"Careful!" Bloed cried out and jumped back. Behind him, Aya jumped back as well.
The creature was very fast. It closed the distance between them in an instant. Then, it raised its claw and attacked Bloed!
However, Bloed reaction was fast as well. Before the claw of the creature could reach him, he ordered Leto to create a barrier in front of him.
The claw and the barrier clashed, creating a loud metallic sound that resounded in the tunnel.
But then, Bloed's expression changed.
Because he saw the barrier becoming loose metallic sand in the next second and falling to the ground!
Bloed murmured with a grave expression.
Yes, just now when the claw clashed with Leto's metallic sand, it absorbed the energy in the metallic sand, making it unable to continue working.
A third of Leto was lost in an instant.
Bloed's expression immediately turned ugly.
"Aya, be careful. It can absorb mana. Don't let it touch you."
"Understood." Aya nodded with a serious face.
But while they were talking, the creature rushed towards them again!
It kicked the ground at great speed and appeared in front of Bloed and Aya in an instant.
Bloed grunted. With his right hand, he wielded his saber and cut towards the creature's head.
But the creature was very agile. It twisted its body to avoid Bloed's saber. And then, it opened his mouth and bit towards Bloed's chest.
But at that moment, a stone flew from behind Bloed!
It was Aya!
Aware that her usual combat style was useless against this creature and that it would only allow the creature to steal her mana, she decided to just focus on supporting Bloed.
The stone hit the creature's head with pinpoint accuracy. It impacted the nose of the creature, making it screech in pain and forcing it to stop its attack.
Taking advantage of that opportunity, Bloed brandished his saber again, cutting towards the creature's neck.
But the creature's movements surpassed Bloed's expectations. It kicked the ground and jumped on a wall, allowing it to avoid Bloed saber.
Then, it crawled on the walls and roof as it rushed towards Bloed.
'This thing…!' Bloed cursed in his mind. This creature was showing to be more troublesome than he thought.
As Bloed and the creature fought, Aya continued throwing stones. The stones were like throwing knives, piercing towards the creature's body from each direction.
Unable to avoid all the stones, the creature was injured and screamed in pain. Then, it 'glared' at Aya and opened its mouth with a shriek!
In the next second, the tongue was shot from the creature's mouth, extending several meters towards Aya's at great speed.
Aya opened her eyes wide. She hurriedly used her daggers to stop the tongue, but then, her expression paled.
In an instant, the creature's tongue had stolen all the mana she had put in her weapons.
Moreover, it was trying to use the connection between the weapons and her to steal her mana.
Aya groaned and gritted her teeth. Then, spun her daggers and pierced the tongue, fixing it on the ground.
"… Bloed! Now!"
Understanding Aya's intention, Bloed kicked the ground and pierced with his saber towards the creature!
Bloed's saber pierced the creature's head, making it scream in pain.
But it was still alive! It hurriedly bit its own tongue, cutting it off and jumping back to escape Bloed's attack!
Bloed frowned. He was sure that the last attack pierced the creature's brain.
However, it did not seem to be mortally wounded. Apparently, just piercing its brain was not enough to kill it.
Looking towards it, Bloed saw the creature growl in rage and hunger. But then, it stepped backward slowly.
And finally, it disappeared in the darkness of the tunnels again.
'Troublesome.' Bloed clicked his tongue. He would have preferred if the creature continued attacking them.
But now, it seemed that it was smarter than it looked.
With a frown, Bloed shook his head softly and looked back at Aya.
"Are you alright?"
"… I am." Aya nodded. However, her face was obviously pale.
It seemed that she had lost a lot of her mana when she clashed with the creature's tongue.
"… What was that thing?" Aya asked with a look of fear on her face. "… It was so eerie."
"It's related to the Blight," Bloed said. "It's most likely the result of an experiment."
"The Blight…?" Aya widened her eyes slightly before nodding in understanding. "I see... It was very strong."
The creature's strength was probably around B-Rank. However, its combat capacity was beyond that.
Both Bloed and Aya were as strong as some A-Ranks, but they barely managed to fend it off while working together.
Moreover, the creature's ability to devour energy made it much more dangerous. Fortunately, Bloed's [Molecular Disintegration] countered it, or they would have been in serious trouble.
'Then, is this place is related to the experiments on the devourers...?'
Bloed asked himself while looking at the depths of the tunnel.
This creature was the third kind of 'devourer' that he had seen since he left the Exiled Lands. The first one was the creature that he fought when he left the exiled lands and later in Calice City.
The second one was the man fused with a devourer that he fought in Diadel Duchy. It was the same as the man that he was chasing before the tunnel collapsed.
And this strange creature was the third.
'Crazy people… They sure have guts to experiment with these monsters.' Bloed scowled in his mind and looked at Aya.
"Change of plans. We need to leave." Bloed said.
Aya nodded without asking about the reason. However, when she tried to take a step forward, she staggered.
Bloed hurriedly held her before she could fall on the ground.
"Are you alright?"
"… S-Sorry… I'm feeling a bit tired."
Bloed wrinkled his brows.
'It looks like she lost too much mana.'
Aya had her mana stolen earlier today. And she had not recovered completely when the creature of just now stole her mana again.
Having lost so much mana, her body had turned weak and her mind was fuzzy. When Bloed touched her forehead, he realized that it was burning hot.
"You can't continue like this. You need to rest." Bloed said with a frown.
However, they could not rest right now.
Bloed did not know if the creature that escaped was the only one in the tunnels. But if it wasn't, it could return to seek revenge, but this time with reinforcements.
Bloed was not confident that they could defend themselves if more than three creatures attacked them simultaneously.
He thought about using [Overdrive] to open a hole towards the surface and escape, but it was his last resource. He did not want to use it unless he did not have more options.
Thus, they needed to leave this part of the tunnels and wait until Regina finds them.
"Let's go, I'll carry you."
Bloed finally said.
Then, without caring for Aya's opinion, he carried her on his back.
Just like that, the pair adventured deeper into the tunnels.