86 Back to Alleucanth
"Let's talk." Said Clay to Elkanor who had kneeled even before she could stop herself. It was as if on instinct that she did so. Clay was not bothered by it anymore and just let her be. It was not right by Clay to kneel to him or even pay him too much respect or show of respect.
"Elkanor. I am leaving this world and you have helped me take care of my son for a year. Seeing as he is unharmed, I shall grant you one reward, within my capabilities of course. Tell me what reward you want, and I will give it to you." Clay said generously since his mood was quite good.
"Lord! Spare my life and that is all I shall wish for. That is reward enough!" Elkanor dared not even request anything other than her life. It was good if she just got rid of this mysterious being and be left alone. That way, she could pursue whatever she wanted through her power in this world without anyone stopping her.
"Wisdom and folly sometimes go hand in hand. However, I shall not criticize you. Your life is spared; however, I shall give you an opportunity for you to take advantage of when the time comes. Bring this to the Forbidden Chamber a year later and tell the being that rules there to take you in as his personal apprentice. Show him this letter. Do not go to the Forbidden Chamber within less a year from now. That is all. We shall make ourselves scarce."
Without even saying goodbye, Clay activated the Teleport skill of the Space-Time Magic branch and disappeared into thin air.
Alleucanth, 4 years before Clay ascended into a higher being.
The Dungeon that was discovered on one of the faces of the Impassable Mountain Range.
Caltec, Isaac, Jon and Mor where together with Jora and Myles who were the Alchemy and Elementalist apprentices of Clay. They were sent with the 4 of them to be their support in fighting the Hydra that Clay had given them as punishment for mistreating one of their own people, Yorna.
They were left with taking care of the Hydra. This headache that caused them nightmares. Even Jora and Myles were now going to be ridden with nightmares of this expedition from now on.
At the entrance of the dungeon they stood with pale faces and the fear of their Lord engraved in their hearts. Jora and Myles had been better off since they were only ordered to be supporting characters to these personal retainers of the Lord.
"You're lucky you weren't there." Said Jon to Jora and Myles.
"What was it that you did that made Lord Clay so mad to punish you like this?" Jora asked. He was the best alchemist apprentice which was appointed as the chief apprentice for alchemy by Clay himself. It was a sort of honor for him as well as pressure but more of honor really, since the prestige he had was almost comparable to the 4 retainers that Clay personally chose.
The moment he mentioned this, the four of them groaned and glared at him like they were going to devour him. It scared the wits out of Jora and made him step back.
"Alright guys, stop messing around and just tell us your plan of action? We need to get back as soon as possible to complete some projects and handle the other students. The 4 of you are being punished whilst us two were put here in this party to be your watch dogs. So, don't forget that our report to Lord Clay would determine whether you live or die. Right?"
Myles smiled at them brightly. Oddly, none of them found that smile beautiful, instead it was dreadful in another sense.
"Fine! We'll proceed with the previous set up, but we must account for the healing ability of this bastard! The Hydra can regenerate its body for as many times as it could and that's its main strength. If that healing ability wasn't there, then we'd be able to beat it without sweat."
"So, from what I'm hearing from you. You've no idea how to take it down once and for all. And if we charge right through, we'd just be horribly outmatched so basically, we don't have a plan of action, is that it?"
Another groan coming from the 4 of them. It seems that Myles was right. Jora was nodding in acknowledgement of Myles insight. And added, "Since, you can't really cause it harm that'd last, how about doing it like this…"
Myles and Jora gave them ideas and doing their roles in supporting the 4 in facing the Hydra.
After their little meeting at the mouth of the dungeon, they started their expedition into the depths of the dungeon to the Hydra's Lair. The Hydra already had a few heads that grew out of their first encounter. This only made this upcoming battle more of a headache. It took them a few hours of travel to get into the Hydra's Lair as usual. When they arrived, the Hydra was yet again, sleeping. As if mocking them in saying that even if it slept and they succeeded in a surprise attack again, it'd make no difference at all.
Jora gave everyone poison immunity pills to support them in facing the Hydra's poison. Although this pill was not as potent as the ones that Clay could produce, it was the best that Jora and his fellow apprentices could produce at their level over the years.
