The moment that Bates launched his spiritual ability, signifying the beginning of the battle, the long-ranged weaponry of the Frie Clan all launched aerial bombardments straight at the beast horde. Boulders that burnt with the whitest of flames clashed viciously on the beasts that roamed near, instantly incinerating dozens of the assailants. To prevent utter annihilation, the stronger Spirit Beasts, such as the Tempest Wolf Kings, all stepped forward deflect a large portion of the attacks.
“Tskkk, it won’t be that easy to clean them up in one shot huh?” One of Bates subordinates bit her nails in frustration. Evidently, she didn’t want to be forced to work and hoped that the long-ranged weapons from behind the defensive walls would do the work for her.
“Judging from their formation, I doubt that there are any Tier 7 Spirit Beasts or higher among their ranks. The Tempest Wolf Kings are at most Tier 5 Spirit Beasts, and the Zusa Trolls that are leading the charge should be Tier 6.” Bates fell deep into thought as he analysed the enemy’s forces.
Zusa Trolls were towering beasts that stood over ten metres tall and were blessed with the elements of the earth. Using their superior mana control, they could easily start landslides and trigger miniature fissures that would decimate the land that they were so accustomed to. Naturally, being a Tier 6 Spirit Beast, there was no way that it could win in a one-on-one encounter with the Rank 60 Spirit King that was Bates who was a whole cultivation realm higher than them, nevertheless, the superior numbers that they boasted proved to be a significant threat for the One-armed Kingslayer.
“Not to mention, those Black Masks that are flying up top… This is really going to be a long-drawn battle…” Just as Bates was thinking about the momentous task that stood before him, tens of bright red lights flew from inside of the mountain and landed squarely next to the members of the Second Elder’s division.
“Lou… Ines…” Beside him, a muscular bearded man and a hazel-haired beauty emerged with some Spirit Users from the First Elder’s division. In the Instructor’s hands, there was a sizeable flaming club that seemed capable of demolishing even the sturdiest of buildings with a simple swing. For Ines, she had merged with the Ainu Flame Wolf in her spiritual body enhancement, giving her a sense of viciousness that was irregular for a woman of her size. Likewise, the other mighty Spirit Users from the First Elder’s division all had summoned out their Spirits, ready to do battle.
“Bates…” Ines bared her sharp fangs sharply at the one-armed man, ready to pounce and tear the man to shreds. Remembering the day where he attacked her in the forest while protecting Shin’s assassins, the belly of hate that Ines had buried started to resurface. Unfortunately, the large hand of the Instructor halted the savage woman’s advance. “Lou!”
“Now is not the time Ines! We have to protect the mountain…” The Instructor’s booming voice bellowed out, somewhat dissipating the anger that the wolf woman had.
“…” Bates stared quietly at the interaction between the Instructor and Ines, careful not to make an improper remark. Of all people, Bates was the one that was the clearest about how bad the relationship between the members of the First and Second Elder divisions. Not to mention, he was the orchestrator for many conflicts and had even personally attacked Ines herself.
“Bates… I don’t like you, and I’m sure you don’t have any pleasant feelings for us. However, to protect the mountain, we will assist you in fighting back the monsters.” After calming Ines down, the Instructor lightly remarked.
The orphans were currently being placed in one of the most secure locations on the mountain, meaning that there was no need for the Instructor to worry about their safety. Even if the Second Elder’s division wished to harm them, they would have to go through a series of defensive mechanisms and competent men that were placed there to protect them. Therefore, the Instructor could be at ease as he fought the war against the incoming threats.
“Lou… Thank you for your assistance…” Bitterly smiling, the one-armed man extended a few words of gratitude before turning towards the battlefield.
Many of his men had engaged with the beasts, reducing the fields ahead into a pile of fire and ash. Being high-levelled Spirit Users, they were able to hold their own against the savage Spirit Beasts that were born with the elements blessings. Flaming boulders had been reduced to dust as the Zusa Trolls swung their massive weapons and the flames of war had been blown backwards by the Tempest Wolf Kings. Currently, the advance of the horde was inevitable, and within a few minutes, they would be threatening the fortified walls of the mountain.
“I’m going ahead.” Unable to hold back his bloodthirst, the Instructor kicked hard on the floor, propelling his heavy body skywards. Enlarging his flaming club, the Instructor summoned out fifteen fire rings and targetted a concentrated portion of the beast horde, hoping to thin down its numbers. Following his actions, Ines took one last growl at Bates and sped through the frontlines, flashing her razor-sharp claws as she aimed for the necks of the numerous beasts.
‘Haha… To think that our two divisions would be fighting side-by-side in the same battle…’ Bates scoffed in his mind as he watched the Instructor and the rest of the First Elder’s division fight alongside his subordinates. It was reminiscent of the times before the fall of the Awter Clan.
‘Haaa… now’s not the time to be hung over the past! The first thing that we need to do is reduce the overwhelming numbers!’ Pushing aside the mushy thoughts that he had, Bates took a deep breath in, gathering a significant amount of mana into his ochre gauntlet. The temperature around him began to rise rapidly as an orange aura filled the area. The moist ground boiled in fear as the grass started to burn, and only when his gauntlet had gathered enough mana, did Bates cast his ability. “*Flame Pillar!*.”
In an instant, a towering pillar about fifty metres in diameter emerged from the centre of the beast horde and charged straight at the Black Masks in the middle of the overcast skies. Noticing the mighty attack, the Malgen, Vellan and the remaining Black Masks all scattered, potentially avoiding certain death.
“Aiming for the head at the start huh…” Malgen sneered in ridicule. It was a common tactic to eliminate the commanding officer of the army to send the troops into disarray, so Malgen wasn’t faulting Bates for trying. However, the attack was too telegraphed, and only a fool would have been caught in that flaming pillar.
