Chapter 2 – Part 4
“I heard the story, but they really came huh?”
“Many people with a lot of combat experience, like my mother and father, are able to read the flow of battle with just their intuition. It’s a sense that I don’t understand yet.”
Before their eyes, they saw the monster hordes advancing while mowing down trees in the forest. The number of monsters were so great, that they dyed the earth black. By all rights, these monsters would normally be hostile to each other. Seeing that, Tiera talked about the things that Shin had spoken of and felt that they had come true.
“Kaede-chan, do you know what type of monsters they are and what their levels are?”
“Yes, but even if I disclose it, I am confused by all the various monsters mixed together, and to be frank, there’s no type. Even their lowest exceeds level 200. There are individuals whose levels are 350, which I believe are probably leaders.”
“Thank you. I’m going to contact Shin and Master, so please tell me if there are any changes.”
Tiera entrusted Kaede to be the lookout and opened a message card. The third war group started to move as they spread out in front of the rampart. Tiera quickly wrote down the information regarding the monsters that she had heard from Kaede and sent it to Shin and Schnee.
In the case that Shin and the others might not be near Tiera and her group, she was told to make contact immediately when the monsters came.
“This will do. Now, I will have to create a diversion until Shin and master come here.”
“I will help you.”
“Thank you. Though even if I say that, Kaede-chan is stronger than me.”
“No, I was taught that power is not everything, and because I also believe that myself, please issue instructions without reservation.”
Was it the influence of Shadow and Holly’s education? Kaede did not have an arrogant attitude although her stats were superior. It was said that strength is justice, or something like that, but she was free from the arrogance that was occasionally seen in Chosen Ones. On the other hand, Kaede was rather impressed with Tiera’s ability to keep up with her with the stats of a normal person. Although Tiera hadn’t realized it.
Even though Tiera’s stats were low, her abilities, because she had undergone training from Schnee for over 100 years, had already reached the level of an expert. During the escort job, when she had killed a bandit with an arrow, only her elven perception ability and her skill with a bow were required for the task. She had also fought against monsters above level 100 while traveling. Though she herself wasn’t aware of it, she had enough power to fight against the captain class of Balmel’s knight squadron on equal terms if she made a serious effort. Moreover, she was accompanied by a divine beast.
She was originally an alchemist and now a tamer. Tamers did not excel in physical abilities, and their worth was decided together with their monster partner as a set. Following that logic, Tiera could have been said to be stronger than Kaede.
Kaede was not so foolish as to take such a haughty attitude toward a partner like Tiera.
“When they come a little closer, I’ll shoot the individuals who seem to be the leaders with my bow. After that, I can do nothing but to continue shooting earnestly.”
“Can you aim from here?”
“I’ll be able to, somehow, with my weapon and Kagerou’s assistance. This time Yuzuha-chan is here too. Even if I have the 【Far Sight】 skill, I don’t feel like I am really needed.”
“That’s not true, someone who is accompanied by a divine beast like you is not bad at all! Tiera-san is also better at handling the bow than the instructor at the training school.”
Another person would probably say “What are you talking about?” to Tiera who was not aware of her own ability. Normally when a person’s own ability was low, no matter how much assistance they received, the results would still be low. Since she only started real combat training since leaving Tsuki no Hokora and being around Schnee so much, Tiera had lost any common sense for measuring people’s strength. This gave her a false impression about her own strength.
Moreover, the fact that Gaien and Tsubaki, who had come together during the escort request the other day, also had abilities that didn’t match their levels and ranks, had also contributed to that impression. To make matters worse, for the past several days she had trained on the training grounds, which were only intended for low-rank adventurers who tried to distract themselves from their own anxiety. Because of these strange turns of fate, Tiera was not yet able to properly recognize her own ability.
“Anyone can do this given 100 years, you know?”
“Certainly, it must be so if you say so.”
A woman who was the personification of the phrase ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.
“Now, it’s time to go!”
Seeing Tiera ready her bow, Kaede also prepared to use her soul technique.
Answering Kaede’s chant, an emerald-green sphere of light appeared. The attribute of her soul technique was wind. It was an attribute that rivaled many water and earth users among the elves that used soul technique. An emerald-green light sphere was something that visualized the wind’s spirit. A spirit in sphere of light form was the result of a low-leveled soul technique. When the skill level of the soul technique rose, it would take on various figures accordingly.
Kaede had asked for the divine protection of the wind spirit. Because it raised the hit-rate of their long-distance attacks and lowered the hit-rate of the enemy’s long-distance attacks, the divine protection was said to be necessary to employ when one is using a bow.
“Divine protection has been applied.”
Tiera, who concentrated on drawing the bow, thanked in a low voice.
The bow that Tiera was using was not the purely wooden bow that she had been using up until now, and was instead an obviously superior bow with metal incorporated all throughout it. It had been made using a branch of a magical tree that had been said to be over a thousand years old and with mithril, which had a good affinity for magic. The bow itself was charged with a dense magical power. Had the arrows she was using been processed as well? To Kaede, the arrows seemed to absorb the magical power of the bow.
Kagerou and Yuzuha growled next to Tiera, who pulled the bow. At the same time, Tiera herself began to shine as she was clad in purple lighting.
Was she concentrating? Tiera didn’t seemed to notice her own state. She held her breath while drawing the bow so her aim didn’t shift due to breathing.
And, at the same timing as the long-distance attacks by the archers and mages, Tiera released all the power charged in the bow.
The moment the arrow had been released, strong winds violently circled around Tiera, causing Kaede to raise a small scream. It was the recoil from the magic power that had been focused into one point and then released.
The people who couldn’t attack from afar and could only watch Tiera and the others, lost their balance and fell down from the sudden gust. Many of the people who had fallen down hadn’t fallen simply because of the wind.
It was because they had seen the spectacle when the bow was released.
“What is that…”
Someone said, but everyone was thinking the same thing.
What had been shot from Tiera’s bow, was it really an ‘arrow’? The display caused them to doubt something even as basic as that.
The arrow shot from the bow had been enveloped in magic power, and it flew several kemels toward the monsters in an instant, leaving a band of light and a flash of purplish lighting.
If Shin had seen this, he would probably say, “it’s a beam”. The arrow was ridiculously fast, as if a light technique system magic skill had been evoked. It went in a straight line, completely disregarding arc trajectory, which was a characteristic of archery, towards the ‘Ogre Leader,’ one of the monster leaders. When it struck, it scraped the leader and its surrounding off as the purplish lighting spread for several mels around the place where the arrow pierced the ground. Though only one arrow had been shot, the damaged area contained up to a dozen of bodies including the leader.
Monsters like the Ogre Leader that had been hit directly by Tiera’s attack were annihilated, leaving behind only their forearms and lower legs as if the space containing their torsos had been erased. The monsters who were the subordinates of the leader saw this and seemed to be terribly confused by the sudden situation.
“Um…Tiera-san, is that bow…”
“Shin lent it to me since I seem able to use it now…but I didn’t hear that so much power would come forth when I shot seriously!”
Judging from Tiera’s tone, it did not seem to have released as much power while she had been practicing. While looking at the bow she held in her hand, her face stiffened.
“F-For the time being, let’s prioritize killing monsters! I think you shouldn’t think too deeply about it!”
“T-That’s right! I’ll question Shin closely about this later; now is the time to suppress the monsters in front of us, right!”
Although Tiera’s shooting had decreased the monsters’ morale with its bombardment, the number of monsters had hardly changed. When they had settled down, Tiera and Kaede decided to resume attacking.
The surrounding people also pulled themselves together as they saw the two get ready to resume. They started moving to do things they thought they could do.
