Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 420

 

Defense Specialization and Joining an Army 3

 

 

“…!”

 

The red arrow, which flew at a speed that Maple was unable to react to, barely dodged the Great Shield she had set up in front of her almost as if had had a life of its own, and hit her face directly, causing a tremendously large damage effect that would have instantly depleted Maple’s HP bar if it hadn’t been for her “Stout Guardian”. Her low base HP made her terribly vulnerable to any damage that could ignore her high defense.

If the effect of “Pierce Guard” were to wear off, there would be nothing left to protect Maple from a direct hit.

 

“Let’s pull back! We don’t know where the enemy is! Deploy a defensive wall! Maple, cancel your skill!”

 

“Y-Yes!”

 

Maple ended the effect of her “Dedicated Affection” and the rest of the party bolstered their own defenses with other spells and physical Skills.

 

“”’Magic Barrier’!””

 

“”’Multi-cover’!””

 

As Maple hastily retreated to the forest, Wilbert continued to fire his arrows one after another in an attempt to defeat Maple. The added piercing effect was only necessary to hit Maple, and the barrage of arrows were taking chunks of everyone’s HP. The rest of the party also headed for the forest, forced to switch to a defensive approach since they were unable to fight back from their position.

 

“I…! If it’s come to this…!”

 

In order to protect everyone, Maple would fight with her newly acquired skills.

 

“’Ancient Weapon’!”

 

The black cube floating around Maple split into eight pieces which spread out into the air as they released the energy accumulated by the rain of arrows and the powerful shot that had hit her. Several threads of shining blue light linked each of the pieces, forming a gigantic dazzling barrier just before the next volley of arrows could hit the rest of the party. Sparks flew violently as the barrier stopped every single one of the incoming arrows.

 

“Oh…!?”

 

“Let’s run! Someone carry Maple! Anyone who still has ‘Stout Guardian’ active, form a wall!”

 

The party leader couldn’t afford to lose his greatest asset, so he put even his own body on the line in order to protect Maple, and everyone formed a wall as they all retreated to the forest.

Seeing this from his vantage point, Wilbert stared at the forest and slowly lowered his bow.

 

“My arrows won’t get through all those trees… so they’re out of my reach.”

 

“Hmm. That energy barrier was a miscalculation. So she’s learned a new Skill, hasn’t she?”

 

There was no doubt that neither of them had seen this Skill before, but Wilbert’s sharp eyes had managed to grasp its source.

 

“It seems that the black cube that was floating around her changed shape as she deployed that barrier, so it’s probably an Equipment Skill.”

 

“We need to keep her gear in mind then. Anyway, let’s head back. It would’ve been great if we had managed to take her out here, but… Our lack of mobility is a problem.”

 

They had lost a lot of players, so from a faction standpoint, this encounter had been a crushing defeat for Wilbert and Lily’s side.

 

“That’s right. Had we positioned ourselves any closer than this, the enemy could have gotten too close to us instead of choosing to retreat, and that would have put us in a severe disadvantage…”

 

Nonetheless, there was no doubt that he had made a great display of his tremendous attack. The two of them climbed down from the ice pillar, as they assumed that there would be no more enemies coming this way for a while.

 

They had stopped this advance, and the enemy would think twice before trying to go through this area in the future. However, they still had to acknowledge that their side had lost a lot of players out of this skirmish.

 

As a result, Wilbert and Lily returned to the area they had been protecting before, wishing they had actually managed to defeat Maple during that small window of opportunity they had seen.

 

 

 

A few moments later, Sally and the others had returned to the town’s outer wall, and found Iz by the front gate building some kind of fortification with her items.

 

“It’s looking good.”

 

“Yeah…”

 

“It really looks like a last line of defense.”

 

The large number of cannons and barricades that had been set up weren’t really items that anyone could use in a large-scale battle like this one, but Iz wasn’t “just anyone”. It would be a very bad idea for the enemy to recklessly try to put Iz’s craftsmanship to the test.

 

“Ah, Sally, guys! You’re back. I’m glad to see you’re all safe.”

 

“The event just started. And we only went out to wait and see, just like we planned.”

 

“Let us help you set things up here as well. You never know when the enemy may attack.”

 

As the three of them decided to help Iz finish her preparations so that everything was ready earlier, the figures of many players coming towards them could be seen in the distance.

 

“Oh, is it the enemy…?”

