The Beginning After The End | Chapter 261

The Beginning After The End - Read Light Novel

Beginning After The End Manhwa Novel

Chapter 261



 Chapter 261


Chapter 261: The Bridge

  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


“Stop screaming!” I snapped, my legs a blur as we sped through the endless meadow of glowing white wildflowers and blue grass.


“Then tell them to stop chasing us!” Regis howled, zipping through the air beside me.


Behind us were hundreds, if not thousands, of rodents, each the size of a puma, with glowing purple claws…and all of them were incredibly pissed off at us.


“I told you not to go poking around those giant holes!” I retorted.


Regis sped past me, afraid of getting scratched by those purple claws again. “How was I supposed to know that thousands of giant rats were living in them!”


Anger bubbled up. “What exactly were you expecting then? Giant snakes?”


“No, I was just thinking if we were going to find another treasure trove or some—”


“Regis, Gauntlet Form!” I cut in as I whirled around and skid to a stop.


An aura of black and purple flared from my right fist, growing larger as the army of giant rodents rapidly approached.


Using two ‘charges’, I released an explosive blast that distorted the very space it touched, killing a few dozen rodents.


Immediately after, I hooked my index finger in the ring attached to the pommel of the dagger, unsheathing it with a brilliant white arc.


Focusing aether on my arms, I soon became a torrent of blade and fists, cutting, stabbing, and striking every giant rodent within range.


Wielding a dagger was difficult at first. Despite the similarity in shape to a sword, the style of fighting using a dagger had proven vastly different.


It was fun though. Utilizing the ring at the bottom of the hilt, I was able to hook my finger through it, freeing up my hand to strike or parry with a palm. The shorter length of the dagger meant that strikes and slashes were faster and more concise, allowing for sharper and more volatile movement.


Corpses of the giant purple-clawed rodents lay strewn about, dying the beautiful blue grass around me in crimson.


Before the rest of their horde could arrive, Regis and I turned back and started to run. We continued running and slowly chipping away at their forces for several hours while searching for an exit within this seemingly vast field of ocean-like grass.


What was worse was that, unlike the chimeras and millipede, most of the rodents’ bodies didn’t contain aether—only their claws were coated in a dense layer of aether. This allowed them to actually injure Regis and made them very cumbersome to kill with little benefit since I was using more aether than I was regenerating.

  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


“Over there!” Regis shouted as he picked up speed.


I saw it too. Out in the distance, there was an all-too-familiar teleportation gate glowing brightly, beckoning us. It was only after we drew near it that we realized it wasn’t going to be that easy.


Separating us from the gate was a chasm at least 30 yards wide with no end in sight on either side for us to go around.


“What do we do?” Regis asked as my mind spun, looking for a way out. Behind us was at least a thousand rodents hell bent on killing us— all the more angry after we had continuously killed off their brethren.


Pumping out more aether from my core, I picked up speed as well, gaining some distance away from the horde of rodents. As we got closer, my eyes picked up two columns both on the portal side and on our side as well.


“I think there’s a bridge there!” I said, pointing to the two columns just a few dozen yards ahead. I could only hope that there was a mechanism that connected the columns on either side together.


I skidded to a stop just in front of the two pillars that were about three shoulder-widths apart. But when I saw what had happened, I cursed aloud.


There were thick rune-inscribed chains coming from the columns and falling down the crevice. At the bottom there was a stream of red, and by the heat that could be felt all the way from here, I knew that it was lava.


That was why there were no grass or flowers growing this close to the crevice.


“Well…there was a bridge,” Regis said dejectedly, looking down into the abyss. “I wonder what did this?”


“Not what. Who.” I seethed, punching the tree-sized pillar of stone before turning back to face the army of rodents.


“Please don’t tell me you’re going to try and kill all of those creatures,” Regis groaned.


“Not exactly,” I said. “I have a plan but you’re not going to like it.”


Regis stared at me, deadpan. “Has there ever been a plan that I liked?”


***


I hid behind one of the columns, replenishing my core using a rodent claw that I had severed and stored in my bag while I watched Regis scream as he fast approached. Just behind him was the horde of rodents desperately clambering atop one another, swiping savagely at Regis.


“I hate you!” Regis howled as he drew near.


I waited until he was about a foot from the cliff before releasing the same aetheric aura that I had used to immobilize the giant millipede.

  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


By the time the frontline rodents realized that they were running towards a cliff, it was too late. The air around them grew heavy as the aetheric aura spread. The waves of rodents behind the first row weren’t able to stop in time either, crashing into their brethren and falling off the cliff as they desperately clawed at the air.


Meanwhile, Regis continued to hover in the air, inviting the giant rodents in the back that weren’t yet aware of the cliff to try and kill him while gleefully laughing like a maniac.


“Come on, you pea-brained rats! Try and touch me with those manicured claws of yours now, bitches! Hahahaha!”


“Now!” I roared as the final wave of giant rodents clambered atop their brethren and leapt off in a desperate attempt to reach Regis.


I used most of my aether to burst forward, pushing off the column for maximum speed.


With aether shrouding my body, I stepped on the heads of the crazed rodents, climbing on top of them to get as close to the other side of the crevice as possible. With the river of lava below me, my eyes scanned the route that I would be able to take to get to the other side.


Just before the giant rodents under my feet began falling down, I leapt off the crest of the rodent pile.


I pushed away the thought of missing my footing and falling into the river of lava that was blowing hot air even all the way up here. I doubted that even my vivum-enhanced healing abilities would be able to regenerate me faster than the lava would eat away at my body.


*** You are reading on https://ReadReadNovelFullonline.com ***


My eyes locked onto the rodent up ahead in the air. It had managed to clear almost halfway across the crevice trying to get Regis.


