126 Chapter 72: Ant Hill Dungeon Final
Joshua had taken notice of the fact that other people had joined in the area, but he ignored it because he knew they couldn't do any actual damage to the Ant Queen and probably would struggle to even scratch the four star ant generals. So he just avoided their barrage and watched as the Ant Queen summoned more small scale ant generals to deal with the pest. That would definitely give the other group trouble for a while and it would be enough for Joshua to in act his plan. Soon the area was covered in steam as Tank and Cinder moved onto phase two and Joshua watched as the three large ants screamed in irritation as their bodies started to heat up do to the change in their surroundings.
The Ant Queen tried to suck in large amounts of air to cool down its body, but the steam prevented it from having much effect. Her two subordinates were in a worse off situation with their bodies not being able to cool down at all and Joshua could see their metallic exoskeletons starting to heat up and turn a heated red color. Of course the heat affected him as well, but his aura shroud protected him and the magic resistant armor helped deal with the heat for the most part. He wasn't stuck in a suit of metal that could have made things very uncomfortable for him.
Soon Joshua could hear Tank and Cinder charging in his direction and he knew it was time for him to take on the real fight. He could feel his body grow stronger as Flutter started using her boost ability and he could hear Cinder shriek behind him as she charged over to take on one of the ant generals on her own. Now that she didn't have to stand still and keep up the steam she was free to charge in and attack one of the beast that they were going against. Tank was doing something similar when Joshua noticed something a bit odd aura wise above them. His eyes opened wide as he used an aura blast to send himself soaring towards the top of Tank's shell where Lilly was standing. He made it just in time to block a blow from a new enemy that none of them had noticed up to that point.
It was clearly an ant with its body structure, but its shape was more aligned with a humans. It was glowing an odd green color as if it was constantly casting a spell on itself and the winds around it seemed to be following its will. Joshua forced the creature back before positioning himself in between it and Lilly. When he observed it he saw the name Elite Ant General with five stars by it. He knew this creature was going to be a problem as it charged forward again in blinding speed as if it was the wind itself. It was nearly as fast as Cinder and with it small size it made more use of that speed.
Joshua had to rely on his quick reflexes and fighting skills to parry its quick blows, but it opened its wings and flew away before he could retaliate. That's when he heard a popping sound from above as one of the large bubbles busted and let out a large amount of steam that caused the area to heat up once again. It was their tactic in how to keep up the steam while allowing Cinder and Tank to fight. It was working well, but Joshua knew they had a time limit and that was when all of the bubbles had finished exploding. That would force Tank and Cinder to back out and create more steam and he highly doubted the Ant Queen and her subordinates were going to wait and allow that to happen.
"Joshua go take care of the Ant Queen, I can handle this myself." Lilly said surprising Joshua. When he turned he could see the look of determination burning in her eyes as her hair turned to a smoldering black and she took out her staff. "In this form I can keep up with its speed and hold it off until you finish off the queen. We're running on a time limit so we have to get this done fast."
Joshua thought about it for a moment as he glared at the ant that was flying slightly above Tank's shell preparing to charge in again. He sighed deeply before nodding towards Lilly. "If you're in trouble make sure to let me know. You dying isn't worth this boss fight."
"Don't worry about me, I can handle things here, besides I've got Tank with me. Go kill the queen and we can laugh about this whole thing later." Lilly responded. Joshua sighed before leaping off Tank and charging back towards the Queen leaving Lilly with the elite ant. The ant seemed angry and was about to charge towards Joshua, but was forced back when Lilly shot out a torrent of flame in its path. "Your opponent is right in front of you little guy. It's sad that you don't have all that much potential to grow or I'd be trying to tame you right now, but I guess I'll have to put you down myself this time around."
The ant shrieked at her before charging over in blinding speed as it tried to use its clawed hand to strike Lilly, but since she was synchronized to Cinder she was able to react in time and block the attack with her staff. Their strength was about equal so neither one was forced back. Lilly had a little more strength while the ant had a little more speed so things balanced out. They both pushed off and the ant tried to use its speed and flight to attack from all sorts of angles, but Lilly reacted in time to every single attempt. She even got in a few counters with her staff in a similar way to how Joshua had showed her. The blows she got in staggered the ant, but it just flew off afterwards.
In the end they were in quite the stalemate. Lilly didn't want to Synchronize with Tank because she knew she would become too slow to keep up and her high defense wouldn't be as useful against a beast that was so adapt at magic. Each one of its blows was enhanced with wind magic and magic was Tank's greatest weakness. Spells could get past his insane defense as long as they didn't hit the shell and even though Lilly could synchronize with Tank she couldn't use his shell abilities. At the moment the turtle she was standing on the back of was busy tearing into one of the Ant Generals and clearly winning based on the screams she was hearing from the poor thing and Lilly had to do two things.
She had to make sure this annoying flying ant didn't go off and attack Joshua while he was fighting the Ant Queen. That could disrupt their entire plan and they might not be able to take the Ant Queen down in time before the steam was lifted and it was able to use its ability to cool its body down. Then they would be tired and back to square one with an angry Ant Queen on their tail. Secondly she couldn't allow this annoying ant to attack Tank, if it got in a good shot at Tank's limbs or head it could do some serious damage with its magical capabilities. In the end Lilly had to do this on her own so she positioned herself properly and this time around she planned to do some real damage to it to slow it down. She put her staff behind her and covered her mouth slightly as the elite ant shrieked before charging towards her again in a blur, but before it could get close Lilly let out a torrent of smoldering smoke from her mouth.
