Chapter 32: Face the Fear

“What did I ever do to deserve this?” Darius screamed as he ran at full throttle away from the monstrosity chasing him. It was a spirit that looked like an earthworm, with its mouth’s circumference covered in sharp teeth. This mouth was actually just an opening at the front of the worm while the teeth acted as drills, allowing it to freely move through the earth like a fish swimming in water.

The worm was incredibly thick. Each hole it created through its passing was at least three meters in diameter while it was at least twenty meters long. Its size wasn’t the worst part. For the life of him, Darius could not figure out why the worm was chasing him!

At first, it had appeared under Lara, who had swiftly dodged its attack, but then the worm had single-mindedly rushed at Darius, completely ignoring the lass.

Darius cursed his misfortune as he ran for dear life while Lara ran after the duo. Like Darius, she was also confused. From time to time she would catch up to the worm and cut it with her two swords, causing some minor wounds here and there, but her taunting did nothing to sway its actions.

She was well aware that Spirits had the habit of targeting the stronger person first, but that was only if the gap was significant enough, which she did not think was the case here. Spirits had the ability to judge a human’s strength with their beast-like intuition. Both Darius and Lara were humans of the first step of power, Courage, but Darius was a two-star Spiritknight while Lara was only a one-star Spiritknight. This difference made Darius the primary mark; thus, for its survival, the worm had designated him as its target since while finishing off Lara, Darius could come in like the old fisherman stalking the oriole.

Lara knew that Darius had received two Dantians in the Knighting ceremony, but she believed that he, like most people, could only absorb one Dantian, so she was unaware of his current greater level of power that justified the Spirit’s decisions.

Thanks to Overdraw, Darius was incredibly fast. That coupled with his incredible desire to live allowed him to pull out quite a bit of his body’s full potential strength. Multiple times did the worm come close to consuming him, only for him to accelerate and dodge it just in time. Along with Darius’s mysterious ability to sense the worm’s presence underground, Darius had managed to survive his desperate flight. Lara could not understand how he was doing it. After all, he was merely a country hick with some noble blood in his veins, yet as time went on, Darius’s identity had become ever more of an enigma to this arrogant princess.

Boom!

Darius narrowly dodged the worm’s materializing from the earth by rolling forward. “This thing is getting closer!” Darius started to get nervous because his chances of survival seemed slim.

Attack? Of course, the notion had briefly entered his mind, but his cowardice would not allow it. Unlike Lara, he was no seasoned warrior after all. Why, just a few days ago, he had never even been in any lethal battles of any sort. While screaming, he would look back from time to time, only to despair upon observing Lara’s futile attempts at injuring the creature.

His cowardice overshadowed his logic, and he completely forgot that he was far stronger than she was, neglecting the fact that he had wiped out the Jade Sea Serpent by himself.

From time to time, a burning sensation, akin to a searing heat, would flow from the hammer to his hand. This was the hammer trying to activate the primary ability of Indomitable: Imperishable! Yet, Darius would have none of it. As far as he was concerned, running away was the only way to survive, so using the experience he had gained from the elder the previous night, he completely suppressed Indomitable, keeping only Overdraw active.

Lara was faster than Darius, so it was quite easy for her to catch up to him. She stayed a few meters away for good measure and yelled, “I have a plan to kill this worm, but for it to work, I’m going to need your help!”

Darius looked sideways for a split second in order to reply, but his feet immediately tripped on a rock. At this point, the worm underground shot upward. It had felt the vibrations from aboveground indicating Darius’s perilous situation. It accelerated with intense vigor, seeing this as its only chance to get rid of its prickly enemy. Darius cursed as he fell to the ground. All he could do was brace himself and roll up. His concentration had lapsed, and now, all he could think of was how he was about to die.

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“Look out!” yelled Lara as she saw him fall in the most unfashionable way possible. She had no doubt that the worm would take this opportunity to strike. She wanted to help, but Darius was in no way important enough to her for her to risk her life, not to mention that she was anyway too far to do anything measurable. Considering what little damage she had caused the creature, she felt a pang of powerlessness overcome her at this instant.

Darius’s lapse of concentration, fortunately, occurred when the heat was once more conducting from the hammer. Before he could react, the heat flowed into his arm and spread through his whole body.

“Oh no!” Darius screamed inwardly, but it was too late. The bloodlust was already getting to his head. He felt his blood boiling as an intense rage washed over his heart. At the same time, a powerful clarity stilled his mind. He clenched his teeth while his eyes instantly became bloodshot. From the center of his body, he felt the power of Overdraw increase along with his sudden emotional stability.

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Overdraw was designed to work best with Imperishable, so the effects of Indomitable could only truly display themselves when both the primary and secondary abilities worked in tandem. The worm rose up, about to swallow Darius and a whole pile of earth along with him, when the young man swiftly reacted instead of falling into a lapse of panic like the creature expected.

Using his free hand, he slapped the ground, using the opposing force to propel himself sideways. There was a loud noise from the impact, indicating the true strength applied by the young man.

Darius was propelled ten meters within an instant, shocking the observing Lara. The worm roared in triumph, only to realize that it had solely swallowed a chunk of earth. It squealed in anger and violently shook. The squeal was loud enough to make Lara wish she could cover her ears as she rapidly backed away. Nevertheless, her years of combat training allowed her to resist despite the grimace she wore.

Darius seemed unfazed as he slowly stood into a steady stance. He had a deadpan expression as he calmly observed the wiggling worm with his bloodshot eyes. He tightened his grip on his hammer as a plan of action quickly formed in his mind. As he was strategizing, the elder’s words from this morning echoed in his mind, “Kill them before they kill you!”   

- my thoughts:
Heyo, Onion promised me he'd try to publish 60 chaps in the next month o.O Less see if he can do it!!!
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