Itai no wa Iya nanode Bōgyo-Ryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu 313

Defense Specialization and to the North

The last four were Maple, Sally, Mi, and Frederica. And they were headed to the north.

As for methods of transportation, they had Syrup, Ignis, and Savagery Maple. However, it was Ignis who was fast and least unpredictable.

“Ah! Another medal! They sure are fast…”

“In the first place, we haven’t even found a dungeon yet. We did clear one area, but it wasn’t the right one.”

“I was wondering why it was so easy. And then I understood.”

“Well, I think it was mostly easy because Maple was there. With Dedicated Affection and high defense, we can easily defeat bosses.”

“Hmm. But it isn’t almighty either… I know after fighting together a few times.”

Maple’s skills only worked well in certain circumstances. ‘Machine God’ and ‘Hydra’ were not good fits when up against monsters with poison resistance or high defense ability. While Maple could deal damage in spite of having put everything into defense, she had no way of raising her damage. Mi had said this about her on the seventh layer. As everyone’s attack ability went up, her damage output would start to become average.

“In the first place, it’s not right that you can deal so much damage.”

“Really?”

“That’s true.”

“Ah, even you, Sally!”

Sally laughed and said that at the end of the day, Maple was a very reliable Guild Master. Without a doubt, it was because Maple constantly had Dedicated Affection activated, that they could talk in such a carefree way right now.

“So, what should we do? Currently, we’ve seen all of the objects in the north that Sally marked out on her map…”

“I guess we’ll just have to go to any location that seems distinctive from the sky. The map itself is quite big, and we haven’t seen the whole thing yet.”

Sally had been mainly focused on getting points during the preliminary, and she had only marked her map on the way. It wasn’t her main objective.

“Alright then. We’ll just have to search every area. Hmm. This is going to be tough, isn’t it?”

“Yes, I think so.”

“Ugh. We really need to hurry up and decide…”

“In that case, let’s go down once. You can’t see anything with much detail from the sky. Besides, there won’t be any situations where we accidentally enter a dungeon either.”

The others agreed, and so Mi had Ignis descend towards the ground so that they could get off. Immediately, they started to hear the rustling of something approaching them. And what came out was one of those devil monsters that moved on four legs, that were the main monsters of the second night.

“Ah, it appeared. The Fake Maple.”

“Huh? Me-me?”

“Well, I can see the resemblance.”

The monster that Frederica called ‘Fake Maple,’ tried to slash at Frederica with its claws, but Maple protected her from all of the attacks.

“Really, it’s so nice to be able to feel safe when outside.”

As Frederica began to smack the monster’s head with her staff, Mi threw a fireball from the side in order to burn it up.

“Aren’t we going to explore?”

“Yes, yes. I’ll do my best.”

“Me too. ‘Deploy all Weapons,’ ‘Commence Attack’!”

Sally moved away for now and watched, as she did not want to get in their line of fire by accident.

As long as they didn’t take any damage, it would be a very one-sided fight. That could not be helped.

Like this, they killed monsters while walking for a while. And then Mi suddenly noticed something.

“There sure seem to be a lot of monsters in this area.”

“Maybe it’s because we’re on the corner of the map?”

“…Yes, it does seem like there are a lot.”

The four of them had already cleared a whole dungeon, and had searched the area around it. Compared to that time, there seemed to be more frequent attacks.

“Is there something here? …Like a device that creates monsters!”

“I hope not. But I guess we should look around? There isn’t much time left, so this is likely our last chance.”

They wanted to return to their base early, considering the possibility of unexpected events. Besides, it would hurt their performance if they had to face the third day without getting to rest. And so it was with all of this considered, that they knew it was nearing the time for them to return.

“Okay, let’s go find out why there are so many monsters!”

“Hmm. I hope it doesn’t take long.”

Mi and Sally did enough damage, and so as long as they were within reach of Dedicated Affection, exploration was easy for them. They killed monsters and walked around in order to search for areas where there were a lot of them. After a while, their suspicion turned into certainty.

“It’s true! There really are a lot!”

“Yes. There’s something here, no doubt.”

