Chapter 2 – Part 3
The fist fighter, Hibineko, engaged the enemy shortly after Shin.
The usually casual Hibineko’s eyes had changed into those of a hunter’s, with the prey already determined.
Without losing momentum or speed, he took a step and accelerated even more. He glided through the air with a jump kick.
Emerald green light was emitted from the greaves equipped on his legs, which were enhanced by Shin. Hibineko used the barehanded-wind technique combination skill 【Autobahn Kick】 and plowed through, crushing the monsters he collided with.
It was a convenient skill for hitting a large group of monsters, with a cannonball-like kick, and also for movement. Hibineko had used the skill on the frontlines of the monster hordes.
Although Hibineko was short for a man, the aftermath of his kick, which was clad in the wind technique and received the blessings of the enhancement skill via his equipment, destroyed even the monsters that were outside its effective range.
Hibineko challenged the hordes head-on as they were scattered around by that kick’s power.
If Shin, who had access to the map function, looked at the map, he would see a clear line cut straight through a sea of red enemy markers.
“I can’t fall behind Shin and the others!”
Hibineko who dove into the crowd using the barehanded and flame technique combination skill 【Echo Blast】, mightily flung his right leg against the ground. The crack on the ground where Hibineko stamped spread like a spiderweb, and after a few moments, bluish-white flames burst from those cracks.
The tremors that spread from Hibineko, who was at the epicenter of the skill, monsters nearby lose their balance while flames erupted from the ground and roasted them. Though it was a skill that dealt damage regardless of friend or foe, it wasn’t a problem since he was only surrounded by enemies.
Due to the synergy between the reinforced weapon and the support magic cast on it, its skill and range of effect had risen tremendously and could not be compared to its previous state. When the skill ended and the flames died down, Hibineko was left in a bubble devoid of monsters with a radius of 100 mels.
More monsters then approached him in order to reoccupy the empty space.
As for Hibineko, he wore the smile of a carnivorous animal. He kept on attacking the monster hordes.
Across from Shin on the other side of Hibineko, Shadow was silently carrying out a massacre.
A black shadowy figure ran, slicing through the monsters leaving only cut lines lingering in the air. For a short time, the monsters seemed unaffected.
Then, when the they moved a little, they fell apart along the slice lines.
“As expected, a weapon made by Shin is on another level.”
Shadow muttered unintentionally, admiring the dagger he held in his right hand.
The dagger was lighter compared to before Shin had reinforced it, and yet it drew a stronger killing blow. As if being buffed by the weapon’s newfound power, he felt even his body control had increased.
As a matter of fact, his physical strength had went up too. If one had to say, the way it had risen up was different; there were no stats that had been improved. It had been adjusted for the owner from the beginning. It was the case for Hibineko and Shadow. So, it was natural that the state of reinforcement was varied as well. It became smoother and closer to the ideal image in their minds. With his body moving as he imagined, Shadow felt happier while being on the battlefield.
“*Sigh* I don’t remember feeling this in the game.”
As Shadow ran, his excitement was charged into his weapon.
It was totally different from Shin and Hibineko’s fighting style; there was only long and silent movements.
Only the screams or roars of the monsters, and the sounds made by monsters’ equipment could be heard. There were no explosions or shock waves, but the number of the monsters decreased steadily.
A voice like a sigh leaked out. During that short pause, 8 to 10 slice lines were made. However, no less than 10 monsters had fallen.
Using the fencing and water technique combination skill 【Blade Stream】 the cutting lines were exerted in the air every time the dagger was wielded. The blade of water generated by the water technique shone under the light of the sun. Though there was something called waterjet cutter that could even cut through steel in the real world, the power of this skill greatly exceeded that.
Water based magic could be prolonged by making the water thin and long, like hairs. The monsters called goblin knights, which had the skin harder than iron, and ogres, which had muscles like bundled steel, didn’t stand a chance.
The blades of water that extended from the dagger were almost as sharp as the dagger itself due to the skill. In other words, be it the muscle mass or the skin, there was no other result than to be cut down in one stroke.
The radius of the Shadow’s attack was about 20 mels. While normally the dagger was considered a short-ranged weapon, Shadow’s range of attack was like a different weapon altogether.
Even if it was not as flashy, the speed with which Shadow exterminated monsters wasn’t inferior to Shin or Hibineko’s.
Holly was observing the enemy’s movement while focusing on the fight in front of her.
