” The Virtue is not dead. ” She declared darkly.
Proving her right, the angel’s body recovered soon after with great pain. It was far from instantaneous and anyone with good perception could feel the tenacious and contradictory energies of Gerulf, Rogen or even Daniel responsible for its bullet wound in the shoulder colliding and ruining its recovery.
Having finally a respite, Virtue finally took the time to observe its prey with a hint of respect and dispassion. Whether it was Daniel, the sniper hidden in the forest, the Astral looming high in the sky, the traitor of Lost Divinities or the three fighters having ambushed it on the ground, it had seldom been in such a dire predicament.
Unlike its congener and the other Schwazens of androgynous appearance, this one was clearly a male, or at least he was built like one and had the same aesthetic features. His hair was short for an angel, and he had a short trimmed beard. His eight wings were of a darker gold than those of his colleague and the two yellow black suns shining in his eyes were even more dark and compelling.
His Body Stats were far superior to Jake’s or Gerulf’s, but they were biased towards physical strength rather than intelligence as was the case for most species. Combined with his millennial Soul Strength and Spirit Body, it was nearly impossible to one-shot him unless one used an overpowered and instantaneous slaying technique like the one used by Jake.
The key to defeating this kind of enemy was to never give them a chance to resist. Once they mobilized their powerful True Will and other angelic faculties, killing them became nearly impossible unless the power gap tilted overwhelmingly in their opponents’ favor.
“We knew Mirror Vanguard was plotting to wipe us out, but we didn’t think they would be able to find such good helpers.” Virtue commented solemnly in a raspy voice. “However, your action is all for naught. Even if I die, it is already too late. Our goal is already accomplished. The ritual has already begun and nothing can stop it.
“Besides… Mirror Vanguard and you Players underestimate the malice of your allies far too muc-“
A black blade shot out of his chest, impaling his heart from behind. The blade spun in the wound, vibrating at a very high frequency, ravaging his insides and releasing a darkness that surpassed even his destructive aura. The Dark Element.
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This was no mere wound, his Spirit Body and Soul had also been fatally damaged. Numerous debuffs related to the Dark Element afflicted all of his body, ranging from Fear, Weakness, Poisoning or Paralysis. In gaming terms, it was what some games called True Damage, an attack that ignores all defense and causes absolute damage amplified by the surprise effect.
“And you trust your senses too much.” Hephais whispered mockingly in his ear, his body dissolving like a specter into the shadows formed by the blackened earth.
Taking over immediately after Hephais’ escape, several Shadow Wolfs sprang from the angel’ shadow that the assassin had vacated, savagely chomping down on the alien’s legs and carotid artery to devour its soul. The Virtue swatted them away with a hard slap but several pieces of his Spirit Body remained missing, aggravating his wounds.
The angel staggered back, wobbling dangerously as he puked a stream of rotten blood. The status quo between his True Will and the three enemy True Wills wreaking havoc on his body was broken as these two new, more pervasive and pernicious energies affected his vitality and ability to focus.
Despite this, the Virtue was a tough guy with no ego. His wounds only fueled his hatred of the living and his determination to kill them was further bolstered. Ignoring his wounds, he held up his falchion again with a frosty expression and said,
“Congratulations, you almost killed me. In fact, with a better knowledge of my abilities your victory would have been assured. So let me teach you a lesson for the future. Never let a high ranking angel, whoever he may be, realize that he can’t win. Because an angel, never fights alone and the entity he represents is always at his side.”
The angel slowly closed his eyes, his hands clasped in a gesture of prayer and a sacred aura radiated from his being, crossing time and space. His lips parted and began to chant in an unknown language, the excruciating sound evoking the choir of thousands of martyrs howling in agony.
A traumatic melding of requiem and rhapsody, the disturbingly beautiful and eerie song echoed across heaven and earth, starting low, then rising until it became totally inaudible.
The air began to fluctuate, warping slightly behind the angel, and suddenly a beam of black and golden light burst forth, gently embracing the praying Virtue with eyes closed in a motherly glow. A warm, yet demonic and murderous presence smothered all hope of resistance, engulfing the entire Schwazen territory with an overwhelming power.
At that moment, the angel’s raspy voice boomed again in understandable Oraclean,
“Holy Nyrxes, keeper of souls and sower of death and chaos, I beg you to hear my prayer. Cleanse my soul so I may conquer your foes. I plead this of you in your eternal presence, o infinite light. Grant me your presence so I may ache no longer. Strengthen me with your divine grace.”
A brief silence, as drawn out and oppressive as ever, suppressed all sound in the Serinese Theocracy, the very rustling of the leaves ceasing for a fleeting moment, and then a distant, alien, yet soulful voice echoed from everywhere and nowhere at once,
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The Virtue’s aura then soared, his levels far, far exceeding those of the angel at his peak, and his wounds instantly healed. The energies of Gerulf, Rogen, Daniel and Hephais ravaging his body were quashed and a bright halo of oppressive and corrosive power flowed forth from the Schwazen, distorting the space around him.
The invincible and evil presence summoned by the angel’s prayer faded as it had come, making them doubt its existence, but the power bestowed by this entity lingered. Yet the Myrtharian Nerds soon noticed that the halo had already begun to fade as the angel’s Spirit Body was rapidly consumed.
Borrowing the power of an entity that far surpassed his own power was not without drawbacks. And seeing this, Asfrid could not help but chuckle.
“Is it a nervous laugh at your own impending death?” The angel asked with a slight confused frown.
“No. I’m just laughing at you. At the futility of your action.” The Eltarian confided with pity. Turning to Lucia and the others she smiled at them and said, “It seems I’m the only one who didn’t attack earlier. Let me show you my own killing move then.”
Asfrid fearlessly teleported to the alien a few feet away from the creature, the minds of all the Myrtharian Nerds and Eltarians in a position to help merging with her own. Because of her small size, she only reached halfway up the angel’s shin. She nonchalantly pointed her palm upward and hummed,
The name was as simple as it was iconic, and so was its effect. Before he knew what was happening to him, the Virtue, boosted by Nyrxes’ powers, found himself shot forcefully into the cosmos, his angelic body blasted at over 20km/sec into the thick layer of black cloud.
The sheer magnitude and frequency of the lightning at these altitudes was so overwhelming that Jake, Asfrid and Hade had to combine their Oracle Shields to have any chance of getting through the clouds. How could a humble Virtue survive this without protection?
Perhaps because Aurae could sense the repulsive energy exuding from this angel, but the lightning from the black clouds dozens of kilometers around converged furiously on the Schwazen like a school of hungry piranhas, merging into a huge destructive bolt of lightning with a voltage of several trillion volts.
Nyrxes’ weakening aura spiking his abilities held out for half a second, then before he could even think of using his own True Will of Destruction his body and soul shattered into countless particles.
Cradel’s second Virtue had perished.