|Author: The Sole Survivor
|Original Source: SFACG
|English Source: Re:Library
Just like that, the dreaded Dryders made their appearance.
With the backdrop of a million spiders frantically fleeing, these half-Elven, half-spider monstrosities swarmed out of the hole…
Humanoid upper half, arachnid lower half, and carapace wrapped around their hands in the shape of claws: there’s no mistaking it, these are the Dryders! Paliseth was right, this really is a breeding ground for these monsters.
I swept my eyes over the horde of Dryders -several hundreds at the very least. These monsters had a mix of females and males, and because of their Dark Elven heritage, they all looked like your typical models. But once one looked down… you would immediately question that previous statement.
An adult Dryder came in at about two and a half meters and had the combat strength of a Three-star at least. Next to that, I was more like a dwarf than anything else, what with my 1.70 meters and Four-star strength.
Even though this sense of being gazed down upon by a giant monstrosity was horrific enough, it was their disgusting lower half that really took the cake for me. If there was ever a World Ugliest Competition, it would basically be a competition amongst themselves… not that they cared.
“Invader… kill…” The male Dryder at the head opened up with a voice that was grating and unclear, following which the other hundred over Dryders behind him yelled, “KILL!!!” Their mighty cries echoed throughout the confined spaces of the tunnel, ferocity only matched by their murderous intent.
Even though there were several dozens of meters between me and them, I could still feel that palpable sense of danger, and smell that stomach-turning stench they emitted… have these guys not heard of the word bath?
Shadow Demon, kill them all!
Having received my order, the Shadow Demon stretched itself out to the ceiling of the hole then immediately dropped itself on top of them. Its limbs turned into deadly blades and its figure was a whirlwind of death that descended from the heavens.
These Dryders had no other innate defenses other than the carapace on their arms. Their upper half was basically that of a normal human’s, meaning that wherever the Shadow Demon swung its limbs, a dead Dryder could be found lying there a second later. Because of how sudden this whole attack was, the Dryders were temporarily caught off-guard. In just the span of a second, five Dryders were already bifurcated along their humanoid halves. Yet regardless of whether they were beheaded or sliced apart, there was always that spine-chilling shriek as they flailed in pain.
Hmm… even if they are monsters, they shouldn’t be alive after being split along their midsection, right?
Then, to my genuine surprise, my Shadow Demon failed for the first time since dropping into this pit. Faced with a Dryder that was three meters tall, it confidently swung out its blade-like arms but was promptly blocked by the carapaced claws of that Dryder. Even though it still managed to slice halfway through those claws, the fact was that my Shadow Demon had been successfully blocked!
How?! That was basically an attack from an Epic weapon that had the sharpness attribute. Well, it’s not exactly the same as Shadowfang itself, but it still shouldn’t have failed like that…
Just as I was still reeling from the shock, the previously silent Ferti’nier suddenly interrupted me with her usual teasing, “My dear little brother, I think you’d better look carefully for a second. Do you see the difference between that Dryder’s arms and the others.”
Following her advice, I turned my attention towards that Dryder who blocked my Shadow Demon and found that his arms had a metallic sheen on it. Almost every Dryder showed signs of its elemental nature on its arms and arachnid lower half. For example, Dryders of the flame element had a black carapace that was infused with streaks of fiery red. Meanwhile, its lower half would be of a fiery red hue. In light of that, it was easy to tell a Dryder’s nature by its outer appearance.
“A Metal Dryder. Because they love feeding on metals, their carapace has become extraordinarily sturdy as well, just like the metal they feed on. This sturdiness is extra apparent against slicing attacks.” As she explained that to me, I could sense a hint of mocking levity to her voice. “These kinds of spiders are quite rare. Back in the days of your big sis, she once met a Nine-star spider. Back then, your big sis was still an Overlord so that opponent was a difficult one…”
‘Difficult meaning that you still won in the end… aren’t you just praising yourself indirectly by promoting how tough of an opponent that spider was?’
Both the arms of the Shadow Demon were still stuck fast in that Dryder’s arms. Because of how deep the cut was, it wasn’t able to free itself quickly. Seeing that, the other Dryders immediately rushed forward to launch what was to be a sure-fire killing combination move of over ten Dryders. In just the blink of an eye, fire, poison, spike, ice, earth and all manner of elemental attacks flew throughout the tunnel. With its arms still stuck fast, it clearly couldn’t dodge the attacks and was instantly torn to shreds… along with that Dryder that was unfortunate enough to be holding it back. In fact, its death was even more miserable than the Shadow Demon.