Even though Shin and the others were separated from each other by some distance so that they didn’t get caught up in each other’s attacks, to the monsters, it was no different than if they were fighting together. The shocks and the sounds Shin and the others made gradually started to draw the entire crowd toward them.
“(The crowd on the front right has begun to flow to this side. The feint operation seems to be going well.)”
The three acknowledged Holly’s Mind Chat with a few words and increased their extermination speed.
If it ended early, they wouldn’t have to worry about a surprise attack.
Schnee and Guile attacked the hordes that were not heading straight for Shin and the others with long-ranged magic. Though large-scale magic for anti-guild war was not useable yet, normal magic skills could be used without a problem. Due to Schnee’s specialty, lighting and water techniques, and the flame technique from Guile, they killed more monsters than Shin and his party combined.
“Now, I need to do my work too.”
Holly said as a great number of flame bullets appeared in midair.
She targeted behind Shin and the others. Even if the three used skills that attacked on all directions and extend its ranges, they could still face unexpected defeat. As the monster hordes numbered several thousands, it was impossible to keep fighting without running out of energy under the present conditions. Therefore, Holly shut down the possibilities of unexpected defeat.
Under Holly’s command, the flame bullets which remained in midair started to move. The flame bullets scattered in the ratio of 2:4:4 toward the directions of Shin, Hibineko, and Shadow. They flew to the monster hordes which were relatively large, moved to close the gap of their attack, and hit the center of the group.
With an explosion, the weapons that the monsters carried and parts of their bodies were scattered in all directions.
“I’m not done yet!”
After she finished firing the flame bullets, Holly raised her stick above her head.
The skies above the monster hordes changed as she spoke.
A portion of the sky warped as if it had been covered by a giant glass lens. Then, it fell little by little toward the monsters on the ground within the spell’s range of effect.
The monster hordes this time were mostly composed of humanoid monsters but naturally, there were many other monsters too.
What Holly had aimed at were the flying-type monsters which would become troublesome if left unattended, even though there were only a few of them. What could be seen were ‘Head Eagles’ which looked just like enlarged eagles, and small pterosaur ‘Airnodons’ which had membranous wings like the Pteranodon.
Both were about level 180, and their physical strengths were low but their hit & run strategy of swooping down and flying away was a bad match for knights who couldn’t use magic skills. Though some of the knights could shoot them down with throwing spears or kill them when they were swooping down, it would take at least half of the soldiers to achieve that.
Because Holly had knocked them down to the ground, the knights were able to deliver the decisive blows. While it’s true that high-level monsters didn’t weaken at all when they were dropped onto the ground, the knights easily dealt with the flight-type monsters that Holly had cast down because the monsters were low-level and an easy target after they had fallen.
“Still, there’s a lot as expected.”
Holly grumbled unintentionally, while she fired additional flame bullets at a speed that would shock a mage similar to Guile if seen. It was not Holly’s first time dealing with the ‘Flood’, but even Holly would get tired by the sheer number of monsters in this ‘Large Flood’. Even with the assistance of the strengthened equipment by Shin, she couldn’t cover all the three vanguards’ leftovers.
Naturally, Holly didn’t think she could deal with all the monsters which were moving independently too. The individual monsters who passed through the three vanguards and Holly’s attacks were dealt with by the first and the second war groups of Balmel’s defense knight squadrons.
Berett had said that the experience in war against the monsters was low, but that had only been based on Rokuten’s standards in the game era. Compared to other soldiers in other cities, Balmel’s knights were rather capable. The levels of the soldiers surpassed 150 on average. Their captain’s levels were in the 180 range. Elgin’s, the leader of the knights, level exceeded 200.
Since soldiers were not Chosen Ones, when they were up against mutant monsters with levels close to 300, they normally would take damage to some degree. However, with their skills and cooperation, Elgin and his corps could defeat mutated monsters without making any sacrifices. In the game era, these kinds of courageous warriors were known as ‘cheats’ in a different sense of the word from Shin and the others.
“Be careful of your surroundings so as to not obstruct others! Don’t slack off until you make sure it’s dead!”
Elgin’s voice resounded as he took command. It reached the knights without being drowned out by the explosions and roars of the monsters.
Even if their opponents were low-level monsters like goblins, they fought seriously. At the rear, there was Schnee and her party, and the third and the fourth war groups were also standing by. They didn’t overlook details in the defense arrangements.
Up to now, much of the burden had been borne by the ladies. Because this was a blot on the knight squadron’s chivalry, the first and the second war group of knights were roused to a new high. Although they were inferior in individual ability, their teamwork more than compensated for this, allowing the number of monsters to be reduced quickly and reliably.
