“We are going to get as much distance as possible!” (Hikaru)
The 3rd Floor is a garden.
We have come here countless times already, and I have a decently good sense of direction, so I know the route leading to the stairs, but this place is made in a way to make you get lost.
In other words, the way to the stairs is by no means a straight line.
There’s the need to make turns a lot of times on our way.
If it were to come at us from overhead in a straight line, it would catch up to us in an instant.
“Wait, there was this too…!” (Hikaru)
I wanted to run to the stairs of the 2nd Floor in one go, but Alex and his party are fighting monsters.
“I will assist too!” (Rifreya)
“Please do!” (Hikaru)
With Rifreya entering the fray, the Treant was defeated pretty quickly, but the several tens of seconds lost here are painful.
“Rifreya! Alex! It is going to catch up soon! Be careful above!” (Hikaru)
The Straying Big Mist Garden is always covered in a dense mist, and even if a monster is flying above, it is hard to catch sight of them. Moreover, the mist at the ceiling is denser.
The Demon Lord should be really close…
“[Dark Sense]!” (Hikaru)
A perception wave runs through the mist and detects the location of the Demon Lord.
It really is aiming for me; 50 meter distance.
“[Darkness Fog]! [Shade Shift]!” (Hikaru)
I cover my body with darkness at the highest capacity, and create a clone of myself with Shade Shift in order to increase my evasion rate as much as possible.
Even one hit of the Demon Lord would be the end of me.
We are currently 5 people. If we see it as 1 party, it shouldn’t be that bad of a fighting force.
But I don’t know how to fight against a monster that flies.
My only means of attack is the Night Bug.
Marchosias showed up from the air, flapped its wings while raising a growl, but didn’t show signs of coming down.
The next move…
The voice coming from the Demon Lord resonated directly in my mind.
Maybe because of the effects of that, my Darkness Fog and Shade Shift had their Spirit Energy diminished into glittery particles…and disappeared.
“Damn it! This is a Chaotic Ability?!” (Hikaru)
“Hikaru! Hide behind me!” (Rifreya)
Rifreya takes a stance with her giant sword and stands in a way as if protecting me.
Marchosias flies around 20 meters above us, and seems to be observing us. We don’t have any effective attack means for that distance.
“[Summon: Night Bug]!” (Hikaru)
I summon dark rhinoceros beetles that should at least serve to annoy it.
The Demon Lord barely paid any heed to the insects flying around. As I thought, Abilities that deal low sustained damage are not effective against Demon Lords.
We watched the movements of the Demon Lord while backing off bit by bit, heading towards the exit.
“Alex and his party, do you guys have any attacks that can shoot it down? Be it Spirit Abilities or anything.” (Hikaru)
“At that distance, it would be rough… I can only use till the 3rd Ability, and Crabbell is Earth, so it would be impossible in midair. Also, Jordan is water.” (Alex)
“I see. Thanks. I have Darkness and Rifreya is Light. We both don’t have effective long range attacks.” (Hikaru)
In that case, we can’t do anything until it comes down.
I can’t make Shadow Bind appear in midair either.
Marchosias flies around while making a displeasing flapping noise.
It would growl every now and then. There’s no doubt it is finding the appropriate timing to attack.
Retreating while directing our attention to the movements of the Demon Lord was reducing our progress to a crawl, however, we can’t just expect to luckily encounter other explorers.
It is regrettable that the hunting horn dropped. If we had pushed ourselves there to get it back, this might have been a different development, but…there’s no point brooding over that now.
“Hikaru! Be careful!” (Rifreya)
Rifreya lets out a voice of urgency.
When I turned my gaze, the flying Demon Lord opened its big mouth and a flame of red and white was forming in its mouth.
“It is going to spit out fire!” (Hikaru)
Warning them was all I could do.
Bright red fire covers my whole vision with a terrifying sound. It is not a speed that I can avoid the moment I see it.
The next instant I was prepared for death…
“[Water Screen]!” (Jojordan)
The ability that Jojordan casted created a sudden water wall, and it blocks the fire.
The sizzling sounds of fire being evaporated by water was reverberating. It was blocking the fire breath of the Demon Lord almost perfectly. Jojordan may look feeble, but it seems like he is quite the skilled Spirit User.
“Thanks for the save!” (Hikaru)
“Not yet! It is coming!”
Marchosias flapped its wings with great force once, glided in the air, and began charging our way.
It is hard to use Darkness Fog in an ‘offensive manner’ against an enemy that’s charging from above.
But if it is with the means of Rifreya…
A dazzling sphere appeared onto the opponent rushing straight as if it were trying to crash onto it, and it burned the eyes of the Demon Lord.
The Demon Lord that was blinded on all fronts falls onto the flowerbed of the garden while destroying it flashily, sliding on the ground.
This is the chance of our lifetime.
