Here's the second half of the fight with the trial guardian, I put a lot of work into this one which should show itself in the chapter so hopefully you'll all enjoy.
In other news like everyone else I've watched season two of rotsh and I have to say as someone whose read the light novels the creators could have done A LOT BETTER Than they did, so much stuff was cut out of the beginning I'd imagine for anime only watchers you confused about more than a few things, well if I'm right that's because the anime cut out TOO MUCH STUFF and major parts of the season suffered for it. I get the feeling the reason they only made it thirteen episodes was so the season didn't go past the kyo arc but they should have made it at least sixteen episodes so they could have included more content and major fight scenes weren't dumbed down. I really hope the third season does better because rotsh has pretty because one of my favorite animes of all time and I'd personally like to see it continue even after the third season but that's going to be pointless if it and any season going forward has dumb down and rushed as the second season. That all being said it was still worth watching and had good episodes.
But I digress so let's focus on the story at hand shall we.
Disclaimer: I don't own rising of the shield hero
Earlier during the day
"You know this is a rather tall favor you're asking of me; you are aware of that right?" Nera asked.
"Of course." The tavern proprietor replied whilst wiping the inside of a mug. "But just the same, the bow hero is one person I and I'm more than a bit sure everyone within Herba would like to see come back from this exploit alive."
"You don't think she can succeed." Nera said more so than asked.
"Whatever's causing all the disappearances isn't no pushover, not if even adventurers who have received class ups have failed."
"You do realize with that being the case my power isn't going to be some sure bet trump card right?"
"Of course not." The proprietor mused as he began drying the next mug. "At least not on its own."
Nera raised an eyebrow. "Should I take it that there's something more your placing your faith in?"
"Yes." The proprietor moved on to a pile of plates and began drying the first one off. "While it's less likely if you or the bow hero tried to take on this endeavor alone that you'd ever succeed, assuming it's not already a sure loss from the start."
"So you think a combined effort would make a difference."
"Both of you are powerful fighters and neither of you are hung up on a misguided sense of bravado that every previous adventurer that came here hoping take down the monster in the grove did.
Nera clicked her tongue; the proprietor had a point even if she wasn't too eager to admit it since it would just prove why she was the best person to go assist the bow hero. It wasn't that Nera was apathetic to the concept of life being needlessly lost, she did help defend the people living in Herba afterall. Still the bow hero was still something of a stranger to Nera and it was her own decision to take on the task of clearing whatever was causing the disappearances out of the grove; this wasn't something Nera was eager to risk her life for.
"Plus, you'll both have the bow hero companions helping you." The proprietor said.
Nera could only sigh. "Do you know what you're asking me to do?"
"Believe me, I do, I truly do, still I want all the needless deaths to stop. Plus if it were not for the bow hero everyone here would be dead and captured to be sold."
"Then please help her, I know it's more so the people of Herba who owe her than yourself but you're the only one here who was the strength to even have even the slightest chance to make a difference and ensure the bow hero survives her mission and that no one else dies."
The proprietor surprised the dark magic user with a bowing gesture. "That's why I'm begging you on the behalf of all of Herba, please help the bow hero, help lady Audrey make it through this."
Nero found herself no longer able to even consider refusing. While the more logical part of her mind screamed that this was a needless risk on her part. If she did this and things went wrong her research and any other aspirations she may have held would be lost all because she jumped into something that had nothing to do with her, yet seeing the proprietor go to this length made refusing so much harder.
The bow hero did save the town of her own accord also, now that Nera thought about if the bow hero really did die when Nera's help might otherwise make all the difference...the people of Herba might not ever forgive Nera, actually a part of her would probably would always be disgusted with herself.
The bow hero might have been a stranger but she had already proven she actually was deserving of that monicor after what she had already done for Herba, she was someone who certainly was worth helping.
Releasing a long sigh Nera stilled her resolve. "Very well, I'll assist the bow hero."
"Thank you, I swear even if it takes me the remainder of my life I'll do whatever it takes to repay you for this."
"I don't wish to waste my time stating the obvious but…." Nera trailed off before pulling out what looks like a potion of some kind that Audrey had never seen until now before tossing it in her direction. "You need to heal yourself more than that. As impressive as it might look to see you on your feet regardless of the state you've been reduced to, I doubt it'll last much longer if you keep losing blood."
Catching the potion Audrey quickly analyzed it and saw it was one called an elixir before she drank it whole. Within the span of a few seconds Audrey had felt the gashes on her abdomen, any fractured bones, and holes going through both her thighs already closed up, leaving the bow hero with a great feeling of relief now that her body wasn't screaming in protest every time she moved even slightly.
Looking at the trial guardian, Audrey briefly watched as this creature pulled against the tendrils that Nera was using to immobilize it with all the strength it could muster but Nera's magic held firm.
The bow hero already had the feeling that Nera was more pretty powerful considering the she was able to knock Audrey out while she had her bow of wrath equipped but seeing the display in front of her now only served to affirm that fact.
Glancing at Nera, Audrey attempted to look at the dark magic user's states only to be shown a window she didn't expect.
Nera (unable to view personal stats or level due to interference)
What? What could possibly be stopping Audrey from seeing Nera's stats? It might have made sense when it came to a boss type enemy but that was it, when it came to any fantasy type rpg at least any the Audrey knew about she could always- wait, that was something she shouldn't be doing, this world might have game like mechanics, but it was ultimately real, she shouldn't just assume things based on gaming knowledge.
It didn't really matter by the end of the day; it was clear by Nera's actions and the success of them.
Still Audrey nor the others truly knew if Nera could keep the trial guardian subdued indefinitely or for so long. It was better to assume the latter was how ridiculous the thing's prowess has proven to be since the start of the entire mission.
Not wanting to let the chance slip away Audrey immediately readied a fast earth shot and launched it at the creature all the while Bluebell did the same with her fast thunderbolt spell.
While neither spell did much damage the party was every bit willing to take whatever they could get and with that thought in mind Audrey thought to use her poison mist but decided against the idea until she remembered the rotted root bow she recently obtained when she was gathering foreign herbs around Herba and more so to the point its equip effect.
Switching to the rotted root variation, Audrey proceeded to fire multiple arrows consecutively at the trial guardian. Now that the target beast had all use of its arms and claws restricted, it wasn't able to swat the incoming arrows away like it usually would and was hit with each projectile all the while Baxley took the chance to close in and dish as many blows as he was able to with his ax making one cut after another.
Audrey was sure how much damage the the decay bows equipped would have on the trial guardian, in fact she didn't even know what to look for to take as a sign the decoy status effect was even taking effect, in response to the bow hero pelting it with constant arrows the trial guardian brought up a row of sharp branches in front of itself in order to block the anymore incoming projectiles and an extra branch to force Baxley to back off.
While the no visible sign ever showed itself when the trial guardian itself was hit, they very much did the moment they hit the sharp branch when the said branches would turn gray from the initial place they were hit and crumble to pieces.
She didn't show it but a large part of the bow hero was honestly impressed by what she had just witnessed. 'I'll have to keep this bow variant in mind going forward.'
The trial guardian decided to switch to the use of its thicker vines and summoned one out of the ground which swung itself at Audrey who quickly shot it and caused the part that was hit to decay and break apart, leaving the vine split in two halves.
Audrey quickly followed up with a fast tornado shot which hit the trial guardian earning an enraged howl before it emitted a mew transparent white dome which like the first one quickly grew to cover the grove beyond the clearing.
