67 The Hydra
Many legends have been associated with the origins of the Hydra. Some say it was the offspring of greater beings below the gods that were cursed and became a monster. Some say it was a snake that evolved into a dragon after passing through a thousand years of labor and struggle. Some say that it was a snake that ate itself to be reborn into a dragon. Some even said that it was a Lamia that evolved closer to a dragon.
However, Clay knew better than those legends. He knew the origin of this monster through UltiCos investigation and observation analysis. This creature was the result of a little snake which wandered into an ancient Dragon's nest basking in the dragon's magical energy for millennia on end and finally evolving into a creature that resembled the dragon in its magical energy capacity and physique.
The Dragon that it had leeched off was a Dragon called, Typhon. An Ancient Dragon that had been banished from its own world by the gods there.
The Hydra was a hermaphrodite capable of giving birth on its own and so, it gave life to its kind via that process. However, Hydras only gave birth to eggs once every hundred years because of the magic energy consumption it takes to give birth. A fully-grown Hydra had the rank of Triple A however, a special case where the Hydra fully grows into an adult gives it a mutation. This mutation's effect varies to enhanced strength, defense or even vitality. However, the most troublesome effect was a deviation in its genes where the original make-up of the body changes and it takes on a more Dragon-like characteristic. This was the problem of being of the same energy wavelength as Typhon, because Typhon was an Ancient Dragon of Chaotic origins. His very magic energy contains himself. And in cases where a huge amount of magic energy is gathered, there is a high possibility of a Hydra coming into being with a greater Ancient Dragon gene than anything else.
Caltec, Jon, Mor and Isaac moved closer and closer to the lair of the Hydra. All throughout the journey towards it, they were praying that Mor could be wrong and he just read his Search Result wrongly. However, despair had a way of playing with hope in people. When they arrived at the lair, they saw that this Hydra was simply sleeping and had not even woken up. It was such a good opportunity to injure it heavily before if could defend itself and kill it.
\"H-Hey! It's still sleeping. Should we make our move already?\" Caltec was excitedly telling the gang.
\"N-No! If it wakes up and rampages here, we'll die for sure sooner than later. Let's plan our attack first. We don't even know if it's the only one, here right?\" Jon pitched in. Mor turned his head towards Jon as if he was hurt and he argued, \"I'm sure it's the only one here okay?! At least the only one with energy signature as big as it is!\" Hmph. Mor harrumphed and pouted his lips.
\"Alright enough. We need to have a plan, or else we'll be fighting this monster for a long time and we might just die before we even tire it out. What's the known way to kill a Hydra?\" Isaac asked the gang.
In answer to his question, crickets started to sound.
They all had no idea! There have been records of Hydra being spotted and destroying kingdoms and villages, but there have been no records of them being fought and killed. At least none that lived to tell the tale. Which goes to say how dangerous the creature they are planning to subjugate was.
\"Dammit! If Lord Clay was here, this would be piece of cake and we'd only be watching on the sidelines as he battles.\" Jon voiced out in complain or even more, a prayer. However, Isaac doused that prayer of his in saying, \"Who was it that sent us here knowing what was here? It was Lord Clay! He wants to train us or at least to show something for our training. If we kept on depending on him, then what if he went away? Would we be able to handle the world and any opposition without him?\" He said. This speech silenced the gang. Although his speech was made in the most silent voice he could make, the message was clear. They had to show results.
\"I know that we all understand. Our Lord cannot be held to this realm alone. If one day, he chooses to unite the Human Realm and even other realms under him, then that should only be a start. The world would come under him and if we can't even defend his territory then we'll be useless as retainers. An embarrassment to his name!\" Isaac added.
\"So, we plan. We execute and we show results worthy of our Lord!\"
It was a good speech. Isaac was a noble after all. Stirring up the masses was a skill. He even led a part of a nation in his youth. However, this speech of him, plunged them further into that nightmare they are about to step into.
The Hydra had a body the size of a Brontosaurus with claws instead of hooves, snake heads numbering 6, scales protecting its heavy muscles that rival that of the hardest steel, fangs that can punch holes through reinforced concrete multiplied by 6 heads. Overall, facing this monster was very brave and stupid at the same time. Just from the description of how devastating this monster is to those kingdoms it destroyed, to how it cannot be hurt by blade nor magic.