When they arrived at the spot that was brimming with the most monsters, they saw from between the trees, there was a swirling, purple, circular light that floated in the air like a gate.

There were not only a large variety of devil monsters coming out, but even the dinosaurs and alligators Maple had seen during the preliminary were also appearing.

“It’s not quite…a dungeon, if you ask me. What should we do, Sally?”

“Hmm. Yeah, it doesn’t look like one.”

“Well, we really don’t know yet. Besides, since Maple is with us, we can go and touch it, right?”

“I think that it’s worth a try.”

It seemed foolish to just leave without finding out if they were right or wrong.

“Still, there are a lot of types of monsters. I wouldn’t be surprised if some had piercing attacks.”

“Oh, that’s right. Hmm. That means it will be scary unless we do it quickly and then run away…maybe we should just fly?”

“On Ignis? But there are so many trees. We’ll probably have to go around…I don’t think we can reach it from here.”

“Maple. Do you mean the other kind of flying?”

“Yes! This!”

Maple said as she patted the giant weapon on her back. Sally didn’t think it was a bad idea, and accepted it quickly. Frederica and Mi trusted Sally’s judgement, and so they accepted it as well. They just assumed that perhaps it was not so strange for such a large weapon to have flying capabilities as well.

“If you say you can do it, I don’t mind.”

“Alright. Then you all have to hold on tight, okay?”

“Huh? Uh, like this?”

“Is this fine?”

The three of them surrounded Maple and held onto her. And then Maple took out a rope from her item box and strapped them to her.

“Phew…good. We’re ready when you are, Maple!”

“What’s with that resolve…ah!? Don’t tell me it’s like during the guild battle where you fell…”

Frederica got flashbacks of explosions that were impossible during normal flight.

“‘Commence Attack’!”

“I-is this bad? What!?”

The laser weapons on Maple’s back filled up with energy, and when they were charged to the limit, the weapons exploded. At the same time, the four were launched into the air like a bullet. They shot past the trees and went straight into the purple light.

As they had assumed, it was a gate, and they went right through. But thankfully, their momentum died, and they landed gently in front of the gate on the other side.

“We arrived! Thank you! It was a very short trip!”

“I-I see… I don’t think I like flying this way…”

“…I’ve never been less jealous of someone’s mobility.”

“Phew. I’m still not used to it.”

“Sally’s oddly calm. You’re not surprised at all, are you!”

“This is normal for Maple.”

That’s not what I mean. Frederica muttered. However, they were through the gate now, and so they switched gears. This was the other side of a mysterious gate that spat out monsters.

“I don’t see anything in particular yet…”

The four of them had been dropped into a wide space with dark purple walls and floor. It seemed like the walls and floor would move occasionally, and it was clear that this was no ordinary dungeon.

“Still, I’m glad we didn’t get ambushed by monsters as soon as we got in.”

“That’s true. I guess we should explore this place now.”

And so the four of them started walking in order to reach the deepest part of the dungeon.

There were many branching paths. They took right and left turns as they made their way forward. It did not take long for them to be attacked by Fake Maples and the devil monsters with bat wings. It seemed like they had some way of seeing players that should have been out of their vision, and they kept coming even when the group stood still.

However, these ambushes were futile.

“There is no way we could lose to these two types when Maple is here.”

“It’s great for earning experience. So great.”

“And I don’t have to worry about MP, because Izu gave me so many potions!”

“…If these things are in the dungeon, I guess the gate appeared after the second day? It would have attracted a lot of attention if this was around during the preliminary.”

While Mi wasn’t quite as bad as Maple, she was also terribly inefficient. And so she had to use several potions after killing a number of monsters.

Sally also cut down monsters as she walked. Because Maple’s abilities were so extreme, she was either able to nullify everything and battles ended quickly, or things became very difficult for her. It tended to be one or the other. This dungeon seemed to be the former. However, there seemed to be more to this dungeon than monsters being set on them. And after traveling for some time, they came upon an open room that was similar to the one they had started in. But these walls were not the same purple walls, as there were now white spots that swelled out.

“Hmm…there are white bumps on the wall.”

