131 Part 2
“I can’t afford to lose here!”
Haruki quickly imprints the lumpfish’s movements into his head.
He was set on catching his preliminary movements, as well as the movement of every fiber of every muscle of its body.
The lumpfish’s movements were fairly easy to understand.
Since it could simply use its huge body to trample its opponents, its movements were straightforward and without any flashiness.
However, that didn’t mean Haruki didn’t need to stay on his toes.
The lumpfish was so heavy that a single tackle from it would surely cause Haruki to faint instantly.
Haruki would slash at the lumpfish, then move around it in order to avoid getting hit by it.
Moreover, whenever he felt he was close to losing the lumpfish’s aggro, Haruki would release a small amount of energy into his mask.
If he were to put his energy onto his mask, he could earn a small amount of the lumpfish’s aggro, whether it was so due to the power of the mask itself or it is due to Divine Energy.
Haruki realized this when he found himself inadvertently infusing the mask with his energy whenever he relaxed his mind.
When the mask shone, he would be able to use it to draw aggro.
This effect was close to that of Kagemitsu’s “Presence” skill.
Just like Kagemitsu had done in order to help him in the Garage Dungeon, Haruki had used his own ability to draw aggro towards him, allowing him to protect the Self-Defense Force members from taking the lumpfish’s deadly attack.
(Oooh, what should I do? Kagemitsu has a strong presence, and I can use a skill similar to his!!)
Haruki ran, fought, and danced in the air as if spring had come.
Haruki wasn’t the only one to be drawing the lumpfish’s aggro.
Rhea’s two firing nozzles had earned her a considerable amount of aggro.
At first, Rhea’s shooting would be blocked by the lumpfish’s immense bulk, which diminished the damage it received from her attacks.
A thin slime spread on the surface of the lumpfish’s body.
This caused the potato stones to slide over its surface.
In addition, the lumpfish’s body was almost entirely covered by a gelatinous substance.
This substance would absorb the impact of blunt attacks, such as shooting potato stones.
After noticing that her attacks weren’t that effective, Rhea switched her strategy and started to aim for the places where Haruki had already wounded the monster.
This proved to be quite effective.
Rhea would shoot a potato stone directly at its wounds.
The wounds, being about 30 cm long, were forcibly split open by the impact of her potato stones.
Rhea’s attacks seemed to be particularly unbearable for the monster.
While twisting its body, the lumpfish glared at Haruki –who was almost as if flying about– with its bloodshot eyes.
As he kept on wounding the monster with his power attacks, Haruki felt a slight sense of discomfort as he caught a glimpse of Rhea’s potato stones.
Even though they looked like regular stones, there was a faint glow coming from them.
“–Hey, so you can use power attacks too, Rhea!”
The light Haruki had seen glowing from the stones was pure energy.
It was barely noticeable, but Rhea was pouring her own energy into the potato stones before shooting them.
Just when Haruki noticed that, Rhea shook her stalk proudly, as if puffing up her chest and saying “So? What do you think?”
This is good.
This is really good!
Energy must have been a familiar force for Rhea, who was originally born in a dungeon.
Haruki learned how to harness that energy into a power attack, and that feeling was transmitted to Rhea through the Taming ability.
By tracing that feeling, Rhea gradually learned how to use her own energy in the same way.
“I won’t lose to you–!!”
Inspired by the fact that Rhea had learned how to use a power attack, Haruki quickly poured more energy into his Magic Sword.
It would be a shame if Rhea’s master were to be attacking at the same extent as Rhea.
Haruki had to launch a high-level, high-powered attack so that Rhea recognized him as a good master.
Shake the enemy up by slicing, thrusting, and using feints.
Cut, kick, jump, and go around it.
Fly, leap, and quickly approach it.
Withdraw as soon as you hit it.
Haruki made his mask shine, drawing a lot of aggro from the lumpfish.
