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While all of fighting on Adam’s side was happening and progressing smoothly, things had not gone as well on Tom’s side. When the wasps had drawn in close, they buzzed around in all directions, making it hard to target them effectively and the opening kills that Harrison and Pike had managed to score when first contact was made, paled in comparison to what Adam’s group had achieved. The reason for this disparity of course, being that one group had two qi expansionist warriors whilst the other had none.

Just after Pike had managed to earn the first two kills with the swing of his glaive and Harrison had killed another that had flown towards him head on with a simple downward slash from an overhead defensive stance, the wasps had scattered in all manner of directions, moving in-between them at high speed and attacking from multiple directions.

Tom, who was standing at the back of his group, witnessed as the small horde of Marauder wasps broke apart and began circling the others, darting here and there and launching unpredictable attacks at irregular intervals, sometimes individually and at others times, in concert with their brethren. However, these wasps obviously wouldn’t just start attacking the others while attacking the others. After the initial few kills that Harrison and Pike got, they were still outnumbered at a little over 3 to 1 and some of the Marauder wasps naturally made their way past the others and towards Tom.

Seeing Marauder wasps flying towards him, Tom quickly raised his shield in front of his face as one of them darted forward, targeting his head. Just after, Tom heard a pin-point noise on his shield and chuckled, considering it funny, as when he looked, he saw the wasp that attacked him had gotten its stinger stuck and was desperately beating its wings to fly off again but to no avail.

The wasp being right there and unable to move, Tom simply swiped his sword down the front of his shield, earning an easy kill. Next, he quickly made a flick of his hand, seeing another wasp speeding towards him out of the corner of his eye. Tom’s fast reaction time and quick movement proved too much for the attacking wasp as it was heavily injured and fell to the ground, only to be subsequently crushed underfoot when Tom stomped on it to end its life.

Tom’s attention however was brought to the front again when he heard a loud and pained yell. Looking up, he saw Bartholomew with one wasp on his leg and another on his chest, both of them having managed to sting him, causing him no small amount of pain.

Gritting his teeth and working through his way through the pain, Bartholomew tightened his grip on his weapon as hard as he could and swung it down with one arm past his leg, easily cleaving through the Marauder wasp that was still resting there. Then, he moved his free left hand to grab the wasp that was still on his chest and crushed it in his hand. The way its legs squirmed and juices oozed from it when doing this, looking and no doubt feeling, disgusting. Finally, to finish all this off, while yelling out a battle cry, partly due to the pain he was experiencing and partly in anger, Bartholomew lifted his axe up and holding it in two hands, swung it like a bat at an approaching Marauder wasp, the two large blades on either side of it proving effective for this as he was able clip the head of the wasp and send it spiralling to the ground.

Unfortunately, when Bartholomew yelled out in pain, it didn’t just attract Tom’s attention and was soon followed by a large grunt from Harrison, who, due to being momentarily distracted, ended up getting stung in the back. He, not being able to strike at the wasp on his back, which was just out of his reach, was fortunately helped by Pike, who swung down his glaive as Harrison stood perfectly still, bearing the pain much better than Bartholomew.

After this brief period of respite however, where Tom was able to safely watch what was happening to the others, he had to refocus on the battle. Although he and the others were making good progress, they weren’t doing nearly as well as Adam’s group, with a fair few wasps still buzzing about, the battle far from over.

Seeing 3 more Marauder wasps begin flying at him, Tom once again prepared for combat, however, before they had reached within striking distance, Tom saw three crimson lights in the shape of crescent moons shoot over from the side, killing two of the wasps and missing the third, which was able to dodge. Glancing over, Tom saw that Adam’s side had essentially finished up and Adam running the short distance over to him and his group.

“Haha, how are you guys doing over here?” asked Adam as he moved towards Tom.

“So-So” replied Tom as he looked at Adam and saw the latter’s face quickly change from its smiling appearance to one of concern.

Adam began opening his mouth, about to speak out, however, before his words of warning had even begun to escape his mouth, Tom flicked his sword arm up, hitting a the Marauder wasp that was approaching him from the side, injuring it and damaging its wings, knocking it to the ground.

Closing his mouth before he’d even had the chance to speak, Adam subconsciously raised his eyebrows in shock before lowering them again, lost for words.

Quickly refocusing his attention on the current situation, Adam looked towards Harrison, Pike and Bartholomew, who were still struggling with the few remaining wasps.

“We should help them now” he said.

“Naturally” replied Tom, as Marcus, Avery and Lance joined them, finally having killed the last wasp on their side.

With the new addition of Adam’s group, Tom re-joined the fight where Harrison, Pike and Bartholomew were, their combined efforts easily bringing it to a close.

When all was said done, the almost deafening buzzing sound that had previously permeated the surroundings was gone and a mass of wasp bodies were left scattered all over the ground.

