Alana’s eyes were almost dull as closely she followed the movements of the Dragon Broodmother’s descent. There might be swirling snow between them, but Alana’s heavy gaze tore through all the intervening distance. Those heavy black claws hovered for a split second, then alighted upon the ground. As the Dragon began to pull its massive wings against its sides, Alana made her move.
Great Leap, Solar Flare.
Child of the Sun.
Golden light erupted from Alana’s body as she threw herself forward to cross the distance to the Dragon Broodmother’s side. Her hiding place exploded and the surrounding snow was blasted outward. She would have preferred to choose a place closer to the Dragon Broodmother, but Alana had been aware that its arrival would shake the surrounding snow. Had she been too close, her hiding spot would have been revealed too early to strike.
And the one thing that the hunter didn’t fear was some extra effort to secure a kill.
Instantly, the surrounding dragons twisted around and tried to spew their ice breath to slow Alana down. But she was too quick, crossing the distance to her target in a single second. The golden fire of her body burned away any physical barriers in her path and made the journey a smooth one for her loping stride. The Dragon Broodmother’s huge sapphire eyes narrowed as it considered the brilliant light of Alana’s approach.
But of course, Alana had been waiting for this moment. With its wings half-withdrawn, the Dragon Broodmother was faced with a choice: Either extend its wings once more and take off to the sky or pull its wings in to defend its torso. And based upon the arrogance earlier displayed by the Dragon Broodmother, Alana knew that it would be the former. And then with its heart revealed-
Despite Alana’s thoughts, the Dragon resolutely pulled its wings in the rest of the way to protect its vulnerable torso. It came as a shock, but it wasn’t as though Alana hadn’t mentally prepared for this eventuality as well.
As she neared, the burning heat wafting off of her Child of the Sun Skill spiked sharply upward as Alana’s Willpower fully embraced that image of a burning sun. It was not yet a concrete thing, but it was vast and powerful. The vestigates of that sea of Willpower Alana had channeled to fight against Randidly in the challenge had left her with a very peculiar weight to her will. That weight settled onto her shoulders and made the golden light around her body strike out with a physical force.
“Sun Strike,” Alana hissed. Golden petals bloomed around Alana’s spear as she thrust her weapon directly toward the shoulder joint of the dragon the size of an apartment building. The shoulder bone itself was the size of a motorcycle. The Dragon Broodmother raised its head and howled toward the sky and Alana saw icy armor rapidly condensing around its body, but Alana moved too quickly.
“We are not weak,” Alana roared as more and more light gathered around her spear. The ice armor the Dragon Broodmother tried to condense melted and evaporated before her strike and then the spear smashed into the vulnerable bone of the joint. No matter its size, a direct hit against the bone was still a dangerous thing. The resulting crack made a simple smile of joy cross Alana’s face.
But then the Dragon Broodmother roared and reared up on its hind legs to create some distance between its body and this sudden threat. Blood was coursing out of its shoulder and the wing hung limply at its side, but it was still a huge, Level 82 monster. In fact, the only reason that Alana had been able to inflict a wound that serious on it was because she had taken it by surprise.
Now she no longer had that luxury.
Alana didn’t panick as the surrounding Dragons screeched and shot blasts of ice toward her in defense of their Brood Mother. Their blows whirled together in a blizzard that seemed to cover all of Alana’s escape paths. Forward was into danger, backward was into danger. Danger was on both of her sides. And to stay still and allow the swarming dragons to shoot at her freely…
On its hind legs, the Dragon Broodmother barred its teeth and began gathering a flood of freezing energy in its maw. Wisps of frozen wind gathered out of the air and formed a tight ball of power that Alana could see floating above its tongue.
It is ever so, the wounded beast struggles the most fiercely…
Alana thought almost sadly.
But as long as you fight just as a beast…
Descent of the Radiant Wings. Solar Flare.
Congratulations! Your Skill Descent of the Radiant Wings (Ru) has grown to Level 80!
As though it sensed what was about to happen, the Dragon Broodmother lowered its head and blasted out a torrent of freezing power to try and strike before Alana could dodge out of the way. It was the same power that blasted Alana off of the cliff with a glancing blow.
But over the past several weeks, Alana had grown. Even if she had possessed the upgraded Stat Inviolability at the time, that didn’t mean she could use it to its fullest potential. A portion of having Stats was that proper usage and understanding. Now, as she surged upward with golden wings springing from her back and a helmet with miniature white wings on her head, Alana surged upward without trying to dodge.
