About 10 minutes after Shin’s departure, Gargalla arrived at the orphanage.
Holding 『Giant Slayer』 high, he maintained his running speed as he raced along the roof-tops and jumped up.
『Giant Slayer』’s blade, boosted by the acceleration, was then swung down on the orphanage’s barrier.
The skill-boosted blow made the barrier shudder. Shin’s 【Barrier】 and 【Wall】 could withstand most blows without problems, but a strike from an advanced player wielding an Ancient-grade weapon would not leave it unscathed.
Each blow triggered a counter of magic attacks, but Gargalla swept them away with his battleaxe. As the barrier was located within the city, the magic attacks’ power was limited too.
“Damn, this is one tough barrier!! But… There we go!!”
【Barrier】 and 【Wall】 finally started showing cracks; seeing concrete effects of his attacks, Gargalla shouted in joy.
“Maybe High Humans aren’t that good at defense?”
THE NEW GATE included few defensive skills, and normally offensive skills tended to have higher proficiency levels.
The skill Gargalla used had the effect of causing additional damage to barrier skills or armor. If one kept attacking and no one reinforced the barrier, it would eventually break down.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing!?”
Gargalla turned towards the voice and saw a woman.
“Whoa, now you look pretty strong, don’t you.”
【Analyze】 could not display her stats. Gargalla, though, possessed a rare ability. By looking at the player’s stance, he could determine their fighting prowess. This unusual talent was what allowed him to survive for so long.
“You’re on the High Human’s side too?”
“You mean Shin, yes? What are you trying to do anyway?”
Saying so, the female player -Holly- took out her short wand. In an instant, she activated a defensive skill and created offensive magic on standby in mid-air.
“Damn, you’re fast. A normal player needs more time to activate so many skills…you’re VR-compatible, yeah?”
Gargalla mentioned the term used to refer to those who adapted to the relatively new VR environment faster than its creators expected. It was not a discriminatory term, but since such players could activate skills faster than others and control their avatars more efficiently than average players could, some whispered behind their backs that they were cheaters.
Gargalla did not mean to discriminate. In fact, his tone betrayed his heightened expectations. Holly responded by unleashing her magic; fire bullets, wind blades, and more flew towards Gargalla.
Gargalla dodged the ones which would explode, thus creating a larger area of effect, and knocked away the single-target ones with his battleaxe.
“A magician attacking from the front!? Now this is fun!!”
Holly unleashed several magic spells in a wave-like formation, and Gargalla gave up on dodging, instead charging straight towards Holly.
He activated a skill that enveloped his body in a red aura and gave him an explosive acceleration.
Axe-type Martial skill 【Dreadnought】.
This skill prevented all damage to the user for a few seconds while they were moving, making it one of the most dangerous among all charging-type martial skills.
It was often used in party battles to blow away the opposing front lines and attack the rear.
Gargalla charged close to Holly, repelling her magic attacks, and swung his axe down.
For Holly, an experienced rear fighter, Gargalla’s skill was nothing to be surprised about.
Rear line fighters who could use powerful magic were, along with healers, the first targets in party battles. Thus, they were well aware of the skills used to break through the front lines and attack them. 【Dreadnought】 was especially famous for its effect, and several countermeasures existed.
“I’ve seen that too many times already!”
The instant the battleaxe was supposed to rend Holly’s body, her figure smoothly -but very quickly- bent and moved away.
She did not move far enough to escape the battleaxe’s range, but the blow that was supposed to crush her just blew her away.
Holly spun in mid-air and landed gracefully; her HP had been reduced by about 10%. Normally, one third should have been shaved off.
“You’re good. Haven’t seen many rear fighters like you.”
“I can’t be happy even if I’m praised by the likes of you.”
The skill Holly used was the Wind-type Magic skill 【Feather Step】, which generated wind around the user’s body, to raise movement speed and lower received damage. It allowed acrobatic movements, but few managed to master it.
“Why not? Gotta accept compliments when you get’em!”
Looking genuinely excited and happy, Gargalla swung at Holly again.
In response, Holly created an elemental wall of ice and earth to stop Gargalla, increasing the distance between them in an instant. Her wand, pointed at Gargalla, emitted a thin purple bolt of lightning.
In the short time Gargalla would have needed to break down the wall, she had prepared the most powerful spell at her disposal.
“Blow him away!!”
Thunder erupted from the wand.
Gargalla was rushing towards Holly, but had jumped to the side when he saw her wand light up.
The thunderbolt was supposed to blow past him, but changed directions in midair, following the man.
Gargalla barely managed to block it with his battleaxe. Despite managing to defend himself from Holly’s powerful strike, he wasn’t smiling anymore. He did not think that Holly had used a wall-type obstacle just to prepare an easily detectable attack with some homing properties from the front. His battle instinct told him not to let his guard down, and it was right.
The second after Gargalla parried the purple lightning, thunder struck from above. That was the magic skill used by Holly.
“Kah, you really are tough!”
Not caring about his diminished HP, Gargalla charged towards Holly again. He had lost a mere 30% of his total HP.
Gargalla was a heavy fighter type, focused on STR and VIT. He was thus prepared to counter light and thunder magic, which excelled in speed.
Even if her enemy was drawing closer, Holly kept calmly launching magic spells. A close combat bout between a mage and a magic warrior, however, would have a clear victor.
Even if she was VR-compatible, using attacks focused on speed meant that each blow was light. Some of the most powerful spells needed time to be charged.
Gargalla had seen through this, so he gave up on using skills and simply charged forward, ready to take damage.
Despite the barrage of spells, Gargalla swung the battleaxe, destroying Holly’s wand; however, its blade didn’t stop there. Along with the wand, the axe tore through her robe and rent her body asunder.
