TNG Vol. 17 Chapter 3 Part 4
“Found? Do they mean Shin?”
“I think so, judging from how they’re staring a hole in me. It can’t be just this sword.”
Shin answered Filma’s question while glancing at 『Hunter Fang』 in his right hand.
Specialized weapons, regardless of ability or critical damage ratio, were not especially rare items.
Even if it was extremely dangerous for Heltoros Garze and the other monsters, Shin was sure that they wouldn’t react to it by saying something like “Found”.
“Well, let’s say they’re giving us time to do some stretching before the real thing!”
A magic circle appeared on the ground around Shin. He didn’t just stand there watching the monsters and talking: he had prepared a magic spell for the monsters other than Heltoros Garze.
The reason why he used a magic circle for the spell, despite the fact that Shin could cast powerful magic without chanting, was that pouring more MP allowed the spell to continue even after Shin left the magic circle.
The spell created a small automatic cannon.
“Okay then, regardless of how the monsters might have acted unusually just now, what we have to do doesn’t change.”
While Shin finished setting up the magic circle, Filma leaped in Heltoros Garze’s direction.
The high-speed movement provided by her armor’s magic power expulsion made it look like she was flying.
If too much time passed they would get surrounded by the monsters, but thanks to her mobility she could break through any time.
For the first attack, Filma wrapped her 『Scarlet Moon』 in flames and charged from the front.
Her opponent was an advanced high-level monster, however: no matter how much mobility she had, if it could see the path of her blade, there was no way for her to get a clean hit.
Heltoros Garze crouched and easily avoided the slash searing the air.
Filma’s『Scarlet Moon』was upgraded by Shin into newer version. The beast probably understood that it would be dangerous to block it.
“You won’t play with me?”
Filma, her momentum boosted by the magic power expulsion, and Heltoros Garze crossed each other.
Filma experienced the recoil of drawing 『Scarlet Moon』, her own weight, and the acceleration by magic power expulsion. As Filma did not have sub-weapons equipped, she could only perform additional attacks via magic in such a situation.
It wasn’t clear if Heltoros Garze was aware of this or not, but it was clearly not paying attention to her.
It underestimated her.
Because after『Scarlet Moon』sliced through the air above the monster, she attacked again from above the monster’s head, and it couldn’t completely dodge the blade this time.
“Animal instincts, huh?”
So Filma whispered to herself while chasing down Heltoros Garze. Even if wounded, the monster did not stop running.
She had swung 『Scarlet Moon』 aiming to crush the beast’s left head, but Heltoros Garze twisted its body out of the way at the last second.
It couldn’t dodge completely, however: the blade, glowing in an emerald light different from the flames of the first slash, left a large gash on Heltoros Garze’s back.
“If you keep ignoring me like that you’ll wound my pride.”
The cut was by no means light, so it would be normal for Filma to draw aggro because of it.
Heltoros Garze, however, did not stop one second. Moreover, it didn’t even spare a glance at Filma. It looked like it escaped her attacks and what could have proven fatal too.
“(Was that roar from before a special skill?)”
“(I don’t see any particular buffs or special status, though.)”
Shin replied to Filma’s Mind Chat, then prepared his 『Hunter Fang』 to strike Heltoros Garze.
Monsters facing a specialized weapon normally acted wary of its dangers, but there was nothing of the sort this time.
“(It seems to me that it’s not like it won’t bother to look at me, but that it can’t. It reacts a little if I’m in its field of vision, but then it just gives me the bare minimum instinctive reaction!)”
Filma did not let go: she attacked Heltoros Garze again while the latter kept running towards Shin.
Chains of light extended from the tip of her sword towards the monster.
It was 【Arc Bind】, one of the most powerful restricting-type skills.
Even if Heltoros Garze was over level 800, it would be forced to stop if hit by such a skill.
The skill’s chains were very sturdy and difficult to break. The best option available was to dodge them.
The chains spread widely to eliminate any possible escape route for Heltoros Garze. Before it could be completely surrounded, however, the monster leaped in the air.
So said Filma, waiting in the spot Heltoros Garze was leaping to, her 『Scarlet Moon』 ready to strike.
Since Heltoros Garze seemed hell-bent on pushing forward, she expected it would jump that way and prepared for it.
Golden flames danced around 『Scarlet Moon』’s blade. Filma leaped in the air and spun once: the flames released by her sword made her look like a phoenix with golden wings.
Triple combination skill 【Regal Blade of the Soaring Phoenix】.
It was one of the ultimate “Shiden” skills of sword arts, combining sword arts, flame magic, and light magic.
Heltoros Garze had no way to move in midair. As a final struggle, it tried smashing the golden blade descending diagonally from the right with its left head’s jaws, but the blade crushed its fangs and proceeded to slice through the beast’s torso.
The skill didn’t stop there, however.
