"I can't see," Lulu moaned, frightened. Lumia stretched out an arm through the mist and reached for her hand. When she grabbed it, she felt the little Goblin's fingers gently close around hers.
Helial was trying to catch sight of something through Perception, when suddenly he recalled something that hit him like a bolt out of the blue. "Watch out! It's a Formation!" he cried. He immediately turned towards his companions. He made out Lumia through the fog and tried to reach for her tunic, but as soon as his fingers brushed against it, Helial saw the silhouette dematerialize as if she had never been there.
Helial's eyes shot open. He began to look carefully about himself, but all his friends slowly disappeared one after another one second before he could reach them.
A system notification popped out before him.
You fell into the Formation Breath of the Lifeless Dragon!
It was a Formation that generated a dense, powerful hallucination-inducing fog by employing the negative energy of disgruntled souls and putrefying bodies. The only way out was through its remains. Helial knew a great deal of information about the matter; he had spent tons of hours inside the library of the Royal Academy studying every kind of Formation existing.
The Royal Library couldn't boast as precious a collection of books as that of the great Clans in the continent, whose members were mainly Immortals, nor that of the boundless libraries of the most powerful Clans in the universe. However, despite being quite a second-tier library, Orma could offer a considerable vast range of knowledge.
Helial looked about himself once again. Dozens of Un-Dead were surrounding him; Zombies, Ghouls and other kinds of low-level Un-Dead were approaching him threateningly.
Un-Dead represented the weakest, most impure and inane part of Destruction. The real exponents of Destruction did despise these worthless creatures and wouldn't miss a chance to blow them into pieces. Amongst the lowest creatures though, their physical resistance actually made them dangerous opponents. They could indeed fight without depleting their stamina, which enabled them to stand back up until their body got ripped apart entirely.
The Formation they stepped into was a low-level one. So low-level that Helial could easily see through that Illusion; those monsters were actually hallucinations generated by the Auras of that Dungeon dark inhabitants' putrefying bodies.
Helial inhaled deeply. He tried to keep his cool despite no one of his friends being there. He grew worried about Lumia as well as bout the others; he wasn't sure they could get free of the Formation alone. He exhaled. It was no simple situation. After all though, they were no simple people either.
Helial spread his arms out as he converged his mental energy towards his palms. He closed his eyes, ignoring the bloodcurdling creatures that were getting closer. A Formation like that - one made of Illusions - would be enough to knock out any First Phase practitioner. Breaking free of a Formation whose level matched your Phase was no piece of cake. For example, a Fifth Phase practitioner would have a hard time finding a way out of a Fifth Phase Formation.
There was indeed a precise tactic to get out of such a Formation. However, Helial wouldn't seem to be looking for that. Even though he and his friends had just now reached the First Phase, their strength could totally compare that of anyone in the Second Phase. Nothing suggested that we were ordinary people. That was why Helial thought it best to get rid of the Illusion through his mere brute force.
His palms flared up. Terrifying white flames engulfed his hands.
Flame of the Qilin
Helial inhaled a great deal of air before compressing the flame to the full. It condensed it in two little spheres above his palms, that slowly began to move towards his feet, to the ground.
He leaned forward, bending his knees slightly.
Beads of sweat crowned his forehead.
The shiny drops of sweat began to drip to the ground.
That seemingly banal movement was consuming his energy at incredible speed.
After a while, his palms touched the ground. For a few seconds nothing happened. The air stood still as though the world had gone into stasis. Suddenly, Helial's lips moved: "HE!"
A flaming tsunami blazed out from his palms. It engulfed the ground and hastily swallowed up all the Illusions surrounding Helial. The flames rushed through the soil for dozens of meters as the air erupted with explosions.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Air rippled out around Helial. The fabric of space and time unraveled. He seemed to be surrounded by a thin layer of glass that was about to shatter.
Helial spotted the weak point of the Formation. After all his studies inside the Royal Library, that was no difficult task for him. But why waste mental energy when he could just rely on brute force instead? Wouldn't it be better to climb over a low fence instead of walking all along for miles looking for an opening?
Helial waved his hands and joined his palms in a clap. He got rid of the last white sparks.
Space seemed to be burning all around him, as though the flames had burnt up the fabric of space and time itself.
After a while, the Illusion began to dissolve, and so did the monsters. Only the real Un-Dead were left, with real bodies and posing real threats to whoever would be unfortunate enough to step inside the Formation.
Helial took a step forward. Finally, he made out the figures of his friends. They looked quite confused. One second before, they were surrounded by hordes of Un-Dead either attacking them or running from them, and next thing they knew, everything rippled out and exploded away. The fog had magically dissolved. The number of Un-Dead had diminished. Then, their friends had reappeared around them. They were together again.
Out of the corner of his eyes, Helial noticed a dozen of Zombies.
Cursed Putrescent Dead Body
Health: 16,234/16,234 HP
Class: Zombie, Un-Dead
"We need to be more careful. Pay more attention to what surrounds you," said the guy as he approached the bunch of Zombies.
He didn't even cast a glance before attacking. Curse of the Demon disappeared in a cloud of white flames. He slashed horizontally.
Flame of the Qilin
The energy blade thrusted three Zombies at once. Despite the monsters being strengthened by the Curse Stat, the slash cut them open. After a moment, the Skill had turned them into dust.
Cursed Putrescent Dead Body lost 19,562 HP!
Cursed Putrescent Dead Body lost 19,774 HP!
Cursed Putrescent Dead Body lost 19,211 HP!
Three monsters got cleared out with one, instinct-induced slash. He had struck his blow without activating any particular technique or power. Flame of the Qilin had been enough to blow them out. Flame of the Qilin was indeed the highest peak ever reached by Mana of Life. It was the nemesis of the mean creatures of Destruction like the Un-Dead.
What would a common Goblin or a member of the Mana Congregation say, as well as anyone threatened by those monsters, if witnessing Helial's easiness in killing off three First Phase Intermediate stage monsters?
Snowflake moved forward too. With a couple of paw blows, he killed off a few Un-Dead as well. "The day hasn't yet come when a human pet will outdo this Supreme Cat," he snorted as he hissed to Helial.
The boy smiled at him and went into a fighting stance. In the blink of an eye, the two slayed the few Zombies left. Then, after exploring the surrounding areas through Perception, Helial hinted that they could go forward.
The group slaughtered their way out. Their Experience was soaring through the sky.
Helial let his voice echo out inside his Soul. "Is there a way to avoid gaining experience?"
The Devil knitted his face in a thoughtful frown and didn't answer. Helial waited for what seemed to be very long seconds. One moment before he resigned from getting his answer though, an evil smile spread over the Devil's face. "Of course there is…"
An uncanny whitish mist suddenly enveloped them. Their footsteps turned heavier. They looked about themselves, trying to figure out what was happening, but their sight was completely blurred. They grew short of breath.