This attack completely blinded the ant and started to heat its exoskeleton a bit. It wasn't as armored as the others, but this would make it easier for Lilly to do some actual damage to the enraged creature. Now that it couldn't see its target it was charging forward completely relying on its speed to be enough to close the distance before Lilly could move out of the way, but Lilly was waiting for just that. She twirled to the side just as one of the ants claws appeared in her previous position then she spewed a torrent of flames from her mouth on to the ant's back. The attack caught its wings on fire and its wind energy seemed to only make the flames grow hotter.
The ant shrieked in pain as it collided into the back of Tank's shell before rolling a distance away from Lilly. It tried to move its wings as it got up, but clearly found they were burnt off. It shrieked in rage before it was going to charge towards Lilly once again, but a loud scream of pain from its queen drew its attention and it leaped off of Tanks shell before Lilly could react. She was frustrated that she couldn't put it down, but at least she had damaged it greatly.
Meanwhile Joshua was getting busy causing crater like dents all along the Ant Queens shell. He could see blood dripping from the injuries he was causing it and even saw how mangled up he had made a couple of the large ant's legs. It was still powerful and able to move around fine, but Joshua was having no trouble dancing around the giant beast. He had to dodge a few surprise attacks of acid spewing from its mouth, but other than that the Ant Queen just came across as a health sponge so far with extreme defensive measures, but that was all about to change.
After a rather crushing blow to the massive ants back it finally decided to change its tactics now that it was heavily injured and in danger. The Ant Queen started to glow a violent red color as its metallic armored body started to steam from the heat it was starting to give off. Deep red lines began to flood throughout its body as the queen's legs started to fix themselves as the now malleable metal armor forced any breaks in the exoskeleton back into position. If the monster had a high regenerative capability this could be a problem, but it was clearly still in pain so Joshua knew he still had a chance at taking it out.
The Ant Queen let out a loud enraged screech before it moved toward Joshua at a far faster speed in a frenzied state. All of its legs and claws were swiping at him and he was forced to dodge each blow carefully since he was sure if he got hit he would either be dead or have to use his aura shield to survive the force of the blow. Even if his aura shroud could cut the force of the blow in half that would still be enough to tear him apart if the way those blows easily scratched straight through the stone floor without any sign of slowing down was a clue. The Queen was in a panicked frenzy and Joshua just had to wait for the right moment to go in for the kill. Once it started to tire down from all the obsessive attacks that were draining its energy quickly Joshua would have his chance to go for the finishing blow. It was similar to the enraged state that the haze boss back during the first phase would go into occasionally and just like back then Joshua knew it was best to wait it out.
He could see the steam that was coming off its body start to lesson so he knew things were coming to a close and finally the boss left an opening for him to take. It swung wide and smashed into a wall giving Joshua just enough time to counter attack, but before he could a knife came from behind him at a blistering speed and he knocked it away with his scale blade. It wasn't all that threatening, but it disrupted his timing as he watched a man charge passed him with an arrogant smirk. It was the same person he saw leading the raider's guild members, so he knew this person was trying to kill steal him.
Usually people would be angry at such a situation, but Joshua just smiled and watched as the thief rushed in and stabbed a long dagger into one of the Ant Queen's eyes. This caused the massive creature to screech in pain, but the thief wasn't done yet. As the thief jumped away he left two grenades stabbed onto the dagger stuck into the eye of the ant and watched as the explosion caused the giant beast to lurch backwards in agony. "Nothing's going to stop me from getting this kill." The man said as he turned to glare at Joshua. "That includes you."
"We'll see..."Joshua simply replied with a smile as the Ant Queen seemed to be in great pain, but still alive and kicking. It's body had turned back to normal so it was no longer in its frenzied state, but now Joshua had to time it so that he would get the kill before this annoyance as they both charged towards the Ant Queen. This time Joshua was taken by surprise as he heard a screech coming from the side and turned to block the crazed attack of the gravely damaged elite ant. It had clearly decided that Joshua was the greater threat to its queen as its body started to turn bright green and Joshua's eyes widened.
In a split moment Joshua created an aura shield as the small ant exploded its body and created a gale of wind that spread throughout the surroundings knocking away all the steam and destroying all the remaining bubbles. Its last act before its death cleared the stage and sent Joshua crashing into the ground. If he hadn't used his aura shield in time then his body would have been ripped to shreds. Derrick on the other hand took this chance to go for the kill. He felt as if all luck was on his side since everything was left open for him, all he had to do was stab a few more grenades deep into its destroyed eye and everything would be over. In its current tired state the Ant Queen wouldn't be able to react in time and he could feel it all taking place as his hand reached towards the massive wound with a few grenades ready to explode.
That's when a loud crunching sound passed through his ears and his eyes opened in shock as pain filled his body. He looked down and saw what looked like a giant malformed spear piercing his stomach. When he looked back towards the Ant Queen he could see the object was her tongue that had stabbed out of its mouth and directly through him when he had gotten to close. "Bu…but…I…wa…was…so...close…." Derrick said as the light faded from his eyes. The Ant Queen made sure to finish him off as its larger pincer tore his body apart.
The grenades that were still in Derrick's hands exploded causing the queen to screech in pain as her tongue was blown apart and Joshua used the chance to take her out. He leapt forward quickly and stabbed his scale blade deep into her wounded eye now that it was the only place on its body that hadn't cooled down and become too hard to pierce once again. Before the queen could retaliate Joshua sent and aura burst through his blade followed with an echo strike that exploded the ants head from the inside out. He fell alongside the bits and pieces towards the grown as everyone watched the scene now that the steam was gone.
Joshua could feel the familiar surge in strength fill his body as he leveled up. He turned to look for the remains of Derrick's body but the explosion had destroyed them. The only thing that was left was a sturdy dagger that had fallen and clattered against the floor. The sound echoed across the room breaking the silence of the moment.