Her Willpower burned to push her upgraded Stat to the limit and conjure the short-term shield that made her Inviolable. The pale white fire clashed against the blast of freezing energy and she sliced upward through it like a canoe slicing through frothing rapids.
As the breath attack of the Broodmother faded, it lifted its head and looked at the floating form of Alana with wide eyes. Alana stared solemnly at the Dragon while she gathered herself, the golden wings on her back beating softly. This hidden effect of Inviolability had a severe mental cost that meant it couldn’t be used very often, but obviously the Dragon Broodmother didn’t know that.
All it knew was fear as it recognized Alana for what she was: a hunter.
Which made these Dragons prey. And in the System, that was a sin that condemned you to death.
The Dragon Broodmother’s arrogance crumbled as it turned and shrieked as it tried to scuttle away with a broken wing. The younger dragons surged up into the sky and belched spikes of ice toward Alana in attempt to cover their mother’s escape.
Alana’s eyes were half-closed as she surveyed the mountain top below her.
Is this truly all a Level 82 monster amounts to? Compared to Randidly, you are just…
Which, Alana supposed, was why the Earth was truly blessed. It was easy for them to see what Randidly accomplished and admire what he had done and chase him, but it was only now, as Alana had struck the first blow against this Dragon Broodmother did she truly understand the impossibility of Randidly’s existence.
There was a strange sense of satisfaction that burned in Alana’s chest as that moment, looking down at the Dragons.
The only reason that I could inspire such fear was surprise and my evolved stat, but… It could be done without those things. This is a beast that could be killed. if we would have beaten this sort of foe without Randidly’s interference, our belief in ourselves would rise even further. Our confidence would become even more entrenched. And the moment that confidence was shattered would become all the more dangerous.
How did you display such disregard for the System, Ghosthound? Where did you find enough power that you could disregard us all?
But Alana knew the answer. It was an image. A clear image of a world without fear of the System.
As the Dragon Broodmother fled and the minions surged upward toward her, Alana’s eyes burned. She lowered her spear and dived sharply down toward the ground. Most of the Dragons twisted to try and keep up with her movements, except for the unlucky Dragon that was directly beneath Alana.
Alana’s heels smashed into that poor fool and it was smashed into the ground with enough force to shatter the frozen ground. Snow and blasts of ice swished around her but Alana was already flitting forward like a ghost, her golden wings burning a path forward through the precipitation so she seemed to leave a wake of mist.
A Dragon with a torso the size of a horse and the wings the length of a plane’s crashed down in front of her and lashed out with its claw, but Alana didn’t even blink. As she ducked under the blow, she reached up and seized the offending wing with her left hand while she brought her spear up in her right. Without even using Sunstrike, Alana’s spear shot forward. With the addition sharpness and damage from Dragon Slayer, the spear pierced through its scaled skin and stopped the Dragon’s heart with a light touch.
Then Alana leaped into the sky, her golden wings beating rapidly and the limp body of the dying Dragon pulled behind her. When the next volley of ice blasted toward Alana, she simply tossed the Dragon in front of that and watched as, even its constitution that was adapted to this climate, it was stiffened and frozen by the barrage.
Alana’s golden wings beat again and she shot forward, blasting the flurrying snow in the surrounding area away to clear a path. Her gaze was fixed on the still bleeding Dragon Broodmother.
Unfortunately, these wings cost far too much Mana… maybe only a minute remaining. I need to kill it soon.
Alana accelerated further, even as two Dragon’s about the size of buses surged up in the air to protect their Broodmother. Both were Level 73, higher even than Alana’s current Level.
And yet those Levels now seemed insignificant now. Their breath attacks surged toward her and Alana solemnly activated Inviolability once more. She had wanted to save the second activation for pinning down the Dragon Broodmother, but it was more important now to close the distance before her Descent of the Radiant Wings ran out.
The breaths smashed against her and Alana’s breath was knocked out of her chest. But she pushed forward and raised her spear. She unleashed six quick Sunstrikes against the left most Dragon, puncturing its torso and ripping a bleating cry from its lips as it groaned and fell backward. As Alana turned with burning eyes to deal with the remaining Dragon, a notification popped up.
Congratulations! You have reached Level 70! +2 Strength. +5 Stats distributed between Endurance, Agility, Wisdom, and Focus, +2 Inviolability, +8 Free Stats! +15 Health, +15 Mana, +18 Stamina, +4 to Stamina Regeneration!
Congratulations! You have learned the Skill Valkyrie’s Relentless Crusade (A) Lvl 1!
Congratulations! Due to the evolution of your Soulskill, you have learned the Skill “The First Sermon of Alaihym: The Shadow of a Distant God” (L) Lvl 1!