Shin and his group left the guild, taking Tiera and Kaede with them.
Shadow and the others were apparently famous among the people living in Balmel, because they were called out to from everywhere.
“You guys get called out a lot around here, huh?”
“Even though there isn’t a lot around the castle, a lot of regular customers are in this neighborhood.”
“Hmm…by the way, is it the food or Kaede-chan that draws in more customers?”
“It’s 50% the food, 30% Kaede, and 20% Holly.”
Shin had asked it as a joke, but Shadow unexpectedly replied seriously.
The popularity of cafe ‘B&W’, seemed to be split between the food and the female duo.
“There are people aiming for Holly-san, too?”
“What? Is there a problem?”
“N-No, no! No problem at all. But since Holly-san is Shadow-san’s wife, I only thought that the customers would go for Kaede-chan.”
Shin made excuses hurriedly to Holly whose eyes did not match the smile on her face.
“(She is happy to be treated as a young wife.)”
Kaede whispered to his ear in a small voice as Shin had a fake laugh. Even coming to another world didn’t change that a woman wanted to appear younger than their years.
In terms of the appearance, Holly was a High Elf in her early twenties. Though the same thing could be said about Shadow, generally speaking, she looked quite young. In addition, Holly was a beautiful woman. Side by side with Kaede, they seemed more like sisters than parent and child. Even though she was a married woman, it was not strange that she had become popular.
To begin with, from the perspective of a High Elf and a High Lord, Holly and Shadow were still an age that could be called children. Though they thought of themselves as old from the perspective of the real world, that didn’t apply in this world.
“Come to think of it, does an ex-player who came here have the same life span of their character’s race? When I look at Shadow-san that seems to be the case.”
“That’s right. I’m not certain, but I believe I may have the same lifespan as my character’s race. Not enough time has passed yet in this world to know for sure.
“Then, that’s tremendous life span for the people with high race of the long-lived kind.”
In the characters lore, High Elves and High Pixies were said to live for thousands of years. If that’s the case, players would probably feel as if they had been given eternal youth, especially when compared to their prior human existence.
“You may have noticed, Shin-kun, but don’t you also have a similar – or rather, an even longer lifespan than we do?”
“Going by character lore, I’m the one with the longest lifespan, was it?”
“A spirit, or something close to it was what had been written, I believe. I wonder how much of that was carried over?”
“Indeed…Although I don’t particularly feel any different. What about you, Holly-san?”
“Hmm…It’s not something I can really explain, but I feel like I’ve become proficient at harvesting plants.”
Elves were dwellers of the forest. Their character lore described them as being able to communicate with plants on a simple level, so it might be the effect of that.
“I don’t feel any change in particular. Maybe because I don’t have the inherent abilities of the elves and pixies.”
“No, I can’t feel such changes either. I guess it also depends on the individual.”
It seemed like Hibineko and Shadow could not feel any changes. In the past, when Schnee and Tiera held plant in their hands, they could see its life force aura. However those kind of things weren’t in the game either.
“There’s no point in worrying so much. Isn’t it nice that those kinds of things also exist?”
“Well, I was only a little interested, I don’t intend to think about it so deeply.”
As Holly had said, they could not find an answer no matter how hard they thought about it, so there was no point in worrying over it.
After arriving at the inn where Shin and the others were staying, they parted ways for the day.
When he entered the inn, Shizu just came out from the kitchen.
“Welcome back! Shall I prepare a meal?”
“No thanks, we will eat later.”
She was the female beast and landlady they had met on the first day.
Shin and the others went to their own rooms for a while, and waited for Tiera.
After training, Shin and Schnee used the bath in feudal lord Taul’s residence. They had to wait for Tiera to change her clothes because they were all sweaty.
“You moved around a lot after all.”
Was it due to fatigue? Tiera put her face on the table exhausted.
“I’m relieved that the results from your special training have shown.”
“If I was made to do so much…”
“What is it?”
“No, nothing at all!”
Schnee reacted as soon as Tiera muttered absentmindedly.
Tiera didn’t think that Schnee had heard her because she had said it in a low voice. She straightened up quickly, and shook her head.
What would have happened if the results hadn’t shown? That was what Shin had worried about.
“Now then, should I head out?”
