After Joshua had used his heroic shout everything seemed to fly into action. The bats started to let out loud shrieks towards him that were ear ringing, but his high will and aura made it so that he could just shirk off the attack which seemed to only enrage the giant bats even more. Now all of them were completely focused on Joshua and had stopped aiming for the rest of the group long enough for Cinder and Isabella to get to work as the bats started to fly down.
Before the large creatures could finish their dive bombs towards Joshua a large icy wind buffeted the area. It came pouring in from behind Joshua and started to chill the air above him as it moved towards the bats that were taken off guard. That wasn't the end of things though as a fog seemed to blend in with the icy wind and Joshua knew that it was one of Cinder's more recent abilities. The ice cold fog would cling on to the bats a bit and lower their body temperatures while helping freeze their wings. One thing Joshua knew about flying enemies was the fact that if you could hinder their movements or take them out of the air all together then you were already ahead in the fight. They used a similar tactic against the guardian praying mantis and that limited what the creature could do by a whole lot. Now he just hoped it would be similar here as he watched the bats seem to get disoriented and lose altitude as their wings were slowly getting frozen.
Unfortunately everything doesn't always go the way you want as the group of bats seemed to have something up their sleeves just for the situation. Their membrane like wigs were suddenly filled with blood causing them to become a bright red color that slightly glowed making them easier to see. The action had another effect though besides just looks as the bats seemed to stabilize themselves in the air once again. Joshua realized that having blood rushing through their wings was keeping them from freezing too quickly and that allowed the overgrown sky rats to fly more steadily. Luckily the cold still seemed to have some effect since they were slowed down, but Joshua knew that he'd have to fight flying enemies truly for the first time and he started to charge his scale blade with an aura blast and energy slash combination as the creatures approached.
There were so many of them that he knew he wouldn't be able to keep them all in front of him for very long, but every second he held them off was an extra second for the rest of the group to try to take some of the creatures down effectively. The bats seemed enraged as they started dive bombing towards Joshua, but he held his ground as he sent his aura blast soaring through the air right towards them. The attack was so wide spread that it encompassed all of the charging bats at the front and the pressure of the blow forced them back into the ones that were following behind them. The swarm then got tangled up a bit and Joshua could see that the smaller bats were far more disoriented from the blast than the larger ones that quickly stabilized themselves and continued forward. This was perfect for Joshua though since it would be easier to block off the large ones with the small ones being knocked to the back of the group.
Before the bats could approach anymore though a large pair of fire balls came soaring over Joshua and exploded inside swarm killing off a few of the smaller ones and singing a couple of the bigger ones. From the power behind the attack he knew it must have been Laura since Cinder was still using her icy fog to slow the creatures down. That wasn't the end of the rain of attacks coming from the rest of his group as another flame spell came from behind the fireballs and this time it was more of a torrent of flames that wasn't as powerful as the two large fireballs that was strong enough to kill off a few of the bats, but was far more wide spread and was able to injure several of the smaller ones. Joshua was certain this attack had come from Julia based off of his knowledge of her skills and he smiled a bit seeing the bats being thinned out before they could even reach him.
There were other more basic attacks that came soaring in such as arrows that mysteriously curved into the perfect angle to snipe a bat in the head, or a highly accurate gun shot that would take out a smaller bat near the front of the group. There was even a torrent of water that came flying into the air and started to freeze into ice spikes as it blended in with Isabella and Cinder's combined assault. Joshua was certain that attack came from Tank who he knew could defend the mages if push came to shove. Even with all of the techniques the swarm of bats kept coming as they were constantly trying to reach the light that Joshua was pouring out and snuff it from existence.
Joshua took up a defensive stance as he felt several buffs flow over him from Henry and smiled as one of the larger bats at the front with singed fur from all of the flames screeched towards him trying to pressure him before it swooped in. That's when the ground seemed to rise up to the sides of Joshua into the air and block off the swarms path so that it could only aim for him. It made it so Joshua wouldn't have to block off to many at one time and Joshua was thankful for Amber's quick thinking. That's when he felt someone touch his shoulder and turned to see Madalyn step bedside him with a smirk before she tossed two canisters in to the air in the path of the bats. They started to leak a green gas that filled the area that the bats would have to fly through and Joshua already knew what she was up to.
