“8 yes, 3 no.
So it’s time.” It was Astra who said it, announcing the decision of the vote to the group.
“Are you sure Are we sure” One of the heroes asked.
“We can’t hold this on forever.
We’ve all voted yes.
Let’s go with it.”
A quiet silence.
Although the heroes’ power is incredible, they all felt it.
The gnawing sense that the power is biting into their minds, the stronger it gets, the more it compels them to just go at the demons.
It’s almost like a bloodlust.
They all looked like they haven’t slept in months.
Eyebags and all.
“Was it always like this”
I don’t think so.
No records I checked had it.
But then again...
very few heroes took...
3 years to slay the demon king.
Mostly because the battles are all confined on the same continent, so...
it just tends to end rather quickly.”
All of them didn’t sleep well.
At night, they all get nightmares.
It wasn’t like this before, but it started a month, no, two months ago.
At first it was mild, but lately it’s more and more gruesome.
Were they going insane
“But we’re just walking into the demon king’s trap.
It wants us to go! We must hold on till the time is right.”
“When is the time right We are all about level 100 plus now.
Astra is even level 120! We can’t wait forever.
We’ve discussed this many times, and it’s time.
It’s waiting for us, and I think we should take up the challenge.”
Some of them kept the thoughts to themselves.
Harris too, had nightmares.
So much death.
The slaughter of cities.
The sacking of so many kingdoms to the demonic hordes.
The plan is, using the existing tower network, I’ll do a [mass recall], and that will teleport everyone of us to one of the towers.
Harris, Mirei, Becky, let us know which tower is the best.
I’m guessing the demon king knows and can sense us, based on how their walkers and supercannons behaved, so honestly, the nearest tower would be the best.”
“The nearest tower is not functioning.
It’s too near and the demonic wave it emits has shredded the tower.” Mirei explained.
“There’s a tower near Nung’s capital.
We’ll use that.”
Will you all be there”
“We’re somewhere north, but we are headed down.”
we heard you attempted to fight the demon king You didn’t tell us about that in our previous call.”
It’s more like...
Mirei, Becky and Harris looked at each other, wondering who should explain.
“So” One of them were impatient.
Truth be told, all of them were edgy, the lack of sleep and nightmares made everyone rough.
Already, there were dissatisfaction with each other.
Harris heard that even the previous heroes had conflicts, people after all never worked together perfectly.
“We kind of just...
It attacked us, and we fled as fast as we could.”
“How strong is it”
“Strong enough.” Harris didn’t want to say too much.
“Didn’t try to fight it” One of them asked.
“Who knows, you could win So far all the demons we’ve faced were talked about as incredibly powerful, but now our summons can take them on! Maybe this demon king’s a chump too.”
Two heroes looked at each other.
Victor, and Gustav, they were both there when Pooja died.
It was an accident, in a way.
They made a mistake, and Pooja was in the wrong position.
They wanted to say something, but somehow both didn’t say it.
we thought we should do it all together.” Harris said.
As expected.” One of them sneered.
It’s been 2 years since they all arrived, and few friendships stay the same in that time.
we all teleport to the location” One of the other heroes stepped in.
“Yes.” Astra, sensing the moment.
Harris sighed to himself.
They all just happened to be in the same bus, somehow.
There’s a camaderie, at least, with Becky and Mirei, as the three of them travelled together, and fought many battles together.
But none of that with the other 9, no..
8 heroes. They were not close to Pooja, and honestly, when Pooja died, the three of them...
didn’t really feel anything.
No, actually, all they felt was a very very strong desire for revenge.
To get back at the demons.
“We need to think.
Tea” Mirei asked.
I need that tea now.” All three of them huddled together.
Some dried tea leaves, and they made a brew.
Ginger flavoured, somehow.
There’s some ginger leaves mixed in.
They all had a sip of the New Freekan tea leaves.
And felt their anger, their...
craving to fight subside a little.
Let’s discuss what we heard.”
“All of them are going to port in, and we’re going to fight the demon king.
Absolutely a trap.” Becky said, taking another sip.
The smell of the ginger is in the air.
“Astra has a point, we can’t avoid this forever.
Even if it’s a trap, they don’t seem to be in any state to resist the...
effects of our powers.
Even this tea’s effectiveness weakens with each level we gain.”
Harris sighed again.
Somewhere, a squad of heavily armed shields are fighting demons.
He can feel it.
“And Astra’s mind-link will help.”
“We’ve never tested it.
We’re placing too much trust on a skill that supposedly will make us work seamlessly.”
“They seem to believe the skill will do what it says it does.”
“And no evidence so far refutes that.
So, I reckon it will help.”
Harris, Becky and Mirei shared a glance.
A lightning elemental was roasting a few chunks of meat.
The lightning helped to char the skin a bit, giving it a bit of a crisp.
A metallic suit of armor chopped some vegetables, and a small goblin-ish creature is peeling some meat of some shellfish.
There’s a camp behind them.
They’ve been using their summons for all sort of chores, such as carrying camp-gear.
All powered by star mana.
Star mana’s an amazing thing.
It lasts long, and just a bit could sustain their summons for almost a week, longer for their smaller, menial summons.
“So we’re still going with the plan, then.” Mirei said softly.
“It’s our best shot.
Even with all these random factors remaining, and the rest of them clearly can’t wait any more.
Any longer we’d probably fight each other.
At least we can finish whatever we were brought to this world for.” Harris sighed.
He was explaining it more for himself.
He’s hardly convinced it was the best idea, but in the end he still voted for it.
It’s like being forced to swallow a bitter pill to not die.
Becky refilled her cup of tea.
Harris is right.
It is our best shot.”
Harris finished his meal, and then took out what resembled a forge.
Two lightning elementals and a fire elemental helped him with his forging.
Truth was, Harris scouted the demon king.
Whatever Lady Mika left behind, made him wonder whether there’s a trap.
The previous group of heroes fell for it, and here they are, walking right into it.
So Harris, without telling the other 3 groups, decided to scout the demon king out.
He prepared beforehand, a special teleportation scroll, some backup abilities with both Becky and Mirei, a ‘lightning-powered’ temporary recall, and a ‘lightningspeed’ boost.
And high powered summons as backup.
Perhaps they could buy time.
The demon king took the shape of a massive spider with four circular ring on top, forming something resembling a verandah, and at intervals, the verandah functioned as a demonic summoning portal, it forcefully opened a massive rift, and each time, one more demon walker emerged.
Next to it was a large floating castle filled with jagged spires, it radiated a reddish glow.
He could feel its power grow, and then ebb.
Then he noticed that its synchronised with the gate on the demon king.
It’s acting as a power generator to summon more demons.
Instead of relying on leylines and magic spots..
It decided to tap on whatever’s left on the previous demon kings.
Yet, Harris watched a bit too long, and the demon walkers started firing.
As fast as he could.
He wasn’t mad.
There were at least 2 million demons in that massive valley.
At least thirty walkers.
It was going to be a massive battle at scale.
There were creatures that resembled...
It turned out...
sure, they were gaining levels, but it was going to be a race.
If these 2 million demons went out in all directions, how long would it take for them to stop it Could they gain levels fast enough that they could beat back the horde of demons that ravaged the world
And yet, Harris didn’t feel guilty not sharing this information with the rest of them.
And honestly, he didn’t know why his two friends didn’t either.
Astra looked at the map.
It’s laid out on a large table, and it marked where the towers are located.
“Something doesn’t make sense.”
“What” Naya looked bored.
“Why are you studying the maps they sent you All we got to do is teleport there, and do what we gotta do.
We’ve got super-summons now, and the demons are still giving us the same kind of opponents.”
“Aren’t you underestimating the demon king”
“And the gods are underestimating me.” Naya said.
Astra could only roll his eyes.
Astra looked at the map again.
He roughly measured the distance between where the demon king is, and the nearest tower.
Why such a large distance What is the demon king planning Harris met it, yet...
Why did he not say much Did he have something to hide
“I can’t wait.” Naya said.
“After this is all over, I’ll get to live life as an emperor with a massive harem.”
Astra didn’t reply.
There really was no need to.
Feeling like he wasn’t going anywhere, he went for a walk, and found Gerrard on a hill.
It wasn’t hard spotting him.
Gerrard nodded at him.
Not sleeping yet”
“I could ask you the same question.” Astra noticed a mug and a few barrels of beer by the side.
They were all schoolkids when they got here, but it’s been 2 years, and well, everyone had different ways of coping with the...
In Gerrard’s case, it was...
They were underaged, after all, but who’s going to stop heroes with super-growth spells from buying beer
He was through a barrel, sadly that’s what he needed to get drunk, since as a hero, he had some poison resistance, and he had a summon that collected his ‘beer’ from the nearby towns.
Helped that some of his summons are gladiators which can speak a few words.
Are you here to make sure I fix my guys’ weapons” There was a gladius at the side, made from a mix of regular metal and star mana.
Something they made in their free time.
Gerrard had the benefit of having equippable summons.
His ‘elite’ star-mana gladiators could will items he made, and the level 100 super-summons, the super
“We’ve passed that stage.” Astra grinned, there was a small magical staff at his side.
It was weird, that all heroes gained a ‘crafting’ option together with star mana, and that crafting option seemed exceptionally personal, in the sense that none can make something like someone else.
It was through a mix of star mana and their personal ‘will’ that these ‘hero-artifacts’ were made.
Maybe there were crafter-heroes in past generations, people, no..
heroes who could recreate other heroic artifacts.
why are you here” Gerrard stood.
They exchanged a look.
“You voted no.” The voting results were public.
There was no use hiding who voted what.
“Because I felt like it.”
Gerrard met the glare, and after 5 seconds decided to look away.
“Won’t you tell me the truth The demon king’s not far away.
We should go in with our eyes wide open.”
Gerrard looked disgusted.
“Must everything be the demon king Every time I get drunk, the only thing on my mind is, why is everyone just talking about the demons all the freaking time”
“Because that’s why we are here.”
“Fucking twisted logic you got there.
Why did we accept this task so wholeheartedly anyway It’s not as if demons did anything to us.”
“But they did so much to the land”
“How do you even know if they are real If any of this is...
“It feels like it, and that’s good enough.
Real or not, the wrongs must be righted.”
“Again with that twisted logic.
But you know, I had to vote no.
Even if I knew all of you would have voted yes.”
“Then tell me, why.”
“Because Naya’s overconfident in his skills, you are overconfident in your skills.
Almost everyone is overconfident in their own abilities.
We’re going to go and fight the demon, and we’ll realise how inadequate we were all these while.”
“We’ve reached level 100.”
“So Is there a rule somewhere that the demon king is a level 100 threat Why not level 200 How do we even know level 100 is enough Because it’s 3 digits instead of two Because of a feeling you all feel, and that nagging, screaming pain every time you sleep”
Astra paused, and suddenly, yeah.
Why did they feel it is...
enough Just because the demon walkers are now ‘easy’, does that mean they are ready for the next level, the king itself What if the gap between the king and walkers is massive, as it should be Yet, that moment of discomfort and insecurity didn’t last, like a candle in the wind, it went poof.
“There’s 11 of us.”
“And the demon king’s predecessors has clearly killed many of them.”
“And there were survivors.
Many kingdoms have a hero in their lineage.
No glory without some sacrifice.
Don’t you want to be King”
Gerrard looked disgusted.
“That’s what we are, eh We come here, defeat a demon king, and then go on and make a **ton of babies and leave our magical weapons for them.”
“Well...” Astra wanted to say yes.
But he knew better.
“Our alliance lasts up till we kill the demon king.
We’re not friends after that.”
It’s really optimistic to expect 12 kids in the same bus to somehow stick together for two to three years.
“That’s all we need.”
A week later, they all teleported to the site.
It’s a secluded tower located on a mountain, there were subtle mana flows in the ground that helped amplify the tower’s energies.
Astra was first to arrive, and he activated the [global recall].
That brought the rest of them there.
“It’s much stronger here...
it’s presence.” The heroes looked at each other.
For those located on different continents, it was the first time they met face-to-face since that day on the bus, or that moment with the gods.
But they were referring to the ‘taunt’ that the demon king emitted.
Harris, Becky and Mirei looked at them.
“Welcome to the central continent.”
We are going for the demon king immediately” Naya shrugged.
Some of them nodded.
A few looked uncertain.
Astra, who was level 125, took the lead.
There’s really no point delaying this entire thing.
Can you three lead the way”
“Sure, but do you guys need to call on your summoned armies Or they can appear at any second”
Gustav and Lombard both nodded.
“AH, my powers need a bit time to appear, and I have artilery forces, I will need to position my bombardment units at a distance.”
Harris took out the map again, there was a red star showing where the demon king is, and a big red ring around it.
“What’s the red ring”
“The demon king’s army.”
Fodder for us.” Harris winced at the word, but didn’t say a thing.
He pointed to a chain of hills and slopes further out.
