Chapter 276: A New Challenger Appears

Chapter 276: A New Challenger Appears

As I felt the demon out with my auditory sensors, I reached out with Air Manipulation. I decided to make another non-lethal attack just in case it had more tricks up its sleeve than I expected.

I had a lot of options, but I thought it would be best if I could enable my allies to regroup while I held the demon's attention. I attempted to encase the demon in a cocoon of air. Tendrils of wind wrapped around its form, freezing its limbs in place so that only its eyes were able to flick about. I noticed right away that Beatrice saw the vulnerable state and lunged forward.

Unfortunately, my hold only lasted for a split second, not nearly long enough for Beatrice to cross several feet to her target before the demon flickered, but it had given me an idea. I couldn't sense the movements in the air, but I could feel out the room, and that was significantly more useful than just hearing the sounds.

My models whirred as I attempted to integrate my new second-order derivative perception with the sound to completely counteract the lies my advanced sensors were giving me. In a few moments, I had a workable prototype. Now, my models displayed the room as though I could really see it. Perfect. That meant I could be a lot more precise with my attacks.

This time, when our opponent tried to dodge away from a strike, I sprayed a little bit of protective sealant behind the demon's projected path. As he tried to evade Beatrice's lunge towards his face, the demon slammed into the barrier and had to roll to the side instead of just being able to leap out of the way smoothly. Based on her certainty, I could only assume that her ability to see was no longer impeded. Strange. Perhaps I was the only one being targeted at this point.

The initial strike missed its head, but the broom end came around and smacked its arm, throwing it off balance and doing a small amount of surface-level damage from the reinforced bristles.

I continued to harry the demon with Air Manipulation while I also attached tendrils of air to everything else that moved in the room, making sure I knew where all my allies were. Once I had doubly confirmed their positions, I attempted to use my Sanitation Lamp to lance a hole in the demon. Bluish-purple light shot forth from my chassis, but the Lieutenant saw it coming and phased a part of its body out of reality somehow. The light passed through it unharmed.

That was going to be an issue. I froze it in place for a second, allowing Arthur to land a meaty strike in its torso, his blade digging in several inches. But the demon showed no reaction as it backhanded the army commander away. Arthur lost hold of his sword, leaving it impaled in the demon, but flew across the wall. Beatrice dashed after the man to heal his wounds while Tony took its attention. I did my best to put up small barriers to help Tony defend himself. But there was only so much I could do.

Susan seemingly appeared out of nowhere, stabbing several times into the Lieutenant's lower back before wrenching Arthur's sword out and taking it with her. The demon stumbled from the flurry of attacks but was soon up again. It gave me a chance, though, to use one of my slower abilities.

A few spritzes of my spray bottle had powerful acid mixed with some of Beatrice's anti-demonic potions lancing into its open wound. The concoction caused a sizzling, bubbling effect to spread underneath its skin as whatever circulatory system it had pumped poisoned blood through its body. The demon let out a panicked shriek as it tore at its flesh, trying to get the spray out.

Susan handed Arthur his sword, and the two of them helped him to his feet. One unsteady step led to a more sure one. By his third, Arthur was running towards the fight, almost as good as new. But before he'd made it far, the demon let out another screech, one which made all three of them cover their ears.

That didn't sound like the demon they'd been fighting so far. No, this sounded different. Almost as if...

Bee watched in horror as a white demon stepped through the wall behind Tony.

Its limbs were long and bonelike, seeming to glow with an ethereal light. Long-fingered hands tipped with needle-like claws hung low past its knees even as it stood tall. Its face resembled a smooth mask, featureless except for a pair of black holes where the eyes should have been.

Name: Shi'xi'lui, Level: 70, Race: Demon Lieutenant, Type: Soul Reaper, Titles: The Final Rest, Duke of The Deep. Age: 789273, Highest Stat: Charisma, Lowest Stat: Strength, Status: Apathetic.

The new threat emerged from the stone and stabbed its hand through Tony's chest. He cried out in pain, his eyes rolling back in his head. Void spun and lashed out with an invisible force, causing the demon to pull back. Bee didn't see any blood on its talons, strangely, yet Tony collapsed to the floor anyway.

A toothy maw opened in the white demon's chest as it let out another screech.

Her other companions didn't pause for a second. Together, the three of them charged the red demon that was once more cloaking itself with illusions. At the very least, they could keep it occupied while Void dealt with the new threat.

The three of them struck as one, the demon weaving between their strikes. But enough practice and drills over winter had gotten Arthur and Bee on the same page, much more than when they fought the wraith back when they first met. They covered for each other. Bee supported him with her aura, blasting out ranged strikes and repairing any sort of damage that befell them.

Susan was a little bit less in tune with them, but with her skill set, she only needed a quick opening here and then to unload all of her damage skills into the demon. She hit its back, its side, underneath, above, or from really any angle. And those strikes added up. But despite how much damage they poured on, they only seemed to keep the demon at bay, its healing almost keeping up with their damage. Even worse, it started to recover from some of the more grievous wounds that her master had dealt.

It gave them a toothy grin as it fought, seeming to revel in tiring them out slowly. They needed to change something, and fast.