Audrey quickly looked at her hud to see the effect.
Inside elemental suppression domain: darkness efficiency reduced to 30%, 20%, 15%
With the element of darkness now being suppressed by the trial guardian's power the creature was able to pull much more effectively against the black tendrils holding it in place however there was a small by critical piece of good news.
Inside elemental suppression domain fire efficiency reduced to 20%, 35%, 55%
So while the effectiveness of dark magic went down the effectiveness of fire magic rose back up which could only mean one thing, whatever this elemental suppression domain was, it could only suppress one element at a time which made sense. If Audrey was wrong on that account, then surely the guardian beast would have suppressed both fire and darkness simultaneously or better yet just suppress all the elements the first time it used the domain.
Nera cringed in frustration. "I hope you three have some kind of plan because this monstrosity is rendering my dark magic completely unable."
Audrey smirked "Don't worry I know just found the way to counter it." Turning to Bluebell, Audrey called out. "Bluebell you're able to use fire magic again!"
While a large part of Bluebell wanted to question what made Audrey so certain of that she decided to just trust in the implication and began an incantation.
Meanwhile the dark tendrils that were holding the trial guardian had faded away completely but before the trial guardian tried to retaliate it suddenly coughed up blood granting Audrey the chance to launch a thunder arrow at it.
Of course the trial guardian dodged to but to what Audrey could only guess to be internal injuries causing a lapse in its reaction the creature still had it arm grazed, acting quickly the trial guardian held out its other arm leading Audrey to think it was going to try and attack her with a new sharp branch but rather than go for the bow hero it decided to send one after Bluebell.
The sword user by some stroke of luck managed to dodge the attack as the newest branch grew out of the ground via throwing her body to the side but the bad news was that the branch probably did its job anyway since it interrupted her incantation.
Well even though she was going to have to start from scratch, the trial guardian's actions at least confirmed what Audrey said was true; otherwise it would not have had any incentive to prioritize attacking her when Audrey was the one trying to damage it at that moment.
It looked like the trial guardian was well aware of the tradeoff it had made when it took Nera's dark magic out of play, meaning it wasn't just gonna conveniently expose a weak spot out of negligence. That probably should have been expected at this point considering the trial guardian never truly left itself exposed of its own accord meaning Audrey and the others were not only going to have to by time for Bluebell to ready her spell but also create an opening for her to utilize.
It was going to take effort without a doubt, but it was still doable. At the very least Audrey still had her chain and frost arrow skills to help with that particular task. The trick lied in successfully hitting the trial guardian with one of the said techniques.
"Poison mist." While the skill Audrey was utilizing was no good in terms of restraining the trial guardian it would be forced to dodge and subsequently make it nigh impossible for it to ignore for the sake of attacking Bluebell.
Of course, the trial guardian decided to summon another sharp branch forcing Audrey to evade it before utilizing a few more forcing the bow hero to jump back repeated all the while a thick vine had grown out of the ground a few meters behind her and whipped towards her while she was still focused on the branches growing out and trying to skewer her.
Luckily the rear attack was stopped by Baxley who had used his axe to cleave through the incoming vine before spinning around revealing the recovered sword belonging to late mercenary leader and send a crescent shaped flame at the trial guardian which was forced to use a line of new branches to block the attack whilst said branches were all lit ablaze creating something of a miniature bonfire.
Before the trial guardian could attempt to retaliate Nera ran by the front of it with her dagger in hand making a shallow cut across the creature's abdomen before coming to a stop a few meters away whilst spinning around and facing the trial guardian with her weapon at the ready.
Audrey had to admit the idea of seeing a mage or maybe a dark mage in this case if Nera's attire was anything to go by, having a blade on their person was something new to her. Since she's been summoned, every magic user she had seen fell well within the stereotype that was shown in any fantasy game and anime she had seen. Still, she wasn't going to criticize it by any means since it meant Nera had something to fall back on while her dark magic was suppressed.
The trial guardian was cut off from any attempt at retaliation once again when a ] of fire suddenly hit it from behind causing it a howl in pain. Audrey smiled at the spectacle thanks to the combined effort of Baxley and Nera, Bluebell was given enough time to ready her spell and had the opening to utilize against the trial guardian.
As soon as the fire around the creature's body died down Audrey decided to fire off her frost arrow at the trial guardian but the beast somehow managed to summon a new sharp branch in the skill's path, blocking the attack. Within the span of the next few seconds the trial guardian leapt in Audrey's general direction bringing one of its set of claws down in an overhead swing in the process.
Audrey of course dodged the attack via jumping to the side before firing off a few arrows which the trial guardian swatted aside and immediately after was forced to dodge an incoming flame from Baxley.
The trial guardian snarled in anger before emitting another transparent white hued dome the grew to cover much of the grove and as Audrey expected her hud showed the fire element was being suppressed, the darkness element being released from its restraint.
It seemed Nera had taken notice of this on her own and without a word needing to be spoke conjured up a new set of dark tendrils which grabbed a hold of the trial guardian's limbs restraining it and draining what bits of its life force they could.
Audrey felt more confident that her group could win this, with the weakness behind the trial guardian's power it meant the it would either have to contend with fire based attacks which had the greatest effect or Nera's dark magic which was powerful enough to restrain the thing leaving it vulnerable to every other attack aside from those that were fire based.
Essentially every time the group kept switching between fire for the highest elemental effect and darkness for rendering the trial guardian vulnerable their win would be all but a sure bet.
That was until Audrey felt a new and grim silent sentence manifest with her mind.
Releasing second of the two tier restrictions
This couldn't seriously be happening, it was already bad enough when the trial guardian released the first tier restriction, the last thing Audrey and the others needed was for their target to gain another boost in strength.
Unfortunately, whether the bow hero accepted it or not the truth of the matter was going to rear its head. The question was how bad would this play out for the whole group?
The answer immediately showed itself when the trial guardian began pulling against its restraints with renewed vigor. Its increase in sheer strength became apparent once the dark tendrils holding both arms were ripped in half before dissolving, mere moments afterwards the trial guardian freed its leg too.
It took every ounce of effort on Audrey's part just to process the trial guardian coming after and closing in on her at speeds beyond even what she could manage with its claws extended outward right toward her abdomen.
By some miracle a black bulbous humanoid entity manifested itself between the bow hero and the trial guardian, tanking the incoming attack with its body before countering a punch that caused the trial guardian to stagger backwards a few steps.
Meanwhile Audrey took a moment to scrutinize the thing that had just saved her
Summoned dark familiar lv 51
So this was a familiar type monster, considering it appeared to be made out of the same material as the dark tendrils used to ensnare the trial guardian, it was a safe bet to assume this thing belonged to Nera.
The trial guardian let out a roar before two thicker vines appeared near the dark familiar and proceeded to swing towards it with alarmingly faster speed than of the previous ones whipping into the body of the dark familiar repeatedly.
Before anyone could make any attempt at turning around the predicament and trial guardian showed a new ability, a white orb with a purple outline formed just above the creature's antlers and shot itself toward Audrey who jumped out of the way of the projectile. As the orb hit the very spot that Audrey had previously occupied it destroyed the immediate ground around it leaving a small crater.
Audrey wanted to retaliate but the trial guardian was faster to act and was already upon the bow hero, sending a kick her way which in turn sent her sliding across the ground.
