Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 427

 

Defense Specialization and Searching for the Enemy

 

The result of that battle reached the enemy faction in the form of a total annihilation of the members they had sent out to investigate.

It had all happened in a matter of seconds. One after another, but without a pause, everyone had been defeated, as it could be clearly seen by the Guild member list displayed on the blue panel. One by one, each of their statuses were changing to indicate that they were no longer on the field. It was a bizarre and terrifying thing to watch.

 

“…? Looks like there’s some kind of commotion over there?”

 

“I’ll go ask them what’s going on. Please wait here, Velvet.”

 

Hinata walked over to a group of players that seemed to be anxious about something, asked them what was going on, and then returned to Velvet.

And that’s how Velvet learned that a large number of players that were marching together were suddenly killed by the enemy.

 

“This happened on the other side of the map where ‘Congregation of the Holy Swords’ was last seen…”

 

“Yeah. I know it’s not impossible for them considering this is Payne and the others we’re talking about, but…”

 

It wasn’t unreasonable to believe that Payne and the others could reach the opposite side of the map very quickly. If they departed immediately after their battle with Lily and Wilbert, it would certainly be possible for them. They had the means to achieve a very high movement speed by gathering a group of fast players together with Frederica’s buffs.

 

“Hmm… Though I also feel like that’s not what happened. Let’s ask Lily and Wilbert what they think about this!”

 

Thinking they would still be in town, Velvet contacted Lily and Wilbert.

They came over shortly after, and after talking about this with Velvet and Hinata, Lily and Wilbert seemed to feel the same as Velvet.

 

“That would mean that the King’s attack didn’t do anything to them, though I believe that the ‘Congregation of the Holy Swords’ is tough enough to easily move out to attack somewhere else right away after something like that.”

 

“But everyone died in an instant. That’s what’s been bothering me. ‘Congregation of the Holy Swords’ is certainly strong, but I think that’s a little different from their fighting style.”

 

The “Congregation of the Holy Swords” had built their reputation through carefully continuing to win their battles by arming themselves with the right buffs and defensive Skills, and the high level of each of their individual members. It was a Guild with a lot of strength in the traditional sense of the word. And that’s why it feels like they have virtually no weaknesses, and that there’s no way to knock them down in an instant. But at the same time, this also means that it would be difficult for them to settle a large-scale battle in an instant as well.

 

“Yeah, it’s more like… Mii’s style, or Velvet’s. More…Mie, that’s exactly like Velvet. Either of them would have such ranged firepower and the support they need to pull off something like that… Although I suppose it’s possible that Frederica and Drag took care of those aspects.”

 

But Lily’s intuition was telling her otherwise.

 

“I think it’s ‘Maple Tree’. I saw Maple produce a weapon I’ve never seen before. What if that gives her even more defensive power than what we knew she had? …What if that gave her a new skill?”

 

Both were certainly possible. The other three agreed with Lily’s theory. An explosive power that could defeat every other player in sight before they could even see it coming… That sounded a lot more like the style of “Maple Tree” rather than that of “Congregation of Holy Swords.”

 

“I also heard that they were able to dodge Mii’s blast with relative ease, but they sure were quick to counterattack, huh? It looks like we’ll have to fight back even harder.”

 

Even if you think you have an advantage, showing any gaps to the enemy could give them the chance to turn things around in an instant. So the best answer to that would be to keep on fighting. That was also the most efficient way to deal with this.

 

“Having a bit of flexibility will also work in our favor. How about the four of us have a go at them?”

 

“You got it!”

 

“As usual, I’m counting on you to put a stop on our enemies’ movement, Hinata.”

 

“Yes. Certainly.”

 

“So, where are we going, Lily?”

 

“Will. Find the players who are at the core of the enemy front with that ‘eye’ of yours. The top player of each Guild should do just fine. We need to eliminate any player who can change the battle situation before the damage to our side becomes too much for us to handle.”

 

“Understood.”

 

“Yeah! I’m getting all pumped up!”

 

To precisely and properly kill the players carrying the enemy faction… These four players could do it.

Agreeing that not only large-scale battles had the potential to influence the situation of the war between the two factions, the four of them quickly left their town.

 

“Then let’s move quickly! ‘Electric Accel’!”

 

Velvet increased everyone’s movement speed, and Wilbert added a buff of his own. Hinata, as usual, floated next to Velvet thanks to her gravity manipulation Skill. Velvet kept her eyes on Wilbert, wondering where they should go first.

