The Devil's Evolution Catalog Chapter 160: Undying Flametail (draft)
From time immemorial, once one wielded the high ground, it’s over. Especially when said person was flying.
The Abaddon Rodents had no ranged capabilities to speak of and neither could they fly though their wall climbing was nothing to scoff at either.
Unfortunately for them, these harpies were simply too agile for them to hit even if they scaled the maze walls. Using the time-honored strategy of kiting, these bird women managed to dodge the majority of their pounces. From time to time, a few lucky rats were able to catch a harpy. However, before they were even able to clip their wings, they were promptly tossed to the ground by the harpy’s comrades.
Speaking of which, eagles had always been the natural predator of rats...let alone my eagle ladies who could toss javelins…
With the completion of another volley, the ratmen lost another pack of rats. Even so, there was nothing they could do to remedy this situation. Even when they tried to stack up like totem poles, the harpies were able to evade their frantics swipes with a mere dodge backwards. As long as my air squadron still had javelins to throw, they were basically untouchable.
By the time our javelins were used up, the battlefield was littered with rat corpses and maimed rats. In total, there were at least 3000 dead or maimed and another 4000 lightly injured rodents.
As for our side, the number of harpies lost just hit the two digit range!
Having run out of ammunition, I immediately ordered Numila and Elena to lure the rodents to the designated spot, under no circumstances were they to allow their kinsharpies to land and engage in melee.
Glancing back at the scattered corpses, I couldn’t help but sigh in amazement. Truthfully, I was initially concerned that the casualties would actually scare off these ratmen, who knew that the ratman leader was so incensed that he actually tried to chase down the harpies instead. Seeing the hail of javelins stop, it probably thought that their chance for revenge had come so the ratman leader immediately gave the order to chase.
Naturally, there were some cowardly rodents who were terrified by the carnage they witnessed but the moment they tried to run, these poor souls were promptly executed to set an example for the rest. Truth be told, I had to thank the rat leader for his rash decision. It was precisely this decision that allowed my following plans to work.
With the advent of these fearless fools, it was time for our hidden medusas to make their appearance.
With their attention fixed squarely on their aerial targets, the rodents didn’t even bother to look at what was in front of them. By the time they came to a T-junction, they were still chasing after the harpies like a bunch of possessed fools.
Yet, just when they were about to catch up to the harpies, death descended upon them.
Suddenly, the rats at the forefront felt a disturbance behind them. Turning around, they got the shock of their furry lives. The entire rat army had been cut in half by the medusas!
The medusas had always been the natural predators of these rodents so the moment they noticed the medusas, they faces contorted with disbelief and terror.
Because the medusas weren’t present in the initial clash, the ratman leader made the foolish assumption that they had left the battlefield temporarily or perhaps they weren’t there at all for some reason or another. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect that they would suddenly descend upon them at this crucial moment...did this guy think that their appearance was merely a coincidence?
The existence of the medusas immediately had a suppressive effect on their prey, throwing the entire army into disarray with their mere presence.
Having split up the rat army, the 500 over medusas proceeded to lay down a toxic trap, though could it really be considered a trap if you set up it in front of your opponents?
Every strand of hair on a medusa’s head was an independent snake that could spit venom.
However, instead of launching a volley of toxic attacks, Manasha had her kinsnakes lay down a carpet of venom on the bony ground which covered an area 10 meters long after merely 10 seconds.
With the way blocked off by a toxic zone, the rodents started scaling the walls in order to proceed. However, Manasha had already predicted this move and swiftly instructed her medusas to lay down a venom field on the wall sections connected to the ground. By now, the only safe zone was the ceiling yet there was no way the rodents could climb that high…
Given that the toxic zone was 10 meters long, even the elites of the ratmen couldn’t jump over it. The only rodent who could do so was the ratman leader but doing so was the same committing suicide!
Thanks to that, we managed to successfully cut off reinforcements to one half of the rat army. With only 3000 rodents in the front half of the army, the medusas could easily slaughter these rats.
Now that the plan had been enacted, Numila, Elena and the other harpies rapidly turned around and dived on the unfortunate rats who got caught in our trap. With nearly 4000 harpies descending at once, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that they blotted out the sky (ceiling) with one dive. The effect was, to say the least, terrifying.
With an army of eagles in front of them and an army of snakes behind them, what could these rats even do?
The answer was nothing. The surrounded rats had basically given into fear while their comrades on the other side of the pond couldn’t rush to their aid even though they desperately wanted to do so. The ratman leader even went so far as to get a couple of the sturdier rats to test out the venom. However, the moment they came into contact with the venom, these lab rats immediately collapsed onto floor, eyes closed and body writhing.
