220 Chapter 166: This Fight seems to go a lot Different When You are the one Being Stalked
After the Praying Mantis had been put down a lot of the tension had left everyone as Joshua placed his scale blade back on to the back of his armor while the others all made their way over. Aito, Lilly, and Henry all made their way down from the trees as the area was now safe and the giant beast wasn't there to target the back line of the group anymore. While Amy and Adrian both simply walked around the beast's large body and made their way over to Joshua with happy expressions.
"Well that thing was rather tough to put down." Joshua said with a small sigh. "It was able to react to my surprise attack well enough even though I was able to injure it a little bit in the end."
"Plus the front legs of these creatures are something else. It felt like I was trying to cut through thick steel. My blades just clanked off of them, but luckily the rest of its exoskeleton isn't as hard." Adrian said as he looked over to the giant claw like legs of the creature.
"Well if that's the case then we're definitely going to have to make sure to collect some of those parts from the ones we kill. They could be useful for weapons in the future. I'm sure Naomi will get a kick out of them. Amy said with a big grin.
"The only problem now is what happens when we run into more than one at a time." Joshua said getting everyone's attention once again. "One of them held up fairly well on its own and this was probably the weakest level one that we can find in a place like this. If we have to deal with more than one at a time it's going to be hard to keep them on their toes the whole time like we did before."
"Well that just means it's more of a challenge in the end." Adrian said with a smirk as he inspected the creature a bit more. He let out a deep sigh as if something came to mind as he looked at the set of blades higher up on his waist. It was as if he was sad for a brief moment while doing so. "It's a shame that these creatures have exoskeletons as well. I still haven't been able to test out my new swords yet."
"What's the difference? They're swords right just slash and poke the beast until they're dead." Amy said while mimicking swinging a sword. Joshua just sighed at her antics while Adrian chuckled a bit.
"Well the swords I've been using are more designed for dealing with armored opponents. They're heavy enough to have the right amount of impact while also having enchantments on them that give them more armor breaking properties. It really helps out with the weak point ability that I have and it is mainly used for dealing with the types of enemies we've been up against." Adrian explained getting a nod of understanding from everyone.
"Well then what are the other swords for then?" Henry asked with a puzzled look. "You never did explain them to us properly, but you seemed so excited to get them in the first place. I thought we would have seen what they are capable of by this point, but it seems like I was wrong."
"Well you can blame that on the fact that just about every beast we've faced since joining up with Joshua has either been armored or some sort of ghost aberration that makes my usual swords more useful." Adrian said with a frown as he unsheathed one of the new blades higher up on his waist. The blade was clearly different from the set he was used to using as it was shorter and slightly curved as if it was designed for precise slashing instead of being more of an all-around blade like Adrian's previous set. The blades seemed to have a red tinge to them which either had something to do with the material they were made from or the enchantment that had been placed on them.
"Wow those look pretty cool. I wonder if I can get Naomi to design a new set of gloves for me soon that look like that." Amy said as she inspected the blades like everyone else.
"Well these babies have an enchantment placed on them that makes it so they encourage bleeding whenever hitting a weak point of an enemy. They work extremely well against lager tougher opponents since bleeding them out is often more effective than actually trying to do massive damage to them. It also helps hamper an enemies regenerative abilities." Adrian explained before sheathing the swords once again. "Their time will come soon, but for now I'll have to stick with the old armor shredders. Maybe I can make a better set with whatever these creatures are made out of since they easily deflected my blows with their front legs."
Adrian put the large creature into his inventory before the group was ready to move further into the forest to explore a bit more. The first creature they came across was rather powerful even though it was low leveled for the area so they were excited to find out how much of a challenge the higher leveled ones would be once they found any. As they made their way deeper into the forest Joshua was able to sense out more of the creatures along the way, but they all seemed rather low leveled for the territory which gave them a good idea that they were still on the fringe of the new territory even after exploring it for about an hour.
At this point they had gotten deep enough into the forest that Joshua felt that he could use his aura pulse without any huge repercussions of having every creature within search range gunning for him. Now the forest itself would help hide them if these creatures had a good enough capability with their aura to be able to pick up on his aura pulse. The constant rebounding would just make any type of aura sensing useless unless the creatures were already extremely close by. "Alright guys I'm going to use an aura pulse to get a good feel for the surroundings. Keep a watch out." Joshua said before closing his eyes.
