Vol. 2 Chapter 2 – Part 2

“Wide Heal!”

The voice echoed throughout the quiet place.

At the same time, a strong, gentle light wrapped around the surrounding knights. It was the magic skill system 【Wide Heal】 released by Schnee. A wide area version of heal.

The knights, who were weakly sitting on the ground, recovered without a single wound when the light that wrapped their bodies disappeared.

While everyone raised their voices in admiration, Berg, the commander, promptly calmed himself down. He realized he was getting too careless, so he tried to re-focus his mind, and gave out instructions loudly.

As might be expected from a veteran, there were no useless instructions. The surrounding knights started to mobilize in a rush, and a different noise resounded throughout the forest from a little while ago.

“You have been a big help…we were thinking about stopping and withdrawing.”

Berg formally thanked Schnee who stood near him. His voice was still rattling.

“No, I was able to defeat it because of everyone’s assistance in fighting.”

The words of encouragement reached Berg’s ear. Berg thought that this feeling, that his mind was being cleansed just from hearing her voice, was not just his imagination.

“I am honored when you say so. But actually, it was thanks to Schnee-dono that the undead was defeated, please let me show Schnee-dono deference here.”

“If you say so…however, we cannot relax yet.”

Schnee replied with an awkward smile.

It was not a lie that they should be focused and remain on guard. It was the reality.

This incident began one month ago; it was at the time when an adventurer, who just had become a rank B, approached the Wraith Plains to test his strength. That adventurer was heading toward the Wraith Plains through the forest, and when he tried to enter the haze which showed the boundary line of the Wraith Plains, a Skull Face appeared and broke through the haze a few mels from where the adventurer was.

A monster from the Wraith Plains should not exist outside of it, and it was a situation that would overturn common sense.

Even though the adventurer was stunned from the impossible scene, he managed to break off from the fight. He left the place immediately when he understood the abnormality of the situation, and went to nearest town’s guild with all of his effort.

The guild that received the information quickly decided to dispatch an investigation team. From the investigation afterwards, the condition was unclear but although some monsters were much stronger than others, it was confirmed that monsters had come out from the haze and spilled into the forest.

The plains were vast, so it wasn’t understood when and where they left from; furthermore, it took several weeks until it was clearly confirmed that a monster had passed through the haze. It was unknown how many monsters reached the forest, and to make matters worse, because a control point was not set up, damage had already started to occur in the countries near the Wraith Plains.

It was the reason why the advanced level adventurers went all out when Shin went to the guild for the first time before.

Of course, the damaged countries wouldn’t just sit and do nothing either. They set-up every possible type of security and also set up patrols to protect the people of their own country. The greatest problem was that the monsters breaking through the haze had abilities that far surpassed the commonly known monsters. In most cases, coming into contact with the enemy would result in either annihilation or retreating, even with enough battle capabilities from allies.

Kings from each country that were concerned about this, united under the name of an alliance for the first time, and put together the best knights from each troop to form a monster subjugation force, a plan to calm the situation. At the same time, a request to a certain person was issued.

The requested destination was 『General Store Tsuki no Hokora』.

And that certain person was the acting manager of Tsuki no Hokora, Schnee Raizar.

Though whether or not she would accept the request was a gamble, Schnee accepted the request purely to protect the people. Thus, she went quickly and participated in the monster subjugation force.

“I understand. Then, I will leave to Schnee-dono the monsters’ weapons and raw materials as according to the contract.”

“Yes, I will hold them for now.”

She nodded at Berg’s words, and Schnee stored the equipment from the Skull Face that was scattered in the surrounding area into the Item Box.

Since the subjugation force was a joint military unit of knights from two or more countries, the scramble for precious equipment and raw materials was considered. After the subjugation was completed, she was expected to distribute it equally except for a portion. Schnee, who had the highest battle capabilities, was also given the safekeeping role, with forestalling and anti-theft by usage of the Item Box.

While seeing Schnee put an item away, Berg thought, if there was no Schnee Raizar, the situation would have advanced towards the worst case scenario.

From the battle just now, he understood that there was an enemy that they could not beat, even with the top class ability of the knights from each country. Certainly, part of it was because of the poor cooperation since it was a joint military unit, but it didn’t change the fact that the strength of the monster was abnormal.

The problem above all else was that there were monsters possessing extraordinary gear like the previous Skull Face. According to the information that had been collected up to now, it seemed that all of the Skull Faces held special gear, but it couldn’t absolutely be confirmed.

From Berg’s view, he prayed that these kinds of equipments would run out.

Up until now, Schnee had defeated a few of the monsters with special weapons, and the knights then took charge with just the numerical advantage. The arrangement was to contact Schnee immediately if there was an encounter with a weapon holder. The situation was somehow good enough this time. The monster that the knights had a hard time fighting with was instantly defeated by Schnee. And in addition to that, close range battle was assumed to be the weak point of elves.

“As expected of someone who stood side by side with a High Human before.”

The continental conquerors, the High Humans, which once existed. The people in this world couldn’t help but to have sense of respect towards those who fought with them. The achievement of those conquerors was carved into the memory of the people without fading, even now after a long time.

The reason why the knights fought bravely was also because there were strong feelings to compete with such an existence. No one wanted to show an unsightly appearance and misbehave themselves, as such, the monster subjugation went smoothly without any arguments as a result.

