—I don’t know how many monsters I have defeated anymore.
I killed several dozen enemies with the Step, Cancel, to Side Slash combo, and then chain Step with a movement skill to confuse the enemy. I would sweep the enemies using a combo attack after a Petitplosion, forcefully canceled skills by purposely having many attacks scrape me. For the fast enemies, I would bait their attacks, use Hide to block them and forcefully create an opening. I would defeat strong enemies by using a Power Up Oboro Zangetsu that I unleashed in advance.
I would get shot every so often, but I could replenish my HP with Bloody Stab and my MP with Magic Steal. In that sense, you could say I can fight semi-indefinitely.
Honestly speaking, I would like to have the special ability, Soul Eater, that absorbs stamina when I am fighting, but I compensate for the lack of it by mixing in Air Hammers often.
Shiranui has high durability from the very beginning, so there’s no problem, and there’s barely any loss in equipment from the ones with low durability.
The nerve-wracking battles that shave away at my psyche continued, but I feel like I could continue fighting for several tens of minutes to several hours.
In other words, there’s no loss that sticks out for now, and I can continue fighting.
It is going well as a whole.
(—It is not enough!) (Souma)
It makes me think something like this is not enough.
There’s still a lot I am missing.
I don’t have enough stats, don’t have enough skills, don’t have enough equipment, and don’t have enough proficiency.
But even I know that…the thing I truly am missing is not the performance of my character.
(I should be able to fight better!) (Souma)
I notice that my way of fighting is way too lacking compared to when it was a game.
The more I fought, the more it bothered me the difference in how I fought at my best, and it makes me want to shout that this is not it.
The angles of my Steps are lacking.
My spell choices are lacking.
My predictions for the Time Activations are lacking.
The timings for the Cancels are lacking.
The things that I could do at the time when I fought inside the game everyday, the things that I should be able to do…I currently can’t do them with my current self.
The sensation of the wind brushing my cheek, the sensation of stepping onto the ground, the pain I feel from the attacks scraping me, the fear that I might die, the sound of my drumming heartbeat, my body screaming from the chaining of consecutive skills.
Everything that wasn’t in the game was messing up my sensations, and impedes efficient skill usage.
—I scold myself to remember.
That time when I held Shiranui which I changed its attack power to minus, equipped fully with cursed armor, fighting for 2-3 hours in the hidden dungeon without any breaks…
That time when I continued fighting solely for the sake of changing the risk of death into thrill…
This is vexing. So vexing. Those sensations alone continued piling up, and it is dulling my body’s sharpness.
But even with that, the muscle memory that has seeped into me is slowly returning as I activate skills, as I shoot spells.
([Step][Side Slash], [Step][Side Slash], [Step][Side Slash][Step][Side Slash], [Petitplosion][Air Hammer]!) (Souma)
I get close, do a sweeping slash, use a two stage Step to avoid the enemy that jumped onto me, do a sweeping slash, get blown away, and do a double chant…
([High Step][Jump][Side Slash], [Side Slash], [Step][Side Slash]!) (Souma)
Jump in, cancel it, sweep, do an explosion to bring me back, sweep the opposite side, jump into the opening between the corpses, sweep, and get blown from the back.
At that moment…
(That one is…!) (Souma)
What I saw while I was flying to the back with Air Hammer was the Quick Ring Assassin whose face peeked from the horde.
The fast monster that appeared once we entered the second half of the battle.
It is a troublesome enemy, but…
([Side Slash], [Step][Oboro Zangetsu], [Step], [Side Slash]!” (Souma)
After I deal with the enemies around, I activate Oboro Zangetsu early, pull her in with a Long Cancel Step, and intercept it with Side Slash.
The strength of Quick Ring type monsters is their outstanding evasion.
It even detected the invisible slash and jumped back.
(I already have you figured out!) (Souma)
The Oboro Zangetsu I unleashed just before appeared.
There’s no way an agility specialized monster would be able to endure that hit. After confirming that its body was sliced in two, I searched for my next prey and…
(…[Step][Side Slash]!) (Souma)
I unleash one more Side Slash to the enemy group, and take a breath after being blown away with the Time Activated Air Hammer.
At first, I thought the enemy thought patterns had increased because it has approached reality, but monsters have their respective characteristic actions and movement speeds.
If I can read those, I can easily pinpoint the enemies with special evasion patterns like the Quick Ring Assassin of just now. I can somewhat tell which attack to do at what timing.
Also, I don’t feel the same pressure I felt from the enemies at the beginning.
Mitsuki and Ringo are probably doing well.
