68 The Nightmare
Instead of attacking and bombarding the Hydra with attacks to prevent it from regenerating, the four of them had their eyes, fixed on it, widened and even their mouths were agape as they saw the unreal regenerative powers of the Hydra.
From the stump of the cut parts of its head, grew double the number of heads. And with Mor's great Executioner Slash, he decapitated almost all the heads except the two that Caltec and Jon had dealt with. Caltec's crushed Hydra head did not even take him long enough to suck in enough breath to fully inflate his lungs, to recover to its peak condition, and this time it was wide awake and aware of the attack. It was not even wary, but furious now!
As it fully healed itself and multiplied its heads to 10, the Hydra gave out a sounding Roar that may have brought with it a status effect; fear.
However, the effect of Fear was minimal to the four of them, thanks to constantly being in fear of someone monstrous enough to not even feel fear for anything other than him. Their master, and Lord, was such a being that just facing his punches makes them fear for their lives.
That was something advantageous, but still did not contribute to lessening their predicament. They didn't know how to fight this Hydra. All their preparation was for monsters that can be killed with skill, technique and overwhelming strength. However, this Hydra was not something to fight with just that, it had to be fought with cunning and a good plan.
Isaac released the prepared countermeasure for when all those heavy killing blows were not enough to kill the Hydra, and he was right to prepare, so he immediately released the floating Ice Spears above the Hydra's regenerating body after waking up from his surprise. They did not know, the surprises only just begun.
While they discovered the Hydra's ridiculous regenerative capabilities, their Master, Clay was up in Apollo's Lair, doing some secretive work. Ryan was with Giselle and so Clay was right now free to do as he pleased. The guys were sent to the Hydra to learn that strength alone was not enough sometimes. If they somehow faced something that nullified damage like the Hydra through constant regeneration and at a very fast pace as well, then they would not panic and become like how they were doing now.
\"They should realize that they can't win for now. I expect them to return after fighting in an impasse for about 20 to 30 minutes. That'll give me enough time to finish spreading these seeds all over Alleucanth.\" Says Clay as he grasped tiny seeds that looked like salt crystals. It was too many to count by a glance, but it was approximately a thousand granules. Then he stood up and spoke up, \"FG-23, I leave the spreading of these seeds to you. Find appropriate places where they can bloom.\" He then handed the seeds to a golem that had six wings he called FG-23. As its appearance suggested, this golem had flight capabilities and was strong enough to fly at high speeds as well.
\"That guy should be able to handle it well. I'll come back later monitor progress. Maybe I should leave a leader for these golems here at Apollo's Lair to have them continue to be productive even without my presence?\" Clay thought hard and mumbled and tried to remember how things went for movies and series of anime's that incorporated AI and leaving them to their devices.
\"On second thought, no. I don't want to start an AI war or something. SO, no thanks. Gotta go. I still have big plans for my son. I never knew having a child was such an exciting thing! Haha!\"
Saying so, he left the room and went towards the throne. He then executed the Body Transfer spell and got back inside his real body. He had to try something to his child with his real body. After that, he directly went to Alleucanth without even using magic power.
Clay's prediction was right. After about 30 minutes of fighting the Hydra to no apparent result, Isaac spoke while dodging an attack like a whip with one of the necks of the Hydra towards him and said, \"We aren't making progress! We'll only exhaust ourselves like this. We must try something else or at least retreat for now! I know it goes against our pride to run with our tails between our legs, but if we continue, we'll just tire ourselves out while the Hydra would continue to be at its peak!\" While Isaac had been giving that speech, he heard Caltec shout,
\"What are you still doing there then? Come on! We're leaving you behind if you dally anymore!\" Isaac was dumbfounded. He found Caltec and the rest already running without shame or even a shred of hesitation. The moment Isaac mentioned retreat, they had already bounced and ran like hell in the direction of the exit! How shamless!
\"Bastards! Wait for me!\" Isaac then gave a once over at the Hydra and released a great amount of magic energy, pouring it towards a spell he had thought about some time ago, it was a spell that resembled the cold blowing winds of his home with snow and death being brought together with it. He named his spell, Blizzard. And this Blizzard was shot towards the Hydra as Isaac ran without looking back at all. He knew, this level of attack would not kill the Hydra.
As the Blizzard raged about, the Hydra also raged about inside it. At first it did not feel the cold, however, as the Hydra was a cold-blooded serpent-type monster, the cold, was a real issue for it. After being exposed to the Blizzard for more than a minute, it started to stiffen up and eventually lost strength in its body slowing down to a crawl before becoming enclosed in a big block of ice.
If only Isaac new that his attack had an effect, they would have returned immediately and restarted their battle. Alas, their nightmare has still just started.
Inside the City Hall's Mayor's office.
Isaac had a large conference table inside the Mayor's Office. He wanted to not waste rooms by separating the conference room and his office. So, he had it designed like this after getting Clay's approval. It was an oval shaped long table with comfortable chairs numbering 16 including his own. And right now, Caltec, Jon and Mor were sitting at the chairs close to Isaac's own at the tip of the long table.
\"Let's review. What the hell we did and what worked and what was useless. At least with this, we'll know how to deal with that monster, hopefully.\" Isaac gravely said, while staring into the center of the table like he hated that part of the table. In fact, Isaac had been looking at the Hydra in his mind and remembering how dreadful it was.