Several monsters that were in the reports were among the last Skull Faces that were defeated. They still needed to confirm whether or not any monsters had been passed over with the adventurer who had been dispatched by the guild after they had left. If there was nothing, the subjugation force would return. And a surveillance network would spread out under the cooperation of each country and guild.

“It would be good if there is nothing more, but…”

Berg talked to himself, suddenly remembering an unpleasant predicament from his long life full of experience. And then he saw the casual Schnee, who seemed to be reading a letter eagerly in the open space where the raw materials of the Skull Face were scattered.

“Schnee-dono? Did something happen?”

When Berg called out, Schnee put the letter away and turned around. During that period, Berg, by chance, saw 『Blue Moon』 written on there, but he didn’t know what that was.

“No, its nothing. After this though, because I will continue searching for someone, we will mobilize separately. Please launch the magic item I gave you if you encounter a monster, since it is difficult to pinpoint the specific area.”

“Roger that.”

Schnee, after that short communication, quickly left the place.

While maintaining an unbelievable speed, even while wearing a long skirt, Schnee thought over the content written in the letter.

It was the information on the message card that was sent from Tiera, which had written that a certain person seemed to be heading to the Wraith Plains.

The name of the person was not so unusual. There were a lot of people with similar names if she thought about searching for them. However, the story was different when the person has 『Blue Moon』. There was only one such person as far as Schnee knew.

“Did you come back, and return it…”

While noticing that she herself was not calm, Schnee continued to run at full speed. Her destination was the Wraith Plains.

She was irritated because of the time taken up by the monster search. Even if it was not her main job, without skimping on it, it was the obligation of a person who had received the work, so she still went.

Her heart was getting more impatient.

She might finally meet the person whom she looked forward to the most.

That thought filled Schnee, who deeply yearned for it.

◆◆◆◆

The hunting party started in the center of Wraith Plains and lasted for several nights. Currently, Shin’s party was still in the sealed area.

“Oi, Dammit, Shin! Pecker Hollow is coming!”

“It can’t be helped, let’s withdraw right away.”

Shin and Wilhelm perceived the monster that was approaching and had Rashia and Yuzuha go outside the seal. If a person was separated by the seal barrier, it seemed that they couldn’t be sensed by the monsters inside, even if they were very close. The Pecker Hollow appeared to lose interest in Shin and the others, and after loitering around for a while it left the place in no time.

The monster, Pecker Hollow, which approached was an undead monster at level 541. A large amount of corpses were joined together by a vengeful spirit to form a large monster. It had the upper body of a mantis, with folded forelimbs like sickles, and compound eyes. Also, though it had eyes that were compounded and the forelimbs were folded like sickles, it didn’t have similar organs to a mere insect. A large amount of people’s eyes were gathered within the compound eyes, and a person’s bones were gathered together to become the form of the sickles. It had feet and hands sticking out everywhere from it’s body, and somehow or another it gave off an abominable feeling. It was such an appearance that it caused almost all female players to approach neither the field nor the dungeon at all.

And most troublesome of all was its skill, 【Deadman’s Howl】. Though this skill caused little damage, it also inflicted the disorders of: confusion, curse, and other abnormal states at the same time. Moreover, the minimum level of the abnormal states were Ⅴ, which could be said to be brutal. Anyways, it would not be so bad if it hit Shin or Wilhelm, but Rashia and Yuzuha might receive the maximum level of the abnormal states in one go.

As expected, they had to evacuate to the outside of the seal when the troublesome monster appeared, since it was too dangerous to attack it.

“Did it leave?”

Wilhelm asked.

“Just wait a little more for the time being. We will be in trouble if it comes back after hearing the sound of battle.”

If the small fry’s were included, the number of monsters that had already been defeated in battle was already more than 200 over the last several days. If Shin’s count was not wrong, Rashia should be able to learn the long-cherished 【Purification】 after one more kill.

“Are Rashia and Yuzuha alright?”

“Yes, somehow I’m already becoming accustomed to it…”

“Kuu!”

While smiling wryly at the answer from Rashia, who was strangely looking far away, and at the energetic Yuzuha, Shin searched for a presence within the range of his perception. He was able to confirm one level 343 Jack class Skull Face, two level 158 Gray Orcs, one level 177 Gel Bison, and four level 249 Ein Jackals.

Gel Bison was a monster which had a slime-like, transparent gelatinous material that adhered to the skeletal remains of a bison. When a person approaches, the gel becomes like a whip and attacks. And then, it melts the prey while eating the opponent who was immobilized.

Ein Jackal was a monster that eats tainted meat. Because of that, it joined the undead group. It had the appearance of a purple jackal of about two mels. It was a low class monster, but had demon eyes that could paralyze its opponent. It was a difficult enemy for a beginner class player who was just getting into the game.

There was no problematic Pecker Hollow in the perception range anymore. Since time had passed after it moved outside the perception range, they assumed it was safe.

As for the distance for each monster, the nearest was the Skull Face and the other monsters were at the edge of the perception range.

“There is a Skull Face nearby, but it’s level is unusual.”

“What do you mean?”

“What’s the matter?”

Wilhelm and Rashia threw a question at Shin’s remark.

“The level is 343. Did I tell you the story about that Skull Face that had a King class level? I think this monster might be similar to that.”

“Though the place here is slightly irregular, the story of a monster like that leaving from here has not been heard. However, for the past month, something strange has been happening in the kingdom.”

