195 Chapter 141: The Dungeon that is a Puzzle in Itself Final
After Joshua started to get an idea of how the boss's ability that was giving them so much trouble worked, he decided to test his theory out a bit more. At the rate things were going they would tire out well before they were able to do any real damage to the boss so he had to get things rolling fast. The Scorpion Prince didn't look like it even had a sense of tiredness, so he knew which side would last longer in this fight. The moment the boss had recovered from Joshua kicking it away it turned back to him with a strange look in its eyes. It was a look of confusion which none of them had seen on the boss before. At this point the only emotions that it seemed to be able to covey were rage, anger, and annoyance. Before that look it was as if the boss was looking down on everyone in the group outside of Joshua and even then it still didn't see them as equals.
Before the boss could make its next move it was blasted in the face by a few assault rifle rounds from Aito. After Aito's last attack he made sure to make some room between him and the boss without getting to far away from the rest of the group. If he created to much space between himself and the rest of the group in this type of fight then the boss would easily single him out and go for him before any of the others could even react. The bullets made loud heavy thumps against the boss, but only seemed to force it to lift its arm to block them away from its face so that it could see its targets. While it was deciding who to go after next Amy came in from the side and hit the large humanoid creature in the back with a well-placed strike. The blow was coated in a small amount of aura and Joshua noticed the same shimmer as before as the Scorpion Prince stumbled forward a few steps. When Amy tried to follow up with a regular fist that glowed with the knock back effect from her gloves the creatures body didn't shimmer like before, but instead it was just pushed back from the effect of Amy's gloves.
From that exchange Joshua was fairly certain that he was on the right track when it came to what the creature could do. Its ability to use aura was on a similar level to Joshua, but it was using it in a completely different way. Both of them primarily used aura defensively, Joshua used his aura shroud to fight at a rate to where he could face creatures several levels higher than himself while the Scorpion Prince was able to nullify all of their attacks through its aura alone. Joshua's aura was able to strengthen his body and nullify half of the strength of any attack that was sent his way. This allowed him to handle the blows of something even as strong as the Scorpion Prince in front of him, but even so if he took an unexpected hit to the body he'd still get banged up from the remaining force of his enemies blow even if it would most likely heal back up later.
The Scorpion Prince seemed to have found a way to defend with its aura in a completely different way than Joshua's. It used its aura so that it could disperse the force of anyone's attack all around its entire body instead of the point that it was being attacked from. This dramatically lowered the effect of anything that attacked it. The force from the blow would just disperse around its body. Of course this meant that the creature still felt the impact, but it just wasn't enough to do any real damage except pushing it around or knocking it back. The closest thing that Joshua could think to compare it to was a bullet proof vest. The threading of the vest made it so that the impact of a bullet was dispersed all alongside the vest instead of just where the bullet was meant to impact.
"Guys, it's dispersing the force of our attacks with its aura. That's why it's only being knocked around and not actually hurt." Joshua shouted. He didn't bother using the party chat since the creature couldn't understand him anyways. If anything it would decide to come and attack him which would be exactly what he would want under the circumstances. "It's like its entire body is covered in a bullet proof vest that we've just been constantly pelting. Unluckily for us the body underneath the aura is more than strong enough to withstand all of the force of our attacks."
"I see." Henry said as he created more vines to slow the boss down long enough for them to try to think of a way around its defenses. "Any ideas of how to get around that little problem."
"If it's like a bullet proof vest then we should be able to stab through it with a precise enough strike." Adrian said with a frown. "Even when I do go with constant pinpoint blows it doesn't seem to be having any effect."
"That's because it's not made up of threads like a vest, but of aura which covers every point of its body. We won't be able to pierce through it under those conditions." Aito said as he aimed for the creature's eyes again only to see his bullets get blocked once more by its aura. Even so it was an annoying enough attack to make the boss angry once again as it tried to block the bullets with its hands.
"No, simply trying to pierce it won't work but what we can do is damage the aura itself." Joshua said surprising the others as his aura flared up even more and he coated his scale blade in aura before swinging down fiercely at the back of the creature that had just tried to chase down Lilly only to be coated in webbing from Cinder. The entire time the bubbles in its path kept exploding and slowed down its progress enough for Joshua to get behind the creature and swing fiercely into its back. The blow had a different result from all of their other attacks up to this point as the boss's aura shimmered brightly once again as it struggled against Joshua's own.
