Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 414

 

Defense Specialization and the Vestiges – 2

 

 

Even though Maple had found a potential way out of her sticky situation, it was something she had come up with on the spur of the moment and not a tactic she had practiced, so she still hadn’t fully gotten the hang of throwing bombs at her enemy while going through her inventory. Since all her offensive skills had been sealed away, there wasn’t much else to think about, but Maple was still feeling overwhelmed by the amount of micromanagement needed to pull this off.

Eventually, Maple found herself unable to go through her inventory in time and ended up attaching a bomb to her chest a little too late, which allowed the man to close the distance between them in an instant.

 

“Waah!? W-Wait… Ugh!”

 

The man was at a clear advantage in such a close range, and several damage VFX appeared as his quick barrage of attacks tore through Maple’s torso.

 

“Get away from me!”

 

Although late, Maple’s bomb still went off, and after gaining some distance, she placed one of her large shields in front of her to at least force her opponent to go around it if he wanted to continue attacking.

 

“I gotta use another bomb… and a Potion too…”

 

One by one, Maple continued to use items in order to try to remedy her situation. Luckily for her, the battlefield was flat, and it seemed to extend endlessly behind her, so she could continue to retreat as much as she wanted. Maple managed to keep this tactic under control by reducing the number of distractions around her.

 

Maple was able to keep the jet-black laser that caused delayed explosions from hitting her body thanks to her “Helping Hand”.  Having to deal with both the laser and the man’s attacks at the same time, all while trying to deal some damage herself, would at times prove to be too much for Maple’s concentration, and she would get hit from time to time.

 

 

However, the one whose attacks were gradually becoming less effective was definitely her opponent.

As long as she didn’t run out of Potions, Maple would be able to restore her HP. But the man had no way to regenerate, and, albeit slowly, his own HP would only keep going down as the battle progressed.

 

“Again!”

 

As the man approached, Maple scattered a large amount of bombs. She didn’t bother thinking what type of bombs they were, and instead focused on making it difficult for the man to avoid them. Once the man entered their area of effect, Maple created a flame, causing a chain detonation. The blast also engulfed Maple, dealing damage only to her opponent but still blowing her away.

 

“Phew… Haah… Alright!”

 

This wasn’t Maple’s first long battle, but it was the first time she was this busy during a battle, and was clearly showing signs of fatigue.

But this was only natural. The man’s HP had gone down to 40%, but the battle had gone on for a little over 3 hours.

Even so, Maple managed to keep her focus and was able to deal a good amount of damage with that last explosion. But what worried her the most was the amount of sticky bombs left in her inventory. She had been using them generously in order to quickly create distance between herself and her opponent, but once she ran out of them, she would have nothing to replace them with.

 

She still had about one third of her original number of sticky bombs. She would definitely run out of them before the battle was over. And Maple feared that the moment she were to slow down, nothing would stop the man from tearing her to shreds with his flurry of slashes. Unless…

 

“I’ll have to use my ‘Evil Eater’…!”

 

Maple still had 7 of her daily uses of her “Evil Eater”. She estimated that if she were to successfully hit them all, that would be the end of the battle.

 

Maple figured that once the man’s HP went down to 30% would be a good time to switch to a more aggressive approach, and continued to use her hit-and-run tactics with her sticky bombs to deal steady damage.

Normally, 30% HP was the final threshold for boss monsters to change to their final behavioral patterns. After that mark had been passed, it was highly likely that Maple’s “Evil Eater” alone would do the rest of the job. If all the man could do against it was to endure it, his remaining HP would go down rather quickly.

The battle raged on, with the red flames of Maple’s explosions and the man’s jet-black laser both illuminating the battlefield and dealing damage to each other.

 

“How about this!”

 

Maple’s final explosion was the biggest of them all, and as the man was enveloped in its resulting flames, his HP finally reached the mark of 30%.

And as expected, that mark brought about an undesirable change in the man’s behavior.

 

As he jumped up a few meters off the ground, a large magic circle appeared on the ground with him in the center. Seeing this, Maple started running as far away from it as possible.

As she went on to getting ready for whatever was to come next by recovering her HP with another Potion and replacing the battered large shield on her “Helping Hand” with another one, a black mud-like substance started to ooze out of the center of the magic circle, spreading through the ground.

 

“Like I said… You better die quietly!”