While the number of monsters shrank at an increasing rate, a change was felt in the monster hordes which were heading toward Shin and the others.
“It’s covered with ‘Worker Ants’. The ones jumping, are ‘Little Hoppers’, huh?”
“They’re mainly insect-types?”
“Fumu, this will be a little troublesome.”
While the three were physically separated, their words were delivered as if they were right next to each other.
Shin who confirmed the name of the monsters with 【Far Sight】, Shadow who looking at the battle field as a whole and saw the monster mix change from humanoid type to insect type, and Hibineko who was concerned because the insect types were hard to kill, had said respectively.
The main group of humanoid monsters, mainly goblins and orcs, spread out and created a path 200 mels wide. Into this path came the insect type monsters. Just as their names suggested, the Worker Ants and the Little Hoppers which Shin spoke a while ago were monsters who were giant versions of ants and grasshoppers. They were about 1 mel high. They were low-level monsters who didn’t have prominent abilities. On the other hand, they had the abilities that the smaller versions of these insects had. The Worker Ants had powerful mandibles, and the little hoppers had the jump ability of the grasshoppers.
A majority of the monsters were Worker Ants. The Little Hoppers and other insect type monsters jumped up and down to close the few gaps.
“(Schnee, can you check the monster hordes from over there?)”
“(No, I still cannot see far enough into the inner groups of monsters yet. Did something happen?)”
“(The mix of the monsters has changed. Worker Ants have become the main attackers and other insect type monster are heading this way.)”
“(It’s just the way the records document, right? Got it, I’ll contact the person commanding at the rear here.)”
Shin and his party were closer to Elgin who commanded all the knight squadrons. Schnee was closer to the adjutant who was commanding the third and the fourth war groups which were waiting at the rear so, it was decided she would notify him.
“(Holly-san, can you contact Elgin-san?)”
“(I am close. Leave it to me.)”
After asking Holly to pass the message to Elgin, Shin plunged into the group of monsters again.
Shin was 300 mels in a straight line from the first group of Worker Ants. Because there were about 100 mels space between the groups, if the monsters were defeated, there would be about 200 mels distance before he contacted the third wave.
In order to keep misses to a minimum, Shin used a skill that increased the range of his weapon. Shin let the aura that had enveloped and extended from the tip of 『Kakura』 to lengthen to just under 10 mels. A single sideways blow sent masses of goblins flying. The orcs who tried to engage with swords were turned into minced meat including their armors.
Among the monsters, several ‘Ogre Commanders’ were seen. These were monsters of mutation class that were also described in the documents of the guild. However, they were only high-leveled in relation to rest of the horde of monsters. With levels of at best 300, they were no different than a regular goblin to Shin and his party.
An Ogre Commander swung down a large 3 mel long sword, which it probably acquired when evolving, with all its might. It attempted to bisect Shin along with its allies. Shin counterattacked, and struck against the sword’s side with 『Kakura』. The sound of metals clashing reverberated with a “Gin!”, Two thirds of the big sword that had approached Shin flew into the air.
The large sword was actually larger than 『Kakura』; on the other hand, for mass and quality, 『Kakura』 was overwhelmingly superior. Since Shin struck with his physical strength at the side of the sword which was also its weak point, it was inevitable for the sword to either break or bend.
The Ogre Commander who saw his sword snapped to nearly ½ size, cried out in a stupid voice. In its mind, it had been certain that Shin had been cut in half.
The Ogre Commander was slow to react and left a small opening. Shin, who couldn’t overlook that chance, hammered 『Kakura』 into its head as a gift in return.
The blade with a dark red aura formed by the effect of the skill, nearly bisected the Ogre Commander. It split him from its head to its inseam in a stroke.
A moment later a huge amount of blood spurted over the surroundings.
“Next is the bugs, huh?”
After the group of humanoid monsters were cleaned up, Shin turned his gaze toward the insect types who were approaching. There were signs of Shadow and the others in the distance too. Apparently, most of them had already finished. The monsters which didn’t come toward Shin and his party, had already been turned to ash by Schnee and Guile.
“(Everyone listen, there’s no change to the strategy. We exterminate them without stopping!)”
To Holly’s voice, Shin and the rest replied in unison.
Then suddenly, a thought came to Shin.
“(Shadow-san, Hibineko-san, do you have a moment?)”
“(What was it?)”
“(If everyone uses 【Scarlet Explosion Palm】, we can wipe out the majority of our opponents. Should we take the initiative and lead everyone to victory using a combined attack from the three of us?)”