“Here’s another one”
A single blow like a flash of light was again shot from the bow Tiera held. Like last time, a leader was rent asunder, and unrest ran through the subordinate monsters.
However, even with that much power, if one considered the amount of magic and time needed to concentrate and charge up for the attack, she was not able to rapidly discharge arrows. As a whole, the damage was insignificant when compared to the total number of monsters.
In addition, after several shots, the remaining monsters learned to predict Tiera’s attacks and the leaders began to withdraw outside the bow’s range. They then directed only the subordinate monsters toward Balmel.
“Ugh, I’m sorry, I need to rest for a while.”
After about 10 arrows, Tiera lowered her bow and sat down.
In terms of power, it was natural that the higher the output, the higher the magic consumption rate would be. Even though it was possible to shoot without using magic, it would be better to wait for her magic to recover when considering efficiency.
While patting Kagerou, who looked at her anxiously, Tiera took out a magic medicine ‘ether’ and put it in her mouth. Tiera swallowed the odorless and faintly sweet liquid, and shifted her eyes toward the battlefield.
Ahead of her gaze, she saw the cavalry unit of Balmel’s third war group cut off the monster hordes while receiving support from the mage unit.
The knight squadron charged into the areas where the monsters were still in turmoil from Tiera’s bombardment. The monsters were unable to resist the assault.
The ones who attacked were the elite of the third war group. During their attack, the monsters were trampled repeatedly without a single loss. If you looked closely, something like a film of light could be seen enveloping the knights and the horses.
Divine magic art 【Light of Mercy】. This was one art that Tiera had memorized. It was a personal barrier that absorbed damage from the monsters. Mages and the like often used it to compensate for their low defense. It was learned as a preparation against surprise attack. It was originally a priest’s field of expertise, but it was an art that many people learned regardless of their job. Many of the cavalrymen who returned had lost the film of light. The mage unit cast it again. After all, arts were not as powerful as skills.
“If they get here, then I’ll fight too!”
When they got closer, Kaede invoked the soul technique again. Spirits of various sizes flew in the air, and bullets of air that were approximately the size of a soccer ball scattered over the monster hordes.
When these multi-colored balls of air hit their targets, a large amount of smoke was released into the area. Then, the monsters in that area suddenly stopped moving and started to act strange as they began to attack their allies.
“I see, the effect of 【Wind of Interference】 is amplified by soul technique, right?”
“Yes, though I don’t expect it to do any damage, it’s ideal for disrupting the enemy.”
【Wind of Interference】 was a magic belonging to the middle rank wind technique magic skills. The magic skill involved firing wind bullets that randomly debuffed their targets; it had a high probability of causing an abnormal status, but the damage it dealt was almost zero.
As for why Kaede had chosen to do that, it was because Shadow and Holly, who had experienced large-scale battles in addition to the ‘Flood,’ had taught her to do so. More than direct attacks were needed to be effective when facing numerous opponents at once. Using skills such as poison, paralyze, and confuse was one of the strategies that prevented the other party from demonstrating their strength as a group.
There was a big difference in strength between organized groups who acted together in a systematic way and groups that either were never organized or became disorganized. 【Wind of Interference】 was used to prevent that from happening.
The monsters, which had been rushing closer, had been disturbed by the chaos occurring inside their group. The monsters that had been paralyzed fell over and were trampled by the monsters behind them. The monsters that had been confused were attacking their allies from the rear. The frontline, which had stood in one straight line, began to shift greatly, forming a gap between the monsters that were still advancing forward and the monsters that were falling behind.
The cavalry unit of Balmel didn’t miss this opportunity, and killed the monsters that had protruded away from the rest of the line in smaller groups.
“That’s the elite of Balmel for you. But…”
“Yes, at this rate, it would be bad.”
The knights’ movements had certainly proven their skill. However in the long run, there was an upper limit in number of enemies that the cavalry unit, the mages unit, and the long-distance attack of the archery unit could defeat. As for not sending the infantry, it was because they knew it was only a matter of time before they would get swallowed by the huge number of monsters.
“Now is the time!”
Kagerou answered Tiera with a bark. Tiera and Kagerou were standing away from the direction that the monsters that had spawned from the ‘Flood’ were coming from. Tiera had been posted here to prepare for when the monsters moved into the area where no Chosen Ones had been deployed.
Kagerou was expected to support her if push came to shove.
Beside Kagerou, who fixed his eyes on the enemy valiantly, Yuzuha raised its foot and barked. That look seemed to say, “Yuzuha too! Yuzuha too!”
“Okay, I’m counting on Yuzuha-chan too.”
“Leave it to me!” was what Yuzuha seemed to say with a cheerful bark.
Even though Yuzuha was far from its full strength, Yuzuha’s level surpassed 400, and because its tail had split into three, it was able to use flame technique and lightning technique in addition to divine magic. Its combat power was already by no means inferior to an upper class Chosen One. Yuzuha was more than enough as a battle force.
Kagerou and Yuzuha’s backup accounted for nearly half of the power of Tiera’s prior bombardment. Even if Tiera possessed many Shin-made items, she was only able to use weapons that were available to the commoner class with her stats, and it would have been a serious problem if she attacked inaccurately with a superior weapon. Her low accuracy would have been the result of her low affinity with both the weapons and the support she was given. To digress, despite her low DEX, she could aim and hit at a target with a bow of high power like the one she held; In general, Tiera’s ability didn’t depended on her stats.
“Alright! My magic power has been restored, too. I’ll reduce the number of enemies a little more.”
After her magic power had been sufficiently restored, Tiera aimed her bow at the leaders and began to shoot again.
Her bow’s shots, which were impossible to counterattack against because they came from the highest point on the rampart, had a small but steady impact on the groups she attacked.
Meanwhile, an individual clearly different from the other monsters appeared before Tiera’s eyes.
Its body was two times bigger than a normal ogre. It had blue skin that was almost black, two crystal-like horns that grew from its head, and grasped a huge ax that was enveloped in dark red aura in its hand.
“That one’s kinda big.”
“It’s not a leader individual. Its name appears to be ‘Berserks’. Its level is…I can’t see it?!”
Kaede spoke out loud as 『???』 was displayed at the column of its level.
If Kaede, who was a critical who could fight against a Chosen One, couldn’t see its level, then its level probably exceeded 500.
Away from Kaede, who was shocked, a large amount of magic arts and arrows poured down on Berserks. Even from a distance, the knight squadrons were not as incompetent as to miss the strange atmosphere that Berserks emitted.
The attacks had been strong enough to crush ordinary ogres and Ogre Commanders, but before they could hit, Berserks swung its ax with a tremendous force.
The ax created a windstorm in its wake as it was swung. The wind it generated blew away not only the magic and the arrows, but the monsters nearby as well. Though the attacks, which had been aimed at it had dealt damage to the monsters around it, not even one arrow had reached Berserks’ vitals.
While the magic and the arrows had killed many other monsters, Berserks, who had been at the center of the attacks, remained completely unharmed. It walked forward towards Balmel without anything slowing it down.
“What is that!”
“That weapon, I believe it may have the performance close to a magic sword. That Berserks didn’t even flinch from the attack and was able to use the weapon like that.”
“This isn’t the time to be surprised. Kagerou, Yuzuha-chan, lend me your power!”
They had likely sensed that it was not an average opponent. Kagerou and Yuzuha answered by granting their power to Tiera’s bow.
(How about this!!)
The blow, which was charged with more power than previously seen, was then shot towards Berserks.
However, the single arrow that had been heading straight toward the enemy and leaving a trail of light and sundering the air in its wake was, of all the things, intercepted by Berserks’ ax.
While letting the aura rise from the axe, Berserks drew a red arc in the air. The swing of the axe, which couldn’t be compared with physical strength of the surrounding ogres and the like, flung aside the arrow which flew toward Berserks.