When he had finished his meal, Shin left the shop alone and began running towards the rampart.
Because there was a possibility that monsters would attack during the night, he intended to stand guard.
With his figure camouflaged by 【Hiding】 to match the rampart, he jumped to the top of the ramparts in one leap.
There was not a simple light outside the rampart. Visibility would fall down to zero if the clouds covered the moon.
Even in the dark, Shin’s night vision skill would normally allow him to see the shadows of any monsters. Yet, he still couldn’t see any. There were no reactions to his detection system skills either.
“It’s really weird that there’s nothing out there.”
Shin muttered alone, and then activated the earth technique wind combination skill 【Silent Whisper】.
It was a skill which would notify a player when a monster invaded a fixed area. It worked not only on the ground but also detected monsters coming from underground.
He didn’t neglect the underground because he’d heard that monsters had come from underground in the past war.
“I guess this is alright. If only the boss who leads the monsters could be found, it would be over quickly.”
Though Taul and the others had already been informed, what Shin and his group had really worried about was the opponent what should be said to be the principal offender of the war event: a monster called ‘Raid Vice’. Raid Vice itself wasn’t a strong enemy. However, because it controlled the other races and moved them like its hands and feet, it was extremely troublesome.
In addition to having a military-like chain of command, it was a commander-like existence which controlled the ‘Leaders’ of every monster race. The monsters under its control had bonuses added to their abilities as well.
If the Raid Vice was defeated, its control would be dissolved. If it could be defeated before the real fight, the resulting lack of leadership meant there would be no need to be cautious of a surprise attack. In reality, though, it wouldn’t be discovered so easily.
Though they didn’t know whether or not Raid Vice would be the principal offender this time, the defenders were told to report immediately if it was found.
Since 【Silent Whisper】didn’t require Shin to stay on the ramparts, he left the area and headed toward the forest where he had materialized Tsuki no Hokora the day before.
He then recalled the sensation of Schnee’s lips at the place where he took out Tsuki no Hokora, he almost writhed in agony but endured it somehow.
Shin shook off this feelings and reinforced the equipment, stored Tsuki no Hokora, and then went back inside the city. When he arrived at the inn, he went straight to bed.
A few days later, the scouts reported incoming monster hordes.
Shin and his party of upper class Chosen Ones, the first and the second war groups of Balmel knight squadron, were deployed in front of the city gate.
“No surprise attack in the end, huh?”
“Shin, you needn’t worry too much about the upcoming fight. We, the party behind you, will support you in case of emergency. Fight at the front with confidence!”
Standing next to him, Rionne tried to re-assure Shin while answering his monologue. Her equipment was the same as when she had fought in Kalkia. She carried『Muspelm』 across her back. Her gear was the same as before because it was currently the best equipment she could equip.
“It’s a war of extermination, you know? Don’t cut corners. They will probably come. Although it’s just my intuition.”
“Do you think so too, Shin? I wonder why, but I get that feeling too.”
When asked, Liege and Guile said they also felt the same way. It appeared that their senses had become sharper as the large-scale war got closer. It was probably a feeling shared by those experienced in fighting wars.
“Don’t let your guard down!”
“You don’t have to tell me.”
Rionne did not look excited even though she had previous experience in warfare.
“Then I’ll leave my back to you.”
In response to Rionne’s parting words, Shin joined Hibineko and the others. When he passed Schnee, they nodded to each other.
“(The alarm system has been set up. Please be cautious just in case.)”
Because Berett and his subordinates were keeping a close watch inside the city, he didn’t have to worry too much.
However, there was a possibility that monsters could pass through the barrier like the previous Skull Faces had on the Wraith Plains. He didn’t think that there was a monster that could infiltrate without being detected by 【Silent Whisper】, but no one know what would happen so he couldn’t be too careful.
When Shin arrived at the place where Hibineko and the rest were, they had already gathered and prepared for battle.
“You came? How’s the situation over there?”
“No problem in particular. However, everyone seems to feel a little uneasy.”
“As expected, huh? When it comes to it, you can leave it to us. In case the previous war event should happen, you should move to the rear, Shin. All the more so if you use the equipment in question.”
Hibineko who knew about the equipment, said while smiling. Hibineko carried the weapon which Shin had reinforced in his hand.