He sent out a large pulse of aura so that he could scope out as much of the surroundings as possible before having to move further in and send another pulse. With the large pulse of aura he could feel all of the natural energy around him and see the different auras of the living creatures in the area. The plant life was so vibrant in comparison to the last territory they had been to. It was almost to the point where the aura given off by the plants was almost blinding. It was similar to back in the training grounds where things just seemed so vibrant in comparison to some of the places they had been to recently. As his sense adjusted to the brightness of the surroundings he was able to start to differentiate the creatures better as the initial pulse went further into the distance.
Soon he was able to start making out nearby creatures that flooded the area. There were some small insects in the bushes and trees that seemed to not have been effected heavily by the world's evolution process. They just went about their own business as he turned his attention to a far larger aura in the distance. When his pulse passed by that area he could tell that the creature was another praying mantis that seemed to have noticed the aura pulse and was now looking around its surroundings agitatedly. The creature had a rather large centipede looking insect in its hands that it was busy eating but its head was now busy scanning its surroundings. It didn't seem to be able to trace where the pulse had come from so it just went back to eating its meal while being alert for any other creatures nearby.
As Joshua's aura pulse went further into the area he was able to spot more of the creatures along with some centipede like beasts that were smaller than the ones he had seen in the past. These centipedes were about the size of an alligator from before the change and seemed to gather up in groups to protect themselves from the clear predators of the area. It seemed like they were a source of food for the praying mantis population in the area and that's why there were so many of the creatures. The further away he got from his current location the more of the creatures he was finding and that was a sign that the territory was filled with more life the further you went in.
There was one thing that surprised Joshua while using the aura pulse though and that was the fact that the aura he could feel from the praying mantises off in the distance was similar to three small figures nearby in a bush just ahead of his group. The size difference was amazing yet the aura felt just as potent. That's when idea came to Joshua on what that could mean before the three figures started dashing in their direction.
"Heads up everybody we've got company." Joshua shouted to get everyone's attention as three figures dashed out of the bush directly ahead of them. Before everyone was certain of the situation the three figures started to grow in size to the point where there were three of the large praying mantises in front of the group and they were all lunging forward to tear into them. Since Joshua was the first one to understand the situation they were currently in he immediately took the front with his aura shroud flaring into being. He used Heroic shout to make sure all of the creatures went for him instead of the rest of the group who were not in the perfect formation for the fight. They were expecting to be able to get the surprise on most of their opponents, but this time around things had shifted.
Joshua immediately used his aura hardening ability since he knew how powerful these creatures could be and if he was knocked away that would destroy the barely useful formation they had at the moment. He parried each one of the creatures attacks only being pushed back slightly now that he was in the strongest defensive state that he could possibly be in. Soon he felt another boost in strength with Flutter using her boost ability and a couple of quick buffs from Henry. The three praying mantises attempted to strike at him again with their blinding speed, but this time he had Light use projectile shields to slow down their attacks and give him enough time to knock away their attacks and counter perfectly. He countered two devastating blows that cracked the chest of two of the creatures and angered them even more while he left the last one for Adrian and Amy to deal with.
Joshua decided that under the circumstances the best strategy to go with was to hold off two while the rest of the group took down an enemy one at a time. By the time they had all finished off the praying mantis that Joshua had left out he had already cracked the exoskeleton of the other two in several places with his counter attacks. Joshua himself had taken quite a few hits from the blindingly fast attacks of the creatures, but his aura hardening made those attacks feel like minor cuts. In the end his high regeneration kicked in and kept him in top shape, but he could only stay in the aura hardened state for so long and he was running out of it as the group finished off the second praying mantis.
For the final one he decided to take it down before the creature ended up wasting anymore of his aura. He lunged forward after knocking its two clawed legs aside and made it look as though he was going for its back legs. The creature fell for that as it tried to skewer him in place, but instead met air as Joshua had already jumped to attack higher. When the creature tried to react in time once again it was thrown off balance as Adrian cleaved a couple of its back legs off. Then Amy came from the side and smashed a fist into its skull fracturing it a bit and confusing the beast as Joshua sliced open its chest during its distraction. One well-placed explosive round later from Aito and the creature was put out of its misery.