The demonic beast moved over 10 meters every time it flapped its black, membranous wings. When it finally approached, the people below were able to see with their own eyes the hideous reality of this monster.
Its giant, yellowish body looked like that of a four-legged beast, but its batlike wings invoked images of flying animals. The red fur around its neck closely resembled a lion’s mane, while its stiffly protruding tail was that of a scorpion.
The demonic creature was an amalgamation of a lion, bat, and scorpion, but the most horrific of its features was its grinning face. In place of a beast-like visage, the creature had an old man’s face with cunning eyes, and a long mouth endlessly emitting grotesque sounds.
The monster’s cry, somewhere between the coughing of an old man and the growl of a ferocious beast, instilled fear upon those who heard it.
The Templar Knights had not backed away in the face of any enemy so far, but they stumbled as they were suppressed by the creature’s aura.
The demonic creature snapped its teeth and laughed, satisfied with its frightened prey.
It was the smile of a cruel predator looking forward to an upcoming feast, and the humming of an executioner watching prisoners hanging from the gallows.
The manticore’s elderly face blatantly showed its naked expectations.
“You damned bastard!”
Joon-Min wildly swung his Holy Sword as he charged at the beast.
At once, a dazzling light shot out towards the demonic creature.
Surprisingly, the manticore did not shrink back in the slightest as it saw the radiant light, which had previously turned countless demonic beings to dust.
It easily avoided the attack with a single flap of its wings, which were too small compared to its massive size.
“I’ll take care of things here, so stay back!”
Joon-Min stood between the manticore and the Templar Knights, calling forth holy energy to awaken those overwhelmed by the beast.
And at that moment, the manticore fiercely roared and rushed towards the foreigner.
“Damn it! That idiot!” Watching the scene unfold from afar, Seon-Hyeok frowned and swore. “I told him to just act the part, but he’s actually exhausted!”
Was he so inspired after being recognized for his qualifications that he couldn’t hold back?
Joon-Min had not listened to Seon-Hyeok’s request to conserve his strength in anticipation for this battle against the manticore.
The warrior himself seemed bewildered when Balmung’s energy was not the same as it was before.
“Paladins, follow me!”
It was a relief that there were superhuman beings among the Templar Knights capable of fighting against the powerful beast.
“Templar Knights, protect the priests and the survivors!”
Judging that the ordinary Templar Knights were incapable of handling this demonic creature, the leader of the knights led only the highest-ranking paladins among them into battle.
“Wicked beings, return to dust!”
It was not until the five paladins, including the leader of the Templar Knights, joined the battle that the fight between Joon-Min and the manticore became even.
However, Seon-Hyeok remained nervous as he saw the warrior and paladins surrounded in a brilliant light fitting of legends as they struggled against an unequaled, terrifying evil.
Clark and his group did not understand Seon-Hyeok’s reaction. In any normal situation, their lord would have already rushed towards his opponent, but right now, he was simply watching the battle as he calmed down his dragons raring to fight.
It almost seemed like the lord was waiting for something, and Clark found himself also looking around.
It was chaotic in all directions. Encouraged by the manticore’s appearance, the demonic beings violently rushed towards the Astorian warriors, and the exhausted fighters struggled in their extended battle.
The warriors’ shouts, the priests’ chants in response to their allies’ pained screams, and the demonic beings’ disconcerting roars grew deafening.
If there was a hell in this world, it would be this battlefield in front of them.
It was a battlefield so fierce that even rugged fighters unafraid of death grew disgusted. Off to one side, Clark squinted at the air as he felt a sense of disharmony.
The space in front of him was distorted. It was unnatural, almost like a fragment of a broken mirror, but Clark was unable to discern what it was.
“God! Give me strength!”
He was only able to understand the reason behind his ominous feeling when the distorted air completely swallowed up one of the Templar Knights.
Shockingly, the identity of the new assailant, which had appeared like a mirage, was another manticore.
The only difference between the two manticores was that the second was slightly smaller and had the face of an old woman.
“M, my lord! Over there!”
Clark quickly turned his head, wanting to warn his lord about the appearance of a second manticore, only to see Redvern quickly ascending.
“Goldie! Red Wyrm! Let’s go!”
At their master’s command, the two creatures let out their previously suppressed roars.
Goldie roared out fiercely as it charged, while Red Wyrm burrowed into the ground.
At that moment, Redvern, having finished its ascent, quickly shot towards the second manticore.
The manticore was horribly strong.
Even the warrior surrounded in armor of holy light did not dare take direct hits from the monster. If it had not been for the support of the paladins using the full extent of their abilities, Joon-Min would not have been safe.