“Darling, I’m sor—”
Holly’s last words were silenced by the booming sound of the second swing of the battleaxe.
The first swing had cleaved Holly’s torso in two, while the second had crushed her head. The second blow was a critical hit with instant death properties.
Within the smoke and dust, a small white visual effect sparkled. When the view became clear again, nothing remained.
“OK then, next up the kids and the guards…hm?”
Gargalla was planning to bring down the entrance and break in, but looking at his map made him furrowed his brow.
The internal structure of all buildings, except public ones and the ones he was affiliated to, could not be seen from outside. The interior of buildings was treated like a different area.
The only way to see inside the buildings was to actually go inside and map them.
The map did not display any players, the buildings simply stood silently. All Gargalla could hear was the occasional scream or noise of crumbling buildings.
“I see, so that woman came out alone to buy them time to flee.”
If they really meant to defeat him, it would be ridiculous not to confront him in a group.
“Sure pulled the wool over my eyes. Guess I’ll just go back to Vlad and—!?”
A shadow suddenly appeared right behind Gargalla as he was about to turn back. The blade swung by the silhouette cut through his armor, but Gargalla managed to jump out of the way before receiving damage.
Gargalla still had not regained his balance, but the silhouette continued to attack fiercely. With a sound effect like shearing through the air, the attacker’s blade rushed towards Gargalla.
Gargalla, while using hs battleaxe as a shield, released the Flame-type magic skill 【Fireball】towards the ground, using the wind caused by the blast to gain distance from his opponent.
A few seconds later the black-haired man, Shadow, appeared from the smoke and dust. His armor was in pieces, his HP less than half. Proof that he had broken through the monster hordes to get here.
“What’s this now? We’ve got a parade of interesting people today!!”
Gargalla was overjoyed to witness the arrival of another strong fighter, while Shadow prepared his weapon, nothing but wrath on his face. The hate seething within had completely changed the usually mild-mannered man.
Shadow’s daggers swung at the same time as he screamed. It was a continuous attack based on the ninja’s superior speed and was boosted by skills. The advanced player’s attacks targeted Gargalla’s weak points as if sucked in by them.
“What, you’re way sloppier than I expected.”
The light streak-like slashes were blocked by Gargalla’s weapon and armor. He had regained his balance and now faced Shadow head on; receiving his blows diagonally cut their offensive power by half. It was an alternative use of the skill 【Parry】, used to deflect attacks.
Gargalla’s armor was inferior to his battleaxe in grade, but it still was a high quality item, dropped by monsters in a dungeon. As long as he didn’t receive it head on, it would not be destroyed by a single blow.
“You didn’t hear me…? I said, YOU’RE SLOPPY!!”
Shadow attacked while howling like a furious beast, and Gargalla roared back.
Shadow’s attacks were fast, but nothing more; because of the fury clouding his judgement, they lacked all the technique they originally had.
As a PK that had fought other players to the death many times, Gargalla would not overlook such a thing. He blocked the slashes with his gauntlets, let the armor’s defensive power take the less powerful blows and drew closer to Shadow.
Gargalla kicked the ground to accelerate, then delivered not a swing with his trusted battleaxe, but a shoulder tackle making full use of his high STR and VIT. An orange-colored effect enveloped his body.
Barehanded-type Martial skill 【Shoulder Bomb】.
It was a counter-type skill often used by players who, like Gargalla, focused on defense more than speed.
Shadow was wary of the battleaxe, but in his enraged state he had failed to consider the possibility of a full body tackle. The dagger he instinctively pulled up as a shield was blown away by Gargalla’s armor, leaving Shadow’s torso open to the vicious blow from Gargalla’s armor-clad shoulder. Shadow was blown away several mel, crashing into the orphanage’s wall.
The reinforced wall cracked and partly collapsed, as clear proof of the power of Gargalla’s tackle.
Shadow, crawling on the ground, desperately tried to stand again. Because of 【Shoulder Bomb】’s effect, however, he was now affected with paralysis and could not even stand.
His anti-status effect equipment, along with his armor, had their durability reduced to zero by Gargalla’s attack and disappeared. His HP was now less than 20%.
“The mage woman that was here before you was so much better.”
His words got a reaction from Shadow. With an expression that in the real world would have likely been shedding tears of blood, Shadow reached towards his dagger with his barely moving arms.
“You’ve got more killing intent at least. If you had fought me together, it would have been fun, I bet.”
Sighing at this lost opportunity, Gargalla raised his battleaxe while looking at the writhing Shadow. Even if lamenting in pain, the killing intent had not vanished from his eyes.
Gargalla never spared promising players, even if there was hope for a future bout. Even if fighting at full power would have proved an enjoyable experience, if they couldn’t escape their fate at the time, he delivered the coup de grace without hesitation. That was one of the rules he imposed on himself.
The battleaxe came down.
The dully shining blade was about to sever Shadow’s neck—when, with a clanging sound, it was knocked away.
He looked at Shadow closer and noticed a half-transparent film covering his body.
“Tch, it’s over then. Earlier than I expected.”
The film was a town-only automatic skill that prevented all damage to players, 【Law of Order】. The fact that it was active again meant that the monster invasion event had ended.
Gargalla only realized when he saw it that he couldn’t hear the monsters roaring anymore.
“Guess I got too much into it. Well, nothing else I can do now.”
Even Gargalla couldn’t hurt other players now that the hometown had recovered its functions. There was no point in staying there anymore, so he left.
With Shadow’s eyes full of killing intent fixated firmly on his back, Gargalla left while grinning evilly.