「Elena-sama, isn’t it better to withdraw at once!?」
Jumping from the top of a tree, Vel shouted while shooting an arrow at a Water Monkey that was trying to attack Ara.
In the forest, they had already fought in this special battlefield for more than an hour since the Water Monkeys attacked. As they continued to fight without time for rest, Ara and Kuust’s physical strength was reaching their limits. Ara’s condition was particularly bad, it had already reached a situation where she was only holding on with will power. Vel continued to shoot arrows to follow up to help, as a result, Kuust’s cover became insufficient, increasing his fatigue and leading into a vicious cycle. If Elena hadn’t supported them with her sword whip and wind magic, the front would have collapsed long ago.
Hearing Vel’s words, Elena turned to look at the direction they had come from for an instant. There were certainly fewer enemies there and seemed easy to break through. ……Yes, it was as if to say, ‘you should escape here’.
To Elena, who had crossed numerous battlefields, no matter how she looked at it, the only escape looked to be a trap.
「It’s useless! If you think about it, traps should have been set up there.」
「But if continue fighting here as it is, we will only be pulverized!」
It was a shout like a scream. Because she had been supporting Ara and Kuust from behind, she understood the best that both of them were close to their limits.
(Certainly, dragging on this war of attrition will only wear down our strength. It’s useless unless we can make a big move here.)
Even while she thought of that, a Water Monkey attacked Elena.
Switching her sword whip back into sword form, she tore through a water ball and cut down down the Water Monkey that had come close at the same time.
Swinging the sword again like flowing water without pause, she lengthened the sword back into a whip, tearing at a Water Monkey.
However, only several Water Monkeys had their throat cut and fatally wounded, most of the others only had shallow wounds on their hands and feet.
While Elena and the others were struggling in a war of attrition against the Water Monkeys, Rei was also in the same situation……no, he was being attacked by more Water Monkey than Elena and the others.
Scattering water balls, the blade of the Death Scythe plowed through several Water Monkeys as they leaped at him, baring their fangs and claws while the handle swung round, ignoring the water covering them, crushing their ribs.
『Fire, turn to stone and pierce!』
While avoiding the water balls as if dancing, he watched his enemies and cast spell while swinging the Death Scythe. As expected, because he was fighting in close combat against the Water Monkeys while dodging water balls shot from within the forest, it was not possible for him to cast a long incantation. As length of the incantation was related to the amount of magic power that could be transferred, a short incantation naturally resulted in a low power spell.
A ball of flame about 50cm in diameter appeared at the blade of the Death Scythe as he swung it. After flying several meters, it burst into small balls of fire, 1cm in diameter, and scattered into the surroundings.
Suddenly, a large quantity of flames appeared before their eyes, burning the places not covered with water. The Water Monkeys screamed as they immediately took some distance. Seeing that, Rei was finally given enough time to use his magic power to cast another spell.
『Fire, become a barrier to hurt those who seek to harm us. Create a wall of flames to separate us from our enemies.』
Rei pierced the handle of the Death Scythe into the ground while saying his incantation. At the same time, a flame several centimeters tall ran across the ground, drawing a complex pattern around the ground that the handle had be pierced into.
「Rei, what is that!?」
With Rei as the center, the flame went through an area that included Elena and the others as it drew a large circle. And the moment the circle was completed, Rei activated his magic.
『Crimson Flame Wall』
The moment he invoked the magic, a sound like a roar was heard! While creating that sound, when Rei invoked his magic, 8m tall walls of flame flared up around the magic formation.
Stroking Set, who had came over and rubbed his head anxiously, Rei turned to look at the surroundings.
The Water Monkeys were no longer around Rei as they had been surprised at the sudden attack of the fire gravel and retreated. At the same time, there were not many enemies fighting against Elena’s group, only several who were still fighting Ara after they had been left inside the wall of flame.
The remaining Water Monkeys dropped their guards in surprise after suddenly being surrounded by the wall of flame. Ara and Kuust used all their remaining strength to attack one last time and Elena’s sword whip extended out, taking the lives of the Water Monkeys.
「Rei, is this magic your work? Explain what it’s effect is.」
She saw that all the Water Monkeys she could see had been defeated for now. Glancing to the side at Kuust and Ara who had fallen to the ground and were regaining their breath, Elena asked Rei.
While nodding at the question, Rei first took out water bottles from the Misty Ring and passed one to everyone.
As expected, knowing his own circumstances, Kuust, who would usually reject Rei, silently received a water bottle while breathing roughly.
