For a moment everyone looked towards Joshua expectantly before he turned to look at Lilly who figured out what he was getting at. She smiled before putting Flutter away since the fighting had ended and they most likely wouldn't need the butterfly's boosting ability against regular opponents in the first place. Then she brought out Tank who seemed to have been previously napping in Lilly's soul realm based off of the tired look he was giving everyone. It was definitely the eyes of someone who had just woken up and didn't exactly no why he had to wake up in the first place.
"What do you guys need me for? It seemed like Cinder had these spirit beast handled for the most part from what I could tell from the soul realm." Tanks voice rang throughout the air as he projected it with his aura. All of the creatures that had been watching the group from a distance backed up even further after seeing the giant turtle appear in front of them. Tank was still the strongest of Lilly's pets at the moment and he gave off a rather oppressive aura for all of the other creatures even though he was at a lower level than them.
"So you do know what these things are that have been watching us this entire time?" Joshua asked as Tank simply nodded in response. His big mouth let out a yawn that emitted hot steam into the air as he finally stood up from his laying posture. Even though Tank wasn't at full size at the moment he was still as big as a three story house that flattened all of the trees in the area. This was the size he was most comfortable staying at outside of combat, but he could still shrink down to the size of a normal turtle if needed. "What can you tell us about these things?"
"Well as you probably noticed from your last fight these spirit beast take on the form of other creatures to fight. This of course gives them some advantages and disadvantages, but the soul beast have to either be at a similar level of evolution to take the form of a creature or use another means to do so. For example none of these low level spirit beast would be able to take on the form of Cinder let alone me. We're too powerful for them to mimic at the moment and that has nothing to do with level." Tank explained getting nods from everyone that was listening in.
"Well what are the advantages and disadvantages to these creatures?" Henry asked as the tension of the group seemed to lessen since all of the spirit beast were staying away at the moment do to Tank's presence.
"When it comes to disadvantages as I said before they can't take on the form of creatures of higher evolution than their own through normal means. So all of these low form spirit beast that are currently around can't copy to powerful of an enemy on their own. They also aren't as good at using the abilities as the originals of the things they copy. If they were to copy me their control over water wouldn't be as good." Tank said which put their minds at ease. "They are also fairly cowardly and will only fight if they believe they have an advantage. At any other time they will just watch for a distance or run away if they figure out that a fight isn't going the way they had been planning. It makes it hard to take them down in drawn out fights so you have to put them down quickly."
"Well for them to have their own territory like this I assume they must have something that makes them more powerful than regular beast as well." Joshua said getting a chuckle out of Tank. The large turtle grinned back at him before he responded.
"Of course they have things that make them dangerous enemies as well. There is a reason regular beast tend to stay as far away from spirit controlled areas like this under most circumstances. These creatures have two main advantages that make them a hassle to deal with under just about any circumstances. The first is the fact that they appear in mass which means when you kill one there is usually ten more waiting to try to take you by surprise. It's like dealing with rat beast, there are just way too many of them."
"What's the other problem with dealing with them? The numbers seem like a big enough annoyance on its own." Amy said with a frown as she looked at all of the creatures around them that were slowly gathering up. They weren't in an overwhelming amount at the moment, but they were still on the edge of the forest at this point yet they were already getting so many of the creatures. It would be far worse once they went in further.
"The other major advantage they have is the fact that they are spirits after all. Just about all physical attacks have no effects on them. It's like trying to hit a ghost, so swords and guns will just pass right through unless you do something special with them. They take heavy damage from magic or aura based attacks so that's why it fled the moment it saw Cinder could use fire magic. It knew it would be killed under the circumstances." Tank explained. It now made sense why the bullet passed right through the creature and it didn't seem to care one bit and continued trying to kill them. Magic on the other hand seemed to be their trump card under the circumstances from what they could tell, but now at least they knew aura would be helpful as well.
"Anything else we should worry about when facing these spirit beasts?" Joshua asked as he noticed they were starting to run out of time as the creatures that surrounded them in the forest were starting to get a bit anxious and were moving in on them slowly. Apparently they had gathered enough numbers that they thought they could handle Tank now.
"Well there is one reason that they like to take on things while being gathered in large numbers in the first place." Tank said with a smug smirk across his face as he slowly turned to look at all of the spirit beast that were gathering together and slowly making their way over.
