The Subterranean Walker’s huge body hovered over the mother and child, casting an oppressive shadow over them.
Smoking-hot acid was still dripping from its open mouthparts, corroding large holes in the ground as it fell in droplets.
However, it didn’t move forward and instead cowering on the spot as if it had encountered something frightful, disgusting, or troublesome.
And at the very moment it hesitated, Doris seized the opportunity and impaled the sides of the still Subterranean Walker with numerous huge ground spikes.
After letting out a final piercing roar, the worm writhed frantically and raised it head up before finally falling to the ground with a loud bang.
After its remaining life faded, the leftover magma stored inside its damaged stomach pouch leaked out. The golden-red liquid, which was glowing in the darkness, seemed to have an ignition reaction with the acid secretions which further fueled the blaze.
But Doris had no time to worry about the fire. She raced back to the barrier, a bow in hand, and fired an arrow at the remaining Subterranean Walker.
Like a streak of lightning, the unleashed arrow shot through the air in a straight line and struck the worm's body, bursting it open and tearing a hole in its shell.
The Subterranean Walker was immediately distracted, and it roared at Doris in fury. After turning around, it then dived back into the ground.
The female elf who was protecting her child watched as the Subterranean Walker disappeared into a large pit ahead of her. She was stunned for a few moments before she finally sank to the ground, tears welling up in her eyes.
She burst into tears and hugged her frightened child tightly while soothing him.
Doris put down the scepter and walked to them.
The elves around were both bewildered and in shock.
But as the first one returned to his senses, he shouted excitedly, "It's the sigil! The 'Elder Sign' is protecting us!"
He pointed to the mysterious and bizarre pentagram mark painted on the female elf's clothes.
Then, the other elves also caught on and started embracing each other with exultation and ecstasy as if they had just survived a disaster.
Some covered their faces and sobbed tears of joy, while others fell to their knees and prayed fervently to the altar behind them.
"Praise Lady Silver! The Iris Flower’s glory existed in the past and is still present today and will last for all eternity!" They shouted loudly with their hands in the air.
The scene was rather chaotic.
Doris heaved a sigh of forced relief as she listened to the clan’s joyous and noisy chatter while surveying the traces on the earth beneath her feet left by the Subterranean Walker beneath.
The Elder Sign is effective!
The great Blessed One had already foreseen this mortal crisis that would befall the Iris Clan long before this.
This was why he had sold me those books and instructed me to have my clan study them.
Lady Silver has always been looking out for her anointed all this time!
But then again, the great Blessed One is indeed powerful. Everything that the young hunter said was true. He’s really worthy of being praised as ‘omniscient and omnipotent.’
Doris felt a tinge of envy.
Lady Silver must have thought highly of him. Perhaps he's close with her and a trusted Blessed One… But his true identity is still a mystery.
Shaking her head several times, Doris pulled herself together. She tapped her scepter on the ground and told her clansmen to gather together and retreat as far as possible.
Since a majority of the clansmen had not yet been marked with the Elder Sign, Doris had to get those marked and unmarked to mix together and take care of those who hadn’t yet received the Elder Sign.
After that, Doris caught her breath and went back outside the defensive boundary.
Her slight weariness was replaced by intense concentration once more.
Although she was a spent force, a Destructive-rank dream beast wasn’t easy to deal with, not to mention that fighting wasn’t her forte and she mainly relied on her foresight to deal with enemies.
However, she couldn’t let those clansmen behind who trusted in her down. Even if she were to exhaust all her strength and eventually meet with death, that was her calling as High Priestess.
Bring it on... I hope my soul can enter Lady Silver’s dream realm when I die.
With a determined smile on her radiant face, Doris planted her scepter into the ground. Seeds that were in the earth all around her sprouted and grew rapidly to besiege the remaining Subterranean Walker.
The ground thundered and the shape of a giant floundering worm appeared among the upheaval of earth. The entire forest also seemed to have risen up from the ground in a scene of massive destruction and ruin.
Doris's face gradually turned pale as she gasped for air with trembling hands.
As long as these Subterranean Walkers did not attack her people, she would have more room to give play to her abilities.
In a battle between Destructive-ranks, collateral damage and accidental injury to the innocent were of the greatest concern.
Take the famed battle between Wilde and Joseph for example. The prerequisite then had been for Wilde to be lured into a deserted area in the hills, so the two — especially Joseph — could maximize their strength.
But now, the current situation was still bleak.
These seeds were not as simple as they seemed.
They were the seeds of the legendary elven kingdom's sacred tree, buried away for many thousands of years. Tough and resilient, their growth was directly augmented by Doris’ vitality, and the constant draining of her life force was making her weak.
At this moment, another prophetic scene appeared in Doris’ mind.
Unexpectedly, the underground dream realm fissure had widened once more.
Doris’ hunch had been right, these Subterranean Walkers were gregarious dream beasts!
But in her vision this time round, there were two that appeared concurrently, interlacing with each other like a pair of dragons, headed toward the surface and breaking through the earth.
These two Subterranean Walkers would reach the surface and join the fray in under a minute.
And by then—
"It will really be over..." muttered Doris feebly, her grip on the scepter loosening.
The constant outflow of life force was overwhelming. It had now become a situation where the sacred trees were frantically gobbling at her life force, and there was no way for her to stop it.
Fortunately, the sacred trees were already fully grown.
That Subterranean Walker caught by them was strangled to death, leaving only a shrunken skin that had been nearly sucked dry.
I’ve held on long enough, all my clansmen should have pretty much been transferred to other places…
Doris blacked out as soon as she saw the two new arrivals break through the surface of the earth. Her vision turned dark and she collapsed.
At this moment, she felt someone hold on to her waist from behind as she was falling.
The elven high priestess widened her eyes in bewilderment, and a vaguely familiar young voice sounded beside her.
"Haa… Nightmares are terrible. Let me help you change this."