Book 4, Chapter 129

Whose Zangru

Richard was not the only one who sensed the incoming danger. Flowsand and Nyra immediately looked to the top of the waterfall, trying to make out who it was, but Phaser was even faster. She immediately broke ranks and threw off her cloak, charging towards the water.

Richard barely managed to see someone falling down from above, making a big splash as they crashed into the river. However, this person was falling back-down; they clearly had no control of their own body. It did not seem like it was an assassin.

The troops currently by Richard’s side were extremely powerful. Even if a sub-legendary assassin tried to target them, there was nothing to fear. However, Phaser’s reaction was quite surprising. She changed directions mid-charge and dove deep into the water, quickly reaching the bottom.

Small bubble started to pop through the stream, but as he looked around himself Richard found that none of his followers were any good underwater. Thankfully he still felt his connection to Phaser, and she was evidently winning.

The special unit was darting around like lightning underwater, seemingly no less adapted than a true marine creature. She constantly circled around the new opponent, Annihilation striking out in testing blows to get a sense of their abilities.

The young man with black hair and eyes seemed to be led on by the nose, shirt torn apart while his movements grew clumsy and sluggish. He couldn’t really keep up with Phaser’s attacks, but the shield in his hand somehow managed to accurately deflect her blade every time.

Phaser quickly changed tactics, switching from testing blows to restraint. Able to breathe underwater, she decided to force the youth to stay within until he ran out of breath. The strategy worked; it wasn’t long before his pale face turned purple, and every time he tried to go up to breathe he was pushed back by her onslaught. She soon started to circle around, using the flow from the waterfall to her advantage as she formed a spiral that pulled him further in.

At this point, the black-haired youth was desperate for air. His eyes almost about to pop, he gave up all regard for himself as he bellowed and madly rushed to the water’s surface. Phaser’s eyes lit up as she latched herself onto his back, Annihilation slashing across his waist.

The youth used sheer strength to throw her off, kicking her away before using the momentum to propel himself to the surface. However, Phaser did not follow. Still underwater, she was looking wide-eyed at the purplish-black bloodstains on the grooves of her blade. These bloodstains seemed like oil in the stream, bunching up into a few globules that slid across the surface of the dagger.

The special unit’s eyes started drifting in and out of focus as she hesitated for the first time. She slowly stuck out her tongue in an attempt to taste the purple liquid.

“Give me two drops,” the broodmother’s voice suddenly resounded in her head.

Phaser was shocked; she had almost forgotten that they were close to the Land of Turmoil. “Can I absorb it?” she asked.

“I cannot be sure, but this power seems too great for you to assimilate. It is best you return with all of it and allow me to analyse it first.”

“But I can feel this… so strong…” Phaser’s eyes were still locked onto the purple blood.

“If the blood is too strong, your soul will be broken. The fragility of your soul is your greatest weakness, Master and I can join our souls to protect you if you wait. If you absorb the blood right now, I will not be able to help. If your soul breaks, I will initiate the recall process and absorb your divinity to form a new being. Your soul is unique, it was not formed solely of the divinity I used. If you die, I cannot return you to life as you are.” The broodmother normally wasn’t one to speak so much, but this time she was clearly impatient. All of this information had been directly imprinted into Phaser’s consciousness.

This new information should have given Phaser some pause, but a tinge of madness flashed past her eyes, “If only I had enough strength, then I wouldn’t— ARGH!”

Her tongue suddenly stretched out and she licked up all the blood in one go. It was only then that her madness faded away, returning the rationality that was a badge of all the broodmother’s creations. She didn’t understand just why she had lost control, but countless fragmented images flashed across her mind. Faces twisted in pleasure looking over her as flesh ground against flesh. Blood, everywhere. New faces, twisted in pain as she looked down on them…

The images seemed to be a sharp blade that cut right through her existence, the pain tearing her consciousness apart and driving her to the brink of madness in an instant. Her insides started to burn up, almost like a volcano had erupted within that made her scream uncontrollably while writhing in agony. However, the gushing water drowned out her voice as she sunk to the bottom of the deep stream…

The rune knights had already entered formation on the surface, cautiously staring at the black-haired youth On the water’s surface, a few rune knights were in their tactical team assault stances, cautiously staring at the black-haired youth in the centre.

This fellow had just flown out of the water before tumbling down to the patch of grass where Richard’s group was gathered. He tried to get up, but his movements were clumsy and it took several attempts before he had his legs under him. And yet, although he was swaying back and forth, he held his shield tightly while shooting a death glare at the rune knights gathered around him.

These were all grade 2 set knights. Although they weren’t all that powerful individually, the Savage Barrier sets ensured that they could fight stronger enemies while sustaining minimal damage themselves. The quickly spread out to form a perimeter, keeping this newcomer locked in.

Richard stood outside this area, looking at the youth with knitted brows. He could already feel the power of divinity within his shield, and the specific aura seemed rather familiar. Flowsand quickly flipped through the Book of Time to the page about the gods of Faelor before nodding, confirming his suspicion.

“Zangru Baruch, huh? That’s a divine weapon, careful. Activate your runes! Mages, clergy, prepare for battle!” As he started bellowing out orders, his unicorn neighed loudly as it stared at Zangru with a mix of fear and hate. There could only be one cause; this enemy’s power was dark and twisted.

Waterflower suddenly flashed into existence behind Zangru, the Shepherd of Eternal Rest seemingly a bolt of lightning piercing through the darkness as it went straight for his back. Both of her runic abilities had been activated; even though it wasn’t dark, this attack held great power.

It seemed impossible for Zangru to react to this fatal blow, but his body seemed to twist of its own accord as the shield suddenly blocked the sword. Richard immediately realised that this shield had a mind of its own, as did Waterflower who gloomily retreated to the ranks of the knights. All she had accomplished was forcing him a few steps back.

Another rune knight stepped forward, the halberd in his hands glimmering as he jabbed towards Zangru’s back. The shield rose up once more, but Zangru was clearly affected by the sheer force. Gangdor followed up with his axe, and one by one the other rune knights took turns to wear him down. In no state to break out of this encirclement, Zangru could only rely on his divine artefact to avoid the fatal blows.

Richard quickly noticed that Zangru seemed absolutely spent, but he still remained cautious in case of any dangers. Calling out to Lina, Mito, and Demi, he coordinated a shower of spells that seemed to drown the enemy completely. Although she was much weaker than the grand mages, Demi’s curses would greatly lower his defences.

Zangru was left both frightened and enraged, roaring repeatedly as he grew more and more sluggish. The glow of the Wargod’s Shield started to dim as well. However, Richard was astonished that he still managed to stand. His own abyssal flames could penetrate most defences, and the other three weren’t much worse. However, with more than ten spells cast in less than half a minute only two had done any real damage. This fellow’s resistance to magic was extraordinary.

The rune knights resumed their onslaught, but even after a few minutes they didn’t manage to bring him down.

“I know what he is,” Nyra said suddenly, shooting flakes of gold from both hands to cast a healing spell on Zangru’s body. The youth suddenly screamed in pain, his voice going up an octave as his face warped.

Everyone barely had the time to be astonished before Flowsand followed up, her spell laced with the power of time. Zangru cried out in pure horror as his body went rigid and fell to the floor, the shield flying out of his hands. He had long since lost the ability to stand. Without the Wargod’s Shield to prop himself up, he didn’t even have the opportunity to make a last stand.

“It’s over,” Richard sighed with relief, walking over to grab the shield. Looking over it and nodding with approval, he chucked it in Flowsand’s direction. She didn’t stand on ceremony either, just stuffing it into her bag.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA