Modune divided his men.
"You, you, you, and you!"
Modune quickly pointed at four insect mages.
"Follow me. We'll engage Grano and the others."
The four insect mages nodded their heads.
"You take the rest of them and support the Red Sand Unit," Modune ordered his bushy-bearded subordinate.
His subordinate headed for the battlefield with the remaining insect mages.
"Can you really take us on with only five of you?" Kang Oh jeered.
"When did you figure it out?" Modune asked.
"Figure out what?"
"That I was targeting you."
Modune had intended to use Grano as a hunting dog, and thought that he'd been caught in his spider web with no means to escape.
So how exactly had they managed to prepare themselves so well!?
"We knew from the moment you met Mr. Grano. I can tell when something smells off," Kang Oh said.
"So you knew from the beginning."
Kang Oh's party had been aware of Modune's plan from the very beginning.
In other words, they hadn’t been playing in the palm of his hand; he had been playing in the palm of Kang Oh’s hand.
'We're at a disadvantage.'
His opponents had plenty of time to prepare for them while he didn't.
Modune would be defeated so long as nothing extraordinary took place.
'So long as nothing extraordinary happens, that is.'
Modune calmly assessed the situation and figured out a way to turn it around.
Take Kang Oh's party hostage.
The horse-riding men must have come to help Kang Oh. If that's the case, then he could make them back off by subduing Kang Oh's party.
"Let me show you what it means to face the Insect Mage, Modune."
Modune raised his scorpion-adorned staff high up into the air and began to chant.
Kang Oh charged towards Modune, who was still riding on his camel, and Eder followed close behind him.
Poke. Poke. Poke. Poke.
The four insect mages simultaneously thrust their staffs into the ground and cast a summoning spell that they’d prepared in advance.
Four magic circles appeared on the sand bed and four dragonflies (more than 1 meter long) arose from them.
They were called Giant Dragonflies!
Their jaws were made of steel and they possessed sharp stingers on their tail.
The four Giant Dragonflies violently fluttered their wings and flew towards Kang Oh and Eder.
Kang Oh swung his demon sword, aiming for the closest dragonfly’s wing.
Whether it be a bee, a bird, or a dragonfly, it was a good strategy to disable their ability to fly first.
His sword cleaved through the air.
The dragonfly did a 360 turn as if it were a fighter plane and evaded his blow.
After that, it aimed for Kang Oh's face with its steel jaw.
Kang Oh quickly threw his head back, and the dragonfly gnawed on nothing but air.
Another Giant Dragonfly came for Kang Oh's leg.
Kang Oh quickly pulled himself up and swung downwards with his sword, aiming for the dragonfly's head.
However, the dragonfly turned vertically, allowing it to dodge his blade.
The Giant Dragonflies were effective fliers.
'If that's the case, then...'
A Giant Dragonfly raised its tail like a bee, flying towards Kang Oh with its stinger pointed at him.
Kang Oh didn't move.
The stinger came very close to Kang Oh's body.
Kang Oh spun and dodged the stinger by a hair's breadth.
He then thrust his demon sword.
The tip of his blade passed the Giant Dragonfly's wing.
The Giant Dragonfly's wing was tough. Shards of light spilled from the blow, but it was impossible to cut through it.
The attacked Giant Dragonfly violently fluttered its wing and flew high into the air.
Another dragonfly rushed towards Kang Oh as well.
Kang Oh responded calmly to the threat.
* * *
Like Kang Oh, Eder was fighting against two dragonflies.
He blocked a stinger with his four-colored skull shield.
Once the stinger struck his shield, the orange skull began to radiate light.
Flames struck the dragonfly.
The Giant Dragonfly was burned and subsequently lost some HP.
Eder pushed one Giant Dragonfly away with his shield and swung his mace at the other.
The Giant Dragonfly barely dodged his mace and flew high in the sky.
They let up their attack for just a moment.
