The Beginning After The End | Chapter 307

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Beginning After The End Manhwa Novel

Chapter 307



 Chapter 307


I watched in awe as Regis dragged himself out from the depths of my shadow, rather than my body . Aside from the fact that I only came up to his chest when he stood on all fours, his front limbs now longer and more muscular than his hind legs, the shadow wolf’s appearance had drastically changed .


Regis’s fur jutted out in hard spikes, gleaming like obsidian beneath the sharp-edged blades of purple flames that danced over him . His horns were sweeping spears that grew out from his temple and thrust forward like a bull’s, while rows of serrated daggers protruded out to form his fangs .


A powerful roar ripped out from the throat of my shadowy companion, carrying a palpable pressure akin to the aetheric version of King’s Force that I had learned from Kordri . Sensing the danger, the three giant golems’ attention turned to Regis .


My head snapped back to Caera . “Change of plans . Support Regis!”


Caera, despite her fatigued state, gave me a firm nod and channeled soulfire into her scarlet blade as Regis rushed forward, kicking up a cloud of snow behind him .


My companion’s movements blurred as he ripped a chunk out of one of the golems with his claws before spinning and lashing out at another with his spiked tail . Where his claws moved, a streak of violet trailed behind, carrying with it the aspect of Destruction .


While not nearly as potent as the violet flames I was able to produce utilizing the godrune, his attacks were able to inhibit the golems’ ability to regenerate, unlike Caera’s soulfire .


Consuming the information being fed to me through the aether trails, I God Stepped near the giant golem still trying to regenerate part of its torso and leaped on top of its shoulder before plunging my hands into its body .


As I began absorbing the aetheric nebula that made up its actual form, the third golem retaliated by conjuring an icicle spear in its clawed hand and throwing it at me .


Before I even decided to react, a sphere of soulfire crashed into the giant icicle, consuming the golem’s attack before billowing out .


My expression must’ve given away my surprise at the sight of her new spell because Caera shot me a smirk and said, “You’re not the only one that’s been training, Grey!”


With my reserves nearly full, I began to coalesce aether into my palm in preparation for another aether blast when the golem I was standing on lurched, throwing me off .


“Watch it!” I growled at Regis, who had rammed his head against the golem I was on top of, skewering it with his horns .


Twisting my body to reorient myself, I launched the condensed blast of aether at the golem’s head . A muted explosion reverberated as my spell hit, but even decapitated, the golem was still able to wrap all of its six limbs around Regis .


The other two golems quickly took advantage of Regis’s limited mobility and began pummeling him with a barrage of fists, claws, and icicles . Despite the onslaught that he faced, however, his thick coat of spiked fur and jagged flames mitigated most of the damage he took, giving me and Caera another opening .


Channeling more aether into my right hand, I condensed it as much as possible before flashing toward the cluster of giant golems and releasing my attack point blank .


While the close range attack greatly reduced the amount of aether it leaked while traveling mid-air, the rebound from the impact made by the spell was strong enough to blow me backwards, hurling me several yards into the air .


I God Stepped to the ground, absorbing the momentum of the recoil, then ignited the godrune once more to avoid a giant icicle the size of a carriage that had been hurled at me, despite my aetheric blast burning away two of my attacker’s arms .


Caera let loose another cluster of smaller soulfire bombs that expanded upon impact, destroying chunks of the giant golems’ limbs and bodies, now thoroughly misshapen, and freeing Regis .


Letting out another roar that sounded more like a dragon than a wolf, Regis became a whirlwind of jagged flames, fangs, and claws, mincing the trio of golems like they were in a thresher .


“I don’t even think we’re needed at this point,” Caera said with a weary chuckle, the black flames dancing around her fingers dimming .


As if the golems took her words as a challenge, the physical constructs of snow and ice that made up their bodies suddenly collapsed to the ground .


The purple mist that made up their true forms began to coalesce, becoming thicker and clearer while also condensing into a smaller form .


A dome of kinetic force erupted from where the aetheric being gathered, sending Regis soaring over the snow . Caera was barely able to anchor herself by stabbing her blade into the ground, while I opted to clad myself in a thicker layer of aether and dig my heels into the ground .


From the epicenter of the explosion appeared an ethereal humanoid being with four translucent purple arms and a pair of wings that spanned twice its seven-foot height . Covering its limbs were plates of armor made of ice . But the most surprising feature was the white portal shard covering half of its faceless head like a decorative mask .


Caera took a step forward . “Is that…”


A smile formed on the edge of my lips . “The portal piece . ”


~


My body was tinged with a violet hue as aether clung tightly around me . As I prepared to confront the four-armed humanoid, however, a sharp burst of malicious thoughts broke my concentration .


‘This thing is mine!’ Regis snarled in a voice that didn’t sound quite like his own .


My shadowy companion rushed forward in a blur, his Destruction-infused jaws snapping rabidly . However, the snow beneath Regis caved in and hardened so that his limbs were frozen to the ground .


Letting out a frustrated growl, the shadow wolf began jerking his body, trying to free himself, but even with the aspect of Destruction coating his body, the ice held firm .