“Should I try shooting them?”

“No, we shouldn’t do that if we don’t know what will happen.”

“It seems like they’ll come to us even if we don’t move.”

Mi said as she pointed to one of them. If she had to describe it, she would say that it looked like a pupa or a cocoon. It reacted when they had approached. The things tore open and the monsters came out.

The sheer number of them reminded Maple and Sally of the monster house in the tower. And so they gave orders to Frederica and Mi.

“We’ll start by killing the ones with pointed weapons or horns!”

“As long as they don’t have defensive piercing attacks, it will be fine!”

“I see. That’s true. Okay.”

“Now I can go boldly forward. And if I see anything like that, I can target them easily.”

And so they started with hunting the devil monsters with spears and the ones with sharp fangs and claws. On the other hand, the ones with incredible muscles that looked like power fighters were left for later. As you could not get past Maple with brute force, they had low priority.

“‘Flame Emperor.’ Ignis, ‘Chain Fire’!”

“Oboro, ‘Fire Child,’ ‘Cross Fire’!”

Their skills caused the fire to spread, and the monsters burned. These were skills with chain damage, which really showed their worth when there were a lot of monsters. And so it was especially effective against hordes like this, that were overflowing in the room.

“‘Hydra’!”

“Maple really is strong against large numbers…”

Her defense ability was so high that it shut out anything that didn’t have area attacks and effective hits. And this was made even worse with other players around. No matter how far Maple went, defense would always be her strongest suit.

Once they got rid of the monsters that looked like they might have piercing attacks, the rest was easy. Sally killed the rest, as they wanted to save their resources, and Sally could deal a lot of damage without using MP.

“Phew. All done.”

“Good work, Sally! There were so many of them, but it seemed like you didn’t have a problem!”

“Yes. It was easy thanks to you, Maple.”

“Ehehe. Really?”

“We’ll be able to go farther in now. At this rate, we’ll have no trouble getting to the boss.”

“That’s true. Now, let’s go. Let’s go.”

They advanced while making sure to stay within range of Maple’s Dedicated Affection. At this point, the white bumps on the walls were increasing in number, and the monsters were much more numerous than they had been in the beginning.

“Oh, I know! Might as well use it today… Savagery!”

As the day would be ending soon, Maple activated her skill. Surely it would not be wasted if they were in a dungeon. And through her activation of Savagery, Maple, who had up until now been mostly quietly unleashing lasers or deadly poisons, could now join the battle and stand in the front.

“Ah, the true Maple.”

“True? Hey, what do you mean by that?”

“I felt the same thing when I saw Haku. But size really is important…”

Maple opened her giant mouth as she ran down the passages. As the place had not been built with ‘Savagery’ in mind, she had to lower her posture as she ran. But it also meant that monsters couldn’t circle around her.

As Maple opened and closed her mouth, monsters in front of her were torn apart without descriminition. Those that somehow managed to survive started to crawl out of her mouth. But they were then just trampled by Maple’s six legs, and they came out the other side looking like some discarded rags.

“‘Multi-Wind Blade’!”

However, any who survived Maple weren’t going to be shown any mercy. And the three that could use magic were sure to deal the final blow.

“In this form, it becomes a really one-sided fight against the weaker monsters.”

“Yeah… Most players don’t even have other forms.”

Maple also breathed fire as they ran over the monsters. And just as they had predicted, the four reached the boss room in little time at all.

“Our strategies are so different when you’re with other guilds.”

“Just so you know, we’re only fighting like this because you’re here, Maple.”

The others in Maple Tree were not like this. Even though some were starting to feel a little similar, they were still not at that level.

“Can I open it?”

“Yes, go inside.”

And so Maple pushed the door open with her head and stepped inside. The room was filled with the white bumps that gave birth to monsters. And in the far back, there was a white mass that was far larger than any of the others. It was clearly a cocoon.

As soon as all four were inside of the room, the giant cocoon was torn open, and a purple light burst out from it. Then out came sharp claws attached to more than a dozen limbs. And then a head with no face. Wings with torn membranes. It looked like a mutated version of the monster that Frederica had called a Fake Maple.