“(I see, that one, huh?)”
Hibineko remembered another party situation like this where two or more players were up against a vast number of monsters and they decided to use the skill called 【Scarlet Explosion Palm】.
Shadow also seems to have remembered a similar situation, as he returned with a voice of agreement when he heard Shin’s suggestion.
“(If we do it with the three of us, wiping out a vast area of monsters will not be a problem with this skill.)”
“(Interesting. I’m in)”
Hibineko and Shadow quickly agreed to Shin’s idea. In the meantime, the group of monsters had already approached to within 50 mels.
The three didn’t worry about the approaching monster hordes. They didn’t bother, because soon, the hordes would be taken care of by this attack.
The three clenched their fists, and focused their power on their right hands. Boosted by the reinforced equipment, even before they could invoke the skill, large craters formed just from the power of their fists. The three of them took a similar stance of shooting from the hip.
There was to be no signal. The three people’s senses had become sharp on the battlefield. They wouldn’t miss the timing.
The moment when the distance to the monster hordes closed to 30 mels, the three simultaneously thrust out their fists without any prior notice.
Their fists focused on one place around Shin; The power accumulated in each respective fist was released. After a momentary delay, the direction and the attributes were given; the power which had been focused into a single spot, was then shot into the approaching enemy.
The released mass of energy from the three people rapidly swelled up. The chosen attribute was flame. The cluster of flame blazing up transparently because of the overwhelmingly high temperature, then rushed towards the approaching monster hordes.
As it reached them, the monsters bodies were scorched, and then reduced to ashes in the next moment.
If one was to observe the strange place, in spite of the fact that their bodies were burned, there was no fire visible. The flame was so hot, it had become completely transparent. Boosted by the upgraded equipment, only the heat waves were visible as the invisible fire roasted the enemy.
The fire didn’t just stay around Shin and the others, it spread out into the monster hordes. The flames spread the same way water spread when it flowed on the ground. As for its range, it already vastly exceeded the range of wide area magic that had been shot by Guile.
The Worker Ants had become a mountain of ashes. Something that hopped like Little Hoppers fell to the ground. Though there were superior individuals like the Ogre Commanders, they too, turned to ashes without even coming in contact with the enemy.
Cooperative mode 【Complete Destruction Palm】 skill.
It was a skill that could be invoked when 2 or more players combined the barehanded and flame technique combination skill 【Scarlet Explosion Palm】. Its power and effect range increases as the number of people who use it increases. Since the stats of the player and the power of the player’s equipment governed the ultimate power level, 【Complete Destruction Palm】 that Shin and his group invoked was far above the expected power of three people.
“…Though I expected the power to increase, that was overwhelming!”
“I wasn’t expecting this either. ”
“Ah~…Flame is really effective against insect types. It was really powerful because of that, right?”
They were all surprised by the overwhelming power.
“Now’s our chance, let’s clean up as much as possible.”
“Yeah, I don’t know how many monsters are left either. But there’s no reason not to be efficient about this.”
“You’re right. There’s no need to defeat everything individually.”
When they finished the discussion, Holly warned the knight squadron. The three then quickly fired 【Complete Destruction Palm】 again, at a range that didn’t threaten their allies. 20% of the right wing of the hordes disappeared in the next shot, and the remainder were melted away by 4 additional shots.
The monster hordes had been like a black wave that covered the earth. Some soldiers were simply aghast at the spectacle where nearly half of the hordes were destroyed in such a short amount of time. However, since the monster hordes were destroyed by allies and because it reduced the danger, the soldiers didn’t think too deeply about it.
Even though people knew that Shadow and Hibineko were strong, nobody could have guessed how powerful they really were.
“Looks like it’s animal types next.”
Without being aware of the soldiers’ shock, the three intently fixed their eyes on the enemy.
Behind the third wave, Shin saw a number of animal types. There were groups of animal type monsters such as wild boars, wolves and bears. He was able to confirm both ‘Tetra Grizzly’s and ‘Flame Boar’s which he had fought before.
“Is it the fourth wave?”
“What the heck! How many waves are there?”
Shadow and Hibineko looked at the monsters while sighing. The ‘Large Flood’ was a phenomenon that generated multiple times more monsters than a normal ‘Flood’. From the change of the monster types, it was likely that it had already generated four times more monsters than normal.
The ‘Large Flood’ mentioned in the records, was described as being like an average ‘Flood’ repeated three times over. The current large flood had already surpassed the documented one. At this point, nobody knew how much longer it would continue.
