TNG Vol. 18 Chapter 2 Part 1
As soon as Shin and his party escaped Algaraz, the monsters broke their siege and started chasing after them.
“If they come from the sky, I guess it’s my turn?”
“Yeah, me and Sety will start a barrage. Schnee, Tiera, take care of any stragglers. Milt and the others, please stay alert for threats in other directions, especially underground. Trents love using their roots to attack, after all.”
While giving instructions to the party members, Shin prepared his magic offensive. Next to him, Sety was conjuring Magic Skills too.
The pack of flying monsters was very numerous: as the monsters previously surrounding Algaraz chased Shin’s carriage, another group appeared out of nowhere and approached from the front.
The average level of the monsters in the back was over 500, but most of the ones in the front were lower. Their formation clearly focused on quality in the back and quantity in the front.
They had picked the wrong opponent, however. Before Shin’s party, even such a quantity only resulted in a mild annoyance.
“Should we get the ones in the back first, since they’re closer?”
“Yeah, they have higher levels and can probably fly long distances too.”
Shin felt magic power surge in his hands and pointed his palms at the monsters approaching from the back. Sety raised her wand as well.
Sety’s magic activated first: they both skipped chanting, but, being specialized in fighting with magic, Sety’s spells required less time.
Several globes of light, approximately 30 cemel in diameter, formed near the carriage. From the globes, which floated around the caster, erupted beams of light capable of smashing boulders to smithereens with ease.
Light-type Magic Skill【Avraid Ray】.
The beams of light, as wide as the globes, sniped the flying monsters one after the other.
Light magic, like Lightning, moved too fast to be seen by anyone — barring specialized players or monsters.
To avoid such an attack in midair was a feat for contortionists. If the attack was shot repeatedly and with high precision, it was simply tragic to be on the receiving end.
The Wyverns struck head on by the beams were engulfed head to tail and vanished into thin air. The Hesbenias, unfortunately struck sideways by multiple beams, were split in two: their insect-like regenerative powers allowed them not to die on the spot, but they crashed down while squirming.
“Are they being controlled? They don’t hesitate at all.”
Despite their comrades falling all around them, the monsters advanced relentlessly. Shin confirmed it, then activated another spell.
Multiple fist-sized globes of fire formed in the air. The 10, 20 and growing fireballs spread throughout the space between Shin’s party and the monsters.
Flame-type Magic Skill 【Flare Mine】
Each fireball was capable of felling a level 300 monster in one shot.
Once set, the mines couldn’t be moved, unless deactivated: they were used to set traps on land or on walls, to limit the opponents’ movements.
Shin set them all around the approaching monster horde.
The especially fast monsters and those that, despite being under control, detected the danger and dodged were sniped by Sety; the formation of the chasing monsters had now assumed an oval shape.
What would happen if an array of 【Flare Mine】 was scattered before them? An explosion that rocked the air.
Shin had laid so many 【Flare Mine】 fireballs. that even Sety found it pointless to continue shooting 【Avraid Ray】.
An especially thick layer had been set directly in front of the monsters, enough to hide them from the party’s sight.
If they charged straight ahead, all that awaited was a countless barrage of fiery impacts. Swerving to a new route would be futile: the 【Flare Mine】 field had the monsters completely surrounded.
“I almost feel sorry for them…”
Each exploding 【Flare Mine】 triggered the others in the surroundings: ultimately, they formed a massive explosion that shook the atmosphere.
The trapped monsters were blown to bits and pieces, none escaped destruction. Milt looked at how some of them crashed while burning and smiled wryly.
“If they were only controlled, I might have felt that way too.”
Even if they were controlled, they were still monsters born from the Sacred Place’s magic power. Shin’s party would have had to fight them sooner or later in their mission. It would have been troublesome if they interfered in the battle against Vanwood, so getting rid of them here was actually convenient for the party.
They could have proceeded while concealing their presence, but the Guardian of the Sacred Place they were heading to was based on the monster Vanwood, which had the ability to negate concealing abilities on terrain infiltrated by its roots.
If the Guardian possessed the same ability, 【Hiding】 would be meaningless: the party thus charged towards the Sacred Place openly.
“Anything from underground?”
“Indeed. Are they not attacking because they know we are approaching, or because their roots do not reach this far? Considering the distance to the Sacred Place, I am inclined to the latter.”
Milt and Shibaid answered Shin’s question by reporting the current situation.
The party focused on any underground attacks, plus most of its members had Insight and other danger detection skills, so unless something truly extreme happened they did not risk to run into an ambush.
“We might as well take care of the ones in front, yes?”
Sety was raring to go. She pointed her trusted wand, 『Dusk Moon』, at the approaching flying horde.
As soon as Shin gave the OK, she activated a spell.
The horse carriage was surrounded by 2 mel wide football-shaped fireballs. With a glance, Shin understood what spell Sety had cast.
Flame-type Magic Skill 【Fiery Cluster】.
Some of the massive oval fireballs contained smaller ones inside them: they would explode in front of the opponent, scattering the smaller fireballs all around. The spell worked similarly to real life cluster bombs.
In 【THE NEW GATE】 existed many skills modeled after real life weapons and firearms.
Unlike cluster bombs, the small fireballs in 【Fiery Cluster】 could be controlled precisely, sending them flying against the desired target.
The small fireballs burst as soon as they came in contact with anything, triggering the explosion of any other fireballs in the vicinity. Launching them against a monster horde meant a long string of explosions, triggered or upon impact: the large and small fireballs could turn the area into a sea of flames.
Even if they did not come in contact with or were triggered by anything, the fireballs were set to blow up after a set time.
The fireballs would fall to the ground and explode after a while: they were thus useful as anti-land countermeasures as well. Incidentally, some players preferred to use them that way.