Baxley meanwhile cut through one of the vines assaulting the dark familiar which gave the construct breathing room to destroy the other one. Turning to face the trial guardian Baxley was beheld with the sight of another orb flying straight for him.
'Shit!' He barely managed to avoid the attack before the trial guardian had closed that distance between them with its claws at the ready. Baxley had no time to dodge and with the creature's newfound strength blocking or parrying it was out of the question, with no way out, Baxley closed his eyes and waited for oblivion.
To his surprise the blow never came but his eyes were meant with the sound of the target letting out an enraged screech which prompted him to open his eyes. Much to the hyena demi human's relief he saw the sight trial guardian held in a full nelson by Nera's familiar. "You better hurry and do whatever damage you can while you have the chance!"
Not needing to be told by the dark magic user twice, Baxley began using both sword and axe to make as many cuts as he could whilst Bluebell ran over to do the same. It immediately became apparent that the trial guardian's defense was higher than it used to be without a doubt, the both of the bow hero's teammates were having a harder time piercing its hide since their weapons wouldn't go as deep.
Matters only got worse once the trial guardian broke free of the dark familiar's hold backhanded it and followed up with a kick the caused the summoned to dissipate, turning its attention back to Bluebell and Baxley the trial guardian used a new sharp branch to force Bluebell to evade while it used its claw to tear gashes trough Baxley's midsection and chest destroying his chest plate in the process.
As Baxley fell to the ground now far too injured to fight, the trial guardian readied its other claws to finish the job but was interrupted when an orb of dark magic hit its back. Turning around it saw Nera with her hand held outward and another blast of dark magic being readied within her palm. "I might not be able to exploit your weakness to fire but having zweite level magic should make up for that."
The trial guardian wasted no time in making another raw magic orb between its antlers and sending it at Nera who sent off her own attack in response. Both dark and raw magic orbs collided, creating a minor shockwave effect and cancelling each other out.
In the following moments the trial guardian was quickly closing in on the dark mage before it was forced to stop when a flurry of arrows rained down in its path causing Nera to glance at Audrey who had a trickle of blood running from the end of her mouth to her jaw line. "You need to get your companion healed now." Nera said before creating two more zweite dark blast orbs without both of her hands.
While she would have preferred to keep using her familiar to fight it would quickly become to taxing on her mp supply if she was forced to resummon it each time it was destroyed by this thing, the best thing to do was cooperate with the others and conserve her magic to the best of her abilities for this fight.
As the trial guardian sent a new magic orb of its own towards Nera, she threw one of her dark magic blasts at the incoming attack before following up and sending out her second dark magic projectile just behind the first one. The following result was the raw magic and dark magic orbs colliding and cancelling each other out before the second dark blast soared through the air and hit the trial guardian in the chest.
Audrey had just finished giving Baxley two healing potions she had managed to make via the item creation feature; the potions looked to have done their job as Baxley began groaning before opening his eyes once more. "Am I…"
"Yeah, you're healed at least as much as I could." Audrey said before turning her attention back to the fight at hand.
Overall Nera really seemed to be holding her own against the trial guardian quite well even with the new increase in prowess, it was clear that she was a force to be reckoned with even if her personal stats were currently hidden.
Ultimately Audrey would be filled with new dread when the trial guardian held out both of its arms to its side, what followed was a numerous snapping sound akin to wood breaking.
Glancing toward the surrounding area Audrey saw that a multitude of the trees surrounding the clearing now had large chunk of themselves breaking off from the main bodies and immediately morphing their shapes into something almost humanoid, the finished product was akin to a somewhat humanoid treelike being arm with a set of claws on teach hand.
Overall, Audrey was reminded strongly of the treant from Warcraft III with the only thing differentiating these things from what the bow hero was thinking of was that they lacked leaves anywhere on the bodies, their heads were serpent like with eyes that glowed pure white, and the legs were more profound.
Nature spirit lv ?
So these things also had their level and stats hidden like their summoner, in the end that didn't really matter, what did was the fact that the group no longer held the numbers advantage.
This wasn't good, hell it was catastrophic, dealing with the Trial guardian alone was putting everyone through the ringer, having numerous other enemies in the mix all but guaranteed failure of the mission. Actually, now that Audrey thought about it if they didn't come with a game changer soon and by soon she meant now.
The problem with that was she wasn't sure what she could do glancing in the direction of the trial guardian she saw that it trying to use newly made sharp branches against Nera who was proving to be much nimbler than one might expect age to be dodging each branch in quick succession before retaliating with another dark blast which the target evaded
Scanning the rest of the clearing while the trial guardian was preoccupied Audrey saw the nature spirits making their way over at a bit of a slow pace, well slow compared to the speed of her and her teammates at least. Another thing Audrey saw out of the corner of her eye was that the cocoon made of a vines was convulsing far more erratically compared to before.
Whatever the reason was, Audrey didn't have time to contemplate it as the nature spirits were closing on her and Baxley. Acting quickly, Audrey took aim and began firing at them.
When the arrows hit their target, they pierced relatively deep causing some of the nature spirits to fall over on the spot whilst other ones only staggered before continuing their pursuit.
At least from the result of her attack Audrey saw these things weren't overly powerful, meaning even though the nature spirits were stronger than any killer moth they could still be taken out with moderate ease.
The problem was that it would take some amount of effort and that they were more than a few of them, Audrey and the other could not afford a dragged-out fight with these things since it ran the high risk of the trial guardian picking someone off.
But if the group turned all their attention to the trial guardian then their backs would be exposed to the nature spirits. Speaking of the trial guardian, the creature let out a roar before dashing after Nera.
Acting quickly Nera threw both of her hands out in front of her. "Zweite dark barrier." A slightly transparent disc shaped object made out of pure dark magic manifested in front of her, blocking an incoming set of claws from the trial guardian.
Once the attack along with the trial guardian's momentum were stopped the barrier disappeared and Nera jumped back whilst readying her next spell. "As the one who commands the source of your power I command you, decipher the laws of nature and form an attack to level everything in my path."
As the trial guardian tried to close in and skewer Nera with its claws, she released her spell. "Zweite ebony beam."
Rather than an orb, her spell created a torrent of dark magic that flew toward the trial guardian forcing it to bring up its arm to block the magic attack while the dark magic pushed it back towards the tree line and even past. Nera then glanced in the party's direction. "If you guys can get and hold the trial guardian's attention for a bit I might have a spell that can at least take out the better part of these sentient trees if not all of them."
"Alright we'll buy all the time we can." Audrey replied as she sent a frost arrow at the trial guardian which had just reemerged from the tree line incasing it in ice all the while Nera began a longer incantation. Both of the bow hero's teammates decided to focus their effort on keeping the nature spirit from interfering with either of the two.
Unlike before the ice layer around shatter almost instantly but the frost arrow skill had done its job, the trial guardian's target was now Audrey herself again. As the creature turned towards her Audrey began going through a quick incantation, once the trial guardian began running after her the bow hero casted a terra wall right within the creature's path.
Unsurprisingly the trial guardian easily smashed through the wall but in the process of doing so it failed to see the thunder arrow coming right for it and was hit right in its head stopping the creature's momentum.
"Driffa ebony impellers!" Nera's voice called out. In the following moments a large number of black colored spikes manifested from the ground up near most of the nature spirits impaling them in the process.
Much to Audrey and her party's relief everyone nature spirit hit by Nera spell were defeated meaning that the number of humanoid treelike monsters was reduced from somewhere over twenty to a few stragglers within the single digits.
