Chapter 331 The Mantis Stalks the Cicada
The battle quickly intensified with the splitting up of the knight squad.
"Master, let me and Kansas assault them. We'll ensure that they do not escape!" The one that spoke was the strongest Blood Knight under Mary– Blood Knight Windsor.
He seemed to have been the famous leader of the conservative faction of the knights before he became a Blood Knight. Sadly, at this moment, he had lost all his pride and honor as a radiant knight. He kneeled before Mary as a loyal slave.
Blood Knight Windsor didn't display even a trace of hesitation or unwillingness to raising his blade against his former companions. In fact, Mary saw excitement rising in his blood-red eyes. It was excitement for the upcoming slaughter.
"Go, my warrior! Demonstrate your courage with the heads of the enemy!" Mary's ruby-like eyes gleamed as she gave her orders, "Apart from those two radiant knights, you may do as you like!"
The remaining vampires rushed out after hearing Mary's crisp and seductive voice. They followed the other Blood Knights and charged onto the battlefield.
When everything around her had fallen silent once more, a person appeared beside her. It was Count Vanlier, the vampire that was first Embraced by Mary.
He had been the highest authority figure of Blue Hillock City before he became a vampire. However, such worldly titles were worthless in the world of vampires, where power was everything. 'Count' Vanlier had abandoned his past identity to keep Mary's favor. He willingly became an insignificant, low-grade vampire at her side.
In this group, where courage and power were most important, a person like himself would not be noteworthy. He had neither talent nor expertise. Still, this wasn't a problem for the sly and crafty Vanlier. After fifteen days of following Mary, he quickly became an irreplaceable strategist with his exceptional schemes and nasty tricks.
Moreover, this old fox knew how to remain in the shadows.
That was why he completely hid himself while Windsor and the other Blood Knights were with Mary. It wasn't until Mary was alone that he would hurry over and use his brilliant mind to share his master's troubles.
"How is it? Have you found any traces of that bug?" Mary asked without even looking back.
Ever since she had discovered Vanlier's incomparable talent for scheming, she had assigned a dozen low-grade vampires to be his subordinates. It was with these dozen vampires that Vanlier quickly became Mary's most valued information agent.
Blinding light exploded on the battlefield in the distance. It was like several small suns had risen in the forest. It destroyed the trees, and the forest trembled from the impact. Swarms of bats swooped about the woods, trying their best to avoid the chaotic wave of energy.
Mary could feel a sting in her soul.
It was the soul backlash from the death of a blood servant directly under her.
It was evident that the battle in the woods had reached its peak. It was a moment of life and death for all involved. Even so, Mary had no intention of helping. She stood proudly above the tree.
Empowering themselves was one way for vampires to rise to power, but possessing numerous strong servants was also another!
Her 'companion' that had already returned to the World of Adepts was also an adept exceptional at forging powerful and reliable subordinates. As expected, she had been affected by him! Mary had also fallen in love with this barbaric way of fighting. Roaming around and drowning the enemy with your superior numbers when you caught their weakness.
However, Mary knew she didn't quite possess the ability to plan like him. That was why she placed a lot of her trust and hopes on this sly vampire that had appeared out of nowhere, giving him more and more authority over her servants.
"Master, the scouts outside have not found any traces of that bug. However, I can be sure that he is preparing an ambush around us." Vanlier transformed into an elegant human noble and analyzed the situation for Mary, "This here is the last den for any fleeing knights. If he doesn't want to miss an opportunity to strengthen his army of bugs, he will have to fight with us for this last bit of resources."
"Mm, go on!"
"Evil Bugs isn't on good terms with the master. He knows this as well as we do and will be prepared for you. He will be slowly eating away at the enemy's squads on the outside. This is something that both of us will be doing. However, if anyone tried to attack the witcher knight camp, the other person would strike, regardless of the results of the fight."
"Isn't that why I gave you so many men? To dig that bug out ahead of time?"
"I fear this may be impossible!" Vanlier betrayed a bitter smile, "Sir Evil Bugs is most proficient at hiding. As long as he remains in the ground, my dozen scouts won't be able to find him."
"Perfect. If Evil Bugs doesn't want to come out, then let him keep hiding in the darkness!" Mary narrowed her eyes and said pridefully, "We can take this opportunity to grow stronger. I will see what he has to fight against me once the snowball turns into a mountain."
