TNG Vol. 19 Chapter 3 Part 3
Behind 08, about 50-mels away, purple ice grew out of the ground, which should have been scorched red.
Shin knew what this was too. Accompanied by a crackling sound of death that would freeze the plants and monsters that grew up protected by blue, transparent ice to the core.
It was the signal for the manifestation of Venna Vaal, the god of ice.
“Please tell me that isn’t what I think it is…?”
Even as Shin mumbled, the ice kept growing. It stretched long, looking like an ice tube about 2-mels thick.
Iira Suura remained motionless, as if waiting for Venna Vaal to appear. 08 also turned around to see what was going on.
The stretched-long ice, about 10-mel, took shape as the surface peeled away. The first thing that appeared was a woman’s face. Her shape was beautiful, with hair that extended to her back, shining in the sunlight.
Everything was made of ice, making her look like a statue.
Next came the human body. Plump and smooth skin. Combined with the beauty of her head, she looked like a woman in nude with no arms. There were only sharp surfaces where they should have been.
The shedding progressed further.
Next, scales appeared. If the upper body was that of a human woman, the lower body was that of a snake. The ratio of human-to-snake was about three-to-seven.
Finally, the peeled ice gathered to form four wings.
The diamond-shaped wings were paired into two on each side. And floated behind the upper body. All of the feathers had a pattern on them that resembled eyes.
Venna Vaal also appeared in her calamity manifestation. The mountains seemed to be affected as well, and if Iira, from which it was named, burns, then Venna freezes.
If Iira Suura was the fire that consumed everything, Venna Vaal would be the blizzard that froze everything.
In Shin’s experience, never had two gods appeared at the same time.
He had never seen or heard of it.
“And they’re both in their calamity manifestations, too.”
A constant rampaging state with no brakes whatsoever. It would eventually get out, even if they were in the deepest parts of the Grandmost Mountains. With a town at the foot of the mountain. Both needed to be defeated here and now.
‘Berett. Listen, I need you to——tsk!’
Shin, who was in the middle of a Mind Chat with Berett, jumped out of the way. Then, a huge fist appeared out of nowhere.
08, which had remained stationary since the appearance of the gods, attacked. It had leapt from its original position and closed the distance, so there was no sound of footsteps.
The appearance of the two gods and the contact with Berett had made him less aware of 08, and this was a silent surprise attack exploiting that.
Perhaps the deafening sound of the ground shattering was the impetus, and the two gods began to move.
Iira Suura, the god of fire.
Venna Vaal, the god of ice.
EX Series number 08.
All of them had their sights set on Shin.
“Why are the gods looking at me now?”
Iira Suura had no eyes, and Venna Vaal’s eyes were just blocks of ice. Even though they didn’t have functional eyes like humans or animals, Shin could clearly see that he was being watched.
In the game era, they would preferentially target players when they were nearby, but Shin was pouting that it didn’t really have to be the same as it was there. Since it wasn’t exactly a fixed action pattern.
More to the point, 08 had been glaring daggers at him, too. Perhaps it had noticed that the gods’ attention was now on him since it wasn’t making any sudden moves.
‘W-What are you going to do?! Those are gods, right…?’
Tiera, who had heard the story from Shin and the others, got all worked up.
Kagerou and Yuzuha were standing by her sides.
“I would have loved to focus on just 08, but I can’t let those walking disasters be. They’re both in a state where they can wreak havoc as they please. The reason they are still just looking at me and not moving is probably because both of them appeared at the same time.’
Even Shin couldn’t be certain how the simultaneous appearance of the two manifestations would affect the gods.
Both gods, now in the most complete form Shin had ever seen, were only staring at him and moving sluggishly.
However, they were intimidating enough, with nothing but hostility in their gazes, so he had long ago abandoned any hopeful expectation that they would remain docile.
Deciding that the gods weren’t going to move, 08 unleashed its fists, but Shin concentrated on avoiding them instead and gave out instructions.
‘…Listen up guys. I’ll deal with the gods, so Schnee and the rest need to take care of 08.’
‘Wouldn’t that be a little too much, even for you, Shin?’
‘I can’t let 08 get away for the sake of Berett and the others. Although, now I guess it’s more likely to come charging at me rather than running away. But it seems that the gods too are itching to duke it out with me. So, I can’t afford to hold my punches against them. With my stats, I could accidentally break 08 in half. That’s why I’m leaving it to you guys.’
Facing off against two gods at the same time was a new territory even for Shin. And there was also the option of the two working together.
Should 08 meddle in while confronting such opponents, there was no telling what could happen.
He would like to stop the gods here once and for all. But he’d also like to secure 08.
Shin realized that he was being selfish. But he also knew that it would be possible if they all worked together. Their stats and gears were nothing like in the game.
‘In that case, how about taking one or two people with you? With our current strength, I don’t see us faltering even if we’re down a few men.’
Schnee said with an air of confidence.
Although the EX series was capable of fighting with divine beasts alone, Schnee and the others were also capable of fighting them if they worked together.
Be it individually or in a party, the fact remained that they were capable of such feat.
And while working together with Shin, Schnee and the others had evidently become more powerful. Their gears had also improved in performance, surpassing their former selves both individually and as a party.
Furthermore, the most important point was that 08 had yet to fully recover from the damage sustained in battle with Maganna.
To begin with, it couldn’t have been fully restored with just the self-repair function. Otherwise, it’d put blacksmiths out of their jobs.
So, with Schnee and the others powered up and in top form, going against 08 which was far from being in top shape, having being worn out from repeated battles. It probably wouldn’t take all the support characters to subdue it.
‘Fine. I’ll leave 08 to you. Shibaid, come with me! Those two have a wide attack range. So, make sure they don’t get in the way of Schnee and the others! ’
At Shin’s request, Shibaid responded energetically.
To be able to fight alongside his lord against the mighty two gods. There could be no greater honor for Shibaid, whose character setting was set up as a warrior.
His overflowing fighting spirit mixed with magic power shimmered like a raging flame.
‘Tiera and the rest should keep their distance for now and watch. They’re all gunning for me right now, but gods are indiscriminate rampagers by nature. So in case they try to go anywhere, just cover me.’
‘All right. Be safe.’
Tiera retreated with Kagerou and Yuzuha.
Yuzuha was asked to guard Tiera and also to investigate the Ley Lines running across the Grandmost Mountains for any abnormalities.
Based on Shin’s experience to date, the simultaneous manifestations of the gods couldn’t have happened spontaneously.
The attack by 08 seemed to be the likely cause, but that was just the most probable explanation at this point. And not to say that demons or devils weren’t the ones pulling the strings.
Shin was taking all possible measures in case there were more surprises. He also gave instructions to Berett and Owl through Tiera to start prepping Miraltrea in case of an emergency.
While Shin was doing all that, the gods made a move. Needless to say, he no longer had the leeway to communicate via Mind Chats.