With the number reduction, the advantage the trial guardian had initially gained via bringing the nature spirits into play was nullified. Without said advantage, the scales of the fight would tip back in Audrey and the others' favor.
At least that should have been the case but Audrey and company soon found their hopes dashed once the trial guardian stretched out both of its arms in the very same fashion it had the first time it summoned nature spirits.
"Dammit!" Nera spat before beginning a new. Incantation. "As the one who commands the great power I command you, bring forth my dark elemental and split it into multiple forms."
As more nature spirits broke off from the surrounding trees before taking shape, Nera held out her hand. "Dark herd" A small number of black spheres shot out a short distance from Nera's palm before landing on the ground and turning into small masses of smoke.
After another moment black tendrils grew out of the smoke spots before morphing into what appeared to be perfect copies of Nera's original familiar albeit somewhat smaller in size.
With nothing more than a silent glance from the dark mage, the dark copies went on to engage the newly made nature spirits.
"You had the ability to do that the entire time?" Bluebell asked.
"Yes, but it's not something I can just use at the drop of a coin, this taxes my mp a lot, also these copies are weaker than my original summon so they won't be able to hold their own against that creature you're trying to destroy."
Audrey, who had since used her rain arrow skill to force the trial guardian to pull back, glanced in Nera's direction. "Should I take that means your news summons will only be able to hold off a limited amount of the nature spirits."
The reason Audrey said "limited amount" is because compared to the nature spirits which were around twenty plus, Nera's dark copies were few enough to be counted on the figures of a single hand meaning that it would be relatively easy for stay nature spirits to slip past them and attack the bow hero's party.
"Yes, so your party will still have to deal with the trial guardian without my "direct" help unless you can find out how to stop your target from making more."
The trial guardian closed in on Audrey with a claw swipe which the bow hero dodged using her dash before hitting the creature with a chain arrow briefly ensnaring it before the trial guardian broke free through sheer the use of a sharp branch.
"Easier said than done, I'm not sure where to start." Audrey refuted whilst the trial guardian came after before having its momentum reduced from a fast tornado, Bluebell decided to follow up with a chain bolt spell that while not doing any real damage to the trial guardian did take out a few nature spirits when the spell bounced off the former to a few of the latter.
"Normally even for a high level creature bringing summoned allies into the fight will put a strain on its mana supply." Nera replied.
Audrey performed a high jump to evade the trial guardian trying to run her over as it closed in on her before taking out another stray nature spirit that tried to get the jump on Baxley while he was preoccupied cutting down one of its brethren. "If that's the case our target isn't showing any sign of it, if anything it seems like it's able to spawn its abilities without any limit of mp or even even the restriction of a recharge time."
Nera jumped back to avoid a claw swipe before using a blast of dark magic to take out a nature spirit. "I know there's likely something that it's drawing mana from, likely something that was alive until recently, a fresh corpse."
Okay if that was the case that left the idea of where this supposed corpse that was acting as a makeshift mana battery was located. A part of Audrey considered that maybe the corpse was that of one of the killer moths she and her party had taken out the previous day but came to the conclusion that it was impossible since the killer moths never displayed any magic oriented abilities.
She then remembered the half of that body she and the others came upon yesterday but assuming the mp supply had to come from a "fresh" corpse the bow hero deduced that body also couldn't be what the trial guardian was using to fuel itself. The body hadn't visibly rotted or decayed from what she had seen but it was clear the blood had long run dry meaning there was no way it could have fit the fresh criteria.
But she wasn't completely sure, so Audrey had to get more information.
As the trial guardian turned to face Audrey again, it created a new raw magic orb and launched at the bow hero, Audrey promptly dodged the attack before shooting a flurry of arrow at the trial guardian which swatting them all aside but before the beast could go after the bow hero Baxley tried to get in a flanking attack while it was distracted.
The result was the trialed guardian spinning around and parrying the blow for the Hyena's axe and pushing him back in the process.
Playing off the trial guardian's distraction Audrey casted an earth hole right beneath the creature's feet causing it to fall, before it could go all the way in it stretched out both of its arms catching the edges of the hole and pushing itself back out and high into the air.
Taking advantage of this Audrey quickly used chain arrow followed by a frost arrow which ensured the trialed in chains wrapping around in body before encasing it in ice on top of that, having bought a few precious seconds the bow hero pressed for more information.
"What if the body was one been around long enough for the blood to run dry?"
"That would only be enough to refill its mana supply once before being no good, the body would have to be fresh in order for it to be used to continually refill its mp."
So that half severed body was definitely out, still that left the question of whose body was being used then.
As a splinter group of three nature spirit tried to get in close in hopes of attacking Audrey, she quickly took out two of them with well placed arrows while Bluebell disposed of the last one. All the while the trial guardian had landed and managed to break free from its combination of binds through sheer strength.
As the bow hero watched the trial guardian formed another raw magic orb and fired it she mind continued to ponder the information that Nera had given her whilst dodging the incoming attack.
If it wasn't that half severed body being used, then whose body could be? The only other person who could have recently died within the grove was…Berg!
Of course! If anyone could be used as a makeshift magic battery it would be to be him, he's literally the only person who could have (unwillingly) provided a fresh body for the trial guardian to siphon a constant supply of mp from. That still left the question of where Berg's corpse was located, from what Audrey could see it was nowhere within plain sight meaning it had to be hidden somewhere.
Now the only thing left to do was figure out where its hiding place was. From what Audrey could see there were no new blood trails leading out of the grove, meaning that the body couldn't have been taken out of the clearing. In spite of that it wasn't anywhere in sight either.
Soon another nature spirit had closed in on Audrey and tried to claw her but she proved quick enough to jump away from it in time before following up with a shot to the nature spirit's head. Unfortunately, the trial guardian decided to use this as an opportunity to get in close and send a kick at Audrey which sent her rolling across the clearing.
Bluebell momentarily panicked before realizing that the trial guardian set its sight's on her and had already went in with a claw swipe, no longer having a shield on hand and no time to dodge Bluebell tried to block the incoming with her rapier to the best of her abilities.
Ultimately Bluebell's efforts proved to be fruitless, her weapon was snapped in two with both pieces being sent from her hands as the trial guardian tore deep gashes into her body before following up and a kick that sent the sword user skidding through the dirt.
"BLUEBELL!" Baxley screamed out at the top of his lungs in a panic when he saw what happened to Bluebell, just a single claw swipe alone had practically took him out of the fight before Audrey healed him, Bluebell just suffered the same fate with a kick on top of that Baxley didn't want to think about the state of her body right now.
Before he could even try to head over to Bluebell's position Baxley's would be effort was halted by a sharp branch growing out of the ground in front of him, growling in anger Baxley cleaved the branch in two but in the time span the trial guardian had allowed came in for a claw swipe.
Baxley clenched his teeth and waited for the blow before one of the dark copies manifested between him and the beast tanking the blow.
The dark copy was destroyed but it gave Baxley the chance to get away from the trial guardian before Nera ran next to him launch another zweite level ebony torrent at the creature. "Hurry and help Bluebell before the beast's summons finish her off!"
Baxley looked toward the still downed Bluebell and saw a few nature spirits making their way towards her intent on ending her life. 'No you don't!'
The hyena ran as fast as his feet could take him, throwing Berg's sword through the nature spirit closest to Bluebell, ensuring that he reached her first. Turning to face the other incoming nature spirits, Baxley held his axe at the ready.