"My lady, we must be more cautious when we act as well." Vanlier was concerned, "I am worried that Sir Evil Bugs might lure the witcher knights to our location and force us into the final fight ahead of time!"
"Mm, I understand!" Mary was no longer the reckless girl that fought without any use of her brain. She thought for a moment after hearing this, " The loss of familiars might be tremendous after this fight. However, once those two radiant knights make it through the Embrace, we will have benefitted from the exchange! I will assign another hundred men from my familiar army once the battle ends. You must keep a close eye on that bug. Do not let him come out and disrupt my plans! Do you understand?"
"Understood!" Vanlier immediately bowed.
The battle in the forest suddenly extended into the distance as the two were having their discussion. It seemed the radiant knight was no longer able to endure the attacks of two Blood Knights. He had started to break out of the surroundings.
"Let's go and take a look!"
Mary took to the skies with Vanlier. The two of them turned into a red bat and a gray one as they dove into the forest.
A few of their subordinates that had been in hiding nearby emerged from the bushes, the trees, and the grass after ensuring nothing abnormal had happened after their departure. They then flapped their wings and followed after Mary and Vanlier.
The sound of energy explosions continued to ring out, but the source of the noise was gradually getting further and further.
Finally, after seven minutes, the place where Mary had just been fell silent once again.
The silence didn't last too long. A different and equally odd sound shattered the peace.
The black earth around the tree started to swell. Once it expanded to a height of one meter, it broke, and countless horrifying bugs swarmed out of the hole.
These bugs weren't large. Each of them was only the size of a fist. However, their black shells gleamed with a faint trace of magic.
The black beetles didn't disperse once they climbed out of the hole. Instead, they gathered together and slowly formed an odd humanoid shape.
Finally, the human body made of bugs stabilized. Countless crawling beetles composed Acteon's ugly and horrifying face.
"Mary…Mary…" Acteon let out a chilling hiss from within his bug body, "Do you think you are my opponent without that brat?"
"You want to lure me out and kill me? Kehkehkeh. I too want to devour your swarm of bats and use your blood to forge my great body of bugs. It is almost complete."
"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight… ooh. Who knew? You already had eight adept-level vampire subordinates! Still, your power is insignificant when compared to the great Acteon, kehkehkeh…”
Acteon hissed, and several larger black beetles crawled out of the hole. They had black shells, green wings, and corpse spots on their backs. His number of carcass beetles had reached a shocking thirty-four.
These carcass beetles were not young like they used to be. After continuously feeding them blood and flesh for the past six months, all thirty-four of the carcass beetles had matured to their adult form. Every one of them could rival an adept.
Even though Acteon's own body was only at the level of a newly advanced adept, he had confidence in beating any elite adepts with the help of these subordinates. He had absolute faith even if he had to face Greem once more!
"Greem…Greem...don't you want to kill me? Well then, I'll exterminate your accomplice first. Then I'll return to the World of Adepts for you! Kehkehkeh."
Evil Bugs Acteon hissed and vented his anger before shutting his eyes to communicate with the insect spies he had placed in the distance. He was surprised to find two 'fish' that had barely escaped the web. And one of them was a prey he craved after– a radiant knight.
This discovery caused him to be extremely happy!
The tens of thousands of black beetles turned into a flood and once again entered the hole under his instructions. They followed the tunnels they had dug underground and quickly closed in on the target.
In just a few seconds, not a single beetle remained on the spot that had previously been a hell of creepy crawlies.
Fifteen kilometers away, by a river in the mountains.
Two disheveled and bloody figures climbed out of the running stream. They crouched on the shore and panted in exhaustion.
Countless black shadows were weaving and circling the woods in the distance as if they were looking for something. Fear crept into their hearts. The two men immediately cast their bodies into the cold water once more, leaving only their eyes and noses above the water. They silently monitored the situation in the distance.
With the cold river water hiding their body heat, these bats that had exceptionally sensitive noses to the aura of humans had utterly lost track of their prey. They found nothing after patrolling several times and had no choice but to disappear into the horizon and search elsewhere.
"Wait a little longer! We will go out once they are far away!" The radiant knight named Soros instructed softly.
Sim could only endure the pain from the numerous wounds all over his body and continued to soak in the water.
The woods around them slowly became quiet.
It became increasingly silent, so much so that the two of them started to panic!
The disgusting and pungent smell of rotting corpses suddenly spread out throughout the silent woods.