 

While Chrome put himself on guard and pulled out his short sword, Iz took a look in that direction using the binoculars she had taken out from her pouch and then shook her head.

 

“They look like the party that went out to explore a bit earlier. Maple should be with them, too.”

 

“Maple? …Ah, I see. She would’ve been pretty useful to a party as big as that one.”

 

After a while, Maple came out from among the assembled players, bowed her head to the group, and came towards Sally and the others.

 

“Hey guys~!”

 

“Hey, Maple. How was it?”

 

“I think we defeated quite a few of them… But I couldn’t see exactly how many because it was smoke and flames alI over the place.”

 

“Haha, looks like you’ve been busy, haven’t you…?”

 

“Well, we managed to not lose anyone from our side. But I had to use up my ‘Stout Guardian’…”

 

“Did something happen?”

 

“Um, well…”

 

After Maple finished recounting what had happened, the name of a particular player came to everyone’s mind.

 

“Well, that definitely sounds like Wilbert.”

 

“That’s right. I can’t think of anyone else being capable of shooting arrows at us from outside of our field of view like that.”

 

“Arrows that can take anyone down in one shot coming from farther away than what we can actually see… Walking into enemy territory isn’t going to be an easy task.”

 

Even though he was a single bow user, his ability  to take anyone down safely from a very long distance made him nothing less than a threat. And to top it off, he also had access to area-of-effect and piercing attacks, so he seemed to have no weaknesses.

 

“For now, let’s put Maple’s safety first for the rest of the day. I still don’t know how he does it, but he definitely has some way to see very far ahead, so we need to take care not to enter his range, or we’ll be shot down before we know it.”

 

Maple didn’t have the stats or player skills to react to those arrows. The only thing that could help her with that was her ‘Stout Guardian’ Skill, but she could only use it once per day. Without it, a single arrow from Wilbert could take her out instantly.

 

“I’m sorry Sally… I had to use my ‘Pierce Guard’ too soon into the event…”

 

“Don’t worry about it! Besides, I think it was the right call. If that rain of arrows had had a piercing effect, you wouldn’t be here with us now.”

 

“And I’m glad I ended up going with them in the first place. It would have been very bad for us if Wilbert had turned all of them into pincushions.”

 

Thinking of what would have happened if there had been no “Dedicated Affection” to stop that rain of arrows back then made a chill run down Maple’s spine.

 

“Looking at the results alone, everyone survived. You can say this was a big win for us.”

 

“Yeah! Alright! They won’t be getting through my shield next time!”

 

Now that Maple was full of energy once again, she started setting up items following Izu’s instructions. Sally and the others started to ponder as they saw that.

 

“Actually, this looks pretty tough. Even the front liners from the party Maple joined were at risk of being one-shot by those arrows, right?”

 

“With that overwhelming difference in range, Wilbert can fire his arrows as much as he wants so long as his targets don’t have enough AGI to dodge them. Normally anyone with high HP or DEF would be able to tank them as they get closer to him… but if those arrows can insta-kill…”

 

The unit that Maple had joined had several high-level players from many different powerful guilds. The fact that not even them would have been able to endure Wilbert’s assault only meant that his offensive power was insanely high.

 

“My DEF isn’t particularly high either. It basically depends on whether or not ‘Dead or Alive’ decides to activate.”

 

“The same goes for the rest of us. If neither Chrome nor Maple can do it, the rest of us don’t even stand a chance.”

 

“The worst part of it all is that the enemy’s range is far wider than what we can actually see. So we risk getting in range of his attacks before we even realize where we are.”

 

Wilbert’s attack consisted of a deadly shot that could be fired from outside anyone’s field of vision. As long as that threat was present, Maple and the others couldn’t risk stepping into enemy lines without first knowing exactly where Wilbert was at all times.

 

“Do we have any other choice but to just walk while trying to cut all lines of sight at all times as much as possible? From what Maple told us, it doesn’t seem like the terrain on the field itself can be destroyed.”

 

“We’ll have to think about countermeasures. For the time being, let’s be careful next time we enter the enemy’s camp.”

 

All of them wanted to fight through to the end, so they couldn’t afford to let themselves get killed this early into the event.

Their allies were strong, but so were their enemies. The party continued to help Iz build her fortification while enjoying the feeling of tension that was characteristic of the first PvP event in a while.

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