Lisa stretched out her right hand straight, and between her five fingers gusts of green-blue electricity flickered. She watched a little drunkenly as the little lightning arcs danced around fingers, and said softly, "Stronger than most monster hunters and easier to handle, its destructive powers even greater—this skill called Actuate Bolt outclasses the centuries-old legacies of Drakonids!"
Unlike lightning skies that typical Drakonids could not manipulate delicately and used instead to crudely paralyze monsters and accelerate metal weapons, the lightning arcs between Lisa's fingers were immeasurably orderly. They encircled the girls' fingers, orbiting around her fingers in a clockwise direction, holding an astonishing power amidst the serenity.
"That is for sure. It is a skill used by Legendary champions or beings of Demon-General class, it would be unusual if it doesn't outclass the shallow aggregate experience of you Drakonids."
Syndicate wriggled its body a little insolently. It had been the skill it obtained from Joshua through Steel Strength transmitting to control an individual's own magnetic field and other energies. The effect would be even better if those who trained in it possessed lightning-attribute magical bloodlines, and if it were monsters without any skill legacy, it would allow an individual to create an effect output of ten or perhaps a hundred individuals.
Through the radiation from Syndicate's own body and the stimulation from Actuate Bolt itself, Lisa's bloodline was quickly unlocked. The girl had gone out today because she sensed that her power had clearly strengthened, and therefore sought out the village elder to ask for another trial for her talent.
The elder had not been willing to retest a Non-Awakened, but he gaped unwittingly the moment he saw the flickering bolts between Lisa's fingers. The second trial was even more astonishment—not only the elder, even Lisa's father, the captain of the hunters felt a great shock as well. They could not comprehend how Lisa, could not awaken before would suddenly succeed a dozen days later while displaying powers that did not lose out to adult Drakonids. More importantly, Lisa did not rely on the village ritual and did everything herself entirely!
"Perhaps that is why the pure-bloods are special… It was rumored that, in the very beginning, the Drakonid race never had awakening rituals and Awakened were not that numerous. Everyone had relied on their own will and diligent training to attain power. Lisa, you just might reach the threshold of the forefathers."
After he solemnly added Lisa's name to the list of Awakened, the elder spoke to the girl in a grave tone, "Even if you are extraordinarily gifted you must never be complacent in your training. Later, go to the trainee teams and try to join the elementary monster hunter training."
Soon, Lisa was already at the monster hunter encampment at a corner of the village, and joined the training regimen of the other youth who had awakened successfully. The Drakonid girl did not care about her peers' surprise, delight or seething expression, instead focused on learning the hunting techniques of veteran hunters and controlling her own power.
However, after listening in for a long time, Lisa noticed that the former was fine but the latter was not—the way village hunters control lightning was of a completely inferior class compared to the Actuate Bolt she learned from Syndicate. On both a micro and macro view, there was no telling how many folds that the cultivation procedure from another world eclipsed the monster hunters' primitive techniques.
It was only after class was over and Lisa had gone home that she broke the good news to Mister Syndicate who gave her everything."
"Alright, Lisa—stop rubbing me. You should be training even more now to strengthen your basics." The balrog held in the girl's embrace and getting a good rubbing like a pet suppressed its anger and spoke just a little indignantly.
"Two hours daily, no more no less. Less means there wouldn't be any effect, while more will cause problems out of fatigue. The blowback from Actuate Bolt is not as simple as vomiting two mouthfuls of blood—there will be a great explosion that would blow you into pieces! I can't save you if that happens."
"Alright! Yes, Mister!"
The girl energetically agreed but did not release Syndicate, placing it into a stone plate, instead of letting the self-titled-balrog-that-looks-more-like-a-Slime go back to its books.
"What are you doing?"
"Giving you your blood portion for the day."
Sticking up the sharp nails at the tip of her thin index finger, the Drakonid girl nonchalantly scratched her palm with the nail, allowing purple-black blood to drip into the plate. "Didn't we agree in the pact? Mister Syndicate would help me awaken and become the most powerful monster hunter, while I would aid you in recovering your ability, and if there is the chance, to try to recover the Divine Skyfall Steel—which is also part of your body."
"I do remember it clearly."
Blood dripped incessantly from the girl's palm and filled the entire plate, where, at the center, Syndicate allowed its white body to be dyed into a curious green-purple hue. This time, the balrog had been constantly irritated said nothing, and absorbed Lisa's blood quietly instead.
Having completed the daily contract of their pact, the still-jovial Lisa turned and went to her hut's courtyard to begin training, although she could be vaguely heard mumbling in curiosity as she left. "Weird. The wound heals quickly… Just like giving a cup of blood every single day, why isn't there any feeling of weakening and fatigue…"
Soon, the courtyard began to echo with the 'Yah!''Hah!' utterances signifying training, along with the occasional buzz of flickering lightning. And after Lisa left the house, Syndicate absorbed every drop of blood in the stone plate, leaving nothing behind.