Filma spun once more, adding centrifugal force to 『Scarlet Moon』 and swinging it again upwards.
Heltoros Garze’s right head was severed and finally, the monster stopped moving.
Two slashes in midair from a position higher than the opponent. That was the basic form of 【Regal Blade of the Soaring Phoenix】.
For the monster pack, however, losing their leader was not the last of their misfortunes.
【Regal Blade of the Soaring Phoenix】 concentrated energy in the blade and unleashed powerful slashes on the enemy. The stronger the enemy, the more energy was consumed.
The power Filma infused in 【Regal Blade of the Soaring Phoenix】 could not be spent simply by performing the two basic slashes.
Because of her higher stats and the weapon’s upgrades, the skill ended up being more powerful than she expected.
The golden slashes that severed Heltoros Garze’s body, still burning with energy, flew towards the monsters in the back.
After landing, the slashes scattered golden sparks in a ripple fashion.
It was a beautiful view, but any monster that touched the sparks turned to cinders in mere instants. Even the tiniest spark could incinerate large monsters in no time.
From the monsters’ standpoint, it was like a wall of unbearably hot flames was approaching. Any normal monster would have fled at the sight.
“The skill’s power went up, perhaps too much. It’s useful now, but I have to adjust a bit more.”
Lack of control of a skill’s power could be dangerous during training. However, this could be a good chance for Filma to test it out.
“Anyway, not only do they not stop, but they don’t even hesitate a little.”
Before gravity forced her on the ground again, Filma looked down at the monsters.
They kept running as if they couldn’t even see the golden sparks, charging headlong into the fire. The grotesque sight sullen her expression.
Filma eventually landed and readied her 『Scarlet Moon』 again. Even if the leader of the pack, Heltoros Garze, was gone, the monsters’ advance did not stop.
The only way to solve the situation was to defeat every single monster.
A small distance away from her, a fireball struck the ground.
Despite its moderate 50 cemel size, the fireball caused a massive explosion that rocked the ground all around it. Shin’s magic circle had started its barrage.
He did not shoot only fireballs.
Thunderballs that rained lightning bolts all around them. Ice balls that froze the ground and all monsters in the vicinity.
Wind balls that scattered transparent blades of wind everywhere. The magic circle shot spheres of various magic elements.
After a little while, a blue and white sphere, clearly charged with much more magic power than the others, landed in a spot with higher monster density. This sphere was shot by Shin himself.
Once it hit the monster cluster, the ground under them froze. The freezing effect upon impact was the same as the ice balls, but the differences were its range and that the frozen monsters shattered even if nothing hit them.
The area where the sphere landed was filled with tiny fragments of shattered monsters, much like diamond dust.
“There’s still too many.”
They had already defeated more than a hundred, but the horde of incoming monsters had no end in sight.
“Do you think that the other packs will come this way if I stay here?”
“It’s easier to protect others like that, but I wonder if something convenient like that will really happen…?”
Did the bizarre focus on Shin affect only Heltoros’ pack, or also the other packs roaming the continent? It was too early to draw a conclusion.
Shin tried contacting Shibaid and the others about it, while swinging his sword and casting spells, when it happened.
Shin’s instincts told him that an attack was coming. He turned around and his whole field of view was submerged in white light. He had no time to evade.
He reacted with surprise but activated a skill at the same time. His body moved before his mind did: Shin waved his left palm in the attack’s direction, in a backhand-like fashion.
His palm was infinitely smaller than the approaching beam of light, which was large enough to engulf his whole body.
The skill had been activated in the spur of the moment, but its user was Shin nonetheless. The magic power concentrated in his palm was incommensurable.
The white light and the fist clashed.
The beam annihilated any monsters in the vicinity, without losing any of its power, but Shin’s fist did not fall. On the contrary, the white light was deflected away and scattered before it could strike, as if it had crashed against a transparent wall.
The white light deviated to the left and right around Shin: some sparks fell on his feet, but his reinforced defensive gear was unscathed.
Despite the attack dissolving around him, Shin did not even feel any heat: he realized that even if he was hit his armor would have protected him fully and felt relieved.
Even if he knew on paper that the attack wouldn’t have affected him dramatically, being targeted like that was still shocking.
Filma was surprised to see Shin suddenly attacked by the beam of light. She was so focused on the many monsters around them that she didn’t notice the incoming attack.
“I’m all right!”
Shin barely managed to catch Filma’s shout while he was parrying the beam and shouted back at her not to worry.
The beam of light continued for about five seconds: after three seconds it started growing thinner and in the end had little to no offensive power.
“What the heck was that?”
After the beam died out, the surviving monsters started attacking again: while fighting against them, Shin looked in the direction of the source of the beam.
The white light annihilated any monsters and carved the ground in its wake. The spots where the light was deflected to or scattered were in a similar state.