“…That reminds me, Ragnal-san said that events where strong undead monsters attacked the village in Beirun occurred frequently.”

Rashia, who heard about the level of the Skull Face, took out the information from the corner of her memory. Beirun was a country that was located on the other side of the Wraith Plains and the Bayreuth kingdom.

“Strong undead, huh? It seems to be related after all. And who is Ragnal-san?”

“It is the master in the bar that I brought you to. You met him once.”

“Ah! It’s that person, huh?”

He recalled the silent man from Wilhelm’s words. That time, Wilhelm certainly said he was an adventurer friend.

“Well for now, leave the story for another time. What would you do? I would feel bad leaving it alone.”

Shin said and looked at Wilhelm.

“What kind of power did it have?”

“In my personal opinion, its ability was corresponding to its level. It is necessary to be cautious, as that Skull Face had unimaginable movements. The fellow I fought before had some tricky moves.”

“We only need to beat it, huh? It shouldn’t be necessary to make Rashia cross a one-way bridge.”

“That’s a good point.”

“No, I will go too!!”

Wilhelm proposed to Shin that the two of them would knock the abnormal enemy down. But as her level raised, Rashia became confident and was filled with eagerness.

“What to do? I don’t have any problem particularly. I think Rashia will be safe as long as she carries the item I gave her.”

The two people looked at each other spontaneously.

“Indeed. Oi Rashia, do you really want to do it?”

“Of course, I can’t return home with my head held high if you protected me the whole time!!”

Was it the result of the battles over the past few days? Rashia wasn’t shaken to see a monster over level 200, let alone a zombie, as she yelled with a high-spirited voice now. Actually, even though the Skull Face outside the seal was a low level monster, it was still a level 80+, and she was able to fight it without feeling daunted now. This was the fruit of the Spartan training by Shin and Wilhelm. It was probably too much for a girl of pubescence, but unfortunately they didn’t really care about that.

“Then, let’s do it!”

“Oi, don’t get in the way as much this time.”

“I won’t.”

Shin and Wilhelm were concerned about Rashia while facing the Skull Face. Though Rashia was slower due to the speed difference, she entrusted Yuzuha and the 2 people to go ahead because she only had to deal the finishing blow.

This time the Skull Face didn’t have any strange equipment. However, the posture with the sword and shield was similar to the unique Skull Face monster that Shin had fought before.

“This fellow might be similar to the one I fought before? It’s posture is quite similar.”

“It’s doesn’t matter if it’s the same. Oraa!!”

Wilhelm, who had a long reach, began his preemptive attack.

The single blow, which was aimed at the Skull Face’s core, was caught by the round shield on its left hand. The shield produced sparks as it was being drilled into. Though 『Venom』 cut into into the round shield, the arm that held the shield had already shaken the hit off, and the trajectory of 『Venom』 veered off.

Then the Skull Face promptly unleashed a single blow with its sword. Together with the sound of cutting air, the sword was swung downward. Wilhelm quickly pulled 『Venom』back and received it. Sparks scattered from the clash.

The sound of metal interlocking sent echoes into the night around the plains. The single blow was not only packed with power but also added weight to it, causing Wilhelm to stick to the ground.

Shin, who had waited behind Wilhelm, sensed that the Skull Face tried to knock Wilhelm down using the shield arm, so right away he slashed at the Skull Face while jumping from the back to the front of the shield.

However the shield on its left arm split into two at the same time as a “Kin” sound was heard. If its reaction had been any slower after the flash, its left foot would have been cut in an instant. It was able to minimize the damage dealt at the expense of one arm, which was usually unthinkable for a normal Skull Face.

“I see, this bone bastard really is able to move surprisingly different from the usual ones, isn’t it?”

Wilhelm, who witnessed its movement, sneered while baring his fanged teeth.

In the case of the Skull Face, if the core remained, even with an arm missing, it was not a problem for Rashia to deliver the final blow. Therefore, like any other difficult to kill monster, going easy was unnecessary.

Facing the Skull Face’s capability, Wilhelm’s fighting spirit was ignited.

“Are you forgetting our objective?”

“I know. I just want to enjoy myself a little.”

“I think that’s all right, but it would be bad if you force it.”

“I’m not worried about that. This fellow still resembles a practice board to me.”

Wilhelm prepared 『Venom』 while laughing wildly again.

He lowered his center of gravity. The spearhead was slightly pulled back, and 『Venom』 was slanted diagonally upward.

His right hand held the handle, while his left hand was stretched out. His appearance right now was just like a bow about to be shot. As it matched the rising of Wilhelm’s fighting spirit, the feeling of hearing the sound of a bow being drawn to its limit was heard.

Whether the Skull Face noticed Wilhelm’s presence or not, the Skull Face took its stance again. It pulled its right leg slightly behind it and the right hand holding the sword was raised almost level to its head. The sword tip was pointed straight at the sky, and an aura that slowly swayed gathered onto the Skull Face’s body.

In front of the knight-like posture, Wilhelm raised his fighting spirit even higher.

As if the atmosphere froze, not even one of them moved. And, it was similar to the silence between the cocking and firing of a gun.

“Will!!”

“Uh!!”

The shout from Rashia shattered the frozen atmosphere.

Two shadows ran, triggered by it.

The single blow of decapitation released by the Skull Face was intercepted, and red sparks brightened the darkness. Their weapons crossed in an instant.

In the next moment, the Skull Face dropped to the ground left with only a head and body intact, with Wilhelm standing still and 『Venom』 thrusted out.