That's when Eder stomped on the ground.
Cursed Ground's Domain!
He'd activated Rusty Sword, which lowered his enemies’ attack.
Eder followed it up with Ruined Ramparts, which lowered their defenses as well.
That wasn't all.
Eder opened his mouth, expelling an evil spirit from within; this spirit would apply the aging curse.
The evil spirit stuck to the dragonfly that was still taking burn damage.
Eder rushed towards that dragonfly and swung downwards.
His mace struck the low altitude flying dragonfly and its tail dragged on the floor.
Eder tried to press his offensive, but the other dragonfly lunged with its steel jaw, forcing him to deal with it instead.
Eder disappointedly clicked his tongue and swung his shield at the incoming dragonfly.
* * *
"...Arise, Bladed Praying Mantis!"
Modune had completed his spell.
A magic circle formed on the ground, and two praying mantises that were almost 2 meters tall came out.
Their front legs were made up of shimmering blades.
When they swung their front legs, they made a sharp sound akin to cutting air.
"...Awaken your long dormant primitive instincts!"
Modune cast a new spell, and his scorpion-adorned staff began to radiate light.
It was a reinforcement spell, meant to sharply increase the strength of his summoned insects.
A red hue lit up within the Bladed Praying Mantises' eyes. They looked as though they were berserk.
Modune pointed his staff at Kang Oh and Eder.
The two praying mantises approached Kang Oh and Eder, who were busy with the Giant Dragonflies.
But then Grano intervened.
'It's my turn.'
He’d been waiting for Modune to join the fray.
Grano unleashed waterball after waterball at the Bladed Praying Mantises!
Once they saw the waterballs coming their way, the praying mantises swung their bladed front legs.
The waterballs were split in half and weakly fell to the floor, moistening the ground.
However, Grano continuously threw waterballs at them.
With so many waterballs coming at them, the praying mantises could no longer advance.
Thus, Modune cast another spell.
A magic circle formed in the sky and a swarm of red houseflies appeared.
The swarm of red flies didn't really have any offensive capabilities. However, they could obscure one's vision or take an attack otherwise meant for someone else.
Not only that, but this spell also didn't have a cooldown, so one could cast it without reciting a chant.
Modune stretched his hand towards the praying mantises and the swarm of red houseflies flew towards the praying mantises.
Countless flies fell to the floor upon impact.
Modune continuously summoned more and more flies to block the waterballs.
The swarm of red houseflies and the blue waterballs continued to clash against one another.
Since the waterballs weren't impeding them any longer, the praying mantises approached Kang Oh and Eder as ordered.
Kang Oh and Eder still hadn't taken down a single Giant Dragonfly.
The addition of a Bladed Praying Mantis was too much for him, so Kang Oh was forced to retreat.
But before he could do so, a praying mantis closed the distance instantaneously.
The Bladed Praying Mantis swung its front leg. From a single glance, one could tell how sharp and dangerous its blades were.
'Let's see just how strong they are.'
Kang Oh gripped his sword with both hands and swung downwards.
The Bladed Praying Mantis swung its right front leg diagonally.
Its blade and Kang Oh's sword clashed.
Kang Oh's hand throbbed.
'As I thought, it’s not just a larger than normal praying mantis with blades.'
They were definitely strong, even amongst all the insects that an insect mage could summon.
Then, the Bladed Praying Mantis swung its left front leg diagonally as well.
Kang Oh did the same with his blade, and a white line followed the sword's path.
Their blades clashed once more.
However, Kang Oh had used Slash, thereby leaving a wound upon the praying mantis.
Yet, there was no wound to be found on its blade.
'Hmm. It must be like a player's weapon.'
Kang Oh kept that info handy and readied his next attack.
However, two of the Giant Dragonflies he'd forgotten about came rushing at him simultaneously.
Kang Oh swung his sword and deflected the dragonflies. At that moment, the Bladed Praying Mantis attacked.