"This pill will help us in facing the Hydra without worrying about its poison for its duration. Remember, this pill's effect only lasts a day. After taking this, you won't be able to take another pill of its kind for 2 days after. We can force it with your bodies' constitution, however, once is the limit I'm giving you.
"Even with your constitution, pill poison would still kill you. The residue that it leaves inside your body will get harder to absorb and taking pills in the future will only give you minimal effect instead of its full effect." Jora explained thoroughly. Since Clay also warned him about this side-effect to Pill forging as opposed to potion making. If it were potion, the effects would be less, but it won't leave residues inside the body. However, this time, they needed duration more than security. So, Jora opted for the pills.
"I can help you with large spells on the side, but my spells take time to cast as opposed to the smaller scale spells. So, we must coordinate our attacks. Fire just might give this little lizard a fright." Myles was optimistic, since Clay had appointed him as one of the supports, there must have been a reason why this was so. In fact, Clay made him come with them to recreate the Herculean Myth of Hercules besting the Hydra using fire. Of course, in this world of magic, less bounded by the rules of physics and logic… anything goes, so he just put so and so together to help.
"Of course. However, since it's sleeping anyway, why don't we try your spell first to wake it up?" Mor asked and suggested. However, his idea was shot down immediately by Isaac.
"That Hydra is sensitive to magic energy for sure. If it detects the large amounts of magic energy being collected despite itself, then I'm sure it, waking up is the least of our worries." Sternly said Isaac.
"Since it's like this, let's just go with Isaac's Blizzard first and then follow up with finisher attacks to chain a combo before it fully wakes up and then finish the combo with Myles' attack. That way, it'd be a new kind of combination attack from us as opposed to repeating our blunder earlier?" Caltec was more optimistic now that Jora and Myles were with them. Although they were still a bit depressed for being scolded by their Lord Clay, it had to be set aside in this time danger.
"I guess we'll go with that. The Hydra's regenerative ability is a pain in the butt, so let's get this over with quickly!"
The Hydra lay on its belly as it slept while most of the extra heads head inside the hole it dug for itself or was originally designed like that, as burrowing a hole in this dungeon is easier said than done. Caltec approached it from the east side while Jon and Mor approached from the north and then Isaac from the west. Jora and Myles stayed close to the entrance. Myles ready to channel his spell after the battle starts.
With all 6 of them in position, Caltec nodded to signal the start of their strategy.
With that signal, Isaac breathed deeply to release a large amount of magic energy in an instant. Even Myles could not do this now and may have to take a lot of time before even putting his feet in the starting levels. Isaac's ability to do this was from his years of experience in the need to release his energy to survive.
Myles was not jealous, he was impressed and challenged. As the first chief apprentice of the Elementalist personally designated by Lord Clay, he had to live up to that level of expectation, real or imaginary it may be for him. Impressive, Myles thought.
Isaac's outburst made the Hydra react however, it was too late when it did as Isaac had already released Blizzard as an attack and enveloped its nest entirely. Jora and Myles were unaffected as they were at the mouth of the nest but Caltec, Jon and Mor were also unhindered by the cold. It would have been a disgrace as Clay's direct subordinates to be frozen to death without any means to protect themselves from it. The three of them covered their bodies with a thin layer of magic energy to serve as skin-like barriers. It protects against the temperature, but gasses still pass through normally, so poison was still something that could harm them in the long run.
"Go!" Isaac yelled. That was the signal to start pounding on the Hydra. With this blizzard, even they could not see clearly, however, the Hydra's body was enormous, it took no effort to locate it.
Caltec attacked first with his strongest technique finisher; Turtle Destruction Wave – Uppercut!
Caltec went into the side of the Hydra's body and unleashed his finisher on it hitting it and even lifting the Hydra out of the ground for more than 10 feet before it started to drop down, pulled by the gravity of Alleucanth.
The Hydra's roar resounded, and its hidden heads were also lifted out of the hole and started to swing themselves in defense and counterattack against Caltec.
Jon and Mor started their assault as well at almost the same time as Caltec did.
