Chapter 26: Long Night in the Capital Part 3
The monstrous and venomous Hades scorpion spread its pincers wide and let out a piercing scream that reeked of malevolence.
Its auditory violence, which didn’t require any use of spiritual power or fighting spirit, assaulted Kendil and the others, but they weren’t the kind to be frightened by such a thing.
Before the power of their sense of justice, duty, and faith, such a sound was only a signal of the start of the battle.
“Is that the target we were after? Then, Ethan must have been…damn it!”
“Calm down! We’ll definitely take it down!”
The three members at the front took a kneeling position, ready to face the Hades scorpion head-on, while the rear guard waited to fire off spiritual attacks at any moment.
No matter how powerful it may have been, it was still just an insect.
They believed it would simply charge straight ahead, and they would intercept it.
That was their plan.
However, the Hades scorpion, standing right in front of them, mocked their expectations and took a different course of action.
It burrowed into the sand and disappeared completely.
Even though they couldn’t follow its movements with their eyes, they couldn’t conceal the fact that it was a massive presence.
They couldn’t tell its exact location or depth, but they had a general idea of where it was.
When the hades scorpion burrowed into the ground, the group was initially shocked, but they quickly calmed down once they realized it was just a bluff.
They could sense the scorpion’s presence as it snaked its way towards them.
Their plan was to lure it in as close as possible, then have the backline strike it with spiritual arts while the frontline defended.
However, what they didn’t know was that the scorpion they were facing was far more intelligent and cunning than usual, and had a clear intent to kill them.
The exclamation came from the holy knight in the backline.
He murmured in surprise and turned around, only to be shocked at the sight of the scorpion’s tail segment piercing his back.
It didn’t make sense.
They should have sensed its approach from the front.
Why did it come from behind? He tried to warn his comrades, but his mouth wouldn’t move properly.
Before he could realize that his whole body was immobilized, his consciousness had already faded.
“He’s been killed!? Where did it come from!?”
Upon seeing their comrade fall to the ground, the two holy knights panicked at the realization of his death.
However, only their captain, Kendil, remained calm.
While he was not without rage, he recognized that everyone should not be distracted by what happened behind them.
And his foresight was proven right when, just as the two turned around, the Hades scorpion emerged from where they originally sensed its presence with incredible speed.
Kendil had prepared for this and swung his longsword, stiking the scorpion’s body, but the resistance he felt made him furrow his brow.
“This is a fake… is this a sand clone?”
What Kendil had struck was not the real scorpion, but a clone made of sand.
The Hades scorpion had suppressed its fighting spirit and poured its overflowing spiritual power into the sand, creating a perfect replica of itself.
While the holy knights were distracted by the fake, the Hades scorpion concealed its presence and moved through the sand, attacking one holy knight with its poisonous stinger before sending its clone to attack the other.
The Hades scorpion had intended to kill both of them with this strategy, but it was thwarted.
However, just because the Hades scorpion’s attack was thwarted didn’t mean it lost the advantage.
In fact, the holy knights were now unsure whether they were facing the real or the fake Hades scorpion, which left them vulnerable.
This moment made it clear to them that they couldn’t let their guard down, even for a moment.
“Get back to back! Solidify the ground with spiritual power!”
The three holy knights positioned themselves back-to-back and kept watch around them, forming a defensive formation to avoid being caught off guard.
Having mastered the control of its fighting spirit and spiritual power during many previous battles, the hades scorpion, who was now attempting to sneak up on them, tried to approach from below, while erasing its presence.
However, the ground had been solidified by some sort of spiritual art, making it impossible for the scorpion to penetrate.
Undeterred, the scorpion created several clones and launched several rounds of attacks, but they were easily sliced apart due to their fragile bodies made of sand.
Despite this, the hades scorpion repeated the same tactic three more times, all of which were successfully defended against.
“If we hold out for a little longer, reinforcements from the other areas we’ve taken will arrive! Let’s keep up our defense!”
As Kendil suggested, if they could continue to hold their ground, reinforcements were likely to arrive as planned.
After all, they would be considered to have encountered problems in an area that hadn’t been fully subdued.
Just as the other two were about to respond, the fourth attack came.
The three knights successfully blocked it as before, but a major miscalculation was made.
One of the clones had mixed in with the real scorpion.
The first holy knight attacked by the Hades Scorpion was caught completely off guard.
Before he could even swing his sword, he was struck in the neck by the poisonous stinger.
Hearing his screams, the other two turned around just in time to see the scorpion sever the leg of the knight closest to it.
The holy knight writhed on the ground, having lost a leg from the knee down, but Captain Kendil gritted his teeth and ignored the sight as he charged towards the scorpion.
The blade, enhanced with a spiritual circuit, clashed against the scorpion’s pincers, causing sparks to fly.
The longswords used by the holy knights were all magnificent weapons, and their strength and sharpness were especially formidable when the engraved spiritual circuits were activated.
Nevertheless, the winner of the clash was the scorpion’s claws.
Kendil was surprised to see his own sword suffer damage to its edge, but he continued to swing it with unyielding determination.
The exchange of blows between the sword and the pincers continued for dozens of rounds without either side giving ground.
