A Powerful Foe — Part 1
Editors: Sebas Tian, Speedphoenix, Joker
I stood before a station wagon sized praying mantis monster with two scythes on each side of its body. It used all four of its weapons to launch a series of rapid attacks. I dodged most of them by weaving left and right and parried those I couldn’t with Zaien. Warding off my opponent’s attacks was something I had learned from the adventurer I fought in the capital. My skills were shoddy at best. The steps I took to repel the oversized bug’s strikes were but a pale imitation of what I had faced. Even so, I was somehow able to successfully deflect the mantis’ deadly strikes and hold my ground. Although my fight with the battle-crazed pervert had provided me with quite the amount of useful knowledge, I never wished to have to engage in anything even remotely like it ever again.
My ability to stave off the incoming blows provided me with the opportunity to retaliate. I returned a slash just as heavy and sharp as my foe’s, but the stupid bug flapped its wings and leapt backwards before Zaien’s edge could connect.
And in doing so, it sealed its fate.
At my command, the wolf activated Extreme Speed, one of its unique skills, and closed in on the mantis in the blink of an eye. The wolf used all of its momentum to deliver a blow heavy enough to tear both the bug’s right limbs right out of their sockets. The mantis screamed. It screamed so loudly that my ears began to ring and complain. A foul liquid began gushing from its wounds, a liquid that I would never want to touch purely on the basis of its colour. I took the opportunity Rir had created for me to leap right in front of the creature and swing Zaien straight at its exposed chest.
Despite being nothing more than an oversized insect, the cheeky bastard constructed a spell the moment its compound eyes noticed the incoming blade. It had composed the spell for the sole purpose of interception fire. But because I’d seen the flow of its mana, I had cut it short and prevented it from activating. Dispel Magic, the spell I had used back in Zombieland, completely nullified the bug’s attempt to save its own life.
Zaien cleaved right through a thin part of the monster’s carapace, the part that connected its head to its body, and severed its body’s connection with its brain. The big ass mantis wriggled around a bit as dying insects did before finally collapsing and ceasing all further action.
“Whew. That’s that. Good job, Rir.”
I hoisted my weapon over my shoulders as I looked down on the mantis’ corpse. I had two options. The first was to turn it into Rir’s midday meal, but I wasn’t cruel enough a master to force my pet to eat something so slimy and disgusting, so I instead opted to turn the bug into DP. I didn’t even bother entertaining the idea of stashing it in my item box and turning it into something useful later down the line.
Its corpse began dissolving the moment I willed the dungeon to consume it, so I turned my gaze away from it and glanced over at Rir, who had laid himself down beside me. Man, that was… easy. Like, really easy.
The mantis monster was by no means a weakling. Magic and Dex aside, all of its numbers were higher than my own, and by a whopping 200 or so at that. But despite its stats, Rir and I had easily managed to dispatch it through a different sort of numerical advantage.
Rir played a major role in my success. His mere presence calmed me. Knowing that he was there had allowed me to ward off any thoughts of anxiety despite fighting against numbers significantly higher than my own. And then there were the options he opened up. His assistance provided me with opportunities and openings aplenty.
Being the more experienced and combat oriented of the two of us, Rir was able to frequently determine the best possible way to support me and follow up on his deductions without having to wait for orders. For example, he often used Everchanging Chains to lock down any foes I happened to mess up my attacks on, and he would always opt to cripple our prey if he realized that he would be unlikely to take it down in a single hit. His decisions had effectively rendered the two of us unrivalled. Neither he or I had taken even the slightest bit of damage. Seriously, Rir makes all of this hella easy. We would’ve screwed over that one adventurer dude hella hard if Rir had been there back in the capital.
The mantis was a resident of the western part of the Wicked Forest, the domain that was home to its most powerful monsters. It was in fact one of the weakest that could be found in the area, but it was still much more powerful than most of the monsters that lived in any of the other three cardinal regions. Still didn’t stand a chance against me and Rir though. Go team!
You know. I kinda get the sense that this isn’t really working all that well as training. I should really be doing all the fighting myself and not having someone cover my ass. But that’s a bit of a tall order for a pacifist like me. And honestly, it’s kinda scary. I’d really rather not.
Pairing up with Rir allowed me to fight at a much higher level than usual, but I still wasn’t about to wander any deeper in the western subregion. I didn’t need to move any further to see some of the freaks of nature wandering around within it. A single glance was all it took to convince me of that. That place just screams, ‘Boy, you ain’t ready to be handlin’ that just yet.’
One of the creatures that dissuaded me was a literal dinosaur, a lizard that looked to be at least seven stories tall. How the actual fuck am I supposed to beat up one of those? That thing’s neck is so god damn thick that it probably wouldn’t even think of Zaien’s deepest cuts as anything more than just tiny little flesh wounds.
Wait a second… Right! Zaien’s still got two magic circuit slots! I could totally make one of them extend its blade or something. Even better. I could make it shoot out a sword beam and use that to lop the big ass dinosaur’s head right off. Though that’s assuming I can actually rip through its defences, but whatever.
I had no idea whether or not adding a second offensive magic circuit was even practical. There was a chance that the second circuit would interfere with Crimson Blaze’s circuit and cause both to go off simultaneously. Wait, do magic circuits even work like that? I should probably test it before actually putting anything else on Zaien, huh? Yeah, might as well see if Leila can help me figure things out once I get back.
I was wrenched from my thoughts as one of my skills started to go off. Enemy Detection had started blaring alarms through my head. Rir also seemed to have caught on to the presence of a foe, as he got up, turned his head in its direction, and started to growl. Likewise, I also positioned myself for battle by taking up a stance with Zaien.
The thing, the bestial creature, that came out from the forest’s depths was about the same size as Rir. The fangs that lined its mouth looked tough enough to grind down boulders and its muscular legs were tipped with claws as sharp as daggers.
A gross pair of grey, bony wings made out of hundreds of individual segments extended from its midsection, and a pair of scorpion-like tails extended from its rear. It gazed at us in a vicious, snake-like manner, like a predator that had just found a brand new toy.
And analyzing it informed me that it was exactly that.
Class: Sadistic Beast
Oh, fuck me. I just had to go ahead and bitch about everything being too easy, didn’t I?