The Start of a Battle
Editors: Sebas Tian
We got ready to launch our pre-emptive strike as we watched the army of monsters beneath us.
“Alright, I’m ready. What about you, Fran?”
There wasn’t much holding us back now that all three of us had gotten our preparations in order, so we had Fran give us the signal.
All three of us began raining spells down on the army the moment Fran awakened. The battle was sure to be a long one, so we didn’t go as far as activating Brilliant Lightning Rush. Its suicidal downsides made it difficult to use given the circumstances.
“It’s showtime! Kanna Kamui!”
Fran’s thunderbolts, which rained down over a wide area, caused rampant destruction. The monsters subjected to the attack howled in pain as their bodies were torn apart by the magical lighting. Likewise, my Kanna Kamui, which had landed right in the middle of the vanguard, swallowed well over a hundred monsters, ending them before they could even make a noise. Urushi, the only one of us not to cast lighting magic, had gone with a bit more indirect approach. He had unleashed a toxic mist into our surroundings, one that caused the monsters that inhaled it to convulse as they were subject to an intense pain.
The monsters began to howl and squeal in confusion as they attempted to figure out where the sudden attack had come from. Confusion quickly spread through their ranks. Operation Pre-emptive Strike success.
“On with the plan!”
Urushi began running in circles above the army as I pulled rocks and trees out from my inventory and dropped them on the monsters below. Likewise, Fran also followed up by firing magical, flaming arrows.
We used to have a whole swamp’s worth of toxins at our disposal, but we’d used most of it to create delicious food back when we were in Barbra. Even the last little bit that remained had already been converted to water with restorative properties.
Most of the giant rocks we gained when the floating islands fell apart were gone. I’d dumped all but five of them into the stomach of a midgard wyrm. They wouldn’t be able to cause too much widespread destruction because they were few in quantity, but that didn’t mean I was going to skimp out on dropping them. Sure, they won’t really kill too many, but I’m sure it’ll probably either confuse them or scare them shitless. I mean, just look at how big they are. Besides, our goal has always been just to stall them, and they’ll make for some pretty good obstacles.
The tactic ended up being quite effective. Some monsters ended up so confused that they panicked and started running around like headless chickens, screaming all the way.
“Next, we crush the vanguard!”
We landed right at the front of the army and dialed our bloodlust up all the way to eleven.
The immense pressure that Fran emitted caused unrest to spread through their ranks. The vanguard, the only part of the army that had eyes on her, took a step back in fear, only to be pushed back towards her by the poor, unknowing saps that stood at the rear.
Most of the monsters that populated the vanguard were weak. They roughly fit into four categories: evil beings, beasts, scalies, and undead. The evil beings, that is, the orcs and goblins, weren’t nearly as well equipped as the ones that had attacked Schwartzekatze just a few days prior. Their appearances were much more typical of their species’ norms. They were pretty much limited to just rags and wooden clubs. Wait, are all the weak monsters up front so they can act as meatshields or something? I really hope not. That would mean that the mastermind has got a good head on his shoulders, and I sure as hell don’t want to have to deal with any crazy tactics.
“Haaah!” Fran dived right into their ranks and began cutting down every goblin and wolf that she neared.
Her actions were precise and efficient. She instantly judged the strength of the foes around her before removing the weaker ones by going for their cores and smashing the stronger ones’ heads. Truth be told, we didn’t actually need to go after any monster cores whatsoever, but there wasn’t any need not to, and as Fran only went after them in the case that they wouldn’t dull her efficiency, I had no qualms with her methods. It’s not like any of these monsters are particularly rare or anything anyway. Yeah, this’ll work. If we stack enough corpses together, we might be able to create a pile large enough to slow down the rest of the army by making it take a detour or something.
“Take this! Blast Flame! Gale Hazard! Thunder Web! Blast Flame! Gale Hazard!”
With a strategy in mind, I focused my attention on creating as many corpses as possible. All the spells I launched were of the same type. They had large areas of effect, but they were weak. I bolstered their power a good bit by putting more mana into each cast, but there was nothing I could do about the spells’ natures. Each cast was about strong enough to kill a goblin, leave an orc half dead, and take off about a fifth of an ogre’s max health.
All the monsters that we used the spells on were weak, but they had to be eradicated nonetheless. They were sure to attack any evacuating villagers they happened to come across if we let them advance or scatter. Dismantling the swarm as a whole was much more important than eliminating its strongest members.
Of course, not all monsters were susceptible to magical damage. But those that resisted my attacks were torn to pieces the moment they approached either Fran or Urushi.
Urushi’s primary role was to function like something along the lines of a shortstop. He covered Fran’s blind spots and attacked everything that went after her with his venomous fog. I couldn’t help but be impressed by the sheer toxicity of the spell. Its poison was potent enough to permanently cripple a goblin, if not outright kill it upon exposure. The only problem is that it’s a bit too strong. We can’t use it near allies or if we’re in town.
It was so potent, in fact, that it was even capable of damaging Fran should she inhale it. Fortunately, the wolf was prudent enough not to fire it off in her direction, and I covered for him by using magic to send anything that did drift over away. Of course, it was still a bit risky nonetheless, but we didn’t have the liberty to really care. We had to exterminate as many monsters as we could as fast as possible.
And so, the battle continued. We were surrounded on all sides, but we kept slaying our enemies nonetheless. Our methods were effective. The army had halted. It stopped advancing in order to focus on moving us out of its way. They only ever moved past us in order to better surround us. Thank god.
The only problem was that casting spells nonstop had taken quite a toll on my mana. We would soon have to shift into a different style of battle.
Of course, I had been making liberal use of Magic Absorption. I wrenched everything I could from our enemies each time my blade struck them. But it still wasn’t enough. My consumption far outweighed my intake.
“I’m going to stop casting for a bit and focus on support instead.”
I continued to drain everything she slashed of its magic each time she swung me. It would take a good bit for me to recover all my mana given the weak nature of the monsters we were currently locked in combat with, but it would eventually recover. And that was what mattered. Losing time was something that just couldn’t be helped.
We had to be at our best if we wanted to be able to take down the army’s more powerful members.
The monsters began to approach with more vigour when they realized that they were no longer going to be pelted with spells on their way in. But even so, Fran remained unharmed. The weaklings before her were simply unable to cause her any damage.
“You holding up okay?” Still, I was concerned. The catkin was unharmed, and I had been restoring her stamina with my magic throughout the battle, so I knew that she felt no real physical load. But the same couldn’t be said for her mind. She was sure to grow tired eventually, and there was really nothing I could do about any sort of mental fatigue.
Her reply, however, indicated that my worries were needless. I could tell that she wasn’t just putting up a front, that she was actually perfectly okay. As far as she was concerned, taking down the enemies that had appeared before her was as easy as a walk in the park. Wow. She really has grown. This kinda thing used to exhaust the hell out of her back when we were helping Jean raid that one dungeon.
Of course, a walk in the park was still a type of exercise, and Fran had indeed accrued a slight bit of exhaustion. Her breath had started to get ragged, but that was basically it.
“We’ve still got a ton of battles lined up for us, so don’t push yourself too hard just yet.”
Editor’s note: Hey everyone, usually Joker’s the one doing these but I wanted to say a few things. I hope everyone enjoyed the chapter and that the series treats us all well going into the future. Looks like Fran’s in one of those classic, here to chew bubblegum and kick ass situations, but she’s all out of curry. Hope everyone has a wonderful winter and happy holidays. This has been your ever faithful butler wishing you all well and good luck in all you do.
Joker’s note: Hey, guys! Joker here. Yeah, like Sebas said above, he wanted to be the editor for this chapter, so I graciously let him do it. I wasn’t late coming home from work or anything and disappointed the boss when he saw that I was offline for more time than usual. That’s not the case at all. *nervous laugh* And of course, Fran is an adorable badass this chapter. Wiping out legions of weaklings and she’s just a tad out of breath. But that’s only the weaklings. You need to save some gas in the tank for the big’uns. ‘Course, if she needs a boost, Sword-dad can just say that the monsters said curry is the worst food ever. That’ll get her riled up enough, I bet. All right, rambling time over. You guys know how to end it, so let’s hear it! *cups my hand to my ear and listens* No, no. Louder…. Ugh, fine. I’ll do it. See y’all in the next chapter!