It certainly heard her mumbling.
"That's because you're burning your own lifespan there, little Drakonid girl."
The balrog wiggled its body, and somehow sighed inwardly. Thanks to the power of that Person, its body had been cleansed into a purified body. Though there was still radiation, harmful toxic was absent and it could only slightly accelerate the aging of beings. With the knowledge sent to him by that Person, it was a rapid acceleration of metabolism.
Be it wound recovery, rapid blood regeneration or other extraordinary ability, all of it were symptoms of accelerated metabolism. The balrog was perfectly aware that in the brief dozen days, Lisa had now burnt through a year of normal human lifespan—it was also why her training speed was so fast, the quickened acceleration was equivalent to multiplying the results of her training by ten times.
There was also a simple reason why Syndicate needed Lisa's blood—to recover her power.
Although the balrog was a balrog, it essentially had no relation to fire. The reason for its name was when the species was first encountered on Mycroft, that particular specimen had incidentally attacked with searing heat radiation and blaze. Where it treaded, all things were incinerated, forests scorched into barren lands where no grass would grow for decades—which was why their race was known as balrog.
In fact, balrogs were in fact similar creatures similar to Abyssal Ooze, with them being the most advanced mutant variant of Slimes. These creatures with no fixed shape and having something akin to a liquid body are born in Abyssal swamps filled with poison and radiation, which was why they possess concentrated radiation and toxicity that could incinerate living flesh at birth. They lived by devouring radioactive metals and concentrated energy crystals, while the flesh of Extraordinary beings were their favorite delicacy.
That being said, most balrogs lived in volcanos because the heat spreading at those places could sustain their daily energy needs so that they would not have to search for food frequently. Under such circumstances, if the balrog deliberately left to hunt for other demons or Extraordinary beings, it was to attain their bones that will protect the core at the center of their bodies.
Which was also the part of Syndicate's pure-white Slime-like part.
"Us balrogs are born in Abyssal swamps wafting with toxic, and hence are born with the power to erode everything… But that is learned. It was said that if the toxic blood could be expelled and shifted into another element, our race would have a path open to us, completely different from before."
That was the reason why Syndicate dictated that Lisa's blood become part of their pact. That Person had expelled the origin of toxicity from its body, turning it into a primeval pure body that most balrogs imagine, possessing whole-new possibilities.
After Syndicate absorbed most of the Drakonid's blood, the balrog's white body turned an unusual green-red, with its core now glowing in a green-purple radiance. It could sense the profound power throbbing in its body, with endless dancing bolts emanating from its body's surface and engulfing it entirely. A dozen seconds later, the lightning slowly dissipated, while Syndicate gradually reverted to its original white body.
Syndicate certainly learned Actuate Bolt as well—one must learn something in order to instruct others about it after all. Through Lisa's blood, Syndicate had considerable ability, and according to calculations it could knock out an Abyssal imp with the full power it now stored, allowing anyone to dice it to pieces.
This power was much more powerful than the flame and toxic it had grasped before. If it used its newfound powers as a base as it recovered all its ability, who knows how much more powerful it would be compared to before!
"Really… Where did the Drakonids' ancestors attain such a powerful bloodline?"
Even if it was not the first time Syndicate absorbed Lisa's blood, it was still shocked discreetly. "For a so-called pure-blood girl to carry such frightening power without awakening, how much power would a pure-blood hence wield after fully awakening? And what about their first-generation ancestors? The source of the bloodline?!"
"Have I been too hasty in giving her this technique?"
Still, since the pact had been made, let it be. Not a being to overthink things, Syndicate decided to calm itself and read the book before it.
Drakonid language was not complex and simple compared to the different Abyssal languages of different regions. Ultimately a Supreme champion and former archdemon, Syndicate only needed a few days to generally master it, and could now easily understand even difficult text that even Lisa could not read.
Now, it was going through the almost-mythical history of the Drakonid race.
"In the beginning, the world prospered and flourished. But the Apocalypse came, and fire rain poured from the skies, destroying cities and flattening nations… It looks a little like an Abyssal invasion or some Monarch-class in action. However, we usually invade other worlds to harvest souls—pure slaughter and destruction aren't quite meaningful."
"The Dragon God of Salvation came, descending from the heavens, fighting the Apocalypse… Dragon God? Looks like that's the source of the Dragon God bloodline. A true god or an extremely powerful Monarch-class champion? Both possible. Really envy these Drakonids—having such incredible innate gifts and conditions in the very beginning."
"The battle lasted for a hundred days. The world was destroyed, turned into desert. Though the triumphant Dragon God defeated the demon power, it was injured heavily and forced into long slumber—and yet, before it slept, the God created the Kronos mountains… If this part has not deviation or falsifications…"
At that point, Syndicate abruptly shuddered—it, a balrog, was actually filling a chill across its body. "Wait, come to think of it… I recall that his world is within the boundary of the Abyss!"