While all this was happening Audrey had managed to recover from the kick she had received and looked to where the others were seeing Baxley fighting to protect Bluebell who was severely injured whilst Nera was now holding off the trial guardian.
Frustration built up within her once more, even with the success her party was previously making prior to the trial guardian's third wind the fight was once again looking hopeless, in fact it was a sure bet to say that it would only be a matter of time before everyone here was picked off and killed.
Dammit where was the body? Audrey needed to find out where Berg's body was now, but where was it if there was just to clue to where the damn thing could be, there was no clue to loose dirt hinting at it being buried underground, no trails or drag marks pointing her in any potential direction, on blood falling from any height to clue in her that it could be in a tree.
Hell the only thing that showed any indication of any blood, bodily fluids, or anything else that might come from a human corpse was the….cocoon of vines.
Wait was it really that? Glancing over in the direction of the cocoon Audrey saw the vines were convulsing rather erratically, actually now that she truly thinks about it she might have seen that before but had no time to truly take note.
Seeing as the vines were crushing something with blood and flesh within them the cluster was literally the only place Berg's body could have been.
'This better work, otherwise I mine as well just use the bow of wrath again and go nuts.'
Taking aim, Audrey fired an arrow at the cocoon which lodged itself with one of the vines.
Meanwhile the trial guardian which had just taken out another one of the dark copies Nera was forced to use to shield herself from being ripped to shreds by its' claw had stopped its assault on the dark mage as well as every single nature spirit stopped before every enemy turned in the bow hero's direction.
The trial guardian let out the loudest roar it ever has since the start of this entire ordeal and leaped through air towards Audrey bringing down both set of claws.
Using a quick dash Audrey fired a thunder arrow at the cocoon before the trial guardian rushed with the skill's path to block it with its very body. Meanwhile, all the nature spirits were gathering around the vines protectively.
With that combination of actions, it more or less settled it, that was where Berg's body was, judging by how the trial guardian was going out of its way to protect the thing it was a safe bet to say the beast was relying on it.
The trial guardian charge at Audrey who casted a wind trap within its path which the beast immediately triggered before being launch into the air.
Meanwhile the bow hero quickly created another hp potion before calling out to Baxley tossing it to him just off trial guardian landed.
Audrey began running from the beast whilst firing a few arrows at the nature spirits surrounding the vine cocoon before the trial guardian was upon her ready to rend her with its claws.
Luckily help came in the form of the resummoned dark familiar which tanked the attack before grabbing both of the trial guardian's arms and holding the creature in place.
"Hurry and take out that cocoon while my dark elemental keeps the thing pinned!" Nera called out from next to Baxley who was giving Bluebell the hp potion.
Audrey didn't need to be told twice; she was mere moments away from losing her friends just seconds ago. Aiming her bow in the air she triggered her rain arrow skill.
As a new flurry of arrows rained to on the cocoon tearing into the vines the trial guardian let out a wail of panic whilst the nature spirts began climbing all over the cocoon in order to shield it with the very bodies.
'Like hell that's happening!' Audrey though before using her frost arrow skill to encase that entire vine cocoon along with any nature spirits that climbed on top it before reciting an incantation and casted another wind trap which launch the entire thing into the air.
The trial guardian's howls became louder as the frozen cocoon came back down to the ground and hit it with a hard thud before much of the ice shattered from the cocoon allow now dead nature spirits to fall to the dirt and dead vines to go slack and unwrap themselves revealing a grotesque sights of grinded meat, bone fragments, entrails, organs and other stuff that if not for the fight Audrey would have puked enough to empty her stomach, the only thing left the was intact enough to even indicated that all the stuff the vines previous held even belong to a human was a severed foot.
With the cocoon now out of the pitcher the remainder of the nature spirits fell apart into numerous pieced of wood and bark whilst the trial guardian proceeded to hit the dark familiar with a raw magic blast at point blank range destroying the thing and finally getting loose before retreating away from everyone.
Meanwhile Baxley and Bluebell who was now healed enough to get back on her own feet and hand Berg's sword in hand ran next to Audrey on either side of her. "Have we finally won?" the latter inquired.
"We nullified the trial guardian's previous advantage, that much I believe now that all its minions are gone, the thing is I don't know that its gonna do next."
Bluebell groaned. "I'm really not looking forward to-!"
"Are you okay?" Audrey asked
"I can use my fire magic again!"
"But how? This thing doesn't come off as the type to undo its suppression domain or switch to something else now o all times."
"It's likely because it can't maintain its domain anymore without risk to itself," Nera said as she came over to the group watching the trial guardian which started oddly summoning a good number of sharp branches around itself. "That corpse it had was supplying it with all the mp it would need to keep that domain up indefinitely, with that supply using the domain would gradually drain its mp much like using those nature spirits."
"Make sense I guess." Audrey mused.
The newest sharp branch reached closer toward various places on the trial guardian's body.
"Don't get overconfident."
"Why? Its in a desperate position now meaning we're at least closer to winning than we've ever been since the start of this." Bluebell replied.
"Yeah, and it likely means the trial guardian is gonna fight desperately to ensure its survival."
Baxley's eyes narrow. "So basically, if it wasn't going all out before it will now."
"Now that this has basically became something of an all or nothing situation for it at this point."
As the branches' tips touched the trial guardian's body, they rather than piercing like everyone expected began morphing and forming a flat layer of wood of the creature's body as if making a protecting coating. "It the trial guardian trying to make armor for itself?" Audrey inquired.
"It's safe to assume so, the thing has shown a fair deal of intelligence throughput this ordeal." Nera answered.
"Fair enough, Baxley cast fast guard on everyone while the trial guardian is putting on its armor."
"Are you sure, this might be our chance to attack."
"I know that's what it looks like but it's too much of a gamble, if we attack now and thro all caution to the wind under the assumption that its vulnerable and find out were wrong, we could be the ones leaving ourselves open to an attack. I rather take precautions to ensure we live through this before acting than get reckless and lose one of you."
"Alright." With that the hyena demi human began going through a quick incantation for his fast guard spell before casting it.
"Aright let's attack." Audrey declared before readying an earth bullet spell whilst Nera did the same with another powered up dark blast and Bluebell sent a torrent of fire with Berg's sword at the target as Baxley ran after the trial guardian to attack it directly.
Unfortunately, the trial guardian quickly formed a new raw magic blast of its own and one that was bigger than any previous one in terms of size before sending it at the incomm9ng flame. As the two attacks met the magic blast powered its way through the flames and flew straight for Bluebell who was forced to throw herself aside in order to avoid the counterattack in time.
Baxley was forced to stop his pursuit when the trial guardian made a sharp branch in hi path before coming at him directly with a claw swipe and Baxley was forced to block with the forced of his axe. The hyena was knocked back a few meters away from the trial guardian which then did something that no one saw coming.
It used a non-powered up raw magic attack, that alone wasn't the problem, what was was the fact it wasn't just a single orb but rather an entire volley of them that were sent at the group Nera and Baxley ran for the edge of the clearing whilst Audrey created a new earth in front of herself and Bluebell in hopes of shield them from all the incoming blasts.
