“Brace yourselves!” Quaker warned. His earth impetus made him exceptionally sensitive to the tremors of the ground. Being a seasoned adventurer, he was even able to pinpoint how long they had until the major monsters arrived.
“A dozen major monsters are arriving soon but I still can’t make out what they are!” said the scout Mien from the trees. There was a dense cloud of dust in the distance, stirred by the trampling crowd of monsters and the traps he’d laid earlier.
Daler, the archer, positioned an arrow on his bow in absolute silence. He began feeding it some impetus, aiming it at the shrub straight ahead.
“Oh? A soon-to-be mid-rank Knecht?” Locke was bewildered. The archer’s impetus was as intense as that of a mid-rank Knecht. The two swordsmen that flanked him were quite the shocker too. Martin used fire impetus while Howl practised wood impetus; the both of them were peak low-rank Knechts already!
It was no wonder that Team Dawnlight could subdue a high-rank major monster. Everyone was on the eve of a breakthrough. They could definitely destroy a high-rank major monster with the seamless cooperation of the mid-rank Knecht shield wielder. The biggest difference between man and beast wasn’t physique but intelligence, after all.
The first wave of monsters approached soon enough. Locke enhanced his vision with a little impetus, noticing a double-winged magic elephant in the distance. It had dark wings, pale tusks and tightly arranged inky scales. The rare creature was almost as huge as Fermoss the scorpiondrake, which meant that it could stagger a high-rank major monster with its raw strength. Its humongous weight was something that even Locke had to worry about.
Major monsters were usually ranked by the energy crystals in their body. While the method applied to most major monsters, the double-winged magic elephant was one of the few exceptions. The possession of superior strength didn’t mean that they were invincible against inferior opponents; humans weren’t the only ones that could challenge their limits. The forest was filled with the mangled bodies of pretentious humans who didn’t know their boundaries. Weaker major monsters were often able to incapacitate stronger opponents through certain skills and means.
It appeared that they were in luck. The monsters headed by the double-winged magic elephant were going to brush past them from the side. They went unnoticed by the rushing crowd, hidden by the towering trees and the night. Unfortunately, the luck didn’t last long. Locke noticed a few pseudo-wolves pouncing over to their hiding spot.
“Crap! It’s the pseudo-wolves!” the scout on the tree warned.
“Damn it! Our smell must’ve caught their attention!” Quaker cursed. Demonic pseudo-wolves were one of the most hated monsters by adventurers that frequented the forest. They were persistent and relatively powerful. Worse, their body parts weren’t even useful; the only harvestable parts were their nucleus core and fur.
Pseudo-wolves rarely moved in a pack, only cooperating with another two or three monsters during hunts, which made it surprising to find seven of them ahead. To make matters worse, there was no way of telling if more pseudo-wolves were coming up in the dark.
“Damn you!” Quaker picked up his huge shield and thrust it forward. The first pseudo-wolf collided against the impetus-charged barrier with a pitiful whimper. Daler released his arrow in time with Quacker’s attack. A sharp metallic glint zoomed across the air for the other pseudo-wolf’s eye. It travelled at great speed since it was charged with impetus and the impact it would leave was exceptionally damaging.
As if able to sense the chilling sense of death, the pseudo-wolf shifted its neck ever so slightly at the very last moment. The insignificant movement saved its life; the tip of the arrow grazed the surface of its neck, leaving behind a two-centimetre gash in its wake. Warm blood began to pour through the opening, soaking the length of its torso in alarming red.
Martin and Howl took their cue and charged forward, effectively stopping the other wolves that lagged behind. The bloodlust hawk dove from an altitude under Miran’s command, delivering the signature mana attack of its kind. The pseudo-wolves were quickly covered in a layer of the hawk’s peppery feathers. Winged avian monsters were indeed highly advantageous in battles.
Even so, the moonlight wolf remained the most prominent party in the battle. Moonlight wolves were of photomancy attributes, making them one of the top species among magic wolves. Wolves and pseudo-wolves were close relatives, which proved to be another advantage in their current situation. Moonlight wolves carried a more regal bloodline in comparison, making it easy to defeat a same-ranked pseudo-wolf. The gap between their abilities was obvious. The pseudo-wolves would jolt at the innate submission in their blood if they ever so tried to claw the moonlight wolf. Under those circumstances, the moonlight wolf could take three of them at once.
“Go help them out, you two,” said Locke to Kristin and Laffey. Two pseudo-wolves were separated from the pack, which made them perfect practice targets. The girls charged their longswords with impetus and lunged toward their opponents. Kristin had tended to utilise her impetus for battles when around Locke.
The pseudo-wolves hadn’t shaken them much, though Howl was bitten in the forearm in a moment of vulnerability. The wound was deep and most definitely heavily infected. Howl’s left arm would be out of commission for a while, which meant that his abilities would be hampered.
Once they delivered the last blow onto the final pseudo-wolf, two night panthers ambushed them. Team Dawnlight panted heavily. It appeared that the creatures had been watching them from the bushes for a while now.
The leopards were cunning, choosing to prey on the weakest among their crowd, Mien. The thick tree branches that hid them were now the leopards’ greatest camouflage and ladder. All they could hear from below were the harrowing screams of Mien and a commotion that was fading away with distance.
“Quick! Save Mien!” Miran screamed. Her bloodlust hawk swooped into the dense foliage above.
“I’m going too!”
Martin and Daler responded in tandem. They climbed the tree in quick succession, vanishing among the treetops in no time.