Hibineko was able to maintain his composure because, no matter the number of monsters, even if Shin was required to pull back from the front lines, Shin’s weapons reinforcements would be more than enough to counter them.
In addition the combination of, Hibineko, Shadow and Holly, in a party would represent a powerful fighting force on the front lines.
“I’ll be counting on you at that time. That equipment is hard to use when there are people around.”
“It’s nice to be powerful, but there is a big disadvantage. Although against opponents like this time, it will be terribly effective when Shin uses it.”
“The disadvantage was reduced a little with my smithing ability, so it became better than before. Well, even if it became easy to use, the risks of using it, however, may have increased.”
The equipment Shin was talking about was the kind of equipment that wouldn’t be equipped by a normal player during the game era.
Though it was different if one person fought against weak opponents, at least the equipment couldn’t be used in the situation where one joined a party.
Shin wouldn’t use it if the opponent was a divine beast and a strong boss. It was effective simply because the enemies were small fry for Shin.
“For the time being, I’ll go wild with this guy.”
“『Kakura』, huh? It seems you had used it when you escaped from Kalkia with the princess, but will everything be alright?”
Hibineko asked, after Shin materialized 『Kakura』 from a card.
“Hmm? What do you mean?”
Shin was puzzled. He didn’t understand the point of the question.
“That kind of equipment is very rare now. I think the princess may have her eyes on it.”
“Yeah, it’s already too late though. I’ve already told her that I had found my weapon in some ruins, but I think that she was interested in me, too.”
“I thought of it by chance when I heard that both of you had worked together, but as I’d expected, she had her eyes on you, huh? It’s probably a good idea to have many connections that can collect information for you for the sake of returning to the original world. But you have to use it depending on the other party. That’s something you need to be careful of.”
“I know. I don’t intend to seek assistance from the royal family, not yet anyway. I don’t know what kind of collateral they will demand in return.”
Setting Rionne’s interest aside, he was already marked as an individual with powerful war potential, so he didn’t want to incur any debts.
Shadow checked his watch as he walked up to them.
“Sorry to be in the way of your talk, but it’s about time.”
He informed the two that the fight was about to begin. Right at that moment, monster hordes began invading Shin’s perception range.
“I’m sorry. Well then, shall we go?”
“That’s right. Let them clear up the very front first.”
The preparations were already complete. Schnee and Guile’s magic attacks were the signal for the planned assault.
“Here it comes!”
When the incoming monsters were close enough to see without even using 【Far Sight】, Shin felt two magic power sources rise behind the military unit. Schnee’s power had noticeably larger presence, so the smaller one was probably Guile’s. Schnee’s presence was so large that it overshadowed Guile’s.
In a short amount of time, their magic power ascended and ran through the air. Guile’s magic impacted the front of the monster hordes, while Schnee’s magic kept rising high in the sky.
The first one to show effect was Guile’s magic. From the height about 20 mels in mid-air, fireballs of approximately 5 mels in diameter poured down like rain. Each fireball crushed several of the goblins. Furthermore, nearby monsters were blown away due to the resulting explosion. The many fireballs and their explosive aftermaths, poured down constantly. The ones exposed to the attacks were helpless to escape.
What Guile used was the flame technique system magic skill【Meteor Fall】. It was a highly useful magic that was relatively popular in the flame technique system magic because it caused area damage. There were also many countermeasures for it because it was famous. But, it wasn’t a concern when used against low-level monsters.
“So, here comes the real deal.”
As if answering Shin’s muttering, a jet black cloud appeared in the clear sky. It had strange motion like a recorded video being fast-forwarded.
Then, bolts of blue lightning struck the ground as the cloud began to expand.
The deafening roar, loud enough to drown out the explosive sounds of 【Meteor Fall】, reverberated through the surroundings. The monsters, who seemed somewhat able to react to the fireballs, were dumbfounded by this and couldn’t grasp what was happening. The attacked hordes quickly fell into a state of chaos.
However, their nightmare had just begun. That was only the initial salvo from Schnee’s large-scale magic skill.
As the afterglow of the initial blue lightning bolts had faded, dozens of additional lightning strikes pierced the monster hordes. The lightning itself started 10 mels above the ground. When it struck the ground, it spread and became snake-like chains of lightning that devoured everything within a radius of 3 mels.