The battle between the warrior and his party against the demonic monster was a fight between good and evil that seemed straight out of legends - a fight between God and the devil.
Compared to this, the battle between the second manticore and the dragon subspecies was barbaric and wild, without a hint of sacred combat.
Red and blue blood splattered everywhere, and broken scales and torn flesh flew in all directions.
Goldrake paid no attention to defense as it was hell bent on biting and tearing apart the manticore’s body. Likewise, the demonic creature was busy crushing the drake’s scales with its powerful jaw.
It was a bloody battle, but the disparity in strength was obvious.
Goldrake was large and powerful, but the manticore was even larger and fiercer.
The golden drake was forced to continue its struggle as it was pinned against the ground.
Its brilliant, golden scales quickly broke apart and became a mess. Nonetheless, Goldrake continued to fight fiercely, bravely hanging onto the manticore’s neck despite its inferior strength. It was even successful in tearing the creature’s wings and driving its teeth into the demonic beast’s solid body.
The angered manticore bit down on Goldrake’s leg and shook violently. The scales surrounding the drake’s leg instantaneously broke and made a disconcerting noise.
Just before the drake’s leg was completely bitten off, Redvern dove from the skies. Seon-Hyeok’s lance, with its power maximized by the energy of his attributes, penetrated the creature’s flesh.
The manticore immediately opened its mouth and screamed. It was clear Seon-Hyeok’s weapon was embedded deep within its body.
Seeing the creature’s approaching head, Seon-Hyeok let go of his lance and flew up. If he had not, the defensively weak Redvern would have been snapped in half by the monster’s teeth.
The angered creature roared fiercely. At that moment, Red Wyrm emerged from the ground and wrapped around the manticore’s body.
The manticore was able to trample on Goldie with its immense size, but that relative size advantage was nothing in front of the massive Red Wyrm.
It was over twice as large as Goldrake and the manticore combined.
However, Red Wyrm’s body was far too soft for its size. It was scratched and torn by the manticore’s claws, soon becoming covered in blood and showing its inner flesh.
Seon-Hyeok saw his dragon subspecies struggling and grew enraged.
It was a mistake in judgment.
This second manticore was smaller than the first male, and Seon-Hyeok naturally assumed it would be weaker. However, he was incorrect. The female manticore was stronger and far fiercer than its counterpart.
He wished he had support from his spirits, but unfortunately, they were powerless in this cursed land.
There was only one creature to turn to.
“Geheimnis! How much longer?”
He called for his fairy dragon, but the chatty creature’s voice could not be heard.
Now, he had to prepare for the worst.
“Lafayette! Roland! Take everyone and get away from here!”
The two griffin riders had hovered in the air without daring to intervene in this fierce battle, and they headed straight for the priests. After a moment, the priests and the accompanying warriors began to move out.
The battle with the manticore continued long after this group completely disappeared from view.
Balmung was still radiant as always, but its master, Joon-Min, looked labored in his movements. The manticore was an overly fierce opponent for a warrior with little experience in close combat.
The paladins partially remedied this lack of experience, but they were likewise exhausted. The holy energy they wielded came at the cost of their physical stamina, and their situation was even worse than the warrior’s.
Despite this, the chosen of the chosen superhuman beings from the Holy Kingdom were mentally resilient, and they continued to effectively hold the monster in check despite their exhaustion.
Nonetheless, there were limits to what was possible.
Seon-Hyeok swore as he fended off the manticore using a weak two-handed sword in place of his discarded lance.
His creatures were fighting well. Goldrake was continuing its struggle against the much larger and stronger demonic monster, and Red Wyrm persisted in biting its opponent despite its own body being torn to shreds.
The manticore also had significant wounds, and its movement was much more labored now after excessive loss of blood.
However, this was insufficient. The dragon subspecies were more seriously wounded than the demonic beast, and at this rate, it would not be strange if either Goldrake or Red Wyrm died.
The manticore would pay for this victory, but Seon-Hyeok had no intention of losing one of his precious beasts here.
As such, he dearly hoped for the missing fairy dragon’s strength.
‘Manticores are truly monstrous creatures which have already devoured a number of the exiled. We need to prepare to deal with such a creature, so please buy me some time.’
Much time had passed since Geheimnis disappeared. The fairy dragon showed no signs of reappearing, and the situation continued to deteriorate.
But this was not his time to die.
Geheimnis, the creature he had so dearly waited for, finally emerged.
As if responding to his desperate cry, the fairy dragon began to emit a mysterious light from her entire body.
A mysterious aurora, like the ones seen at the ends of the other world, covered the demonic energy-polluted western sky.
At that moment, changes began to occur in the dragon subspecies.Previous Chapter Next Chapter