Dante was not able to answer Zatiel's question. By the time he noticed Oliver increase in power and he felt the animosity targeted to him, the Duke had managed to slip past the two Rank 4 Magi and was already sending what could be described as an ocean of lava against him.
He had used the sword tattoo to stop the lava attack since although it was targeting him, it will have killed all the Sunlight Champions and Neo-Demons close to him. After that, the tattoo was able to teleport him very far from the battlefield and outside of the Angelic Paragon's reach
It was Rax who offered an answer. From the way the Neo-Demon was breathing it was obvious he was very tired.
"Ancestor, I had maintained part of my focus in the battle among those Rank 4 and saw what happened. At first, both Magi were suppressing the Angelic Paragons since it seems they were already very tired before the battle even started. When they saw how some of his people had managed to harm the tower and destroy the automatons, they relaxed but the moment they noticed the force field growing, the Angelic Paragon with lava wings, the one named Oliver, went berserker and it seems he took something that increased his power.
He sent one attack against the Magi, which sends the two flying away and then he charged against Dante and released that powerful spell. When he saw how he had managed to escape, he focused his rage on us and he made thousands of lava ball rain above us."
When Zatiel hear from Rax how things happened his eyes narrowed. The way Oliver managed to increase his power was not important now, but he could see that the repercussion of whatever he did will be extremely harsh since he did not use it during the entire battle.
What bothered him was that Oliver chose to use that method not to kill the Rank 4 Magi but to go after Dante. No matter how special the boy was or how good his strategies were, they should not have made a Rank 4 life form resort to self-harming methods just to kill him, after all, he was a Rank 1 life form.
Zatiel could not have known that Oliver connected Dante's Eye of Life and Creation to the prophesy and thought that he was the one who opened the portal to the Abyss. That and seeing the force field that will make them lose a great part of the continent, was enough to let his rage consume him.
"How were you able to survive?"
Zatiel was very clear of the power of an attack performed by a Law Avatar and it should have been more than enough to kill all of them.
"It was thanks to the Magus named Zitra. She appeared in front of us and stop most of the ball of lava, but still, some of them manage to reach our people. Kilo and I are in our dragon form, carrying our people and flying away from the battlefield, under the cover of the force field.
The Magus remained behind stop those Rank 4 Angelic Paragons from going after us."
Under the force field formed by the Ten Tower Formation, the Havenly race will be able to show less than ten percent of their power, but Zatiel knows than that level of strength is more than enough for the Duke to kill all those Rank 2 and 1 life forms in a matter of second.
Zatiel knew that the Magus has put her life in danger to help his people escape, and unlike before that his eyes were full of killing intent when he thought they have left them to die, gratitude could be seen on his face.
"Rax and Kilo, lead our people to the first tower. We need to regroup and heal before we decide what to do next. Dante, you will intercept them in their path and start to heal those wounded."
Despite what their feelings are, all of them were clear that they are too weak to do anything against the Duke that had just butchered their people, and try to go after him will be suicidal and stupid.
Zatiel, Heinz, Ezequiel, and the Undying Leviathan were approaching the tower at an impressive speed and when they very close to it, they saw a pillar of light carrying someone inside was moving to the direction of the mountain range.
Heinz was able to see Zitra figure inside the pillar, but when he saw that no one was going after her, he chose to maintain his path.
When they finally reached the place that the Daybreak clan was protecting, they saw a river of lava extending for hundreds of kilometers and that consumed the bodies of all the people that had died during this battle.
The consciousness of Heinz extended and he searched the surroundings but he was not able to find any clue of the Angelic Paragons.
"They must have escaped when they saw that they will not be able to hunt your clan and felt my presence."
Zatiel was silent and all of his focus was on the river of lava, and after a moment coldness appears on his eyes.
The power in that spell was enough to destroy the souls of his people.
"You should remain here. Stabilize the area and bring the tower to the surface. Once you are done with that finish the teleportation formation in the tower. The force field is already established so we have more than enough time now."
Zatiel voice was completely emotionless but there was dormant wrath hiding behind his eyes.
"What are you going to do?."
Although Zatiel was not showing anything, Heinz saw the monstrous killing intent that was growing in his heart.
"I will return to my abode, the damage accumulated in my body due to the last battle is extensive, I will need to spend some years healing."
Zatiel looks at the river of lava that contains the bodies of his clan and that was used to break their souls until the image was engraved on his mind.
He and Ezequiel mounted over the Undying Leviathan that had Sophia on his belly, and fly away.
It took several days for the Undying Leviathan to reach the mountain range. Zatiel energy pool was weakened due to the use of Blood Essence Combustion and he could not use all of his power.
Sophia had awakened during the travel and was now sitting along Zatiel and Ezequiel on the creature's head.
All the Neo-Demons and Sunlight Champions were waiting for him. Their number was more than a third less than the one who entered this world.
Zatiel used his Animus abilities and focus on their emotions.
He could feel the anger they had against the Angelic Paragon that massacred their people and the sadness due to the loss of their companions.
But what draws his attention was the immense desire for power that was growing in their hearts. Instead of giving up on revenge due to the immense difference in strength, they were all aiming to reach the level where they should not feel so impotent anymore.
All of the people Zatiel brought to this war were first-generation, the first of their people to become Sunlight Champion and Neo-Demons, the ones that have experienced how cruel the world can truly be.
Some of them were starting to forget that, due to the years of safety and comfort, but seeing their friend and loved ones died has awakened them.
Zatiel signals Dante to come near him and as he does, he saw in the eyes of the boy that he had changed.
During all of the previous battles, Dante did not have a single casualty but now almost a third of the army was lost. The cruelty of war was forging his character.
"How many of our people have died?"
"One hundred Sunlight Champions and fifty Rank 1 Neo-Demons were on the battlefield, along with the Rank 3 Magus, Rax, Kilo, the three Brain Golems and me. Before the Duke acted, during the entire battle against the Heavenly race we lost three Neo-Demons and ten Sunlight Champions, most of the casualties were due to self-destructive attacks from some members of the Heavenly race."
Dante stops for a moment, and as he remembers the sharp contrast of their dead after Oliver's attacks, hate fills his heart.
"After the Duke used his spell against our people, the total number of deads reached seventeen Neo-Demons and fifty-two Sunlight Champions. The fifty Sunlight Champions that were constructing the tower underground were unharmed, due to the tower defensive mechanism resisting the attacks on the surface."
After hearing Dante´s words, Zatiel closes his eyes and sighs.
"How easy things were back then."
Dante, Ezequiel, and Sophia hear his word, but they did not understand what he was talking about.
When Zatiel was the Incarnation of Death and Destruction, he could send billions of his subordinates to sure death and feel nothing, but now he had lost less than one hundred of his people and all sorts of emotions were affecting him.
Zatiel opens his eyes and absolute calmness could be felt in them as he raises his voice, letting all of his clan hear his words.
"Rembert what just happen and never forget. Power is everything, without it, your life is just an illusion that can be erased at any second."
Different reactions appeared to his words, but they all the Sunlight Champions and Neo-Demons were showing a great will on their eyes.
Zatiel noded as he saw this and spoke to Ezequiel and Sophia.
"Go to the chamber and start to heal your injuries, we need to temper our bodies or else we run the risk of leaving flaws that could affect us in the future. I will go after taking care of something."
Zatiel eyes focus in one room of the tower, where Zitra was resting.
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