Vol. 4 Chapter 4 – Part 1

Shin and Rionne shifted their gazes toward the sphere. About a minute later, the globe finally reached its limit.

“KyuAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”

A huge cry was raised together with the sound of something similar to glass cracking, and something broke out of the sphere.

“What is that?”

Rionne appeared to have never seen the emerging monster.

“…Looks like a Gryphon.”

“Gryphon?”

“It’s a monster that usually inhabits the forest or highlands.”

While Shin explained, he activated 【Analyze】.

――――『Guardian of rbh%t&   Lv$%&』

“It has garbled letters, huh?… A Guardian?”

Barely readable portions of the name were displayed, and Shin looked puzzled while tilting his head.

There was a monster with a ‘Guardian’ prefix attached to their name. However, it was a huge golem with full body armor that would appear in the city and become the base of the players. On top of that, it didn’t come out unless there was a special event.

The current Gryphon before them had crystal wings. Because the wings were made of transparent blue ice and had an angular-shape, it had a solid feeling that living things didn’t have.

“Is that ice?”

Shin judged that those wings were composed of ice crystals, as he saw the cold wave of air released by the wing of the Gryphon, who was generating white mist around it.

When observed carefully, ice also covered its talons up to its foreleg and the horn that had grown from its forehead. Though they were the same base color as its wings, there was also green blended into several places.

A portion of the ground near the Gryphon was already frozen. Was it due to the influence of the ice on its forelegs?

“………”

“Shin, is there something wrong?”

“…No, it certainly resembles a monster I know, but it’s slightly different.”

The monster was similar to ‘Glass-Blue Gryphon’. It was a monster that appeared in ice and snow zones.

However, a Glass-Blue Gryphon had its whole body made of crystal-like glass, which was different than the Gryphon that had just appeared. To begin with, Shin didn’t know of any kind of Gryphon that exceeded 5 mels in body height.

“It’s looking this way!”

The Gryphon, which raised a roar, turned its gaze to the direction where Shin and Rionne were.

Since their eyes met perfectly, it’s not possible to say it was just their imagination.

“Kyuiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!”

“Mu! Is it up to something?”

“It’s bad to stay here, so I’ll break the wall!”

At the same time as the shout, Shin broke through the wall in the room and jumped outside.

Rionne followed soon after, and the breath of ice which the Gryphon released hit the building directly. The building was frozen in an instant.

The Gryphon seemed to have seen that Shin and Rionne escaped, as it turned its neck while breathing out ice in order to put them in the line of fire.

“That’s dangerous! We’re gonna jump!”

“Kyaa, what!?”

Shin carried Rionne and kicked through the air against the looming breath of ice.

He dodged the breath mid-air by a movement system martial arts skill 【Flying Shadow】, and jumped into the shadow of another building.

“It’s a ‘mowing down’ breath, huh? I’m sure there’s no such attack used by gryphons…”

“I-Is that so? Rather, Shin, I want you to lower me down now.”

Rionne said, while stuttering in Shin’s arm.

The current body pose of Rionne was commonly referred to as ‘holding the princess in one’s arms’ state.

“Ah sorry. It was emergency, so it was either this or I carry you under my arm.”

When Shin pulled Rionne’s arm and evaded the breath, he was able to hold her under his arm, but as expected that may be inappropriate for a princess, so he changed it.

“You really…so what would you do? We cannot go near it since it attacked as soon as we showed up.”

“That kind of attack is a breathing spell or magic power charge; there will be a cooldown-time when the attack is used somewhere, so we have no choice but to attack at once. I will take charge of the front, so aim for its back while hiding in the building, Rionne.”

Though it was a surprise attack, Shin knew the capture method of a Gryphon himself.

Even if he was directly hit with the breath, he shouldn’t be killed on the spot.

“Will you be alright?”

“Leave it to me. I don’t want to be hit, but I’ve a way even if I’m hit.”

The worrying Rionne nodded, and Shin stood up.

After seeing Rionne off, who was moving away from him, he jumped outside the building.

“KyuAAAA!!”