Then, he went around it and into its blindspot so as to break away from its line of sight.
Seeing Haruki’s increasing excitement, Rhea shook the leaves as if saying “Good grief!”.
Her proud leaves turned into gentle ones, but a strong murderous intent towards the hostile lumpfish could still be felt from them.
Enomoto yelled from the rear.
But before he could issue his orders, the lumpfish began to move.
The angry lumpfish twisted its body and turned around using its suction cup.
Then, it swung its tail toward the Self-Defense Force members, who were all crowding up in the same area.
…Esta rushed in like a red meteor.
Instead of clinging onto Haruki’s waist, Esta had been standing by somewhere else, and jumped forward the moment it sensed the lumpfish’s attack.
The lumpfish’s tail and Esta’s body collided with each other.
The air burst.
The space swayed.
The momentum from their impact struggled.
There was a small gap.
Their power was equal.
The momentum disappeared completely.
Esta landed on the spot, turned towards Haruki, and started moving his feelers about.
It was as if he was saying “I did it! I saved them! How about a compliment?”
Haruki couldn’t help but smile.
The next moment…
With another tail strike that had had very little build-up, Esta was blown away, making a loud noise.
Fortunately, Esta took no damage from the attack.
He had simply been blown away by their sheer difference in size.
In fact, after crashing into the wall, Esta moved his feelers again as if trying to laugh away his shame.
Again, Rhea shook her leaves in a “Good grief!” fashion.
Haruki had no idea what they were saying to each other, all he could understand was that Rhea seemed to be scolding Esta.
Even though they were fighting a Dungeon Lord’s unique-species, Haruki and the others were hardly nervous.
However, a Dungeon Lord normally had much higher vitality than regular monsters.
It took Haruki and others two hours to defeat the Dungeon Lord of Kamuikotan.
So they were expecting this one to be quite a long battle as well.
It would be a long battle of endurance where even the slightest mistake could be fatal.
That’s why Haruki was keeping his focus to the max as he fought, so that he could respond immediately to any situation.
＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊
Meanwhile, in the Headquarters of the Self-Defense Force, Karen was still explaining herself.
However, no matter what Karen said, the members of Team Aerial were still looking at her with warm eyes.
They don’t believe me, right!?
Unlike Haruki, Karen was normal.
Karen thought she was normal.
At least she wasn’t wearing strange masks and hanging tentacles from his backpack.
But because of that single irregularity about her called Chep, she wasn’t completely convinced of actually being a normal person.
“But hey, you can keep up with Air’s hunting, right?”
“Uwaah… No way?”
For some reason, Yoshi and Van turned pale at Kagemitsu’s words.
Why on earth did their faces look like that?
Did Haruki do something bad again?
Seeing Karen’s puzzled expression, Kagemitsu started talking.
“You see, miss Karen… Air is a guy who keeps on hunting endlessly until his body gives up. That man’s hunting… No, not only that, it’s simply not normal to be able to keep up with that guy’s antics.”
“The average number of monsters defeated by an ordinary adventurer per day is 50. But you guys can defeat 200 monsters per day, right?”
I knew it.
She’s just like Air.
Everyone’s gaze seemed to be saying that as they sharply pierced Karen’s body.
Certainly, she would defeat 200 monsters in an average day.
However, Karen never thought that in itself was unusual.
She thought it was normal, since Haruki just would keep on hunting normally.
(And so far, I’ve once defeated 300 monsters in a single day, but I can’t tell them that…)
There was no mistaking it. Karen could no longer call herself “normal” in front of Team Aerial.
She had told them many times that she was normal, but before she realized, she had cornered herself to the point of being seen as a freak.
“Besides, that salmon you have with you…”
All members of Team Aerial turned their gaze at Karen at the same time all over again.
They were reaching a conclusion on Karen’s character.
But Karen could never admit it.
Could Karen somehow turn this situation around at this point?
Karen’s critical battle continued.