There’s already no magic attacks or attacks from the sky.
I just have to concentrate on my own battle.
I was grateful towards my comrades that are way too good for me, but I concentrated on my battle to the point where I even forgot that.
What’s important is to not use my action slots too much for evasion.
Even when using the same number of skills, if there’s a lot of movement skills, the number of enemies I defeat are proportionally less.
If I am going to be using my time efficiently, only mixing in one movement skill while using Side Slash has the highest kill rate.
I calculate the best positioning by predicting the movement speed in order to not need evasion.
([Step][Side Slash][Step][Side Slash], [Step][Side Slash], [Step][Side Slash], [Ground Compression][Jump][Side Slash]…) (Souma)
I jumped in with a 2 stage Step to cut in from the front, used a backstep to sweep the right side, jump to the side, poured a slash on the left side this time, and after the corpses disappeared, I used Ground Compression to get in in one go at the big space that was opened, float for a bit with Jump and Cancel it with Side Slash, slashing the new pack of enemies.
At that moment…
(Alright, perfect timing!) (Souma)
The Air Hammer activated at the perfect moment, and it carried my body to the back.
Because I am defeating around 10 enemies every second, enemy light particles were dancing in the battlefield without end.
With that sight on the side, I raised cheers internally about how my technique is coming back to me.
But I won’t lower my guard.
I confirm the positions of the enemies while chanting the spell, and think of my next set of moves.
But just searching for a safe location is not enough.
I jump around the battlefield to not get completely surrounded, and in order to increase my kills, I would purposely jump into the areas where there’s a lot of enemies, and control the thinner areas.
If the monsters are only from one direction, the pressure of the enemies will definitely weaken, but the amount of enemies I can defeat will also decrease.
Even while I make sure to not lose escape routes, the best method is to purposely get surrounded by enemies so that I don’t run out of enemies to defeat.
([Side Slash], [Step][Magic Steal], [Step][Side Slash], [Step][Side Slash]…) (Souma)
I cut through the right side, jump diagonally left, replenish my MP with the Red Cap Elite in front of me, and before the attacks come, I cut open the pack of enemies that closed in, moved diagonally forward just like that, and cut the last Red Caps that entered my sight together with the remaining corpses, ending my combo.
At that moment, the Air Hammer activated at the perfect timing, and I internally tilted my head while I was flying.
(…This is strange.) (Souma)
The enemies are not gathering well for a while now.
Also, I barely see any high level monsters anymore.
—I have a bad feeling about this.
Since coming here, it is especially palpable that the pressure of the enemies is weaker.
As if the monsters had felt something and were leaving this place…
(No, I am overthinking it!) (Souma)
Right now is the time to be fighting the enemies in front of me.
I shook off my uneasiness and was about to chant the spell I should use next, and then…
The skill combos that I have barely stopped using since the battle began…
Strength leaves my limbs.
I fall with my legs tangled just like that.
What’s even going on?
“Please wait…” (Souma)
I can…still do this.
Even though I finally managed to get back in gear a little bit here.
“Is this…even possible…?” (Souma)
A faint voice leaked out.
I was fighting normally just a second ago.
Even though I managed to fight normally until just now…why…just why…
It was actually an omen.
I was simply acting as if I couldn’t see it.
That I should still be able to fight, that it is still not the end; I was simply deceiving myself.
(What about…what about the people elsewhere…?) (Souma)
Unable to accept this, I throw my gaze to the surroundings.
I look absentmindedly at my front.
The people of the city are still fighting the vanguard monsters and the sounds of angry roars and the clashing of blades rang.
I can’t tell the situation of the battle clearly, but I doubt it is going to end anytime soon.
I absentmindedly look at the sky.
Lightning Strikes were still flashing from the sky ceaselessly. Striking down the monsters in the sky and sealing their movements.
I do feel like the number of enemies is decreasing, but it looks like it will still take time to wipe them out.
I absentmindedly look behind me.
The numbers in the rearline unit are visibly decreasing, and it seems like the battle is going in the favor of Mitsuki.
However, Mitsuki said she would come running to assist me, but seeing the number of enemies still left, I don’t think she will be finishing anytime soon.
—It simply strengthened my own despair…that unfairness.
“Why…? Just why…?” (Souma)
I don’t know how many times those words leaked out from my mouth anymore -the words that cursed this unfairness.
Even with that, I couldn’t endure the internal pressure and explode.
The first time I felt despair since entering this battlefield.
I shouted at the unfair sight right in front of me.
“Why is it that only the monsters on my side have been wiped out?!” (Souma)