The earth wall lost piece after piece of itself with each impact until it was eventually shattered and both Audrey and Bluebell were subsequently sent skidding through the dirt. Before Audrey could even begin to get up that trial guardian had already closed In and kicked her threw the air and into one of the trees at the edge of the clearing, turning its attention to Bluebell it readied another raw magic blast but just a single second before the creature shot the attack off a zwiete dark barrier materialized right in front of it and as a result its attack hit the barrier causing it to explode right in the trial guardian's face causing it to stumble back.
The dark mage would have followed up with her readied zweite dark blast but was stopped with a counterattack in form sharp branch aiming for her side forcing her top dodge the attack before a thick vine appeared a short distance away from her and swung itself it's the drag magic user forcing her to counter with her offensive spell.
Looking at the spectacle from where she sat groaning in pain from what she suspected was a broken rib Audrey realized Nera wasn't kidding, now that its main trump card was out of play the trial guardian was truly giving its all to kill everyone, all or nothing. Whether the creature won or lost this clash it was going to fight as hard as it possibly could to the end.
If that as the case then Audrey and the others would jut have to much the trial guardian's determination throughout the rest of this fight.
Bluebell having got up ran over to where Nera and Baxley were before sending a crescent flame after the target which as expected evaded the attack before retaliating with another flurry of raw magic blasts forcing the others to retreat behind the tree line for cover.
Meanwhile Audrey worked her way back to her feet ignoring the screams of protest from her body as she took aim and began a wind trap incantation before casting the spell at the halfway point between her of the trial guardian. Shooting off a normal arrow Audrey was met with the expected result as the target spin turned back towards her deflecting the projectile in the process before running after her at full speed only to get sent airborne by her spell.
While the beast was still in the air the bow hero followed up with the earth bullet type spell she had prepared just before the trial guardian used its first flurry of raw magic attacks forcing everyone to fall back or get behind cover, it seemed Nera had the same idea of taking advantage of the trial guardian's current state and launch her powered up dark blast towards it. Both magic attacks met their mark in the air earning only a grunt from the trial guardian before in fell back down to the ground.
Before Audrey could use her net skill or magic attack a new think vines grew out of the ground directly in front of her and swung itself downwards at the bow hero in a wide arc, of course Audrey was forced to dodge the attack but it gave the trial guardian time to get back to its feet and formed a powered up magic blast which it send at Nera who dash out of its path as it tore cleanly through tree after tree.
The trial guardian was done yet as it followed up uses a pair of sharp branches forces Nera and Bluebell who was the target of the other branch to evade. Baxley wanted to run out to try and engage the creature directly but found himself stuck and saw a new vine set growing around and entangling his legs.
The axe user felt his frustration rise, seriously was the trial guardian using this trick again, unless he was completely wrapped up in the vines to the point that they formed a makeshift cocoon around his body they wouldn't be effective when it came to actual damage.
The only thing the vines were even accomplishing here was immobilizing him. The trial guardian meanwhile decided to pursue running at Nera with its head bent downward so its antlers were pointed directly at her who in response tried to use a dark barrier to defend herself, unfortunately since she didn't have time to perform an incantation her defensive spell wasn't at zweite level, it was only a basic version of the spell. The newest dark barrier shattered the instant the antlers of the trial guardian made contact, to make matters worse Nera wasn't able to completely evade the incoming attack since speed was not her specialty; while as opposed to probably any other magic user who solely pursued their magic Nera put some work into her physical prowess and possessed a fair amount of skill with a dagger and short sword so she could fall back on it if her mp reserves ever ran dry during a fight Nera still put her magic as her main priority, in short she had more physical prowess compared to your average mage but not at the level of those who pursued the use of the sword or some other weapon.
As a result, when Nera tried to jump to the side, she managed to avoid being ran through but a good number of the antlers' tines caught the dark mage in the side tearing into her body causing her to let out a pained gasp. Before the trial guardian could try anything else a crescent flame hit it cracking its wooden armor but otherwise no real damage causing the beast to turn towards Bluebell who was cringing in frustration.
'This sword is useless!' Bluebell thought, Berg might have thought that this blade gave him some god tier advantage over any opponent he faced with it, but the reality was that it was nothing more than a basic flame brand blade which not only emitted its own fire but granted a its wielder the ability to use fire magic even if they lacked the affinity for it which was actually where its true worth lied.
Since Bluebell already had a natural affinity for fire the flame brand really didn't grant her any major favors aside from providing with a temporally replacement for her broken rapier and giving her a way to use fire with any incantation or drain to her mp, the tradeoff was that the flames themselves were actually more than a little weak compared to even the most simplest spell casted using one's own power, essentially the flame brand's flames might have had speed and quantity on their side but lacked any significant quality. With that being the case Bluebell was better off relying on her own magic to do any real damage.
The problem was her mp was low meaning she had to make her next spell count, but she had the underlying feeling that the trial guardian's makeshift armor would ensure whatever damage she did wood be mitigated. She nor the others had time to try chipping away at the wood since it would drag out the fight and the longer this went on the higher the chances were one or more of them were gonna die and that was assuming they didn't lose this fight altogether by then. Bluebell's only option was to create a fire spell powerful enough to inflict a great deal of damage in one blow in spite of the wooden armor and to that end there was only one way to even make that a possibility.
Turning to Baxley who had just finished freeing himself from the vines entangling his legs Bluebell called out. "Baxley could you cast another magic up spell on me?"
"Yeah." Baxley began his incantation to recast the magic buff that had worn off since the first time it was casted on her and Audrey.
Meanwhile the trial guardian was closing in on Bluebell while at the same time a single arrow flew from Audrey towards it as if in hopes of stopping its run but of course the trial guardian responded with a swipe of its claws intending to deflect the arrow, however the moment its claws made contact the arrow instantly morphed into numerous chains and wrapped around the creature immobilizing its entire body before Nera's dark familiar suddenly materialized behind that trial guardian and wrapped its arms around the creature further restraining it and for good measure lifting it off the ground just enough so the trial guardian couldn't call on any sharp branches to break the chains.
"Magic up!" Baxley called out reapplying the magic buff to Bluebell.
The trial guardian wanting to break free from the chains and dark elemental conjured a pair of thick vines in order to at least break the chains holding it, however that plan was thwarted when one of the thick vines was encased in ice from Audrey's frost arrow skill and Nera pulled out her dagger before imbuing the blade with dark magic and creating a black extension to the blade making it more akin to a short sword and throwing it in a spinning motion which lead to the dark magic blade severing the second thick vine in two.
"Dark equip." Nera mused upon receiving a curious look from Baxley. "It allows me to temporally imbue any weapon with dark magic to increase its potency and in the case of my dagger extending the length of the blade."
Meanwhile Bluebell smiled at this, with Baxley rebuffing her magic, both Audrey and Nera keeping the trial guardian restrained (A part of her wondered if it as just a coincidence or if both the bow hero and dark mage were intentionally supporting her plan) all that was left was Bluebell's own part.
Raising her hand into the air Bluebell began an incantation. "As the one who wields the great power, I command you, decipher the laws of nature and form a flame to reduce my enemies to mere ashes." Now for the final touch to ensure the spell did its job. "Zweite fast fire ball."
With the combination of everyone's efforts Bluebell's plan came into fruition, thanks to the trial guardian being restrained it had no way to dodge or defend itself against the spell and thanks to the combination of Baxley's magic buff and Bluebell using zwiete level magic for the first time the fire ball she sent out on another level from in previous fire type spell she used, combine that with the fact that fire as the trial guardian's weakness and that assured the creature would not come out of this unscathed even with its armor.