 

“Just as I thought, there’s no one within range yet. The main battlefield is being occupied by the ‘Kingdom of the Flame Emperor’, so I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon.”

 

“Then what are we going to do?”

 

“…Right. Well, let’s go take a look at the place where all those deaths took place. There’s no way we’re getting ambushed if Will searches for the enemy.”

 

It was important to confirm whether this unknown enemy –presumably “Maple Tree”– was still in the vicinity. At present, Lily and the others had no idea what the ones responsible for annihilating so many of their allies was doing at the moment.

They had to confirm this quickly if they were to have any hopes to prevent further victims.

 

“When we left the town, they did tell us to avoid this area for the time being, didn’t they?”

 

If the number of enemies was small, once Wilbert found them with his Skill, Hinata would be able to anchor them to the ground, and they would be at the very least able to escape that area unharmed. The four started to move after confirming that they were being as careful about this as possible.

 

“Hmm, they managed to get into this place easily. It doesn’t seem like there were any other players here at all.”

 

“Well… they could have been using a Skill that makes them invisible or something like that.”

 

“Dred has shown that he can use his Tamed Monster to make himself and his party disappear, so it’s possible that he used this Skill to break through some blind spot in our surveillance network.”

 

“Let’s be careful from here on, guys!”

 

As expected, there were no enemy players near the town, and the four of them were slowly approaching the area where all those casualties had taken place.

They all walked through an area that was scattered with geysers all over, but they hadn’t detected the presence of any enemies thus far.

 

“Did they all die inside that fog up ahead…?”

 

“That looks like the perfect place to launch a surprise attack… Let’s be extra careful.”

 

“Yes. Please be ready to activate your Skills at any time. I’ll take a look to confirm whether there’s anyone in there or not.”

 

After saying that, Wilbert turned his attention to the foggy area that could be seen a little further ahead of their position.

 

“Whoa, what…”

 

“Did you see anything?”

 

“…there are bombs and other traps scattered all over the place.”

 

“I see. So if you step inside without paying attention, you get turned into charcoal in an instant.”

 

“Are you looking into the fog right now?”

 

“Yes. Though… there’s something I want to check, so let’s go in there. There are no enemies right now, so just walk behind me and you’ll be fine.”

 

Wilbert seemed convinced that the place was filled with traps. Since Velvet was from a different Guild than Wilbert, they were basically rivals. For this reason, she didn’t exactly know how Wilbert’s Skill worked, but the way he had spoken just now made her think that his words hadn’t been an assumption. Instead, he sounded like he was already 100% sure of what he said, as if he had just seen it all with his own eyes.

 

“Hmm, but it sure didn’t look like you used any Skills right now…”

 

“How did you do it? Are your eyes really that good?”

 

“Yep. Being able to avoid traps like this is really helpful.”

 

Once inside the foggy area, the other three of them followed right behind Wilbert just like he had asked them to, and before long they came to a sudden stop.

 

“Look here. This type of bomb won’t explode just by touching it. …Well, here goes.”

 

“Look at what? There’s nothing here… right?”

 

Wilbert crouched, picked up something that no one else could see, threw it into the sky, and quickly prepared his bow.

 

“Hinata, please be prepared just in case.”

 

“G-Got it.”

 

As soon as he heard her reply, Wilbert fired his arrow, which then hit something in mid-air, causing a big explosion that partly blew away the fog in the area.

 

“This one doesn’t look like the type that explodes into fire.”

 

“Whoa, what was that!?”

 

“This place is filled with invisible bombs. They also seem to be interconnected, so if you carelessly trigger one of them, this entire area will be blown to pieces…”

 

“Wow… we probably wouldn’t have been able to step in here if you hadn’t come along, huh?”

 

“I suppose so. I don’t know if there is any other way to see through them.”

 

As long as these bombs didn’t despawn after a certain time had passed since they had been set, or were otherwise removed, this area would remain inaccessible. If the enemy were to detonate them at the right time, it would cause great damage to this faction.

 

“Then I’ll clean this place up! After all, we’ve come all the way here already!”

 

“Haha, that feeling… you’re gonna do it through brute force, huh?”

 

“That’s the only way I can do it!”

 

“Okay. Then let’s step away for now. We don’t wanna get caught up in any explosions.”

 

Once the four were a little away from the bomb-filled area, Lily and Wilbert changed their equipment and deployed a wall of soldiers. Hinata added an ice wall as well to prepare for the shockwave that would be coming from the front.