“What’s the range of your artillery Is this place far enough”
“How far is that I mean...
uh...” Lombard looked at the map.
He had an issue translating distances on maps into ‘range’.
In practice, he used his own forces to ‘sense’ where it is, and he had ‘spotter units’ which helped his artillery units find targets.
Harris didn’t know how to explain distances too, not in this world where kilometers and all didn’t really mean much.
They didn’t have measurement tools.
What was one day’s horse ride away, and was it even universal Different horses travel different speeds, whatmore for those with riding skills.
“Never mind, use the demon king’s aura as a gauge” Astra intervened.
Feel free to break off to set up your forces.”
Gustav the golem-master and Lombard the cannoneer nodded.
It wasn’t hard to find a demon king that’s actively transmitting it’s presence to the heroes.
And stranger still, that none of the kingdoms attempted to hex-bomb the demon king.
In fact, the hexbombs mostly stopped once the heroes got their groove going.
After all, why sacrifice lives when the heroes’ summoned units can fight walkers for you
The demon king warped the terrain with it right in the middle.
It’s large, massive legs embedded into the ground, drawing mana and energy from the planet.
In a way, it resembled an extremely large oil rig that pulled that mana, and then used it to produce walker after walker.
The floating castle next to it, also generated mana and ‘fed’ it to the king.
When the heroes first saw what they were up against, it was a mixed reaction.
Those overconfident ones merely grinned.
“Ah, no matter how many of these fodders they make, it’s not going to stop us.”
Some felt this validated their choice, that, it was time to fight the demon king anyway.
Delaying it was not going to solve the problem.
And those who voted no, in their minds, this was the moment that made them feel like it was always inevitable.
It’s either they fight the demons, or the demons destroy the world.
It was a game, isn’t it
“It’s waiting for us.
Let's not keep it waiting.” Astra nodded, and he triggered the star mana forms.
Around him, phantoms started appearing and they charged into the horde of demons before them.
Astra’s body itself coated by a white sheen, as if he was a divine being here to bestow divine retribution.
Thousands, tens of thousands of phantoms appeared.
A one-man army, and it ripped through the regular demonoids like paper.
The walkers, some 150 of them towered across the battlefield, and they started shooting their energy blasts.
They were always in position, and the quiet skies was ripped by the thundering shots.
Each of the heroes summoned their forces.
Tens of thousands of summoned creatures, almost a hundred thousand summoned creatures magically appeared from portals, as if it was a scene from Endgame.
One of them, of course, had to quip.
“We’re in the endgame now.
And this is our final battle with Thanos.”
“I hope not, I don’t want one of us to die.”
“If only one of us die, that’s a win.”
Gustav summoned massive golems, fifteen of them, each as large as a walker, and with powers no inferior to it.
Magical, yet mechanical constructs, they resembled giant-sized Antman fighting the massive leviathans when they wrestled the walkers.
Lombard had self-propelling railguns in the distance, and they matched the walker’s energy blasts.
Each hero brought their own ‘type’ of special armies.
Harris had walking shield generators that deflected energy blasts, protecting summoned units from the enemies.
For close to two hours, the entire crater was engulfed in battles, as demons and the summoned creatures clashed.
Still, the demonoids were never able to hold back the heroes’ forces, even if they thinned them greatly.
Even if giant demonic wyverns ripped the summoned railguns to shreds, there were always more summoned units.
Yet, the demon king remained unmoved in the middle.
All it did was concentrating it’s power on it’s ‘throne’, it’s massive legs unmoving, above, it’s massive gate-like horns, eight of them, a rift right in the middle of that cavity.
As they got nearer, they changed targets, and they started to attack the demon king’s massive body.
Those attacks met a massive energy barrier, the railgun bolts vibrated and rippled on the barrier like a rock that dropped into a lake.
Their summoned units gradually gained an upper hand.
The overconfident heroes started to feel vindicated.
The demon king’s army was nothing much after all, not much before 11 heroes and their combined armies, complete with all the stacking auras each of them had!
Yet, the demon king didn’t move.
Nor did the ‘shadow’ of the former demon king.
The rift changed color.
The heroes attacked, again, at the barrier.
The barrier held on, but it was cracking.
Small holes started to emerge, and some summoned units got close to the demon king’s legs.
The rift turned red.
Naya, the archmage with an army of summoned water and ice elementals attacked, raining ice on the battlefield.
He too was enveloped in a sheen of white-bluish light, his magical longstaff had a dark blue crystal.