The Gryphon promptly shot its breath.

As if it knew Shin was there, its aim was accurate.

Shin bent over and evaded the breath coming straight at him, then started to run.

Though the Gryphon made a mowing down motion with its breath like it was natural, a similar attack wouldn’t become a threat to Shin.

Using both movement system martial arts skills 【Flying Shadow】 and 【Shukuchi】, Shin sometimes jumped over and dove under as he closed in upon the Gryphon without slowing down.

“Hey, hey I’m here. Where are you aiming at!?”

While exercising one of the taunt skills, 【Clown Noise】, Shin stirred up the Gryphon aloud.

Did the Gryphon determine that its breath wouldn’t hit as it saw Shin’s movements? The Gryphon aimed at Shin with its left foreleg. Shin then intercepted the talons made of ice with his『Kakura』. Taking advantage of his strength, from the lower position he hammered onto the lowered foreleg to reach a conclusion.

“Kyui!!”

“Whoa!!”

The Gryphon and Shin rallied each other, and were both surprised at the weight of the opponent’s blow.

When『Kakura』was pressured by the talons of ice, Shin jumped back at once.

“This is not the physical strength of a Gryphon…”

The Gryphon in the game era was not such a strong monster to that degree.

Though it also depended on the kind, level 600 was the highest; it was an opponent with insufficient power to be considered a formidable enemy.

Yet, the current opponent didn’t appear so.

Shin’s STR was more than 500, although it was being controlled by 【Limit】. If he added the weapon compensation of 『Kakura』, his STR would be close to 600.

With that being easily overwhelmed, Shin concluded that the Gryphon’s STR was more than 700.

“Did I underestimate it? Its power is also strong. I can’t talk to Rionne either, huh?”

Shin lowered the 【Limit】 to II, as he muttered and scolded himself for being deceived by the Gryphon’s appearance. (T/N: The lower the Limit is, the stronger Shin gets. Currently his stats was divided by 2(II) from his original stats)

Though it was not a complete release, his stats still exceeded 999 in the time of the game. Unless it was a powerful boss monster, nothing could overcome the current Shin’s attacks. As for why he didn’t release the limit completely, it was because he couldn’t estimate the power when attacking.

Unlike Schnee, right after Rionne was involved, neither evasion nor defense were possible. Similarly to the battle of the Lord Skull Face, this wasn’t a situation where he could attack without thinking about the damage to the surroundings.

“If I can’t defeat it with this, it is no joke.”

Shin, in the same way as a while ago, started to attack the Gryphon.

The Gryphon, in response to that, raised its ice talons and was about to swoop down on Shin.

“*Hyaah!*”

“KyuAA!?”

Their yell sparked.

『Kakura』 and the ice talons struck each other directly――this time, the winner was 『Kakura』.

It couldn’t endure Shin’s overwhelming physical strength; the ice that covered the Gryphon’s left foreleg burst and scattered. Still, did the ice become a cushion? The Gryphon’s leg itself was safe. However, the Gryphon couldn’t escape the impact, as it had its leg lifted and stumbled back a step or two.

“Tch!”

Nevertheless, the moment the ice covered leg was smashed, Shin was surprised to see that the scattered ice that flew transformed into spears, and Shin missed the opportunity to continue the attack.

“The ice covering its legs is not an ordinary ice――tto!”

Shin, who witnessed the unexpected ability, dodged the extra ice spears that flew toward him.

The origin of the current ice spears were the Gryphon’s wings. From the large wings, which were unfolded, various small and large ice spears colored blue and green were scattered around to block Shin’s escape route.

Gryphon’s movement became sluggish, as there seemed to be damage to some extent.

“KyI!”

When the Gryphon made a cry sound, ice covered its left foreleg again.

The awkward movement of its left foot was restored accordingly. Apparently, its fighting power didn’t seem to fall at the place where he smashed it.

“Next is a barrage of breaths, huh?”

While crushing the ice spears with 『Kakura』, Shin attracted the Gryphon’s attention again.