The instant the Shadow Demon died, I felt my heart stop for a second like something had suddenly gripped down on it. That momentary sense of death and its ensuing pain was just indescribable to the uninitiated. Thankfully, that sensation only lasted a couple of seconds before I re-summoned the Shadow Demon. The newly reformed Shadow Demon immediately turned its arms into blades once more and charged into the Dryder army like a machine of death.
Blasted spiders! I swear I’ll kill all of you for doing that to my clone.
“I’m afraid that’s not happening. These Dryders aren’t like those brainless spiders you fought before. They not only have an impressive reservoir of battle experience, they are able to coordinate attacks with each other as well. They can easily adapt their strategy to counter any opponent they meet.” At the same time as my second Shadow Demon appeared, Ferti’nier promptly interjected by throwing a bucket of cold ice over my wishful thinking. “If you don’t change your tactics now, this new Shadow Demon will end up dying pretty soon as well.”
‘Like heck it would, I’ll have the Shadow Demon…’
Before I could even finish defending myself, that Shadow Demon got itself surrounded by two more Metal Dryders. With no time for words, I hurriedly had it transform into a shadow. Unless it physically tried to attack an opponent, there was no way it could ever get caught in this state.
By maintaining its shadowy state, the Shadow Demon successfully avoided those two Metal Dryders and managed to sneak into the ranks of the relatively less defended Fire Dryders. By the time those two Metal Dryders managed to catch up to it, the Shadow Demon had already enacted a brutal massacre and turned into its shadowy state once more.
This game of cat and mouse continued a couple more times until finally on its third attempt the two Metal Dryders gave up on trying to chase down the Shadow Demon. Instead, they turned around and started crawling towards me.
Your typical go for the head maneuver then?
Their intention was clear: I had to defend myself quickly. No time to lose at all, I hurriedly beat my wings to increase my elevation from the ground while steadily backing out of the tunnel.
As for why I decided to give up on my hardwon progress into the hole, that was because I still had the wits about me to know that I couldn’t fly through hundreds of Dryders stuffed in a cramped tunnel.
Blast it, of all the times for these monsters to set their targets on me.
Even though I was unhappy about this turn of events, I dared not linger a second longer. I completely abandoned any thoughts of escaping through the hole, at least not till these Dryders had all been killed.
In order to block them from chasing me, I threw out my Nether Flames at the same time as I retreated. With how deadly these flames had proven so far, there was no doubt in my mind that these Three-stars were doomed. Yet just when it seemed like I was about to hit one of the Metal Dryders, a female Fire Dryder suddenly leapt into the path of the fireball and what was supposed to be a sure-hit spell ended up exploding on her instead…
As the dust settled on the explosion, the female figure of that Fire Dryder slowly revealed itself. Its upper half was still burning in my Nether Flames. In just those few seconds alone, the Nether Flames had already spread throughout her entire upper half, and as it burned every inch of Elven flesh it touched, a charred stench filled the air and nearly made me vomit. She tried her best to control the searing pain that ran throughout her body with her screams but the flames refused to relent. Yet in spite of that, she channelled that pain into further determination to kill me. A second later, her burning self charged right at me with a speed that I could hardly believe.
Her ghastly figure was merely twenty meters away from me at this moment. Left with not much room to think, my first instinct was to toss out another ball of Nether Flames at her, hopefully killing her for good this time. Unfortunately, with how determined and burnt she was, she had no intention of even dodging this new attack!
The second fireball impacted her body and threatened to send her rolling away with its shockwave. Yet she resisted the momentum through sheer force of will, stopping her body from toppling over before re-engaging in that suicidal charge once more.
Even two fireballs weren’t enough? Is that how flame resistant these Fire Dryders are?
While these Dryders might have been weak on their own because of their single elemental nature, their knowledge of tactics and coordination was more than enough to cover up for this weakness.
When faced with the physically strong Shadow Demon, the Metal Dryders were there to stop it. When faced with my searing Nether Flames, the Flame Dryders were there to shield the others…
So they know how to counter the elements then. Seems like I’ve underestimated these spiders… But don’t think you’ve won just like that!
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If you liked my work translating Devil’s Evolution Catalog, feel free to check out Song of Adolescence. Also, every comment is appreciated even though I might not reply. I do read them.