As the fire spell hit the trial guardian and dark familiar were both engulfed in flames and the former let out the loudest wail of pain it ever had yet, soon the dark elemental dematerialized dropping the trial guardian to the ground and there it laid burning for a few long moments before the flames died out revealing a blackened and charred body.
As everyone took in the sight they could only stare at the unmoving body in a tense silence before Baxley found his voice, "Is it finally over?"
"I'm not sure." Audrey said as she kept her gaze on the charred body, while it was obvious that Bluebell's spell did a great deal of damage this time and it certainly looked like the creature was dead the bow hero could not be absolutely sure, she wasn't able to able to see its hp bar so she didn't truly know if the beast was out for the count.
"My spell did its job didn't it?" Bluebell inquired.
Nera paced around the body to see if it shown any sign of breathing or other signs of life. "Yes, but with how durable this monster has show itself to be we can't get complacent even now."
As if to prove the group's concerns right the trial guardian's eyes shot open before it readied another flurry of raw magic blasts.
"Get to cover now!" Audrey yelled out as everyone did just that getting behind trees just before numerous magic blasts were shot off in every direction.
As everyone was forced to stay behind cover the trial guardian slowly and shakily got to its feet wheezing in the process.
Not yet not yet.
That single repeated phrase silently shown itself within the bow hero's mind making her wonder if it was due to determination or desperation on the trial guardian's part, but she didn't have time to ponder it for much longer once the tree she was hiding behind was snapped in half by the beast itself forces her to jump away and onto a tree branch.
The trial guardian sent a single powered up magic blast her way forcing her to leap from her perch back down to the ground before running after her back into the clearing. It was very likely due to the damage, actually it was safe to assume so that it was the cause of target being a lot slower now.
After gaining enough distance from it Audrey quickly swung around and fired a thunder arrow which hit the trial guardian head on causing it to stop in its tracks and stumble back a few steps before Nera followed up with a dark blast into the creature's back along with Bluebell used berg's sword to send a crescent flame into the target causing it to let out a pained wail.
The trial guardian roared before sending a new flurry of magic blast in all directions, more blasts than ever before peppered the clearing and surrounding trees forcing the others to retreat behind the tree line whilst Audrey tried to avoid as many blast as she was able until one of them hit her square in her midsection exploding on impact and destroying the bottom half of Audrey iron cuirass and tunic shirt and searing her stomach black as well as sending Audrey flying through the air.
Once its bombardment was done the trial guardian turned its attention towards the other three enemies who were just coming out from behind cover and forming the largest magic blast which came to rival the beast itself in terms of sheer size.
Upon seeing this Nera squeezed out the last of what mp she had left and began a fastest incantation she could muster before forming a zweite dark barrier in front of her before yelling out to both of the bow hero's teammates. "GET BEHIND ME NOW!"
Both Bluebell and Baxley complied as the trial guardian released its jumbo-sized blast. Nera cringed trying brace herself as well as she could, she already knew that even being at zweite level her defensive spell would not block that spell outright but she at least hoped to mitigate the damage her and the others would suffer enough that they'd survive the attack. Whatever ever happened next the outcome of this fight would be decided by the abilities of the bow hero.
As the blasts hit the barrier destroying and exploding creating a shockwave that the trio took the full brunt of being sent flying into trees. 'Audrey you better come through.' Nera thought as she slipped into unconsciousness along with Bluebell and Baxley.
All the while Audrey somewhat managed to get herself back to her feet once more before wiping away blood the was streaming down her face and obscuring her vision. Seeing a whole chunk of the surrounding grove now completely destroyed caused Audrey to glance at her hud, much to her relief both of her teammates were still alive, their hp was all but gone but still ultimately there.
Using her scouting skill she saw that they were both knocked out cold along with Nera leaving Audrey herself as the only one still in the fight. As the trial guardian turned around to face Audrey again it fell to one knee wheezing.
While this meant that the target was now on the last of its legs without a doubt Audrey still needed a way to secure victory, her mp reserves were dry so she couldn't use magic and her skills didn't do enough damage meaning that trying to rely on them was playing the long game.
While the trial guardian was worn down to this point Audrey highly doubted she outlast the thing in the long run which only reinforced the need for her to find a way to put out more damage but the question was how?
The trial guardian shot a single magic blast at Audrey which she used her quick dash to dodge, thinking about how many times this particular skill had saved her life made her really appreciate taking the time to…level it up.
That's it! That was the solution, realizing it now Audrey wanted to inwardly chastise herself for how stupid she was for not realizing it sooner or better yet doing it in advance, she needed to power up her offensive skills to make them more powerful.
Acting quickly Audrey launched her frost arrow followed by her chain arrow, since the trial guardian was too worn down at the moment to move at the moment both skills hit their mark restraining the creature in another prison of ice and reinforced chains wrapping around the ice. Thanks to the trial guardian's current condition it was taking a significant amount of time for it to break free, more than enough for Audrey to open her menu and begin sacrificing alll of her drops to pour exp into offensive skills.
Thunder arrow lv 2 of 7
poison mist lv 2 of 10
frost arrow lv 2 of 7
chain arrow lv 2 of 10
rain arrow lv 3 of 15
Alright with her skills all upgraded she now had the edge she needed, as the trial guardian broke out of its confinement and dashed after the bow hero as fast as it was able to in its current condition. Audrey simply shot off another chain arrow (It along with the frost arrow kill had instantly recharged when they were leveled up) which entangled the creature causing it to fall to the ground before Audrey follow up with a poison mist attack which left the target in the middle of a poisonous purple cloud.
Audrey heard the trial guardian's wheezing becoming more louder and more erratic as well as the beast squirming on the ground trying to free itself from the chain holding it as fast as it could which was a good indicator that her poison type skill was doing its job. 'Let's see how you like it when you're struggling just to stay alive.'
The bow hero was almost caught off guard when a single sharp branch ground out of the ground beside her and tried to stab her in the side' Audrey managed to evade the attack just in the nick of time but a moment later a shot of raw magic came out of the poison cloud directly towards her.
Audrey cringed and used her quick dash skill to dodge the attack, it was only by a miracle she wasn't even still alive at all after being hit with that last magic blast that left the very flesh on her midsection charred black and it was only adrenaline and will power allowing her to still move at this point, she couldn't afford to be hit with another magic blast less she wanted to die.
The sound of chain links snapping was heard which made Audrey wait for Trial guardian to come running or leap out of the cloud, the creature did the former but to Audrey's surprise instead of running out of the front of the poison cloud it emerged front the side before extending its arm outwards towards the bow hero who had already caught on to the beast's plan'
Not yet! That silent phrase appeared once more within the hero of the bow's mind.
As she had anticipated a new set on vines began growing her legs entangling them keeping her in place, meanwhile the trial guardian launched another power up (not jumbo sized) magic blast at her., in response to this Audrey took aim at the incoming and decided to test her next skill.
Unlike the previous time the spear of lighting the arrow converted itself into was visibly bigger and flew a great deal faster leaving the otherworldly hero impressed but the real test was how fair against the incoming attack, while Audrey knew without even testing that the previous version of her thunder arrow would have never the stack up to even a normal level raw magic attack let alone a powered up one. The bow hero at least hoped her thunder arrow would at least be able to cancel the incoming attack out if nothing more.