With a beat of its translucent purple wings, the being shot up high above the ground and began raining down a shower of icicles tinged in aether .


Caera flashed ahead of me, putting herself between Regis and the flurry of aether-clad icicles without hesitation, and conjured a wall of soulfire .


Meanwhile, I ignited God Step, teleporting in the air above our opponent to stop its attack . Shrouding myself in a nimbus of violet energy, I oriented myself as I fell straight on top of the humanoid’s shoulders .


Grabbing hold of the being’s neck, its wings beating frantically to either side as our bodies bobbed up and down in the air, I wrapped my legs around its waist and tried to rip the portal piece from its head . However, the white slab of stone wouldn’t budge and the plates of frozen armor began to gnaw away at the protective layer of aether surrounding me .


Seeing that Caera had managed to block most of the attack with her black flames and free Regis, I changed my tactics .


Rather than trying to tear off the portal piece, I gripped the humanoid being’s head with both hands . As I tried to absorb the aether that made up its purple flesh, however, I was overwhelmed by a torrent of energy .


It was like trying to drink water from the bottom of a lake . At the risk of drowning, I released my grip around its head and focused on the humanoid’s wings instead .


The being began to writhe in pain, trying to pull me off its back with its arms, or batter me with its wings, but I clung on firmly even as my foe’s icy chill emanated through my protective shroud, causing my flesh to ache and burn as crystalline patterns of frost bloomed from every point where we contacted one another .


Amassing a condensed sphere of aether around my right hand, which threatened to explode at the tiniest break in my concentration, I began molding it, much like I had practiced using the dried-fruit toy that Three Steps had given me .


Flares of purple energy leaked out as I tried to change the aether’s form, but I persisted until I was able to make something akin to a misshapen disk .


I sipped from the humanoid form’s aether, carefully not to let it submerge me as I continued to try and make the disk thinner, but a sharp crack resounded across the snowy plain and a mind numbing pain radiated from my left leg .


Almost losing concentration enough to explode the aetheric disk I held in the palm of my hand, I chose to fire the spell immediately instead, aiming at the base of the creature’s right wing .


The translucent purple disk shot out from my hand, dissipating into the air in mere moments, but not before it managed to sever cleanly through one aetheric wing .


A grating sound akin to a hum and a screech issued from the being as we both began plummeting down to the snowy ground .


“Regis!” I roared, both aloud and in my head to grab my shadowy companion’s attention .


Seeing the large, dark blur approaching us on the ground, I released my grip around the humanoid before igniting God Step once more .


With a crackle of violet lightning, I arrived on the ground some distance away, but immediately fell forward as my left leg gave out from under me .


“Grey!”


Caera rushed to my side, her scarlet eyes staring in horror at my shattered leg . However, my own focus went to the bloody wound on her shoulder blade .


“How’d you get that injury?” I asked, wincing at the pain of my leg grinding and shifting as it healed .


The Alacryan noble shook her head . “It was Regis, but I don’t think he realized he’d hit me . He’s not exactly in the right state of mind right now . ”


Annoyance rose at seeing Caera injured because of us, but I was also thankful that Regis’s newly-acquired Destruction ability wasn’t nearly as potent as mine . If it manifested as all-consuming flames, like mine did…


Turning my gaze to the battle ensuing in the distance, I could see Regis and the aetheric being locked in a heated melee . Each attack carried enough force behind it to release shockwaves of energy that could be felt from even where Caera and I watched .


“I should go help,” I said, standing up .


Caera looked down at my healed leg, her expression hidden behind her obsidian horn, then looked back up at me . “Regis doesn’t seem to want help . ”“I know . ” I frowned . “But I can feel this new form of his eating away at Regis . ”


With a nod, she stepped forward, standing by my side . “I’ve drained too much mana to be able to keep up with the two of you . I’ll support from behind . ”


My gaze fell to the curved gash that reached up her shoulder . While it had stopped bleeding, I could make out a tinge of purple over it . “I’m sorry about that . ”


Caera pushed me forward with a faint grin . “If it scars, you’ll have to answer to my mentor . Now go . ”


~


Aetheric lightning crackled around me as I ignited God Step . My surroundings changed as I appeared a few paces behind the humanoid just as its arms tripled in length and slammed down on Regis, creating a crater beneath him .


‘This thing is mine!’ Regis growled venomously .


Shut up, I spat back, rushing forward with an aether-clad step . I was forced to duck as the being’s remaining wing condensed into a scythe of aether and cut toward my neck . I grabbed the wing as it hissed over my head and twisted the being’s body sideways, then planted my leg in its stumbling path, letting it tumble sideways to the ground .


Gathering energy in my hand, I delivered an aetheric punch—less-potent than Gauntlet Form, but still effective—to its exposed chest, creating a swirling cavern through which I could see the snow-packed ground . I gathered aether again and prepared to release a point-blank blast when something dark and heavy hit me from the side, shouldering me out of the way before tearing into the humanoid golem .


A scoff escaped my lips as my frustration boiled over into anger at my companion’s rebelliousness . “So that’s how you want to do this?”