“Let me return the favour…” Closing his eyes, the Spirit Emperor released a torrent of green spiritual energy, and at the same time, a lumbering pressure pushed down upon the Frie Clan, making it hard for the fighters to breathe. For that short period of time, it seemed as if there was an ocean above the sky as anyone below the Spirit King realm all fell to their knees, trying their best to gulp in huge breaths of air.
“Spirit Emperor?!” Bates cried out in horror. Although he had his suspicions, the seasoned fighter hoped that there wouldn’t be such a strong foe amongst the Black Masks that were attacking. After all, only the Clan Master was a Spirit Emperor among the forces that were present on Frie Mountain.
An evil maniacal smile crept up the lips of Malgen as a humongous phantom of a golem appeared behind the dark hooded man. Although the phantom only had the upper part of its body, it was still over twenty metres wide and thirty metres tall, making one wonder how big the Spirit would actually be if it were fully summoned. On its chest, precious minerals such as gold and platinum plates made the golem seem to be a structure created by the Immortals above.
“The Thargrak Golem?! Malgen Chaxrala had joined the Black Masks?!” Bates exclaimed in complete terror. The heinous deeds of Malgen had even reached the ears of those living outside of the Kori Federation.
“God damn it! What did the Frie Clan ever do to you, Malgen?!” Bates hollered out, thinking back to the history of the clan, hoping to find an inkling of any possible times that the Frie Clan might have offended Malgen Chaxrala. However, due to the great distance between the two, Malgen was unable to hear or reply to the inquisitive query. To prove that point, the Thargrak Golem placed its two hands together and created a long cannon barrel.
“Break it down… *Gravity Devastation!*.” A blinding light shot out from the cannon barrel and fell straight onto the walls protecting Frie Mountain. There was no explosion, nor were there any fires like how Bates had expected. Instead, the walls all caved in like every single soul and structure around it. Falling straight into the ground wallows of pain and suffering could be heard as Frie Clan members manning the walls all felt their bodies turn inside out. In just a few short moments, the entire area of contact had been utterly decimated, leaving only a humongous crater with the crushed remnants of the fortified walls.
“Hmmm? That was easier than I expected. Perhaps they don’t have enough resources to protect against my attacks?” Mildly taken aback about how simple it was to take down the walls of Frie Mountain, Malgen wondered if the Frie Clan was weaker than he had first imagined.
“What the fuck?!” The Instructor’s eyes widened in fear as he cursed out loud. It was the first time in his long battle career that he had witnessed such a horrendous spiritual ability.
“MALGEN!!!” Bates screamed out in fury as he witnessed his brethren die before his eyes. Controlling his Ochre Flaming Gauntlet, the one-armed man flew up high, hoping to land a clean hit on the greatest menace that the Frie Clan had ever faced.
“I wonder if I can just land a clean hit upon the mountain…” Ignoring the flying threat, Malgen casually fired yet another shot upon the tall mountain that he was targetting. However, before it could even break the airspace surrounding it, the bullet of light was halted by a thin, yet robust red force field.
“Haha, yeap. No way attacking the Frie Clan would be THAT easy…” Shaking his head, Malgen scoffed at his prior folly. His expression was peaceful, not bothered in the least that he had just wiped out tens, if not a hundred lives. Finally turning his attention to the ball of red light approaching him at blinding speeds, Malgen grinned at Bates fruitless efforts.
“Brahmin Vellan… You’re a Spirit King just like that fool coming here now. You deal with him.” Malgen couldn’t be bothered to entertain the raging Bates and shoved the task of fighting him to the Awter Clan survivor. After all, the mission was caused by the remnants of the Awter Clan anyway.
“Understood!” Vellan’s voice was shaky when he replied to the Spirit Emperor who was advancing towards Frie Mountain. It was not that Vellan was afraid to battle Bates. Instead, he was too overwhelmed with excitement.
‘Finally… Finally, the Awter Clan can show its face on this earth once more.’ Vellan’s blood boiled in anticipation. Circulating his mana, the boorish middle-aged man brought out his Spirit, awaiting the arrival of the angry one-armed Frie general.
“Thanks, Lien! You’d really saved us there!” The Clan Master exclaimed out to the red-faced white-robed woman, who was sitting in a circle with her fellow shrine maidens with their hands outreached to the air. Supplying the force field that protected Frie Mountain with mana, the maidens all had sweaty foreheads and wobbly hands after the potent attack of Malgen.
“Not… *hah* *hah* An issue… However, we won’t be able to take too much more punishment…” Catching her breath, the Shrine Maiden worded out her thoughts, as much as she didn’t have the energy to. Evidently, the attack of Malgen did much more damage than any of them expected.
“Yeah… You’re right. To think that Malgen Chaxrala was sent to attack us. We didn’t have the infrastructure to deal with the kind of attacks he specialises in… Try your best to maintain the barrier. I have to go out and confront him…”
“Are you confident about taking him on?” The Shrine Maiden asked.
“No… He’s much older and has much more experience in fighting. Not to mention his cultivation level should be higher than mine… But I’m the only one present that even has a remote chance against him…”
“Oh, don’t show me that face! It’s not like I would definitely lose!” Seeing the downtrodden expression of her long-time friend, the Clan Master waved her hand to reassure the Shrine Maiden.
“Hah… What can I say… Be careful alright! Malgen’s battle techniques are all vicious and unorthodox. Don’t let any of his spiritual abilities hit your body!”
“Hey, who do you think you’re talking to?! I’m the Clan Master of the Frie Clan! There’s no way that a mere rogue cultivator can threaten me!” Pushing out her chest in pride, the Clan Master gathered her mana and enhanced her body in a crimson red aura.
“Alright then… Stay safe.”
“Yeah! I’ll be back soon!”