224 Chapter 170: Is this the Ruler of the Territory? Part 2
Tank and Cinder clashed against the giant beast while Joshua got back up. The rest of the group had gotten out of their confused states at different intervals with Adrian and Amy being first as they rushed to help out Tank and Cinder. Joshua was surprised by how far away from the battle he had been knocked away with that blow. Even though the monster was large he didn't expect it to be able to shatter his rock steady skill so easily. It probably had something to do with the momentum the creature was able to generate with its flying speed at its size since it was clear that Tank was able to hold it off at the moment with Cinder's help. If momentum wasn't the reason then each one of the creature's slashes could easily tear into Tank's skin deeply and possibly start to break his shell. By the way that Tank was able to deflect its blows with his shell that was clearly not the case.
Soon the entire group was in fighting condition and everyone scrambled to get into a better fighting position than they were in at the start. Henry went ahead and buffed everyone with a few needed buffs along with one Joshua hadn't seen him use before. It shined purple around them for a moment before fading out of sight like all of the other buffs. "That's a buff to help ward off mental attack like the last one. It won't completely protect against them, but it will definitely improve our resistance against this creature's screams." Henry shouted loud enough for everyone to hear over the three large beast clashing ahead of them. The enemy wasn't overly intelligent so they didn't have to worry about hiding their conversation from it.
"Alright then everyone stay closer together this time around. This thing has too much mobility for the back line to be left on their own further away from the fight. It could just fly over and attack them if given an opportunity. Be careful when approaching it though since we don't know everything it can do yet." Joshua said as he rushed over to join the fight. This time he went in with his aura shroud in full effect and even used the hardening ability since he knew that he was going to need to rotate between different protective abilities if he was going to last against this creature.
When he reached the fighting he noticed that Cinder was having a pretty strong effect against the praying mantis. She was currently in her ice form with her legs being covered in shards of ice and a cold fog being emitted from her mouth as she leaped around the boss of the territory. Although flame attacks could be effective in doing damage against the praying mantis they'd have to actually hit to get anything done. Plus with the exoskeleton protecting its body the boss was able to tank any level of flames that Cinder could generate in short notice. So instead of trying to do severe damage to the beast Cinder decided to take away its strengths.
The lack of trees in the area made it impossible for her to set traps with her webs so she had to be more direct in her tactics. At first Cinder tried to web up the creatures legs with her webbing, but it could easily break out of it and cut it away without much efforts. The front legs of this praying mantis was so sharp that it cut through just about everything around outside of Tank's shell. So when Cinder noticed that wasn't working she let out a large plume of ice fog to cover the praying mantises upper body. The ability took away its vision as she made her way around it and got near its back. Then she used the opportunity to web up the large wings on its back and start to slowly freeze them in place. The boss wasn't able to reach back and do anything about that so it only got angered at its situation and let out another loud screech.
Before the screech went on to long this time around Tank hit in the face with a torrent of water to shut it up so it couldn't affect the rest of the group like it did before. Although Tank was able to hold his own for a while he knew that the creatures speed would eventually give it a clear opening to go for and then he'd be in trouble. He and Cinder needed help from the rest of the group if they wanted to be able to take down this beast. The now angered praying mantis tried to cleave its two front legs into Tank's head, but instead of slicing through flesh the progress of its blow was stopped as its attack was blocked by Joshua who was now standing on Tank's head after blinking to the spot. The attack wouldn't have killed Tank in the end, but it would have grievously injured him and he would have been out for the rest of the fight.
At the moment they needed Tank to be the primary tank for this fight since the creature was too big for Joshua to hold off on his own. This time Joshua's rock steady skill held up do to his use of aura hardening and he was able to hold the creature's two bladed legs in place. The praying mantis seemed surprised, but before it could try to attack again it was blasted in the face by a heavy bullet round from Aito. Even though he was closer to the action this time around he still made sure to annoy the beast at all times to make it hard for it to retaliate whenever it wanted. Although this wasn't the best area for him to use some of his skills he was able to use armor piercing rounds to leave large cracks on the praying mantis's exoskeleton. Now there was another one added to its head.
The creature backed up in surprise after the attack, but it only seemed to grow more enraged as it charged forward once again to attack Joshua and Tank. It couldn't fly this time around though since its wings were now frozen stiff and the webbing stuck to them made them impossible to move or heat up. So it was forced to rely on using its back legs to rush forward which made it much slower. It still moved at a decent speed, but Joshua and Tank had time to react. Even so the creature seemed to want to end this fight quickly as its two front legs started glowing a deep red color that looked ominous. Both Joshua and Tank could feel that the power coming off those front legs had increased several fold and even Tank wasn't sure if his shell could hold up against such an attack at his current level.