On the edge of his view, he confirmed the figure of Rionne creeping up the back of the Gryphon. As Shin changed his standing position, he examined the attack range of the Gryphon.

The range of the Gryphon’s neck movements limited the breath attack’s direction. Also, it could only shoot the ice spears forward, and when Shin went around to its side, he wasn’t attacked. Though ice talons were equipped on both front and back legs, Rionne should have seen the situation where Shin destroyed the talons.

She should be able to take the Gryphon by surprise now.

“I should have its attention just in case.”

Shin exercised a taunt skill【Shura Rush】 when he confirmed that Rionne was ready with her 『Muspelm』 behind the Gryphon.

Even though there weren’t any other monsters around, he didn’t know when they would appear. Therefore, using a taunt skill to attract the attention of a wide-ranging enemy would overwrite the 【Clown Noise】, which collected only a single opponent’s hate; he decided to thwart the possibility of Rionne receiving a surprise attack reversely.

“KyuA!”

“That’s right, look here!”

While adding sporadic attacks, Shin fixed the position of the Gryphon.

Then, the moment the Gryphon spread its wings in order to release ice spears, Rionne started her move.

“――Hyaah!”

『Muspelm』, which gave off a vivid orange effect, hit directly on the joint of the right wing.

However, the wing seemed to have more strength than it appeared, for even with one or two katanas used to cut it, the wing was hardly damaged.

“HyaAAAAA!!”

A yell that contained a noticeable fighting spirit accompanied by a striking blow, she somehow succeeded in giving the Gryphon’s wing a small wound.

However, it didn’t restrict the Gryphon’s movement. Rionne continued as it was, attacking the back of the raging Gryphon. Arcs were drawn continuously, as the orange-colored effect covered『Muspelm』.

The rate of Rionne swinging 『Muspelm』 was faster than usual, and the power also increased proportionally to the speed.

Its fur also seemed to have high defensive power, as the Gryphon received almost no damage. However, if its back was attacked, which was the blind spot taken by Rionne, who was a melee-type Chosen One, even the Gryphon couldn’t move properly. Though it tried to shake her off, it wasn’t very successful.

The reason why Rionne could one-sidedly attack the Gryphon was because, besides it being caught off guard, she invoked fencing technique system martial arts skill 【Tyrant Beat】.

Rionne Against Gryphon

While she couldn’t use magic skills during the invocation, she raised her offensive ability and attack speed up to 1.4 times as compensation; it was a skill that dealt a stun effect for a very short time to the opponent every time the attack hit.

Even if the effect period was very short, when the condition was met, one-sidedly crushing down the opponent was possible. It was often used in the game era by players whose occupation emphasised physical attacks.

“Ugh, my skill ended! Sorry, but I’ll leave it to you now!”

“Got it!”

The Gryphon’s behind and the back of its neck, which were hacked at recklessly, were leaking little-amounts of blue mist from its wounds.

When looked at closely, it was like a blue spray that spewed out from the wounds. It didn’t appear to be a liquid, as it faded and disappeared in the air when it rose 30 cemels like steam.

“Is something leaking!? No, does the body fluid evaporate?”

Shin, who looked at the Gryphon’s state made inferences on the phenomenon he had never seen.

“GRUUUUU!!”

With Rionne separated away, the Gryphon flapped its wings in a big way and turned toward Shin.

Its four legs had firmly stepped on the ground. Its HP was almost recovered when he looked at the Gryphon with 【Analyze】.

Because the level displayed was garbled, it was difficult to determine what level the monster was, but he expected level 800 or more from the amount of damage received. Though animal-type monsters typically didn’t have high defensive power, it seemed that this didn’t apply to the Gryphon in front of him.

“This guy is a nuisance.”

While provoking it so Rionne wasn’t targeted, Shin resumed his attacks on the Gryphon.

He aimed at the parts which weren’t covered in ice. As Shin passed through the ice spears unleashed from the Gryphon, he swung 『Kakura』 vigorously at its body. What was returned was a heavy feeling like beating a large mass of rubber.

