Itai no Wa 213

 

 

Defense Specialization and the Tower’s Second Floor 6

Maple and Sally stand up after carefully planning their counter-attack.

“So after all, it took almost all of my skills, huh?”

“Your skills are better suited for the boss to use… I’d be completely done in by them if we hadn’t stopped to think about a countermeasure.”

Sally knows that Maple is heavily impaired because of her missing skills, but still, she cannot afford to get hit.

She has to think about how exactly Maple is going to attack the boss.

“Maple, did you unequip your dagger and large shield?”

“Yeah, I did! I may be totally useless without my poison resistance…”

Maple had unequipped her black dagger and her big shield to prevent her poison resistance being snatched by the boss, and in their place equipped the white dagger and large shield she received from Izu.

She keeps her black armor on though since its skill has already been taken anyway.

Though her defense is lower than planned, that’s the only way to avoid her ‘Venom Incantation’ and ‘Hydra’ skills being stolen.

They didn’t know how effective would ‘Bizarre Eater’ be when used against Maple, so they took safety measures.

“I don’t know what is that boss’s status. Weakened? … Well, if it’s weakened, then even though Maple’s defenses are lowered, we might be able to do this…”

“That’s right. I hope it’s okay though…”

Maple seems to be a little nervous as she looks towards the boss’s room’s door.

“Well, Maple… shall we go back in?”

“… Sure! Let’s go!”

Maple eggs herself on by slapping her cheeks with both hands, and puts up her shield.

After seeing that, Sally opens the door to the boss’s room, and they go back inside.

Once inside, they notice that the boss had recovered all of its HP and that it is once again using that fiery book’s spell and summoning those skill-sealing shadows.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to start trying to steal your skills just yet. As soon as it steals one of your skills, be sure to let me know, Maple!”

“Yes! Roger that!

Sally calls out to Maple to just to confirm, and then start running.

Maple starts running too, feeling lighter than ever.

“If you don’t want to change your opening move, fine by me!”

Sally starts hacking away at the boss’s HP just like before.

Since there’s not particularly anything she can do except using ‘Provoke’ to attract the attention of the fire-breathing book to herself, Maple stays where she can use ‘Cover’ on Sally.

“Oh… I’ll have to use ‘Cover Move’! It’s been such a long time since I last used that skill! It should reach Sally at this distance… or maybe I should get a little closer…?”

Watching Sally deal damage to the boss, Maple carefully adjusts her position so as to not get sealed.

Sally continues to relentlessly attack the boss and decreasing its HP before losing her focus, and in response, the boss opens itself up to the page where it has all of the skills it has stolen.

“Maple!”

“‘Cover Move’ ‘Cover’!”

Maple catches up with Sally, who had backed out without noticing the boss’s change.

Immediately after that, Maple gets a direct hit by a bullet.

“We should be fine as long as we stay alert!”

The bullet makes a loud sound as it bounces from Maple’s body.

“Hmm… maybe? Could it be that it can’t snatch skills away too frequently?”

Thinking that they should be fine in that case, Sally climbs on Maple’s back and proceeds to advance towards the boss.

“Oof… you’re so heavy!”

“I didn’t have time to check this before, but it seems that the small fries are gone for now.”

“Ah, you’re right! That’s great, that’ll make things easier!”

As they get closer to the boss, it shoots them from above, but Maple puts up her shield like an umbrella, protecting Sally from the attack.

“Only you could take those hits directly with your body, Maple.”

“Hehehe, I’ll be fine as long as it attacks with this kind of power! Also, it can’t take my skills away like this!”

“Right. If it’s not going to snatch our skills away, we can do attack it quickly.”

“And I’ll go with you!”

“Please do. Well then… let’s go!”

Sally quickly jumps off Maple’s back and commences her attack on the boss.

Although she had said that it would be impossible, Sally successfully blocks an incoming bullet with her daggers as if it were second nature to her, and breaks into a dash.

Then, Maple follows her so as to keep Sally’s defenses high.

“‘Double Slash’!”

The blue aura of ‘Sword Dance’ scatters away, and the boss’s HP gets reduced once again.

Sally uses several ice pillars to skillfully avoid all incoming bullets.

Maple realizes that she only got this skilled because of her intense training.