The demon king’s army was down to half, and almost all the demon walkers, elites and generals were down.
The fodder, surprisingly lasted longer, because there’s just so many of them.
But they are fodder.
Truly, only the demon king itself mattered.
The rift turned a darker red, almost maroon.
“Is it going to fire” Harris looked, a massive ice blast finally cracked the barrier.
The heroes’ units were cut down to less than a quarter now, but it was now between them and the King.
This was why they saved star mana.
The gigantic golems attacked the unmoving demon king, it’s massive body resembled a castle that didn’t move despite the attacks.
That’s not to say the golems attack were ineffective.
They worked, there were small wounds and scars where the golems attacked.
It’s just that the demon king was a monstrous thing, a city in a creature.
From a distance, it’s present form resembled a massive spider with super thick legs, and another upside-down spider on the top, it’s legs represented the ‘horns’ that created the rift.
The heroes attacked.
Their summoned creatures damaged the demon king.
But it’s too slow.
The rift turned purple.
Then, in a short flash, it shot out a thick purple beam, that cut a massive gash in the ground, and all the way till the horizon, destroying everything in it’s path.
And one hero stood in it’s path, her body burning from it’s purple flames, and then she felt into the gash below.
She died, and all her summoned units vanished with it.
All the heroes felt a surge of anger, as they lobbed more attacks.
There was no need
The rift is grey again.
This time, the floating castle moved to attack, firing smaller red beams from it’s many spires.
“Who was that” Harris shouted.
They were all spread out in the battlefield, their forces made everything messy.
Astra checked his status.
He was like the chat administrator who could see who went offline.
“What!” Those from the same place felt some loss.
For the rest of them, it was...
just a name.
The demon king was before them, and now this...
thing was attacking them.
It tore through the stronger summoned units easily.
“Focus on the demon king, there’s still 10 of us, and that rift takes forever to charge.
We can win this.”
The rift turned orange.
“You **ing jinx of a mouth.” Naya cursed, as he lobbed spell after spell at the demon king’s body.
The demon king’s body had cracks, but it’s like ants making microscopic cuts on a giant elephant.
Sure, there are cuts, but it’s going to take a while for it to take down the giant.
“Get rid of the floating castle!”
Spells flew, golems, railguns and lightning blasts zapped the floating castle.
Slightly smaller than the demon king, and clearly less sturdy, each attack made it wobble in midair, and the red beams tend to lose it’s path.
The rift was still orange, but it was getting darker.
More cracks appeared throughout the massive body of the demon king.
Even the gargantuan golems looked like little children trying to fight with an adult.
Some of the heroes concentrated fire on the floating castle.
A shadow of the former demon king, it was hardly as strong.
No, it was perhaps only a quarter of it’s stats, and so, the hits got to it easily, and the floating castle crumbled then crashed into the ground below, exposing a round red crystal.
The rift was red.
Harris instantly felt danger, and quickly activated all the summoned shields he could gather.
“Watch out for that thing!” He shouted.
The red crystal vibrated.
A golem lifted it up.
And flung it as far as it could.
The rift was dark red.
“The **, why is the color changing so quickly”
“Ain’t a final boss without some asspull, y’know.
This is probably one of it.”
A golem punched one of the legs, and the leg finally, after receiving so much damage from the army of summons around it, finally collapsed.
The rift was still dark red.
And then, it released a shockwave of that dark red energy, scorching through most of the summoned units, destroying them instantly.
It also destroyed many of the lesser demons, but by now, there were no demon walkers left.
The wave smacked right into the heroes’ protective items and shields, but one of the heroes was too near, and couldn’t react to it time.
The wave burned him.
And he flailed like a man on fire, the reddish fire got past whatever protection he had.
Naya attempted an iceblast to negate the fire, but it didn’t work.
It seemed like the fire found a life of it’s own, somehow it wouldn’t subside.
Despite the massive distance, healing was still entirely possible.
The healing-dedicated hero still has a tremendous cast range, and could instantly activate healing.
The fire didn’t go away, but the wounds recovered instantly.
Yet, the rift was still red, and then a second blast went out.
The healer had to put up a shield.
The burning hero was still too close, and the second blast turned him into ash.
“Fuck!” The healer cursed, and the earth rumbled.
The demon king was finally moving! Even if one of it’s legs was broken, it still had 7 other legs, and the two red energy waves incinerated most of the summoned units.
