The Beginning After The End | Chapter 270

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Beginning After The End Manhwa Novel

Chapter 270



 Chapter 270


Chapter 270: Descent

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Despite the initial shock that had overcome everyone left on the sled as the colossal monster loomed over us, it didn’t take long for the ascenders to snap back to reality. However, thanks to Regis’ second warning, I was the only one able to react in time to fully dodge the wide tip of the beast’s tail. Everyone else had been too focused on its grotesque face.


Time seemed to slow as I watched the chain of events unfold after barely jumping out of the way. The beast’s leathery tail snapped down, crushing the sled like a twig. Taegen had somehow barely reacted in time to push Caera out of the way, only to get crushed alongside Trider underneath the large tail. The shockwave of force generated by the impact scattered the rest of us who weren’t directly in its range.


‘Let’s go!’ Regis urged.


But my eyes shifted between Daria and Caera, both unconscious, and both falling off the risen earth that I largely suspected was the body of this titanic beast.


Regis. Get Daria, I sent with a pleading tone.


A surge of emotions rose only to fizzle out as my companion let out a groan. Despite the situation, a smile crept up on my face as I watched Regis leap out of my body, his shadowy wolf form bolting toward the unconscious Daria.


Meanwhile, I released the limiter that I had imposed on myself, bursting forth in a shroud of aether as my eyes took in the situation at hand.


Daria’s teammate was nowhere to be seen while a pool of blood spread from underneath the leathery tail. Arian, however, had managed to avoid being completely thrown off by hanging onto his glowing sword embedded on the side of the titan’s body, his face bloody and his free arm bent at an impossible angle.


I cleared the distance between me and the falling Caera, her face lost in a curtain of navy hair. I barely managed to grab her ankle as I hung off the cliff of the risen earth, more annoyed at myself than I was with the situation.


How many more options would I have had if I was able to use mana? I could’ve flown safely out of harm’s way, hell—I could’ve avoided this altogether.


Before I could even pull Caera and myself back up, however, I looked up to see the titan’s violet eyes glaring down at me. And swirling within his unhinged jaw was a massive sphere of silvery mana aimed straight at us.


I could feel my heart pound against my chest as I considered my options. Could I pull us up and run fast enough to dodge the attack? What would the width of the blast be? Would I be able to dodge it if I let Caera go? Or should I jump down the steep body of the beast onto solid land?


Cursing under my breath, I threw Caera over the edge of the cliff and pulled myself up just as the titan released its breath attack.


Caera stirred awake after landing on the ground, utterly confused as to why I had suddenly scooped her up and slung her over my shoulder.


“W-What is the meaning of—” Her words fell short as a bright white light bathed the surrounding area.


I looked back to see the mana blast disintegrate everything in its path as it let out a shrill hum.

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“Can you run?” I asked as we passed the broken sled. I noticed that while Trider’s remains could be seen in the bloody pool where the beast’s tail had struck, I couldn’t see any sign of Taegen.


“No. My left ankle seems fractured at least,” she stated matter-of-factly.


The destructive beam of pure mana continued to chase after us as I continued sprinting on the broken surface of the raised ground resting on top of its body. “Then do something. Otherwise, I’m better off letting you go.”


I could feel Caera subconsciously tighten her grip around me at my words, but she remained silent as we neared the far end of the rocky platform.


“I don’t—” the red-eyed ascender let out a scared yelp as I loosened my grip around her, threatening to leave her.


I knew as I watched her fight in the previous waves that she was hiding something. Along with the fact that she had two very competent bodyguards eager to sacrifice themselves for her, saving her hadn’t been out of the kindness of my heart.


“Okay!” she relented, her mana-infused nails digging into my skin as she clung on for her life. “Just keep running.”


“There’s nowhere to run!” I retorted, the cliff edge drawing closer. Caera stayed silent though as I felt an ominous power building within her that I hadn’t felt before.


