At the center of the battlefield -
The zombie giant growled as it continued to struggle against Crab's pincers from closing around its neck. The struggle between the two huge entities shattered the ground underneath them as their legs drove into it, creating large pits of upturned and broken earth.
Crab could not vocalize by virtue of not having any real vocal chords, but that made it even more menacing as it continued to press its strength forward, its body trembling in exertion as it shoved its huge, open pincer claws ever forwards against the giant in silent determination.
That was when Crab's antennae twitched, sensing a flying presence nearing it. It prepared a response, diverting some stored energy in its shell to release as a shockwave.
Stella floated above Crab and did not get into range of its shockwave. Instead, she followed Valera's orders, and stayed up there, just eyeing Crab, waiting for the right moment even as her hands twitched in eagerness to unleash an explosion.
Crab saw that Stella did not make a move and focused its energy back onto trying to kill the giant. At that moment, the ground underneath it broke apart, instantly crumbling into a raging whirlpool of sand and crushing gravitational force.
Crab's balance immediately broke as its many giant legs sunk into sand, losing grip of what was once solid ground. In that moment, the zombie giant grunted and regained an advantage, swatting away Crab's pincers before going for a massive punch that connected with Crab's head.
The sound of the blow was akin to a missile exploding in sheer volume, and Crab's head jerked back from the attack, cracks spreading from its shell.
However, the shell very quickly patched back up, and it adjusted to the shifting sands beneath it by digging its huge legs in deep, even deeper than the sand pit, anchoring itself into firm ground far below.
But that meant that despite being able to continue fighting on solid footing, Crab was still immobilized.
At the same time, the zombie giant roared as it aimed to slam its fists down on Crab's head, trying to bash its brains out.
Crab's antennae twitched and it immediately responded, guarding the giant's double hammer fist blow by using its two wide pincers as shields.
"Got you right were we want you!" shouted Stella as she took this chance to unleash her Bunker Buster down on Crab. She did it from a distance, away from shockwave retaliation range.
She put her hands out, and they glowed bright white, all the veins in them pumping a mass amount of explosive blood.
Her Bunker Buster detonated outwards in a building sized cone of fiery orange, easily engulfing most of Crab's body. Shockwaves of force rippled through the titanic variant's body, sending out cracks here and there, but overall, it did not deal too much damage.
Stella, despite the flashiness of her explosions, had a relatively short effective range for maximal damage. Her explosive blood could only travel so far before automatically detonating, making her more of a mid-range fighter.
At a distance like this, her explosions had less impact because they lost energy as they traveled. But her aim was not to deal damage.
What the Bunker Buster did accomplish was to disorientate Crab's vibration sensitive antennae with shockwaves and heat.
Meanwhile, the zombie giant kept it distracted from the front by continuing to force Crab to use its pincers to guard its head.
In that very split second, with the zombie giant taking up Crab's attention from ahead, with the variant's senses momentarily disoriented, with its movements grounded by the Antlion, a black blur shot across the battlefield.
It traveled faster than any bullet, moving so quickly that it was imperceptible to practically everyone.
Valera flew forwards like a living missile, her fist stuck in front of her as she aimed right at the Crab's head, right where there were still faint cracks from the zombie giant's last punch.
The many segments of her black armor were filled in with bloody red, a sign that she had filled the [Slayer] gauge. Every single time she killed a unit, she received a small bonus to her stats and damage resistance.
This could stack up to a hundred times, and when maxed at 100, she gained an active buff known as the [Slayer] which allowed her to execute any units by brutally tearing them apart when they reached low enough health.
The weaker a unit was, the higher this execution threshold was. If she managed to get a hold of a Vital Point, this threshold increased even further.
For basic creatures like fishmen, she could literally execute them from full health.
However, for a mighty enemy like this Crab, she had to both reduce its health and get a hold of a Vital Point.
She had no idea where the vital points of a creature like this, a beast she had never known before, were, but she figured that it was in its head,
Regardless, the most important thing right now was to deal as much damage to the monster from within. That way, it would stop fighting even if she could not directly execute it.