The strength of the medusa’s venom was so extreme, it rendered an area impassable permanently. Even if you were to scrub it for a long time, it still won’t disappear.
Once it reached a certain volume, it didn’t even have to enter the victim’s body in order to poison him; merely touching it was enough for the venom to seep into the victim’s body through the skin(hide).
While this might sound terrifying, this extraordinary effect only showed itself once there was enough venom secreted, before that, it wasn’t that much of a threat. If one wanted a lethal venom, the medusas had a host of such venoms however only a few of them could penetrate the skin like that. Without a doubt, such a tranquilizing venom was exactly what we needed in a battle like this.
In a vast battle like this, even four-star experts weren’t able to decide the outcome of a battle. The ratman leader normally had over 10 other four-star lieutenants under his command. Unfortunately, the majority of them had been separated from the front pack. Within that 3000 strong half of an army, there were probably more four-stars than the medusas had but just in terms of army strength alone, the medusas definitely had the upper hand.
Excellent...looks like the plan worked perfectly. Looking at that flawless execution, even my anxious heart began to relax.
“Not a bad strategy, looks like the rats were successfully separated and we’ve gained an absolute advantage over them.” Violet Snow, like me, wasn’t at the level of a four-star yet so she stayed behind with me to survey the battlefield from the distance. From those words alone, I could tell she highly approved of my strategy.
“I didn’t expect it to work that well either. How should I say it, these ratmen were as brainless as expected?” I smugly stated as I swept my eyes over the perfection that was my trap...however, given that these were just rats...I couldn’t help but think that them falling for the trap was only natural.
However, now that the battle had progressed to this stage, it was time for my strategy to take the backseat while my army did its work.
The following battle was truly a hot-blooded one. Whether it was the medusas or the harpies, none of them disappointed me. With nothing to worry about from the back, Manasha led her medusas in a bold charge into the ratman army.
Swerving left and right, the medusas nimbly dodged the attacks of the ratmen before circling around to their exposed flank and raking them with their razor sharp claws. The snakes on their head functioned independently from the medusas and were essentially independent turrets that fired with deadly accuracy at long or short ranges.
However, it was the tails of the medusas that truly struck fear into the rodents. Despite their harmless appearance, these tails were the ultimate melee weapon they had. Often, rodents who managed to flank the medusas were swiftly and fatally swatted away with a mere flick of their tails.
Wherever the medusas charged, the battlefield was turned into a ratless scene of carnage!
As for the harpies, while they no longer had their javelins in hand, that didn’t mean that they were helpless either. Before meeting me, they basically employed a dive and raking tactic. Against the disorganized ratmen, it was like shooting fish in a barrel for them especially for Numila who gained an epic weapon, Flametail. With just a single flame spell, she was able to instantly slaughter a three-star rodent.
Explosion after explosion rattled the bony walls of the hallway. Soon, the maze was filled with the stench of burning fur and roasted meat.
Seeing that, two of the four-star rodents within the trapped army tried to sneak up on Numila. I had to say, they were pretty smart about it too. Making use of their numerous kinsrodents to camouflage themselves, they stealthily approached the harpy witch and pounced on her the moment she was in range.
Unfortunately, Numila wasn’t one to fall for such petty tricks. Before the two rodents even leaped into the air, she made the preparations for her own counter-attack, her plan, to meet their attacks head on with her own. Like a guardian moon orbiting around her, Flametail suddenly expanded and burned brighter till it resembled a miniature sun. Without even waiting for the two rodents to reach her, Flametail swiftly rammed into them. Bumped away by the orbiting sun, the two rodents fell flat on their rear ends.
All in all, leaping, attacking and falling merely took place within the short span of two seconds.
Normally, their fur was already susceptible enough to flame attacks. Even a normal flame was able to set them ablaze let alone the not-at-all ordinary flames of Flametail which only required a mere lick to set them ablaze.
Initially, it was only their arms which caught fire. However, the moment they landed on the floor, the flames had basically spread all over their bodies. Eyes wide open in terror, they frantically rolled around in a bid to put out the flames. Unfortunately, their efforts were doomed to failure and all that awaited them was a painful, scorching end.
Not only were these poor souls doomed to die, their tumbling around ended up dooming their comrades as well thanks to the sheer density of the ratman army. Every tumble of their blazing body spread the incandescent plague to another unfortunate rat.
Furthermore, because these flames were just as inextinguishable, the unscathed couldn’t blindly run away either or they might end up bumping into another comrade who was already on fire...thus, a couple of tiny flames ended up burning a countless number of rats.
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Special thanks to Kaung Thant Win Naing!!