“KyII!!?”

The Gryphon’s body recoiled sideways, and the place where 『Kakura』stroked was hollowed out greatly.

While the Gryphon was hit by 『Kakura』, which unleashed its slashing attack power as if to cut up the enemy, it wasn’t the end for the Gryphon.

“GRUUU…”

Even if a normal living thing who had received that blow would have their internal organs destroyed, the Gryphon only raised a menacing growl.

Rather than the sound come from receiving damage, it was a cry that one could feel an annoying vexation from.

“Shin! Are you okay?!”

Rionne shouted from the rear of the Gryphon.

“No problem here! Don’t come to the front because of the heavy barrage!”

Shin shouted back.

The strength of the ice spears released by its wings was higher than what a half-baked weapon could produce. Even though the intensity had declined over time, the ice spears still pierced through the orichalcum paved road like the tentacles of Gilslay. In some cases, there was also a possibility that they could not be defended against with 『Muspelm』.

“If the main body is made of ice, then how about this?”

Shin, who was dodging the Gryphon’s attack, took out a card and tossed it to the sky while shouting,

“Release 【Flare Burst】!”

The card was torn and a bluish-white sphere was summoned in response to Shin’s shout.

What he threw to the sky was a shot from the front, because the possibility of it being dodged was high.

“KyUAA!?”

Did it feel the magic power in the sphere? The Gryphon raised a voice of caution. Ice spears which came flying toward the sphere were repelled, and the sign of breath forming could be seen in its mouth.

In the short time after it was launched, heat rays were fired from the sphere. Although Shin could also attack the Gryphon himself at the same time as he tossed the sphere, the effect of the magic may have weakened when Shin approached.

Therefore, Shin materialized 4 one-handed knives made of orichalcum, gripped them between his fingers and threw them.

If it was a synchronized attack from the top and the front, lowering the possibility of either being evaded.

“Shin?”

Rionne was watching Shin’s movements, but expressed her doubt.

It was mostly because the knives Shin threw were greatly off the mark.

“KyUIII!!”

The Gryphon probably also thought he missed the mark. It repelled only two of them which came flying by its wings, and a breath was fired toward the approaching heat ray from the sky.

The snow-white breath collided with the bluish-white heat rays, offsetting each other. The power of the attacks were almost equal, neither one of them overwhelmed the other one-sidedly.

However, that state was only for an instant. The knives which were thrown in the wrong direction changed trajectory and pierced the stomach and the wing of the Gryphon.

“GyUA!”

The power of its breath diminished along with the scream.

Then, the heat ray overcame the breath and hit the Gryphon directly.

“GIIIIIIIIIIII!?”

The Gryphon’s squeal reverberated through the sky of Kalkia.

Its left wing which it had promptly used as a shield was almost evaporated, and the left side of the Gryphon’s face was also burned hideously.

From the wing, which was mostly missing, and from the burnt skin, blue steam spouted out.

“What on earth was that just now…”

Rionne, who saw the knives whose trajectory changed at almost a right angle to pierce the Gryphon, muttered in a dumbfound state.

What Shin had done was called a throwing technique and wind combination skill 【Trick Throw】; it was a skill that made the trajectory of the thrown weapon go toward the target.

In this world where skills were extremely scarce, it may have been unusual for her.

“In that timing, there’s no way I could miss!”

In that single chance, Shin attacked the Gryphon which received damage and lost its balance.

As the breath was not usable as a result of half of its face being burnt, a barrage of ice spears came from its single wing; it was the ideal situation to come close.

“This time it won’t go like a while ago!”

Shin put up『Kakura』 against a blow by the right forefoot of the Gryphon.

The Gryphon’s ice talons burst open together with a roaring sound. The flying ice spears which changed into ice debris were easy to deal with if one knew how to handle them.

As the attack of the forefoot was flicked away, if he turned around to the right side of the collapsed Gryphon’s face, the ice spears didn’t show any effect.

There, Shin brandished his 『Kakura』.

“【Enchant Fire】”

Along with Shin’s mutter, 『Kakura』 was enveloped in flames.

