Suddenly a mosquito burst forth from the bush in front of him and stabbed at Zaran's body with great speed! Zaran shifted his bodyweight completely to his left heel and turned his body sideways in the process, just narrowly dodging the mosquito's thrust. At the same time he used his inspect skill to see the mosquito's stats.
Seemingly close to its next stage of evolution, the previously gentle Vilewood drainer's have turned incredibly vicious, enlarging their territory by ten times in a mere two weeks.
Even though a single mosquito is not all too dangerous on its own, a swarm of them quickly overwhelms even much stronger foes, mostly due to the sedative that their bites inject in the victim's bloodstream.
Zaran had raised his beast master skill by a full level in the past week and was rewarded with a new function for his inspect skill. Whenever he inspected a beast for the first time he would receive additional beast master related information along with the usual information.
Even though the stats were very low for its level, the mosquito's speed and agility were no joke. In a mere two seconds the mosquito had completely turned around and had launched another attack at Zaran, who's eyes flashed with anger, launching a slash at the mosquito as he growled "SCRAM!".
With a minute movement of its wings, the mosquito skilfully dodged Zaran's slash and was able to deliver a hit, however due to it having steered off its course, it was unable to hit the weak point in Zaran's armour and merely scratched the surface of it. Breathing a sigh of relief, Zaran activated 'swiftness' to keep up with the mosquito's movements.
Another thrust came Zaran's way, who was now able to easily dodge the hit as his speed had increased tremendously. Right after he dodged he followed up with a Velocity and cleanly hit the mosquito's weak point, its wings and disabled one of it in the process. With one of its wings down the mosquito was no longer able to fly and it helplessly fell down to the ground. Zaran walked over to it and calmly used a series of 'thunderous fists' to kill it, as well as raising his skill experience.
Briefly summoning the HUD and checking the skill creation window, Zaran clicked his tongue as he noticed that "True way of the lonely sword"'s proficiency had only raised by a single thousandth of a percent. At the moment he had exactly 1.359% of the required experience to unlock the skill. He quickly checked the proficiency levels for other true ways that he had started creating and found that they hadn't raised much either.
Every time he hypothesized correctly for a true way of a certain skill, it would automatically be added to the skill creation window. At the moment he was still far from reaching max proficiency with one of them, but he wondered if he would create a skill or merely unlock one if he reached max proficiency.
He made the HUD disappear once more and resumed his path through the forest, encountering multiple mosquitoes along the way, nearly all of which were swiftly dispatched after Zaran broke their wings, which was an easy feat accomplish merely due to the weight of his sword. He didn't even need to aim all that perfectly at the weak spot as merely crashing his sword into their astonishingly fragile wings would cause them to be fractured or broken. Once the mosquitoes lost their movement they were incredibly easy to deal with as they were not build to walk around.
Nearing the source of the mosquitoes , Zaran threw down a gate stone, an item that could be used to set a teleportation destination and allowed one to teleport from any teleportation circle to the gate stone. It was more of a precaution than anything else but in case Zaran died, he could instantly teleport from his house to the gate stone.
After cutting down some more mosquitoes and carefully advancing a little further, Zaran came upon a clearing which was surrounded by six dying vilewood trees, which caused Zaran to frown. Up until now, there had not been a single death nor dying vilewood tree... and suddenly there were six of them? He stopped and carefully inspected his surroundings. The six vilewood trees encircled a large hundred meter wide lake, which was filled to the brim with mosquito eggs, larva and pupa.
Near the lake, two peculiar mosquitoes were buzzing around. One was a slender, nimble humanoid female, with mosquito wings and a normal human body besides the abdomen and behind which was still the same as before. Its forelegs and hind legs were halfway through the process of becoming human hands and legs and it's mid legs had grown shorter and were on its way to disappear entirely. It's proboscis was still there, just far shorter than the others.
