"It's called a Tarantus," Eder said.
He spoke whilst attacking a dragonfly with his mace.
Kang Oh blocked a Bladed Praying Mantis's attack with his sword.
"That's a Tarantus?"
He had extensive knowledge on Arth, so he had heard about the Tarantus Spider before.
Its poison was special.
While it wouldn’t affect one’s mind, it would steal one’s ability to control their own body.
"We'll be fine as long we don't get bit," Kang Oh said.
While its poison was formidable, it couldn't spew the poison or coat its webs in it.
It could only poison its prey with its bite.
"That may be true, but... You cannot afford to be bitten, no matter what," Eder said.
As soon as he was finished, the Bladed Praying Mantis and Giant Dragonflies disappeared.
Modune and his insect mages had canceled their summoning.
"What are they doing?"
Once their insects had disappeared, Eder stared warily at Modune and the insect mages.
The insect mages were preparing another summoning spell. It was the swarm of red houseflies that Modune had used previously!
Countless flies appeared in the air and hovered around the Tarantus.
Kang Oh furrowed his brow.
This was a dangerous combination.
But that wasn't all.
"...Awaken your long dormant primitive instincts!"
Modune had cast a reinforcement spell on the Tarantus, sharply increasing its abilities.
His scorpion-adorned staff radiated light.
The Tarantus's red eyes began emanating a red hue.
Modune then pointed his staff at Kang Oh.
"Dominate them, Tarantus!"
Modune's objective was obviously Grano.
He was trying to do whatever he could to subdue Kang Oh's party in order to turn the situation around.
That's why he'd resorted to his trump card, the Tarantus.
The Tarantus began to move, accompanied by the swarm of houseflies!
"Everyone, focus!" Kang Oh yelled.
They couldn't afford to be careless against the Tarantus and its Dominating Poison.
* * *
Modune's bushy-bearded subordinate had come to the battlefield, accompanied by 16 insect mages, to reinforce the Red Sand Unit.
Members of the Red Sand Unit and the 100 Fighters were fighting all across the battlefield.
The situation was worse than he'd thought, as the Red Sand Unit was faltering like a flickering light before a breeze. They were barely holding on as it was.
He quickly assigned the insect mages their roles.
"You four summon Sandurions to protect us."
For a mage to operate at maximum effectiveness, they first needed to ensure that they were safe.
After all, mages could easily be felled by arrows, blades, or magic.
The four insect mages immediately summoned their Sandurions.
Each one of them summoned three Sandurions, using them to guard their surroundings.
He struck the ground with his staff, as he too was an insect mage as well.
Once he finished casting his spell, a Bladed Praying Mantis arose from the magic circle.
Modune’s bushy-bearded subordinate set the Bladed Praying Mantis to guard them as well.
He then turned his attention to the insect mages that hadn't summoned anything yet.
"The rest of you, summon Giant Dragonflies and order them to attack the horseback-riding warriors."
Once he was finished speaking, the insect mages began chanting simultaneously.
Twelve magic circles formed on the ground. Once the mages were finished casting, twelve dragonflies arose from them.
The Giant Dragonflies assumed a position akin to a 'V' and flew towards the battlefield.
The sound of their fluttering wings was by no means quiet.
Because of their noise, the Red Sand Unit and the 100 Fighters were immediately aware of their presence.
"Reinforcements have arrived! Everyone, hang in there!" the Captain of the Red Sand Unit, Kore, yelled.
His cry and the appearance of the dragonflies raised the morale of his men.
To these mercenaries, who had held on by the skin of their teeth, it was akin to rain after a long drought.
"Giant Dragonflies are flying towards us! Everyone keep an eye out for them!"
As if unwilling to be outdone, the Commander of the 100 Fighters, Dion, yelled loudly.
The 100 Fighters responded in kind, similarly unwilling to be outdone by the mercenaries, and raised their own voices.
The Giant Dragonflies flew around the battlefield and began attacking the gladiators with their steel jaws and stingers.
However, the gladiators didn't just sit still, and began intercepting the dragonflies.
"You damn bugs!"
But the Giant Dragonflies were no easy foe to contend with.
They were excellent fliers with dangerous weapons.
Not only that, but whichever gladiator was being attacked by them would also simultaneously be attacked by a mercenary as well. Therefore, the gladiators were gradually forced onto the defensive.
The Commander of the 100 Fighters, Dion, engaged two of the Giant Dragonflies.
However, Dion was in a completely different league from the rest of them.
He counterattacked the attacking dragonflies with his dual-wielded gladiuses.
His gladius sliced the dragonfly's wing, but it wasn't enough to sever the tough wing entirely.
The Giant Dragonfly flew high into the air and then descended, plummeting towards Dion.
This time, Kore attacked Dion with the Giant Dragonflies.
One dragonfly came at him with its jaws, while the other came at him with its stingers. Finally, Kore aimed for Dion's heart with his sword.
Dion responded calmly.
He easily defended himself against the attacks and even managed to counterattack when he had the chance.
'What a monster!'
Kore looked sick of him.
However, it was much better than fighting Dion one-on-one.
He mustered up all his strength and attacked Dion with the dragonflies.
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
They crossed blades several times.
Dion couldn't push Kore back due to the dragonflies.
With the intervention of the insect mages, the Red Sand Unit was able to fight on par with the 100 Fighters, or at least that's how it seemed.
There were still five figures on horses atop the sand dune that the 100 Fighters had descended from.
"They must be the scum that attacked Mr. Grano," a green-haired woman said.
"I think it's time to enter the fray," a young man said.
The one middle-aged man amongst them nodded his head.
"Grendal and I will take care of the insect mages. Son, Yatton, and Gracey, take care of those dragonflies that are attacking the 100 Fighters."
"Yes, sir," Grendal, the man with an angled jawline, replied.