Jon brandished his sword and imbued his raw magic energy into it, shaping it into the sharpest blade he could imagine and slashed at the Hydra's right front leg. Jon's attack hit it and his attack even reached all the way to the torso while both front legs were severed in the attack.
Mor on the other hand, gathered mana into his little stick and instantly made a large cleaver blade with his raw magic energy. It was a technique he derived from the Turtle Destruction Wave he called Wave Slash! It was a two-part attack that used the weightless of the gigantic sword to instantly slash the target in any initial direction. After a successful slash hits, using the momentum of the swing, positioning the blade's tip or in reality the wand stick's tip in the enemy's direction, shoot out the blade, detaching it from the wand looking like the original Turtle Destruction Wave with a blade tip.
Mor's attack also hit and it cut the Hydra's torso almost in half with that one slash. One would wonder how it could even cut that deep without weight, but meh, magic.
With the initial hit succeeding, the second part also activated and shot out a destructive wave towards the center of its torso. Skewering the Hydra and punching a hole on its main body.
All this happened almost instantaneously. The second round of attack was about to start with Isaac mounting his alternate finisher, however, the 10 heads of the Hydra gave out roars.
These roars carried with it the resentment that the Hydra felt for these persistent costumers. It used its poison breath on them and almost covered the whole nest with it, a good thing that they came prepared and could ignore the poison's effects. At least, most of them. The paralyzing effect of the poison breath could not be completely defended against by the pill that Jora gave them. Jora saw this and was distressed as the 4 of them started to slow down and stiffen up. However, those he worried for did not even care about this, instead, they called for Myles and yelled, "Do it now Myles!" Their yells woke up Myles and the magic he was holding on as he channeled enough magic energy into it flickered. He was hesitating just now to throw this large ball of destruction towards his own companions to greatly damage the Hydra.
"Don't hesitate! We'll heal instantly with the Pills that Lord Clay gave us all. Just hit the bastard with all you have!" Everyone shouted and yelled different things that conveyed the same message. Just fucking do it!
Instead of Myles hesitating, he was instead distressed at the masochistic tendency that his companions were showing him. Is this the effect of training with Lord Clay physically? Myles further thought. However, he put aside those foolish thoughts and delivered his fiery attack to the Hydra. This spell was a linear fire spell like laser, but was more than just laser, in another world, this was called a Plasma wave.
This one shot of Plasma has the possible energy to melt through the walls of this dungeon.
Seeing this, Isaac, Caltec, Jon and Mor were scared shitless. They thought his attack would be wide area damage attack spell, instead it was a pin-point accurate spell that focuses on one point. If they were hit directly with this, they'd die and disintegrate. If it were a wide area attack instead, the damage would be dispersed and divided through the area which would dampen the damage they receive from it. All of them had the same thought as Myles shot his magic, Fuck you Myles!
The magic spell hit and gouged a hole half as big as the mouth of the nest into the Hydra's main body. The hole that Mor made with his finisher was right beside it and he felt lacking the moment he started to compare sizes. This is emasculating. Mor said in grief. His hate meter towards Myles went up by one point just with this. In fact, the 4 of them put one point of hate on Myles as the magic hit.
At the same time, they breathed a sigh of relief as they saw the effect of the spell for both the Blizzard spell that Isaac initially casted and the Hydra. The effect on the blizzard spell was that its heat was nullified, while the Hydra was punched through. Even a tiny portion of the wall behind it was melted through, although just a few inches of it.
"Is everyone okay?" Myles asked loudly to ascertain their safety after unleashing his spell. Right beside him, Jora was shaking his head and thinking, "this guy's going to get it later if we get to finish this task." And he was probably right.
Just like a veteran party, the party of six started to check themselves after ending the battle like that. Or so they thought. However, no one voiced out this question for fear of jinxing it again. Asking if "they did it" again would probably get them all in serious trouble again! Even Jora and Myles were prevented from asking such a question as they all recovered from paralysis via Jora's potions. They regrouped and started to check the Hydra's body for loot. However, Jon, the most adept when it comes to dismantling stood on his spot like a nail hammered to the ground as his eyes flickered and his mouth started to open agape.