And dealing damage, well, besides protecting the master, that was her greatest passion.
A split moment before Valera's fist reached the Crab's head, her lips twisted into a savagely wide grin, her cheeks literally tearing to bare the entire set of her sharp, bloodied fangs.
Valera pierced right through Crab's shell and into its head.
She had punched Gerald over a dozen times - up to the maximum amount of energy he could hold and even more, even until his body started to break apart.
She had then jumped off of Gerald while he returned that energy to her with the flexible nature of his rubber body, essentially becoming a trampoline from which Valera sprung off at with insane speed.
With all that force behind her, Valera smashed through Crab's head.
Inside, she found herself in a red cavity packed with slimy grey goo and white flesh. Along this flesh were large red nerves that looked like chords of rope.
"DIE! DIE! DIE! I WILL HAVE YOUR SPINE FOR MY MASTER! FOR MY DEAREST WHO HAS NEVER ABANDONED ME!"
Valera ripped and tore with reckless abandon. Anything she saw, she savagely destroyed.
She clawed at and tore apart flesh, she used blood shockwave attacks to completely scatter the grey goo that acted like connective tissue. She took the large nerve chords and snapped them before tearing them to shreds.
Squelching flesh erupted all around her rampage, completely soaking her in viscous, transparent liquid that acted as the crab's blood.
On the outside, Crab twitched and frozen as its head turned into a mushy, brutalized mess. But it did not stop fighting.
Instead, it seemed to struggle even more, unleashing wild blows everywhere. The zombie giant was pushed back, as was everyone else when Crab started to unleash shockwaves from all around its shell with little regards to accuracy.
At first, this seemed like the variant's death throes, but after an entire minute of struggling, it became very evident that Crab could still fight.
Valera by now had torn everything she could see to shreds, and yet, even as she did so, the beast was still moving.
Was this not where its Vital Point was? She snarled, trying to think of an alternative.
That was when she heard a voice ringing through her head. A smooth, elegant voice with highly proper inflections. She did not like this voice. It reminded her of vampiric nobility.
'Your killing methods strain my aesthetic sensibilities. Such brutish violence directed every which way with no focus,' came Chiros's voice. 'So, allow me to guide you, O Exile.'
From outside, Chiros stood just outside the sandpit where Crab was grounded. He pointed his gleaming crimson saber at Crab and chanted, "[Expose Veins]".
This was a racial skill of his that allowed him to mark the Vital Points of enemies. A large red dot started to glow not from the variant's head, but in its lower body, right above its legs and within its lower stomach.
'So you are the Adal noble. And I don't like that title,' said Valera with a grimace. 'But your aid is appreciated.'
Her frown then turned upside down as she cracked her neck in anticipation of the carnage she was to inflict.
"ORA! ORA! ORA!" Valera began to pummel the fleshy ground beneath her in a flurry of punches that only grew faster and stronger over time. She utterly decimated any flesh she came into contact with, rapidly drilling down through Crab's body until finally, she reached its main Vital Point.
It was a large spherical red bundle of coiled nerves that functioned as its true brain.
With one final yell, Valera punched the nerve bundle and utterly blasted it apart.
With that, Crab froze up and collapsed like a puppet that had its strings cut. It crashed into the ground with a heavy thud, unleashing a cloud of dust from its sheer mass.
The red light within its shell died down, all the stored energy fading away, and its body rapidly began to turn brown and grey as it started to slowly shrink down to its original size.
From Crab's back, Valera burst out, her fist punching through shell before she pulled herself up. She was soaked in Crab's blood and chunks of its flesh and organs. She shook off the gore while the clear blood drained into her.
"Victory is ours!" shouted Valera as she raised her fist in the air.
She regulated her voice from wild, violence addled rage from back when she was tearing apart the Crab and where nobody could hear her to a more dignified tone now.
Valera was about to speak again, but as she looked into the sky, she noticed something coming.