The attack came from the direction of Selcikeus and the insect monsters pack. Just when a certain possibility crossed his mind, a flood of voices hit him.
“(HEY SHIN!! CAN YOU HEAR ME!? SHIN!!)”
A voice by Mind Chat would not hurt the ears even if it was loud, but the loud volume of the call took Shin by surprise. Because of that, he swung 『Fang Hunter』 so hard that he carved through a monster and the ground.
“(I can hear you Sety, no need to shout. What’s wrong?)”
“(Ah, you’re okay! Shibaid, Shin replied!)”
Shin’s response caused a reaction he found almost exaggerated,
The situation seemed to be frenetic: they were speaking normally, but he could hear the conversation via Mind Chat. Shin thought that Shibaid might have been trying to call him too.
He seemed to recall hearing a voice while he was blocking the beam attack.
He was fully focused on deflecting the beam of white light, so he couldn’t hear the voice clearly over the noise of the ground being carved and the monsters’ wailing.
“(You weren’t responding, so I felt a chill down my spine.)”
“(I was probably defending against an attack right at that time. Sorry Shibaid, I didn’t notice.)”
“(No, we didn’t expect it to target you either. The monsters suddenly stopped, so we were looking closely to see what happened when all of a sudden again the beam of light shot in a direction different than their course. We haven’t engaged them yet, so my shield skills didn’t reach it. I’m sorry.)”
“(The monsters here too started targeting me all of a sudden, and we don’t know why. Anyway we’re fine, so don’t worry about us.)”
Since Selcikeus used the other monsters as a barrier, Shibaid and Sety hadn’t actually seen it yet. The beam attack was shot out of the blue too: as soon as they realized it had gone in Shin’s direction, they hurriedly contacted him via Mind Chat.
The distance Selcikeus’ beam covered was higher than the long-range attacks Shin remembered, so it was likely to have evolved to an advanced or mutated form, like Heltoros.
“(By the way, Shibaid, have the monsters on your side changed their course?)”
Shin sent the question while slicing the monsters around him with flying slashes.
If Selcikeus targeted Shin too, the possibility that Heltoros’ roar served to inform the other monsters of Shin’s position was high.
Shin had no idea why the monsters would target him, but it was rather convenient if they didn’t go after anyone else.
Since the cause was still unknown, he told Schnee to stay put but asked Yuzuha to switch from picking off stragglers to fighting all out.
If the monsters’ sole target was Shin, Filma and Yuzuha could attack as they pleased.
“(I can only see the front rows, but yes, they clearly changed course.)”
“(Right. They were heading straight towards us first, but now they’re going in a totally different direction.)”
Shibaid and Sety noticed that the monsters were heading towards the coastal part of the 『End Wall』 gap at first, but now changed to the opposite direction and headed inland.
“They’re coming straight for you, Shin?”
“Seems like it.”
Shin nodded to Filma as they unleashed a wide range flame spell together.
The insect monsters were still too far to know with any certainty, but their behavior and timing made it seem very likely.
“Oh, I just received a message saying that Gelganger’s pack changed course too.”
So said Filma while releasing a flaming slash.
The monsters they were currently fighting were all level 300 on average, so they could afford to fight while talking.
Filma opened the menu window to check the message contents, but her hands did not stay idle as she did. She only needed her eyes to use the menu. It could also be moved according to the user’s head movements, so she didn’t need to look into one specific point.
If the opponent’s level was low enough, they could easily fight while browsing messages, as Filma did.
“That pack is targeting me too, huh?”
“They were going straight from the wall, but suddenly switched to a south-south-east direction. No doubt about it, really.”
It was all too unexpected. Shin too couldn’t help but assume the monsters were targeting him.
It was definitely a better situation than all the monster packs targeting the gap in the wall, but after all the time spent worrying about how to keep casualties to a minimum, it was kind of disheartening to find out that all their planning may not have served much of a purpose.
“Let us put it this way. This situation has just become a lot easier to deal with.”
Yuzuha rejoined Shin and Filma, while raining fireballs and thunderbolts on the monsters. Wide range attacks were her specialty: her eight tails continuously shot spells to whittle down the enemies’ numbers.
She fought in the same way as the Element Tails, the bane of players’ existences in the game. The intimidating aura she projected was difficult to imagine from her small fox form.
“Okay then…if they want me so bad…they’ll have me all right!”
Shin shouted in order to renew his focus in the battle and swung 『Hunter Fang』.
Around him, there were few allies and a massive number of enemies.
Monsters born not in a natural manner, but from the accumulation of magic power. Monsters that would bring chaos and destruction to the continent if left alone.
There was no need for any concern about habitats, territories, power balance, nothing.
The imperial army’s scouts were not posted in the vicinity, so they wouldn’t be dragged into the fighting. There was no need for Shin to limit his powers, nor the risk to be seen by them.
In other words…
He could go on a…
No holds barred.