「Elena-sama, here. We’ll be safe for the next 30 minutes or so.」
「I see, I’ll trust in Rei’s magic.」
Elena took the water bottle and rested her breath.
Although Rei watched the movements of her glossy white throat as she drank the water, when Set used his beak to pull at Rei’s Dragon Robe, he gathered himself and took a drink as well. At the same time, he took out some juicy fruits from the Misty Ring and gave them to Set.
「I’m revived……now then, I would like an explanation.」
「What I used is a magic called Crimson Flame Barrier. It’s effect is to form a barrier of flames around me. This is a slightly different one……」
Saying so, Rei turned to look at the barrier.
There were a few Water Monkeys that were shooting water balls at part of it and the reaction was strong. The moment the water balls came in contact with the flame barrier, fire balls the same size as the water balls were shot out from the flame barrier, instantly burning up the Water Monkeys that had fired the water balls at it.
「As you can see, if you attack the flame barrier, it will retaliate. Because of that, as the flame barrier will hold out for about 30 minutes, we should be able to recover our physical strength in peace.」
「……It’s quite an advanced magic. However, this is a great help.」
Although it was hard to understand, Elena nodded as it was a fact that it had saved them. Because he had been using a bow, Vel, who hadn’t exhausted as much of his strength as Kuust and Ara, spoke up.
「Hey, Rei. Is this a barrier of fire?」
「I think you will understand if you take a look.」
「Ah, well. But, since we’re inside a barrier of fire, why don’t we feel the heat?」
「An image is needed when using a spell. Although it is a barrier made of fire, the inside has been adjusted to have no change in temperature. Conversely, outside the flame barrier should be quite hot, enough that the water covering the Water Monkeys can’t withstand it.」
「Uwa~, such a thing is possible.」
「It’s very convenient. For the time being, spend the next 10 minutes focusing on restoring your physical strength, then let’s think about how to deal with them.」
Nodding at Elena’s words, they all sat on the ground to recover their strength.
Though Rei still had strength to spare, he was still worn out. Leaning against Set, who had plopped himself on the ground, he concentrated on recovering his strength for 10 minutes.
(The number of Water Monkeys was a bit unexpected. There were about 20 of them that attacked yesterday, but there were at least 100 or more today. Naturally, I think they’re led by a rare species……in the case of the earlier attack. I think it will attack after we are more exhausted. Another possibility is the spear I threw……is it?)
「Sorry, Elena-sama. I showed you an unsightly scene. To fall behind against the likes of these monsters……」
「I was the same.」
Rei, who had closed his eyes, heard the voices of Kuust and Ara.
Indeed, as expected of knights, they were able to recover their breath in this short period of time. Eventually, one of them came towards Rei.
「Rei-dono, as it is, may I use this sword?」
While Rei opened his eyes at that question, naturally, considering the voice who asked, he saw Ara.
(No, if it was Kuust that came over, it would be a troublesome thing.)
Maybe because he was a little tired, he nodded while thinking……he turned his eyes to the sword Ara was holding before frowning his eyes involuntarily.
When he had thrown it to her during the battle, it was in brand new condition……not like now, where though it was still sufficient for practical use, the sword was already slightly bent.
「I don’t mind……but the sword is almost reaching its limits, is that okay?」
「……To be honest, it’s not okay. But, because my sword is like that.」
Ara glanced away for an instant, there was a sword that was broken mid blade.
「……Rei, if it’s fine with you, are there any better weapons? Ones that Ara can use.」
Unable to remain indifferent to Ara, who had subtlly dropped her shoulders, or maybe just to increase their strength, Elena came over and asked Rei.
「I certainly understand Ara’s power as a vanguard is wanted, unfortunately, the only sword I had is the one she has now.」
In the first place, Rei had his Death Scythe, he didn’t need any other main weapon. The Death Scythe was made with Rei’s own magic power and was very sturdy, after empowering it with magic, there was almost no possibility of damaging it. Because of that, the only other weapons Rei used was a knife or dagger for dismantling and the throwing spear that seemed to have caused this fight. The main reason for the expensiveness of magic items was because of its scarcity.
At that moment, a thought went through Rei’s head. Ara, strength, magic item, the four members of Claws of the Hawk.
Yes, it certainly was a problem that there were no swords that Ara could use. However, he had a weapon that was appropriate for her if you only considered her strength.
He displayed the Misty Ring’s inventory in his mind and selected the one labeled Power Axe.
