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The trees ahead exploded into thousands of wooden splinters as the head of the giant cyan serpent lunged at us.
Its speed was staggering, but we were faster.
Anastasia darted forward, with Nero closely following behind her. I couldn't help but clench my fists.
It's almost as if they don't even feel fear.
Shaking my head, I summoned the Bringer of Lost Flames in my left hand, letting the immolating flames engulf the crimson spear.
Up ahead, Anastasia swung her fists, which were enveloped in glowing golden gauntlets made of pure mana, at the colossal serpent.
Her punches shattered the sound barrier, sending a disorienting shockwave rippling through the area.
Her blows connected with the serpent, but instead of recoiling, the colossal monster charged into her like a speeding train.
Anastasia was flung backward from the force of the impact, hurtling through the air until she collided with a nearby tree, gouging a crater in its trunk.
Nero quickly stepped in to take her place. He swung his blazing crimson sword in a horizontal arc, aiming for the side of the colossal serpent.
But even Nero's Heavenly Sword failed to cut through the cyan serpent's armor-like scales and inflict a wound.
The serpent writhed its body like a whip, striking Nero and sending him flying back as if he were a marionette with broken strings.
Using the opportunity, I rushed at the serpent from the other side and jumped over its head.
Cutting through its scales was impossible for us at our level without the help of any Legendary, Divine, or Mythical-ranked offensive relic.
Our best bet was to target the areas that were not covered by its scales, such as its mouth or eyes.
And I certainly wasn't going anywhere near its mouth, so I decided to go for its eyes.
High above the colossal serpent's head in mid-air, I pulled back my spear arm and locked my target on one of its reptilian eyes.
The incinerating flames twirled around the length of my spear as I whipped my arm forward, throwing it down like a fiery projectile.
However, before my attack could reach the giant mana beast, the cyan serpent slightly shifted its majestic head, narrowly evading the incoming spear, and fixed its piercing gaze on me.
I was suspended mid-air with nowhere to go. If it came at me now, I would die. Even the nigh-invincible protection of my armor wouldn't be enough to save me.
The serpent opened its gaping jaws wide, moving in my direction with the intent of swallowing me whole alive.
However, thankfully, before it could gobble me up for its lunch, a black blur flashed and collided with the massive serpent, halting its movements for a few precious seconds.
It gave me enough time to escape the face of imminent death. I fell onto the uneven ground, landing with a roll.Letting out a sigh of relief, I scanned my surroundings to have a look at my savior who saved me from falling into the serpent's mouth.
It turned out to be a towering humanoid rhinoceros, standing on its front legs and wrestling with the colossal serpent using its two human-like arms. It was made of pure darkness.
In the next moment, a young man with tanned skin and hair as black as a raven's feathers stepped out from my shadow.
The young man shifted his gaze at me, his eyes resembling two unending pools of darkness.
"Quinn," I greeted. "I've never been happier to see you."
Before I could say any more words to him, the colossal serpent in front of us brought its maw down on the humanoid rhinoceros and tore it asunder.
"Arghh," Quinn winced beside me. "That damn fucker… it can destroy my shadows!"
Frowning, I inquired, "What does that mean?"
"It means we shouldn't be fighting it!" Quinn snapped.
Meanwhile, Anastasia and Nero once again charged at the serpent before us, breaking sound barriers and unleashing attacks at the speed of light.
"Yeah, I couldn't agree more!" I nodded, summoning a golden spear in my grip. "But we have no other choice."
I don't care about any other Cadet on this chain of islands aside from a few, but I will not let Nero or Anastasia die here.
If either of them were to die here right now, it would be impossible to stop the Vampire Monarch in the future.
"Can you help?" I asked.
Ahead of us, Kent and Amelia finally decided to join the fray.
The blue-haired elf swung his scythe, while the archeress-turned-
spearwoman valiantly thrust her spear at the harrowing monstrosity.
Quinn sighed. "Fine, let's do it."
Shadows began to stir and swirl around us as soon as Quinn said that.
In the very next second, several creatures of darkness emerged from the shadows all around us, surrounding and filling the whole forest.
There were giant wolves, bipedal rhinos, winged panthers, and various other mana beasts that Quinn had slain and enslaved, now a part of his shadow legion.
The Perfect Necromancer flicked his finger, causing most of his shadow slaves to charge at the serpent, baring their claws and jaws.
At the same time, the remaining shadow creatures came at Quinn and fused with his body. They spiraled around him, slowly disintegrating in black sparks that formed an armor of complete darkness on him.
This was Shadow Fusion. At first, Quinn could only use this Spell with his strongest shadow slave - Shiya.
But as time passed, Quinn successfully achieved shadow fusion with his other shadow creatures as well.
Shadow Fusion granted him all the abilities of the creature he had slain and turned into his shadow using necromancy.
For instance, if he had slain a creature with regenerative ability and added it into his shadow legion using necromancy, then fusing with that shadow could grant him the same regenerative powers.
The best part is, he could fuse with as many shadows as he may like as long as they are part of his legion.
This was his strongest spell. This was the reason why Quinn was able to fight Nero in a head-on battle, despite the latter's broken Gift.
A smile broke across my face. "Yeah, let's do this!"
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