"That apocalyptic battle had clearly and utterly leveled this world, felling it into the Abyss—and yet, there are plants, forests, rivers, and mountains around this village, not to mention the multitudinous Drakonids and monsters… Could everything be forcibly created by the Dragon God from this deathly desert?"
As a demon, Syndicate assuredly knew what that meant—A world with an Order cycle in the Abyss! For the Abyssal demons who thirsted for the Flame, it was of incomparable temptation!
There would be no reason to not grab such a world once it was discovered! And if Syndicate could sense the lifeforce signatures in the Void and come here subconsciously, its pursuers behind it, as well as the demons of surrounding Abysses would also notice it—not to mention those Demon Generals or champions of Abyssal Liege levels.
"Especially Abyssal Lieges!"
In the bottomless Abyss, the Balrogs were considered superior aberrations, with several specimens of their race even surpassing Abyssal Lieges armed with erudite legacies. Even if Syndicate did not know how to think, it knew what Lieges essentially were—the Lord of a World, selected by the Will of an Abyssal plane that was yet to perish! It was the natural ruler of the world, and an incarnation of its World Will. All motives of Abyssal Lieges were to maintain the continuation of their own Abyssal plane!
If an Abyssal Liege discovered this world where Order cycled, it would assault this place at all cost, and combined this world into their own Abyssal plane… Such was the only way for an Abyss that was already destroyed to recover into an ordinary world! The Abyssal Will and its Liege would certainly come to conquer it as if crazed, and pulverize anyone who dared stand before them! Not even a god!
"No way, this place is too dangerous!"
Sensing that he had spied into a hint of the truth of this world, Syndicate was absolutely appalled and believed it must change its plans as soon as possible. At first, the balrog had planned to slowly recover its abilities, but now progress must be accelerated, accelerated, and accelerated! Otherwise, when the Abyssal Liege led its army and several Monarch-class here to mount an invasion, it would not even have the strength to commit suicide.
"I heard from Lisa that there are many monsters in these mountains. The monster hunters make a living by banishing and slaying any that intend to their villages, and would occasionally hunt them as food source."
Syndicate was thinking silently. It seemed that the time had come for Lisa to get more enthusiastic. When her abilities had risen to a certain level, it would get her to take her outside to see if it could hunt some monsters. That way, after devouring the monsters bodies, it could recover its strength as soon as possible.
"After all, demons aren't the type to wait." The balrog could not help sighing at the thought. If it followed its previous behavior and habits right now, should a certain Demon General's advance not have already arrived?
…Time flew. Another ten days later.
A Drakonid village in the Kronos Mountains discovered something unusual in the mountain range they were so familiar with.
The monster hunters who were out on a patrol had recently found unique creatures that should not be present in the mountains. Thought they believed them to be special monsters that wandered here from the Desert of God, the hunters soon found, under further examination that unlike those foolish monsters, these creatures seemed to be intelligent.
After paying a considerable price and the sacrifice of ten monster hunting elites, the larger few Drakonid villages had mostly identified the species of creatures that had suddenly appeared: beings of five different colors, curious creatures that resembled the Dragon God depicted in Drakonid totems. Their bodies were laced with toxic, and while they have different forms, they were fierce creatures of mostly black or red color. The largest amongst them had a pair of horns over his head, a pair of wings behind his back, a large tail and sulfuric breath.
Apart from them, there was still another creature hiding amidst the forest which true face the monster hunters could not investigate until now.
"The Dragon God rises from its long slumber, just as aberrations revived… the warnings left by our ancestors certainly said so." In an underground basement of a certain Drakonid village, several worried elder Drakonids were conversing quietly. "The battle between the Dragon God and the Apocalypse hundreds of years ago had not actually ended. The moment the Dragon God awakens, 'Apocalypse' would rise as well—and thereafter is the true decisive battle.
"It's a battle that determines the future of our 'Kronos world', to decide if this world would be destroyed or revived."
A gargoyle was wandering the dimensional turbulence. There was a small communications screen before it, which it used to communicate with a being from another end with magic.
"General. The advance team is lost, we can't observe the origin point of the lifeforce ripple!" The Supreme-tier archdemon was respectfully exclaiming to the other end of the screen. "The point that you have given us is now left with an entire blanket of dimensional turbulence—the advance team had been caught within, and most were crushed by the pressurized dimension. The few who survived are heavily injured, and we don't know where they fell."
"Very good… So, the world coordinates had now been obscured? Your mission has ended. Just stay where you are now and prepare to receive the first battalion."
The being on the other end of the screen murmured softly. A cold laughed wafted, and yet it did not reveal its true face. "Human magic is rather useful—looks like that Ancient Dragon—or should I say, primeval being had been jolted awake? It has not fully recovered, which is why it needs to delay being found."
"But even a primeval being could not hold out for so long. Since a dozen days had passed, by now…"
"…it would be just one week until it could no longer hold on."