Chapter 61: Finally a Tutorial (3)
Forty-five people rushed forward as the first vanguard group following Allen Leonard’s lead. Just when the mutants were about to swing their fiery fists at these incoming heroes …
“Scatter!” Allen shouted and threw himself to the ground, sliding past his enemy from between its legs. Those following him from behind split into two groups. In a state of commotion, the troops dashed forward.
Pwi, pwi, pwi, pwis.h.!.+
A clutter of knives struck the mutant’s head, chest, stomach, thighs, and torso. The mutant faltered for a moment before growling ferociously, bending down in preparation to lunge at the heroes, but two more spears struck both of its eyes.
The mutant shrieked as it lost its eyesight without realizing what had happened.
“We blinded it!”
“It’s still not dead!”
“Slice it! Slice its arms first!”
“Don’t try to kill it! Cripple it!”
The heroes shouted in unison. While those in the forefront blocked their enemy’s movements with all their might, other heroes approached the mutant from behind. They quickly sliced the mutant’s arms, necks, and thighs. Soon, the mutant’s severed remains dropped and rolled all around the floor, and the heroes kicked them as far away as possible. Their experience in the battle at the base camp was now coming in handy.
The mutant’s life force was formidable. Even after they sliced their necks or pierced their hearts, they didn’t die. Thus, when he fought them before, Ru Amuh had immobilized the mutants by blinding them before separating their body parts. If they had no limbs, the mutants were nothing more than meat clumps even when they were still alive. And by following this method, Allen’s team was able to successfully defeat their first enemy. Allen kicked the mutant’s head, which was still making clinking noises with its teeth, into a path of fire and stared ahead.
Allen knew it was too early to celebrate. They were able to bring one mutant down luckily thanks to a focused surprise attack. As if to confirm his thoughts, big, wavering shadows burst out from the fire, all large frames and dense muscles. The mutants were appearing in ma.s.ses. This was just the start of this war.
The mutants dashed out in confusion and bared their fangs when they saw potential prey. The heroes hesitated. They were no longer able to gang up on a single mutant. At most, they could attack each mutant in a group of three. If they weren’t careful, they would be torn to pieces like the mutant they had just defeated.
As the mutants focused their attention on the first team, the second team that had been hiding behind the hill on the left rushed out while shouting.
Following them, the third team that had been hiding behind the hill on the right came running downwards. The situation improved slightly with the new arrivals, and now they outnumbered the mutants by eight to one.
“5 in the first group. 3 in the other!” Allen shouted, and the heroes moved stealthily. In groups of fives and threes, they ran towards mutants who were busily looking left and right. Adopting the same strategy as before, each of the teams blocked their target’s movement with the unit of five and attempted to cut off the mutant’s head, arms, and legs with the unit of three. And the remaining heroes who weren’t a.s.signed a mutant fought to block other monsters that were running rampant in all directions. But like all things, wars didn’t go exactly according to plan.
The heroes and the mutants shouted at each other. One hero thrusted a spear into a mutant’s body before his eyes widened.
The hero lost his spear and flew away, his back bent in half. The mutant had kicked him as soon as it was pierced by his spear.
“Pierce it! Just pierce it!” Amid the shouting, knives were buried into the mutant’s sides. The mutant shrieked and swung its arms around. It chanced upon a hero that had closed in to slice its limb and s.n.a.t.c.hed the hero from the ground, tightening its vice-like grips.
A chilling sound of bones breaking rang across the area, followed by a scream. The hero’s shoulders had been crushed to paste.
“You f.u.c.king b.a.s.t.a.r.d!”
After his three teammates had failed in cutting the mutant up, one of the remaining heroes let go of his dagger and fought with his physical body alone.
“Uhahhh!” He let out a hearty cry and threw himself against the monster. Seemingly caught off guard, the mutant stopped swinging another hero around like a ragdoll and fell.
“s.h.i.+t! f.u.c.kk!” Having pinned the mutant down, the hero threw punches after punches at it.
Punch, punch, punch, punch!
Every time, the monster’s head was knocked to the side.
“Uh, ah…?” After flinging his fist around crazily, the hero suddenly stopped. He stopped screaming and looked at his hand blankly. It was gone. Half of his hand was ripped away, leaving nothing but broken, b.l.o.o.d.y bones. He looked downwards and noticed that the mutant was biting a part of his hand in its mouth. The monster’s reptile-like eyes blinked.
