up even more and he charged forward smashing into the two beetles sending them tumbling over and exposing their far weaker underbelly. "Give them all you got!" He shouted giving the go ahead. Julia formed a larger fire ball that destroyed the belly of one of the beetles easily while Allen charged forward stabbing his extended aura from his spear through the other beetle's neck. With a final shout he pulled downward tearing its head off. Marcus rushed over and put the burning and screaming beetle out of its misery from Julia's attack with a couple of well-placed stabs with his daggers through the eyes. With that the group cheered at their success.
Joshua smiled at how well they worked together. They all had rather interesting abilities and he was glad to have them joining him in the future. "Well now it's our turn." Joshua said with a grin. He turned in the direction of where he had spotted a large swarm from his aura pulse and started to lead the way after Jayce and his friends collected their kill. It didn't take him all that long to find a swarm, in fact they had seen several while searching for an appropriate target for Jayce's group. The only problem was the fact that those swarms were on the smaller side for the challenge Joshua was looking for. The last swarm he had faced had given him a decent amount of experience, but not quite enough to be any different from hunting down three star beetles. Now it was time to find something even more dangerous.
Soon Joshua found exactly what he was looking for from his aura pulse and headed towards a large clearing that had several trees that were torn apart and stacked erratically in the area. The reason for this was the extremely large nest at the center that covered the base of a few large trees that were slowly dying from the nest of bees that were drilled into them. These nest were as big as a school building and towered over just about everyone in the group outside of Tank who stood just a little taller than the nest and walked out front to protect the others.
Joshua made sure Jayce and his group stood back a distance away so that they wouldn't get hurt in the upcoming fight. Although they worked well together and were a fairly decent fighting force they weren't designed to take on large groups at a time with their current abilities. Judging by the constant buzzing sound Joshua could hear coming from the direction of the nest there was definitely going to be a far larger amount of these bees. You could see the occasional bee coming out of the nest and look around the area, but for the most part they seemed to be staying put for the moment.
"Well, let's get to it. Lilly make sure to synchronize with Tank for protection and fire attacks from a distance. Tank you're up first, let's give them a morning welcome." Joshua said as he jumped up and landed on the back of Tanks shell. The large turtle chuckled a bit in response, but nodded before moving closer to the nest. Lilly got on Mr. Hoppy and stayed at a distance while synchronizing with Tank and preparing to attack from afar. When Tank got close enough to alert some of the guard bees that started to buzz more aggressively as they pointed their stingers in the large turtles direction Joshua grinned in anticipation. "Light them up Tank."
The large turtle nodded before absorbing the moisture in the air which got the attention of more bees that started to make their way out of the nest. Each of the bees was only one star, but Joshua could tell there would at least be a hundred of them based on the amount of sound they were making from inside the nest. When Tank finished absorbing the moisture he let out a torrent of water from his mouth that smashed through the large nest tearing it in half and killing several bees inside while waking up the others. His attack was followed up by another smaller torrent that helped tear apart more of the nest from Lilly's direction and a blob of acid that took out a few knocked over bees that couldn't move out of the way in time.
The first salvo was a great success, but soon several bees started to angrily fly into the air and gaze towards the creature that had destroyed their home. When all of the surviving bees had gotten out of the nest Joshua was surprised to see that there was still around a hundred left even when they had killed a good amount, but before he could go in for the next assault he noticed a far larger bee come out of the remains of the nest that was a good three times the size of the rest. It was still small in comparison to Tank, but it was big enough to actually damage the turtle with its stinger if given the chance. Joshua observed the large bee and noticed it was considered a queen bee that had three stars by its name even though it was the same level of thirty-two that the rest of the bees were.
It shrieked angrily before the rest of the bees charged over in response, but they were prepared for such a predicament. Tank immediately retreated inside his shell while Joshua used his aura shield to block all of the furious stings from the bees. While this was happening Joshua made sure to kill several of the smaller bees with a couple of aura blast from his scale blade since they couldn't penetrate his shield or Tanks shell. Then Tank started to slowly spin as he let out large bubbles from within his shell. Lilly started to create similar bubbles from a distance and soon the area was filled with them. By the time Joshua's shield ran out he had cleared out all the bees around him and the rest couldn't get close to him without running into a bubble and being killed by the resulting explosion.
The only bee that could make its way through was the queen bee that charged in straight for the front of tanks shell where his head would be. It planned to sting through the small opening and do some damage, but the bubbles slowed down its attack and when it got close enough Tanks head came shooting out of his shell and he chomped down on the unsuspecting bee's wings before smashing it into the ground. The few remaining bees tried to charge in to help their queen, but a few well-placed bubbles and a couple of aura blast dealt with them quickly enough.
By the time Joshua turned back to look at the queen bee it was bleeding out as its wings were ripped off and all he had to do was slash off its head to finish it off. With the swarm defeated Joshua could feel a surge of strength from killing so many enemies. He and Lilly had both gained a level and even some of her pets gained levels as well. "This is definitely the right way to grind for the next few days." Joshua said with a big grin.