Trusting her, I navigated away from the approaching blast of destruction as the diminishing ground became more unstable. Reaching the far edge of the raised ground atop this monstrosity, I concentrated all my aether into my legs and back and pushed off with all my strength.


Without wind magic to redirect the air resistance, I could only grit my teeth and endure the thick wall of wind pushing back against our bodies as we sailed high through the air.


As the menacing power began to grow stronger around Caera, who was still slung over my shoulder, I looked back at the guardian that had erected from the ground right below us.


I thought that literally standing on the gigantic beast and seeing it up close would’ve prepared me for the sight, but I was wrong.


Despite all of the mana beasts I had encountered and fought over the years in Dicathen, it took me several moments to be able to begin fathoming this creature as a single entity—my brain just didn’t want to believe that there could be something this big.


The creature was about as tall as the tower holding the power source, but it looked miniscule in comparison to the overall length and girth of the beast.


From this far away, the colossal monster reminded me of an enormous dragon missing its wings. Both its long tail and neck were attached to a leathery torso that could be mistaken for a small mountain from up close. Supporting its weight were six legs, each as thick as its neck.


“Caera!” I roared as the shimmering beam still erupting from the colossal beast’s mouth rose up in its path as we began descending.


At the height we had jumped from and the speed of our descent, I had no confidence in surviving the impact from the fall let alone the beast’s breath attack steadily approaching us.


Twisting my body midair, I turned to face the monster as I began concentrating all of my aether into the palm of my right hand. I knew the beam of pure aether that I had learned in the glowing platform zone wouldn’t be enough to counter the beast’s attack but I had little choice. Caera remained completely still and silent as she hung over my shoulder.


Just as the two of us were about to be swept into the destructive tidal surge of mana and just as I was about to release my own attack, Caera wriggled around in my grasp. She hooked one arm around my neck to keep herself stable as she withdrew her curved sword from a dimension item.


I stopped my attack just in time to witness an all-too-familiar flaming black aura wrap over the crimson blade as she swung down.


Her once-red blade extended into a flaming black crescent that cut through the shining white cone of destruction, severing and creating a path just wide enough for us to fall through before the black flame whittled away. Judging by how the path of the monster’s attack continued up, I could tell that it would be hard for him to change its direction back toward us.


Caera slumped, her left arm still slung around my neck as she put away her sword.


“I won’t be able to do that again,” she said, her voice barely heard over the rush of wind.


There were so many thoughts and questions that rushed through my head as I tried to make heads or tails out of this situation, but I forced myself to put that aside for now and focus on getting out alive.


Regis, where are you? I asked.


‘I got Daria and used the guardian’s tail to get down to the ground, but I don’t think I can make it to you in time!’


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The plan to use gauntlet form to mitigate some of the impact from falling wouldn’t work.


There was no other choice but to use the aetheric beam. While using it to counter the monster’s breath attack was a fool’s hope, using the force of the blast might just be enough to stunt the speed of our fall enough so that the impact wouldn’t kill us both.


Of course, using it could also mean draining all of my aether reserves and dying since Regis wasn’t close enough to get here in time…


Pushing aside the doubt clouding my mind, I focused on the aether art.


It seemed like Caera caught on that I was about to do something since she clung to me even tighter.


My aether reserves had somewhat increased since my first two attempts at the aetheric beam, but because of the repercussions it caused and being in such a dangerous zone, I had no opportunities to test the attack again.


Letting out a deep breath that got lost in the wind, I concentrated a majority of my aether into fortifying my arms, shoulders, chest and spine so that my body could withstand the burden.


I could see the rune-like marks of purple extend out from my palms and spread through my fingers.


Aiming both my palms down at the ground, shoulder-width apart, as we plummeted closer toward the ground, I waited until I was close enough.


Finally, just fifty feet above the ground, I unleashed the aetheric beam.


A deep roar resounded as the torrent of violet flames erupted from my palms and into the ground. I immediately felt my arms, shoulders and back protest but I held firm.