“Uh…uh…” The hero recoiled in shock, and the mutant sat up with a growl, reaching toward the hero. It dropped back to the ground before it could get up properly. The heroes from the same group had reorganized and struck its two eyes with spears. Two more heroes came running in aid and swung their knives powerfully at the monster’s shoulders. The mutant resisted and shattered one hero’s groin into pieces, but it ended up losing both its arms in the process. In the end, they succeeded in their battle plan with the sacrifice of three people. But of course, they weren’t the only ones suffering casualties.
Another hero was grappling with a mutant. With a lion’s mane flying all over his face, the hero displayed incredible endurance and strength as he locked hands with the mutant in a battle of raw physical power. However, the hero was being pushed back. He managed to resist for a while, but he heard the continuous noise of his bones cracking.
The lion mane hero let go momentarily and hurriedly ducked down.
A giant mutant’s hand swung at him and grazed the nape of his neck. Seizing the opening, the lion-maned hero sidestepped to the mutant’s back and reached under its armpits, locking his arms around the mutant with all his might, shouting, “Strike it!”
His team had failed to immobilize their enemy, and five out of the eight people in their team had been shredded apart in an instant. Two other heroes were almost killed afterward, but thanks to the lion-maned hero, they were able to survive by a hair’s breadth. The two heroes coughed while clutching their throats and looked at their companion as he grabbed the mutant by himself. They looked extremely conflicted.
The mutant roughly swung its elbow backward, and the lion mane hero’s body twisted. But even as he was falling, the hero scratched the mutant’s thigh roughly, which sent the mutant toppling toward the ground with him. The hero shouted again while clutching the monster’s arms until he felt like his throat would burst, “I told you to pierce it!”
The two heroes clenched their teeth. With a grunt, they raised their weapons.
The chilling iron penetrated through the mutant's body into the lion-maned hero. The hero opened his mouth wide, and blood trailed down his sharp canines. Everywhere, different forces were killing one another. After the clean takedown of their first enemy, there was almost no team that had defeated a mutant without any casualties. Most had immobilized their target with sacrifices, and they had to consider themselves lucky for even succeeding in this first step. There were many teams that had dispersed after failing, including Allen Leonard’s team. Although they had managed to defeat their first mutant with four sacrifices, the rest of the surviving members had to disperse and sought to help the other teams. It was then, a swarm of cursed ones rushed in.
They didn’t have the chance to scream at the heroes who were supposed to guard them. They had expected their defense line to break since most of their members had gotten killed when fighting the mutant. The only thing they could do at this point in time was to swing their swords as many times as they could. It was fortunate that fighting the non-mutants was much easier than the mutants, and the regular cursed ones were much more susceptible to fire.
After fighting off about six or seven of them, Allen soon reached his limit.
It was already too late when he hurriedly hurled around. Something suddenly swished through the air and struck Allen, making him roll a couple of times on the ground. When he could finally tell up from down and lifted his gaze, there was a cursed being on top of him. Allen quickly pierced its temple with a blade before struggling to get up. From afar, he saw the mutant who had hurled a cursed one at him. The mutant was missing an arm, and it seemed the team that had been in charge of it failed to take it out. Allen didn’t even have the time to think about what had happened to this group, since the monster was already positioning itself.
The mutant jumped off. It shortened the distance between them in an instant and wrapped its hands around Allen’s neck. Suffocated, Allen barely managed to keep his eyes open and meet the mutant one’s gaze.
When the mutant applied more pressure, Allen’s sword fell from his hand.
Allen pounded on the mutant's arms in desperation, but it was futile. The mutant was about to twist his neck off when—
The hands gripping his neck suddenly loosened.
“Die! s.h.i.+t! Please die!” A hero had appeared from behind the mutant’s back and was riding on top of the monster’s shoulders while piercing its face repeatedly with a dagger. While the mutant floundered from the sudden attack, Allen grasped the sword he had dropped. As soon as he saw the mutant grab at the hero on top of its shoulders, Allen coughed and ran forward with his sword raised.
He ended up rolling off the hill with the mutant before colliding against a boulder, feeling air knocked out of his chest by the heavyweight landing on him. Pressed between the mutant’s head and the rock, he stared as the mutant swung its arm in a wide arc.
‘Huh—’ Allen stopped breathing, ready to meet his death. But then the mutant halted. It was unclear why it had stopped. Allen instinctually seized the opening and rolled away before the mutant’s fist landed on the ground.
‘What happened?’ Allen got up while coughing and studied the wiggling mutant. The mutant got up and looked in his direction. It was about to lunge again when it flinched, its body suddenly stiff.
‘Again? Now that I think about it…’
It looked as if the mutant was having trouble controlling themselves, and its movements had become considerably slow. Allen could think of only one reason for this: ‘fire’. Like before, fire was burning the mutant’s entire body. For some reason, it seemed the flames were harming these creatures’ insides. It didn’t affect them to the point that they couldn’t move at all, but they were stopping randomly from time to time. These small moments were significant for an experienced hero like Allen—he had survived an attack that could’ve killed him as a result.