However, Kendil’s sword finally snapped in half, unable to withstand the intensity of the combat.
“I’ll be fine!”
The battle seemed to have reached a stalemate, but the holy knight, who had survived despite having his lower leg severed, threw his sword towards Kendil while unleashing a spiritual art attack.
The scorpion blocked the spiritual attack with its pincers while retreating, and Kendil caught the sword and took his stance.
The fight had returned to square one.
The Hades Scorpion, while clicking its small pincers, checked the condition of its pincers that were hit by a spiritual attack by opening and closing them, all while exuding a sense of composure.
It was natural for the Scorpion to show such ease, as there wasn’t a single scratch on the surface of its pincers.
(That composure will be its downfall!)
Kendil stepped forward, lowering his sword to the lower stance, and then swiftly lifted it up as if scooping the air….
all while preparing a spirituam art attack with his left hand.
The spiritual art he cast was the same one he had used against the hidden knight–a fire ball.
Perhaps caught off guard, the hades scorpion was hit directly by the spiritual attack.
It stumbled on the spot, and seeing it as an opening, Kendil scooped up his sword with his right hand.
At first, Kendil couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing before his eyes.
His upward slash, which he put all his might into, had been caught by the claw blades.
He desperately tried to pull out his sword, but it wouldn’t budge, as if it were stuck in stone.
He gave up on retrieving his sword and jumped backward while releasing another spiritual attack.
However, before he could evacuate, the Hades scorpion leaped fiercely from within the explosion.
It possessed an intense and terrifying momentum that showed no signs of the previous ease.
“Get away… Stop it! Stop it…Guaaaahhh!”
Kendil tried to shake off the scorpion, but he was unable to do so as it pierced its legs into his armor and immobilized itself.
Then it sandwiched his shoulders with its pincers.
Kendil realized what it was trying to do and desperately tried to break free, but it was impossible to push it back with his current strength.
The Hades scorpion’s pincers ruthlessly cut off both of Kendil’s arms from his shoulders along with his armor.
“Hiiii!? D, don’t comeeeee!”
As the Hades Scorpion landed on top of Kendil, having removed its limbs, it proceeded towards the immobilized Holy Knight, whose shins were cut off without hesitation.
Seeing Kendil, their hope, cut such a sorry state, the Scorpion broke their spirit.
Though the Holy Knight tried to retreat, the ground under him suddenly turned into sand.
The effect of the spiritual art that had solidified the ground had worn off.
The Scorpion took advantage of this and turned the ground beneath the Holy Knight into a mortar like shape.
“Ugh, uwaahh!? Oh God! Please save me!”
The Scorpion made a flow toward the bottom of the mortar-shaped sand.
The Holy Knight was swept away towards the bottom.
Desperately trying to climb up with his hands and one foot, he couldn’t get a firm footing on the soft sand.
For every step he tried to take, he sank three steps.
Sinking into the sand with a squelching sound, the Holy Knight cried out to God for help.
However, his prayer went unanswered, and he was mercilessly buried under the sand.
The Hades scorpion manipulated the sand, applying strong pressure while leveling the ground that had been turned into a mortar like shape.
There was no way anyone who had been crushed to death at the bottom of the earth could crawl out.
The Hades scorpion turned slowly toward Kendil.
“Guuuuhhh! You evil insect, revel in your fleeting victory…You deceived justice and murdered an enforcer of justice.
You are an unforgivable evil! An enemy of justice! Someday, no matter where you are, my comrades and the holy knights are will find you! And the blade of justice will strike you down! Justice will always triumph in the end!”
Even though Kendil had lost both arms and was bleeding heavily, he still talked back to the Hades scorpion.
He had given up on his own life, but he couldn’t allow the evil that had killed an enforcer of justice to go unpunished.
Even if it sounded like sour grapes, he had to declare that justice would always win.
The Hades scorpion listened to Kendil’s argument while breathing heavily.
When it confirmed that Kendil had finished speaking, the scorpion manipulated the sand to create a long sword.
Kendil glared hatefully at the sand sword that would pierce him.
But when he saw the pattern that emerged on the sword blade, he opened his eyes wide like saucers.
“Is this the word for…justice?!”
He realized that was not a pattern but rather the word for “justice”.
Upon closer inspection, while the size of the sand sword was different, its shape and hilt design were exactly the same as the sword used by the Holy Knights.
Kendil wasn’t foolish enough to think this was just a coincidence.
He had thought that the cunning scorpion, for an insect, was clever, but he never dreamed that it would use actual characters.
It was here, at this moment, that Kendil felt true fear.
The monster was so powerful that even four Holy Knights couldn’t inflict a scratch on it, and it was intelligent enough to understand language.
He realized that he had made a clear of declaration of hostility towards it.
He thought he was speaking to an opponent who didn’t understand words, but things were different when the other party could comprehend what he was saying.
What if a powerful creature understood language and was told that it would be killed someday? What would it do if it was told that the holy knights would pursue it relentlessly? He was certain that it would stand as an irreconcilable enemy.
(Perhaps about now, I may have created the worst enemy of the Justice Church.)
With despair and regret tormenting him, the blade of “justice” struck him, swung by the Hades Scorpion itself.
His final expression was distorted by despair and fear.
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