The platform that had first allowed me to unlock this ability had naturally forced out the aether from my body. Now that I was no longer impacted by that effect, the control I had over how much aether to put out was much greater.


My fingers forced the aetheric blast to remain focused forward rather than exploding out. Even with my body strengthened by aether, I knew that my arms had already begun to fracture and my aether reserves were depleting at a terrifying pace.


Still, I could feel us slowing down, and it was only as I began decreasing the output of aether and the noise that it caused grew quieter that I realized Caera was screaming as she held onto me like a baby koala.


“Brace yourself for impact!”I roared as I turned to face the sky, making sure that I’d be the one to land first as we crashed into the ground while cladding both of us in as much aether I could afford.


By the time I came to, I knew that I hadn’t been unconscious for that long by the clouds, dirt and dust still rising from the crater I had impacted.


My body felt like it had been ripped apart, seared back together, and then ripped apart again, no one part hurting more than the other. It took all of my mental fortitude to keep from passing out again, but at least Caera had fared better.


She was still unconscious but she had been able to use the rest of her mana to protect her body from fatal harm.


I could feel the little reserves left of my aether core already repairing my body, but I couldn’t calm down.


The ground shuddered beneath me, growing stronger with each deep thud that echoed in the distance. I had a feeling that it was the guardian approaching us.


“Arthur!” a husky voice growled from the edge of the crater. It was Regis with Daria riding on his back.


“Regis,” I gurgled before coughing out a mouthful of blood.


Daria gasped as she unmounted from Regis. “Merciful Vritra, how is he still alive?”


The two of them ran toward me and before either Regis and I could do anything, Daria had formed a glass vial from her dimension ring and held it against my mouth.


“Drink this,” Daria said as she leaned in closer and raised my head. “An emblem instiller made this. It uses the mana in your body to heal your wounds.”


“Can’t,” I managed to choke out. “Won’t…work.”


Her thin brows furrowed in confusion before a look of realization washed over her. “Oh, you can’t.”


Relieved that she understood, my eyes closed.


Regis, I need some of your aether if I’m going to be able to—


My thoughts were interrupted by a soft sensation pressing against my lips before a lukewarm liquid entered my mouth. My eyes shot open to see Daria’s mouth locked against mine, her eyes shut and cheeks red.


Without the strength to even lift my arms at this point and my attempts to twist my face away futile as she held my head in place, I was forced to swallow whatever contents were in that vial.


Daria finally pulled away, her composure losing away to her crimson face. “I-I had no choice since you didn’t have the strength to drink.”


Bursts of pain exploded with each cough that I forced out. “Y-You…the vial wouldn’t…”


“As my master is so eloquently trying to explain, it wasn’t that he couldn’t drink the elixir that you so generously mouth-fed him, but that it wouldn’t work on him,” Regis explained with an annoyingly amused expression.


Daria remained befuddled as I shot the black and purple wolf the most piercingly cold glare that I could muster. A snarky grin remained plastered on his canine maw as he dove into my body.


A cool rush of energy spread from my core and I could feel my body recovering.


‘You get a free kiss along with my recovery services. I’d say you owe me,’ Regis snickered.


Bite me, I responded sharply, but it felt good to be annoyed by him again.


With the help of Regis, I was able to recover enough to get back on my feet just as the earth shook once more.


‘Don’t you die on me, Princess,’ Regis sent, his voice weak.


Rest up, buddy, I said, just barely managing to push myself up to my feet. Taking a glance down at Caera—whose injuries had gotten much better after Daria fed her another elixir—I reached down.


Unclasping the buckle that held the leather sheath and dagger by her waist, I strapped it on before climbing up the edge of the crater. “Keep her safe. I have some questions I need to ask her.”


“Where are you going?” Daria asked. “You’re not thinking of actually fighting that thing, right?”


“No,” I responded. “I’m thinking of killing it.”


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