As the light poured across the group Joshua noticed that the room was starting to brighten up. No it wasn't the room that was brightening up, but instead it was the patterns along the snake's skin. The intricate designs of what looked like runic symbols started to faintly glow as it traveled across the snake's body. It started out at the tip of the tail in a small amount before it slowly proceeded forward along the snake's body. As the light traveled the group was able to get a good look at how enormous their opponent was going to be this time around. The light swerved around pillars and up and over coiled areas until after a few minutes of traveling it finally started heading up into the air until the snakes head came within sight.
The head towered over the group as it lazily gazed down towards them with its giant red glowing eyes. It had to be hovering a good ten stories into the air as it looked like the snake could easily reach up and over all of the pillars in the room if it wanted to in the end. The light stopped glowing for a moment allowing only the gleam of the snakes red eyes to be seen before all of the patterns on the snakes body lit up at once bathing everyone in blinding light. Joshua had to squint his eyes closed to keep from getting blinded, but he could sense the snakes head striking towards him at a quick pace.
Joshua knew that trying to block such an attack with just his scale blade was basically suicide and if he tried to do it at all the rest of the group could easily get hit since they were all right behind him at the moment. Right out the gate he was forced to use his aura shield to block the massive head that tried to swallow him whole. His aura shield expanded enough to keep the mouth from going around him completely while also blocking off the snakes path to the rest of the group. It may have stopped the snakes attack, but it was also a massive life saving measure that took away a lot of Joshua's aura from the start of the battle while also having a long cool down. He wouldn't be able to use it again for another thirty minutes without wasting his reset cool down as well.
Stuck holding off the snakes head for a moment as it shoved him back he decided to take the biggest advantage he could while he had the snake in its current position right in front of everyone. 'Attack its head now while you can. Try to get one of its eyes.' Joshua shouted through the mental link. The snake was busy trying to snap through Joshua's shield and didn't seem to care about the other members of the group at the moment.
Laura took the opportunity to concentrate a powerful flame spell on her sword before lunging forward and stabbing it straight towards one of the snake's eyes. Sadly the snake didn't seem surprised by this tactic whatsoever. Even though Joshua had stopped its momentum it felt no fear whatsoever at what its enemies could do in such close range. The moment it noticed Laura lunging towards it eye with her sword surrounded in flames the giant snake simply closed its massive eye lids that were covered in scales. The blade stabbed into the scale and created a large explosion that sent Laura backwards from the force, but only seemed to make the snake's head shake from the impact.
When the smoke cleared the entire group was met by the smug look of the giant snake as they looked towards its eye that was still closed. They could see a few burn marks along the eye lid, but otherwise the eye was just fine. The giant snake rose its head back up into the air while chuckling. "Foolish prey. Do you truly think such a cheap trick like that would work on me?"
The room went dim once more as the snake's head rose up so high that it got out of the vision range of the group that could only see so far in such a dark room. Occasionally they would see a light brighten up around a pillar, but Joshua knew that the boss was just messing with them. The light was a portion of the snake's body lighting up briefly to get their attention, but if they fell for it then the boss could easily strike them from behind and there was no way Joshua could protect everyone if something like that were to happen. So far things had already started off on a bad note with Joshua having to waste his aura shield to defend the whole group from the get go. With its long cool down Joshua was going to have to find another way to hold off the snakes attacks for a while.
'Lilly get your pets out now before the boss comes back around. Mages try to hit the lit up areas since we know that they are a part of the snake's body. It might not do much damage to it because of the scales, but a little damage is better than nothing.' Joshua shouted as the rest of the group nodded and got to work. Lilly immediately brought out Cinder since she was fast enough to avoid the snake's attacks while also being strong enough to dish out some damage. She also brought out Flutter and used her to empower all of the mages magical stats this time around. For now the physical attackers were at a big disadvantage taking on the snake that had large scales all along its body so it was better to focus on strengthening the mages up for this fight.
For that reason Lilly decided to hold off on summoning Tank for the moment since he'd be a big and slow moving target that the snake would strangle to death easily if given the chance and instead brought out Jade. Jade could empower Laura's spells even more which had the strongest kick to them and make it possible for her to burn through the scales of the giant snake with the help of Julia. Lastly she brought out Light to help bolster Joshua's stats even more so he'd have an easier time holding off the giant snake. She then synchronized with Cinder so that she'd get higher stats and followed that up by using her empower ability on Flutter. This would make Lilly an easy target, but as long as the group protected her then the empower ability alongside Flutter's boost would mean that all of the mages would get a thirty percent boost in power instead of twenty percent.
