Unsurprisingly, Yvonne defeated all and claimed first place while Else snatched the second spot, and Verena third. But when all expected Iliana, Jasmine, Freya, Zamira, and Nils to contend for the following positions, Astarte defeated them all.
Thus, promoting herself to the fourth place. Unlike the others, Astarte spent a substantial amount of time disguised as a commoner in the Barbarian Continent with her cultivation sealed while she battled numbers of barbarian dangers.
Thanks to those thousands of intense, life and death battles, her battle-will had risen to a sky-high level. Meanwhile, following Konrad's ascension as Nephilim and a round of modifications, Astarte's bloodline had experienced startling changes.
From fiend, she turned into an unprecedented species that perfectly combined spirit, fiend and human blood. Although the result wasn't anywhere near as dreadful as Konrad's World Devourer bloodline, it still was a force to be reckoned with.
In fact, were it not because at the time, Verena's cultivation of Seer's Vision had already reached the second layer, Astarte might have snatched the third place.
For those reasons, Konrad felt the battle without suspense and focused on plowing Zamira above him.
The silver light swirling around Astarte coalesced into a long silver broadsword which she grabbed in her left hand. In the right, white light flared, turning into a marble white broadsword that landed in her right hand.
Holding those two massive weapons meant for two-handed wielding, Astarte stepped forward, vanished, and appeared behind her assailants, driving her swords through their backs in backward thrusts.
The move glided across their skin which seemed one thousand times stronger than steel. In a flash, they swirled into the air, stabilizing themselves above. But as they lowered their gaze back onto Astarte, they felt a tingling sensation where her swords hit.
Following a brief examination, Zeas and Violk were shocked to see that thin lines remained where Astarte's swords passed.
"How can this be? We're Zenith Ants. How can the casual sword stroke of a non-Sage possibly wound us?"
"It seems more than one freak hides in this Jade Dynasty. With our strength alone, a solid probe is impossible. We must alert the elders, and have them break the Anti Divine Screen."
Zeas and Violk said in turn and prepared to escape. But before they could make another move, they felt themselves suppressed within the air, unable to advance further. Again, Astarte was between them, hurling her swords at their necks!
"Damnable! Do you really think we fear you?
Innate Skill: Zenith!"
The two roared in tandem, and instantaneously, the pressure emanating from their bodies skyrocketed. Heaven and earth trembled, and Astarte's swords bounced against invisible walls that propelled her backward.
By the time she stopped her descent, the two's appearances were undergoing drastic changes, going from tiny humans to greenish creatures whose features contorted in an abominable transformation.
Massive demonic energies erupted from their form, revealing the true nature of their lineage. And though their sizes remained at 1.5 meters, they now turned into two bipedal dark-green ants with scissor-like hands and a pair of antennae above their heads.
"Hihihihi! Girl, to force us Zenith Ants to unleash our true forms is the glory of your lifetime. You can die in peace."
Zeas and Violk declared, then flew at Astarte in green meteors. In tandem, they slammed their scissor-like hands on either side of her neck, aiming to behead her in one stroke.
The scissor hands crashed against Astarte's swords, and while deflecting the blows, she let the full might of her cultivation, bloodline, and physiques erupt alongside her Valkyrie Armor's strength.
Silver lightning burst from her form while white star force and swirled around her form. The illusory image of twenty-eight stars appeared above her head, morphing into a miniature starry sky of its own.
Astarte whirled on three-hundred-sixty degrees, white star force and silver lightning fused with her swords as they hacked at Zeas' and Violk's sides.
A piercing, tearing sound echoed, and green blood erupted from their sides to splatter Astarte. But before it could stain her, her silver lightning turned it into nothingness.
Zeas and Violk tumbled onto the ground, and Astarte connected the pommels of her swords, combining them into a double-edged weapon.
With a graceful spin, she turned toward them, looking at them with glaring indifference.
"Zenith Ants? Never heard of you. I only know that you trespassed in the Jade Capital and attempted to damage my beloved master's Imperial Palace. Those are cardinal sins for which you must answer with your lives."
Astarte declared, and as she spoke, her indifferent eyes shone with soaring killing intent.
"Wrath of the Sun and Moon!"
Above Astarte's left shoulder, a dazzling white sun appeared, while above the right, a moon of the same color hovered.
She whirled her double-edged weapon, causing the sun and moon to rise and dance above her forehead, their spiraling motions releasing a massive shroud of heavenly forces that erupted in a stellar strike combining the strength of the Sun and Moon!
The blinding beam descended on the two Zenith Ants, and neither doubted that should they fail to resist it, destruction awaited!
Therefore, they chose to go all out!
"Awaken, and usher the eternal night!
Zeas and Violk roared, and in an eruption of demonic, dark-green light and soaring boulders, two jet-black, 1.2 meters tall flails appeared and landed in their hands which morphed to adjust to them. Those were their lineage weapons, the mark of their illustrious ancestry, and the root of their true might!
And though it was broad daylight, as soon as those weapons appeared, the clear sky vanished, forcefully replaced by an impromptu night.
The two slammed their flails onto the ground, releasing berserk demonic energies that spread throughout the land, and caused gargantuan earth walls to rise before Astarte's strike!
*BOOM* *BOOM* *BOOM*
The two forces met in an earthshaking explosion that sent Zeas and Violk flying backward while Astarte only recoiled from a few steps.
"Since we're going all-out, I might as well follow.
Storm of the Sun and Moon!
Astarte bellowed while aiming the marble white edge of her weapon toward the two Zenith Ants that barely regained their footing.
Her white sun and moon merged, then exploded in a thundering eruption of light that sent dozens of icy and flaming beams toward the two. Without hesitation, they hurled their lineage weapons at the incoming beams, resisting with all their might.
And as they exhausted their last bits of strength, an even more dreadful force descended. Astarte's entire armor and weapon turned into pure silver lightning!
And from the tip of her weapon erupted a fifty-meters wide lightning beam that descended onto the exhausted pair.
"What a miscalculation…"
Violk sighed before the lightning beam struck them both, charring them were they stood and depriving them of consciousness long before they could feel the pain it unleashed.