Stamping my foot on the flailing rodent’s back, I pushed off of him to gain the extra distance I needed to reach the other side.


“You’re not going to make it!” Regis screamed as I began descending just a few feet shy from the clifftop.


Pulling out my dagger, I summoned the remaining sliver of aether to reinforce my arm and dagger before driving it into the face of the cliff.


The very air distorted in ripples from the waves of heat emanating from the stream of lava drawing closer.


‘Use my aether for Gauntlet Form!’ Regis sent as my free hand started glowing black and purple.


With no time to waste, I unleashed the aether coalesced into my fist, striking downward rather than straight at the rocky cliffside.


The impact created a big crater on the cliffside. I was freefalling for a second until I barely managed to snag my fingers over the edge of the depression that I had created.


My hands—along with the rest of my body—clammy with sweat, I nearly lost my grip but managed to hold on.

  ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Clinging for dear life until I was able to pull myself up, I fell flat on my back in the small cave that I had created with Gauntlet Form.


“We made it!” a slightly shrunken Regis cheered as I struggled to breathe. The air was thick here, but it was a bit different from just heat. Too tired and hot to figure out why, I was tempted to let sleep overtake me but I knew that falling unconscious this close to the molten river spelled death.


“Thanks for saving me,” I said to Regis.


The little orb of black shrugged nonchalantly. “Meh, I’m not very keen on finding out what happens to me if you die. Just promise me a bigger chunk of aether next time and we’ll call it even.”


I nodded before getting back to the matter at hand. Even without strengthening my body with aether, I should be able to climb the cliff, and common sense dictated that I should get as far away as possible from this river of lava that I had clearly seen bake those puma-sized rodents alive in mere seconds.


However, my instincts told me otherwise, and my new body seemed to agree. Staring down, for some reason, I thought that this glowing river of lava would help me.


“So, you all rested up? Ready to climb up out of here?” Regis asked cheerfully as he continued to watch a few dumber rodents chase after us and fall to their fiery deaths.


It was when I spotted several glints of purple floating away in the molten stream that I realized why I had been feeling this way.


“No. Not yet,” I said as my eyes began scanning the inside of the man-sized cave I was in, yet another brilliant plan of mine slowly snapping into place.


“Tell me the truth, Arthur. You’re a masochist, aren’t you.”


“No, I don’t particularly enjoy feeling pain, Regis,” I stated, lowering my toes.


“Oh so you’re just dunking yourself in lava for shits and giggles?”


I stopped. “Do you mind? I kind of need to concentrate if I don’t want my body to melt.”


Regis rolled his eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry for trying to dissuade you from skinny dipping in lava.”


“Apology accepted, now shut up.” I took a deep breath. Even after hours of testing dozens of times, it was nerve-wracking to actually submerge myself into the molten river.


Dipping my entire body into the stream of lava, I immediately felt a burning, but tolerable heat coursing through me as I continued pumping aether from my core.


It was an odd feeling but it didn’t take long for me to be able to confirm the benefits of doing this. I had been right, except, it had gone beyond my expectations.


Seeing the glowing purple claws of the rodents had confirmed my instincts and had set the plan into motion.


The first stage was the most uncertain. Just like how the last level had its own unique ecosystem, so did this one.


When I had consumed the aether from the rodents’ claws, I realized that they were only coated in aether. Their natural claws—while sharp and near-indestructible—were just black. Seeing how their bodies weren’t able to innately wield aether like the chimeras, monkeys, or the millipede, I assumed that they had acquired those claws through some other means.


Their species lived underground, using their sharp claws to dig tunnels, so I speculated that in the ground was something that was rich in aether that they dug through in order to layer their claws with aether.


After hours of using my newfound dagger and aether to dig and punch deeper into the cave that I had made, Regis and I had found it…


An aether crystal.


The one that we had managed to find was about seven feet in diameter and extremely dense in mana.


If the first part of my plan had been uncertain, then the second part of my plan should be described as painful.


With no way of knowing if my body would fare any better than the rodent claws, I did the only thing any wise and intelligent person would do: test.


After another several hours of melting my fingers, waiting for them to regenerate by using the aether crystal, and doing it again while adjusting the input of my aether, I had finally come to where I was now…buck naked, standing on one of the shallow ends of the molten river I had found by tossing a boulder into it.


But it had paid off. My body felt as if it was going through the tempering and purging stage of my patented aether refinement process over and over again every second.


Because of how much aether I needed to expel constantly in order to keep my body from burning, as well as to be in a state of equilibrium with the harsh aether flowing within this molten river, I could only be inside for about a minute at a time. At least at first, that is.


“Wow. Five minutes.” Regis acknowledged with a nod. “New record.”


I stared at the aether crystal that had now dulled into a hazy gray color. “Just in time. I think it’s about time we leave.”


“Really?” Regis’ eyes sparkled like a puppy in front of a steak. I felt a little sorry for my floating companion. After the rodents had finally given up on trying to chase after us, Regis’ favorite show—watching the rodents fall and sizzle in the molten stream—had been stopped. This meant that he was stuck watching me go in and out between the molten river and the aether crystal, naked.


I gave him a nod, putting on my clothes. After adjusting my darkened leather bracers and gorget and equipping my bag and the white dagger I had grown fond of, I draped the teal fur-lined cloak over my shoulders. “You ready?”


“Hell yes,” Regis declared before stopping abruptly and turning around. “But before that… was it worth it?”


I let aether erupt from my core. Rather than seeing the thin sheen of magenta cover my entire body, however, my aether burned a brilliant purple—all traces of the reddish hue now gone. What really surprised Regis though, was the fact that almost all of the aether had coalesced into my right fist.


My lips curved into a smirk as I watched Regis gape stupidly. “You tell me.”


*

Post a Comment (0)
Previous Post Next Post