“It’s the real Fake Maple! Don’t you think so?”

“Stop talking nonsense and fight!”

“Yes, I won’t hold back.”

“Everyone. It’s coming!”

The monster was fully out of its cocoon now as it flapped its wings and slashed with its claws while moving towards them.

Whenever the boss threw its arms, they would stretch like rubber, and now they were being flung at them on both sides at a great speed.

“‘Multi-Barrier’! Knots, ‘Singing Round’!”

Frederica created a barrier around her and Mi. Sally would be able to dodge the attack without a doubt, and it was impossible to cover something as big as Maple.

“Tsk, it’s so strong…!?”

The force of the arms was much higher than she had expected. And Frederica’s barrier crumbled down. However, it wasn’t meaningless, as it had delayed the monster’s arrival.

“‘Flare Accel’!”

Mi accelerated all at once and reached Frederica. Then she picked her up and carried her as they escaped the reach of the claws.

“Nice, Mi!”

“Don’t let your guard down, okay?”

As Frederica has guessed, Sally had no problem dodging it. But Maple was too big, and the claws hit her before she could escape.

Damage effects burst all over Maple, and her skin had as many wounds as there were claws.

And while it hadn’t resulted in ‘Savagery’ getting deactivated, it seemed like just a matter of time.

“Uhhhh. They pierced all my defenses…!”

“Let’s get it from above first! Mi, Frederica! ‘Ice Pillar’!”

“Ignis, ‘Undying Flame’!”

“Yes, yes. ‘Multi-Pressure.’”

As the boss tried to mete out its attacks, Frederica used magic to slow down its movement.

From the left came Sally, and from the right was Mi and Ignis. As soon as they were above its head, they began to attack it as if to hammer it into the ground.

“‘Quintuple Slash’!”

“‘Flame Emperor’!”

Once Sally was above its head, she activated her skill, slashing at it from head to back, before rolling away. Mi used Ignis’s mobility to dodge and then launch a counterattack. After taking damage, the boss was slammed down onto the ground.

The Maple jumped on it as if she had been waiting for this moment. It was her revenge for earlier. She tore into its arms with her teeth and shredded its wings.

However, the boss was not going to take this quietly. Its claws cut into Maple, and the purple light rays from its mouth burned her skin.

“…”

“…”

“…”

It was like watching cannibal monsters. The other three were stunned at the sight. But they quickly joined Maple. With the support of the other three, Maple was able to deal even more damage. It recoiled when all three attacked, and yet it keeped clutching Maple and showering her with its heat ray.

As Dedicated Affection was activated, the three were able to join the fight in spite of there being two giant creatures going wild. However, as this was a boss, it tore away Maple’s Savagery before Maple could eat it. And Maple was thrown to the ground.

All of a sudden, there was a huge size difference between them. And so the boss moved over her as if to crush her with its body. Maple could easily survive something like that, but what was surprising to the others, was the area around the boss’s stomach began to squirm, and then sharp needles appeared.

“Ah, uh, ‘Pierce Guard’!”

Maple somehow managed to nullify the piercing attack with the skill that she clearly wasn’t used to using. And right after, the giant body fell on top of her, and the others could no longer see her.

“Maple? Are you okay!?”

Sally asked, but they could not hear an answer. But after a brief pause, they heard the sounds of a dull ring coming from inside of the boss’s body. Then there was a great burst of damage effects as black fog and five tentacles stretched out of its body.

“Is it hurting itself to transform?”

“No, that’s…”

“It’s Maple.”

“Huh…?”

The tentacles moved skillfully, and before they knew it, Maple had pulled herself out of the hole in the boss’s body.

“Phew. I escaped! Wo-woah! ‘Cover Move’!”

Maple jumped back in order to gain some distance, as the boss started to get up again. Then she teleported right next to Sally.

“What do you think? I think I damaged it quite a lot…”

“Maybe about halfway… It’s pretty tough. I think that fire attacks aren’t very effective.”

As Maple’s tentacles had nothing but attack abilities, she returned her left arm to normal in order to deal with the boss’s next attack.