Unlike the explosion of the fireballs which could be defended against with a shield, the lightning was impossible to block with simple protective gear. The monsters couldn’t evade properly because it was too crowded. They didn’t have any choice but to wait for their bodies to be burnt alive.
“【Blue Judge】huh? In any case, this is again…”
Schnee seemed to have chosen the magic skill that she was familiar with to deal with the monsters.
Lightning technique system magic skill 【Blue Judge】 was a skill which was difficult to fend off, just like light technique system magic skills. In addition, when the enemy wore metal-based protective gear, it had an increased damage effect. This damage included the monsters that had simple equipment, like most goblins and orcs.
Shin and his group, who knew the power and the attack range of the magic skill, were unfazed by this display of Schnee’s power. However, the soldiers who watching this scene at the rear grew pale.
The soldiers gazed in awe as the blue snakes devoured the black waves of monsters. The sight had shocked them beyond their expectations. Even Elgin, the leader of the knight squadron, was shocked by this display.
No one made a sound as they waited for the magic to end. Because the skill itself didn’t continue for a long time, it wouldn’t take long before the attack stopped.
As the last bolt of lightning struck the ground, the cloud which covered the sky cleared up and the afterglow disappeared.
As the sun came back out, countless craters and the charred remains of what once were monsters became visible.
There were no survivors within the range of effect, too.
Those were the only words that could describe the result.
There was a different kind of silence coming from the soldiers than during the time the magic skill had been invoked.
Was it awe or fear?
It was unknown how much magic power Schnee used. But judging from the soldiers’ reaction, it was clear that using large-scale magic for anti-guild wars should be avoided unless it was against a large army. That power was tremendous, Shin thought.
“Wow! It’s hard to believe I’m the same kind of High Elf.”
“She’s powerful, but that magic really makes an impact, too.”
Shin replied to Holly, who was amazed.
However, it was still a tense situation.
“After having killed so many, there are still this many left?”
Outside of the area of the magic skill’s effect, the number of monsters still exceeded the number that had been incinerated. They were still heading toward Balmel.
There had been a gap after the first wave, could this possibly be the second wave?
Schnee had killed well over 5000 monsters with her magic. To have reduced their number that much and still leave an equal or more amount of monsters than that, there was only one documented event that matched this.
“Hibineko-san, isn’t this the ‘Large Flood’?”
“It looks like it. I heard the probability of it happening was only about once in every 100 years. I guess this is it.”
The ‘Large Flood’ was a higher version of the ‘Flood’ which was said to have happened no more than 3 times in Balmel’s history.
Though the quality of the monster didn’t change, it was not unusual for their numbers to reach 10 times more than normal. The conditions for the outbreak were unclear, but when it had happened before, Balmel had been forced to keep fighting for several days, and only were able to pull through because their neighboring countries had provided them with reinforcements.
“(Schnee, can you make another shot?)”
“(No, it appears that I can’t use that magic again. Even if I try to invoke it, there’s no response.)”
As expected, it was not the situation to hold back; Shin had wanted her to attack again, but it didn’t seem that it was possible.
Then, when Shin tried to invoke large-scale magic, his magic power kept flowing out but there’s no change in his surroundings.
(What is this? My mana is flowing out, but the magic skill isn’t activating.)
He didn’t know why, but it had taken time to reuse a large-scale magic during the game as well.
As they charged forward, the surviving monsters trampled over the incinerated remains of their fellow monsters. They were undaunted by the destructive magic that had been unleashed. Unlike normal monsters, the monsters that spawned from the ‘Flood’ had almost no rationality or emotions. It was as if they were only programmed to attack.
For this reason, they didn’t react to the magic exploding in front of them.
“It appears that they will keep fighting to the last monster.”
“It’s because they won’t withdraw even if they can’t win. A ‘Flood’ is basically a war of extermination.”
The monsters would kill until the last one of them was defeated. According to Shadow, that seemed to be how the monsters fought in the ‘Flood’. As Rionne had said as she wielded her sword earnestly, Shin was able to understand that, too.
“If it doesn’t remain one-sided, we’ll get our turn soon.”
“So a power like that wasn’t able to make the battle one-sided, right?”
