Putting the servants on the defensive was only phase one of the plan, but it appears to have worked. There are six of them here at the moment, and possibly more still in hiding, but so long as we're careful we should be fine. It's rare that every mage comes when I turn up, in fact the one time they did we just turned around and ran off. However, it seems that the Lizard Wizard can't spare them and that remains the only time I've seen all of them in the field at once, luckily for us.
[Don't let yourselves get roasted,] I warned my pets.
I wouldn't put it past either of them to go too far and try to tank a few spells in order to try and help me. It's a wonderful spirit but I'm not willing to risk the health of my pets for something as small as this. If this attempt doesn't succeed, then we'll just try again until either we succeed or die trying.
[I'm being careful, Master] Crinis assured me.
[Grrrrr] Tiny grunted.
Time to put more pressure on these mages!
I continued to blitz around with my dash skill, which rapidly drained my stamina but I didn't have a choice, what with the fireballs and infernos that were being conjured around me. Even so, I managed to find the time to squeeze off a cheeky shot from the business district. A bit of guerrilla marketing, if you will.
POW! POW! POW!
All three shots hammered home onto the hastily raised shield of one mage who had the enjoyable experience of their line of sight being covered with a sticky, adhesive acid that began to bubble and hiss as it ate away the magical protection that surrounded them. Nasty!
Another mage hampered, another step closer to the ultimate victory. Now for the next one. Rolling underneath a jet of flame one of the mages unleashed at me, nearly catching my own antennae on fire, I spun expertly and fired once again!
POW! POW! POW!
Three more blasts of acid, one more inconvenienced mage!
The mage servants are having a hard time maintaining their barrage, what with the imminent threats to their lives, so the pressure has begun to ease off wonderfully, allowing me to fire my last three shots comfortably.
POW! POW! POW!
With three mages now tied down by acid and with Tiny and Crinis occupying one each, (Crinis has extended even more tentacles, completely covering her victim from view) that left me with just one mage with an unobstructed view of the fight. Let's call that mage, Biomass A. Even with the hood up and full body robes preventing me from seeing them directly, I can tell that Biomass A is feeling nervous as I alter the angle of my run and begin to close in on them.
My antennae tingled and I jumped high just in time for another jet of flame to pass underneath me. Close, but no cigar! I wonder why these mages rely on fire magic so much in fights like this. They clearly have other options but fire seems to be their go to. A question I'll never get answered I suppose. Ah well.
Once I get close enough I put my two sub-brains to work. Filled with malicious intent, my two smaller minds begin to activate the external mana manipulation skill they have become so familiar with over the last week or so, and begin to try and drain away the mana that sustains the barrier around my friend Biomass A.
The body language of my target became even more frantic as the mage felt what I was doing, desperately trying to fend off my physical body as well as the intruding tendrils of my sub-brains that were busy trying to deconstruct their spell.
Gweheheheh. Yessss. Struggle all you want, but it won't help my dear friend, Biomass A. I shall taste the sweet, sweet experience that is contained within you nest attacking slaves soon enough!
I mean, I kind of feel sorry for the Setsulah on one level. They don't really have a choice in what they get up to, magically bound slaves that they are. Ultimately though, what does it matter? Willing or not, they've been doing their darned best to kill me and I'm certain they'll do the same to the colony when they get there. Heck, they already did it to Liria and all of its people!
Uh oh. Here we go, then. Big daddy (or mommy, I shouldn't assume) lizard wizard is getting mad now that I'm attacking its servants directly. The storm overhead is brewing again and it's looking like a big one!
Powered by magic, the dark clouds began to form out of thin air at a ridiculous speed. It won't be long before the lightning starts to fall like rain around here. Fortunately, this time I came prepared.
Rushing from their hiding places come Isaac and his crew, each wielding the metal spears they have diligently been practicing throwing for the last few hours. Like a hunting party of angry tribesmen, they lofted the spears over their shoulders as they ran and hurled them high into the air with a mighty roar. The weapons arced gracefully through the sky before they thudded into the dirt, standing tall and upright as convenient lightning rods.
The storm churned overhead and I could almost feel the Kaarmodo's agitation as it stared down at a small field of newly sprouted metal poles. At this sort of distance, you can't control the lightning too precisely, can you Mr Lizard? No, no, you have to use this big overhead mess of a spell at this sort of range and although you might get through to me eventually, how much time do you think you have?!
My pets continued to aggressively posture and batter at their respective targets but it was me who drew the ire of the lightning. By circling and tormenting my target, Biomass A, I appeared to have angered the Wizard Lizard deeply, which meant that Tiny and Crinis were able to torment their own victims in lightning-free peace.
Lightning stabbed down from the sky but thanks to the spears, things were made more difficult for the Kaarmodo. Sometimes the lightning would fall close to me, but other times it would jag towards the spears and discharge all that energy straight into the ground.
I continued to run circles around the mage, ripping and tearing at its barrier with my minds and even chomping down on it to test its strength. The entire engagement had only taken a minute up to this point but things were rapidly coming to a head.
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This was a smash and grab tactic, we were here for a good time, not a long time.
C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon!
Target me! Fire at me!
It's only a matter of time!
Another five seconds passed before suddenly Crinis' voice rang in my mind.
I turned instantly and sprinted away from the fight, the lightning bolts falling around me as I dashed. Jump left! Roll right! Stop for a second! My concentration was pushed to the limit as I avoided the furious barrage from the skies whilst trying to put distance between myself and the fight.
After all, I was the distraction in this fight, and it appeared that my plan had worked perfectly!
[Are you ready, Crinis?] I yelled back to my pet.
[Ready!] she declared, holding her prize high, wrapped in her tentacles.
Gravity mana flooded into my mandibles from my Gravitational mana gland and caused them to glow with purple energy.
On my signal, Crinis opened her tentacles to reveal the Setsulah mage servant she had successfully dug out of the ground, still encased in its light shield. We'd suspected, and later confirmed that the shield rooted the mages to the ground somehow, but with sufficient arm, or in this case, tentacle power, we figured they could be dug up, we just hadn't tried it yet.
And now that they were airborne, they could be pulled.
Focusing on my gravity mandibles, I reached out with the energy, latched onto the shield and pulled.