The Skull Face had what people called; a near death experience. Its arms and legs vanished and numerous crack appeared on the surface of its core, all from the aftermath of a single blow from 『Venom』. It was on the verge crumbling.

“Rashia, don’t just stand there. Quickly, end that creep.”

“I almost didn’t get a turn. What was all of my determination from earlier for?!”

Rashia was angry at the result of her being left out, because her resolve in risking her life was wasted.

“There was no other way. There was no room for you to step in.”

“Urgh, God, is this a trial?…”

Though Rashia was in a bad mood, she didn’t forget to heal the core. The aura that covered the core disappeared when it received the light of healing from Rashia, and the Skull Face completely vanished.

At the same time, a golden light enveloped Rashia’s body.

“W-What is this?”

“Rashia!?”

Rashia was confused by the sudden event. Wilhelm, who was also surprised, couldn’t move carelessly without knowing what had happened.

“No need to worry!! This effect happens when the requirement has been met and a new skill is learned!!”

Shin raised his voice to calm the two confused people down. Apparently, Shin’s calculation was not wrong, and the 200th body was the Skull Face just now.

The light effect faded away as soon as Shin raised his voice. Rashia’s gaze wandered through the space as if she became engrossed in something.

“Oi, Rashia! Are you alright?”

“Fue? Ah, yes. I’m alright.”

Wilhelm called out to her while tapping her shoulder, and she replied with a somewhat lifeless voice.

“With you staring into space like you are dazed, are you really alright?”

“I’m alright, okay. It was because the way to use the skill suddenly flowed into my head.”

“Was there any difference from the time you used the secret book?”

“Um, yes there was. The secret book somehow had a more gentle feeling to it, while this time, it was more of an abrupt feeling. But maybe that explanation is poor and difficult to understand.”

It seemed to feel differently when compared to the secret book.

For some reason, there seemed to be various effects that occurred when a person learned a skill. Because the person in question wasn’t harmed, he didn’t have to worry, but Shin just didn’t understand that feeling properly. In the first place, the experience of information flowing directly into the brain was impossible.

“Well, first of all, because you successfully acquired 【Purification】. Congratulations.”

“Indeed, you did well.”

“Kuu!”

Shin, Wilhelm and Yuzuha each gave her their blessing.

“Thank you very much. I can take care of the orphanage with this, too.”

With the acquisition of 【Purification】, the orphanage would not have to worry about the inheritance problem anymore. It was Rashia’s real feelings as she thanked them with tears in the corner of her eyes.

“Now then, let’s go to base, get some sleep, and quickly return to the Bayreuth kingdom in the morning.”

“That’s right. There is no reason to stay here any longer.”

“Yes, let’s go then.”

With each of them smiling, they went outside the seal. There were no signs of enemies around the three people and one animal.

The request ended with this. They only had to return to the kingdom now. All of the members who were there thought so.

Until that happened.

◆◆◆◆

It happened out of the blue.

Right then, in the Wraith Plains, the insects and wild animals in the night strangely went silent. Therefore, Shin noticed immediately. Yuzuha, who was on top of Shin’s head, also perceived the unusual event with its superior hearing, which was the characteristic of animals, as its ears stood up.

“Hmm? What is that sound?”

“Kuu?”

It was a sound like the wind blowing through the grass. Shin wouldn’t mind if it was only the sound of the surrounding grass rubbing against each other.

But he couldn’t help but worry if the sound was also happening at the same time as a strange noise was heard, like that of a creature being crushed.

Shin and Yuzuha came to a halt and looked back, and so they saw the grotesque scene.

“What…is that?”

“Kuu…”

“Hmm? What happened to you…guys.”

Wilhelm noticed Shin’s movements and turned around, he too was speechless as he saw the same thing.

The place where the Skull Face was just defeated before, there was now a black orb just floating there, one that did not exist until just now. It was now in the process of swallowing the Pecker Hollow. When he looked at the map screen, a huge red marker, which wasn’t there before, was now at the edge of the view. White and blue markers were displayed which indicated Shin and the others.

The Pecker Hollow was rapidly being sucked into the black orb, which was about 30 cemels wide. The volume obviously didn’t match. A crunching, cracking sound was being made, because the Pecker Hollows body was being compressed.

The Pecker Hollow, which was the prey, didn’t even raise a death cry or show any other kind of resistance. All of the faces that appeared on its body seemed to be smiling. It appeared to be pleased with being completely absorbed.

“What the hell!? What the heck is that thing!?”

“Ugh, it is disgusting…”

Rashia covered her mouth from the spectacle of a person’s face being crushed slowly, and crouched down. Wilhelm rushed to Rashia, and Shin stood between them and the black orb.

It didn’t take much more time and the Pecker Hollow was completely sucked into the orb. Simultaneously, a big tremor suddenly occurred and the ground quivered.

“Uoo!?”

“Kya!”

“Kuuu!?”

In the spur of the moment, they somehow managed to keep their balance and avoided falling. When they looked around to see what had happened, they saw a purple light blowing toward the sky from everywhere in the Wraith Plains.

From the place where the Skull Face had fallen, a sparkly light was rising to the sky.

“Beautiful…”

Rashia muttered. This sudden occurrence was indeed really wondrous and beautiful.

If only there was no mysterious black orb in front, Shin would have enjoyed it, too. However, this was not the time to enjoy the scene.

