The battle raged on…
*Bang bang bang* The sounds of thunderous strikes echoed in the air. Because the Warhorses were starting to tire out, their speed had slowed down considerably to the point where the two Four-stars Igneous Giants managed to swat them away like ping pong balls. Those who were sent flying, while not dead, were severely injured and weren’t likely to get up anytime soon.
‘That was a blockade of over a hundred Warhorse and yet those two Demon Fire Igneous Giants managed to mount a comeback…isn’t that just a little too scary…’
“Something’s amiss here, those two giants are too strong.” Sinmosa voiced her doubts regarding the precarious situations the Warhorses found themselves in right now: “Logically speaking, it should be impossible for the two Four-stars giants to make a comeback like that at their level, unless…”
She paused then, seemingly deep in thought as if something had just occurred to her. Seeing that, I hurriedly pressed her for answers: “Unless what?”
“Unless those two giants are about to evolve…”
“Evolve? You’re kidding…isn’t that just a little too coincidental? Oh right, what do these giants normally eat?” Because these giants were a strange hybrid of elemental and physical entities, I was rather intrigued by this topic: “They do have to eat, right?”
Seeking to end this harrowing battle as soon as possible, one of the Five-stars Warhorses galloped towards the flank of the giant and gave a resounding kick to its waist, taking a chunk out of that giant in the process. Having succeeded, it tried to use the igneous exterior of that giant to try and springboard away but unfortunately for him, he had underestimated its reaction speed and sturdiness.
What looked like a serious injury was nothing but a scratch to the ever-regenerating giants. With just an effortless swipe, it managed to capture the fleeing Warhorse, encasing the poor beast in mere seconds with its palms that rapidly closed together like a rocky vice. Immediately, that Warhorse was squashed into an unrecognizable mess of blood and flesh that began gushing out of the giant’s palm even before it fully crushed him.
“Hoh hoh hoh…” Having caused the first true kill in this prolonged battle, the Demon Fire Igneous Giant bellowed with pride after which he promptly, and unabashedly, tossed the corpse into its mouth and…
“…it ate the corpse?!” As I watched the grizzly deed unfold before me, I was suddenly reminded of a chilling similarity this scene bore to a certain anime about attacking titans…
“Ahhhh…scary…” Mo Na was just as spooked by what she saw as I was and quickly hid behind my back, eyes averted.
“This is one of the main reasons why the Demonic Fire Igneous Giants are considered giants in the first place: pure elemental creatures do not need to eat.” At that, Sinmosa sighed before continuing: “Not only are these giants able to replenish their energy by feeding on elements, they can do so by consuming flesh as well. With how mighty, inexhaustible and tough they are, the Demonic Fire Igneous Giants are basically invincible, if not for their lack of speed.”
The first gruesome death amongst the Warhorses seemed almost like a danger signal of sorts to those present. As they watched helplessly by the sidelines as their companion was ripped to shreds and swallowed, their psyche began to collapse and soon, mistakes began to pop up one after the other. Those unfortunate enough to err, were soon picked up by a swift scoop of the giants’ hands and summarily executed in the same way as their companion.
Just like that, the number of deaths spiked within a short period of time. The more the Warhorses panicked, the more mistakes they made and the worse their situation got. Even though they still held the absolute advantage in terms of strength, they were clearly in a bad situation.
At the other side, the elder Warhorse was still duking it out with the Five-stars giant. Had it not been for the fact that he had to expend so much energy to save those trapped Warhorses, he probably wouldn’t have had such difficulty fighting the giant.
Still, there was no doubting the power and ferocity of his attacks. However, the Five-stars giant’s defenses were even more powerful than that, so was its recovery rate. No matter how much mana the giant expended, it was able to rapidly recover it just by maintaining contact with the ground.
While the elder’s combat level was a whole tier higher than the giant’s, he still wasn’t strong enough to deal a lethal blow in one strike. Given that his endurance was nowhere near the giant’s, the outcome of this battle was basically decided.
Fist after fist, the giant swung out at the nimble Warhorse elder who seemed to zip through the battlefield like a speeding bullet, and while all these attacks ended up missing, it was now only a matter of time before it would eventually score a hit thanks to its endless supply of energy.
