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Chapter 23: No biggie

A grotesque hand emerged from within the slurry of the boiling earth. 

Contrary to all the fiends from before, it was of a pinkish hue, making it appear far more humane than any of the fiends that challenged Leo's group on the plain so far. 

But save for the color of its skin, this arm was actually anything but human. 

First, it was at least twice if not twice as long as the arm of even the biggest man in human history. Secondly… it had one more joint added between the wrist and what should be its elbow. And lastly, the hand at the tip of this grotesque arm had two fingers more than the usual five. 

The arm didn't seem to mind the judgemental stare of Leo or the terrified looks of everyone else. Instead, it moved up, as if in an attempt to grasp at the sky, only to then twist all of its joints at once before slamming down into the solid ground with enough force to send a tremor through the entirety of the open field. 


Leo gulped his saliva as the seven fingers of the arm grasped at the solid ground before all of the muscles on the massive arm tensed up.

Then, another arm emerged, in the exact same fashion as the first one. And then another. And another. 

With four arms all tensing up to the limits of their flesh, the monstrous body of the ultimate fiend of the portal finally started to emerge, pulled out by the coordinated effort of all four of its arms. 

If someone were to watch this scene from the safety of behind their screens, this entity would be nothing more but a laughable caricature, a mix of fiend and human alike created by someone who severely lacked the talent necessary to pull such a mix off. 

But watching how it emerged from the earthly slurry in person, Leo felt a cold chill run down his spine. 

'What's with this flow of mana?'

Even though the fiend was still in the process of emerging, Leo already noticed the short list of qualities of its mana. 

It didn't have enough of it to be called a magical fiend, or, in more precise terms, magimon. In fact, the amount of free mana that flew throughout its flesh was even less than that of an orc of a troll, forcing Leo to question whether or not he figured out the general flow of mana in the portal correctly. 

But the very moment this grotesque thing managed to fully emerge from within the slurry of the boiling earth… Everything clicked. 

There was hardly an iota of free mana flowing through the monster's flesh. The great majority of its magical energy was locked away in… well, its flesh, tasked with the simple purpose of keeping this biologically nonsensical organism alive. 

'It's concentrated mostly around the added joins…?' 

Leo squinted his eyes, struggling to make sense of what he was seeing. 

Whatever this thing was, it was the very first example of a being that went against the logical simplicity both the portals and the alien circuit exhibited thus far. 

It followed not the logic Leo was accustomed to, but some set of principles he couldn't really grasp. In other words, no matter how hard Leo tried, this thing… 

There was no way for it to move. And definitely, it had no means of moving fast or swinging its limbs hard. And yet… 

'Yeah, that finally makes some fucking sense…'

"Shoot it!" 

The leading officer screamed out loud enough for everyone else to hear him, both the men he dragged deeper into the plain but also Leo and all those standing with him. 

'Took you a while,' Leo thought, turning his eyes away from the monster to look at the cops. And for what's worth, they executed the order without even a hint of hesitation, caring not for how they faced a being pulled straight out of an eldritch horror. 


The noise of the first shoot shook the air, making everyone twitch. 


The cop behind Leo uttered a small cry, his eyes centered on the bloody mess of flesh and metal that replaced both the gun… and his hand. 

Between the horror of the monster emerging directly from the ground, the shock of having his hand squashed in a single instant and the general flow of the events, it took him well over ten seconds to realize he actually lost his hand. With this realization paving the way through the neurons of the man's brain, the pain of having his hand flattened finally found its way to the man's consciousness. 


The pained cry of the cop drowned in the noise made by all of the cops frantically emptying their mags into the horrific monster, only now realizing that simple bullets couldn't really do it much harm. 

And as if prompted by either the loud banging of the guns or the cry of the cop, the massive monster opened its eyes… 

Only for the upper half of its disfigured chest to open up and reveal a massive, massive mouth that spanned from halfway through the monster's chest, through where its collarbone should be, through its elongated throat, and all the way to where a patch of empty, perfectly shaved skin took the place of a face. 

The whole front part of this area opened up, turning out to be nothing more but the upper jaw of the monster. And as it opened up its mouth, turning itself further two meters longer than its already impressive posture… 


If the sound of shooting the handguns was akin to popping a single bit of bubble wrap, then this fiend's scream was like dragging one's fingernails against polished glass. 

This noise was so high-pitched and vibrated at such a frequency, it made Leo feel as if his teeth were about to burst along with his eardrums and his eyes. 

But this was the fiend merely screaming out, as it was only once it closed its massive, oversized mouth and fell down on the six pairs of arms that made up its limbs that this half-magical horror began to plan its attack. 

'To think there would be a damned void in a portal as weak as this one…' Leo thought, gritting his teeth while his hands opened up and closed in quick succession, warming up for what was likely to soon turn into a very ugly scenario. 

A void. 

A fiend or a monster whose magic was nearly fully enclosed within its flesh. And as it was an integral part of the tissues that made it up… It was pretty much impossible to interact with it. 

Or, in other, much simpler words, it was a being that couldn't cast any spells, couldn't use any skills… But in exchange, was nigh perfectly immune to any and all sorts of mana usage. 

A void couldn't cast any spells, so it was immune to spells cast by others. A void couldn't make use of any abilities for it had no mana to fuel such endeavor… but it made it perfectly resistant to most of the skills that weren't purely physical in their nature. 

And against a bunch of young adults who only just got their first taste of mana or bloodshed… 

"Rob," Leo called, turning his eyes away from the massive fiend right as it turned its blood-red eyes towards where those pesky, itchy bullet bites were coming from. "Give me your sword."

