Nolan stood next to Azlan while he looked at the yellow sand outside the convoy solemnly. It seemed as if his sharp eyes could penetrate the dust-filled sky to see what was in there.
"A type of minor monster?" asked Locke. Although the air around him was faintly filled with mana, it was just large in quantity and wasn't as pure as the mana he'd felt from the moonlight wolf before.
"Not bad," said Azlan. There was a field surrounding him. It protected him from the acid that fell from the sky. Being able to let impetus out was one of the powers of a high-rank Knecht.
The acid droplets were still falling from the sky with the wind, but there was much less than before.
"It's coming!" Nolan took his wand out as his eyes darted towards the sandstorm in front of him. The wind gradually weakened and the sand particles fell back onto the ground slowly.
When the view in front of them became clearer, a large number of yellow crustacean-like insects suddenly appeared around them. This was Locke's first time seeing an insect that had the size of a human head. Eight black needle-like claws rubbed against the sand, emitting rustling noises. Each had two shiny grey wings as thin as a cicada's. Its mouth split open like flower petals as it constantly swallowed the sand off the ground. Blobs of yellow foam dripped from the sides of its mouth.
"What in the world are those?" Locke was shocked by the hundreds of yellow insects in front of him. The size and appearance of those insects were definitely something new to him.
"These scarabs can only be seen in the desert. They only live in places with high mana density. We might've accidentally entered their den," explained Nolan.
Locke was speechless. Their route had been planned in advance. Those travelling from Faustian had always taken this route to the Aomar Empire over the years, so it was either they'd taken the wrong path or this group of scarabs had moved their nest here.
It was more likely to be the latter. The major monsters needed resources too, after all, just like the scorpiondrake family in Morphey Forest, otherwise, they wouldn't be able to proliferate. This group of scarabs should've just moved here not long ago, for Aomar's diplomatic mission would've seen them otherwise.
Without thinking too much about the why, Locke and Azlan immediately gave orders to the soldiers to stop the attacks from this group of scarabs, which didn't seem to be very friendly towards the convoy who was approaching their home.
The hundreds of scarabs marched forward in an orderly manner like an army of soldiers. It was as if they were about to tear everything in front of them into pieces.
"The abdomen is their weak point." After saying that, Nolan chanted a spell with a few other casters, causing the elements around them to fluctuate in a disorderly manner. This had also caused the scarabs to speed up their attacks.
The scarabs approached the convoy in a short span of time and engaged the capital guards who were guarding outside the convoy. Their acid corroded the capital guards' armour, weakening it and allowing their claws to easily tear through. It was like cracking open a walnut and exposing the flesh in it.
The capital guards, on the other hand, used their spears and swords to slash the backs of the scarabs, but it had only left white marks on their backs and didn't cause any significant damage. The battle started off being one-sided. The capital guards weren't able to resist the scarabs very well as this was their first time facing such a foe. However, they were elite Faustian troops, and their strength soon showed.
Azlan and the other capital guards' jarls were able to stand their ground. All of them had at least the strength of a low-rank Knecht. Other than Azlan, who was a high-rank Knecht, there were two other mid-rank Knechts. These knights were already powerful enough to deal with mid-ranked and high-ranked major monsters, so they were able to adapt quickly to deal with the minor monsters despite being caught off guard.
If it wasn't for the fact that the scarabs' head was relatively lower to the ground and had an extremely hard carapace on their backs, the jarls might even be able to hold fast against them.
Most of the capital guards were second-rate soldiers. Although they hadn't practised impetus much, they were all tall and sturdy, so they were able to mount an effective defence with Azlan and the other jarls leading them.
The shadow guards at the back also started to get into action; they excelled at assassination and guarding. Since the scarabs' weak point was at their abdomen, it was difficult for the capital guards to attack that part of their body. On the other hand, it was effortless for the shadow guards to attack them. The arrows were first shot from the dark to overturn the scarabs that were crawling on the ground. Another batch of arrows was then shot towards their abdomens to kill them. Thick, yellow liquid began to flow out from the arrow wounds. After flailing their claws helplessly for a brief moment, they stopped moving.
Although the minor monsters were powerful, they were nothing more than a quick fright at the beginning. As long as the soldiers stood firm, the scarabs stood no chance.
Why would the Sovereign of Akanasd, who was also the master of Morphey Forest, bow to the Faustians? It was because the scorpiondrake had lived long enough to know that all the major monsters and minor monsters in Morphey Forest were no match for the Faustian army.
Locke followed closely behind Azlan as they charged towards the group of scarabs. He was able to break the scarab's carapace open, being a low-rank Knecht, which afforded him quite a decent impetus capacity. Coupled with his quality yellow longsword, he made easy work of the scarabs.
The casters next to him stopped chanting their spells and began throwing fireballs, icicles and lightning bolts towards the scarabs. Their spells were much more powerful than a knight's impetus, and each one caused substantial death and destruction.
A number of potholes appeared on the ground after the spells landed, in which lay chunks of broken limbs and internal organs. Locke looked at the scene in front of him in disgust.
Azlan prepared a blue ball and placed it in front of him for quite some time. He looked at the group of scarabs carefully, as if he was looking for something.
After the capital guards' counterattack, the group of scarabs was caught off guard by the shadow guards and the caster's powerful spells.
Suddenly, a screech rang from behind the scarabs, sounding like a command. All the scarabs shuddered and helped each other out as they prepared to retreat.
It was common knowledge that major monsters were intelligent, but while the scarabs were only minor monsters, they were quick-witted and had strong bodies; not all minor monsters fought mindlessly.
Azlan had found the direction of attack. He waved his palm, and the light blue ball glided in the air and flew towards the direction of the screech. After a loud bang, light blue mist appeared and the temperature around them dropped. The scarabs' shrieks turned into hisses before disappearing entirely.
Locke was watching Azlan the whole time. He'd always wanted to know how powerful a high-rank Lehrling was compared to a knight.
After the mist dissipated, all that remained at the strike zone were lifelike scarab statues. Nearly ten scarabs were frozen from the attack. One, in particular, was twice the size of the others.
This large, green scarab was frozen stiff and deader than dead. Before Locke could react, Azlan immediately drew his sword out and shouted for the rest to follow him. Countless capital guards and shadow guards then charged towards the remaining scarabs.
Having lost their leader, the remaining scarabs scurried about disorderly. With every two or three soldiers ganging up on one scarab, they were easily dealt with. However, the soldiers were still considerably outnumbered, which allowed some of the scarabs to escape.
There was nothing left on the ground except for the scattered limbs and incapacitated but still-living scarabs. This surprise attack ended just as quickly as if had begun.