He slightly expanded his map view. He noticed that the red markers, that had progressed to the edge of the view, had disappeared from the map.

“This is…”

His turned his attention away from the map and stared in the direction of the red markers where the monsters were, using the skill 【Long Sight】, while staying cautious of the orb. Then, he saw that the Gel Bison and Ein Jackal were emitting a sudden purple light from throughout their bodies. That glittery and shining light resembled the effect that happened when an undead monster was killed during the time in the game.

The monster, which was emitting light from its body, gradually lost it outline, and a short time later it would vanish like it was dissolved into the air.

And that, the light, which painted an arc in the atmosphere, was absorbed by the black orb.

Shin and Wilhelm who saw the scene moved to protect Rashia. While wary of their surroundings, they looked at the orb in front of them.

“Shit, its sucking the demon essence in!”

“Demon essence?”

“Ah! That light, the demon’s essence, is what moves the undead. Because it’s disappeared, it becomes impossible to maintain the body.”

“I see.”

After a while, all of the demon essence that the atmosphere contained was absorbed into the orb. Then the sphere whirled up into the sky and stopped at a height of about 10 mels from the ground. At the same time, a dark aura spread around the orb. It gradually took shape, and bones like a Skull Face were formed. In addition, it expanded to several times the size of a regular Skull Face. It was covered with jet black armor, and the aura filled the space between the bones and the armor. It only took 10 seconds.

A Skull Face more than 10 mels in height appeared before Shin and his party.

If it didn’t have a skeleton head attached, it would remind them of a valor knight. It was unimaginable that the ornament on the armor was made from the aura.

But from the body, there was a sinister aura rising up. It was definite evidence that it was an undead.

And, its burning look in front of Shin and the party caused their bodies to freeze from tension.

―――― 『Lord Skull Face Lv. 804』

When Shin activated 【Analyze • Ⅹ】, it displayed to him its name and its level.

The level’s numerical value was considered a high ranking enemy, even in THE NEW GATE.

“Level 804. Is it this dungeon’s boss?”

Shin was calmly asking himself this, but Wilhelm intensely responded.

“Oi, the level you said just now, was that true?”

“Yes, no doubt about it.”

“That…it is at a level that can destroy a country!?”

“Kururuuu!!”

Yuzuha openly raised a roar to try to intimidate it, but Wilhelm and Rashia couldn’t hide their shaking from the impossible numerical value. Except those monsters that stayed in the Sacred Place, since the Dusk of the Majesty, the monster with the highest confirmed level didn’t even reach level 600. Moreover, even that monster destroyed several countries at that time.

“B-But there is the seal and it is not possible to get out, right?”

“I wonder.”

When Shin replied to the anxious voice of Rashia, the Lord finally moved.

Its arm of several mels length bent and it clenched its fist. And then, while slightly bending its knee, it drew its fist toward the sky in an uppercut-like form.

A dry sound, “gashari”, was made at the same time its arm finished expanding. The invisible barrier that was thought to be covering the sky made a breaking sound and scattered like the demon essence from before, as witnessed by Shin and his party.

“Damn, the seal is finished.”

“Ah! Perhaps it was shattered by a single blow just now.”

“O-Oh no…”

The seal that was supposed to keep high-level monsters inside was disappointedly broken too easily. Rashia probably lost her strength as she fell backwards onto her buttocks.

The eyes of the Lord which had been sucking the demon essence captured the sight of Shin and the others.

“Hii!!”

“Kuu…”

“Oi, it looked over here…”

Wilhelm swallowed his saliva down.

“Indeed.”

It had no eyeballs, but Shin and the others were certain that they were being looked at. Rashia turned pale and trembled at the pressure.

Wilhelm held Rashia who was at a loss, and got ready to escape.

“GuuuuUUUUUU―――――――GaaaAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!”

The Lord let out a warcry as if it would not let any of them go. Shin put himself on guard as he felt the physical weight from the volume of the voice, while Yuzuha shrank its body, Wilhelm was forced to his knees, and Rashia covered her ears while crouching down.

“That roar, damn, it won’t let us get away huh?”

“No, it’s different. Look at the surroundings!”

Almost at the same time Shin raised his voice, white bones thrusted out, one after another, from the ground.

Obviously it was the arm of a humanoid monster. When the ground was gripped firmly, it dragged out its main body from the ground.

A skeleton that was wrapped in a rustic armor came out. Needless to say, it was a Skull Face. They ranged from the Jack, Queen, and the King class. One by one they emerged from the ground until it became a huge uproar. Additionally, each of the individual monsters was two times larger than normal, as the King class was close to 8 mels tall. The number of Skull Faces filling up the plains had already almost reached that of an army.

The aura that was given off by each individual combined, and the entire plains was dyed black.

The emergence of the Skull Faces was happening all over the plains, the surrounding area around Shin and his party was already overflowing with Skull Faces.

“Will!! What to do, Will!!”

“Calm down! Don’t panic about what we have to do! Oi Shin, let’s break through to escape right away!”

“No, I will stay.”

“Ah? What are you saying, you bastard. Do you want to die!?”

Wilhelm, who was irritated at Shin’s awfully calm speech, tried to grab Shin’s shoulder. Though he put power in it, to make him turn around, Shin didn’t move an inch as if Wilhelm was grabbing a gigantic mass of rock.

Shin, then turned around slowly, while calmly releasing the 【Limit】.