The other mosquito was a fully humanoid male with the only part of himself that was not transformed being the mosquito wings on his back and the proboscis that was exactly like his female counterpart.
"Tch. This doesn't look good. There's two of them, they are evolved and this is their fucking breeding ground... How am I going to go about this?" Zaran muttered. He could try to draw one of them out by himself but he found that unlikely to succeed. He could message Nuvahn and tell him to come over but even then it might become a two versus two and not a one versus one like Zaran wanted.
Furthermore he was sure it would be a boss fight and merely looking at the area he realized that this was not a good place to fight. Somehow he had to be able to get the two mosquitoes to split up and it couldn't be for just a short while. On top of that he absolutely had to kill the other one on his first try as he couldn't afford a failure in this case, unless he wanted to fight two of them at once.
He had one option he could try... but it would cost him dearly. If he summoned his beasts to his current position, they could surely hold down one of the two mosquitoes for the time being, but multiple of his beasts would surely die. As he had found out the hard way in the past three weeks, a beast's death was permanent.
The moment he found it cold sweat had all run over his back as he remembered all the times Kirin and Cindarrah had been in danger. Along with Kru, those were the only three animals that he really didn't want to end up dying under his watch, with the ant queen, her ants and the demonic core tiger being the next in line that he would hate to lose.
Zaran cursed and decided that he would pay the price he needed to, but not in the way he though of earlier. With a smirk on his face, Zaran retreated back into the forest and sought out more mosquitoes. He wouldn't senselessly give up his own beasts... But fighting the king and queen with their own kin, now that was a sight he wanted to see! Evidently he was sure the mosquitoes wouldn't be able to last as long as his own beasts, so he needed to gather a fair amount of them.
An hour later, Zaran had gathered over a hundred disposable mosquitoes, varying from level 60 to level 85. He had even briefly run into Nuvahn, who was surrounded by a large pile of death mosquitoes and was thoroughly soaked by the mosquito's colourless blood.
With the troop of mosquitoes in tow, Zaran headed back to the clearing, Zaran briefly observed the royal pair again. Would he have the mosquitoes hold back their king... or queen? It was for this reason that he observed the queen and king pair some more as he would need to figure out which of the two was his best bet. The queen was taking great care to inspect every egg that became a larva, every larva that became a pupa and every pupa that became a mosquito. The more time passed, the more human aspects the mosquitoes started to show. Meanwhile, while the queen was inspecting the eggs, the king only cared about the newborn mosquitoes and quickly tested them in battle.
For this reason, Zaran found it better to have the mosquitoes deal with their king, while he dealt with the queen as it would be easy to aggro the queen as all he had to do was become a danger to her kin.
Buzzing sounds rang through the air as hundred mosquitoes flew towards the king and started attacking him, at the moment the king and queen couple was furthest from each other.
Zaran appeared in front of the queen with his bow and sent a couple of arrows into the water, quickly killing off a few larva and eggs with one hit, before changing back to his custom greatsword, Gigenkai. Over the past few weeks the sword had been able to achieve a breakthrough in its cultivation twice and was now able to store 2000 ki. Along with Zaran's increased cultivation, the sword and man pair now had 12000 ki to spend on skills.
The queen was enraged as she saw her babies die and shouted in fury while flying to Zaran at great speed. Zaran had already activated swiftness and met her proboscis with a mountain strike, which slightly knocked her back.
With a swift flick of his wrist, another skill exploded from Zaran's sword as he used 'Rise and Fall'. Even before the queen could recover from the previous strikes, Zaran used 'Velocity' and 'Flutter'.
Only at this time did the queen recover and activate a skill on her own. Zaran's blood started to boil and hellish pain coursed through his body. It felt as if his blood was on fire and wanted to escape his veins. With Zaran occupied with the pain that coursed through his body, the queen attack him and nicked his shoulder pad. But she was unable to fully force her way through Zaran's armour, but still a large chunk of the shoulder pad flew away from Zaran's shoulder and exposed his skin.