Chapter 855 – Sarah Meets her Demons

With a mighty bellow Sarah burst around the corner with myself and Tiny right on her four heels. The demons responded quickly, the two closest, both of the slaughter demons, turned towards us in a flash, transforming themselves into a spinning whirlwind of death before I could blink. I should clarify that I mean very fast there, some human idioms will take longer than others to go away.

Behind them the more spell oriented of their group get to work, the grudge and envy demon putting their minds to work with a level of force I can feel even from here. Not that Sarah minds. Armour or not, she barrels forward with the unstoppable momentum of a freight train, her paws thudding into the ground so hard it shakes. A product of the first stratum she might be, but she is still an absolute unit and I think the demons are just as susceptible to being flattened by a ten ton bear as anything else I’ve ever fought. It’s clear from the outset that our opponents have been warned about us. Sarah might come as a surprise, but a giant ant, a couple of demons and a big ol’ monkey aren’t exactly difficult to spot.

With how close we managed to get to our targets the mad charge is over in seconds and Sarah crashes into the demon’s ranks like a tsunami of furry muscle. The slaughter demons are nimble and lithe, nothing like the chubby or bulky sort of demon I’ve seen a lot of. From looking at them one could be forgiven for making the assumption that ninety percent of their bodies is some sort of blade, but that would be nonsense, the true percentage comes closer to sixty percent, or so I’m told.

They slide around Sarah’s charge, attempting to dig into her flank as she barrels past them but Tiny and I don’t let them, rushing to meet them head on. Agile as a fish they change tack halfway through their strikes and divert them towards us. I rely on my foresight and heightened reflexes to catch the blade on the perfect angle of my carapace, deflecting much of the force of the blow before I bring my mandibles to bear, already having infused them with force magic.

Despite my flawless defence, the red-stained blades of the slaughter demon are unbelievably sharp and still manage to remove a small chunk of my diamond carapace. These guys are proper deadly. My force empowered mandibles snap forward with devastating force crunching together with a piercing sound that rings through the tunnel but unfortunately they close on empty air, the demon having danced backwards out of my reach.

Tiny’s approach is a little different than mine and I can’t really say if he does better or worse. Carrying all his momentum forward he leaps, unfurling his wings and beating them down in one great thrust to give himself as much speed as possible he hurls through the air like a furry bullet. Rather than fend off the demon’s strike, he simply sticks an arm out and allows his opponent to cut halfway through it, the slaughter demon displaying consummate skill by avoiding the forearm guards and penetrating deep into the flesh. Except that Tiny cares little for the wound, a wild grin spreads on his face as the blade of his foe becomes stuck on his impossibly tough bones. Light flashes across my eyes as Tiny unleashes his coiled right arm, delivering a devastating punch straight to the chops of the demon, sending the creature flying backwards.

Did he manage to land a punch? Yes. Is his left arm totally useless? Also yes.

Sarah continues her forward press, her jaws snapping and front claws slashing at anything that gets close enough. Already I can feel the rage building in her as a number of minor wounds are inflicted, her anger is like a physical presence with its own rhythmic heartbeat, one that can be heard thundering through the air as she fights. Behind us Al and Invidia put their minds to the test, pitting their force of will against our opponents who are trying to force the mana around us to yield only to them. Invidia is also kind enough to fling some healing magic at Tiny, hopefully enough to close over the wounds.

The front of the fight quickly devolves into the traditional monster versus monster gnashing and slashing but the demons are craftier than most opponents. Sarah’s offensive finally runs into a wall in the form of the blood demon, a horrific looking entity who appears to be half red liquid and half roiling demon-flesh. The creature burbles and hisses as its body literally boils, slamming itself into the bear and sizzling her skin and muscle, further enraging the savage bear who begins to slash and tear blindly, hoping to rend the fluidic monster in front of her.

The slaughter demon in front of me is as difficult a foe, its body and mind appear heavily mutated to be nimble, its limbs bend at impossible angles as it flings out blades like whips. I push forward, relying on my foresight and reflexes to protect me as I pepper it with spells. Force magic isn’t strong enough to do the job that I need it to, the hard skin and condensed muscles of the third stratum monsters is way too tough for the pure bolts of kinetic energy to do much, but I have plenty of other tricks up my sleeve. What’s interesting about the slaughter demons is that they don’t have all that much mass.

With a lurch of my minds I dump the force magic from my mandibles and pump them full of gravity mana whilst peppering the monster with a series of ice spears. It slices through them with ease but the distraction buys enough time to fully charge my jaws as I lock them in place.



Strong as an ox with a great weights routine, the slaughter demon reacts with alacrity, forcing its claws into the walls and digging in with its blades to prevent it falling into my mandibles, but so long as it can’t dodge backwards, there’s no escape. With a shattering crunch the dark mandibles of energy slam shut on my foe.


Once I have the wiggling little blighter in my grip I refuse to let it go, my jaws pump open and shut at a rapid pace, blurring the edges of the mandibles in my vision.


Wreathed in lightning, Tiny bounds forward to aid Sarah against the blood demon as his initial opponent recovers from the devastating right cross to the face it experienced at the start of the fight. Unwilling to allow its ally to be outnumbered, the pride demon steps forward, its noble physique a sharp contrast to the nightmarish frames of its allies. Before he can get too far, Crinis makes her move.

In a flash the light is sucked out of the tunnel and a dense forest of limbs begins to extend from the walls and out of mid-air. Twisting and seeking, they stretch toward the demons, phasing out of physical existence as she tries to grasp their minds and limbs.

The demons counter immediately. Before my eyes the darkness shatters and a dense ball of roiling blood winks into existence before it begins to expand. Over the span of a second the blood demons pours an immense amount of mana into it before tying off the spell and unleashing it on us. The moment it does so a tidal wave of frothing red liquid explodes outwards, turning the tunnel into a raging flood ground in an instant.

With almost no time to prepare my brains spin on overdrive. As Tiny unleashes every ounce of lightning mana within his body into the oncoming tide, my minds grind out lava magic and I weave faster than I ever thought I could. A counter wave of molten rock is formed, rising up in front of Sarah just before the blood hits and the tunnel is seared as a blast of red steam and super-heated liquid sprays across everyone.

When the mist clears the tunnel is an absolute mess, pools of blood and hissing black lava are everywhere. Standing in the middle of it all is a gigantic bear. And she is mad.

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