Even if the boss had been slowed down greatly do to Cinder's efforts it was still much faster than Tank and so Joshua and Tank were stuck in another predicament where the boss was going to strike them down with an attack that seemed lethal. Joshua leapt up on to Tank's shell where the boss was aiming for. The fact that it had no problem going for Tank's shell proved it was extremely confident in this attack so Joshua wasn't going to take any chances. He immediately used his aura shield and blocked the attack entirely. The ability did drain his aura a decent amount, but it wasn't anything that he couldn't recover from.
The rest of group took the fact that the boss was once again surprised by its attack getting blocked as a sign to go on the attack. Adrian was completely tearing apart the creature's exoskeleton in several places. All of the cracks that Aito had created with his gun fire were now being put into use. Adrian cleaved into the weak points tearing off large pieces of the opponent's exoskeleton and greatly damaging the boss. He used his shadow step skill to move around its body at a much faster pace and do as much damage as quickly as possible.
Amy on the other hand wasn't trying to rip off the exoskeleton of the creature, but instead followed behind the trail that Adrian had made to attack the wounds he had left behind. Jade sent its tails out of Amy's shadow and created sword like constructs on the end of each one. She then coated them in mana before slashing at the wounds and creating an even bigger opening for Amy. Amy would then follow up with a full forced piercing blow directly into the creature's soft insides. Even if the attack would normally ignore the exoskeleton the fact that she was able to land the punch deeper into the creature's body meant that the force of the blow would also be carried in further and that was what she was aiming for. The creature's size made it so that they were all basically the size of normal ants to this thing so she needed any advantage she could get to do more damage.
Their combination of attacks was doing wonders as the creatures lower body was completely covered in wounds to the point where its movements were slowing down and that was giving both Tank and Cinder an opportunity to go in with their size and do even more damage. Aito would constantly aim to create more cracks for the others to go after while Henry maintained all of their buffs and even used vines to slow down the creatures front legs whenever it tried to lift them up for an attack. The creature was taking a beating as the group figured out its pattern of attack. They knew it preferred to use its screech ability before it went in for its powerful aura covered front leg attack that was sure death if anyone got hit with it. So they figured out a way to handle the creature's simple tactics.
Henry's buff kept them all from being heavily affected by the creatures screeching which gave them a good opportunity to keep up the assault while Joshua would use different lifesaving measures to protect against the creatures empowered attack. He would either use aura shield, Lights aura protection, or a straight up combination of aura hardening, rock steady, and his scale blade to block the brunt of the blow. Whenever he used the last method he was usually sent flying backwards even though he also brought out his aura in greater amounts to protect himself against the blow.
Eventually the group got into a flow and over a thirty minute period they finally got the large beast to fall over from its multiple injuries as it glared fiercely at them even in its condition. Its two front legs had been broken by Tank biting on to the joints of them and cracking them. This made them fall limp to its body and made its most powerful form of attack useless. "Well should we finish it off or do you plan to tame this one Lilly. It doesn't seem to be considered a boss by the system, but it might be considered a guardian of the territory like with the alligator back in the marsh area." Joshua asked as he turned to Lilly who had jumped off of Cinder's back. The entire fight Lilly had been either empowering Cinder so that her ice abilities would freeze up the creature even more or empowering Tank so that its chomp could actually break through the boss's exoskeleton quickly before it could retaliate.
"I wish I could, but its potential has been ruined." Lilly said with a disappointed look.
"What do you mean?" Amy asked a bit confused while all the others turned to pay attention to her as Tank walked over and pinned the struggling creature down so that it couldn't try to attack them even in its horrible state.
"It rushed its evolution trying to become the ruler of this area and that ruined its long term potential. It must have done something truly foolish to ruin its potential like this. From now on it can't take any steps forward to become any stronger and will be forever stuck at this level of strength." Lilly explained surprising everyone.
"She is correct this creature was young and foolish. Even now you can tell it has delved into madness as its mind is only on attacking us and not on trying to flee even though it knows how bad its situation is." Tank explained with a sigh before finally putting the poor thing out of its misery by snapping its large neck. The entire group could feel the surge of experience from killing the creature and everyone seemed to either gain a level or come close, but it didn't seem like nearly as much experience as they were expecting.
"Well then let's move on to the canyon to check it out before it gets dark. We can call it a wrap after that." Henry said getting nods from everyone, but then they all heard a loud thrumming sound approaching and they knew something else was coming.