So, the battlefield was quite clean.
Just the surviving 9 heroes, one demon king, and some of their summons.
“Anyone have summons left” Astra asked through their live chat.
At this distance, it wasn’t hard to maintain some kind of VC function.
“Or should we focus on defense”
“I still have star mana, but I think we should restrict summons to higher tier ones.
Those can take one shot!” Two gigantic golems remained, but the red flames enveloped them, and they slowly ‘melted’ them.
Some gladiators too were around, they had the benefit of having star-mana artifacts that allowed them to tank the wave.
The demon king moved rather slowly, it was pulling out it’s massive legs embedded deep into the ground.
Each leg left a deep hole, and as it lifted it’s body up to walk, they saw something resembling a mouth for the first time.
Located at the bottom of it’s body, it looked like the central part of an octopus, only made with demonic-matter, and it glowed in various colors.
And there were smaller mouths.
They were open.
“SHIELDS!” They all felt it, and all the mouths spat out a red fire, coating everything beneath the demon king in an inferno.
This time, the already damaged golems crumbled and turned back into...
“We need to skip our summons!”
“But then what’s the point of all our army skills”
“It’s just to get to this point!”
“Then it’s **ed!”
Well, except for the ranged magical railguns who, thankfully, was out of range of the initial blasts.
Two survived, and they could continue bombardment.
Still, the damage it dealt was miniscule.
Well, the demon king did take damage from the earlier attacks, and throughout it’s massive body there were wounds and scars.
“Concentrated attack! Use star mana forms!” Harris yelled out.
In his mind, he wondered why did the notes talked about using star-mana forms to fight the demon king.
“Let’s get on it’s body, there should be ‘cores’ we can attack, rather than try to take on the entire structure!”
“Good point!” Naya waved his wand and an icesheet levitated him up.
The demon king’s many mouths opened, and this time, they lobbed small energy blasts, in the millions.
They rained down on the heroes below, attempting to delay the heroes from approaching it’s main body.
“Did this demon king take notes from bullet hell or something” Layers on layers of ice shield appeared, blocking the little blasts.
“We made a mistake, we should have just gone for the main body right away!”
“What, and get caught by the red wave We didn’t even know it could do that!” All the heroes had activated their defensive abilities.
The overconfidence from the early stage had faded.
They witnessed two of them die, maybe they’d be next.
There was no time to be reckless and hold back some abilities in reserve.
Still, the rain of energy bullets did not deter the heroes at all, and very quickly, all of them were on the demon king’s main body.
There were no lesser demons, but parts of the demon king that attacked them.
Throughout its body, spires transformed into tentacles or beam-towers, attacking the invading heroes.
The heroes spread out, looking for ‘cores’ or ‘hearts’.
Things that powered the demon king.
They hacked at everything that looked like it could hold something like that, their star-mana powered abilities, now at close range, easily cut through any defenses the demon king had.
Even while the massive monster moved.
They had to be wary.
The rift was now orange again, and gradually, it turned reddish.
And the massive size of the demon king meant they could be hacking and attacking nothing for hours.
Their strongest area spells lacked the ‘focused’ damage needed to cut through the demon king’s defenses.
One hero summoned her elites to help out, and well, the elites were useless.
Unless they had equipment made or infused with star mana, the damage they deal was close to nothing.
“We need to split up!”
The demon king suddenly stopped, and it....
Jabbed one of it’s large legs into the ground.
The heroes braced for the sudden shaking and collapse of the demon king’s body to the ground, they had magic to keep them steady and floating.
Then it did so again.
A second leg pierced the ground.
“Why is it doing that How far have we moved”
The heroes suddenly realised they were no longer in the crater.
The demon king had moved a good distance during the 30-40 minutes they were attacking it’s body.
It’s massive size and magic meant they hardly felt the move.
“What’s going on”
It was that very moment, through the entirety of the world...
all the demonoids shook...
and disintegrated into small ashlike particles.
Then the ashes started moving, as if swept by a wind, all towards the demon king.
They moved intensely, and throughout the world, a strong, hurricane-like wind wrecked, damaged and killed many, as this ‘wind’ carried all these ashes to the demon king.
“It’s the transformation! All boss fights must have another form! This must be it!” The heroes didn’t realise the issue.
“Stop it!” Astra yelled.
“We must find the source before this transformation completes!”
“HOW” The heroes were attacking the demon king’s body as much as they can.