It was one of the items he had won from the bet with Vargas, the leader of the D rank party that had messed with Rei, Claws of the Hawk. He had heard afterwards that it was a magic item that had been obtained from exploring the dungeon here.
(This is a magic item that I’d obtained, since she’s lost her weapon, I could lend it to her for a while.)
The next moment, a huge battle axe appeared in Rei’s hands.
「Ara, would you like to use this?」
「What is this?」
「Power Axe. Well, it’s a magic item battle axe」
「……Hmm, I can certainly feel the magic power. So what is its effect?」
TLN: And this is why Rei fought the Claws of the Hawk…probably
Although Elena asked that question as she looked with interest at the Power Axe, Rei shook his head.
「Unfortunately, as it was a magic item I just collected, I also don’t know the details of its effects. However, I can roughly imagine from the name Power Axe.」
「I wonder. ……Ara, what do you want to do? Do you think you can use Rei’s axe?」
「……Rei-dono, could you lend it to me for a bit?」
「Ahh, I don’t mind.」
Rei passed the Power Axe to Ara, who held out her hands nervously.
Feeling the unexpected weight after being passed the battle axe, Ara took it with an small cry, surprising given her immense strength.
「This is, a magic item.」
While muttering, she gripped the Power Axe with one hand……lifted it up, and swung it down.
Rei unconsciously gave a sigh of admiration.
「What’s the matter?」
Elena asked Rei as she watched Ara swing the Power Axe as if it was part of her body.
「Nothing. The Power Axe was won as a prize from a bet, but the previous owner wielded it with two hands. I didn’t think she could easily swing it with one hand.」
Meanwhile, Ara repeatedly swung the Power Axe up and down slowly as if to accustom her body to it.
「Ara! I know you want to adapt your body to your new weapon, but don’t forget that our time to recover is limited. Save your strength.」
「Ah, I understand, Elena-sama!」
At Elena’s words, Ara approached Rei while comfortably holding the Power Axe in one hand.
「Rei-dono, please let me use this magic item. It feels familiar to me as if I’ve used it for many years.」
「No Problem. If Ara’s power can’t be used, I would be troubled. ……So then, Elena-sama. What next.」
「Umu~. To start, retreating the direction we came from is rejected. Even if there are clearly less enemies, they obviously want to drive us there.」
「But Elena-sama, Do monsters have such intelligence?」
「Kuust, you also saw it. Their intelligence is high enough to use a war of attrition to wear us down. In that case, don’t you think it’s enough to set up a trap?」
「……There is a possibility, I will only say that.」
「In that case, what’s left left is to break through at a point other than the trap. I would like to defeat the rare species if possible……」
「If you think about it normally, the rare species would usually be behind the place where the enemies’ forces are strongest……in the first place though, it’s a monster. Will they work according to these expectations.」
Vel who seemed to have finally recovered, butted in with his light tone.
「I wonder. In the first place, number of means of attack is limited if you’re on a tree. If that’s the case, then it’s best to break through the direction we were heading in and get out of their siege.」
「If it comes to that, the problem is how to deal with the Water Monkeys that chase us. I won’t be happy to have them chase us endlessly.」
At Vel’s mutterings, everyone nodded.
Meanwhile, Set gave a cry and pulled Rei’s Dragon Robe as if asking for something.
Rei knew what Set wanted to say. Set could acquire skills by absorbing magic stones. The skills could have a wide range of effects such as 『King’s Awe』 which didn’t do any direct damage, unlike Rei’s fire magic.
It’s effect could reduce the speed of lower ranked monsters by 10% due to the sense of intimidation Set would give off. It would certainly be an effective attack against the Water Monkeys who would pursue them with their quick speed. In addition, as it was expected that the effect would show on all monsters with a rank below Set’s, it might even affect the rare species that was leading the Water Monkeys.
「Rei, what is it? What is Set trying to say?」
While listening to Elena’s question, Rei was conflicted in his mind.
(What should I do? Normally, a Griffon is a rare A rank monster. Would it be fine for me to tell them he can use skills an ordinary Griffon can’t? No, if it was just Elena, there would be no problem. If I just said I wanted to keep it a secret, I could expect her to keep it. And if Elena’ told her to do so, Ara would keep the secret until her death. However, Kuust despises me and Vel is talkative. These two……no, I can manage somehow if Elena takes responsibility for them……maybe. Besides, there’s always the choice to use 『Seed of Contract』 to get out of this dilemma. Some of them will hate it, but if it comes to dying or receiving it, they will probably take it.)
Concluding his inner conflict, he spoke up as he felt that effects of the flame barrier would expire soon.