He quickly blocked the praying mantis's attack, but its attack was immediately followed up by the dragonflies' attack.
"Tch. Predator and prey working together."
Kang Oh had seen a praying mantis eat the head of a dragonfly on TV before.
However, the Bladed Praying Mantis and the Giant Dragonflies were exhibiting excellent teamwork.
Kang Oh was gradually pushed back more and more.
Eder was in the same boat. He too was struggling with the combined assault between the dragonflies and the praying mantis.
Meanwhile, the interval between each waterball cast became longer and longer. However, Grano cast a new spell to compensate.
Once he was finished, a violently spinning water spear formed above his head.
Grano pointed at the Bladed Praying Mantis that Kang Oh was facing.
The water spear flew towards the Bladed Praying Mantis.
At the same time, Kang Oh, who was on the defensive, ferociously swung his sword and knocked the dragonflies back.
Then, he attacked the praying mantis precisely when the water spear was arriving, forcing it to concentrate on him.
The Bladed Praying Mantis crossed its front legs and blocked his sword.
At that moment, however, a water spear grazed Kang Oh's shoulder and flew towards the praying mantis.
The water spear struck the Bladed Praying Mantis's head.
The water whirled and spread.
The Bladed Praying Mantis's head shook as if it had been slapped in the cheek with water and it momentarily went stiff.
Kang Oh seized that opportunity.
He swung his sword diagonally.
His sword passed through its body diagonally, and shards of light exploded from its body like fireworks.
Kang Oh couldn't let his opportunity pass by; he then launched his next attack.
He launched another Slash at the praying mantis's neck!
However, the Giant Dragonflies came flying by, taking Kang Oh's attack in exchange.
His demon sword cut through a dragonfly's tail.
This was likely the doing of one of the insect mages; they must have ordered the dragonfly to take the attack instead.
The dragonfly's sacrifice was worth it. The praying mantis got a hold of itself and retreated in order to prepare itself for battle once more.
'I got the small fry instead, huh.'
Kang Oh immediately changed the target of his assault. His sword, which was still embedded in the dragonfly, was thrust into the ground.
Once it hit the ground, Kang Oh stomped on both wings and continuously swung his sword.
His third strike was accompanied by Darkness Strike.
Kang Oh's sword unleashed the wave of a wild beast.
[You have defeated a Giant Dragonfly.]
Unfortunately, he didn't steal any stats from it.
Kang Oh kicked off the ground and rushed towards the Bladed Praying Mantis.
The praying mantis swung its front leg as its head shook from side to side.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
His demon sword and its blade continued to clash.
However, the praying mantis's blades were beginning to dull.
If Kang Oh had just a little bit more time, then he would've been able to finish it once and for all.
But a Giant Dragonfly came flying towards Kang Oh's back.
Kang Oh regretfully retreated.
"I'll block it."
He heard Grano's voice.
Grano continued to cast waterballs while Modune continued to summon flies.
Despite that, Grano helped Kang Oh once more, like when he'd shot a water spear at the praying mantis.
The Giant Dragonfly was instantly surrounded by drops of water and enclosed in a barrier of water.
Kang Oh attacked the Bladed Praying Mantis once more.
Clang! Clang! Clang!
The praying mantis's front leg had not only dulled but had cracked as well.
Darkness Strike activated and...
The blade completely broke.
With that, it was nothing more than a giant praying mantis now. Kang Oh was easily able to defeat it.
Modune stopped summoning his flies.
Then, Grano's waterball struck a dragonfly.
Kang Oh, Eder, and Grano were worried about Modune, but they focused on killing the bugs in front of them first.
Modune began to recite a new chant. A red magic circle formed on the ground.
A red tarantula, the size of a human torso, arose from the red magic circle.
"T-That's!" Eder yelled, even though he was in the midst of battle.
"What's wrong?" Kang Oh swung his sword and asked.
"That monster is... dangerous!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter