Shin managed to switch to the 『Great Shell Shield of Collision』just before the beam struck. It was one of the remaining functions from the game, weapon swap. The beam was weaker than expected as he was blown away, but received no damage. Shin replied to Schnee and Yuzuha’s worried calls, then stood back up. He had been hit in midair, so he had crashed into the ground.
Shin looked at his surroundings and understood what Reforgerer had done. The ground was scorched in a ripple-like pattern, with Shin at the center. The attack range was wider than the regular beam, but he should have been buried deeper into the ground and burned by the higher temperature having been struck from such a close distance. Shin’s location was also outside the usual beam’s scope.
“Less power, more range, huh.”
Such an attack did not exist in the game era. The range was too wide and therefore difficult to avoid. The sole disadvantage was that it lacked power.
The shield’s durability had barely decreased, so Shin realized that the defensive gear he had equipped should be enough to resist it.
“If I get too close, claws and tail…if I stay far, beam attacks, In a 360° range to boot.”
Shin tried talking casually to make the situation seem less dire, but it didn’t work very well. Since the guardian could have other unknown attack patterns, it was difficult to go on the offensive. Reforgerer’s attacks were usually lethal.
“Well, I guess I should be thankful that he’s only targeting me…not that I know why.”
Schnee and Yuzuha attacked Reforgerer to gain its attention, but the divine beast was focused on Shin. At first, he thought it was because Shin was the first to attack, but it kept attacking Shin even after Schnee and Yuzuha started attacking.
Was it because he was the strongest among them? Or maybe because of the force Yuzuha mentioned. Or some other reason. However, there were other things to do before thinking about this.
Shin stood back up and Reforgerer’s tail came down to strike him. It was like a whole skyscraper coming down on him. Compared to the beams, it was easy to deal with. For players, fighting against larger opponents was fairly common. After all, bosses were often gigantic monsters.
Shin kept the shield pointed upwards, holding it diagonally. The moment the tail struck, he swung his arm upwards and activated a skill.
Shield-type Martial skill 【Shock Glide】
It was a variation of the skill that allowed the user to counter enemy attacks, a so-called parry, powered up for large size monsters. The tail, aiming to crush Shin into the ground, slid along the shield and was directed up as if it were only natural.
“I couldn’t get your neck, but what about your tail?”
Reforgerer’s tail gradually grew thinner towards the tip. Shin couldn’t sever the divine beast’s neck, as it was protected by both scales and robust muscle fibers, but the tail was different.
While the tail was packed with muscles, they were thinner and less resilient than those in the neck, because they needed to maintain flexibility. Shin readied his blade targeting the tail, full of openings now that it missed its mark. He made full use of his unfettered stats as he jumped high in the air and swung down with 『Moonless』.
Katana/Water combination skill 【Still Water】.
Following the slash, the tail was enveloped in blue light. The next instant, with a clear, sharp sound, a 10 mel portion of the tip of the tail was cut off and danced in midair.
“Okay, I can cu—-”
Reforgerer’s rage for this wound made it roar. Shin was ready to follow-up, but a very worrying crack-like sound reached his ears. At the same time, he felt a slight vibration run through his right hand.
Shin looked down to his right. There he saw 『Moonless』 with a crack in the center of its blade. Part of the blade was missing, and cracks spread through it like shattering ice.
“Seriously!? I just cut it twice…!”
The katana’s remaining durability was just 20%. Shin estimated that it was not damaged by the monster’s scales or flesh, but by his own power. He could see the cracks spread as he continued to grip it.
His blacksmith skills could tell him what happened: the magic power he imbued into the blade when using skills exceeded the weapon’s limits.
“…will I run out of weapons first, or will Tiera complete the purification first…?”
Even an Ancient-grade weapon could only do so much. A Mythology-grade weapon would not even withstand one strike. Shin was prepared to sacrifice his weapons, but did not expect them to be consumed so quickly.
He mentally recounted his available weapons, then looked at Reforgerer. It wasn’t attacking because Schnee and Yuzuha were giving their all to keep it occupied.
“Even their attacks won’t prove lethal for this beast.”
Schnee’s 『Blue Moon』 slashed the scales and the flesh under them, Yuzuha’s claws and magic spread the wounds. They had hardly ever fought together before this, but their attack and defense were seamlessly coordinated. Even so, the damage they caused to Reforgerer was minimal.
Reforgerer’s HP was incredibly high, so no matter how much it was damaged, it was hard to tell if it could really be defeated.
Can we defeat it? Shin asked himself.