It didn't end there though as Madalyn seemed to take a deep breath before blowing out a darker cloud of green fog that mixed with the canister gas and flowed towards the bats. Then she jumped back with her daggers ready standing with the rest of the close range fighting group. Joshua waited for only a moment before raising his scale blade up as the first large bat forced its way through the green fog and charged him. The moment it got close he brought his scale blade down and hit it with a sword smash that not only disoriented the poor creature even more, but also knocked it back into the rest of its group and into the green fog.
Laura and Julia both picked this moment to send in a few more fireballs that lit up the green fog into a powerful inferno with most of the bats still inside. The explosion was powerful enough to send cracks up the walls that Amber had created to close in the bats. Joshua could feel a surge of experience right after the attack that was pretty large showing that they had killed a lot of the creatures. He heard a loud thud as the smoke from the explosion cleared and he could see that the large bat that he had knocked back into the fog was now burnt to heavily and had crashed into the ground. There were several other thuds, but Joshua paid attention to the bats that were still coming straight for him after the fog had faded. Their numbers had been cut in half at this point, but there were still four more of the large bats diving towards him.
Joshua blocked the initial one with his scale blade then he used Light's ability to create a shield as large as the space in front of him to block off the charge of the rest. The force of the continuous blows kept pushing him back slowly, but once the momentum was taken away from the creatures Joshua was able to hold his ground. He knocked back the big bat in front of him before cutting down a couple small ones that tried to lunge at him. The Carsen brothers took this as a signal to take action and rushed towards the other three large bats out front. They easily grabbed their attention with their taunting skills before tearing into them. The rest of the small bats were still being held back by Light's shield with only a few getting knocked over it from the force of them crashing into it.
Joshua didn't have to worry about the small amount that had gotten by as Jayce easily created another shield to protect the back line while all the close range fighters started tearing into the small bats that had gotten through before rushing over to start killing the bats that were focused on Joshua. The small ones were easy to kill with a well-placed strike, but the big ones were putting up a tough struggle as they would use their wings to try to buffet the tanks away from them so they could charge in again with some momentum. On occasion Joshua did see some of the bats try to bite him, but they were to slow and sluggish to land the hit let alone lock him down as he dodged around them and cut the small ones down while continuously injuring the big one in front of him.
It was clear to Joshua that all of the burns on these creatures had done massive damage to their frames. While the icy fog had clearly finally taken full effect as the bats were no longer flying, but were instead crawling towards him to try to tear into him. The green tinge to the creatures also spoke of how lethal Madalyn's poison was. He had even seen a couple of the smaller bats just collapse on their own without anyone actually attacking them. The number of bats kept thinning out as the front line tore into them while the back line stayed out of it to reserve mana for when it was necessary. The only people in the back still attacking were Aito, Natalie, and Becca since they all could shoot down any bats that tried to sneak up on someone.
Once the small bats were done for the melee members started focusing on the larger ones that were after the Carsen brothers. It didn't take long to take them out since they were already gravely injured and couldn't move through the air anymore. By the time they got over to help Joshua with the last one it was already dead as he pulled his scale blade out of its skull. Once things had settled down Lilly had rushed over and started melding her aura with some of the smaller bats that had collapsed from poison alone. They were still alive if just barely, but once placed in her soul realm they'd be able to slowly heal and she'd have some more pets for the stables.
'Well that went fairly well.' Joshua said through the mental link before turning to look at Lilly. 'Those bats have any potential?'
'Not much they're more of the bottom feeders of the area that rely completely on numbers to swarm their prey, but they can grow into the bigger ones we took down and could be useful for protecting the base. Maybe drop some bombs on our enemies or something?' Lilly said with a tilt of her head. Everyone else was looking at her strangely. It was weird to see someone who acted like Lilly casually talking about bombing enemies like some seasoned war professional.
'Well if that's the case then that's good. Seeing as these things are the bottom of the barrel in this territory then we'll most likely end up running into a lot more of them as we go further in. We should use similar tactics going forward, especially with the poison since it would allow Lilly to tame a few more of these guys. Just be careful to make sure you don't burn through all of your mana just in case we come across something new and threatening.' Joshua said getting nods from everyone since they had caught their breath from the excitement of the first battle in the new area. Joshua stepped forward and continued going deeper into the canyon.