Weekly chapters (2/2)
The gigantic Zodiac Scorpion is here.
Enjoy the chapter~
Episode 143 – Roxy’s Limit
Roxy tried to strike at the darkness from its blind spot.
But it noticed her already. Seeing that monster looking at her with a grudge, I felt the urge to step in. But I refrained myself and watched.
Roxy didn’t stop, she charged into the darkness with full momentum.
[Ah… too shallow]
I heard Eris muttering from beside me… and I had the same impression.
If its weakness remained the same, then she has to strike at its core that was hidden under its sandy body to truly defeat it.
Attacking its body will do no good, since it’s just meant to hinder attacker from hurting its core.
In other words, Roxy merely cut some sands away from it. The surprise attack could be considered as failed already.
[Come on, your time is running out.]
I was worried.
Roxy also anticipated that her first hit would fail to kill the monster. On the other hand, the darkness tried to get away from Roxy. Casting wind cutter at her, then attempting to dive into the sands.
Roxy wouldn’t let that happened. She rotated her body and attacked the darkness with a roundhouse kick before it could complete its magic attack. Despite mostly being a swordsman, she actually also dabbled in hand to hand combat.
That’s what Aaron told me before. When he was training Roxy, what gave him more challenge was instead her kicks rather than her sword strikes.
The intense kick dug into the sand and reached the core, knocking it out of its sand body with a metallic sound.
The core was so much harder than a regular sandman’s core. That kick alone wouldn’t crack it. But now, it was floating in the air undefended. And it could do nothing to fight back.
Roxy immediately went in and slashed the core. The core then fell to the sand, already divided into two by her slash.
The time was… almost ten seconds.
This should clear the condition that Eris had set. Eris and I walked toward Roxy… as she walked on my side, Eris made sure to keep a poker face up.
[Fai, Eris-sama. Did I pass the test?]
Roxy’s face was a little tense. That’s because Eris’ expression didn’t give out any clue whether she succeeded or not.
Only after a while did Eris finally open her mouth.
[First of all let me congratulate you.]
[But, I did said that it should be within 10 seconds. And you did just that, although very close to failing. That’s too much of an effort for a single enemy]
[…. I have nothing to say to argue about that.]
Perhaps what Eris was looking out for, was whether Roxy could defeat the darkness in a single shot.
She managed to pass, but it’s also worrying at the same time.
[If it’s me, I would’ve done this.]
Eris said, hefting up the black bayonet. There was another darkness emerging on our east, so she aimed and fired.
She cleanly shot the core. Obliterating the darkness completely without a trace left to be exact.
[That’s how. Roxy should at least be able to do something like that.]
[…I will do my best]
[What about you, Fate? Do you want to show Roxy how you would handle the darkness?]
[I’ll refrain from that.]
What she did just now was to clearly show the difference in our powers. I just… don’t want to think up a way to one-up her.
Eris was truly strict when it comes to battle.
I went to Roxy’s side, and gently tapped her shoulder.
[Eris isn’t exactly normal, so better not compare yourself to her…]
[Yes, I know. I have to give it my all. But for starters, I can’t really manage something like that.]
[I’ll leave handling the darknesses to you. But if things get rough, just retreat.]
Roxy sighed softly, then put her holy sword back into its sheath.
Afterward, we marched eastward to where the sacred beast was last seen according to Lishua. The cool wind mixed with the desert’s hot air, which felt pleasantly comfortable.
Combined with the full moon up in the sky which gave a good visibility, this was a perfect night for hunting.
Originally, the desert would’ve been crowded with warriors by now.
But it wasn’t the case this time. Because the existence of that sacred beast, which understandably no regular warrior could hope to beat.
A gigantic scorpion appeared before us from under the sand. Its ruby-like exoskeleton gave a certain pressure that made nobody wants to get close to it.
Its two huge pincers looked robust.
The sting on its tail swung left and right whilst leaking a small amount of its venom, looking for a target to stab at.
[Roxy, Eris! Are you two ready!!]
I was curious as to why Eris’ reaction was weak, but I had to focus on the enemy in front of me.
Drawing out the black sword, I spoke to Greed.
[Sacred beast fight. Let’s go, Greed.]
『Okay, you can count on me. But that sacred beast seems strange.』
It’s just as Greed said. Even after we already drew our weapons, the sacred beast simply ignored us and went to a different direction. Behind it, many darknesses were chasing after it like moths to fire.
[It didn’t even take a glance at us…]
『You are right. The sacred beast has more or less the same level of intelligence to that of a human. However, it’s still a beast nonetheless.』
[Its movements don’t make any sense.]
『This is just a conjecture, but……perhaps the Door to that Land did not revive it perfectly.』
It’s not revived perfectly…?