"What would that be?" Lilly asked as she climbed up on to Tanks back and synchronized with him for the moment for the upcoming battle. This allowed Cinder to have more freedom in her movements as she jumped around the area webbing some of the dead trees together to set up traps for the large amounts of creatures coming their way. They didn't know how exactly the fight would end up going in the end so they were being as prepared as they possibly could for their first full on encounter with the creatures that were seriously trying to take them out instead of just testing them.
"Well these creatures have a limit to what they can transform into as long as they are alone or in small numbers. They don't have the power to take the form of a boss creature or a beast with as much aura and power as me or Cinder in that situation, but when they gather up into large groups…" Tank started to explain as the entire group watched in awe as the amalgamation of spirit beast started to glow brightly and form in to a shape that was rather familiar to Joshua and Lilly. "They can take on the form of far stronger creatures."
Standing before the group was the enormous alligator that Joshua and Lilly had to take down back at the marsh except this time around it was blurred visually as if it was fading in and out. It still gave off a fairly intimidating presence as it towered over everyone except Tank who simply smiled at the creature. The spirit alligator let out a large roar as it charged over to try to tear into Tank since it figured he was the greatest threat of the group, but Tank stood his ground and blew a bunch of bubbles into the creature's path. The small explosions slowed down its movements, but in the end they still collided with each other. Although Tank was powerful there was still a good fourteen level difference between the two creatures and it showed in the way Tank was being pushed back by the spirit alligator.
The group was a bit confused as to how the creature was able to physically attack them even though they weren't able to do the same in return, but they weren't just going to sit around and have Tank do all the work. Cinder was the first one to act in the situation and leaped above the giant alligator while pelting it with fireballs. The large explosions seemed to do some real damage to the creature in comparison to Tanks physical resistance which only seemed to go through the creature whenever he tried to bite into it. While the creature was shrieking in pain Tank blasted it in the face with a torrent of water sending it back a bit and giving him some space.
Before the large alligator could charge Tank again Joshua leaped forward and coated his blade in aura so that he could tear into the creature's side. He could see his scale blade just phase through the creature like it wasn't there in the first place, but even so the aura that surrounded the scale blade seemed to cause the creature a lot of pain while disrupting its cohesion. Joshua could see a couple of spirit beast fall off from where he attacked the creature and disintegrate as if they had died. The surge in experience he felt after the attacked proved that was the case. Now that everyone had an idea of what to do in the current situation they joined in on the fight.
Amy made sure to coat her fist or boots in aura whenever she punched or kicked the creature. The blows seemed to shimmer through the entire beast causing it to try to squirm away from her, but Tank and Cinder weren't going to allow that to happen. Tank surrounded his mouth in aura before biting down on the Alligator's neck and holding it in place for the others. Cinder on the other hand had flames all over the ends of her legs which she pierced into the creatures back to restrict it even more. She preceded to spit flames from her mouth on to its back burning off several of the spirit beast at a time. Henry on the other hand made it so that Adrian could help out in the fight and cast a spell that created a wind like razor form around his swords. It gave Adrian's blade an elemental property and that allowed all of his cuts to do some damage even if it wasn't the kind of damage he'd normally do while being able to go after weak points.
The two ranged members of the group just stayed back and attacked from afar. Amy kept sending in more bubbles to blow up along the alligator's backside and deal more damage. It wasn't overly powerful, but it was hitting multiple spirit beast on the inside of the constructed alligator which made it much easier for the rest of the group to kill them off. Aito on the other hand figured out his own way to get around the no physical damage situation that they were currently in and used explosive rounds near the ground of where the creature was standing. This allowed him to blow off large chunks of the creatures legs and remove all of its mobility. At one point the creature tried to swipe them with its tail to break out of the horrible situation it was currently stuck in , but Joshua with the help of Light was able to block the attack and the group quickly tore the large spirit mob formed creature apart within minutes.
Soon there weren't enough spirit beast left for the thing to hold its form any longer and it collapsed sending the few remaining spirit beast into disarray. The group did everything they could to take as many of them down as quickly as possible before they could get away, but some were able to disappear into the fog to scheme for their next assault. Now having a good idea of what the situation in the forest would be like the group was prepared for the dangers up ahead.