Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 423

 

Defense Specialization and Daybreak

 

 

Sally and the others, who until that point still didn’t know that Maple had stuffed twenty players into a crystallized ball of wool and launched them into the front lines, caught up with the group of players that had marched ahead of them and moved through the nearby forest.

 

“No signs of the enemy so far.”

 

“Sally, what do you think?”

 

“…At the very least, I don’t think we’re within fighting range yet.”

 

“We need to be careful about surprise attacks, too. We’re dealing with enemies that can snipe and insta-kill even Maple, after all.”

 

“Hmm, though many of those skills can be dealt with as long as we can see them coming.”

 

Kasumi, Iz, and Kanade didn’t have any passive skills that would prevent them from being one-shotted. They would be easy targets for someone like Wilbert.

That’s why all three of them were walking right behind Chrome through this forest, where it would be difficult for Wilbert to target them in the first place.

 

“If archers are waiting nearby, this place is going to make it hard for us to get close to them before getting shot from our flanks. Looks like there’s going to be more hills ahead, too. Please be alert.”

 

Chrome intended to do his best to protect them as well, but there was no doubt that stepping into the enemy’s camp like this was a rather disadvantageous situation for them.

 

“We’ll be crossing the border between the two territories soon… Sally, any word from the ‘Congregation of Holy Swords’?”

 

“They’re still moving forward while taking down as many enemies as they can.”

 

“I wonder from which direction will the troops they mentioned show up first…”

 

If the enemy continued to allow the allied forces to advance, eventually they would have to deal with both Sally’s party and the “Congregation of Holy Swords”.

 

“Still, I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Both we and Payne’s group are just walking right into their territory without too much opposition…”

 

Just about when Chrome was about to say “They might be waiting for us,” a huge pillar of fire rose in front of him. It was clear at last that the allied forces had finally clashed with an enemy camp, and who exactly was waiting for them.

 

“Stay behind me!”

 

“If you need my “Mind’s Eye”, give me a signal.”

 

“Okay, time to focus.”

 

“Yeah. That’s definitely…”

 

“The ‘Kingdom of the Flame Emperor’.”

 

There was some distance between their current position and their own territory. Even if they were to try to withdraw now, they would most likely be pursued and literally burned to the ground by the enemy.

The large party that Sally and the others were following was here as well. All of them had marched to this point in order to win and turn the tide of the battle to the allied forces’ advantage.

Sally and the others jumped into the battlefield as the sky was being scorched by a series of pillars of fire.

 

 

 

Players from both sides were relentlessly attacking each other on this fiery battlefield. However, it was the allied forces who were being slowly pushed back.

It was no surprise. The enemy’s side had nothing but flat ground with a huge, sturdy-looking fortress that protected the enemy forces, and a large number of barricades that were as big as the one Iz built in front of the allied town’s outer wall. Not only that, the enemy had a large number of summoned soldiers made of sand and water who could respawn as many times as needed after being killed.

And if you were to stop for a second, you would be attacked by flames, several floating swords, and blades of wind from a distance.

 

“So it is Mii and the others after all!”

 

“Kasumi! Let’s reset for a moment!”

 

“Haku, ‘Megamorph’!”

 

Looking at their current situation, Sally told Kasumi that she wanted a moment to reformulate her plan of action.

Kasumi replied with a single nod, and had the now giant Haku charge across the battlefield.

It was a surprise attack that came out of the the forest. The giant white snake that suddenly charged while Sally and the others’ presence was still unknown to the enemy crushed those who were there before they could react, completely shattering the summoned soldiers, and reducing the HP of several players from the enemy faction to zero.

 

“…!”

 

More than being a simple distraction so that Sally could think of something, it ended up being a powerful blow to the enemy that instantly turned the tide of the battle to the favor of the allied forces. However, immediately after that, the players who had lost their HP revived one after another and got back on their feet, and more summoned soldiers were added to the fray. Seeing this, Sally grimaced, thinking that it would’ve been too easy otherwise.

 

“Haku, come back! Sally!”

 

After recalling Haku –who would otherwise become a target sooner than later– Kasumi turned around and looked at Sally. Without the latter having to say anything at all, the five members of “Maple Tree” quickly realized what they should do at this point.

 

“We need to deal with Misery and Marx!”

 

“Yeah, otherwise there won’t be an end to this!”

 

“I’ll pave the way.”