Some of the concentrated their attacks on the center, believed that the demon king would have it’s ‘core’ in the center.
Harris paused and took a sip from a flask.
He closed his eyes momentarily, willing his body and soul to sense the demon king.
The demon king could sense them, and they could sense the demon king.
Lady Mika’s notes were clear on that.
Maybe they had to ‘find’ it using that sense.
And indeed, he did.
“There’s four cores!” He pointed them out and quickly rushed to the one nearest to him.
The heroes managed to destroy three cores, and even so it took them two hours.
Way longer than they liked, despite how strong their star-mana was.
There were just too many tentacles, monsters and spires in the way.
Two hours never felt so long.
The ashes all arrived, and then the body itself also turned into ash.
“Quick! Find the core.
Attack it when it’s ash form!” They did find it.
And they attacked it with all their might.
The ash was too thick.
After all, it was a mass made from all the demons generated throughout the world.
The ash formed together into a large sphere, it floated in the sky as if there was a dark moon, it’s massive size turned day into night.
The heroes attacked relently, hoping to interfere with it’s transformation.
The sphere split into ten smaller spheres, and nine of the spheres transformed into humanoid-shaped warriors.
The heroes wondered why their attacks failed to stop the transformation,
The last sphere transformed into a grotesque massive demon rod.
It was as large as a tower.
And it then jammed deep into the ground.
“Don’t stop!” Astra yelled, there were 9 of them, and 9 ‘demons’.
“That rod must be the core!”
What they saw then, the very earth itself transformed into an unnatural terrain.
The demon rod is a scaled up, demon-king version of the demon rod.
They also saw something...
Of their two fallen comrades, bound by the demon king rod.
siphoned energy from the two glowing white spirits, and it pulsed.
With each pulse, the demon rod gains power, and spreads it’s influence further.
The heroes didn’t have to ask much.
They understood it by seeing.
They had to stop it.
The demon king wanted their souls for energy.
And the 9 demons stood in their way.
Oddly sized just like them, they resembled...
humans All of them had two hands, two legs, one head all in human-like ways.
And each of them held a different weapon.
They were grey, unlike the usual reddish brown the demonoids had.
The heroes attacked.
There’s not much to talk, even if they looked human.
And these 9 demons matched the heroes for it.
They felt the presence of the demon king spread further and further in the ground, and simultaneously, the environment around them started burning with a black fire.
They’ve seen this.
They were briefed of it.
The 9 demons kept up.
Somehow the star mana wasn’t as effective on them as before...
as if they were made of something...
The heroes, exhausted from their earlier long battles, found themselves digging as deep as they could to stand up to them.
Some of the heroes did better.
Those proficient in close combat, like Gerrard, was the first to stab his star mana sword through one of the demons, and the demon turned into ash.
And then one of the demons stabbed it’s rapier into Naya’s chest, and instantly, Naya started to turn into...
8 of them left.
The 8 grey ashdemons seemed to take their attacks as if they were just regular adventurers.
A part of them wanted to ask..
.how But the adrenaline and exhaustion meant they just kept fighting.
The heroes were leading.
Those focused on close combat, Gerrard and Harris, started gaining an edge.
They defeated five, and lost Helen, Gustav and Lombard.
Only five of them left.
Harris, Gerrard, Astra, Mirei and Becky.
And 3 ashdemons left.
The ashdemons’ power waned, and that’s when they realised the demon king couldn’t keep maintaining them forever.
They killed the 3 ashdemons, and turned their focus on the massive rod.
They had to break it.
They all felt it, the scream and wailing of their comrades being ‘drained’, unable to move on.
The earth itself tried to resist the demonic influence, but powered by the heroes’ star mana, the earth couldn’t hold it back.
The corruption had spread as far as their eyes could see, maybe even further.
Maybe even some of the cities would have seen the demon flames, because...
the entire skyline was just...
The battle against the ashdemon took too long.
Three hours, maybe four.
The sky was already dark, but because the demon fire was everywhere, they didn’t realise it.
They pulled their power together, exhausted as they were.
They didn’t know how much star mana they used, and by now, it felt like they’ve went past their reserve and some.
They didn’t even know how they managed to use that last attack and destroyed the demon king rod.
[Demon King Sabnoc has been slain].
But the corruption...
was not going away.
And the corruption had spread almost half of the entire central continent, with it, that half rendered nigh inhabitable.
New Freeka was well within the range of the spread.