A pointless question, he answered.
I’ll cut off its neck first. If that doesn’t work, I’ll crush its heart. If it doesn’t die even with that, I’ll keep attacking it until it does, or seal it. There’s a lot of things I haven’t tried yet. I can’t die until I have tested them all, nor will I let anyone else die.
“It’s been a long time since I last fought like this.”
With his conviction renewed, Shin browsed through his item box and materialized new weapons.
An enormous battle axe appeared on his left hand, a longsword on his right. The battle axe was not the regular single-sided or double-sided blade type: its single-sided blade extended along with the handle, to protect the wielder’s grip. Being as tall as Shin, it looked like a fusion between an axe and a broadsword. A yellow, almost golden aura surrounded the blade.
The longsword on his right hand was a simple double-edged weapon without decorations. The blade was painted in black and blue, with a reddish-black streak running along the center. This sword was enveloped in a very dark red and blue aura.
Shin’s left hand wielded the “Thundersteel Axe”, 『Keravnos』.
His right hand held the sword “Cursed Storm”, 『Stormbringer』 .
Both of them were superior Ancient-grade weapons. The usage of two different weapons at the same time was one of the battle styles Shin developed in THE NEW GATE in order to survive.
“Using all sorts of weapons, one after the other, that’s how a blacksmith fights!”
After shouting something that all blacksmiths in this world would vehemently disagree with, Shin ran forward, holding 『Keravnos』 and 『Stormbringer』 like spreading wings, heading straight towards Reforgerer.
Thanks to Schnee’s and Yuzuha’s attacks, the guardian’s attention was drawn away from Shin. He concealed himself with 【Hiding】 and approached the monster.
“Here goes nothing!”
Using his running momentum, Shin swung 『Keravnos』.
Lights flashed, and a moment later, thunder roared.
Axe-type Martial skill 【Core Breaker】.
It was a skill that created large openings, so it could not be used often, but it ignored enemy defenses and, paired with an axe’s normally very high offensive power, was powerful enough to blow away monsters many times the size of the wielder.
What would happen if the current Shin used it? As an answer to this question, Reforgerer’s massive, robust right leg was carved for more than half of its width and disappeared.
In exchange,the tip of 『Keravnos』’ blade cracked and shattered.
Shin quickly turned it into a card and put it away, then kicked the ground. Reforgerer, having lost most of its right foot under the ankle, lost its balance.
Shin twisted his body in midair, targeting Reforgerer’s head with 『Stormbringer』. The longsword emitted grinding sounds because of Shin’s powerful grip. Focused fully on his target, Shin did not notice that 『Stormbringer』’s blade was wrapped in a bright purple aura.
Shin thrust 『Stormbringer』 with as much strength as he could. He was still far from Reforgerer’s head, but an enormous half-transparent blade extended from 『Stormbringer』, quickly filling the distance.
Sword-type Martial skill 【Shiden – Dimension】
This skill ignored enemy defense. It could be used only with a thrusting motion and created a blade of magic from the tip of the wielder’s weapon. Its strongest characteristic was that the blade of magic could extend. The blade grew thinner as it stretched, so at its limits it was only a few cemel wide, but it was still enough to target the opponent’s head or heart.
It was a physical attack with a magic blade, so it could damage even frontline warriors. Because of this, in a certain period the bizarre combo of “sword snipers” was fairly popular in the game. Because of this, management “nerfed” the skill, making it unable to damage units other than the target and making it less damaging the more distance there was between the caster and the target. In the current situation, with the opponent coming closer to Shin on their own, there was no problem.
Shin’s target was Reforgerer’s throat, the spot he damaged with 【Blaze Divide】. Shiden-caused wounds healed slowly, so the gash was not fully closed yet.
The blade wrapped in purple sparkles of light did not fail: it stabbed the wound on Reforgerer’s throat and pierced through its flesh, boosted by the skill’s power, Shin’s muscular strength — supported by the ground — and the monster’s own weight.
The blade’s width depended on the user’s stats. Shin’s 【Dimension】 blade was much wider than what it was during the game era, because of his reinforced stats.
It would be plenty for him if it was three times the size of the blade, but it stretched as far as ten times the original width.
“Your head…is mine…!!!”
Shin felt it as 『Stormbringer』 pierced the center of Reforgerer’s throat and swung it to the side. Normally, the blade would break if it was forced to do such a sweep. The sword wrapped in light, however, showed a sturdiness that 【Dimension】 normally did not have. Slowly but surely, the blade cut through Reforgerer’s neck.