 

“Leave it to me to restrain their movement!”

 

The enemy had access to the strongest Recovery Spells with an incredibly wide area of effect, which could be used over and over again, and a large number of summoned soldiers that could be resummoned as many times as necessary. Not only that, they also had their unending hellish fire and their floating swords that would continuously rain down on the allied players who were determined to fight. Sally knew that they had to do something about this, and it had to be quick, or their numbers would only keep decreasing.

Leaving the main battlefield, where large numbers of players clashed with each other, to their allies, Sally and the others headed in a straight line to the fortress that was located in the center of this battlefield in an attempt to defeat the members of “Kingdom of the Flame Emperor”.

 

“That fortress is definitely another one of Marx’s traps, so we should be able to destroy it if we hit it hard enough!”

 

Although it had high durability, it wasn’t indestructible.

 

“Your bombs should do the trick, Iz. After they open a hole on these walls, we’ll get in and drag them out here!”

 

“Got it!”

 

Iz reached for the first set of bombs she could find in her inventory, and then searched for and took out a time bomb to function as their main detonator.

 

“‘Flash flood’!”

 

Iz’s special bombs, which had no problem working even when submerged in water, were swept away by the large water current generated by Sally and slid into the depths of the fortress.

Soon enough, a violent explosion occurred, and while it dealt a lot of damage to the structure, it wasn’t enough to completely destroy it.

However, this explosion was enough to pressure the enemy into having to deal with it. They couldn’t just ignore it, or they would be letting Sally and the others continue to throw bombs until they eventually demolished the entire fortress.

 

“Hey! Do you think you can just waltz in here and do whatever you want!?”

 

“Shin!”

 

“’Sup, Kasumi! And all of you guys… Wait, where’s that min-maxing leader of yours?”

 

Shin was dexterously riding on a bundle of floating swords and flew in front of Sally and the others. Back in the 8th event, he had been seen using his “Split-Sword’ to create a scaffolding, but it seemed that he had become much more proficient with it.

 

“Unfortunately, our guild master is in the middle of preparations. We’ll be your opponents this time.”

 

After Kasumi said that, the monster companion Wen appeared behind Shin before unleashing a barrage of wind blades, which carried with them most of the floating swords Shin was riding on, leaving behind just enough of them for him to use as footholds, scattering them all over the place in mid air with Shin at the center of it all.

 

“So you’re saying you can beat me without Maple? Well, feel free to try.”

 

With a number of moves that far exceeded those of Sally and the others, Shin released the intense pressure he had generated up until that point, unleashing his attack onto the five.

 

“Wen, ‘Wind God’! ‘Invisible Sword’!”

 

The raging wind blades turned towards Sally and the others, carrying the swords split by Shin’s “Split-Sword” with them and making them even stronger.

 

 

“Haku, ‘Harden’!”

 

Kasumi had Haku stand before them and hardened his body to block the wind blades. However, that turned out to not be enough to stop the floating swords, which were being directly controlled by Shin himself.

 

“Protect them, Necro! ‘Strong Armor’! ‘Multicover’!”

 

“‘Tenth Sword – Vajra’!”

 

Trusting Sally and Kasumi to be able to defend themselves, Chrome set Necro into its defensive form to protect Iz and Kanade.

While Kasumi cut down as many of the incoming floating swords as she could, Sally dashed forward all on her own.

She twisted her body to dodge the wind blades as if it was second nature, and despite Shin’s accuracy when controlling his floating swords, it was no match for Sally’s ability to evade. She continued to dash forward with her blue muffler fluttering by the wind as if there was nothing trying to slow her down.

 

“Haha! You monster!”

 

“I’ll have your head on a platter!”

 

“Let’s see about that!”

 

As if he had just decided that it was time for him to get serious, Shin made the swords he was using as scaffolding go much faster all of a sudden. This was how far he had honed this Skill alone so far, He had established a bizarre fighting style that used high-speed moving swords both as a foothold and as a means of transportation.

 

“How about this!?”

 

The swords that had been repelled quickly regained momentum and attacked Sally from all directions. It was difficult for Sally to keep up with Shin, who was now gliding through the air as fast as she could move. Sally also continues to evade with her unparalleled skill, but there would surely be some attacks that even she wouldn’t be able to avoid while trying to get closer to Shin.

Whenever Sally would try to get closer, Shin would fire his swords in a wide arc at her to force her to dodge to the side, giving him enough time to reposition himself. Since Sally couldn’t afford to be hit even once, she had no choice but to dodge.