As Shadow had said, the monsters were spread out evenly as far as they could see. To begin with, the magic that Schnee had shot had almost annihilated the first wave of the monsters, unlike the moments earlier, the present state didn’t stay one-sided against the monsters. Even if you were to assess the calculation error, given that only the number that did not remain was from the Second Wave, it was not possible to say that it was very noticeable even if they were to be collectively joined.
“It’s slightly different from the plan, but I’ll lead the monsters towards the front of the first layer of heavy knights. Both of you, please be careful not to lead too many to them, so they don’t get overwhelmed.”
Shin and Shadow nodded at Holly’s warning. Hibineko acknowledged her wordlessly by raising his chin while tossing small dried sardines into his mouth. Though it was an item with stats strengthening effect just in case, his had the impression that seemed to say he was probably acting playfully if he was not an upper class Chosen One.
“Let’s go then!”
As soon as Shin finished commenting, four people kick the earth and began to mobilize. Though they had to match Holly’s slower speed, with the aid of their equipment, they were still much faster than riding a horse.
At that speed, they approached the hordes of monsters in a flash. While moving, Holly buffed each party member.
From the start, their offensive, defensive, and even their magic defensive power were thoroughly reinforced. On top of that, their powers were further increased by the additional effect of the reinforcement of their weapons.
“I’ll attack first!”
“Fumu, your blood rages, huh?”
Shin, Shadow, and Hibineko as the three vanguards, plunged into the hordes of monsters while smirking.
It was a battle formation with Shin at the center, Hibineko on the left, Shadow on the right, and Holly in the back.
Of course, the first one to make a move was Shin. With『Kakura』 ready on his shoulder, he stepped on and crushed the ground. By invoking the skill of instantaneous acceleration he moved instantly to the front head of the pack.
“Here’s a greeting from me!!”
While riding the force of the acceleration, Shin swung down 『Kakura』. His first victims were a group of orcs.
Shin had invoked a weapon skill which included a mallet technique and wind technique combination skill called 【Amber Wave Strike】. This caused a high-density wind to coil around 『Kakura』. He swung it down while aiming at the orcs at the very front. A thick “DOOM!” sounded, and aided by the compressed wind, a single blow of 『Kakura』 crushed the orcs in front and the approaching group behind them. A radial crater appeared in the ground where 『Kakura』 struck. Small monsters like goblins vanished from just the shock wave of the blow.
【Amber Wave Strike】 had the effect of strengthening the range and power of the strike of the wind technique; it was an effective skill to suppress the front of a pack.
More fissures in the ground that were about 10 mels wide and 50 mels long formed from the radial crater Shin had created. All of the monsters within range had been reduced to nothing more than smears on the ground.
Shin lifted 『Kakura』from the crater, and took a stance. The wind technique from 【Amber Wave Strike】 no longer covered 『Kakura』. The next skill he activated was a mallet technique and flame technique combination skill 【Scarlet Phoenix Wizard】. A crimson light enveloped the surface of 『Kakura』with the flow of mana. When he waved it horizontally, the flame of the Crimson Lotus projected toward the monsters.
It was a skill with an orthodox effect that was said to increase attack range and bestow flame attribute. The only limitation was that the effect would disappear after the first long distance attack was performed.
Though a lot of people used the long-range attack after the skill’s timer had run out, but Shin used it immediately because the attack was more effective when there was a lot of time left to the skill
Following the trajectory of 『Kakura』, a crescent-shaped flame was formed. The flame, which rapidly increased in volume as it shot away from Shin, charged forward and turned all the monsters in its way to ashes. In front of Shin was a 30 mel wide corridor of flames, in which most of the monsters were roasted. Even if the crowd of monsters tried to close the gap, the remaining flames swelled up quickly and exploded. The individual monsters who were near that heat and shock burst open, turning their swords and armor into shrapnel which, pierced the monsters gathered near the explosion.
“Here I am!!”
Shin activated the taunt skill 【Shura Rush】to attract the monster’s attention. Among the provocation skills that attract the monster’s attack target to the user, 【Shura Rush】 was known for its wide area of effect.
Shin prepared 『Kakura』as he cast a sharp glance toward the incoming monsters.
If he listened closely, he could hear similar explosions from not too far away. It looked like Hibineko and Shadow had commenced battle too.