“Uo!?”

“Kyaa!”

Wilhelm and Rashia opened their eyes wide at the torrent of power that was given off by Shin.

“I cannot leave this fellow alone. I will open a path so that Wilhelm and Rashia can go ahead toward the kingdom before me.”

“This power…what the hell are you?”

“There is no time to talk about it now. In addition, I have some personal business with this fellow. I don’t want you guys to be dragged into this because that would be bad, so please just get away as far as you can.”

Shin said that while accumulating magic power in both hands. Wilhelm was not able to argue against the overwhelming density.

“Dammit, it can’t be helped then. I will take Rashia and that fox with me. Do I need to collect the item at the base?”

“If it’s possible then that would be nice, but I’m not bothered if it’s lost.”

“Then let’s start quickly. I will properly hear the circumstances when you come back!”

“Ah, I understand. Because I will put a body strengthening buff on you, your speed will be faster than usual. Don’t fall down, okay?”

“Hah! Who the hell do you think you are talking to!! Hey, this fox, it doesn’t want to be separated from you.”

When Wilhelm pulled on Yuzuha, Shin’s face was also pulled.

“Adadadada! Hey Yuzuha! Don’t cling there.”

“Kuu!! Kuu~!!”

Yuzuha, who disliked it, barked. It desperately clung, as if to say it didn’t want to leave Shin.

“Oi, what are you gonna do?”

“Yuzuha…”

By telepathy, Yuzuha’s strong feeling of not wanting to leave him was transmitted to Shin.

“…Sigh, I guess I don’t have any choice. Do you really never want to be separated?”

“Kuu!!”

Yuzuha, on top of Shin’s head, barked again. It was full of motivation.

“Have you settled your discussion? Then let’s be quick.”

“Ah sorry for the wait! Then let’s do this!!”

The body strengthening buff was put on Wilhelm, and while facing toward the direction of the base, Shin released a skill.

It was the lightning system magic skill, 【Lightning Bunker】.

2 parallel lines of very thick lightning bolts, with several mels diameter, were released towards the group of Skull Faces, and they instantly changed into charcoal. The lightning attack made a path through the encirclement of Skull Faces, while Shin maintained the skill.

“Go!!”

Wilhelm kicked the ground at the signal from Shin’s voice. With his leg strength raised by Shin’s buff, he ran through the breakthrough with enough force to leave an afterimage.

“Kyaaaa!!!――――――――ーーーーーーー…”

Rashia screamed at the excessive speed, but it was immediately inaudible. Since the edge of the seal was close by, with Wilhelm’s speed, it probably wouldn’t take much time to get outside of the encirclement of the Skull Faces army. Though swords and spears were thrown by the separate Skull Faces outside the range of the lightning attack, they were repelled by 『Venom』while their speed was maintained.

“Is he gone?”

“Kuu.”

He confirmed that the figures of the two people had disappeared and cancelled the 【Lightning Bunker】. He had killed dozens of Skull Faces, but a large amount of Skull Faces closed up the holes as soon as he cancelled the skill.

The opponents were the subordinates of the Lord Skull Face; Jack class, Queen class, and King class.

The glaring Lord didn’t pay any attention to Rashia and Wilhelm at all, it was focused on Shin the whole time.

There was no monster called Lord Skull Face according to Shin’s knowledge. There were no monsters that exceeded level 800 that Shin didn’t know of, in other words, it was a totally new monster. It was not an enemy that he could judge just from its level.

However, anything like an unknown enemy could become the key for Shin to return to his original world, so there was a possibility that some new information or something could be obtained. Since those possibilities existed, Shin didn’t have the option to run away.

“Now then, should we go this way?”

“Kuuー!!”

Shin prepared his katana, and while feeling that Yuzuha’s voice was reliable, he began to run toward the large army of Skull Face.

If one could say it with one word, it would be, “slaughter”.

Bones shattering, swords breaking, and armors that became lumps of mere iron fell to the ground.

Several deep cracks and gouges scarred the ground, which were unimaginable, since he caused them without using magic.

It was all due to Shin swinging his katana.

“Woosh!”

He kept swinging his katana without using any skills. He cut the cores right in half, those of more than 10 Skull Faces just like that, and they became demon essences as they disappeared.

In addition, he also crushed the swords and armors.

Whenever the katana drew an arc in the plains, where the moonlight shined, the Skull Faces were knocked down, like a sand castle crumbling.

If it were normal adventurers, to defeat a King class, they must be prepared for dozens of sacrifices. But now, it was just a wooden figure in this place.

Like casually cutting down the grass that grows too much, the Skull Faces were definitely being killed.

“Kuoooooo!!”

Not only was Shin attacking, Yuzuha, who took a position on top of Shin’s head, was also breathing out pale flames from its mouth and burning the enemy to ash.

It was a skill exclusive to monsters, 【Fox Fire】. It was a red flame, but an Element Tail originally spit out blue flames. Though it seemed difficult for the present Yuzuha, a diverse attack could be drawn out from the tails in the case of the adults with the original appearance of level 1000. As for the Element Tail, each one of their tails takes charge of either fire, water, earth, wind, lightning, light, or dark magic skills, as well as physical attacks, and magic system skills. It was like fighting multiple enemies from the opponent’s point of view.

The only tail that Yuzuha seemed to be able to control was the magic system skill, which strengthened the【Fox Fire】. Because it was not a skill that a player could use, it was simply based on the image that Yuzuha imagined.