“Right now! Press on!” (Hikaru)
Rifreya, Alex, and Crabbell rush the Demon Lord.
“Ooooooh! Take this!” (Alex)
The spear of Alex lunges towards the Demon Lord, and in that instant…
A voice once again resonates in my head.
An indescribable wave was emitted from the Demon Lord, and we, who were leaning forward, had eaten it all defenselessly.
Something pierced through my whole body.
“…Kuh! W-What’s this?” (Hikaru)
The Demon Lord in front of me suddenly felt overwhelmingly scary, my knees trembled, and strength left my whole body from the fear.
Rifreya, Alex, Crabbell, and Jojordan; they all fell on their knees and were in a state where they couldn’t attack at all.
So a chaotic ability that instills fear.
“Damn it! Damn it! Move! I’m telling you to move!” (Alex)
“Even though it was our chance…!” (Rifreya)
Doesn’t seem like they can move either.
The Fear Ability that shows its effects in its surroundings. It isn’t just for show that it is called a Demon Lord, huh.
This is incredibly bad. The word ‘wipe’ surfaced in my mind.
“[Darkness Fog]…! [Bind]…!” (Hikaru)
I squeezed out all the strength I could, and covered everyone into the darkness including the Demon Lord.
I control the movements of the Demon Lord with Shadow Bind.
I must buy as much time as possible.
“Everyone…! Fall back for now…!” (Hikaru)
I control the Darkness Fog and secure a path of retreat for everyone.
Fortunately, Marchosias doesn’t have night vision, so it spun around in place, and it is simply wary of its surroundings.
The effect of the ability must have dissipated a bit because of the time, I could feel some strength in my legs now.
“Alex! You can hear me, right?!” (Hikaru)
“Yeah… I can hear you…! What was that just now?” (Alex)
“It must be a Chaotic Ability that binds the heart with fear. Anyways, I will keep it distracted here! You guys go call for help! We will be wiped out if we deal with it with just us!” (Hikaru)
“Are you going to be okay, Hikaru…?! To fight it with only you two is just…” (Alex)
“We will manage somehow! Counting on you!” (Hikaru)
“Got it! Don’t die!” (Alex)
Alex and his party run off.
It is already impossible to run with them. Someone has to keep it distracted. If we were to get attacked from behind, no one would be left.
There’s no choice but to have them bring help here.
(Can’t run away from the Demon Lord…huh.) (Hikaru)
- Chapter 101: Reckless Assault and Counterattack
Even so, it is not like everything is bad.
This is a big monster, but it is only one, and most of all, Dark Spirit Abilities work on it.
“Rifreya! Darkness works on this guy! The strategy we always use will work on it! Counting on you!” (Hikaru)
The ears of the Demon Lord are twitching. It must be trying to pinpoint the voices.
Those red eyes that felt as if they could see through even the darkness were glaring powerfully, and even if hidden in the darkness, I can’t erase the instinctive fear I have.
But now that it has come to this, I have no choice but to do it.
“Aim for the moment when it uses Dispel to erase my Ability!” (Hikaru)
I want to buy as much time as possible, so there’s no need to undo the Darkness Fog myself and attack it ourselves.
The Demon Lord growled and spit out fire, but I have casted Darkness Fog at its highest output. Blind attacks like that at that distance won’t be hitting us.
Also, with just the mere light the fire produces, the darkness of Darkness Fog won’t be cleared.
The Demon Lord runs around blindly to get out from the darkness.
If it gets out from the darkness, there’s the chance that it would target Rifreya who is alone.
“[Summon: Night Bug]!”
I used abilities consecutively.
Inside the darkness, even the attacks of the Night Bugs can serve extremely well as distraction.
And with the Phantom Warrior that makes loud noises, there’s an even lower chance that it can catch our location by using sounds.
The battle between the Demon Lord that wants to attack inside the darkness, and me who wants to buy time by not letting it out of the darkness continued.
The Demon Lord finally casted that ability.
Judging from how it didn’t use it immediately, it probably means that the Demon Lord isn’t that good at abilities.
The Spirit Energy of the darkness, the phantom warrior, and the dark tentacles were diminished, and erased.
That was the expected flow of events.
The next instant…
A dazzling sphere was created right in the face of the Demon Lord, and almost at the same time, Rifreya swung her greatsword with strength enough as if to cut off its head.
Such a fierce sound was made, and red blood flies.
“Kuh! Hard!” (Rifreya)
It was an attack that carried all her weight, and yet, it was stopped by its bristles and hard skin, and it didn’t go as far as severing the body of the Demon Lord.
Even so, the attack did hit.
The combo of darkness and light really is simple yet strong. It works plenty well against a Demon Lord.
“[Shadow Bind]!” (Hikaru)
The dark tentacles bind the limbs of the Demon Lord and impede it from acting.
And a heated combo was dealt by Rifreya right at that moment as if she had been waiting for that.
