Book 9, Chapter 36

Withered Flesh

Richard watched as a horde of flesh warriors charged towards Macy. Any one wasn’t particularly powerful, only comparable to a level 10 being, but they were quite clearly drones that could be mass produced at a rate far exceeding the broodmother’s production. They were still comparable to cavaliers in power, and they were simply cannon fodder. It was quite obvious that the reapers were two or even three levels more advanced than Norland.

When the enemy started rushing towards her, Macy screamed in shock. The reapers were too fast for her to react, dozens of energy beams being shot towards her with four of the larger planes amongst them. She realised instantly that her armour wouldn’t be able to protect her, and as the beams filled her vision with white she all but gave up on life.

“Kneel, half-sword!” Richard’s command rang out as she closed her eyes in desperation, prompting her to fall down and hug her head even as she put her sword in front of her. She suddenly saw three reflective barriers form around her, condensed instantly from mana. The beams of energy lost at least half their energy with every mirror they struck, and by the time the third was blasted apart they were only a tenth as powerful as before.

Fortunately, she still had her battle instincts with her. Quickly recovering from her initial panic, she grunted and activated her internal energy, blocking off the remnant energy before flashing ten metres away.

“Stick to the ground and handle the flesh warriors, don’t let the beams focus on you!” Richard ordered before he vanished from next to her, his figure blinking into the midst of the reaper machines. The ones he approached immediately exploded, but an invisible force seemed to guide the remnants into a ball of machinery that warped endlessly in an attempt to reform itself. That was taken care of by blue fireballs that melted the metal down into a fingertip’s worth of silver which he stowed away.

“WHY THE FUCK IS IT ME?!” Not far away, Macy was cursing furiously to alleviate some of her frustration from being the focus of the reapers. Almost a hundred flesh warriors were attacking her endlessly with swords and energy beams, leaving her sub-legendary golden armour riddled with holes despite her best attempts to block and dodge. On the other hand, it took her great effort to kill even a single one, their metal bones as tough as a rune knight’s armour. Only twenty flesh warriors were destroyed by the time she was running low on energy, and the more than ninety left behind were certain to kill her. She had even tried escaping a few times, but the transport ship flew down and quickly ferried the enemy to her location.

It was only as she started flagging that she realised her own naivete. This was clearly just a small detachment of reapers with limited combat ability, but they alone were strong enough to kill her. No wonder so many families from Norland could only sigh at their misfortune when they encountered this race.

The damn transporter… Wait! An idea suddenly flashed across her mind, giving her a tiny glimmer of hope. She could defeat the transport ship and try to outrun the flesh warriors! It was a risky strategy, but at least it wasn’t death.

However, it had to be executed while her armour was still intact. Macy quickly made up her mind and glanced at the machine in the sky, jumping straight towards it. *BOOM!* Crimson energy crashed into the ship, shattering it into hundreds of tiny pieces.

“Good idea!” Richard smiled as he blinked right in front of her shocked face, forming a mirror to deflect the barrage of energy beams from the flesh warriors below. Blinking to the other transport ship and shattering it and the beetles within, he pulled all of the debris into a huge ball that he threw into his bracelet.

By the time Macy had turned back around, Richard was already engaging the flesh warriors down below. He blinked right into their midst and then lifted them all up with Kingsteel— although the rune and his laws weren’t advanced enough to corrode this metal or even warp it, he could at least move it. The drones were then spun around rapidly to make them miss their beam attacks, leaving Macy stunned at his expertise.

Even as he spun the remaining enemies, Richard quickly gathered them into one spot and said hoarsely in divine tongue, “Wither.”

A yellow orb suddenly appeared in the skies, its light causing blood and pus to ooze out of the clump of flesh warriors. Almost all of the liquid was drawn into the orb in mere moments, leaving only the metallic skeletons with dried flesh hanging off them that fell to the ground with no ability to move.

“That’s… demonic power!” Macy shouted in shock, terror flooding her face.

“Aren’t you gasping a bit too much today?” Richard chuckled as he sheathed his sword, “Withered Flesh isn’t restricted to demons. Besides, look at yourself. All that talk and you barely beat anyone. At least help me clear this place up. Rifle through the skeletons, there should be a  bracket near the gun barrels that has some glowing metal inside.”

Macy grunted in anger, but he was right. Any impact she’d had on this battle was largely negative; if he hadn’t spent energy to protect her, she would have died long ago. While she still grumbled in dissatisfaction, she dragged her injured body over to the pile and suppressed her disgust to follow his instructions.

There was only a tiny amount of the metal Richard talked about, and it was extremely soft. Even a light pinch would leave fingerprints on it, and it felt strangely warm and prickly. She started playing around with it, but was suddenly snapped out of it when his voice rang out once more, “Hold it too long and you’ll get hurt. You should control your curiosity until you become legendary.”

Richard started rifling through the corpses of the flesh warriors, picking up the glowing metal and throwing it into a case he’d put out. Watching a pile of looted corpses form next to him, Macy quickly followed suit and continued her task. The flesh of these dessicated corpses was so disgusting that she felt her stomach churning continuously, but she persevered and worked through them all.

She tried to think about other things to keep herself from gagging, but her thoughts quickly landed upon the Withered Flesh spell. It was a terrifying ability that would likely be graded legendary in the magic system, but it needed the laws of chaos to master. The ability itself was simple; it could absorb all the liquids from anything it was cast on, causing a painful death to any living being in range.

The biggest difference between Withered Flesh and most necromantic spells was that its range was absolutely massive if necessary. There were tales of demons casting it on entire cities, leaving only husks behind. Its power also scaled with one’s understanding of chaos, giving it a chance to surpass most barriers and counterspell attempts.

Macy wouldn’t have been surprised if an abyssal lord had cast this spell, but while it was public knowledge that the Archerons had demonic blood it was too faint to actually give them too much talent in this field. More importantly, she had already seen his understanding of the laws of order, which were frightening unto themselves. Just how many secrets did he hide?

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: WQ

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA