The Stampede — Part 2
Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
“Errrr, actually hold that thought real quick.” Yuki spun around as he spoke in a casual tone. The sudden change immediately deconstructed the mood he had only just set. “You mind letting me see your sword real quick?”
“My sword?” Nell immediately complied. Though she had been caught off guard by the sudden demand, she presented him with her holy blade without even a moment’s hesitation. “Sure. Here.”
He began staring at it fixedly after grabbing it with his spare hand. For reasons beyond Nell’s comprehension, the weapon’s glow, which could normally be described as a dull white light, rapidly grew in brightness. It became so vibrant, so lustrous that looking at its blade made the hero squint. And that wasn’t the only change. It began vibrating in a manner that could almost be described as violent. It almost seemed ready to burst.
“Alright… that should be enough.”
“Yuki, what did you do to Durandal…?” asked Nell in wonder. “I don’t really think it’s supposed to glow like that…”
“Oh, you know, just a thing,” said the demon lord. “Kinda supercharged it with a bit of mana. No big deal.”
“Supercharged it. Anyway, try projecting the magical energy stored in the blade outwards when horde finally shows up. You should be able to blow up a good chunk of it if you dump all of the blade’s excess mana in one go.” He spun the weapon around and presented her the handle. “If things start going wrong, just shout and I’ll be right over. Don’t worry about any of the shit I said earlier if it means putting yourself in danger.”
“M-mmk,” she nodded as she received her blade. “I’ll yell if I start to lose control of the situation.”
“Alright, then I’m off.” Yuki gave a casual wave before vanishing into thin air.
One of his spells or skills had hidden him from sight, and Nell wasn’t sure which. All she knew was that both he and his sword were gone.
“What’s supercharging a weapon even supposed to mean?” she muttered a question under her breath as she looked her now quivering blade up and down. “And how do you manage something like that in the first place?”
Her question was left unanswered as a bestial warcry tore her from her thoughts. She wrenched her head up from her blade and looked forward, in the direction from whence it came.
Before her stood a veritable army.
Their advance was thunderous. Their steps were so heavy they caused the ground to rumble.
Her attention had been dragged away from the advancing horde. But she certainly had not forgotten it. The weight of its presence was far too great for her not to remain aware of it.
It was closer now.
The monsters were sure to be upon her within the next five minutes.
And as she stared them down, she recalled Yuki’s instructions.
“I’m not really sure exactly what I’m supposed to do with all this mana…” She brandished the blade. “But I think I’ve at least got the gist of it.”
She understood the mechanism he wanted her to employ. The Spellblade Strike, the act of launching a sharp magical projectile from one’s weapon, was an incredibly well-known technique. It was the sword art whose name was often spoken alongside that of the world’s most famous butler, the man who held the title of hero before her.
Though she had received his instruction, she lacked his mastery. She couldn’t use the Spellblade Strike in battle. But not because she was incapable of performing it. Nell’s problem was her lack of control. She was incapable of reigning the spell in.
If she was to fire it in the midst of a battlefield, she was sure to harm friend and foe alike. But, here, there were no allies for her to worry about. There was no need for her to concern herself with keeping her magical energies under control.
The one friendly at risk of taking damage from her attack was more than capable of avoiding it. And he knew it was coming. He was the one that instructed her to let the technique loose to begin with. And even if that wasn’t the case, she was sure he would be able to avoid it. His strength put hers to shame.
With her worries dismissed, the warrior prepared herself to initiate the assault.
A slow, deep breath left her as she raised her sword overhead and chased any remaining unnecessary thoughts from her mind.
The approaching footsteps almost seemed to grow distant as she concentrated all her senses on her blade.
She was filled with overwhelming strength.
An indescribable amount of energy coursed through her as she became one with her blade.
She forced it to conform to her will, to take the shape of her weapon and wrap itself around its exterior, sharpening it.
With her mind still focused on Durandal, she looked towards her targets.
They had noticed her, the foolish human that had left its safe haven to be slain. They were so close she could make out their silhouettes in the darkness and see the bloodlust, the thirst for violence that shone within their eyes.
With fervour, they charged her. The fastest amongst them, the wolves and boars, carried their riders forward.
And put them within range of her blade.
A battle cry rushed from the depths of her throat as she transformed her blade’s excess mana into a single full-body cleave.
But it remained unheard.
For the moment she unleashed her attack was the moment everything in her vicinity lost its ability to communicate.
Be it through sight or sound.
A radiant, deafening explosion overwrote every other sensation. It was as bright as a lightning strike, loud as a thunderbolt, and powerful as the man whose energies had fueled it.
Nell’s clothes ruffled violently in the shockwave that followed the attack. The trees shook and the grass whistled as both types of foliage desperately fought to keep themselves rooted. Neither succeeded.
Some were torn from their tethers and expelled into the night sky. Others weren’t so lucky.
Nell’s Spellblade Strike had obliterated everything in its path. What wasn’t hit directly was sent tumbling through the air, only to be pulverized by the resulting pressure. Even the earth itself had opened up to reveal a gash so wide it could only be described as a tectonic fissure, a fissure that extended far off into the horizon.
The horde’s calvary was no more. The army of riders had been forcibly transfigured into an army of corpses.
“W-What the hell!?”
“T-That was absurd! W-what power!”
“Did you see the sword!? It was glowing! Wait! Isn’t that the divine blade!?”
“The divine blade!? That’s gotta mean that the girlie down there is the hero!”
“O-of course! That would explain everything! No wonder she’s so powerful!”
The term “hero” took only a moment to propagate through the crowd. Soldiers and civilians alike began chanting it with vigour, as if to cling to the hope with which she had blessed them.
Naturally, their reaction was not shared by the horde. The monsters that had not fallen victim to her attack stared with their faces blank. It was as if they were stuck attempting to process the sheer extent of the damage the human had dealt.
Likewise, the human in question remained unmoving. She too had been stunned into silence. Her jaw, which remained slackened, twitched repeatedly as she stared at the aftermath of her own attack.
What the heck, Yuki!? She didn’t say anything out loud, but screamed internally at the top of her lungs. What the heck was that!? Just how much mana did you use!?