 

“Whenever you’re ready.”

 

“’Second Coming of the Thunder God’!”

 

As soon as Velvet activated her Skill, lightning started to course through her body, which started to let loose several sparks.

 

“‘Purple Lightning’!”

 

A purple electric shock ran in a straight line from Velvet’s fist. Immediately after that, it was sucked into the fog, and shortly after, a series of violent, fiery explosions covered everyone’s entire field of vision, engulfing everything in the vicinity in flames.

 

“‘Puppet Wall’!”

 

“‘Ice wall’! W-What an incredible power…!”

 

Both of them quickly deployed defensive barriers to shield themselves from the overwhelmingly powerful shockwave and intense flames that were coming at them as a result from this series of explosions, which none of them could believe could have been produced by mere items.

Had they been inside that foggy area when those bombs detonated, there would have been no way to defend themselves from being caught by those explosions coming from all sides.

 

“…It looks like it’s finally over.”

 

“Yeah, all of the bombs seem to have already gone off due to that chain detonation. So I guess it’s safe to walk into the fog now?”

 

“I’ll send a message to our allies. They need to be aware that they could be facing this kind of trap when stepping into enemy territory. Though I gotta say, these traps are gonna put quite a lot of pressure on our side.“

 

The fact that Wilbert could be hiding somewhere was already putting enough pressure on Maple’s side to stop their advance to some extent, but these explosions were something that Wilbert’s side had to respect before trying to advance themselves.

 

“Will, let’s continue to search for enemies from now on. We’ll keep on advancing until we take the fight to the enemy’s camp.”

 

“Understand.”

 

“Finally!”

 

“I’m a little nervous…”

 

“We’ll start attacking the moment we see a good chance. But feel free to take your time to prepare yourselves for it.”

 

With the conviction that they were the right people for the job of breaking through this area safely, the four of them, led by Wilbert, proceeded forward while continuing to disarming the bombs set by their enemies.

Soon they arrived at the terrain that Maple had forced through thanks to her defensive power.

Although the four of them were excellent in terms of offensive ability, they were no match for Maple in terms of defense. So they had no choice but to circle around any terrain that would require them to have defensive abilities even remotely similar to Maple’s.

 

“Because of this harsh terrain, it must be very easy for the enemy to predict where we could be coming from. Though I don’t think that they have any means to attack us from a distance larger than Will’s range… still. We better be careful. We’ll soon arrive at the enemy camp.”

 

“Phew… That’s right.”

 

Velvet was also feeling that the moment for them to finally come face to face with the enemy was finally approaching, and increased her concentration.

After a while, Wilbert detected that someone had entered his search range.

 

“I got something. It’s a long way off, but there’s two people up ahead. They seem to be scouts for some guild.”

 

“Can you take them down from here?”

 

“If I could get some buffs…”

 

“Sure. ‘King’s Helper’s Talent’ ‘Tactical Guidance’ ‘Unreasonable Power’ ‘Wise King’s Command’ ‘Body Nourishment’ ‘Advice’.”

 

Wilbert, whose body was now emitting a bright aura thanks to all of Lily’s buffs, walked a few steps before adjusting his position and readying his bow.

 

“’Long Range’ ‘Maximum Draw’ ‘Devoted Single Shot’!”

 

With its extended rage, his deadly arrow flew through the gaps in the trees, leaving behind a red afterimage that followed its path. Wilbert then drew another arrow and shot another one of those at another distant enemy, out of his three companions’ sight.

 

“Phew… Alright. I defeated both of them.”

 

“Whoa, are you sure?”

 

It was only natural for Velvet not to immediately believe that someone else had been defeated just like that without her being able to see it with her own eyes.

 

“If Will says so, then there’s no mistaking it.”

 

“There’s nothing my opponents can do if I attack them with this…”

 

Though it was hard to believe, according to Will, he had shot each arrow at the precise moment each of the scouts’ faces had popped out from behind a tree to check the area.

 

“If they look squishy enough… and there aren’t too many of them around, then I can defeat them. And if my opponent isn’t squishy enough, then I’ll try to deal as much damage as I can as I secure an escape route.”

 

“Ah, but we’ll get you covered when that happens!”

 

“Yes. Exactly.”

 

After that, Wilbert continued to take down as many enemies only he could see as possible with his one-sided preemptive strikes with an uncanny accuracy.

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