Nimbly dodging a cudgel blow that would have undoubtedly crushed Lone, he slashed at one of the remaining nineteen Ogres' legs with his sword spear, Dawn.
Smoothly piecing the tough skin, thick and disgusting blood flowing out from the creature's legs before it howled out in pain and madly swung its club around like a child throwing a tantrum.
With practised moves, Lone managed to avoid another Ogre's attack before lacerating the flailing Ogres remaining leg, forcing it to its knees in pain.
Breena took that opportunity to leap out from within Lone's shadow onto the monster's face and she penetrated its eyes with her long alterian daggers, forcing the beast to issue a guttural and deathly howl.
Another Ogre, maddened by its brethren's sorry state, swung his weapon as hard as he could towards Breena. The Crimson Foxkin of The Deep smiled before she sank into the shadows, resulting in the Ogre missing its target and accidentally hitting its kin in the face, completely smashing its head like a melon.
The monster stared at its club with a blank expression. Suddenly, the other Orges that were dead set on killing Lone and Breena, changed their target to the Orge standing there dumbly.
"Great job, Breena. Orges may be damn-near brain dead, but they do have internal rules, one being, never kill another Ogre from the same tribe. If they break that rule, death is their punishment, and Ogres take these rules exceedingly seriously. Even more so than the orders of that hooded figure it seems," Lone whispered.
Breena's lips curling into a smile at her Master's praise from within his shadow where she would wait for another chance to strike.
The seventeen remaining Ogres clubbed their kin to death, killing one more. It merely stood there passively, fully accepting its fate.
"I finally have enough mana to use Mental Destruction again," saying this, Lone immediately killed another Ogre with the skill.
Dodging an enraged slap from another Ogre, Lone thought, 'How do I deal with the other sixteen? Do I just sit here and slowly pick them off one by one when I've regenerated enough mana?'
Running up a club that had been swung at him, Lone slashed along the wielder's arm with his swordspear, cutting it deeply, but not enough to render the arm useless. He kicked off the creature's head and landed on the ground after a backflip.
'This is gonna take fucking ages... really, where's Eolande when I need her? She could easily send all of these Ogres into an illusion and make them kill themselves,' Lone couldn't help but sigh.
"HAAAAA!" suddenly, Lone could hear a high-pitched and cute sounding shout. Before he could locate the origin of this yell, he saw one of the Ogre's heads suddenly explode into a mass of gore.
"I'm glad you're safe!" the high-pitched voice said from Lone's side. Turned to see who it belonged to, he saw the captain of the trading ship he was charged with escorting, Sabrina. The small Catkin S-Ranker.
"Oh boy, did I get worried when I found out you were surrounded by a bunch of A-Ranked Ogres. I'm happy you're fine. By the way, where are the two girls who should be with you?" Sabrina asked Lone with a curious expression.
He was left speechless. She was completely ignoring the fifteen Ogres that were standing in fear nearby. Thinking on this, why were they standing in fear? From what Lone had read, Ogres couldn't experience fear due to their peculiarly developed brains. In his understanding, they could only feel rage and, surprisingly, honour.
'Unless... ?' A thought flashed through Lone's mind. Inspecting Sabrina very closely, he could see a very thin veil of translucent red aura emitting from her small body. A drop of sweat rolled down her face.
"My friends are fine and safe," Lone replied to which Sabrina beamed a relieved grin, exposing her sharp cat tooth.
"Nyahaha... keeping so many A-Rankers in place at once is kinda tough, I can only hold them for another minute or two? I know I'm beautiful, but could you please stop looking at me like that... nyaaa... run back to the ship please," Sabrina said with a playful smile on her lips.
'Like I thought, a skill. It looks even stronger than my Aura of Dominance... interesting. I could kill these fuckheads now that they're not moving, but I've already shown too many of my abilities to Sabrina as it is. I guess I'll do as she asked and run away,' Lone thought before nodding his head lightly.
Just before he ran away, he whispered to Sabrina, "Be careful of a hooded person about two miles east of here. He's the one that summoned the Relks and these Ogres."
Sabrina's eyes widened at this revelation and Lone dashed off in the direction of the ship, nimbly jumping through the trees to make the trip easier.
"Now that he's gone, it's time to deal with you big bullies!" Sabrina flashed a vicious smile before releasing her aura, freeing the monsters.
Immediately, the Orges went wild with fury and immediately started swinging their weapons towards her. Sabrina grinned and moved so quickly via a jump, that it looked like she had teleported. Smashing an Ogre's head with her small fist, it exploded in a gory mess much like with the one from earlier.
"Now that I don't need to use my skill to keep you guys locked down, it's gonna be easy as cake to kill you all, nyahahaha!" And just like she declared, it took the Catkin Captain no more than five minutes to slaughter the remaining Ogres.
This was the natural difference between S-Rank and A-rank. Unless someone was a freak like Lone, even when teaming up, usually, it was impossible to beat someone with a higher strength rank than you. That was just how much the barrier between ranks meant.
"Guess I should go see if that person Lone mentioned is still lingering around. They'll pay for attacking my ship if they are," saying this, Sabrina spent the next thirty minutes searching the surrounding few miles, but she had absolutely no luck and had to assume that the culprit had escaped.
Meanwhile, in a dark and lonely tomb, one person whose existence seemed to fade in and out of reality was sat atop a decrepit looking throne while two people, one, a hooded woman, and another hooded person, knelt before this being.
"Again... you failed again to kill the Foxkin boy. Does the twelfth seat mean nothing to you, Astera?" the being sat on the throne asked with a certain iciness to their tone.
Indeed, one of the two hooded figures was the X-Ranked, Cosmic Level Being whom Lone had met previously in Milindo, the Goddess of Light, Astera.
"L-Lord Fifth..." Astera, the hooded woman, couldn't help but suck in a breath of cold air as worry filled her very being.
"And this puppet of yours... why did it flee instead of sacrificing itself to complete the task?" asking this, the being rest its gaze on the second hooded figure.
Astera took the initiative to speak up for this person. "My subordinate deemed it too risky to stay with the Catkin's involvement, so they used a teleportation orb provided by me to retreat. Please, Lord Fifth, have mercy and give us another chance!"
Astera slammed her head onto the ground and prostrated. What looked like a hand of the seated being came to rest on its facial region. "Very well. You have one, final, chance. Do not disappoint me again. He must die without my interference for anything to come to fruition. I trust that you will go to more extreme ends to achieve his death this time."
With that having been said, the being disappeared completely, leaving Astera and the other hooded figure alone in the tomb. Astera could do nothing but bite her lip and try her best to think of another method that would guarantee Lone's death. She needed the twelfth seat.
Losing her church meant a lot to her, and it was her own fault for being so brash in her attempts to use Milindo's royalty to her advantage. She still had control of the King, his son and the summoned Heroes, so perhaps she could use them to somehow kill Lone? That was a thought worthy of considering.
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