The training of the sins had been getting harsh and difficult day by day. By now the sins had reached deep into the forest almost one third distance from the southern part.
They were getting more adept and proficient in using their powers. But Kevin had been sleeping a lot these few days, everyone thought the reason for that was because of the expenditure of energy by excessive use of his powers. Kevin used a lot of his energy for controlling his battle knife during the fight.
It was still noon, the sun was above the head and the sins were having a discussion with the map of the island in front of them.
“So, we have crossed this junction and should be moving forward over here. Till now we haven’t met a Terra-Formed creature above the E-Class. Everyone has a power level of E-Class by now so we need to be alert of powerful creatures who could escape the range of the detector.” Percy instructed while pointing at their surrounding territory from the map.
The power levels were divided by Aria based on the energy levels they had noted when they were completing their first mission of plotting the surroundings. The system was based on the same Mercenary level system arranged by the Mercenary guild. S to F, so far the sins have only been fighting the creatures whose power level were around E or less. The amount of cosmic energy dictated the power level for that creature as well as they themselves.
During this week of training the sins were successful in raising their power level from non-existent to E. James using his power of sin could even boost his power to D-Class for a certain amount of time, but this would drain him of his energy and leave him incapable of fighting after the effect was over.
The main reason for their encounter of creatures upto level E was due to the path marked in the map by Aria. Although there were certain cases, like the bear incident. The sins were barely level F during that incident and the bear was clearly an E-Class level creature.
As the sins were having a discussion, the detector beeped in a heavy tone indicating a creature approaching the camp.
“For the signal to be so high, it must definitely be a creature with a power level above E-Class. What should we do captain?” Lucifer, who was holding the detector in his hand, asked Percy.
“Hmm, what say, team? Should we see if we could fight this creature if we team up? It would be a test of our training. Worst come, we could use our conventional weapons to win!” Percy encouraged the sins.
The sins felt a little motivated. You could see it in their eyes. Everyone nodded enthusiastically.
“Alright, let us get ready then. Lucifer this time we need to be extra careful so you will be holding the backline. Uncle James you would be our tank as usual. The rest keep your weapons ready. We would be encircling this creature.” Percy instructed everyone.
“The creature is entering the firing range from 12o’clock , be ready everyone.” Lucifer’s warning kicked in from the communication device.
“Get ready everyone.” Jason shouted.
James moved forward with his tanking posture and stabilized himself. The elemental aura of earth and darkness took root in his hands and legs. This aura was a couple of times stronger than the previous one. As soon as he finished his preparation the creature came into view.
It was a rhino with a big black horn and dark gray skin moving towards the group. Lucifer who had the detector in his hands was constantly trying to measure the energy radiations to determine an actual level for the rhino. As the rhino moved closer the readings got better.
Ahh Shit we are all dead this time.
Lucifer thought as he chimed in the communication device while loading a magazine of HE bullets in his rifle.
“Guys, the energy reading from the detector indicates the creature to be of C-Class rather than a D-Class. We should bail out as fast as we can!” Lucifer shouted the warning.
“We picked a hard one. Let us all meet in the afterlife.” Kevin joked.
Meanwhile Jason was sweating, as the tank he could feel the aura of power radiating from the rhino. He literally thought he would die if he didn’t take that hit with all he had. He hurriedly chanted.
[The pride that resides within me]
The sudden influx in power and strength brought by using the sin made him confident, but this was only temporary.
“I can only hold on for a minute max. Let us all fall back or drive this creature away from here.” James relayed his message on the team channel.
“Change of plans, instead of fighting this one we are to drive it away. Diana Sophie, use your rifles and load those HE rounds. Lucifer you too. Meanwhile Jason, Kevin and I would use close combat skills to loosen the pressure for Uncle James.” Percy relayed in the new fighting strategy.
Diana, Sophie and Lucifer all took aim towards the creature and waited for Percy’s order.
The time taken to execute, from the detection to the execution of Percy’s instruction was very small. The rhino started to sprint towards James and –
As if a huge blast happened and James despite being buffed by the power of pride had to take a few steps backs. The rhino was not safe either, it had been stunned and was moving its head sideways. As both of them tried to stabilize, James used the impact to further the distance between the rhino and himself.
-Boom- -Boom- -Boom-
All of a sudden the rhino was bombarded with the HE bullets which pushed it back a few meters.
After the smoke cleared up, everyone was stunned. The rhino was alright. It had no wound at all even after taking that hit.
The rhino was angered, the black horn began to glow a little purple and it took a running stance intending to attack James with its horn this time.
“Uncle James can you hold its attack for one more time?” Jason asked.
“I guess so, but after that I would not be able to fight.” James replied.
“Okay, captain I think the situation has turned worse. The rhino supposedly is a defense type of creature, so our bullets will not be able to harm him. Lucifer, Diana and Sophie switch to AP rounds and blast some hole into its skin. We need to divert its attention from Uncle James till then.” Jason relayed his instructions.
“We will do as you say.” Percy complied.
The rifle team quickly changed their magazines to AP round, Kevin started playing with his battle knife using his elemental powers. Jason took out his knife and used his powers to strengthen the muscles and increase his reflexes. Percy Took out his sword while also doing the same as Jason.
The rhino started running towards James as he took another defensive posture, this time he poured in all of his power into strengthening the elemental aura around him.
James was knocked far and the rhino was stunned again. This time as soon as the rhino was stunned a hail of AP bullets rained on it.
Its skin which had no impact on HE rounds was riddled with holes and one could see crimson blood mixed with some purple elements oozing out from it.
The rhino roared in pain and shifted its attention towards the rifle squad. As soon as it shifted its attention Kevin, Jason and Percy took action and entered into the creature’s blind spot.
Percy swung its sword in a slashing motion intending to slash its hind muscles, but sadly the blade didn’t reach too deep due to the density. But still a wound was inflicted on its hind legs making it difficult to perform the previous attack again.
As soon as Percy was done Jason followed him and using his heightened senses attacked the same spot with full speed, the cut was deepened as the creature was trying to turn away.
Jason used his speed to move out of the target’s attack zone.
Kevin used this situation to barge in its blidn spot and used his battle knife and slashed the same part. This time the rhino was not lucky. The muscles in his hind leg couldn’t keep up with its weight anymore but still it turned using the last strength remaining and thrusted its horn towards Kevin’s pit.
The horn penetrated Kevin’s pit for about 15cm and a huge amount of blood started pouring from the wound.
Kevin hastily retreated as blood oozed out from his pit.
“Fire away all your mag!” Percy crazily ordered as he rushed towards Kevin.
The hail of bullets tore open its skin and penetrated its head and the creature was soon killed.
Kevin who was injured heavily soon lost his consciousness and blacked out.