The drawn blade was swung continuously as if dancing, dealing definite damage onto the Demon Lord.
However, maybe it was being blocked by some invisible wall, or it might be because it is deftly avoiding any fatal hit, those attacks that would have long killed your average monster were failing to do so here. It really won’t be as easy.
(Is its inherent defense high?! Even though it is getting direct hits from Rifreya…!) (Hikaru)
I use the valuable time Rifreya is buying here to exchange 30 Crystals for 1 Point, and buy a Barrier Stone with that Point.
I have judged that this will be necessary for refuge in the case there’s nothing we can do.
The Demon Lord is faltering from the flowing attacks that continue on, but it will eventually regain its posture.
“Rifreya, you are overstepping! Fall back for now! Attacking it from the front isn’t working much!” (Hikaru)
“No! I can still do this!” (Rifreya)
She ignored my order and continued attacking.
No matter how excellent swordplay she has, attacks from the front can’t help but end up turning monotonous.
The Demon Lord should have more power and faster decision making than us.
It definitely will eventually counterattack.
We have to fight with a hit-and-run strategy. We are dealing with an opponent that defeated a Lizardman Undead in just a few seconds.
And the Lizardman and Rifreya are most likely around the same strength.
“Rifreya, backout!” (Hikaru)
“Not yet! With this…!” (Rifreya)
“You are being reckless! Damn it!” (Hikaru)
A barrage of attacks that carried all of her power.
It certainly did land on its back, but even with that, it only managed to damage the hard fur of the demon lord slightly. We really have to aim for the Spirit Vein Center. If it were the axe of the captain from the Crimson Vials, it could deal fatal damage, but Rifreya still hasn’t reached that Tier yet.
Rifreya and the Demon Lord are moving at fast speeds while continuing their exchange of blows. It will be difficult to use Darkness Fog like this.
Rifreya must have taken this situation as a chance to one-sidedly attack it, but the eyesight of the Demon Lord has already recovered, and it has recognized Rifreya as a threat…that’s how I see it.
Against the Demon Lord, there’s not much difference between me and Rifreya. One can easily tell that it is not an opponent that can be fought one vs one.
Normally, we would use Darkness Fog for each hit, buy time, and accumulate the damage steadily.
Or more like, that’s how we have always been doing. Until now, Rifreya and I have matched our timing countless times, and have defeated hundreds of monsters.
Why is Rifreya suddenly being so reckless here?
Is she worked up because she is going against a Demon Lord?
Or maybe something bothered her after facing the Demon Lord?
Then, I should at least provide assistance.
“[Phantom Warrior]!” (Hikaru)
By having a Phantom Warrior head from the opposite site, I managed to divert its attention slightly, but it doesn’t look like it had much effect.
I want to use Shadow Bind, but the previous bind’s effects are not completely gone yet. I can’t cast the ability again until the effect of the previous one runs out.
“I am going to defeat it! I must be the one to defeat it!” (Rifreya)
Rifreya shouts this within her sword dance that doesn’t end.
I don’t understand why Rifreya is saying that.
We should just buy time while reinforcements come.
I clearly told her that…
Marchosias, who had seen through the sword of Rifreya, did a backstep, making the attack miss.
Just like that, it changed the energy of that backstep for power into its hindlegs, and attacks Rifreya with a speed unimaginable from that big body.
A rush similar to a blind attack.
It swung its sharp claws like those of a feline beast, crossing attacks with Rifreya at high speed.
It seems like she managed to avoid a direct hit by spinning her body, but even with that, the impact wasn’t completely killed, and she was sent flying onto a hedge.
“I-I’m okay! More importantly, the Demon Lord—” (Rifreya)
“Leave it to me! [Darkness Fog]!” (Hikaru)
I cast Darkness Fog and cover both me and Rifreya, blocking the sight of the Demon Lord.
The pitch black darkness ruled the area, and with this, we have managed to buy a bit more time.
“[Summon: Night Bug]!”
I somehow manage to restrain the movements of the Demon Lord, and I run to the side of Rifreya.
“Are you okay?! Any wounds?! Why were you so reckless?” (Hikaru)
“I am okay. It was just a scratch! More importantly, we have to continue the offensive… Even though it was going so well… I…I am the one that must defeat it…” (Rifreya)
The eyes of Rifreya shone fiercely, and she was staring straight at the place where the Demon Lord was even through the darkness.
As if that were her purpose in life.
“I will stand up. It will soon be using Dispel again, and when that happens…” (Rifreya)
Rifreya tried to stand up inside the darkness, but…just like that, she fell as if she lost support.
Her face was shocked as if she herself didn’t understand what happened.
At that moment, I finally noticed.
Red blood was coming out from the thigh of Rifreya that had been cleanly gouged out -more than half of her left leg was gone.
She didn’t manage to avoid the attack of the Demon Lord.
The blood was dyeing the ground dark red soundlessly.