As the moonlight wolf in front of them stared motionlessly, a thought popped up in Locke's head: was this monster afraid as well?
Seeing that the moonlight wolf hadn't moved for a long time, the knot in his heart began to loosen. He snuck a peek at the moonlight wolf, which revealed a lot to him.
This moonlight wolf looked similar to the brown wolf he saw a few days ago, except that it was larger and had a different colour of fur. Apart from that, it was an exact replica of the brown wolf he'd encountered earlier.
A few days ago, Locke's injury had yet to be healed, and his strength had yet to recover. In that state, the only thing he could do against this monster was hide. Yet after a few days, the pressure this wolf exuded had increased. Did it break through over the span of a few days? Locke wondered.
The moonlight wolf's eyes were dull green. Locke saw that one of its eyeballs was darker than the other. With a few jarring scars around its eye sockets, it should be blind in one eye. This confirmed Locke's suspicions that this was indeed the same wolf.
It's only been a few days, yet you've advanced already, huh? Locke made a wry smile. What is with my luck lately?
Even though he definitely didn't have the strength to fend off such a creature, Locke was not afraid. Monsters like these could sense the fear, and they fed off it.
The old wolf kept its eye on Locke and Angelina. He hesitated, and seeing that Locke didn't show any timidity, took a step back. It was as if it couldn't be bothered to chew on these two troublesome ones.
Noticing that the wolf was making a retreat, Locke closely observed the pace of its movements. After it had taken more than ten steps back, he finally relaxed, bowed his head and let out a long sigh of relief.
"Watch out!" Angelina yelled.
Locke suddenly raised his head and saw that the moonlight wolf had already rushed towards him in a flash. This brute had deceived him!
In a hurry, he waved the wooden stick in his hand to block the attack. The moonlight wolf bit down and snapped the arm-thick stick, immediately going straight for Locke's neck.
The attack was too fast for him to dodge. He could only cock his head to one side, stretch out his left arm and block with his shield.
Locke's trusty shield did not disappoint him. Under the huge bite force of the moonlight wolf, the black shield creaked in the wolf's mouth, only twisting and deforming slightly.
Locke was shocked and drenched in cold sweat, but his surprise quickly turned into anger. Locke had not been so irritated in a very long time. He raised his right fist high, and fiercely drove it into the moonlight wolf's eye.
The moonlight wolf let out a harrowing shriek, having felt the full brunt of Locke's attack. Locke had made a smart move to target the blind eye. The light elemental essence of the wolf had only just relieved the pain in that area not long ago, but Locke had once again unleashed it. On top of that, blood was gushing out of the wolf's eye, making it even more unbearable.
The moonlight wolf flicked its giant head upwards, flinging Locke up in the air. Locke skillfully performed a backflip and landed gracefully. He then stretched out his left hand and gestured to the moonlight wolf.
The wolf was, furious from the counterattack and provocation, resolved itself to fight ot the death when it had originally planned to escape if Locke couldn't be finished off in one blow. Having just advanced, it was confident that it would win. It felt like it was the king of the Bering Mountains.
After a fierce howl, the moonlight wolf rushed towards Locke. Locke held his ground, circulated his impetus and ran forward. After spending so much time on the battlefield, technique rarely mattered. Everyone was fighting for their lives. The moonlight wolf was more agile than Locke, having lived in the forest for so many years. He didn't know the true extent of the wolf's strength, so he chose to respond with brute force.
Adjusting the shield to protect his left fist, he used it like a boxing glove.
The moonlight wolf dashed for Locke, trying to land a bite. Locke slammed his shield against its head. Because the two were too close, there was no room for escape. Every attack was a direct strike, and it devolved into a battle of attrition.
Without wasting time, Angelina cast Featherweight on Locke, making his body lighter. Although he was not as fast as the moonlight wolf, it was enough for him to keep up. A bite from one was followed by a punch from the other. Locke and the moonlight wolf rolled around like roughhousing hooligans.
Angelina, who was only an entry-level Lehrling, couldn't help much. The most she could do was keep her distance, and use Illuminate at the opportune moment to distract the moonlight wolf.
Locke fought hard, because he knew that Angelina would not be able to fend the wolf off. If he could not hold off the moonlight wolf, she would be shredded to pieces in the blink of an eye.
Even though Locke had been strengthening himself with impetus, he would not be more powerful than a monster like the moonlight wolf. It had already bitten a few nasty gashes in Locke's shoulders. Some of the wounds exposed his bones, and its sharp claws had left a few more bloody impressions on his back.
In retaliation, Locke pummeled half the wolf's face flat. For most creatures, and injury to the brain would have ended its life promptly.
Had Locke's attack landed on a body protected by its thick hide, it wouldn't have done much. However, a strike to the head was very effective, even for a creature with a physique as resilient as the moonlight wolf.
Despite his severe wounds, Locke maintained his composure. After a few days of recovery, his impetus had also been greatly improved. An entry-level Knecht could not mobilise impetus at will, but would benefit from the passive regeneration impetus offered. Ordinary soldiers would have passed out in pain, but Locke only felt numb. This was his impetus was stimulating his cells and speeding up recovery.