“I can still use Bizzare Eater!”

Her second day had mostly been spent either in the base, or exploding in order to be a mark for the others.

And so while she didn’t have much left when it came to ‘Machine God,’ it was a different story when it came to ‘Bizzare Eater,’ ‘Hydra,’ and ‘Predator.’ And she had plenty of power left.

The four of them watched and waited to see how the boss would move next. The boss was flying in the air above its cocoon. It was taking in a purple light that emanated from it.

“Something is coming!”

Once it had taken in enough of the purple light, the same light shone from the boss’s body, and numerous magic circles appeared. And from these, purple fire shot out towards the group.

“‘Multi-accelerate,’ ‘Multi-barrier’!”

By raising their movement speed, the three of them tried to dodge the attacks. On the other hand, Maple raised her great shield in order to block them.

While Bizarre Eater was able to absorb the purple flames, there were so many of them that she was overwhelmed. Maple could do nothing but block as the entire area around her started to burn. And her HP began to chip away.

“Really!? I hate fire!”

Nothing good happened when fire was involved, or so Maple thought. And she quickly developed her weapons and detonated them in order to launch herself into the air.

“We can dodge them! You heal yourself while we distract it!”

“Yes! Thank you!”

Sally raised her concentration as she slid past the exploding flames and approached the boss.

“‘Path of Water’! ‘Freezing Area’!”

A pillar of water stretched out in front of Sally, and at the same time, a pale, freezing current was unleashed from her body. Everything around Sally began to freeze at a rapid rate. One of Sally’s blades was enveloped in fire from Oboro, and the other was covered in ice from ‘Freezing Area.’

As fire and ice flew around her, she freezed the path and charged towards the boss in order to slam it into the ground once again.

“I can move a lot better in the air now! ‘Icicle’!”

With skills to make footholds in the air and skills that shot webs, she made her way through the  boss’s storm of fire with all the agility of someone running on the ground. Using hit and run tactics, she dealt damage to the boss.

“Alright, it’s looking this way now…”

For the moment, Sally was the only one who was attacking, and so the boss turned towards Sally, and all of the flames were directed towards her.

However, that was what she wanted. Now, she just needed to dodge all of them.

“Concentrate…!”

As it was a large boss, its attacks weren’t very intricate. It was more about burning everything. And so Sally concentrated on staying in the air in order to avoid the fire on the floor.

Besides, there had been a stronger and more precise boss in this vein during the previous event on the tower’s 10th floor. And so Sally was able to dodge the attacks as if she could predict the future.

“Frederica, Mi, Maple! Are you finished preparing yet?”

“Yes! I’m fine!”

“No problem here.”

“I finished casting the buffs!”

“In that case, ‘Super Accelerate’! Oboro, ‘Spirited Away’!”

Sally accelerated, using Oboro’s skill to disappear as the claws shot towards her back. And then she dashed to where Maple and the others waited.

Here, the enlarged Syrup and Iginis stood. Maple had her weapons, and Mi was surrounded in fire.

“Alright. As a finishing touch, Knots, ‘Amplify’!”

“‘Murderous Inferno’!”

“‘Commence Attack’! ‘Hydra’! ‘Oozing Chaos’!”

As Frederica strengthened the force of their skills, the others used their powerful skills, and Syrup and Ignis unleashed fire and light rays.

They crashed into the purple flames, causing a magnificent display of effects. However, the power of the buffs that had been cast while Sally distracted the boss had an effect, and the attacks pushed back the flames, destroying the cocoon and causing a huge explosion.

By the time that the lights faded away, the cocoon was in small pieces, and black smoke rose from the boss’s body as it splattered on the ground before crumbling away and disappearing.

“Phew. Yes! We won!”

“Yeah, it was a good fight. Thank you, Frederica.”

“It’s worth casting buffs when you take it down like that!”

“It looks like we got medals too. Now we can go back with smiles on our faces.”

“Alright, now let’s be careful on our return so that we don’t die!”

They would likely be the last ones to return. But the four believed that the others would make it back safely. It was with such thought that they left the dungeon behind them.

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