“Ah, Sally!”

“It’s okay! I noticed!”

As the boss’s HP is reduced, it begins to use another skill.

The ground becomes blackened, and two shadows emerge from it.

And then, the skill-stealing chains appear, and restrain Maple before she has a chance to react.

“Ooh… Just as planned!”

“Maple! There are ‘Predators’ there!”

Since Maple is bound by the chains, it seems that she has become the boss’s target, and not only bullets are coming her way now, but predators, too.

Then, one of the predators bites Maple’s across the feet and torso with its huge jaws, and the second one bites at Maple’s head.

Though Maple closes her eyes as a reflex, she reopens them as soon as she realizes that she has taken no damage at all.

“Oh… so that’s what their jaws look like from the inside! We’ve been fighting together for so long, and yet I didn’t know!”

Then, Maple informs Sally of the skills she had lost this time.

“‘Venom Incantation’, ‘Fortress’… and ‘Dedicated Affection’! And ‘Absolute Defense’ too, but we should be okay now!”

Without being able to look at what’s in front of her, Maple shouts out to Sally.

Sally replies something to her, and then Maple hears the sound of magic activating, and ice pillars extending nearby.

“I have to escape… umm… okay!”

Maple opens her inventory, and takes several bombs out one after the other.

As the bombs fall to the ground, they are struck by incoming bullets, creating a chain detonation.

“How about that? I can attack without skills too!”

If Maple’s face wasn’t stuck inside a predator’s jaw, you’d see her boastful smirk.

That chain detonation leads to fire which burns the chains, but the shadows that have been chewing on Maple’s body and head don’t seem to be going anywhere.

“… Ah… can you leave me alone, please?”

The shadows do leave, not because of Maple’s plea, but because she’s not longer restrained. Then, they head towards Sally.

“No! Wait! You can’t do that!”

After being released, Maple checks her surroundings, and sees that it’s full of small books overflowing with fire, water, wind blades and stone bullets flying everywhere.

And then, white wings extend from the books.

The boss is also thrashing about, and Maple can’t see where Sally is.

“Huh!?”

As Maple looks at the boss thinking that she should better hurry, the HP bar above that can be seen above the boss suddenly drops, and the boss explodes in a burst of light.

“Huhhhh!?”

“Ah… I’m tired…”

Sally emerges from within the light, and sits on the ground.

Seeing that, Maple rushes to her.

“Did… did we do it?”

“Looks like it. Somehow the fact that it had your ‘Dedicated Affection’ seems to have done the trick. Luckily, the boss had no means to recover its own HP…”

“Aw, I wanted to fight it! I was being bitten so I didn’t even see anything…”

“Since you invited me, I’ve been wanting to be more active than you, to show you what I can do… that kind of stuff. But I didn’t help you when you were being restrained… was I being too selfish?”

Sally seems very apologetic as she says that.

Then Maple thinks for a moment, and then lifts up her head as if she had come up with something.

“Oh, I see, I see! Well, I did my best on the first floor, so let’s see who of us beats the boss at the third floor, okay?”

Sally seems a little surprised by Maple’s words.

“… Okay. But I may win.”

“Haha, but if you can’t, I definitely will!”

Maple laughs with confidence after saying that.

Seeing that, Sally seems to have come back to normal.

“… Okay, then I won’t lose! Next time I’ll be a proper support and beat the boss!”

“Well then! Let’s go to the third floor! Let’s strike while the iron is hot… or not?”

“That’s just what I was thinking. Let’s go!”

With Sally’s consent, Maple rushes towards the third floor.

“All right, let’s take it easy with our next fight.”

Reflecting on what’s happened so far, Sally follows Maple.

Then, at the third floor, they are greeted by a wide space, spreading out farther than any other room they had seen so far. In there, they see rugged rocky walls and red hot lava on the floor.

“Sally, this place feels completely different than the one before.”

“That’s right… It doesn’t seem like there will be many corridors here, but there are some roads we can take.”

“Shall we take a look for now?”

While Sally is looking around, Maple begins to walk into the room.

Then, lava begins to gush out where Maple had stepped on, burning her feet.

Maple’s HP is slightly reduced as a result.

“Ah…!”

And so, the two stopped right in their tracks.

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