225 Chapter 171: Oh...Well I guess this is the Territory Boss
The thrumming sound was coming from the direction of the forest, but it sounded much deeper and more powerful than the time they had heard the creature they had just killed approach. Whatever was coming now was definitely much bigger, but the flapping of its wings seemed much too fast to be a regular bird. In all likelihood it was another insect of some sort, but for it to be even bigger than the one they just took down might be a bit too much for the group to handle.
To make matters even worse the aura pouring off of this creature that was approaching encompassed the entire forest as it seemed to role across it in waves as it made its approach. The power behind the creature was so much more than anything they were used to sensing that their bodies all completely tensed up. Even Joshua's body tensed up at its approach even though he could tell that the aura that was pouring off of the creature was not filled with killing intent like he had expected it to be. The only person that seemed fine under the circumstances was Tank who looked up towards the sky with a confused look as if he was familiar with the aura that was approaching the group.
Soon they were able to see a figure in the distance approaching quickly even with its enormous size. It was far bigger than any normal plane and created an enormous shadow as it made its way over the forest. From what they could tell from a distance this creature seemed to be twice the size of the enormous creature they had just killed and that was saying something. Joshua now had a pretty good idea of what made all of the large indentions in the area that he had seen before. This new creature made the one they had just killed look like a little kid in comparison and that wasn't a good sign.
At the speed it was traveling it didn't take long for the creature to reach the clearing casting its shadow down on to all of them before it landed across from them. The beast nearly took up half of the entire clearing at its current size and that was after it had clearly cut down trees beforehand to make more space. When it finally landed the entire area shook from its weight and they all had to crane their heads up to see the entire body of the beast. It was clearly another praying mantis like beast, but it had some glaring differences between it and all of the other praying mantises they had come across outside of just its size and powerful aura.
The creature wasn't the normal green shade of color that they had seen from most of the other praying mantises they had come across. Instead it had a pitch black color to it with lines of deep red along the gaps in its exoskeleton. Its body was far bulkier than any of the other praying mantises that they came across. It was even thicker than the Ant Queen which meant that it was most likely just as resilient as the Ant Queen or even more so. The blades on the front legs were colored red as well and glowed brightly as they hung in the air ready to attack at any moment as if that were their natural position.
The major difference between this praying mantis's looks and the other ones wasn't all of that though, but was instead the fact that it had four front legs instead of two. This made it far more dangerous since Joshua was having enough trouble just trying to block two at a time. This creature could probably pin its enemies down before continuing to attack with its other set of front legs. Along with that was the fact that the feeling of just natural killing intent coming from those front legs proved to Joshua that they had been used to kill several enemies during the giant creature's most likely long life judging by the air it gave off. It was like the difference between seeing a brand new weapon out of the store and a pair of blades that had withstood several battles. They just didn't compare in the feeling they gave off.
Joshua was certain that the new beast could at least do all of the same things that the one they had just taken down could do and probably a hell of a lot more, so he was hoping they'd be able to avoid getting on the creatures bad side. Unfortunately the fact that they had not only encroached on the creature's territory, but had also killed one of its kind as well was probably not a good way to start off things. The entire group just hoped that the new arrival didn't have any ties to the creature that they had just killed otherwise they were all screwed.
When Joshua observed the creature his hopes of being able to take it down or get away from it went completely down the drain. Just besides the creatures name was a giant skull showing that the beast was well outside of his range to deal with. He couldn't even tell what level the creature was at so that went out the window as well. This beast could probably kill them all with a couple swings of its front legs and there would be nothing that they could do about it. Now knowing that fighting wouldn't be the answer if they wanted to stand a chance of getting out of the situation, Joshua put his scale blade back on to his back and urged the others to put their weapons away as well so that they would appear as none threatening as possible. If it came down to it he'd protect them all by using aura shield to block its attacks for a moment and let them escape.
The giant beast seemed to hum in thought for a bit as it put its wings away and leaned down towards them to get a better look at them. "Oh I see that I have visitors." A loud and deep voice seemed to be coming from the creature's aura as it looked down on them. It surprised them all since it was clear that the beast had no problems speaking clearly and on the same level as Tank and Cinder. It was the first time that they had come across such a thing in the wild. "Well I guess I must seem a bit to intimidating in this size, give me a moment."