"Get back! Get back!" Jon shouted furiously and ran the hell out of dodge the moment he gave that warning. Seeing his sorry state, the rest of them could not even dare to joke as they had never seen Jon so flustered before, and that face he was making only meant one thing.
The Hydra was still alive. And them taking their time to recover, only gave it the time it needed to regenerate and heal itself. In fact, half of its torso's damage were already done closing. This level of regeneration really gave them headaches. Currently, even Jora and Myles were in despair.
"No need to despair. At least we won't die if we retreat now. We'll have another time to ourselves and plan another attack." Isaac said and nodded to Caltec. Caltec noticed this and nodded as he said, "Let's pack up. We'll have to give this approach another few tries and another variation. At least, we'll have time to occupy ourselves with strategies to take this bastard on. However, the longer we take, the longer this dungeon will be out of commission. It'll only slightly effect Claiomh's profits so at this juncture we can still afford it. We must take advantage of this."
So, they packed up and went their way.
This time however, Isaac told them he'd cast another Blizzard to slow the bastard down.
"Let me observe the bastard freeze up before we leave. My resentment for it's getting higher each time we fail and it's giving me so much frustrations." Everyone understood where Isaac came from so, they all agreed to stay and observe. The Hydra was already healing up visibly and at the rate it was going, it'll only take 15 to 20 minutes to fully recover… that was, before Isaac unleashed a Blizzard.
One Blizzard spell's duration was 2 minutes no matter how much magic energy is put into it. The only aspect that magic energy enhances is the violent wind that it carries. Depending on the amount of magic energy further consumed, the violence of the whirlwind can go from a simple tornado to a massive typhoon-like rush. Isaac only expended a bit more of his magic energy in proportion to his magic energy that's left.
They waited for two minutes until the Blizzard cleared…
Everyone gasped except Isaac. He was curious instead. "How come its regeneration stopped?" Isaac mumbled.
"Look!" Jon who had felt that the current Hydra did not emit any danger at all at this moment rushed towards it and found something interesting, before alerting his companions. Everyone cautiously came closer to him and looked at what he was pointing at.
From a distance, it wasn't so noticeable, however up close, it was as clear as day.
"The bastard's blood is frozen, and it stopped moving. Although, its vigorous blood still can fix itself, it has been dampened by the frost that formed on its blood. If we leave this guy as it is, then he'd recover if the frost is melted by room temperature. If we try to break it apart now, we may be able to finish this bastard once and for all!" Jon was excitedly proclaiming. The rest were also jubilant, all except Myles.
Myles had already started to think of the reason why he was appointed to support them, when in fact, they already had the perfect party to defeat this monster. Was his presence here unnecessary?
Jora noticed Myles state and he stepped back to pat Myles shoulders. He then whispered, "Don't think too hard on this. I'm sure Lord Clay had his reasons for this. We can ask him when he returns. Put it at the back of your mind for now."
With celebration in their midst, Caltec proposed, "Let's break this bastard apart first and then burn it piece by piece. While Isaac will continue to blast it with his Ice Wave to freeze it. Myles, you will see to burning each piece of the bastard to smithereens once we separate it in one go. Jora, give Isaac your finest Magic Energy Recovery pots. Jon and Mor, help me to take the bastard apart. We can't work on it separately for fear that any active blood that spills would regenerate into another piece of this bastard! Let's go!"
With instructions in place, they worked their way from the tail, slowly but surely. The one who worked the hardest in this expedition was probably Isaac. He was the one who kept the bastard Hydra frozen for 3 days straight until they could take apart the Hydra's whole body. They only took breaks when Blizzard was casted over the nest to freeze it while Isaac took a two-minute breather to eat. Drinking potions was his way of alleviating thirst after all.
Killing the Hydra was more a chore than an adventure. They couldn't take any of its materials as any drop of its blood could potentially become another head or slowly become a new Hydra, which they could not risk.
Jon was the most despondent when it came to have no loot from the enormous treasure that is the Hydra's body and even blood.
Just like this, the party of 6 finally was able to defeat the Hydra after a half a week of hunting it.