“I’m gonna jump a little to see how deep it is.”
Saying this, Shin jumped with his full strength which caused the ground to collapse from the power of the jump. He gained altitude with the help of martial arts movement skill 【Flying Shadow】.
When he reached an altitude where he could look over the fourth wave, Shin used 【Far Sight】 to gaze deeper.
“Beast rider warriors huh?”
Behind the animal type groups, he saw the last group moving with a 300 mels gap between them and the fourth wave. The last group was a mixture of humanoid types and animal types. The size of this wave was almost double what they had faced so far. There were small species types like goblins and kobolds, but Shin was also able to confirm riding animal types of monsters.
Monsters such as goblins and kobolds were individually weak so they may have learned how to ride and handle animal type monsters to compensate. These were called beast rider warriors or otherwise ‘~Rider’. Not only did their mobility increase, but it was known that their combat ability was also greatly enhanced.
Unusually, the increased mobility of the beast riders allowed them to reduce the gap between the fourth and fifth wave.
“The fifth wave is closing the gap between groups. Because most of the last group are beast rider warriors. Their number also twice as many.”
Shin who had landed, conveyed the things he saw to Shadow and the rest. Though they didn’t have any problems with the enemy’s fighting power, it was the enemy’s mobility which could make things difficult if they dispersed.
Since they were on a plain, it was advantageous for a mobile enemy. It was different than when in the forest or in complicated terrain. For cavalrymen on a plain, especially with beast rider enemies like this time, the ordinary soldiers at the rear would be forced into a hard fight. It was particularly difficult because the monsters could jump over closely held lines of spears.
Though there were also cavalrymen in the knight squadrons of Balmel, it would be difficult to follow the monsters’ nimble movements even with trained warhorses. How they sealed the mobility of the enemy would become the decisive factor.
“Coping with them is possible if they don’t scatter haphazardly. Just to be sure, I’ll tell Holly to prepare to use soul technique.”
“Holly-san’s soul technique? Oh, come to think of it, Holly-san’s soul technique is ideal for a situation like this. ”
Soul technique was a skill exclusive to elves. Though each player or support character was assigned one attribute, they could use techniques that gave a different effect from their baseline attributes with magic skills.
The attribute of Holly’s soul technique was earth. It was suitable for sealing the opponent’s movements and installing obstructions rather than for attacking. It was a very effective way to reduce the mobility of the beast rider warriors.
“Then, for the rest of them agai――!!”
A loud alarm sound reached Shin’s ears when he started to say cleanup of the remaining monsters. That sound, which only Shin could hear, was from the 【Silent Whisper】 which he had set around Balmel. It was a warning that sounded when a preset number of hostile presences were detected.
“Shin, what’s wrong?”
“Apparently, they have come at last. There was a reaction in 【Silent Whisper】.”
“They have come at this time huh? Do you know their direction?”
“They are at the north gate, near the third war group.”
Shadow asked, after Shin broke off in the middle of speaking. The distance from the 【Silent Whisper】 to Balmel was approximately one kemel. There was a possibility that the third war group was already moving.
As for why hadn’t Shin and his party been notified, had nobody seen the enemy yet? Or was it because there was no one who could use Mind Chat? It seemed likely to be the former.
Soon after that thought, an indication of a message appeared on Shin’s view. The contents were about the monsters approaching Balmel and the third war group’s movements.
“It’s a message came from Tiera. The third war group has already moved to intercept. The monsters’ levels are high, and they seem to be moving in a direction which avoids contact with the frontlines.”
The monsters of the ‘Flood’ normally have levels that don’t reach 100 on average. However, the monsters approaching Balmel were a mix of creatures level 200 and greater.
Kaede seemed to be together with Tiera. She seems to have been the one who confirmed the information as it was written in the message.
“It’s more dangerous there, as we expected. We will take charge here. Shin, follow the plan and go over there. ”
“Roger that. I’ll leave this place to you.”
Shin entrusted that place to Hibineko and the others. He started running, while concealing himself with 【Hiding】, he also released his power 【Limit】.
With a bang sound, he crushed the ground as he sped up. At the same time, he put on the equipment he had prepared for a time like this.
Covering his whole body was a full plated armor of deep crimson which closely resembled samurai armor.
He held a deformed death scythe in his hand decorated with eye-like patterns on the base of the hilt and the blade.
The mood was completely different than a moment ago, as Shin ran at full speed.
As if rejoicing that its turn had come, the death scythe on Shin’s shoulder made a *Gisiri* sound.