This Hydra the gang were facing now was sleeping soundly. As if it has done something like hunting, or mating, or even giving birth. Normally, a boss monster would wait for their prey like good boys, to devour them with relish. However, the Hydra was sleeping. If the gang had any experience in fighting or even just observing the ecology of any Hydra, then they would have known that they only rest after those three things above. Meaning, some unfortunate souls might have come inside the dungeon without them knowing and giving it food, or it had mated, which was unlikely given the time it had appeared and more impossibly if it had given birth with the same reason as mating. So most probably, it ate some food after playing a little with it.
However, the gang did not know this and had not thought about the possibility. They could not also be blamed because there were no traces of battle in this place. So, they planned and schemed and advanced slowly towards the most effective range they could deal the most damage from.
Silence. Only the inaudible humming of the dungeon can be observed while the gang moved. Their training had allowed them to move precisely and accurately, even silently. A good thing that dungeon floors were as hard as the floors of the Kingdom's city.
Silently they crept closer… on the 30th minute mark of their impasse they finally found their ideal hit-mark and initiated the attack on the sleeping Hydra.
Caltec and Jon made a jumping attack towards two of the heads they felt was easier to cut off, while Mor made a stance of unsheathing his sword at a super-fast speed, or as Clay had taught him, an instantaneous slash, Iaido. He targeted not the heads but the most probable part where the heart is located and poured his all into that one slash. Isaac also gathered as much as 50 percent of his magic energy to create a field of ice lance floating directly above the body of the Hydra. All the preparations were complete and the attack on Hydra had begun.
Slash! Boom! Splatter!
Caltec's attack pushed the Hydra's steel-like muscles along its stell-like scales to the limit as his whole weight was brought upon it from above through a fist smash. One of the Hydra's skull was broken from the weight as Caltec's attack hit. Even the dungeon floor beneath it was slightly dented from the sheer force as the dungeon shook.
Jon's attack also severed one of the Hydra's heads from the base and left a visible gouge on the floor as his slash contained with it his weight and momentum. His favorite sword Runic Blade, as he named it, was a sword that Clay gave him when they pledged their allegiance to him and ever since then, have never held another sword different to it.
Mor's attack was even more bloody than the first two. His, literally split the Hydra's body in two from the center diagonally. Which included most of the other heads that were not targeted by Caltec and Jon. His blade was also a Runic Blade, but with a different name than Jon's, his sword he named, Executioner. And from the devastating result of his attack, it may deserve that name after all.
All three attacks landed in succession with not more than half a second interval. Blood splattered everywhere and even the three of them were splashed with its blood. That was when the problem for them started.
The blood of the Hydra had highly corrosive property that melted through flesh the moment it made contact and the way they were showered with its blood; it was only a matter of seconds before they should have perished. A good thing, that they were trained by Clay to always cover themselves with a thin layer of magic energy and even fighting spirit so that no attack would directly come in contact to their flesh. That did not apply to their cloths and weapons though, and so, Caltec's cestus was destroyed almost immediately while Jon and Mor's weapons were saved because of the runes that Clay had put in them. Even the dungeon floor started to get corroded. What more, the clothes of the three. So, at this moment, they were bare.
\"Oh Oh Oh, my god!\" Jon was jumping around as he felt the heat of his clothes dissolving in real time.
\"Damn! That's one secret attack we can't ever hope to prepare for!\" Caltec also scratch his head heavily seeing his cestus and clothes disappear. Mor was not as affected but he hurriedly swung his sword to get rid of the blood splashes it had on it. Seeing him do this, Jon also followed suit as if he remembered as well.
\"Thanks.\" Jon said to Mor, and he just put a thumbs up towards Jon.
\"Did we kill it?\" Isaac asked. Immediately the atmosphere turned colder than even Isaac could make the room with his power. The coldness came not from the Hydra's dissected body, but from the three others who heard Isaac ask the forbidden question, \"Did we kill it?\" It was one of Clay's unwritten rules, \"Never set up a flag by asking questions like, 'Did we succeed?' or you will suffer from the utterance!\" And just now, Isaac just had to ask! Bastard!
\"Argh! We'll kill you Isaac! Why'd you have to ask that stupid question?!\" Jon, Mor, and even the senior Caltec, grudgingly pointed their middle fingers towards Isaac, who now realized his mistake and embarrassedly scratching his head in shame. However, their comic gag, almost instantly were replaced with seriousness that would belie even that lively exchange just now.
\"Here comes, round two!\" the gang shouted out loud to boost themselves.