While Lilly was getting set up to support the group going forward Henry was doing something similar. He first made sure to cast a couple of defensive buffs onto Joshua. The first was the usual regeneration buff that he always gave Joshua that allowed him to heal from big injuries rather quickly with Joshua's already heightened regeneration abilities while. The second one however was a new support spell that Henry thought was perfect for the occasion. Even though Joshua had his rock steady ability, trying to hold off a massive creature such as the snake was impossible to do over and over again without quickly wearing out. Joshua's body would give in from the stress after a while from having to stop so much force with his light frame. Joshua's scale blade might have a heavy weight behind it, but Joshua himself wasn't exactly heavy enough to stop the momentum of the snake.
This new buff that Henry decided to put on Joshua was a buff that increased the weight of the user whenever defending. It would make Joshua far slower during the impact between him and the snake, but that would only be as long as he was blocking the attack initially. On the other hand it would allow his body to be able to hold the massive snake off easier and with far less stress on his legs and arms. He then cast some buffs on the mages that increased the power of their spells the longer they charged them before turning his focus on figuring out the snake's abilities.
With everyone set and ready to go on the attack Joshua started to circle around the group as he paid attention to where he could feel the power of the snake's head. All of its body generated a heavy aura but the head had more killing intent pouring out of it then then the rest of the body. It allowed Joshua to get a sense of where the snake's head was, but at the same time he couldn't really tell if the rest of the body was going to strike or not. That's why he made sure all of the rest of the tanks were on guard to block off the snake's tail if it struck from behind them. He also made sure they stayed on the move at a constant jog that everyone could keep up with so that the snake couldn't surround them and use its constricting abilities to squeeze them to death.
At the moment Joshua didn't know which way would be a worse way to go out. He 'd hate dying while being squeezed to death as the giant snake tortured them while being smug about it, but being swallowed whole and slowly digested sounded just as bad. It was then that Joshua felt the snake's killing intent rise up for a moment and Joshua immediately took up a defensive posture while Light started throwing out projectile shields in front of them. The second the shields were made Joshua could hear them shatter as the snake plunged straight through them with its mouth opened wide preparing to chomp down on him.
Joshua's dunked down a bit getting just underneath the bottom of the snakes large mouth and blocked it with his scale blade. It was the perfect position for him since it allowed him to avoid getting put into the snake's stomach while at the same time allowed him to halt the snake's momentum. Joshua could feel his body get heavier on impact from Henry's buff along with the massive weight of the snake he was holding up, but he was able to hold it in place as Cinder shot out several giant fire balls that landed in the creatures mouth burning its tongue and causing it to rear back in pain.
"Damn spider, I hate your kind. I'll enjoy squeezing you to death." The boss said with a hiss as its head once again rose up and vanished from sight. This time around the group wasn't going to wait for it to strike at them again before going on the offensive. The mages noticed a pattern along the snake's body light up and they seemed to inact a plan that they had come up with. Monika surprisingly was the first step to the plan as she created one of her light balls that she usually used for defense. She wasn't going to use it as defense at the moment since that would be like creating a giant beacon telling the snake exactly where she was, but she did plan to use it offensively this time around.
First she sent the light ball over to where the light from the snake had suddenly appeared along the pattern on its body. The patterns would only light up for an instant which wouldn't be nearly long enough for the group to follow along it and attack it with a powerful spell. So Monika used her own light to shine right above where the pattern lit up. This gave all of the mages time to charge up a powerful spell before sending it towards their now brightened up target. Madalyn took out a canister and launched it towards the lit up part of the snake and it broke splashing a lot of thick black liquid along its scales. Joshua was certain that it was some sort flammable liquid since he knew that Madalyn was trying to power up the strength of Laura's spell as well.
A few seconds later Laura sent out a massive fireball that slammed directly into the spot creating a large explosion that seemed to be fueled by the black tar like substance that Madalyn had plastered on to the snake. The group knew right away that the strategy had worked when they heard the boss scream in pain as it tried to move that portion of the body away from the group as quickly as possible. Before it could do that Julia made sure to empower and control the flames to burn through the scales and into the muscle of the snake. Amber had also created a spear of stone that she plunged into the open wound so that it couldn't heal quickly before that portion of the snake was pulled out of sight.
'Well at least we know we can truly hurt the thing now.' Madalyn said through the mental link with a smile. 'Too bad it seems like a vindictive creature.'