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24 Driving off the Devil Lion

 "ROARRR!"

The Four-Eyed Devil Lion charged at Ivan furiously. Its mane was nearly entirely turned into deep blue flames which emanated extreme danger.

Valeria was close to Ivan originally and the furthest away from the lion, so the extremely large quantum ripple from it's roar had affected her the least. She quickly got back up stood in front of Ivan, readying her spear to challenge the Devil Lion head on.

Ivan wasn't stupid enough to let it get near, as those flames alone made close combat basically impossible. He wrapped one arm around the unsuspecting Valeria's waist and pulled her back as he retreated.

The Devil Lion was much faster than Ivan, so he could only try weave around the trees and higher up branches to take advantage of his superior agility to keep ahead. The Devil Lion had learned from the last encounter and didn't blindly charge through the branches when Ivan was in a blind spot behind them. This however, made it more difficult for the beast to catch him.

"Split up, wait for the right moment and throw your spear at it as hard as you can," Ivan commanded Valeria as he let go of her and escaped into a different direction.

"Yes," Valeria was distraught not being able to protect Ivan by his side, but she still listened to his commanded and disappeared into the canopy in order to look for the best opportunity to strike.

Eoth, the commander of the first hunting group, was the first one to recover from the quantum concussion brought about by the Devil Lion's roar.

"Gather your bearings, men!" Eoth stood shakily and commanded the hunters unsympathetically.

Eoth helped everyone regain their senses before leading a charge through subspace toward where the Devil Lion was chasing Ivan.

Once Eoth and the other hunters were close, Ivan called out while desperately escaping, "Don't get close to it, wait for the right moment and throw your spears. If you miss, go pick them up and return."

The Devil Lion was excited throughout this chase, its burning mane carbonizing large patches on the trees it passed through the massive amount of energy combusting. While the Devil Lion was focused on Ivan a spear shot through the subspace just below it, managing to cut a shallow wound across its stomach.

The hunters weren't using the original animal tooth spears, they had crafted iron spears that were far sharper and sturdier than the original ones. The iron spear barely skewed off path after grazing the Devil Lion, sticking out of a tree with its hide wrapped handle still quivering.

"ROARR!"

The lion let out and another roar which sent quantum vibrations through the air. This time however, the hunters were further away and quickly cleared their minds with a slight shake of the head.

Several hunters had perched on various branches and used all their body muscles, using the counterforce from pushing against the branches to draw strength and redirecting that force through twisting their waist, launched iron spears maliciously at the Devil Lion.

The Devil Lion was so close to Ivan that he could feel the energy excitation from its burning mane on his back. Any closer and is armor would most likely start combusting, soon to be followed by his body.

The Devil Lion's heart suddenly skipped a beat as its danger senses began to ring alarms. It spotted several Celestials at various spots around it suddenly throw their iron spears. The Devil Lion knew this wasn't looking good and wanted to rapidly brake out of the encirclement.

Iron spears shot through Subspace as the Devil Lion rapidly twisted and turned to try and escape. None of the spears manage to land any serious damage on the Devil Lion due to it shifting and moving unpredictably, but several spears manage to make several small cuts and cause blue blood to matt its fur.

The Devil Lion managed to escape the majority of the threat, but right as it was about to chase back after Ivan now that none of the hunters had their spears, and the iron hunting blades on their waists couldn't be thrown accurately. It landed on a tree trunk and was about to pounce up when Valeria, who had been completely hidden till now, threw her spear at an ingenious angle that caught the Devil Lion unprepared.

The Devil Lion wanted to avoid it, but it was already in the middle of a movement and couldn't adjust its position. The spear pierced directly through its shoulder and into its torso. It roared in agony as the blue flame man extinguished and went back to its normal mane.

Seeing the situation was unfavourable, the Devil Lion glared angrily at Ivan and the other hunters before rapidly fleeing into the canopy of the forest.

The hunters quickly picked up their thrown spears before surrounding Ivan in a defensive perimeter. The Devil Lion had fled with Valeria's spear, so she appeared with just a hunting knife in her hand.

"Your back..." Valeria said in regret at she inspected Ivan's back.

The Devil Lion had gotten too close to him, his armor being completely burned through and even the skin on his back having a massive red patch of burnt skin from energy excitation.

Ivan reach behind him and touched the burn patch. It stung a little, but it had more of a tingling sensation from the excess energy currently inside the burn.

"It will be fine, the energy excitation will dissipate eventually," Ivan shrugged helplessly and tried to ease Valeria's worry, but this only caused her to become mad.

"How is it fine?! What would I do if you died!? Be a little more considerate!" Valeria shouted with tears in the corner of her eyes, the sudden outburst startling both the hunters and Ivan.

"Ahem, everyone, strengthen the defense around our settlement and keep an eye out for that Four-Eyed Devil Lion, it holds a grudge and will be back," Ivan quickly changed the topic as he knew there was no method to calm Valeria who was brooding.

He wanted to tell Valeria not to be unreasonable, but doing so would only enrage her more when she was already angry, so he could only sigh in defeat allow the hunter group to escort him back to the settlement.

"President, I know you are concerned, but please do not come out next time there is an attack," Eoth stubbornly said with a bow, still stuck in the habit of showing respect in the monarchical society on the Vulpes home world.

"I will put it into consideration, I truly do not want my people to be worried."

Back in the settlement, the Celestials were all crowded together with spears and knives and ready to defend themselves if the defensive line was broken through. As subspace had dangers everywhere, everyone was required to carry at least one weapon on them at all times in cases of self defense. Ivan had considered the larger picture, and the damage from wild four-dimensional beasts attacking people who couldn't properly fight back would be far greater than a few people stabbing each other out of personal grudges.

Ivan sat in a copper bathtub in his large temporary hut, the blue energy water the filled it emitting dancing light in the small bathroom like a blue starlight. Iris had stripped off and climbed in as well, resting her back against Ivan's chest.

Ivan wrapped his arms around Iris' thin waist, occasionally shifting them around to fondle her breasts. Iris didn't stop him in this, allowing his hands to roam her body.

"We all need you," Iris said as she rested her head back on Ivan's shoulder, leaning it against the side of his face. "It's not just me, everyone in this community relies on your guidance, especially Valeria. So please don't put yourself in danger. I will support you in every way I can, even fixing your mistakes."

"...I know."

"Don't think I don't know why you gave everyone a new race name. Patriotic spirit, right? Without you there, the figurehead, it will rapidly crumble as our community devolves into chaos."

"We have a massive shortage of people though. We can't gather resources or build fast enough, I need to help out where I can."

Ivan's hands began to get more immodest, slowly moving down between her legs. The combination of Ivan's fingers and the energy water, which was like constantly being zapped by small shocks of electricity, caused Iris to moan in pleasure before she turned around in the bath and began kissing Ivan in a counterattack, speaking in between kisses.

"I... don't... care... Don't... put... yourself... at... risk."