Gravus wanted to retort at the idiocy being spilled from the seat next to him but things developed quickly in the combat grounds. The charge of the Rhinosergradon rapidly gained momentum and speed, smashing through the boulders in its way as if they were made of paper. He leaned back with satisfaction at the sight and couldn’t help musing out loud.
“An experiment from our brothers and sisters in the north of the empire, this creature represents the distilled wisdom of the Cult in the fields of strength and toughness! Not many will be able to resist its devastating charge.”
A cold snort was his only reply as Granin continued to keep his eyes glued to the battle. The ant attempted to retaliate, firing a rapid series of dark purple bolts at the oncoming threat, as well as raising its rear most segment to unleash several blasts of acid. Reincarnators often presented with interesting and unusual builds and Gravus was interested to see what the ant was capable of, but even he was disappointed at the total lack of effect from the strikes. The purple bolt spells struck their target with ease, the Rhinosergradon being as large as it was, but as far as he could see there was no visible effect. Some kind of curse perhaps? The acid was even more ineffectual, sizzling and bubbling away, it wasn’t able to penetrate the thick hide of the charging Rhino.
What was that magic? Not being able to identify a particular spell at first glance wasn’t unusual, but the complete and utter lack of visual effect was baffling. What was the ant hoping to achieve?! When the Rhinosergradon had reached halfway across the field, the ant still showed no sign of moving from its position. Blast after blast of the purple bolt flew out along with more acid strikes. The target for the acid appeared to have shifted as it began to land lower on the body, striking the legs and shoulders of the beast, but there was still little effect.
Undeterred, the powerful Rhino monster built more speed the further it charged. This was one of the key mutations that had been built into this creature’s build. An impressive innovation by the Shapers to say the least. The more the beast charged, the faster it would be able to go, turning itself into an unstoppable hammer of mass and power! Though it appeared to be slow and overburdened by its excessive mass, the opposite was actually true! By standing still, the ant had played directly into the strengths of the opponent. If he’d had the wit to move closer to his larger opponent and attempt to circle, it would have been harder for the beast to build up sufficient speed to achieve an unavoidable charge. By standing in one place, the Rhinosergradon was absolved of needing to turn and bleeding momentum. It appeared that this battle was all but over.
“I hope you guys thought to reinforce the wall before you allowed that thing to come out,” Granin observed idly.
Gravus’ eyes narrowed. He wasn’t sure if that work had been done actually. This could be bad.
“You aren’t worried that your charge is going to get splatted all over the wall?” Gravus sneered?
“No. I’m worried that several of my fellow Cult members are going to experience serious injuries.”
It seemed as if the cult members felt the same way. Those who were in line with the unstoppable beast charging in their direction were beginning to scramble out of the way and make a run for safer seats. They didn’t have long to execute the move, for the final stretch of distance, the Rhinosergradon finally utilised the Dash Skill and transformed itself into a blurry streak that shot forward as if it were launched using air magic. At the same time it lowered its horn and stabbed forward, sending a wide blast of light streaking toward the hapless looking ant.
The massive Rhino slammed into the wall like a gigantic, speeding boulder, causing the entire outpost to shake. The Shapers in the viewing areas not sitting down were bowled over and even those sitting were rocked back and forth, having to take a moment to recollect their balance. Dust and debris of what was left of the wall trailed through the air before slamming into the ground. Many onlookers were forced to employ their own magical arts to deflect the projectiles. Fortunately it appeared nobody was hurt.
“It would appear that sufficient power and a well-crafted build are more than enough to overcome an insect with enhanced mental stats. Hardly a surprise.” The leading Shaper sneered.
Granin shook his head.
“This is the problem with you people. So sure of what you think you know, you can’t change your minds when reality is smacking you in the face.”
“What are you talking about? Are we even watching the same contest?”
“Apparently not. Look down there, moron.”
One granite covered arm rose to point and Gravus turned his head almost despite himself. The dust had begun to clear and the scene that was revealed was comical. The Rhinosergradon had executed its charge splendidly, achieving an almost irresistible amount of force at the apex of its charge, certainly for creatures of the same tier. Anything struck by that blow would be annihilated. Yet that impressive attack had left it lodged firmly in the reinforced stone wall. Only the back half of its body remained visible, the rear four legs scrabbling at the loose sand of the combat grounds to try extricate itself from its predicament.
Where the ant had stood was now revealed to be a hole in the ground from which two antennae had begun to emerge. The two sensory organs twitched this way and that before the mandibles and head of the ant cleared the top of the tunnel, followed by the rest of the creature. Seeing its opponent wedged into the debris, even the ant appeared to be stunned for a moment before it happily began to renew its barrage of purple bolt spells, once again to no apparent effect.
“One dimensional monsters are wonderful thought experiments,” derision and contempt dripped from Granin’s voice as he delighted in the sight of his candidate tormenting his opponent. “Achieving theoretical maximums of force and toughness, it’s great fun. Everyone loves to see the big numbers. But they are never and have never been viable monsters outside of a vacuum. I almost spat out my drink when I heard a triad had spent four years grooming this Rhinosergradon. A colossal waste of time and effort. Being too rigid is a tremendous weakness, the cult has been aware of that for almost a thousand years.”
The criticism stung Gravus, just as much as his expected winner’s feeble attempts to extricate itself. He had to retort.
“It’s not over yet. The Rhinosergradon has the strongest defence of all the candidates in this experiment. An ant has only a feeble offensive base. Despite the fact that it’s buried in the wall, the Rhino has yet to take any damage at all. It’s too soon to declare yourself the winner!”
Granin just shook his head as he watched Anthony cast Gravity bolt after Gravity bolt into his hapless opponent. Considering the starting mass of that fat Rhino, after being hit with twenty condensed gravity bolts, how heavy had it become?