However, the divine beast would not sit still.
Above the half severed neck, the monster’s mouth opened. A flash of light then formed Reforgerer’s searing beam. Even with its throat slashed, it could apparently still fire.
Schnee and Yuzuha’s voices overlapped. Shin, still holding 『Stormbringer』 high, had no way of dodging. The beam reached Shin, but split in a ripple-like shape before hitting him, scorching the ground.
Shin, holding 『Stormbringer』 with one hand, used the other to quickly materialize the 『Great Shell Shield of Collision』.
He managed to deflect the beam with the shield, but the 【Dimension】 blade shattered. He could not protect the blade extending from his hands to Reforgerer’s neck with the shield.
As the beam vanished, Reforgerer’s claws struck. After all, it was a monster through and through. Even with most of its neck cut off, it continued attacking.
Shin clicked his tongue and jumped away. He turned『Stormbringer』, only a handle after its blade shattered, back into a card and materialized a lance glowing in gold and a large katana with an emerald hue.
The “Divine Lance” 『Gungnir』 in his left hand and the “Cleaving Blade” 『Murakumo』 in his right. It was a festival of Ancient-grade weapons.
“(Schnee! Yuzuha! Act while I’m drawing its attention!)”
Shin called them via Mind Chat, then launched 『Murakumo』 towards Reforgerer’s neck, holding back some of his strength so as not to break it.
It’s still looking at me. This confidence prompted Shin to attempt the shot. 『Murakumo』, flying boosted by a skill, was knocked away before it could reach the scales covering Reforgerer’s head. The shock, however, pushed the monster’s head back, enlarging its wound. Then, Reforgerer’s body touched the ground.
With a heavy, dull sound, the ground shook. Reforgerer was solely focused on attacking, with no regards for defending itself.
“Here comes the big one!!”
Shin had jumped just before the monster came crashing down, so he was not affected by the tremors. He readied 『Gungnir』, calmly targeting the divine beast’s wounds. Ignoring the grinding sounds coming from the handle, Shin activated a skill.
Spear-type Martial skill 【Flying Circle Thrust】.
『Gungnir』 would always strike its target when thrown, but, thanks to the skill, its aura shone even brighter. Collapsed on the ground, Reforgerer had no way to defend itself.
『Gungnir』 flew straight and true.
Even in such a situation, the monster moved. It shot the wide-range beam, the same attack that had surprised Shin earlier. Its power was reduced, so it could not destroy 『Gungnir』. The weapon’s aim, however, was deflected.
『Gungnir』 was supposed to strike the remaining part connecting Reforgerer’s head to its body, but passed through the already severed section, finally impaling the ground, blowing away a huge chunk of the surrounding terrain. The remaining flesh on Reforgerer’s neck had just been brushed against: about 10% of it remained.
The strategy to cut off that remaining 10% had already been prepared.
Something cast a shadow over the collapsed Reforgerer. It was Schnee, glowing in gold thanks to Yuzuha’s assistance, wielding 『Murakumo』 veiled in a light purple hue.
Schnee activated a skill, adding it to Shin’s power lingering within 『Murakumo』.
Katana-type Martial skill 【Shiden – Heaven Slash】.
The coup de grace. If it connected, the monster’s neck would be completely severed. Reforgerer still would not give up. Its massive tail flew towards Schnee.
“Not a chance!!”
Yuzuha, in giant form, created magic from her tails and used it in a mass to repel and blow away the monster’s tail. She was clearly regaining her original strength.
They were completely out of range of beam attacks. The monster’s claws would not reach, its tail was knocked away. Reforgerer’s defenses were finally spent.
“This is the end!!”
Schnee’s tone was brimming with conviction. The blade she swung severed Reforgerer’s neck completely. The slash’s shockwaves carved deep into the ground, transmitting the high power of the skill.
Reforgerer’s head rolled away on the ground, as strength clearly abandoned its torso. They couldn’t let their guard down yet since its HP was still not zero.
“What’s going on now?”
The torso remained the same, but the monster’s head was changing shape. It turned into a sort of mist, then took human form. Using 【Analyze】 showed not Reforgerer’s name, but Crissot’s.
Before Shin, still armed, Crissot whispered such words before vanishing without leaving a trace.
“He teleported…? It can’t be that…he went where Tiera and the others are?”
Shin did not know how he did it, but he could only think of one place where Crissot might have gone. Sure enough, moments after the disappearance Shin and his group received a Mind Chat from Shibaid. Crissot had suddenly appeared before them.