The large insect then started to shrink down to around the same size as the praying mantis that they had just killed, but they could still feel how much more powerful this creature was in comparison. Its size didn't matter because its power was beyond their reach. "Hmm I thought that aura seemed familiar it's been a while since I've seen you." Tank said grabbing everyone's attention. "I'm surprised you aren't roaming around and getting yourself into trouble."
"Oh old turtle I thought you looked familiar. Although you seemed to have lost all of your strength old friend." The praying mantis said with a bit of a chuckle. "Last time we met you were on par with me in strength, but now you've been reduced to this. What happened to you?"
"Wait a minute you two know each other?" Joshua asked as he looked between the two large beast that looked as if they were just having a meeting between old friends when just seconds ago they all felt as if they were knocking on deaths door.
"Yes this overgrown bug and I used to spar with each other quite a bit when we were younger. He'd help me learn how to deal with fast and mobile creatures that can get around my shell and I'd help him learn how to deal with overly defensive beast that were too tough for his front legs to cut through. Over time we grew stronger together. It has to have been well over fifty years since I've seen you." Tank said with a smirk.
"We'd always end up getting ourselves in trouble with other beast as well." The giant praying mantis said with a chuckle before turning to look at the rest of Joshua's group. "He's an old stubborn turtle, but he's also a great friend to have."
"The names Tank now and the short girl standing next to me is my partner." Tank explained to his friend who nodded his head at that.
"I see, does this mean she has a soul beast that is similar to a turtle for you to partner with her? No that can't be it I'd be able to tell if that were the case and she hasn't reached the threshold for humans to partner with beast after all." The praying mantis said while looking at Lilly with a look of fascination.
"No my partner here is a beast tamer and she has the ability to tame multiple beast and have four out at a time to fight alongside her. Although she wouldn't be able to tame you since you're currently too high leveled for her and that won't be changing any time soon." Tank explained.
"If that's the case then how was she able to tame you in the end and why has your strength fallen so much my friend. I didn't even know something like that was possible."
"It's a long story, but to put things simply I got tricked and sealed into a dungeon not to long after the last time we saw each other while I was roaming around the world. It sucked away my power and reverted my level to power itself up more for its protectors. It was foolish I know, but it did help me find my partner here. It also opened up away for me to evolve even further so when I do get my strength back I'll kick your ass." Tank said with a big smirk that got a chuckle out of everyone.
The tenseness of the situation had seemed to fade away after the short exchange and all of the humans of the group were able to let out a relieved sigh. Cinder on the other hand seemed to be excited now that she knew the praying mantis wasn't a threat and started bombarding it with questions. "So if you're so strong then you must have faced several other powerful creatures' right? What other kind of beast are out there? Are there more powerful dungeons with other traps like the one Tank had to deal with? Did you ever…" Cinder started to say, but was cut off by Tank.
"Slow down there Cinder. You're just going to overload this muscle head's brain if you ask too many questions."
"Oh please I'm just as good at controlling my aura as you ever were." The praying mantis retorted as the two old friends seemed to go into a back and forth with each other for a little while. The rest of the group just smiled at their antics until Lilly decided to interrupt their conversation.
"I'm sorry to spoil the reunion between old friends, but I just wanted to ask if it was okay that we took down the praying mantis from earlier that was in your territory." Lilly said with a guilty frown. "I'm sorry if it was a friend of yours, but it seemed to be delving into madness and was killing its own kind."
"You don't have to worry about that. The praying mantis that you guys killed has no relation to me and it seems to have wanted to take over my home from what I can tell. Every once in a while one of the praying mantises from the forest will take the wrong path in evolution and rush things, this is the result of that." The big guy said with a sad voice as he turned to look at Lilly.
"It seems like it had ruined its potential to gain a short bid at strength so it could challenge you for this territory, but by doing so it got lost in its madness." Tank simply replied getting a nod from his friend in return.
"These things happen all the time when young beast feel pressured to catch up to their elders. It's better to put them down before they can cause harm to the ones that still have a chance at evolving further. You don't have to worry about that and just feel proud that your group was able to take it down." The praying mantis said with a disappointed sigh before its mood started to brighten up once more. "How about you guys stay here for the night so I can catch up with my old friend."
The group looked at one another and noticed that the sun was starting to set and it would be hard to push through the canyon this late at night, so they all decided to agree and stay for the night.