Waving his shield, Locke roared and charged again, grabbing the moonlight wolf's head and punching hard.
The moonlight wolf was an old at the end of the day, and it was relying on only its physical strength. Fortunately, it was a light-attribute monster with robust recovery. Although it had no power to unleash magic, the light elemental essence was scattered throughout its body like Locke's impetus, enhancing its physical attributes.
Bang! Bang! Locke bashed his shield repeatedly on the wolf's head. The wolf also counterattacked, biting Locke's shoulder and clamping its jaws tightly together. Unexpectedly, Locke's shoulder blades were crushed; it seemed that the moonlight wolf wanted to eat Locke alive, starting from his shoulder.
"Aggh!" Locke groaned. His bloodthirstiness only heightened. His left hand did not stop moving and intensified the bashing.
Finally with an audible splat, the blind eye of the moonlight wolf was utterly crushed. Blood and soft tissue burst out of the eye socket. In pain, the moonlight wolf also loosened its jaws on Locke's shoulder. It looked up to the sky and howled.
Angelina, who was watching from afar, released her long-anticipated Illuminate spell, aiming it directly at the moonlight wolf's remaining eye. The moonlight wolf was completely blinded by the strong light. With one eye destroyed and the other blinded, it went absolutely berserk.
Although it couldn't see Locke and Angelina, it had a rough idea of their last-known positions. It dashed towards Angelina, who had launched a shameless sneak attack, which angered the wolf the most, just like the leopard's from the day before. The wolf longed to swallow the cheap shooter whole, bones and all.
Angelina was not able to react, so she stood rooted to the spot. Although she was slightly stronger than a regular human, the wrath of this furious moonlight wolf would leave her dead, or at best paralysed.
In the heat of the moment, Locke stepped forward, threw himself in front of Angelina, and blocked the incoming moonlight wolf.
Slam! The moonlight wolf rammed firmly against Locke, leaving a huge dent in his shield. Locke spat out a mouthful of blood. The force of their collision had thrusted Locke and Angelina, who was behind him, out of the way.
The moonlight wolf still hadn't recovered its vision. After walking away from Locke and Angelina, it continued its frenzy, savagely smashing itself into the surrounding trees, wreaking havoc all around.
Locke was sputtering out blood as he watched the moonlight wolf on its rampage. On the other hand, Angelina had passed out. Locke was in terrible shape. Death would no doubt pull them to the other side whenever the moonlight wolf recovered and came back for them.
Struggling to stand up, Locke realised that the moonlight wolf had an incapacitated hind leg. Mustering all his might, Locke grit his teeth, bore the piercing pain and snuck towards the moonlight wolf.
The manic wolf, in all its frenzy, took no notice of Locke approaching. Locke took the opportunity and squeezed the moonlight wolf's injured hind leg tightly. His right hand quickly drew his short dagger from his boot and sank it into the injured hind leg.
Locke's strategy was to strike at the chain's weakest links. From the very start, he focused on attacking the moonlight wolf's weak spots and the effects were obvious. The wolf was one rank higher than Locke, and had been left humiliated, but there wasn't any substantial damage, apart from the blind eye that had been seriously injured twice.
Locke was relatively far worse off. The injury on his shoulder blade was even more serious than what he suffered from falling off the cliff. Locke had made it up to this point purely by sheer will.
He pushed his short dagger deeper into its injured hind leg. The wolf flailed around more violently. Locke continued, clutching the short dagger tightly, keeping his grip tight on the moonlight wolf's hind leg.
The more the wolf struggled, the bigger the wound became. Locke also hit a stroke of luck: he had stuck the dagger into the same place the shadow leopard had bitten. The moonlight wolf had only one night to enjoy the regeneration perks of light the light element, so this wound was not fully healed. Locke's short dagger was only of average quality, but it was enough to damage the injured muscles of the moonlight wolf.
Normally, the wise old wolf with would have stopped this behaviour. However, its better judgment was clouded by pain and anger. The more intensely it reacted, the worse the wound on its hind legs became. More blood was being shed, and it was creeping towards death.
The blood of the moonlight wolf stained the surrounding grass. With every ounce of blood that was lost, the wolf calmed down a little. Its blinded eye gradually recovered and the physique that had just advanced was not enough for it to be able to do whatever.
Gathering what little mana left in its body, the old wolf used Photon Beam -- a spell it had came to understand after looking at the moon last night. A white light condensed in its mouth, and it targeted it directly at Locke behind him. The spell would not harm its own fur.
All of a sudden, Locke's scalp numbed. When he looked up, a brilliant white light appeared in the wolf's bloody mouth. From that light, Locke saw death. This was the same thing he felt when during his encounter with the caster under Cashel's command. It was the exact same sensation. He couldn't let this monster release it. Locke shouted wildly towards the moonlight wolf, who was still charging its mana up.