Berserks raised its voice to psych itself up.
After a moment of resistance, the arrow was deflected from its original trajectory and pierced the ground. Because its trajectory had been diverted almost 90 degrees from its original path, there was no damage due to impact when the shock and the purplish lighting landed.
Tiera was speechless from shock, because the blow that was so fast it hadn’t permitted the monsters to react up until now, had been completely repelled. She hadn’t expected to defeat it, but she had expected to at least wound it.
There were no other individuals like it within the whole crowd of monsters. It was possibly the strongest individual among the approaching monster hordes. Judging from the fact that it had appeared only moments ago, it probably had been either kept away from the frontline or had missed the chance to make a surprise attack.
“Kaede-chan, can you do a stronger attack than the one just now?”
“No, I can’t do anything stronger than what you just did Tiera-san…”
Tiera had asked Kaede a slight hope, but the latter’s answer was not favorable. Even if she combined her magic with Kaede’s soul technique, that seemed problematic.
Now that it had come to this, there was nothing that the knight squadron could do any more.
“!! Tiera-san!! Look!!”
Tiera, who had thought she had no choice but to depend on Kagerou, returned her gaze toward the battlefield at Kaede’s prompting. She could see the figures of the cavalry unit as they charged toward Berserks.
The monsters around Berserks had been driven back by the rain of magic and arrows. This had temporarily created an open area around Berserks. A small number of the cavalry unit had advanced straight into that area.
“Maybe, they intend to try something with their highest-level people?”
“Isn’t that just suicide? Kagerou!! Get ready now!! …Kagerou?”
In order to support them immediately, Tiera called out Kagerou. But there was no response.
When Tiera shifted her gaze from the battlefield and looked at Kagerou, he had turned toward a different battlefield. If one looked closely, Yuzuha also looking in the same direction.
Tiera was going to say “there?”, but before she finished her sentence, she felt a strange sensation that prevented her from speaking.
Something was coming.
Tiera, who had not learned the perception system either as a skill or art, still clearly felt some presence approaching.
Ahead where Kaede was pointing, there was a silhouette charging forward through the crowd of monsters.
It was fast.
At a speed far faster than a horse or a riding beast monster type, that silhouette drew near to the battlefield.
In no time, the silhouette reached the edge of the group, then jumped without pausing. The cloud of dust billowing up, indicated the power of its leap.
“Is that…a knight?”
It was Kaede who muttered, but a lack of confidence could be perceived in those words. It was no wonder. A person jumping over 100 mels while wearing full body armor, was not normal.
However, that was not the only things that surprised her.
Considering the direction of the jump, that person probably intended to face Berserks. Even if one had a marvelous jumping power, they could never reach Berserks who was close to the center of the battlefield. However, that figure of a person jumped even further while in midair.
As expected, the monsters were also astonished by this. Their faces seemed to express bewilderment while the silhouette passed over them as they watched.
Seeing that insane movement, a person’s face flashed in Tiera’s mind.
A person who was able to do the things that had happened before her eyes.
In fact, there were three people as far as Tiera knew.
Among them, there was only one person who seemed to do these kinds of things, so she tried to call out Yuzuha for confirmation.
“Hey, Yuzuha-chan. Is that by any chance…Shin?”
A bark seemed to say, “that’s right” was returned.
“Ahh…I see. That’s why Kagerou didn’t move.”
If she looked at Kagerou’s reaction, Kagerou would probably have noticed Shin approaching earlier than Tiera.
It seemed silly that she had become flustered. Though this was not the time to relax, Tiera somehow felt exhausted. It was too bad for the soldiers on top of the rampart, but they would probably have nothing to do anymore.
“Wow, he landed between Berserks and the knights.”
While hearing what seemed like a little excitement from Kaede’s voice, Tiera thought,
(I hope you don’t overdo it…)