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41 Brood Mother

 Nothing could be seen in the pitch black darkness of the cave. Energy lamps were needed to light up the way.

Scuttling sounds came from the depths of the caves. Under the illumination of the lamp, many Brutal Gray Devil Spiders could be seen eyeing them from all directions; on the ceiling and stone walls of the cave, and even from the various pits all over the cave.

Within the unit, a gigantic Firestorm Tiger opened its mouth wide. A swirl of red-hot flames began to gather in its mouth, forming a rapidly-rotating fireball.

Fooom!

The fireball shot out and scored a direct hit on a Brutal Gray Devil Spider that failed to escape in time. It only managed to make a cry of despair before being engulfed by the flames.

An elite tier monster was immediately eradicated by the fireball without even having the chance to fight back.

"No, this won't do; we're wasting too much energy," said a woman in the unit, with a frown. She had neat shoulder-length hair and was wearing a white combat suit.

Although they could easily kill these elite tier monsters in one blow, there were simply too many of them. If every single one of these critters needed one fireball to be eliminated, their Familiars would soon expend all the energy within their bodies.

"We shall stick to close combat for now and avoid long-range attacks. Defense-type Familiars form the frontlines, support-type Familiars in the center of the formation, and offense-type Familiars take the flanks. Maintain the formation and advance. We must not let other groups get there first," said Captain Song from the backlines. The others nodded their heads and very quickly arranged themselves in the new formation. These were all veterans who worked well with each other.

Lying quietly on Captain Song's shoulder was a fiery-red mouse with a long, graying beard. Its two little forelimbs were resting on her shoulders and its eyes were darting about, observing the surroundings.

Right at the front of the formation was a Red-Shelled Armor Hound, a mutant variant that had extremely high defense and a partial fire attribute.

As they advanced, the spiders would often spit a sticky fluid to prevent the Red-Shelled Armor Hound from moving. A Thorny Flower Demon from the center of the formation activated its ability, covering the Armor Hound with an additional layer of thorny armor. The thorns criss crossed over each other, forming an effective protection against the incoming spider silk.

The Flame Mouse on Captain Song's shoulder spat out a fire ball, igniting the thorn armor.

The thorn armor burst into flames, suddenly become a makeshift flaming armor.

Any of the white fluid that came into contact with it was burnt to nothing, becoming fuel for the flames instead. The air became filled with a pungent, foul smell.

The flames were extremely effective in negating the effects of the white, sticky fluid. Upon contact with the flames, they immediately caught fire, losing their stickiness and resilience.

The Flame Mouse was not yet at the Lord tier, hence it was not able to establish a "whitelist". But it did not matter anyway since the Red-Shelled Armor Hound was extremely resistant to flames and had a high fire defense. This was a battle technique that Captain Song and her team came up with.

The cave was filled with complex twists and turns. It was a very deep natural cave.

The faint sounds of battle suddenly could be heard ahead of them. Sound travelled far in these caves, which meant that they were still a distance away from their destination. The expression on Captain Song's face changed. Someone else got there first!

They hurriedly picked up the pace. Ablaze while wearing the makeshift flaming armor, the Red-Shelled Armor Hound charged through the caves. In no time, their surroundings suddenly brightened. A large cavern, many times larger than any cavern they had run into before, appeared before their eyes.

In the deepest part of the cavern, a gigantic brood mother could be seen lying on the ground. It looked extremely swollen and its body was covered with a large amount of white sticky substance, as though it were wrapped in a white bubble.

Only its thick spider legs stuck out from the bubble, revealing a scaled claw at the end of each leg and sharp hairs that hooked upwards.

In the cave, many Familiars were already surrounding and attacking the brood mother. Flames, frost, and wind blades flew through the air, but all the attacks landed on the white bubble and vanished like a rock being dropped into the deep sea, simply disappearing out of sight. Nothing seemed to have any effect.

Looking at the incoming attacks, the brood mother simply lay motionless without making a sound. Its dark, yellow eyes were cold and indifferent. Only when an attack was about to land near its eyes or face did it react by producing a crystal film from its eyeballs to protect its eyes.

Captain Song felt that the look in its eyes was somewhat familiar, as though she had seen it somewhere before.

"The brood mother doesn't have much attack power. Don't be fooled by its large size. That is for it to produce young. Its actual combat strength is the weakest among those of its tier!" shouted someone, calling for everyone to put in their all to kill the spider.

"As long as we all work together, we can definitely kill the brood mother! When we've killed it, we shall split the spoils based on the level of damage that was done to it," Liu Senlin spoke up.

"Alright!" Hearing this, many of them ordered their Familiars to increase the pace of attack.

The brood mother did not strike back. It was in a strange condition, most likely preparing to give birth to its young. But that did not matter. They would take the opportunity to strike it at its weakest.

The intervals between attacks grew shorter and shorter and the white foam covering the brood mother gradually got blown away. A few attacks managed to land on its body, causing gaping wounds that leaked a dark, yellow fluid.

Seeing the brood mother hurt, the groups of people there got excited, ordering their Familiars to continue attacking. They themselves retreated, avoiding the battlefield.

A Four-Winged Jade Devil Mantis charged forward, leaving behind an afterimage. It drew its two bladed limbs inwards, forming the figure of a cross.

Puchiii!

Even after raising the crystal film to protect its eyes, they were easily slashed apart by the jade green blades.

Shattered pieces of the crystal film scattered into the air and rained down from above.

Screeeeecch!!!

The brood mother lost its calm demeanor. Its dark yellow eyes suddenly lit up, glaring at the humans with a golden piercing gaze. Its sharp screech reverberated across the cave.

Some Monster Trainers fell to their knees, painfully clutching their ears. Blood seeped out from between their fingers.

Huuuu-

The sound of roaring wind could be heard as one of the thick spider legs suddenly pulled from the ground.

In mid-air, the Four-Winged Jade Devil Mantis desperately flapped its wings and twisted its body, barely dodging the spider leg that stabbed at it like a giant spear. The spider leg effortlessly pierced through layers of rock, as though it were cutting butter.

A deep breathing sound echoed throughout the cavern. The brood mother that was lying in a bubble of foam all along slowly got up and stretched its limbs.

Each of its limbs was over ten meters long, like long spears that stuck into the ground, causing the ground to crack and split.

The gray spider legs were also densely covered with sharp hairs that hooked upwards. Its mouthparts were as large as a table, and looked like a blooming chrysanthemum flower. They opened and closed, releasing a foul smell into the air.

Its hulking size along with is ferocious appearance gave it the look of a lethal predator.

Who said the brood mother had little combat strength?

Everyone in the cavern was silently cursing.

We've been had! This mission was a huge set-up, and we've all been had!

Captain Song finally remembered why the look in the brood mother's eyes were so familiar. They were the same eyes that the Lord of the Dark Ember had. The eyes of one being high above all else, looking down on all the low levelled Familiars!

At the bottom of the brood mother, a deformed and incomplete halo was slowly rotating. Compared to the halo of the Lord of the Dark Ember, the one that the brood mother had was only a tenth of the Lord of the Dark Ember's, and was extremely deformed.

This was a monster at the peak of the commander tier, that was in the midst of evolution!

It was evident to them that they had disrupted the evolution process of this monster. Even a fool would be able to expect the ferocity of the wrath that they had incurred.

"Run!" Liu Senlin very decisively came to such a conclusion. He immediately called for his Four-Winged Jade Devil Mantis. He rode atop his Familiar's back and fled.