Leaving a red trace in the air, 『Kakura』 struck on the Gryphon’s body directly.

With a thunderous sound that resembled an explosion, the Gryphon slid sideways for about 5 mels. The Gryphon’s talons scraped off the orichalcum pavement, and claw marks were carved on the ground. Though the talons seemed to break easily due to Shin’s attack, the strength of the ice talons were higher than a thin layer of orichalcum.

On the body where Shin hit, some kind of burnt traces remained. Blue steam also grandly leaked from there, as the wound had not burnt completely.

“Its HP condition decreased decently. That steam, is it different from bleeding and magic leakage?”

Shin thought while seeing the HP gauge of the Gryphon.

In case of the bleeding state, it should be the same as a poison; the HP should decrease intermittently. However, the Gryphon had not received any more damage than what Shin had dealt.

“Isn’t it an abnormal state?”

Some of the monsters at boss class often had special attack methods.

In case of the golem group it was hand throwing, in the spector group it was summoning followers, the ability that reflected each of their characteristics were typical. Of course, there were exceptions among them, too.

What he could imagine from the steam gushing out from the wound was an ability of the type that takes time, and changes the environment to one where the boss could fight more easily. This was like a Black Spirit*; many of the monsters which mainly composed of magic attacks had it. (T/N1: Black Spirit is as it sounds like, an RPG monster which is a Spirit)(T/N2: When it says ‘it’, it talks about the ability to change the environment)

“*Shoom*!”

The state of Shin and the Gryphon glaring at each other was probably to determine for a good opportunity.

From the blind spot of the Gryphon, Rionne again prepared with 『Muspelm』 and jumped out.

“KyUI?”

The attention of the Gryphon seemed to completely point toward Shin, it wasn’t able to cope with the surprise attack.

Rionne jumped onto the back of the Gryphon again, and exercised 【Tyrant Beat】. Leaving a trail of orange color, 『Muspelm』 was slammed against the Gryphon.

“GyII!”

The Gryphon which couldn’t bear it, screamed at Rionne who attacked mainly on the left half of its body which was badly burned.

Shin drew the attention of the Gryphon from the front without interfering with Rionne.

“Rionne! I don’t know whether there’s any effect from the steam coming out from the wound! Don’t let it touch you!”

“Got it!”

Rionne utilized the length of 『Muspelm』’s blade, wielding the sword skillfully so as to not touch the steam.

However, as time passed by, Rionne’s movement became too dull to keep up. If one looked closely, the blue steam was clinging to Rionne’s body before she was aware of it.

There was an indication of speed drop when he checked Rionne’s status.

“It’s a debuff system, huh?”

Shin, who had a bad hunch, immediately released cancellation of the weakening magic.

“【Cure All】!”

Though 【Cure】 was sufficient if it’s a single abnormal state, Shin chose the most effective skill he had just in case.

The ability of the enemy whose effect he couldn’t identify, he knew it from experience that it was good to be extra wary. The moment when Rionne had her movement back, she jumped off from the back of the Gryphon. Then the Gryphon waved its wing toward Rionne who was mid-air.

Rionne prevented a direct hit by using 『Muspelm』 as a shield. However, it was impossible for her to completely block the power in the air, and she was sent flying.

Rionne forcibly fixed her posture while mid-air and as she landed the ground was whittled down. Sparks scattered on the paved road and on 『Muspelm』.

“Such power from only being hit by a wing, huh?…”

A muffled voice leaked from Rionne’s mouth.

Even though 『Muspelm』 became a shield, she was sent flying for about 10 mels by the Gryphon. Even if there was almost no damage, the burden on her body was immeasurable.

“I’ll get its attention! Go into a building for a moment!”

Shin shouted and invoked flame system magic skill 【Smoke Bomb】.

A black globe appeared in the air and rushed toward the Gryphon.

“KyUA!”

Though the Gryphon only had a single wing, it still intercepted the black globe well.

When the widely scattered ice spears touched the globe, the black smoke was dispersed grandly with a “Puff” sound.