Thirty of such fireballs were shot — not too fast, not too slow, with precisely calculated distance between each one. The launch timing differed slightly, because of the distance between the fireballs and their targets.
The monsters targeted by the large fireballs changed course, clearly trying to dodge: they had that much intelligence, apparently.
“Too bad, you won’t escape like that.”
About 10 mel before the expected impact, the large fireballs blew up. They popped like balloons, without explosions.
The baseball-sized small fireballs then came out in the open.
The unnatural movement, in a way typical of magic, caused fireballs to appear right in front of all the monsters, both those that tried to dodge and those that continued flying straight ahead.
Any modern aircraft would end up as flaming debris after simply brushing against one of the fireballs; monsters would surely be damaged too, but, unless their wings were destroyed, they could keep flying.
Thanks to their robust bodies, in some cases they wouldn’t even lose their balance after being hit by the fireballs.
That would only happen if the fireballs’ power was proportional to their size, however.
The small fireballs that came in contact with the monsters exploded. They were small fireballs, like what a novice spellcaster could conjure as training, but they caused explosions large enough to engulf multiple monsters.
The monsters closer to the small fireballs at the time of the blast were torn to shreds. The ones farther away were damaged by the blast and heat wave. The small fireballs traveling slower would then reach them, causing additional explosions.
The slower fireballs flew through the sizzling air, carving deeper in the horde. In this way it was possible to strike deep into any pack of monsters, no matter how dense.
“Er, will we have a chance to fight too…?”
Looking at the monster bits and pieces raining all around, Tiera sighed.
Schnee and Tiera were charged with eliminating any monster that escaped Shin and Sety’s barrage, but the latter two’s spells were too destructive for any monster to survive.
Sety continued firing 【Fiery Cluster】 shots: part of the sky was perpetually engulfed in flames.
Any monster which miraculously survived the bombing was then shot down by Shin’s 【Avraid Ray】, effectively taking any chance to act away from Schnee and Tiera.
“No chance, honestly. This happened to me too sometimes, when teaming with a spellcaster specialized in wide range magic. You get all like “what am I here for?””
Milt replied while contemplating the explosion-riddled sky. Shin then added a comment.
“Normally, this kind of magic can’t be used for a while after you cast it, so it’s not useless to have backup. Frankly, I didn’t expect Sety to be able to fire so many.”
In the game era, barring unique exceptions, all skills had a cooldown. This period varied from skill to skill. Players decided on an order for skill usage based on their cooldowns.
Spellcasters specialized in recovery and offensive magic had to be especially strict with their timing: the larger the numbers involved in the battle, the more difficult managing MP and skills became.
In this world, the cooldown was almost completely gone, but that did not mean that powerful skills could be used in rapid succession.
The most important thing was magic power manipulation, something Shin was still training in. As one controlled magic power more smoothly, spells could be cast faster and with higher frequency, according to Sety.
The words came from experience: Sety’s manipulation of magic power surprised even Shin. He couldn’t fire 【Fiery Cluster】 at the same pace as her now.
“If I couldn’t prove my worth in a magic-based battle, I’d be the useless one, though. If Shin and big sis Schnee change weapons, they can pull off the same stuff I do, anyway.”
Shin had maxed out stats from the beginning, while Schnee’s skills were unsurpassed among the support characters.
As Sety said, if they used equipment geared for long range spellcasting, they could probably perform similar feats.
Not counting abilities based on personal expertise, like magic manipulation, Shin’s innate strengths surpassed anyone in this world. He didn’t have maxed out stats for nothing, after all.
On the other hand, Sety would have difficulty fighting in the same way as Shin and the others.
In the same way, close combat-oriented Shibaid and Filma would be hard pressed to fight with magic like Sety did. Even if she used close range weapons, she couldn’t fight like them.
Shin and Schnee were simply too skilled as all-rounders. To be able to handle close, mid and long range combat was a talent anyone in this world would dream of.
Yet Sety, even with her limitations, could make short work of any Chosen One: Shin’s party was simply too abnormal.
“They’re fighting while chatting, but the monsters keep dropping like flies…”
Like Tiera, Milt gazed up at the flaming sky. She was a close combat specialist too, so there was nothing she could do in a magic-based battle. That was also the reason why Shin told her to watch for ground level threats.
“There’s just a lot of them, that’s all…”
Shin replied, wondering what the enemy tried to accomplish with such an attack.
He had barely done anything to the monsters coming from the front: Sety’s attacks annihilated most of them.
He did his part too, but things would have worked out even without him. The monsters would have never reached their horse carriage, even if Shin was elsewhere.
“It looked like they targeted us, but they were probably gathered for a different purpose at first. It does not seem like they used higher numbers to make us waste our reserves…”
Schnee replied to Shin’s comment, while looking at the dropping monster remains. As soon as Sety activated 【Fiery Cluster】, she expected such a result.
If the enemy really planned to tire the group, they would need a number of monsters on the level of a Great Flood. They had enough time until their destination for their MP to fully replenish, after all.
“I guess they were created to attack Eleven’s Sacred Place.”
“That’s probably it. I did not see any anti-air countermeasures back there.”
“No ballistae on the walls, or similar?”
“Not as far as I could see.”
Eleven’s Sacred Place was very close as the Algaraz Shin remembered. If they used walls without modifications, there should have been some anti-air defenses.
“Maybe they broke, or they took them away…it’s weird to use a town as a Sacred Place, anyway.”
Even if it looked the same, it did not mean that the town had been used as it was: they might have simply copied its appearance. This would prompt the question as to why they would do such a thing — but Shin shelved his doubts, thinking he could just ask Eleven after they returned.