“Man, there are too many enemies.”

“Kuu.”

Even though Shin and Yuzuha had already defeated more than 100 Skull Faces, they had hardly moved from their original spot. There were too many monsters. Moreover, even though each of them was bigger than usual, the gap from the defeated was quickly filled.

It felt like an eternity as he was doing the same thing again and again, like digging sand from the bottom of an hourglass and putting it back on top.

Apparently the Lord Skull Face, the boss, after making a massive amount of Skull Faces appear, withdrew to the center of the Wraith Plains. The plains stretched dozens of kemels from one end to another. Shin was at the edge of the plains, so no appearance of the Lord came into his range of view.

Having withdrawn to lure in the exhausted Shin, it might have started to prepare something.

Shin thought about how to make the enemy come out, while flourishing his katana and Yuzuha spat out flames. In the plains, which were dyed in black aura, only the circumference around Shin was cut out, like exposed skin.

“We shouldn’t overdo it too much?”

“Kuu!”

It looked like one person and one animal were going to be swallowed by the black muddy stream, if seen from the edge. But they talked in a carefree voice, which was inconceivable in this situation.

While chatting, Shin used a slashing attack to hit the Skull Faces, and the black muddy stream was pushed back on the contrary.

No enemy could break through the barrier-like, slashing attack in this place. Just like the Skull Face who fought with Wilhelm before, most of the Skull Faces were expert classes in footwork and sword techniques, but it could only gain them a little time. Rather, it was pathetic that they were no match for Shin.

“It’s no good, huh? The places where the enemies emerge from is too vast.”

Shin used the detection system skills together to scan the surrounding information. Thanks to his flashy actions, a lot of Skull Faces in the plains were gathered around Shin. But Shin perceived that there were some individuals leaving the plains; ignoring the battle.

And apparently there was a big reaction, so presumably there was a King class among them too.

“I’m gonna kick it up a notch. Hold on tight!”

“Kuu!!”

The powerful 『Red Chidori』 was swung around, and the surrounding Skull Faces disappeared.

While holding the 『Red Chidori』 in his left hand, he extended his arm behind him and made a throwing posture. The lighting that had run through 『Red Chidori』’s blade previously couldn’t be compared to the present. The katana blade, that was clad in red lightning, was completely luminescent in and of itself, and brightened the surroundings as if it emitted light. The sound of metal creaking could be heard; it was the shriek of the katana’s blade due to an excessive amount of magic power being poured into it. With his improved stats, it was impossible for the Legend grade weapon to endure Shin’s magic power.

Maybe sensing high density magic power mixing with the light, the Skull Faces hesitated to approach.

And, that hesitation gave Shin enough room to make his preparation.

Katana technique lightning combined skill, 【Hien Raikiri】*. (T/N: Flying Swallow Lightning Cutter)

It was a mixture of martial arts skill and magic skill. Then, the combo was put together into a single blow released by Shin.

The 『Red Chidori』 was thrown with strength that could be called inhuman, while also spreading out a shock wave. There was no kind of resistance in ripping apart the Skull Faces crowded together.

The red lighting immediately spread out in all directions from the katana’s blade, moving toward the Skull Faces that became ashes one after another. The appearance was totally like a Hydra. A lightning-like red Hydra was trampling down the black wave with ultra high speed. It felt like the Skull Faces were voluntarily sacrificing themselves to the jaws of the lightning.

After the 『Red Chidori』 flew, a road with a width of about 10 mels was formed, and the ground was cut into from the shock wave and lightning.

Shin immediately ran on that road.

He aimed toward the center of the plains. To the Lord Skull Face.

If he defeated it or destroyed the dungeon core, Shin expected that this turmoil would be settled.

(If Schnee was here, I could have done something different.)

He thought so momentarily, but there was no point in asking for too much. He changed his mindset into that only he could do it now.

He took out a new weapon, and unsheathed it from its scabbard, while speeding up.

It was a 《Mythology》 grade, extra long katana, named 『Hamon Hirumaki』.

It was Japan’s number one long katana. Its full length surpassed 3 mels, if the hilt was included, and the katana’s blade reflected the moonlight in the darkness. Though it’s a little different from the actual name, depending on the person, they would be reminded of 『Nenekirimaru』* when they heard the name. (E/N: Nenekirimaru is an exorcism blade which only harms yokai.)

『Hamon Hirumaki』 has a high anti-undead ability as was expected from that anecdote. It had an attack that boasted a ranged attack which was not inferior to a spear due to it having a very long blade.

“Fhew!!”

It was a simple cut, the same as the katana from before. But the Skull Faces that vanished appeared to be no match from a while ago.

The 『Hamon Hirumaki』 was originally a weapon that needed 800 STR or more for it to be swung properly, and it possessed a cutting ability that could cleave a low-level dragon’s head off only with its own weight. If it was swung by a physical strength that surpassed the max stats by a player like Shin, the power was immeasurable.

The blade cut the air, and even the shock wave was impacted into the surrounding objects, splintering them altogether. The Skull Faces had no chance against it. The magnitude of power was different from the start. It was already a disaster for the Skull Faces. Large scale storms, earthquakes, floods and so on; the overwhelming destruction that one could not go against.

The present Shin was exactly like that.

He charged through the gauged-out ground at a speed faster than the slow progress from the situation before.