"You can count on us," the green-haired Gracey smiled and said.
"Understood," the young Son and the even younger-looking Yatton simultaneously replied.
"Then be careful..." the middle-aged man, Jaker, said.
These five were battlemages that Grano had called from the Mage's Tower to deal with Modune and his insect mages.
"Begin the operation!"
Once Jaker had finished speaking, the battlemages immediately moved to their positions.
* * *
Cold water cannons swept up the swarm of flies.
Grano had cast Torrent, which caused the Tarantus and the swarm of flies to briefly falter.
"Let's split up and aim for Modune," Kang Oh said to Eder.
Fortunately, there was only one Tarantus, whereas Kang Oh had two frontline fighters: himself and Eder.
One of them could draw the Tarantus's attention while the other could aim for Modune and the insect mages.
"Be careful. Make sure you don't get bit."
Kang Oh and Eder went two different ways.
Modune reacted immediately.
"You two summon Sandurions instead of flies and stop that shield-bearer."
Modune pointed at two of the insect mages.
The two insect mages summoned three Sandurions each.
Modune summoned Sandurions as well, managing to summon five at once.
Eder engaged the eleven Sandurions that surrounded him.
Meanwhile, Kang Oh was...
He was surrounded by the swarm of red houseflies.
The Tarantus leaped and approached Kang Oh's face.
His Hyper Intuition activated and his face tingled.
Kang Oh calmly swung his demon sword, aiming for the incoming Tarantus.
He slashed the Tarantus with his blade.
However, its shell was harder than he could've imagined. Turns out, it wasn't just poison that made it dangerous.
The Tarantus concealed its body within the swarm of flies.
It wasn't easy to track the Tarantus with so many flies flying about.
At that moment, Grano shot a water spear that hit the center of the flies.
The water spear whirled around and spread, sweeping the swarm of flies away.
'Now's my chance!'
Kang Oh could clearly see where the Tarantus was now.
Kang Oh used Baramut's Roar. A tiger silhouette appeared behind him and disappeared as quickly as it had appeared.
The fine hairs over its body bristled. It was definitely a warning not to approach.
Kang Oh thrust with his sword.
The tip of his blade headed for the top of its head.
Not only did the Tarantus not dodge to the side or retreat, it actually jumped towards him.
His demon sword grazed past it while the Tarantus came flying towards him.
Kang Oh quickly ducked.
The Tarantus leaped over Kang Oh, and as soon as it landed, attacked Kang Oh's back.
He felt a chill behind his neck, so he immediately turned around.
The Tarantus was right in front of him.
Kang Oh raised his demon sword.
The Tarantus' tough shell had crashed into Kang Oh's sword.
His hand tingled.
The Tarantus landed on the ground and the red houseflies gathered around the spider once more. They hovered around Kang Oh as well.
A waterball came flying from the rear.
The flies were swept away by the water, but the insect mages summoned the flies once more. This process repeated over and over again.
Meanwhile, Kang Oh and the Tarantus were engaged in a cutthroat battle, each trying to land a hit on the other.
Eder had been fighting against the eleven Sandurions, reducing their numbers one at a time.
Right now, he was fighting against nine Sandurions.
The battle between Kang Oh's party and Modune was much like a tug-of-war that went nowhere.
However, Kang Oh remained carefree. Whereas Modune looked deeply anxious.
* * *
Jaker, Grendal, Son, Yatton, and Gracey!
They were battlemages that specialized in fire, earth, wind, lightning, and water magic.
The five of them leaped onto the battlefield.
Grendal and Jaker attacked the insect mages personally.
Jaker shot blazing fireballs, while Grendal would overturn the earth with every stomp of his foot.
Son waved his hands around as if he were directing an orchestra. Blades of wind would slice through the dragonflies, following the movements of his hands.
Whereas Yatton pointed at a Giant Dragonfly with his staff and a lightning bolt fell from the sky.
With their entrance into the battlefield, the insect mages had become effectively useless.
Ultimately, the Red Sand Unit had become akin to a candlelight amidst the wind once more.
'Tch. I should've used all the insect mages to subdue Grano instead.'
Modune witnessed all of this and scowled.
Sending his insect mages to reinforce the Red Sand Unit had been a mistake.
If he had instead attacked Grano with the full might of his insect mages, then the situation would've turned out much better.
'I took them too lightly.'
Modune had underestimated Kang Oh, Eder, and Grano.
That’s why he had believed that he and the four insect mages could subdue Kang Oh’s party with ease.
But that was a huge miscalculation.
Ultimately, Modune wasn't able to subdue them with the combination of the Bladed Praying Mantises and the Giant Dragonflies, and was forced to use his trump card, the Tarantus.
However, Kang Oh was fighting the Tarantus on equal footing.
He should be having trouble dealing with the coordinated movements between the flies and the Tarantus, yet Kang Oh didn't show any openings.
'Time isn't on my side.'
Modune made a decision.
He needed to subdue at least one of them, whatever the cost! After that, he could decide whether they negotiate, aim for his next target, or whatever!
"Insect mages, drop everything else and focus entirely on that swordsman!"
The Sandurions that Eder had been fighting rushed towards Kang Oh.
Modune also summoned three Black Spiders that spewed tough spider webs.
Controlling insects cost an insect mage MP, so controlling more insects would ramp up the MP cost.
Modune was no exception to this rule.
He'd summoned the Tarantus, the Sandurions, as well as the Black Spiders! His MP was drained significantly.
The insect mages too, gritted their teeth and summoned more Sandurions.
The Sandurions and the Black Spiders rushed towards Kang Oh, who was currently fighting the Tarantus.
Kang Oh knocked the Tarantus away and grinned.
"You made the worst decision possible Modune."Previous Chapter Next Chapter