# Chapter 403 – Defense Specialization and Blue Light
After a while, when the discussion had settled down, Payne touched upon the main topic once again.
“I would be grateful if you give the alliance some thought.”
“Got it! I will try and discuss it with the others.”
“Then, let’s go, Maple. If you’d like to see anything, I can guide you.”
A while after they left the room, Dred came in.
“That Frederica, I hear she brought Maple here?”
“Yeah. What, are rumors spreading already?”
“That armor does stand out, after all… I heard it from a guild member. Well, what happened? I wanna know.”
“I suggested an alliance with her. That would bring us the closest to victory.”
“…That’s unexpected of you. What happened to your revenge?”
“Hahaha, Frederica said the same… But the scale of battle is levels apart from the normal player vs player events till now. We’re preparing to win with our strength alone as well but… it will be tough. I can’t be stubborn when the guild’s victory stands in balance.”
“I see… Payne, you really are a guild master, huh?”
“Of course, I will definitely lead us to victory.”
The guild’s victory. The Congregation of Holy Swords was also preparing towards that goal.
Days passed and Maple was at her guild home, deep in thought.
“What should I do…”
Maple’s worries—that is, what should be Maple Tree’s policy for this event.
The Kingdom of the Flame Emperor is forming factions upon free will, according to Mii and the Congregation of Holy Swords is aiming for a unified victory as a guild. They had already received an invitation from the said guild and considering Maple Tree’s members’ individual strength, it wouldn’t be unusual if they were to receive more of these invitations going forward as well.
She could definitely consult it with her guild members but at the end of the day, Maple will be the one who pulls the trigger.
“I gotta decide before the event…!”
With that frame of mind, Maple left the guild home to make progress in her quest.
As she was on the opposite side of her other guild members, it was her exploring alone this time as well.
“Counting on you, Syrup! I gotta look around from the sky as well!”
Maple got on the enlarged Syrup’s back and flew towards the forest path, which looked like a long black rug.
“I can’t really see inside the forest from up top, huh?”
Unlike the forests she had explored uptil now, this one’s branches extended horizontally quite a bit, making it hard to see through the gaps.
Considering that, it must be as dark as night time inside the forest.
“Anywhere I can land…?”
The quest’s location was towards the center of the forest but she couldn’t spot an area to land Syrup. She would reach the location if she had just headed straight after entering the forest, however, considering how she was just aiming to clear the quest, that would take too long.
“I wonder if it’ll be alright if we can just almost land?”
Maple lowered Syrup’s altitude slowly and tried to stop right on top of the trees before returning him to the ring.
As her ride had just disappeared like that, Maple started free falling onto the trees and ended up invading in through the prickly and thick black leaves.
She rustled through the branches during her fall before colliding into the ground, getting all mushy.
“Whew… I was able to get through… mm, here we go!”
As Maple stood up and surveyed her surroundings, she found exactly what she had expected—a pitch black forest. Of course, there was no source of light there and as it was also considerably deep within the forest, one couldn’t even tell if a tree was near unless they touch the trunk.
“’Self-offering Love’! ‘Predator’!”
And of course, with the narrow space in consideration, ‘Predator’ would be the better choice than Machine God as it is more flexible and would automatically attack enemies which aren’t caught by Maple. To protect Predator and to also provide some light, she also deployed Self-offering Love. With that, preparations were complete.
The lit-up ground provided much more light than a bed light and lit up the surrounding well.
With this, she wouldn’t be bumping into tree trunks in the dark.
“There doesn’t seem to be anyone around here… I wonder if I should try it out.”
Maple called out the blue panel and changed one piece of equipment. She equipped ‘Lost Legacy’ instead.
Along with the equipment change, a blue-black cube appeared floating beside Maple and followed her around.
“Alright… I’m ready!”
After a bit of walking, the subjugation target for the quest this time appeared.
And it had the appearance of shadow itself. The monster resembled a slime and could extend its form freely. The shadow formed a sword with a part of its body and made no waste in rushing Maple with it.
Maple put up her shield in response as it was charging in from the front but before she realized, she had been surrounded and these attacks appeared from her back as well.
Maple herself couldn’t keep up with such attacks but the matter is different for Predator. It bit off the shadow’s sword the moment it entered Predator’s territory.
“Waah?! From the back as well?! …Thanks, I didn’t realize at all.”
Maple reacted a moment later and thanked Predator before focusing in front of her again. As long as the attack in front of her is hostile, such actions are the same as self-destructing.
Not only did it not reach Maple, it got swallowed instantly and disappeared.
After a while of such combat, Maple looked at the Lost Legacy’s energy gauge filling up.
“Is it okay now? Alright, ‘Ancient Arms’!”
As Maple called out the skill name, the black cube which was just floating around until now scattered around into multiple smaller black cubes.
After a moment, it started giving off a blue light like a spark and expanded to create a cage with it.
It pierced through the monsters on its way and spread through them to deal more damage to the surrounding monsters as well.
“Amazing! They can’t come close with this, huh?”
They would have to get through a mesh of lasers just to get close to her. Of course, the monsters weren’t weak, so to say. As such, they wouldn’t go down with just one hit. However, getting hurt just by getting close was definitely a huge disadvantage to the monsters.
And on top of that, even if they make it past, they would get munched to pieces.
“Before the effect runs out… ‘Seeping Chaos’!”
Maple also assisted Predator in offense. As the ancient arm wouldn’t hurt its user, she kept deploying one sided attacks from inside the cage.
They can’t get close—and even if they do, there’s no point. After all, there’s no way these small fries would have the strength to brush aside such a solid combination of offense and defense.
“Whoo, I can’t immediately use these if I don’t know how to… so I should try and use them whenever I can, without being spotted.”
The ‘Ancient Arms’ has multiple other forms apart from this laser cage as well, such as an oppressing gatling gun or a long-ranged sniper.
As the requirement to use it is energy, which is a special resource, one wouldn’t really be deploying it much if they didn’t decide to as energy keeps depleting with time.
No matter if her firepower doesn’t increase as much as her other stats from here on, the base power of this is high as it is because it is a rare skill. If Maple can attack precisely, weak monsters wouldn’t have a chance to do anything.
With that also in mind, Maple decided to only use Predator and Devour this time around.
Having defeated the surrounding monsters, Maple advanced through the forest. As the quest’s objective this time was to annihilate all the monsters of the black forest, she couldn’t stop at around 10-20.
“What should I try out next?”
Maple’s skills had increased significantly after the fourth event. That said, as her defense is just too high, the monsters’ attacks just can’t reach her and so they always end up falling first if she just normally attacks. As such, she was able to get by in battles with the skills she used in the fourth event.
However, the same can’t be said against actual players. It was common knowledge by now how flashy Maple’s moves were and her weaknesses.
As such, her new skills and weapons would be the deciding factor in battles.
After all, it is hard to perfectly deal with things you are not aware of. To properly master her newly acquired skills and use them effectively on her opponents, she must get used to them.
Following all the skills derived from Ancient Arms and Reversal Resurrection, Maple was almost reaching her capacity even though she had been taught by Sally.
“I’ll learn them all, slowly but surely!”
Despite that, Maple being positive and forward facing is a definitive change. For a while after that, the black forest was filled with blue light and death agony from monsters.