Barely dodging another thunderous blow of the giant’s by a hair’s breadth, the elder was immediately bombarded once more by the cries of his kin nearby. Taking advantage of this momentary reprieve between attacks, he sneaked a peek at the other side and was immediately horrified by what he saw. In just thirty minutes, their party had lost ten Warhorses to those two Four-stars giants.
Of those surviving Warhorses, there was clearly a sense of fear in their eyes as their formation steadily fell apart. Gone were the calm and collected strikes and retreats, and instead what remained what was a disparate and disjointed effort at maintaining some semblance of an offense.
“HEAR ME WELL, we’re abandoning this hunt, everyone head towards the south!”
Before their losses got any worse, the Warhorse elder made the decisive call to retreat.
By now, the Warhorses were no longer eager to tangle any longer with these terrifying foes so the moment that order was given, they sped off like a swarm of bees towards the south.
“Mama, those black horsies are acting a little strange, why are they heading towards us?” As she said that, Mo Na pointed a finger at the furiously galloping horses heading our way. “Isn’t their home in the north?”
“Not good, they are trying to turn us into decoys…” The moment she reminded me of that fact,I immediately scooped her up and frantically called for our own retreat: “Run away, quick, those horses are up to no good…”
However, we were still too slow, or rather it would be more accurate to say that the Warhorses were too fast.
Two hundred meters was nothing for a bunch of adult Warhorse; ten seconds was all it took for them to cross that distance and catch up to us.
Having noticed us from the start, the Warhorses still had no intention of calling out to us but merely galloped around us and continued heading south. The last to pass us was the Warhorse elder who seemed to notice us and yet not see us at the same time, before zipping past us like a gust of wind.
“I…” really wanted to point a middle finger at him there and then… ‘I thought we were just here for the popcorn?!’
Having been picked up by me, Mo Na twisted about slightly and wiggled her way into a more comfortable position before saying: “Mama, what should we do now?”
“Run of course!” Left arm still wrapped tightly around her, I lowered my body and scooped up a befuddled Cinderel before jumping onto Sinmosa’s back. Clearly understanding what I had intended, Sinmosa sped off towards the Warhorses without saying a word.
Behind us, No.3, Big 4 and Sasani started sprinting without any hesitation.
As expected, the Demonic Fire Igneous Giants hadn’t given up on the chase. Thankfully, their speed was woefully lacking and it wasn’t long before the distance between us widened to a large degree. Still, even from such a distance away, I could hear the resounding booms of their feet crashing into the ground as they sprinted furiously towards us. With each step, it seemed like the ground quaked in fear from their powerful strides. Awash in the unending tremors, just standing there felt extremely discomforting for us.
All in all, the chase lasted for another ten or so minutes before the giants finally gave up having realized that there was basically no hope of catching up to us. The three of them halted their tracks and after giving a quick look around, decided to head back. Even so, I could still feel the pounding of their footsteps despite their noticeably softer pace.
‘We are safe at last…if that colossal thing were to ever land a hit on us…we would turn into devil pancakes in an instant…’
With no need to run anymore, we took some time to rest on the spot.
Now that the road northward was completely blocked off by those giants, we had to reconsider our route once in order to proceed. Yet things weren’t as simple as we had initially thought as the moment Warhorses realized that giants had give up, they immediately stopped running as well and then turned around to surround us…that’s right, surround us.
“Hellhounds…and DEVILS?! What are devils doing here?”
‘At this point, that reaction might as well just be added to the basic package of emojis…’
“What’s the meaning of this?” As I sat atop Sinmosa, I hugged Mo Na and Cinderel even closer to myself, ever ready to force a breakthrough out of their encirclement at the drop of a hat. Even though I knew that was basically impossible now, appearances still had to be maintained.
“Devil, I don’t care why or how you have come to stand before me now, I just hope that you will help us.” Ignoring my question entirely, the Warhorse elder went off on his own: “I still have some kin who weren’t able to escape and are lying wounded in that battlefield. Those d*mned giants must be heading back right now to finish them off. In order to avoid that, I need your help.”
“So what you’re saying is that you’ll delay those giants while we rescue your kin?”
‘Making such a request after surrounding us like that? Did no one teach this Warhorse some basic manners? Besides, don’t think for a second that I didn’t notice how you abandoned those poor horses. Your retreat wasn’t so chaotic that no one had time to rescue them.’