Chapter 3 – Battlemage
“–Off I go.”
She said before taking a step. This single step burst the ground open.
She flew down the highway like a bullet, holding her axe in her hand, cutting ants in half and tossing them into the air.
Coupled with Grace’s slender figure, it was a rather surreal sight.
Grace’s method of fighting was straightforward. She approached with brute force, showing the difference in strength between her and the opposing enemy.
Although the weapon’s swing radius could be easily read and it’s initial velocity was mediocre, if a shield were to receive the swing, it would be destroyed.
She easily crushes and tears off an ant’s head with one of her hands.
Every time she swings her axe or throws it, ants are literally pulverized.
I’m grateful that we’re outside and under the sun, because she gets even stronger at night or when she’s indoors. Her simplistic, superhuman strength well illustrates how much of a formidable threat she is.
Her eyes looked as if they had been tinted scarlet with blood. She smiled as she swung her axe around to her heart’s content–and fangs protruded from her mouth. She had endured a lot at the Gartner House and since her opponent were monsters, she was rampaging as much as she wanted.
In fact, there was no need to worry about her if her opponents were just ants. I decided to follow behind you, but honestly, they weren’t even strong enough to be opponents for me.
That being said, this was the first time I was in combat while seeing her appearance.
Holding a long, Magic Staff, I gathered the incoming ants together and, at the same time, expanded my magic. I shot a Fireball at the ants that were dancing in the air. All of them instantly burst into flames and turned into cinders, leaving only ashes behind.
If I used the spell, Tornado, the rows of ants within the attack range would vanish・・・they would disappear.
Since we were in an open area, I thrust my Staff into the ground. A Magic Formation spread out from my feet and an Earth Lance appeared out of the ground a little further away, skewering a group of ants that were flying into the air.
Well, I could only use Beginner Magic without reserve. I wielded my Staff like a sword and cut apart the swarm of ants with Wind Blade.
The selling point of a Battlemage was fighting in close combat with Toujutsu, Taijutsu, and Magic.
There were two benefits to the activation of the acquired Exclusive Enhancement Skill 『Mana Circulation』; the enhancement of one’s physical abilities and an increase in the output of Magic damage.
However–while Mana Circulation raised the output of the Mana that was refined in one’s body, it also reduced its range of use. This meant that it was necessary to train Close Combat Skills with a martial art that gave Physical Ability Enhancement.
High damage, but paper thin armor. It was certain that a player demanding such skills was picky. A normal Magic Class would be able to fill an Artillery Role, but then Mana Circulation wouldn’t be activated.
In a duel, other Magic Classes that could acquire long range Skills would probably be declared as the winner.
Anyways…fighting the ants was a perfect way of getting used to this method.
There was a lot of them and they didn’t know fear, but that was it. They didn’t really cooperate with each other, so if you had the firepower to kill them, it was rather easy to fight them.
“Monica! They’re escaping this way!”
The Forest Birds skillfully put up a Defense Barrier and crushed the ants that were trying to forcibly penetrate it. This way, it wasn’t a hard fight so the ants were soon driven back.
The swarm of ants coming from the forest became irregular and sporadic, until the last one finally came out.
It stopped moving after its head had been pierced by a Long Sword, so the Forest Bird group collapsed to the ground.
Grace and I still had the energy to fight some more.
I also had a way to enhance my physical power with Magic via Mana Circulation.
As long as my Mana isn’t depleted, my physical strength won’t disappear.
Having used it in battle, it didn’t seem to be a high rank Magic.
The battle plan had been simple. Grace and I were out in front, crushing the ants around us, and the Forest Birds protected the horses and dealt with the ants that were escaping around the sides. That was all.
It would’ve been troublesome for us to have the surviving horses be eaten. I wanted to avoid any hindrances from occurring on this trip.
That was why I had used the Tier 7 Light Magic Spell, Defense Field, which put up a Hemispherical Defense Barrier. It took on an Attack and a Defense Role by obstructing the incoming ants’ movements.
Speaking of which, Tier 7 Magic existed between Intermediate and Advanced Magic. After plainly showing them my true strength by using this, everyone agreed that my strength was needed. It’s good that everyone realized that I am an Attacker.
I decided to fight and force our way through if they were unwilling to run away.