\"Well, we know the bastard can heal like a real bastard. We also can't be recklessly cutting its heads off, since that'll just make it even harder to face. Piercing attacks work, but it'll just heal in a second. Blunt Force also works, but results in the same, Slashing, Cutting, Magic, heck, anything we throw at it was effective wasn't it?\" Caltec enumerated what worked and what it resulted to after and his voice slowly had a strong tone of being frustrated with it.
\"The injury to the torso that I dealt to it initially, how long did it take for it to actually regenerate from that?\" Mor asked, which resulted in them halting their thought processes and think back to that exact moment when the Hydra started to regenerate for the first time.
They recalled that the Hydra grew heads faster than it healed its split body. Plus, it did not generate another body, instead it connected itself before it began to regenerate.
\"That's it Mor! That's good thinking!\" Jon was excited and exclaimed. Then continued to say, \"The heads, we know it regenerates and even multiplies if we cut it apart, however, its body lacks the ability to actually reproduce itself, meaning, if we focus our attacks towards its body just like with Mor, then maybe we can annihilate it that way!\" Jon had helped them stay out of danger with his Danger Sense, however, even that did not give them an edge in the fight. Everyone thought about the suggestion however, \"If that was really the case, then to kill the bastard, we'd have to attack it consecutively without pause or interruption and slowly chip its body off, right?\" Asked Isaac. While everyone nodded. He then continued, all while breaking their spirit, \"However, would the 10 heads just allow us to attack its body without hindering us? Remember, we are 4 people, the Hydra, it equals 10 people of the same power as us, how then can we attack without interruption or without pause?\"
Realizing the flaw in that suggestion, Jon shook his head along Caltec and Mor. Then they heard Isaac speak again, \"Although, we can't do that currently, that was a good observation Mor. And you were also the one who made that injury to the Hydra as well, so you get a lot of credit for that.\" Carrot and Stick, Isaac knew the game all too well. Caltec and Jon nodded in agreement to what Isaac said and Mor smiled a little in shyness. They continued to evaluate and eliminate suggestions and strategies even until afternoon, then suddenly the door to the conference room was knocked and the voice of his secretary sounded, \"Lord Clay asks for your presence, Sir. He is waiting at the lobby.\"
The sound of furniture being broken suddenly resounded surprising the secretary, Yorna. Yorna was one of the mercenaries' family that came together with Caltec when he came to serve Clay. She did not join the Elementalists and the Alchemists, instead she was recruited by Isaac to be his secretary after she volunteered herself to the service. At first, she knew nothing, but the way she learned and how fast it was, Isaac was impressed and so he gave her duties that he could entrust to her separately, which lightened his load. Yorna learned to manage budget, arrange schedules, set appointments and even speak about the trades that were available in the kingdom. Since City Hall was the central and most busy place out of the whole Kingdom, she was also as busy as can be. When the Night Prowlers started to train in the kingdom, she also wanted to train with them, she wanted to be trained in how to be a Night Prowler without being one, and Clay approved it. Now she was able to function as information agent as well for Isaac. She was strong enough to also fight C rank adventurers on par. That goes to say, that at this point being surrounded by ridiculously powerful people, she was close to immune to getting startled and surprised, but at this moment she flinched ever so slightly at the sound she heard before feeling an oppressive magic energy release.
The door to the conference room, swung open powerfully, threatening to get ripped off, however it held on like a pro. As to be expected from Clay-made products.
\"Did I hear you right? You made Lord Clay wait, in the lobby instead of guiding him here?\" Isaac's voice was grave and his expression murderous. The same could be said to the other three, although Mor's was a bit more relax, he still exuded enough threat. Yorna was never exposed to this kind of oppressive feeling before and so she was scared out of her wits, she immediately prostrated and banged her head to the floor and asked for forgiveness, \"I-I'm so sorry! I-It was L-L-Lord Clay who asked me to get you instead of coming to you, he said, \"call them\" and I obey!\" After she said that, an even more oppressive feeling blanketed the whole City Hall, however this time, there was no one, not even Yorna who was affected by it except the four of them. Isaac, Caltec, Jon and Mor, all were forcefully brought down by that oppressive force, cancelling their own. They realized; they did something uncouth to Yorna. It was unbecoming of them. And now, they are receiving their Lord Clay's punishment. At that time, the four of them heard Clay's cold voice.
\"You dare oppress your own people? People that I sent for you. You got death wishes?!\" The oppressive force different from Overpower got stronger and the four who had been brought to the floor on all fours, had their faces pushed to the floor.
Tok Tok Tok
Then they heard someone walking towards them. The sound of Clay's heels resounding so clearly that it became the only sound they could hear at this moment.
\"Yorna, take the day off for now. I need to reeducate my subordinates it seems.\" Clay gently held Yorna up and sent her home for the day as he passed the four who were on the floor, not forgetting to heal her forehead. Then he faced them while he himself squatted to look at them better.
\"What were you thinking? Were you so frustrated with your failed quest, that you took it out on the poor Yorna? Have you lost your minds with just this?\" Clay spoke to them without releasing the oppressive force he was emitting.
\"Don't take things too far, I am not so weak that I need you to be my babysitters. You remember that I don't like formalities and false show of respect. So, I encourage you to get that kind of mindset out of your heads from now on. You come when I tell you to come, regardless of who I send or where I choose to wait. You get me?\" Clay had seriously been pissed off by this display of his subordinates. It just goes to show how dominant their superiority complex is.
\"As punishment, you are banned from returning home, until you can subjugate that Hydra. Take Myles and Jora with you. They'll help support you. Don't fail me again.\" Clay said and disappeared immediately bringing with him the oppressive force he brought.
As was said, their nightmare had only just begun.