 

“Go, Chrome. I’ll take care of the defense here.”

 

“…! Okay, take care!”

 

Kanade sent Chrome to support Sally after adding that there would be no end to this situation otherwise.

 

“Sou, ‘Large Magic Barrier’!”

 

After summoning Sou and having him put up a huge barrier, Kanade pulled out his bookshelf so he could readily use a big spell when needed while also using basic spells to create walls of water and sand to protect both Iz and himself.

Even though Kanade’s spells were one-time use only, as long as he used his spellbooks, he would have instant access to a defensive ability that matched even Chrome’s.

And since Iz figured she had enough time before Shin’s attacks would reach her, she produced another barricade just like the one she had set up in front of the town’s outer wall to bolster her defenses.

 

“’Cover Move’ ‘Cover’!”

 

“’Blood Blade’!”

 

Now that Iz and Kanade had succeeded in tightening their defenses, Kasumi swung her liquefied sword and continued to knock down the floating swords without needing to worry about protecting them anymore, while Chrome intercepted the swords that were rushing towards Sally.

As a result, Sally managed to close in on Shin before he could activate his ‘Split-Sword’ again.

 

“’Water Veil’ ‘Super Acceleration’! Oboro, ‘Demon Fire’!”

 

Sally added the Water-attribute to her attacks, while Oboro’s Skill extended the reach of her daggers.

With “Super Acceleration”, she was able to surpass Shin’s speed, which was otherwise almost on par with hers, and was finally able to get in attacking range.

 

“…!”

 

Since the speed of the swords created with his “Split-Sword” was independent from his own movement speed, Shin realized that he couldn’t escape this, and unleashed the rest of the swords that he had floating around him for defense while holding up his shield.

However, they were no match for Sally’s speed, who quickly moved to the side while knocking the swords down to avoid the attack.

 

“Damn it, I was too careless!”

 

“Hah!”

 

Sally’s attack, which was also being boosted by “Sword Dance”, cut through Shin’s body, which he couldn’t defend with his shield alone, dealing a lot of damage.

 

“Ouch! Are you really a dagger user!?”

 

Shin aimed at Sally’s back by recalling all of his swords, but she was able to dodge that too by focusing solely on her evasive maneuvers.

However, with this, Shin had succeeded in regaining his distance again.

 

“Haah…Even though Maple isn’t here, this may be too hard for me alone…”

 

Although Shin was good at dealing with several opponents at the same time, the five members of “Maple Tree” standing before him were being quite difficult for him to deal with.

 

“Well, let’s meet again sometime! I’d like to stay alive, thank you very much!”

 

“You’re not going anywhere, Shin!”

 

“Yeah, we won’t let you escape.”

 

Just as that exchange ended, a huge fireball suddenly swelled up and rose into the sky.

This fireball, which was larger than the fortress itself, broke through the fortress’ roof as it continued to make itself even larger, until it got to a point where it shone so brilliantly that it looked as if the sun itself had descended in the middle of the battlefield.

 

“See ya!”

 

Shin released all of the swords that he had pulled back right at Sally and the others to buy himself enough time to escape, and then recalled them back once again once he had successfully escaped.

 

 

 

Inside the fortress, which had been flooded by Sally’s “Flash Flood”, Misery and Marx supported the front line while also recovering from the Iz’s bombs.

 

“Hah… The traps were all messed up, the walls were destroyed, and that Haku…”

 

“Yeah, it was a lot of trouble. But still…”

 

 

“Do it, Mii…”

 

Both of them looked up at the sky. There, in the center of the sun that was created in this battlefield, was Mii, with Ignis wrapped around her and making her flames even stronger.

 

“I’m ready. Let’s do this, Ignis.”

 

The moment the flames reached their limit, Mii unleashed her Skill.

 

“‘Daybreak’.”

 

White begins to mix with the red flames, and as more flames erupted from the fireball, they ran across its surface.

The effect of those flames was quite straightforward: They would make Mii’s next attack unblockable by damage nullification Skills. Nothing more.

 

“‘Inferno’!”

 

It was as if she had been waiting for this moment.

The sun she had created, which was shining brightly in the air, suddenly fell to the ground, becoming an unstoppable searing flame, scorching everything it touched, engulfing everything on the battlefield and reducing it to ashes.

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