So… it’s like that. Since its losing reasons, I should be able to use appraisal unhindered.
Activating appraisal skill, I checked the giant scorpion’s stats.
【God’s Guardian Shield】
・Zodiac Scorpion Lv???
I could see the stats, but not with the level or the skills.
Maybe because it’s a sacred beast. But what kind of stats were those.
It’s a huge gap compared to all other Area E enemy I’ve fought before. Even its strength and spirit were very close to reaching double digits.
Simply put, it had much more stats than I have. However, Area E high stats are harder to handle. If one can’t control it well, it’ll erode the heart, and eventually turned one into a monster.
When someone lose their reasonings, they shouldn’t be able to exhibit its true power. I understood this when I fought the ogres back then. Those ogres were originally humans who had been forcefully brought to Area E, and became monsters due to collapse phenomenon. They couldn’t demonstrate their real power due to that.
What happened to the zodiac scorpion right now, is like it’s unable to handle its enormous stats.
Seeing through this, Greed told me via 《Mind Reading》.
『Just because it cannot show its 100%, does not mean you can underestimate it. It is still a sacred beast after all. Look at Eris. She may look calm on the outside, but she is in turmoil inside. Just like that Zodiac Knight Libra, this sacred beast is also an object of fear for her.』
Apparently Greed saw through her facade after that uncharacteristic discomfort she showed earlier.
『It seems to be okay for now, but hopefully the trauma will not bite us in the back later on.』
[Don’t jinx it.]
『Hahaha, my bad, my bad.』
Whenever Greed said something bad before battle, it tended to happen. That’s why it just gave me a bad feeling.
I brushed that aside then told Roxy and Eris what I saw with the Appraisal skill.
We reconfirmed our roles once more, just to ease some of the tensions.
[Roxy, you have to kill every darkness in its surroundings, so we can fight more easily.]
[Eris will shoot to divert its attention from a distance.]
[Roger that! My close range combat capability is still lacking unfortunately. I will also help by buffing Fate and Roxy so that it’s easier for you two to move around.]
[As for me, with the support of you two, find an opening and deliver the killing blow.]
Eris will be the one who takes the command of the party. As I expected, it’s hard to see either Roxy or Eris from my position. Roxy is probably doing her best killing darknesses right now.
Well, Eris was the oldest among us, it went without saying that her battle experience surpassed both Roxy and mine, which made her the most suitable to lead us. If I had any anxiety, then it might be the past trauma that Greed mentioned… but since I don’t know what caused it, I have no idea what might trigger it.
Even so, I couldn’t just ask Eris about it. If such a long period of time couldn’t heal such trauma, then a pep talk from me would do little to it. Then again, if it could be healed so easily, then it won’t be a trauma.
[Let’s start it. If we delay any further, the sacred beast will get away.]
The battle started with a gunshot. The bullet Eris shot flew straight toward the sacred beast. It carries a strong magic power that could easily penetrate an early stage Area E target.
But the bullet simply bounced back upon hitting the sacred beast’ shell. That’s… harder than we expected.
Perhaps its defensive instinct kicked in. The sacred beast turned around and made a beeline towards us, kicking a lot of dust in the process.
Well, here we go.
At that point, Greed warned me.
『Sacred Beast battle. You who had always rely on my performance up until now, have to grow out of it now. If you are truly my wielder, then squeeze out everything I can offer to you!』
[Even without you telling me to, I’m planning to do just that.]
『Ho, how do you plan to do that?』
[I’ll just fight with my best.]
As the frontline, I’ll have to run ahead of everyone.
Eris’ buff bullet flew from behind. My body was enveloped by silver light when it hit me.
This… should be Phalanx Bullet.
Magical aura expanded from it, creating a protective buff that dramatically reduce incoming damage up to three times. It required 5 charges, so Eris must’ve prepared it in advance.
[Thanks. Let’s take our first dip, Greed!]
Running straight to the zodiac scorpion, I dove right under its belly. Then I tried to cut it open with my sword.
[This is not just hard! The blade was blocked by something like an invisible wall]
『That should be the holy blessing. Now, what to do? Fate！』
Greed seemed to have fun, now that we’re fighting something different.
I’ll have to do it. I released half of Gluttony skill’s starvation. Accompanied by pain that nearly numbed my entire body, the feeling of hunger rose up.
This act of eroding myself, although I have become accustomed to it, repeated use will only cause me… to become less and less human.
But that doesn’t mean I have to stop fighting. I was suddenly reminded… of that farewell duel against Aaron.
I’ve become a warrior that I am now, is due to all the battles I’ve gone through. A warrior who longed to be like his father.
[As a warrior, and as the Gluttony skill holder… Let’s feast.]