There was no reason to be scared of something like a swarm of Killer Ants.
“Today…you showed me plenty of unbelievable things…”
“Perhaps I’m a genius…”
…Is what she said as she looked away, trying to accept what had happened.
Grace looked back at me as she called my name.
“Please take care of me.”
She reapplied the ring’s bind by touching it with her hand. She became slightly unsteady so I instinctively supported her body.
“Are you ok?”
“–Yes. Our opponents were just ants but I got too tipsy and showed you an unsightly appearance. I also don’t feel hungry.”
Grace nodded, feeling slightly ashamed, and suppressed a large sigh.
It was just like Grace to get intoxicated by the smell of blood from living animals when her bind was released. I had laughed in the middle of today’s battle, but her nature had probably been leaning closer to that of a Vampire.
Grace called this ‘shameful’ and it seemed like she didn’t like it.
Although her Dhampir blood-sucking impulses were suppressed by the Magical Tool, her human side still sensed the leftover impulses–In other words, the impulses were converted to hunger.
I looked carefully at Grace’s appearance. Her cheeks were slightly flushed from moving around. The axe that she had been swinging around earlier looks heavy.
…She doesn’t seem to be injured, so if she doesn’t feel hunger from being intoxicated, I wonder if she is fine?
If it has to be done later–.
“Should we sleep out in the open today?”
I looked up at the sky as I suggested this. It doesn’t seem likely to rain so we’re lucky.
“Eh? If we hurry, we can make it to the next town.”
There was a reason that we couldn’t do that. I asked them a question.
“Should we take a break and try harvesting them?”
The ant carcasses were piled up like a mountain behind me.
Demons amassed Mana into specific areas, so their raw materials could be processed and sold for gold.
In other words, we had to collect the Jaws of the Killer Ants.
It should be fine. They will be split evenly, so it’s fine to be relieved.
They nodded as they smiled happily. As expected, these guys were Adventurers who didn’t have opposing opinions.
We collected the jaws until the day was over and finished by burning the carcasses.
There was a higher chance of encountering Demons with comparatively bad natures, like Wisps and Ghosts, at night, so we decided to spread out a barrier until morning.
There were also various things that made sleeping where a battle had taken place feel unpleasant, so we set up camp at an open area further down the highway.
However, Barriers wouldn’t affect thieves so we still had to stand guard.
Saying that today was special, I took the position of night guard, since I still had some strength, and let the others rest.
Since I had spent the daytime comfortably inside the carriage, this much isn’t a problem.
Rather, I really wanted to see the condition of my Magic Staff tonight.
During the battle, it had made a somewhat unpleasant sound…
A small crack was spreading through it. It seems like it couldn’t withstand the overload of circulating Magic.
…This is the first time I had been in a battle. As I thought, maybe even a new staff couldn’t meet the standards required by the circulation.
“Is there a problem?”
Grace tilted her head and asked when I groaned while holding the staff by the camp’s bonfire.
“Look at this.”
“…It’s cracked. This was a new item, correct?”
“It looks like the Staff couldn’t endure it.”
It was the thing I liked the best among the items that I obtained while I was in the Count’s territory.
It seems like there is a need to replace it, since it wouldn’t be strange for it to break immediately if I used the same quality of circulation to cast another Intermediate or Advanced Magic.
Even though I can fight unarmed, I had always wanted to mainly use Toujutsu techniques…Really, I want a better Staff.
“It’ll be okay. You will surely obtain a good item at Termuilles.”
“Yeah, it’ll be fine if that’s the case.”
“I am also here, so please don’t push yourself any more than this.”
“…Grace, is it fine for you to release it frequently? Don’t hold back and hide your condition for my sake, okay?”
“There is no need to worry about that. There is only a burden on me at the moment I return from that state, and even if I get intoxicated, it is temporary, so it won’t last for very long.”
Grace tilted her head as she said that.
“Today…somehow it hasn’t settled down.”
“You haven’t calmed down?”
“No. It has already subsided. I don’t feel anything unpleasant, so I think it is fine. The state of this condition is also stable.”
Fumu…while looking at Grace’s appearance, I wondered if it would be like that from here on. As I looked at her decorous face from the side, she was illuminated by the fire’s flickering and I somehow directed a joyful smile at her.