If it did its job in that field than Audrey could potentially finish the trial guardian off for good assuming her final attack did enough damage that is, but first she needed the trial guardian own attack to be successfully countered, if she couldn't do that than she'd be a sitting duck, with the vines holding her in place she couldn't move in hopes of dodging, her mp was out so she couldn't use her only defensive spell earth wall though she knew it wouldn't be able to stop the raw magic blast even if she were able to cast the spell. Surviving it was out of the question for reasons already established; her only option was to meet the attack with one of her own and cancel it out much like Nera had done during the earlier stages of the fight.
The question was would her new and improved thunder arrow actually work? She watched with bated breath as the two attacks collided and was met with a result she didn't even consider.
The level 2 version of her thunder arrow proved to be so powerful that it didn't simply cancel out the trial guardian's own attack the skill completely overpowered it and continued on toward the trial guardian hitting it square in the chest, as opposed to all the previous times where to thunder hit only got a grunt out of the trial guardian whenever it hit this time it drew a loud cry of agony from the beast before it fell to one knee clutching its chest which was bleeding very profusely now.
Not yet not yet not yet not yet not yet not yet! Even thought it was silent Audrey had the feeling the trial guardian was meaning to scream the sentence out as loud as it could.
Letting out a roar the trial guardian broke into one last all or nothing dash wanting to shred its last remaining opponent to pieces and end this entire battle.
Not that Audrey couldn't understand the creature's notion, hell she could very easily see herself doing the same exact thing if she were in its place right now, but the fact remained with its speed reduced so much from its injuries its final effort was undoubtedly futile.
Casually taking aim for one of the creature's legs Audrey let her next leveled up skill loose. "Frost arrow."
Her skill hit the trial guardians right leg encasing the limb in a thick laying of ice stopping the trial guardian's run and causing it to nearly fall over before it swung its claws at the ice, upon impact the ice crack in a few places but otherwise held very firmly prompting the trial guardian to repeatedly hit it causing more and more cracks to appear with each hit but in the end the ice refused to break apart showing that difference it had strength with a single level up.
Now with the trial guardian stuck in place it was time to see how much of a difference a skill that had two level ups had. Aiming her boy in the air Audrey performed her final attack.
Where the arrow barley pierced that trial guardian's hide before each arrow tore into the beast's very flesh with the full arrowhead going in along with a good portion of the arrow itself going in, many of which created new blood spouts whilst arrows that only grazed the creatures body tore visible cuts, many of which also bled.
Also the creature could do was scream out in agony as the last semblance of life left the beast as it was finally forced to succumb to its wounds, soon the trial guardian fell faced first to the ground.
'Finally!' Audrey thought to herself as she let out a sigh of relief that the main part of the danger has passed.
This fight put the bow hero and her party plus Nera through the ringer and honestly this was the last time Audrey accepted any job from the guild master at the capital after this, he may conspired to have her killed using either the invading mercenaries or the trial guardian and nearly succeeded with the latter, but in the end Audrey and the others pulled through and the guild master failed.
Unfortunately this meant that she wouldn't be collecting the reward since she doubted he intended to give it to her to begin with, but she was just glad her teammates and friends were still alive.
Walking over to their unconscious forms she proceeded to make and administer hp potion to both of them along with Nera, all three groaned but didn't show any other sign of a reaction, looking at her hud Audrey was pleased to see a good portion of their health bars restored further ensuring they were gonna be okay.
But before Audrey could do anything more, she notices a light behind her and turned to see the trial guardian's body glowing brightly with a lavender tint.
Tensing up Audrey worried that the trial guardian was still alive until she received a notification that be all logic should indicate otherwise.
Earned 3800 exp
Mason lv 29
So, everyone got a lot of exp and went up two levels save for mason who went up even more and if they got exp that further asserted that the trial guardian was defeated, so why was its body glowing.
Before Audrey could even contemplate how to react to this new development the carcass of the trial guardian became completely engulfed in the glow before instantly and with no warning disappeared into multiple particles of lavender colored lights leaving in its place something else or rather someone else.
Standing within the space that the trial guardian had previously occupied was a female figure, the woman in question looked like some barely into their adult years who had an almost pristine face with long lavender hair and eyes and wearing plain thick white monk like robes. The feature the stood out the most as a pair of deer like antlers coming out of the top of her head. Overall the woman despite only wearing the plainest attire possible looked downright beautiful practically to an unnatural level.
As both the bow hero and the mysterious woman's eyes met the latter closed hers flashing Audrey a kind smile which only confused her, that said confusion only increased when the following silent sentence manifested within the other worlder's mind.
Thou have passed the trial and as such earned thy power.
The mysterious woman created a light within her hands leaving Audrey both tense and confused at the same time, a part of her was wondering if the light the mystery figure had created was a new kind of attack but something about the woman's demeanor surprisingly assured the bow hero otherwise.
Still if this new figure didn't intend to do Audrey or the others harm then what exactly was her purpose? The unknown woman wouldn't say anything or make any real gesture that might clue Audrey into what this new arrival- well maybe it was technically the trial guardian in human form, she wasn't really too sure since she never seen any monster change their form like this.
The mysterious woman raised of hands and held them out, moments after the light slowly floated over to Audrey as she watched it with caution before it burst into sparkles around her leaving her more baffled than ever before being snapped out of it by a nee notification.
S class skill unlocked: Sanctus arrow
Radient bow unlocked
Stats: Spd + 75 atk + 60 mgc + 55 def + 25
Equip effect: normal attack damage up (medium) at the cost of sp, use of S class skill once cp is fully charged to 100%
Skills: light arrow lv 1 of 3
"Huh?" Before Audrey could say or contemplate anything further the pain from her own injuries finally set in along with a wave of fatigue now that her adrenaline was gone and has a result the woman made cardinal hero fell to her knees.
'How much did I wear myself out?' she wondered as her mind faded into unconsciousness against her will and she fell to the ground out cold.
Alright that's the end of this chapter and I gotta say wow, I didn't expect the fight scene to turn out this long, granted I was aiming to make this a major fight for Audrey and company so I did want it to last more than just a few paragraphs but wow combine this with my previous chapter and this is the longest fight scene I've ever done to date.
I'll see if I can't do other major events the same justice, don't get me wrong I'm not planning to make literally every skirmish a ten thousand word chapter but when it comes to really major enemies like the pope, spirit tortoise or kyo I want to due them justice (Especially the spirit tortoise and Kyo since the anime did those fights no justice what so ever)
Anyway the next chapter is gonna be the epilogue of this arc and from there I'm gonna have some miscellaneous events happen and then one more custom arc before going into the next wave.
And just some miscellaneous info, the OC Nera and much of her overall character took inspiration from two fire emblem characters one from awakening and fates, I'm sure to anyone whose played them can guess who.
Also in other news I finally am able to use my pc now (I've been using my phone to write chapters until now), after desperately looking for a writing app that had at least the basic fonts of bold italic and underline and surprisingly coming up short because every app I tried either lacked those, had stupid requirements such as a webserver I finally said $%^* it and just bought the newest version of Microsoft word.
Now it'll be a lot easier for me to find grammer and spelling mistakes, and write certain sections the way I won't them to appear such as info to new bows. Basically a lot of them came out like this
New bow unlock
When in all actuality I was really wanting this.
New bow unlocked
Bad news is this might extend the wait time since I can't write during my downtime at my job and I need to go to a place that has wifi to use the internet to post the chapters, hope that won't be too much of an inconvenience
Beyond that I hope to hear your thoughts on this chapter