The force of the blow once again sent the boss soaring across the room and crashing into a wall, but that wasn't the point. It seemed Henry was the first to understand what Joshua was getting at. "I see, its aura might be able to protect it constantly, but when attacked by another source of aura the draining effect on the aura is increased greatly. That's why it's shimmering whenever Joshua or Amy hit it. Joshua's aura is battling the boss's while Amy's fist are coated in aura occasionally along with the penetration effect. That makes those blows in particular do more damage to the creature's aura."
"Exactly." Joshua said with a grin as he stared at the creature coming out of the rubble from its crash into the wall. The aura around its body had dimmed down for a moment, but as it let out a violent roar its aura once again brightened as its killing intent filled the room once more. It glared towards Joshua and charged over. "It's focused on me, everyone except Amy focus on slowing the creature down while I keep its attention on me. We're going to have to crack through its aura first if we want to take it down."
The boss lunged towards Joshua at a surprising speed that barely gave him any time to react as he blocked its first blow with his scale blade their auras collided. Joshua's aura shroud nullified half of the force of the blow, but he was still pushed backwards from the remaining force. He then dodged the stinger at the last second while twisting to avoid a claw that slashed across his arm. The attack was deep enough to leave a nasty cut, but now the boss was in a position for Joshua to strike and he made sure not to let that go to waste. He smashed his scale blade into its gut with the force of his twisting motion amplifying the blow and sending the boss skidding backwards as its aura dimmed more.
Before it could regain its stance a fireball blasted it in the face and made its aura dim a little more while a rain of bullets pelted the creature blocking its view. Amy then struck it from the side with another aura in fused fist that sent it skidding across the room since the creature was taken by surprise. From that point on the group kept up the assault. Amy and Joshua kept hitting the creature with aura infused attacks up close doing the most damage while the others attacked from afar. Henry used the vines from his spells to keep the creature from moving out of the way while Lilly and Cinder blasted it with empowered fireballs that were strong enough to drain its aura even more. Aito kept up the assault from afar with any powerful round he could find to keep the creature on its toes while Adrian focused on blocking the creature's tail from time to time so that Joshua wouldn't have to worry about it so much.
After half an hour of going through the same thing over and over again Joshua was covered in cuts that were all healing at a rapid pace do to his aura regeneration and Henry's buff while the others were tired from fighting such a powerful creature for so long. Luckily the fight was coming to a close as the boss's aura finally broke completely for a moment. That moment was all they needed as they all rushed to finish the creature off before it could regain its aura.
Joshua dodged another one of the boss's attempts to strike him with its stinger, but now that the thing wasn't coated in aura Joshua smashed it aside with his scale blade and left a large crack on the armor covering it. The boss screeched in pain and seemed surprised, but it was too late for it to react as Adrian took the opportunity to slash at the weak spot created by Joshua and cut the tail off entirely. Blood sprayed from the fresh wound on the now stump on the creatures back and it jumped back to create some distance, but none of them were going to allow that.
The heavy bullets that were once just bouncing off its aura were now leaving cracks all over its body, the fireballs that used to only knock it back actually blew off a chunk of its exoskeleton along its shoulder sending the creature down to one knee, the punches from Amy that used to just make its aura shimmer now pierced right into its insides and caused the Scorpion Prince to vomit out a mouth full of blood. In the end the creature looked like it was on its last leg as Adrian slashed at several weak spots at the cracks in its body causing blood to pour from the creature.
Henry rapped vines around its legs to keep it in place for them to do the final blow, but the boss wasn't going to go down without a final struggle. Its body started to steam and the pieces of exoskeleton that were still intact glowed red while its aura rapidly regenerated. The boss was entering an enraged state, but Joshua wasn't going to have any of that. He blinked directly in front of the boss that was breaking free from the vines and allowed his aura to flare in full. Joshua's eyes seemed to gleam silver for a moment as he pushed all of the aura he could into his scale blade and lifted it over his head to swing down on the enraged boss. He made sure to combine any sorts of aura based attacks with his blade and slashed downward with an echo strike following behind.
The first blow destroyed the creature's newly budding aura entirely which seemed to surprise the beast as realization seemed to fill its eyes, then the echo strike followed the same path and slashed directly down the beast chest sending blood everywhere. Joshua didn't end it their as his reset ability kicked in and sent another fully powered echo strike down the same spot cutting the boss in half. Its body fell apart with the same look of surprise as Joshua felt a large surge of experience fill him. He had grown another level and they had finished the dungeon. A tired grin spread across his face as he fell on to his butt and let out a sigh. The fight was challenging, but it was the most exciting one he had up to this point.