…………………………………………

In response to this, up on Methis’ celestial viewing platform, where 4 Gods were watching these events unfold, the previously animated and excited wasp God was now dejected and downcast, its legs and front antennae drooping and lacklustre, while a dolphin sat laughing hysterically beside it.

“Hey, don’t be too down about it. I mean, you didn’t even know them” said Jacob sympathetically, reaching out his hand to pat him on the back before thinking better of it and pulling it back.

“Vrrrr vrrr vr Vrrr, vrr vrrr vr vr vo” responded the wasp God, which roughly translated to ‘I know I didn’t know them, but they were still my people and compared to you guys, there are so few of us’, complaining over how common humans were and how rare his species were in comparison.

What made him particularly irate in this matter was that in all of the cosmos, he was the only of his kind to ever ascend into Godhood, paling in comparison to the many humans who had managed to accomplish this feat, making up a fifth of all the ascended. He considered such a thing truly unfair and was also the reason he would get excited whenever he saw any of his own race, even if they were just the weaker members of it.

“Well now, c’mon, it’s not that bad. What about Eritrey? He’s like you” said Jacob, mentioning another God he knew.

“Vrrr vr vr Vrr Vrrr Vrrr Vrrr” responded the wasp God angrily while pointing at Jacob, its vigour seemingly returned to it.

“Fine, yes, he’s a bee” apologised Jacob, while thinking [You’re the same sort of thing though], not understanding why that was such a big deal to him, but then again, maybe it just wasn’t within the abilities of humans to understand the nuances of wasp culture and the rivalries they had with the bees.

“Enough” cut in Methis, silencing Jacob and the wasp God, as well as the dolphin God who was still laughing at the side and hitting his flippers together in amusement at the conversation taking place.

“I’m watching this. We can talk when we take a break”

“Understood” “Vrrr vvv” “Okay” replied the 3 Gods as they turned their attention back to the projection screen to watch what was happening down below.

…………………………………………

“Hah, damn, that was something” said Lance, a little out of breath after having chased after one particularly fast moving and elusive Marauder wasp and thinking about the close shave he had had earlier in the fight.

“Yeah, it was pretty intense” said Pike, thinking about his own close shave while looking down at his combat jacket where one of the wasps had tried to sting him but failed, internally cheering that it had been unable to get its stinger all the way through.

Looking at the members of Tom’s group after this little exchange, Avery couldn’t help but smirk a bit.

“It seems you guys didn’t fare too well though”

“Aaargh, Grrrrr” were the sounds coming through Bartholomew’s clenched teeth as he stood, weak in one leg, giving a death glare to Ray who was walking over from the distance with the horses in tow.

“Hey guys. I kept the horses safe” he said, earning a string of curses from the others, though mostly from Bartholomew who had suffered the worst during this time and was looking at Ray in annoyance, anger and envy.

“The fuck do you mean you kept the horses safe!” shouted Bartholomew.

“It was an important job. Someone had to do it” replied Ray nonchalantly, an action which caused the others to become angry again at his seemingly smug attitude.

“Yeah, you ran off bloody fast for just protecting the horses” added Pike, eliciting a shrug from Ray.

“Aw c’mon, you’re just jealous you didn’t think of it first” said Avery, chuckling.

“How dare you. Is that how you see me?” said Pike, exaggeratedly acting as though he was insulted by his words, though not fooling anyone.

“Well” said Avery, seemingly unsure and looking as though he was pondering over something in his mind.

“Oh screw you” said Pike.

“Alright, alright, it’s not important who went to lead the horses away or how fast Ray ran off to do it. The fact of the matter was, someone had to do it or we’d all be walking back on foot” said Adam, quieting them all down before he turned to look at Ray.

“But yeah, that was pretty sly of you” he remarked.

Once again, Ray just shrugged, half the group continuing to glare at him while the other half quietly chuckled to themselves, finding the situation funny.

“Right then. Since that’s been settled, we should probably get on with” said Marcus, reminding everyone why they were here.

“Agreed” said Tom.

With that, everyone got moving again, moving to collect the spirit herbs that were growing all around them.

Thankfully, having killed all the surrounding qi beasts, they were able to do this undisturbed. Plus, as an added benefit, they were also able to collect the bodies of many of the wasps, piling them onto the back of the wagon with the rest of this trips’ gains.

Following this, the group set off once more, heading in the direction of the kingdom, only now, they stopped taking a roundabout route zigzagging through the forest and instead proceeded directly to its exit.

Not only had the spirit herbs taken a while to collect, cutting down the amount of time they had to spend out in the forest, but, they also needed to be stored properly so as to get the most benefits from them. As a result, it was deemed that a direct journey back to Acorn was best.

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A note from jmj1011995

The next chapter will probably be short. There was a little bit extra i wanted to add on for when they get back to Acorn but i felt it didn't flow very well being stuck on the end of the chapter. I was also considering ending where Tom says agreed but i went with this instead and will proabably start the next chapter with them already outside the forest and heading back into town.


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jmj1011995

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