Allen scowled and kept a wary eye on the mutant as he backed away quickly. The battlefield was almost half a hill and half a seabed of fire. It was just like how they had expected. They were at a disadvantage. Their number had dwindled from three digits to two. Nevertheless, things were better than what he had predicted. Although the heroes were getting noticeably pushed back, they were still putting up a good fight. Most importantly, they were keeping the majority of the mutants occupied. If they continued to endure like this, they could limit the casualties.
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Suddenly, Allen heard a roar that cracked all the hope and wishful thoughts he had. It wasn’t the roar of a single mutant, but a chorus of dozens. Allen became speechless after counting the number of mutants emerging from the fire. There were over thirty of them—all mutants. The heroes were already struggling to keep up, but with thirty more mutants in the mix? It seemed obvious what would happen.
He quickly turned around and swung his sword, but ended up slicing into nothing but air. His opponent had disappeared like a ghost again.
‘It was there.’ Ru Amuh saw the black smoke circling in the air and closed his eyes. Then he focused on heightening all his senses. Synesthesia— it was the ability to arouse other senses with one sense. When he detected a foreign substance within his senses’ reach, he quickly pushed forward and hurled a sharp wind towards the area. His attack landed on its target this time, yet the wind blades failed to slice the robe and ended up smoldered by it instead.
There was a short exclamation.
—How did you know where I was? Do you know how to manipulate s.p.a.ce?
Ru Amuh didn’t answer the question and instead gathered his energy again as he raised his sword.
The robe suddenly inflated like a balloon, and black smoke began to pour out of the sleeves and the hood. The smoke spread out like a peac.o.c.k’s feathers and moved individually like a hydra’s many heads. Smoke flowed out of the robe and began to increase in size. Ru Amuh narrowed his eyes and backed two steps away. Malicious energy swirled around him, so dark that it made him nauseous. It felt as if he was meeting death.
—I don’t know how, but…you are a bit dangerous. No, you can be dangerous in the future.
A skin-crawling voice spoke, and Ru Amuh desperately swung his sword at the source, but it was in vain. The smoke quickly gathered again after being briefly dispersed by the wind blades. One of the many pillars of smoke bent like a cobra and lunged at Ru Amuh. Ru Amuh tried to defend himself by creating wind, but the smoke seeped into his wind like it was meant to be part of it and wormed its way into his hand.
Ru Amuh dropped his sword. His hand had turned black.
‘This monster…!’ Ru Amuh realized it now. The being in front of him was a monster, an alchemist who had died and become a necromancer. In short, this being was a lich. Even in Ru Amuh’s world, a lich was a tricky opponent to handle. He was facing a high-level enemy that was far beyond his ability.
‘What a mistake.’
They shouldn’t have started this fight if there was a monster of this level, especially when he had only recovered about one-fifth of his original power. The lich wasn’t a being that Ru Amuh could handle at his current level.
—What a pity.
The lich commanded the remaining smoke and captured Ru Amuh tightly in his grasp.
—But it’s probably better than letting you live. At least I can use your corpse afterward.
The lich’s robe wrapped Ru Amuh’s arms and legs tightly, and the lich murmured while pulling him forward.
The lich was going to shred Ru Amuh to pieces without giving him a chance to fight back.
They suddenly heard something like a balloon popping. Allen was about to shout in horror, Ru Hiana was a moment away from shrieking, and even Ru Amuh had widened his eyes, but to their surprise, a chunk of the great lump of smoke near the robe was missing. It looked like a large sinkhole popping suddenly into existence on a road. Furthermore, the smoke around the piece of robe that had been supplying energy nonstop began to disperse. Ru Amuh hadn’t been able to scatter any of the smoke permanently no matter how hard he tried, but now it was fading.
The robe slowly dropped like a balloon shriveling after getting burst by a hammer.
Although everyone was surprised, the lich was the most surprised. He had been hit with no prior warning. Not only was his body smashed in a single hit, but there was also a crack on his life vessel that he had carefully protected.
It couldn’t be true, but the lich found his life force draining from him.
The lich turned around in disbelief. Looking past Ru Amuh, he saw Chi-Woo holding a jet-black club under the silverish moonlight.
“Senior…!” Ru Hiana whimpered. They were saved.
—How did he…!
The lich watched as Chi-Woo approached, holding the club with both hands like he was holding a baseball bat.
“Goodbye,” Chi-Woo repeated the lich’s words back to him and swung his club with all his might.
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