“GRURURU…”

Did it get cautious over the black smoke covering its surroundings? The Gryphon raised its voice and growled. Without a slight break, a strong wind swept along with a wind noise.

From Shin’s point of view, it seemed that the Gryphon had spread its wing and caused the wind. However, the black smoke generated by the smoke bomb was not affected by the wind. So no matter how much the Gryphon flapped its wing, the black smoke didn’t clear up.

“KyUIII!”

The Gryphon cried as it got irritated.

The black smoke of 【Smoke Bomb】 could obstruct both the sense of smell and sight. So it seemed both were effective. It obviously lost sight of Shin and Rionne as the ice spears were shot in the wrong directions.

Shin fended off the flying ice spears occasionally, and joined with Rionne in the shade of a building. After making sure the wall wouldn’t easily be broken thanks to its thickness, he checked on Rionne’s condition.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, my hands are a bit numb, but I’m all right. But I’m sorry, my attacks don’t seem to deal effective damage to that guy.”

During neither the first nor the second time, Rionne’s attacks couldn’t deal proper damage to the Gryphon.

Power was achieved with skill, so the Gryphon probably had greater defensive power than the combination of Rionne’s STR and 『Muspelm』’s attack power.

“Since I came here, I haven’t been anything other than a burden.”

Rionne put power in her hands gripping the hilt of 『Muspelm』, which touched the ground and made a clattering sound.

Shin then revealed one of his cards to Rionne whose face distorted in frustration.

“It’s also possible to increase the physical ability by 【Enchant】, but what will you do?”

“…Please do. When I’m aimed at by that guy, I’d like to make sure that it won’t interfere with you, Shin.”

Rionne hesitated slightly, but relaxed her shoulders and lowered her head.

“I’ll raise your physical strength and robustness. Please be careful as sensation related to muscle strength can change significantly. Here I go, 【Enchant • Double Strike】 !”

After adding a cautionary note concerning the rise in ability, Shin activated 【Enchant】.

A silver light shone over Rionne’s head, and faded out after it covered her body for a moment. This was the effect when an ability is more than doubled.

“…I feel light”

In the state resulting from【Enchant】, Rionne lifted 『Muspelm』 and said so.

The enormous metal 『Muspelm』 felt like a twig.

“I think you should have realized it, but you cannot treat a weapon the usual way when in a strengthened state. The swing speed is too fast and causes a gap in self-image and senses. Therefore, when trying to strike down a long-distance attack of an enemy, swinging to the sky happens quite often.”

【Enchant】 was very excellent in battle. However, it was a type of skill that only applied to the player, and not the weapon, such that there was an adverse effect.

In the game era, there were two things which caused numerous accidents.

First was as Shin said; because of a shift in timing, neither attack nor defense could be performed satisfactorily. Second, one couldn’t stop at the place they thought when their AGI raised, and self-destruct by crashing into a monster.

Also in the game era, if 【Enchant】 was applied in an unfamiliar state, it was said that it was better not to apply anything when it came to fighting power.

The reason why Shin hadn’t suggested this when they came to Kalkia, was because such risks were taken into account.

Though the rate of increase of the stats depended on the value of the conjurer’s INT, it was Shin who applied 【Enchant】 to Rionne. The effect wasn’t ordinary.

Nevertheless, Shin has yet to acquire the ability which let him adjust 【Enchant】’s rate of increase, Naturally he didn’t have the time to train and master it in Kalkia.

“Now you can dodge the ice spears as much as possible, probably using 『Muspelm』 as a shield. Don’t try to strike it down unskillfully.”

Shin didn’t forget to remind her a couple more times, so she wouldn’t do anything incompetent.

If she focused only on defense, there would be fewer odd mistakes, too.

“Indeed, this is great. It’s like holding 『Muspelm』 like a wooden sword. I may get intoxicated with this feeling of omnipotence.”

While swinging 『Muspelm』 up and down, Rionne said with an eager expression.

Even Shin understood that she would charge recklessly if he didn’t give her a warning.

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