While Artha might be lying and possibly a deviation tactic, it did not hurt to put a shield up in case the Stalingrad was besieged by the leader of the Lion Mantises.
After the hijacking raid on the Leviathan, the Stalingrad had been pulled back into the open seas and was currently firing a few flammable incendiary rounds to burn the surrounding ships to kingdom come. So, when it received the command, Wolte had no difficulty putting the shields up.
The only downside of the shields was that Wolte had to stop all bombardments to the seas. He would have to put his trust in the Deep Ones to make sure none survived. The only weapons that were still available were the anti-air mini cannons which were already aiming towards Artha when the sea crew spotted a mysterious flying bug coming their way.
Looking back, Lord Wolte was extremely thankful that he did place the shield up as ordered by the System as the leader of Lion Mantises, Artha smashed his entire weight onto it. His flight left a loud shrieking noise, and when Artha struck the shield, the impact felt as if the energy shield was about to burst from it. Ironically, it was Lord Wolte's turn to experience the bombardment as his ship shook violently in the seas from the shockwaves produced by the impact.
Fortunately, the shield was still holding thanks to the living magical battery Lord Wolte was extracting from. If not for Shadow Dagen's magical powers, his protection would already have been shattered at that point of time. (Mr Derpy did complain though since it had taken more than a bit of a toll on him.)
Learning that his straight-up attack had been useless, Artha did not try again. He quickly switched to the best solution in his mind by first releasing a loud roar. The crew noticed interference on the magical shield and assumed that it was some magic desynchronisation ability where Artha would attempt to slip into the shield-like how an atom passes through time and space in quantum physics.
However, that was not the case, and instead, it was something less exciting. Nevertheless, it was pretty much an 'oh shit' kind of situation for both Stalingrad and the sailors onboard.
As Artha roared with all his might, he appeared to grow exponentially larger with each passing second. His two hearts accelerated and pushed the muscles to pump in more blood to make him grow bigger.
With the aid of the crown's energy stored within him, it enabled him to multiply his cells explosively which subsequently turned him as large as a giant. Artha did not know how deep the sea went, but he wasn't going to risk anything. With the help of his now enormous mantis wings buzzing around, they allowed him to hover over the Stalingrad.
King Baal saw the development that was going over the sea and smirked as he watched the Lion Mantis grow in size that put Earl Barbatos to shame. Archduke Kiva was also quite happy with the results of the crown energy and was excitedly staring at it with intense curiosity. The scene of success had been deeply burnt into his brain when he heard Artha's roar getting louder with each interval, and to the point, he was simply a massive version of his former self.
"And in one swoop, that metal ship will be cut into two, and that will solve all our naval problems! Too bad Focalor had to suffer the brunt of its attack. Still, it will be exciting to excavate it after the battle to study its cannons. Ooh, this is so exciting!" Archduke Kiva thought to himself. He knew that no matter how powerfully strong a magical shield was, it would not last without sacrifices and mana.
It was just a matter of time when it comes down, and Kiva deduced that Stalingrad was probably the only naval ship Moloch have on deck even though it magically appeared out of nowhere.
When Lord Wolte saw the transformation in front of him, he knew that even if he tried to shoot the overgrown Lion Mantis, that would be no way Artha would stay still to receive the shot. There was no need to try, as he knew how slowly the cannons moved as compared to the Lion Mantis.
"But one thing is for sure." Lord Wolte swore to himself with a slight glee. (His andromorphous mouth was right under the ship.)
"GODDAMN FINALLY!!! It's time for the appearance of our ultimate product!" Jespa screamed loudly as she raised her can of root beer and the craftsman all cheered in unison when they saw the live System camera shift its video recording deep into the sea.
A pair of red eyes were glowing with carnivorous intent towards its newfound prey as multiple soft glowing ruby lights behind those eyes continued to light up in succession. For the prey's cry had awakened the predator from the deep.
With unmatched confidence, the Colossal Artha believed that using his Mantis Blade was sufficient to deliver a swift execution to the people on the metal ship and later move back to the defensive platform to finish the rest of the job with his chimaera soldiers.
However, as he was about to swing his Mantis Blade, he caught a glimpse of bubbles emerging from the side of the ship. Suddenly, a blast of intense red energy beam was aimed directly towards Artha, destroying his Mantis Blade in the process as he barely dodged the rest of the attack.
Lord Wolte didn't hesitate to take this opportunity to fire his triple barrel cannons at Artha as assistance. However, doing so made him lowered his shields in the process.
Artha was unaware about what was hiding under the sea or whether this had been a special attack part of the Metal Ship. It did not matter as the shields were down and the Stalingrad was completely vulnerable because of this.
"How stupidly foolish but your attempt had not been in vain," Artha said as he readjusted his body and pushed himself to destroy the ship before it could do any damage to him again.
Yet, when the Colossal Lion Mantis came too close to the Stalingrad, an enormous shadow emerged out of the waters and managed to bite on to Artha's leg. The Lion Mantis was shocked and reactively tried to cut the thing that bit his leg with his remaining Mantis Blade. To his surprise, the blade got stuck, and in return, two paws appeared, grabbing Artha's waist and pulling him into the waters.
By bringing the Lion Mantis to his territory, the newly emerged predator had secured his home field advantage while the prey lost his aerial capabilities.
Artha tried hard to struggle by attempting to claw the monstrous 'cute' face since his final Mantis Blade remained stuck. He even tried to blow purplish fire which still had an effect despite him plunged into the deep sea. Yet, the predator did not flinch a single bit as his fin plates started to light up with an eerie reddish glow for the second time.
Pandjilla was merciless.