 

The man pointed his sword at Maple, and at the same time, strange creatures started to appear from this black mud. They all seemed to look a bit like Maple whenever she used her “Atrocity”, but with slight differences. Some of them had wings, others were much more muscular, and others had multiple arms and legs, but what they all had in common was that they were all clad in the same dark light that had proven to be effective in damaging Maple.

 

“…!”

 

Seeing that, Maple hurriedly equipped her “Replica of the Dark Night.” She currently didn’t have the power to defend against this and win this drawn-out battle. Up to this point, Maple had managed to come around by using every trick in the book, but there’s only so much she could accomplish with mere items. So Maple had no choice but to try to bring down the curtain once and for all with the strongest weapon she currently possessed.

 

Luckily, she had kept her distance from the man, and it would still take a short while for those monsters to reach her.

Maple hurriedly wrapped another one of her rockets around her body and set it off.

 

With a loud bang, Maple soared into the sky. She had to do this because the monsters on the ground would have gotten in the way. With this, she could force the man to come to her, just like before.

The only ones who could chase after Maple now were the few of those monsters who happened to have wings, and the man himself.

Though the man was naturally faster than his summoned monsters, the latter were closer to begin with, so they would be the ones to get to Maple first.

 

“…!”

 

With these flying monsters on the way, Maple wouldn’t be able to hit the man directly with her large shield. However, she couldn’t afford to fall back to the ground, as it was swarmed by the majority of those creatures. Maple realized that, at this point, she had no other choice but to keep going forward with her plan.

After reaching a relatively high altitude thanks to her rocket, Maple finally started her descent.

 

Changing the direction of her body, she dove straight into the crowd of monsters, disintegrating one of them with her “Evil Eater” before shaking off the rest of the crowd with her momentum.

She was making a beeline for the man, the boss monster that Maple had no choice but to defeat.

As the man readied his sword, Maple put her large shield in front of her. Magic spells and sword attacks alike, no matter what kind of destructive power they had, they would be completely powerless against this large shield.

 

And so the sword was swallowed whole into the shield, which continued going forward and connected with the man’s unprotected body.

Maple was quite familiar with her “Evil Eater”. She had already assumed that it would go right through the man’s body, so she used her “Helping Hand” to create a scaffolding using the two other large shields equipped into its slots, and was able to land on it.

Though the man would be able to rebuild his body after being swallowed by Maple’s “Evil Eater”, he wouldn’t be able to undo the damage already done to him. That was Maple’s advantage.

 

“Hiyah!”

 

Then, after safely landing directly behind the man, Maple started throwing her large shields at the man from the left and right like a pendulum. And since the man was busy rebuilding his body, he had no means to avoid this flurry of shield bashes.

After hitting the man with all her remaining uses of “Evil Eater”, Maple was amazed to see that he still had a small amount of HP left. Since she had to spend one of her uses of “Evil Eater” to reach the man in the first place, she was one use away from defeating him.

However, it was just a sliver of HP. A single bomb or just about any other item would be able to deal the final blow.

 

However, when Maple took out a bomb, one of the monsters that she had managed to shake off on the way to the man jumped at her, rendering her unable to throw the bomb at the man.

What’s more, the monster’s dark light, which ignored all defense and dealt fixed damage, managed to scrape off a bit more of Maple’s HP.

 

“G… get away from me!”

 

Maple hugged the bomb she had been planning to throw and curled up in a ball. She had managed to survive so far thanks to the large shield’s passive skill that increased her max HP. Maple once again produced a crystal from her inventory, and activated it in order to get herself away from that critical situation.

 

In the meantime, the man seemed to have finished repairing his body, and Maple could see him swooping down on her with wings fully spread, completely determined to decide the match with his next attack.

This time, nothing was in the way between that man and herself. But if Maple were to touch the ground, she would have a hard time escaping the monsters that were there waiting for her.

This one would truly be Maple’s last chance to defeat the man.

With her eyes fixed on the man’s remaining sword as he dashed towards her at full speed, Maple held a small bomb in her hand. It was one of Iz’s deluxe products. Its explosion radius was small, but in return, it was insanely powerful. All that was left to see was if it would do the trick.

However, no matter how much she focused, Maple would prove to be unable to dodge the man’s attacks. She didn’t have Sally’s agility.

 

Maple had no way to dodge and poke at an opening as swiftly as Sally. But…

 

As the sword approached, Maple clenched her teeth as she positioned one of her large shields a little farther behind her at a slight angle so that it would prevent her from falling to the ground.