Though the Skull Faces filled the gap made by 『Hamon Hirumaki』 , this time he didn’t get stranded or stuck.

“Be gone!!”

Then Shin invoked a magic skill.

Wind system magic skill, 【Air Barret】.

It was a skill that made a about 30 ~ 40 cemels mass of wind that was launched in any direction, it had enough power that it could shoot down small flight monsters. However, Shin was not satisfied with only that much power. All of the wind masses that were fired randomly all around exceeded 2 mels, that power could easily blow away the Skull Faces that wore light armor. The Skull Faces flew into the sky like bowling pins, and there was no dignity as a monster of fear remaining anymore.

As he headed toward the center of the plains, the number of Skull Faces that faced Shin multiplied. The majority of the map displayed in Shin’s view was red, and it was impossible to count the number of enemies.

While the white marker, which indicated himself, broke-through the red dyed tainted map on the edge of the view, Shin rushed forward.

The orb that had absorbed the Pecker Hollow appeared in his mind. Since then, the Skull Faces that emerged were certainly strong. But the abilities to strengthen its subordinates and respawn them was not unusual to some degree for a boss monster. Judging from the standards of this world, it would be extremely brutal, but Shin had experienced a larger scale if put on a scale. For this reason, while Shin swung his long katana, he wondered whether he could defeat the enemy as smoothly as that.

(There is no disadvantage in being cautious.)

He reserved his energy while he annihilated the enemies. It was possible since his stats were raised from the game era. Shin was surely powerful. But sometimes quantity exceeded quality. Regardless of how many of his stats were maxed, Shin was not invincible, nor immortal either. He could do nothing but die if killed.

“――――――――――――――――――――!!!!!!”

A roar resounded throughout the plains. With a high frequency like-signal, a large amount of hands started coming out of the ground.

The origin of the roar was the Lord Skull Face. Due to that roar, no matter how much he reduced the number of Skull Faces by, it didn’t matter. Whenever it made a sound, new Skull Faces emerged from the ground.

“Again?”

He muttered while feeling that the source of the roar was nearby. He had the urge to use a wide area annihilation magic skill to blow off the excessive number that sprang out, but he endured it because he couldn’t use it carelessly.

In this world, range and power were not the same as in the game. Even with the basic magic skill that Shin learned, especially with his stats, its power might be in an intermediate class or higher if he lost control. What scale could it become if he used the wide area magic at the highest class? It was unimaginable. A forest might vanish by mistake, so it was not a laughing matter.

The ability that rose remarkably at this moment, was restrained and became a burden while Shin fought.

(If it was only me here, I might do that.)

While seeing green markers displayed on the map, Shin invoked a magic skill.

Flame system magic skill, 【Ember Flame】.

By the way, the green marker expressed a neutral player or NPC who was neither friend nor enemy. In other words, it showed that this place had someone other than Shin.

Countless fireballs appeared high in the sky above Shin, they rained down over the Skull Faces that surrounded Shin and the green markers. The fireballs generated intense heat the moment they touched an object without exploding and would disappear. The Skull Faces that received a direct hit from the fireballs looked like bee nests and vanished.

Because it didn’t spread flames, there were little flying sparks near the surroundings. And he didn’t need to put up with any clouds of dust due to the explosions. Thus, he didn’t relax on the aiming even if there was a considerable distance.

Though Shin didn’t know it, it was the adventurers who had been dispatched to observe the Wraith Plains, the knights squadron. They accidentally encountered the Skull Faces which had left the plains, and it became a state of war.

“That’s bad.”

The Skull Faces’ bigger physiques that Shin was fighting in his surrounding area interfered with his field of vision, so he couldn’t see well, but they seemed to be receiving Shin’s protection and were fighting well when he saw the movements of the marker. The level of the Skull Faces crowding around the green markers were about 300; fortunately it were the weak classes of Skull Faces that had been strengthened. However, there were Skull Faces exceeding level 500 that were approaching from the rear.

No matter how much he supported them with a magic skill, the distance was too far and there was a limit. Shin had learned to use combinations of skills, so he was able to sense it because the perception range had been expanded. He might be able to go if he could fly, but a skill that enabled flight was nonexistent in THE NEW GATE, so it was not possible to ‘fly’ even if it was possible to ‘jump’ using a skill.

“Why are they approaching in this direction? Did they not hear the roar?”

While clad in the storm of his blade as usual, he changed his course toward the green marker. He didn’t know who they were, but he couldn’t abandon them.

“Kuu?”

“Do you want to help?” As if Yuzuha asked, and answered “They will die before you arrive”, as he defeated the nearby enemies with a magic skill. Though the red marker indicated that the Skull Faces disappeared, multiple individuals of the red appeared immediately from the ground.

“Tsk, there is not enough time!!”

He collected magic power in his hands in order to save those who were surrounded.

The moment Shin was about to release his magic skill, a blue lightning bolt exploded ahead of Shin’s point of view.

It was the same lightning system magic skill that he used when Shin let Wilhelm and Rashia escape, 【Lightning Bunker】.

The lightning passed near the green markers at point-blank range, and defeated the nearby Skull Faces. Not one wound was inflicted on the adventurers, while all the surrounding enemies were destroyed.

Shin felt relief for that situation for a short time, but he was momentarily unable to take his eyes off of it, due to the color of the marker and the name displayed.

The color of the marker was blue. The color that indicated a friend.

The displayed name was 【Schnee Raizar】.

◆◆◆◆

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