An aura of violet energy hummed around my clawed hand as I walked toward Regis and the aetheric being rolling in the snow like a couple of wild animals wrestling .


Not bothering to suppress myself any longer, I raised my open palm and aimed it at the two of them before launching the torrent of aether .


An inhuman screech and a deep howl of pain resounded up into the mountain peaks . Both Regis and the creature had been knocked to the ground where they writhed in pain, momentarily stunned .


“Thanks for holding this thing steady, pal,” I said before plunging one hand into the being’s fading purple body and carefully absorbing its aether . At the same time, I worked at the portal piece with my other hand, trying to pull it free from the faceless head .


Using the humanoid’s own body to fuel mine, reinforcing the strength of my arm, hand, and fingers with its aether, I was able to finally pry the white stone slab free with a satisfying crack .


The dense concentration of aether that made up the humanoid’s body unravelled . Without the portal piece serving as its anchor, the aetheric being detonated into an enormous maelstrom of violet energy that soon rippled out of existence .


I stood awkwardly for a moment, the sudden silence uncomfortable after the overwhelming noise of the battle, until Regis finally found the strength to stand on his clawed feet .


“Look what you did!” Regis spat, advancing toward me with deadly intent . “If you weren’t so fixated on that stupid stone piece, I would’ve been able to absorb all of its aether!”


“Then what?” I matched my companion’s menacing glare, not a shred of sympathy evident in my voice . “You were going to kill me and Caera and romp free in this wasteland?”


Regis bared his obsidian fangs . “Maybe I would—”


My fist dug into the side of his face, pummeling his head into the ground .


Holding out a hand to stop Caera from approaching, I kept my gaze on Regis . “Looks like I’ve been a bit too easy on you . ”


With a rage-fueled snarl, the shadowy wolf retaliated with a swipe of his huge paw, then snapped at me with Destruction laced jaws . However, his movements were wild at best and infantile at worst, making it easy to dodge .


I returned each of his attacks with an aether-clad strike of my own, except mine actually connected . After all my practicing to take in information from the aetheric paths to use God Step, I could feel the improvements in both my reaction time and mental acuity in battle .


“Did you forget that you have no idea what would happen to you if I were to die?” I growled, throwing a hook into his side that sent him skidding through the snow for several yards .


He barked out a cold, unkind laugh . “Don’t pretend that you care about me . You’ve only seen me as a weapon, a tool for you to use! Now that you’ve seen my potential, you’re scared of me, aren’t you?”


“I’d be a lot more emotional if I had ever actually seen you as a weapon,” I chortled . “You’ve been more of a leech than anything else . ”


With a furious howl, Regis charged toward me, the aspect of Destruction burning even more fiercely .


Spinning on my heels, I dodged and parried my companion’s deadly claws, making him waste more of his reserves .


“You’ve been sucking my aether core dry these past few days, and you think suddenly you’re powerful?” I said with a scoff . “I think the asuras made a mistake when they told me you’d be a weapon . ”


“Shut up!” Regis roared, his voice slowly becoming more distorted as the aspect of Destruction took over his body .


Finally, when I sensed that my companion had all but used the last of his aether reserves, I lunged forward to grab him around the neck, then tossed him over my shoulder and pinned him to the ground so that I was glaring down into one wide, glowing eye . “You don’t think if I can push you out of my body, I can’t take you back in?”


The bear-sized wolf twitched as he began to fade, turning to smoke and aether as his form receded back into the shadow beneath my feet .


Regis burned like a star within me . I ignited my godrune in an effort to seize control of the aspect of Destruction rampaging inside me .


It took every fiber of my being to properly utilize the pure force of aether to control the plague-like entity of Destruction, but after what seemed like an eternity, I found my eyes slowly opening .


Above me the sky gleamed glacier-blue and moved with the aurora . Caera’s scarlet eyes peered down at me, laced with surprise and concern .


“You’re awake,” she said with a relieved smile .


I let out a hoarse laugh as I struggled to sit up . “I can literally regrow missing limbs and you still worry?”


“Yes, I do,” she said seriously, helping me up .


Taken aback by her straightforwardness, I turned my attention inward to where Regis’s presence glowed faintly .


With a gentle push, my companion emerged from my shadow in the form of a diminutive wolf pup . We locked eyes for a moment before he turned his gaze to Caera . “Grey, Caera…I—”


“Don’t,” I said, cutting him off . “You tried to kill me, I said some pretty mean things, we’ll call it even . ”


Touseling his shadowy head, I shot him a grin . “Besides, you were pretty badass . ”


“Agreed,” Caera said, giving me a mischievous grin . “Perhaps a battle scar will help me get out of some of the potential suitors my blood has so kindly lined up for me . ”


The three of us started laughing in the silence of the snowy field, but a sharp cry from high above cut us off . We looked up to find several white, bird-like shapes wheeling through the blue sky .


“Spear Beaks,” I uttered, the memories of the Spear Beaks slaughtering Three Steps’ mate still fresh in my mind .


*

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