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Manowa Chapter 170

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Crisis

Mountainsea and Phaser were the only ones left in the freshly-made camp. The latter's entire body was wrapped in a dark green cloak, even her face hidden in the shadows as though she was just a part of the environment. This cloak was a piece of epic-grade equipment that was extraordinary for stealth. In comparison, Mountainsea's equipment didn't look like it would add up to even ten gold.

The barbarian girl's attire was enchanted, but it was only for resistance to dirt and wear. When Richard had first seen her, just the worth of the jewels she wore was more than even most legendary beings, able to leave even Sharon breathless, but now she looked almost no different from a poor adventurer. She hadn't asked for anything ever since she arrived in Norland, seemingly happy so long as she could stay by Richard's side. He had given her hundreds of thousands of gold, but all she had picked up with it was a rod of lafite that was enchanted for st.u.r.diness. Even including the materials, she had only given the mage who enchanted it ten gold. In a strangely compet.i.tive way, she had named the staff Eleventon.

Mountainsea's eyes were glowing as she stared at Phaser, the campfires flickering despite a lack of wind. The special unit had shrunk backwards, but only to coil up for a vicious strike. She was glaring at the barbarian girl herself, prepared to pounce.

"You have the guts?" Mountainsea asked with an eyebrow raised, her hand on Eleventon.

"Of course not," Phaser said softly, but she only coiled up further as her hand reached for Annihilation by her waist. This was clearly eagerness and not fear.

"Heh," Mountainsea stood up, her staff pointed to the ground. The movement seemed casual, but her aura instantly billowed out as though an ancient beast was hidden in her little body. Phaser, who was significantly taller than her, suddenly felt as though she had to look up. This caused a storm in the special unit's heart; she knew that the barbarian was only level 10 and didn't even have her totems.

This didn't mean that Phaser didn't dare to fight. Having reached the saint realm recently, she had been rebuilt a total of thrice by the broodmother. Every transformation was a huge investment of divinity, and for certain reasons to help Flowsand the broodmother had spared almost nothing in upgrading her when Richard had gone off to Klandor. She bowed and drew back, Annihilation being pulled from its sheath, "What do you want? When did I offend you?"

Mountainsea just shrugged, "Never, I just want to know what you are. Why would I like someone who wants to eat me? I know you won't do it as long as Richard is alive, but you're still thinking about it."

"Is that the only reason?" Phaser asked.

"No, you also smell strange, like the fabled Worldeater."

"Worldeater?" Phaser felt her heart skip a beat. This was the first time she was hearing this term, but it sounded very familiar.

"The Beast G.o.d said that it's the enemy of all life."

The special unit fell silent for a while before responding, "It isn't me."

"Huh… Of course not, but you must be related— what?" Mountainsea opened her eyes wide as she looked towards the direction that Richard had left, hair fluttering in the wind as her aura surged. A phantom behemoth formed in the void, forcing Phaser to retreat by instinct as it roared in challenge. All the trees within a few miles started shaking.

The giant beast dispersed within a minute of its appearance, leaving the barbarian girl pale and sweaty. She looked at the direction the beast had roared in, her eyebrows almost knitting together as she turned to Phaser, "You know what it is, don't you."

Phaser did not answer, instead taking a few steps towards the barbarian girl even as her eyes turned bright red. She had felt the moment the broodmother's avatar started hatching, but she had no plans to reveal that. An immense struggle was visible on her face as she noticed Mountainsea's weakness; for her, the barbarian girl was the best delicacy in the world.

"You can try," Mountainsea said indifferently as she felt the killing intent.

The standoff was quickly interrupted by heavy footsteps. The earth started shaking a little as the trees nearby fell one after the other, revealing Tiramisu's huge body stepping through. There was a mountain of prey on the ogre's back, but both his heads were pouting in an obviously bad mood. He just threw the food to the ground and started preparing to cook, grumbling as he worked, "d.a.m.n you all, knowing to hide from me. The little girl did so much better, this is unfair!"

His anger came from the fact that Waterflower had caught most of their quarry. All the creatures of the jungle had hidden away the moment he came within a hundred metres of them, but she managed to get right behind them before they even realised it. Had he been alone, he would have had a serious problem with food on this plane. Already annoyed by the dense foliage, his irritation only grew further.

It was only after grumbling for a few seconds that Tiramisu suddenly realised the awkwardness in the atmosphere. The two heads looked at Mountainsea and Phaser, asking hesitantly, "What are you two doing?"

"Nothing, let me help." Phaser sat down opposite the ogre, picking up one of the beasts to start skinning it. Mountainsea just sat silently at the edge of the fire and frowned, her thoughts unknown.

Waterflower was currently off at the perimeter of the camp, inspecting the trees one by one. After five minutes she stopped at a normal-looking trunk, walking around it twice as she stroked the bark. Once she stopped, her hand flashed for a moment and the Shepherd of Eternal Rest was buried into the wood. The old tree suddenly twisted in a hysterical scream, its roots being pulled out as it tried to escape, but there would be no such thing.

The Shepherd of Eternal Rest turned into a blur as it pierced the treant an unknown number of times, dropping the creature dead within ten seconds. The trunk actually blew apart to reveal the heart, ignoring the sound of roots creaking as all the other treants nearby quickly pulled out their roots and fled. Once she harvested the heart, she continued looking for any treants that might have had the guts to remain.

Less than a minute later, everyone in the camp suddenly looked into the distance, feeling a terrible power gathering in Richard's direction. In only a moment it felt like a storm had befallen a calm sea, and at the centre of it all were Richard and the larval broodmother!

……

Richard took initiative the moment he saw the storm up above, linking his soul to the larva and preparing to fight the will of the forest as one. While the broodmother was an amazing creature, the avatar most certainly would not have the power to fight off a will of such magnitude.

He had originally a.s.sumed that he could handle it— after all, he had confronted the spirit lance of the troll warlord when his soul was far weaker than now— but in only a moment he realised that hard resistance was futile. His mental barriers were cracked apart in an instant, and all of his blessings were screaming in tandem with the avatar as they foresaw its demise.

Rage immediately filled his heart. Fiercely biting his teeth, he sent out his soul form to protect the broodmother once more. However, this time he did not try to resist the attack entirely but redirect it, lessening the strain.

The vortex of clouds in the sky was growing larger and larger even as it started spinning at greater speeds. The winds were now travelling at hundreds of metres an hour, and the weaker creatures nearby were already being thrown into the sky.

At the centre of it all was Richard, sitting with his hand on the giant egg. His eyes were closed and his body was like a statue, without a single hint of life.

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