Right after that, the man’s sword caught up with Maple, cutting deeply into her body and knocking her against the shield she had just set in mid-air as several flashy damage effects appeared..

 

This unstable, makeshift wall that Maple had set up in mid air made a muffled sound as it bounced off Maple’s body and caused her to frown painfully.

Even so, Maple was still firmly facing forward. Right after taking the man’s attack, she managed to kick herself away from the large shield and leapt towards her airborne enemy. Then, right before the man’s follow-up attack, Maple pushed her hand forward.

 

Just as Maple cannot do what Sally can do, there were some things only she could accomplish.

One of them was her incredible defensive power, which had helped Maple countless times, even if it meant she would get herself caught in her own attacks from time to time.

As the man was dashing towards her at full speed, and Maple had used the recoil of her knockback to bounce off the shield and towards the man, the distance between the two of them was reduced to zero in the blink of an eye.

The man found himself so close to Maple that there would be no way he could get himself away from Maple in time. The next thing he saw was Maple’s small bomb getting way too close to his own face before realizing he was well within its narrow but powerful effective range.

 

“Ehehe, how do you like that!”

 

Coincident with Maple’s proud laughing, a thunderous roar echoed throughout the area as the small bomb’s explosion engulfed the two of them, and the shadow of one of disappeared in the light.

 

 

 

A little while later, the GM team were in the middle of overseeing the state of the game. They had set it up so that a notification sound would alert them whenever a player would clear a hidden dungeon and other events. This time, a loud chime signaled the defeat of a boss.

 

“Which one was it?”

 

“It was… ‘Forbidden Book’…”

 

When the first of them asked the second who did it, an indescribable expression appeared on the second one’s face.

 

“…Who was it?”

 

“It was Maple.”

 

“…????”

 

The first one was totally confused by this. It simply made no sense. After all, he knew everything related to this boss called “Forbidden Book”, and about the quest that leads up to him.

 

“I must have heard things wrong. Say it again.”

 

“…It was Maple.”

 

“…How?”

 

“I haven’t read the logs yet…”

 

“But what about the seal on Maple’s skills?”

 

“She isn’t a Wizard-type, so it’s Pattern A.”

 

“Then all but her passive skills should be gone! Sure, she got to keep her defensive power, but how on earth was Maple, of all players, able to defeat him?”

 

“Let’s take a look at the battle from the beginning.”

 

Everyone in the room stared intently at the projected image, thinking that there must have been some sort of bug in this boss’ code that allowed Maple to take him down despite having no clear means of offense.

Immediately after the battle began, the boss attacked Maple with a powerful slash. Although she sustained no damage, Maple was thrown into a situation where she could not stand straight before being attacked once again.

 

“Of course she would receive no damage at all…”

 

“Well, duh.”

 

After a while, Maple’s situation changed and she started using bombs. The GM team was impressed to see how she had found a way to keep herself off the ground by a clever use of her “Helping Hand.”

 

“Oh, I see…”

 

“From here, it seems that she’s been throwing rocks at the boss for about an hour.”

 

“That was well thought… but how come she had so many rocks on her in the first place?”

 

“Who knows…?”

 

Even so, after a while, the boss also starts flying in the sky. The GM team knew that the boss wouldn’t let this situation continue for much longer, since he had the tools to retaliate.

The commotion in the room intensified as they continued to look at the footage.

 

“I suppose that, theoretically, something like this is possible.. But still… Sticky bombs…?”

 

“That was actually very clever of Maple… Though I’d never imagined she would come up with an idea like this.”

 

“Maybe someone like Sally gave her the idea. That girl is quite a piece of work.”

 

“Look at Maple go… Her movements are very well executed.”

 

“The fact that she won’t take damage from the bombs is really huge in this battle. Anyone else trying to do this would be committing suicide.”

 

So in the end, the GM team determined that Maple, rather than having found some kind of exploit to cheese her way through the battle, instead had a real battle that took a few hours, a large amount of resources, and a deep understanding of her own strengths.

 

“Her passive skill set is really something else, huh?”

 

“You can say that again.”

 

“I told you before, haven’t I? Those Skills are…”

 

“…”

 

…the root of all evil. Once again, the GM team was met with the fact that Maple’s unreal defensive power had been the main responsible for her success so far.

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