Leo reached out with his hand. 

"Huh?" Rob hesitated only for a second, before moving up and passing his crude, looted weapon over. "I mean, sure, but what do you want us…"


The mage of Leo's group panicked, casting his go-to spell and sending a ball of scorching fire right to where the six-handed… - six-legged? - monster was in the process of stomping, biting and generally tearing the few cops apart. 

Its limbs, whether one would consider them arms or legs, could perfectly fill both roles. And just by abusing its weight alone, it stomped two of the cops into the ground, only to use two more of its limbs to catch another cop mid-dodge, grabbing the man by his chest and legs only to then pull its arms away, tearing the man in half. 


The leading cop was now panicking, trying to walk back to the rest of the group while unloading the freshly reloaded mag right into the void fiend's head… Or what he considered to be its head, at least. 

The next cop died when the horror body slammed it into the ground, opening just the tiny bit of its oversized mouth at its chest to swallow the man before he could turn into a bloody pancake. 

The last of the policemen simply turned and ran for Leo's group… Or rather, the green, swirling portal located just behind them. 

"You dick!" the leading officer screamed out, jumping to the side to avoid the monster. 

And for once, his dodge worked… 

Only for the monster's other arm to come sweeping in, grabbing the man mid-roll. 


Rob shouted, forcefully pulling his brother's attention away from the gruesome scene and dragging it back to his panicked face. 

"What do we do?!"

Leo looked at his brother in silence… Only to turn his eyes back to the scene ahead. 

Contrary to his companions, the leading policeman didn't die right away. Instead, as if curious, the fiend simply raised its arm to where its face should be… Only for two, big orbs to move down from the top of the monster's head, taking place on the bald patch of the skin that replaced its face. 

For a moment, the monster simply stared down at the human powerlessly wiggling within the hold of its seven-fingered hand… Only to then open its mouth in its entirety again. And as its jaws opened up to their limits… 


This time, the scream was even more intense, more desperate, more pained than before. And while for Leo and his company, it was nothing more but an unpleasant sound… 

The leading policeman… 

For a moment, he looked like an ice cream created by some ungodly skilled craftsman… that someone placed right in front of the hair drier before turning it on at full power. The skin on the man's face melted and then whiffed away, followed up by his flesh and muscles, all the way to the point where nothing more but a bunch of bones and ligaments remained from what used to be his upper body. 

Then, satisfied with its seasoning, the fiend stuffed its arm extremely deep down its throat, as if it was trying to shover the corpse directly into its stomach, hidden somewhere deep within its grotesque body. 


Rob screamed again, this time with Millie pulling on Leo's right sleeve and even Mark giving him some uncertain looks. 

"Chill out, everything is going to be fine," Leo finally returned to reality. Yet, rather than addressing the monster in the room - or rather, on the field and just a few teens of meters away - he simply turned over to the cop behind him only to reach out and pull the body camera off the socket on the man's chest. 

"Grab this and leave," Leo said as he tossed the small device over to his brother, only to then turn back and stare the remaining policeman right in the eyes. "Your hand is the prize of your life. And I'm willing to spare you in exchange for your silence."

To the side, the other cop who was smart enough to run away the moment he realized he had no business facing the monster, ran right past the group and dove head-first into the portal, escaping from the plain. 

"Do we have a deal?" Leo asked right as he sensed the fiend turning and finally directing its attention towards his group. 

For a moment, the cop hesitated. 

He was still clutching at the bloody mess that used to be his hand just a few moments ago… But now that he was enlightened by the massacre of his buddies, he didn't dare to play tough any longer. 

"I swear, I will never say a word of what happened here, so please…"

Before the man could even finish, Leo raised his leg and casually kicked him away, straight into the swirling green of the portal. 

"You lot, scram," Leo ordered as he turned back to face the nearby fiend. 

It was a being his magic wouldn't work on. And while it was still possible to smash it with boulders, fry it with balls of fire, or suffocate it by removing all the air from its vicinity… 

The fireball cast by the mage of the group hardly left a mark on its skin. If anything, it was nothing more but an annoyance to the fiend, pretty much on the same level as the itchy bites of the bullets shot by the now-deceased cops. 

"I get running away, but why does it seem as if you want to stay behind yourself?" Rob asked, ignoring the fact that both the mage and the swashbuckler of their group had already went on their merry way, rushing to get to the portal before the grotesque fiend could get to them. 

"That's because this thing is not an opponent you guys can handle," Leo remarked before raising the sword in his hand and then dropping its blade down on his shoulder, cutting through his clothes and leaving a long but shallow wound high up on his chest. 


This time, Leo didn't even bother trying to talk to his brother. Instead, he simply looked over at his face before reaching out with his free hand and giving Rob's hair a quick rub.

"The past two hundred…" Leo spoke out, only to cut his sentence short and shake his head a little. "No, the six years that I was gone, this is exactly the kind of thing I was dealing with."

Leo turned his eyes away from his brother and took a step forward, putting himself in the way the massive fiend would have to take if it wanted to reach his brothers or childhood friend. 

"For me, it's no biggie. But if I'm to fight it and kill it…" 

The fiend had to somehow sense that Leo wasn't the same kind of opponent as the men it just dealt with. As such, it didn't dare to charge as recklessly as it did against the cops, opting to approach slowly and carefully instead. 

"If I'm to kill it, I can't be distracted by thinking about your safety."

MotivatedSloth MotivatedSloth

Damn, I didn't even realize how long this chapter turned out to be >.>

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