Chapter 5-2

Proofreaders: Rooker, Dreen

This is a headache. This is what I, Momokawa Kyou, truly believe.

Rine-chan has real trouble dealing with the oni, whenever she got her cornered, the oni would spit fire or use a strong blow to keep her away and during these times, her wounds would heal. Even though the regeneration keeps slowing down, it’s only a matter of time until Rine-chan makes the single mistake, which will turn a grazing hit into a full blow.

Ken called Rine-chan a glass-cannon and explained to me why, but seeing it by myself and trying to keep her in best condition is another matter. And of course, there are the squirrels. They look at Rine-chan full of hatred, but it’s only that: A look.

I’m ready to block them if they decided to attack, considering I can’t honestly do anything to this oni. She’s super-scary, I can feel the wind pressure of her strikes and I’m sure that I won’t survive a single hit.

“[Protect]!” I use a spell to increase Rine-chan’s [Defense], I have to recast it after about a minute. But with this, she might have a chance to keep on fighting even after being hit by a full blow.

There is only that little I can do. It’s frustrating. Rine-chan tries her hardest and keeps on smiling, Ken and Arako are fighting against my two former classmates and I can only help by keeping Rine-chan healed.

I… want to be stronger.

This might be the first time, I actually want that.

Before, I wanted to get a higher level, I wanted to have more power, but somehow this is different. I feel the self-disgust at being mostly useless when things get rough.

And the envy, when looking at Rine’s back, when she fights like a hero in a TV show. The ones I admire.

The fights between the alfar and the other demons aren’t over, slowly they shift towards the giant tree. I see alfar wounded and some are going down, while demons continue to turn into that midnight-blue smoke, so the fight goes well.

For now.

But there are still so many demons left and only so few alfar.

However, it looks like most of the villagers are able to fight, some use their strange magic to hinder the demons, while the others shoot with bows to kill them.

Few elites versus overwhelming numbers of rather weak foes.

“[Stamina]!” Rine’s SP are quickly spent since she uses wide movements to evade the oni-club so that she won’t be hit by the wind-pressure. But this is very taxing on her body, I’m sure that only the fact that she’s a hero now makes it possible for her to actually do it without muscle strains and cramps.

Isn’t there anything I can use? A new skill? No. Anything?

For a moment I remember Ken’s figure, how he fought the patriarch of the lizardmen. It’s almost like that, someone I know is facing a dangerous foe in a duel and…

I smile. I remember how Ken won that fight.

I open my backpack and take something out, it’s one of Ken’s bombs. A stink bomb. This might be the first time, they’ll actually come in handy.

Watching the fight, I wait for the right opportunity. Whenever the oni spit fire, there is a bit of a time-frame until she’s ready to attack again. Even though Rine can’t use that time-frame without being hit by the fire, I may aim for it.

Ken’s really rubbing off on me since I actually begin to analyze the enemy for things like that. Maybe that’s the effect of the ‘training camp’.

“[Oni Fire]!”

There!

I hurl the bomb and it hit the oni right into her face. A foul stench and a gas cloud spread from the yellowish bomb. “Buarks! Pfyu, pfyu!” For some reason, the oni isn’t only retching but also sneezing. And it sounds somewhat girlish.

“Great, Kyou!” Without wasting a second, Rine charges in. “[Disme-!]” And then the squirrels attacked her. Kenta pointed out, that this skill leaves Rine open to attacks from the sides and back and the panda-squirrels, which were watching until now, used this to charge the girl. “Ouch!” They attack with their tiny claws and teeth, causing Rine to waste this opportunity.

The oni recovered from the stench and is lifting her club to mash Rine. “[Protect]!” There is nothing else, I can do! Sorry, Rine.

But the strike never came. “Argh, my eyes!” Rine picks squirrels from her body and throws them into the face of the oni, two hit her eyes directly. Then Rine’s blade cuts into both triceps of the oni, while her other hand is busy getting rid of the squirrels, breaking some necks and flicking other away.

I throw another stink bomb at the oni. “Rine, come here, I’ll help you!” At least I can tear off some of these annoying beasts!

Hopefully, Arako has an easier time than us.

―○●○―

“Ara-san, aren’t you done yet!?” I get smacked again in the face, for some reason Yoshimura really likes to demolish it.

Do it to Inoue, he’s got a handsome face to destroy!

Ara-san most likely spent most of her MP, considering she has changed her class to [Acrobat] so that she can run away from Hoshibashi faster while recovering it with Aeolferelda’s help.

And as she jumps around, she gives me her estimation: “He’s got [Regeneration] and [No Pain], this might be the [Savage]-class! This will take a while, so better hurry up and help me!”

What’s wrong with these guys!? Is getting rid of the [Student]-class that much of a power surge? No, even before they were crazy strong!

But with the deletion of their [Student]-class came their strange behavior and another power boost into play.

They’re cheating!

And I can’t do much at the moment! Yoshimura is kicking my ass in melee combat, but I really don’t want him to switch back to [Wizard] again, as I have fewer ways to fight a spellslinger.

Though his melee-class is clearly outdoing my [Pikeman]. We’re not that far apart at first glance, but his attacks connect sometimes and mine don’t seem to do much damage.

And even with my hero-status, I feel the fatigue of the low SP and blood loss.

The only thing I can do is to keep close and make it impossible for him to use skills. Same goes for me, but I was originally planning to last until Ara-san beats Hoshibashi. But that bastard got some nasty skills, so even Aeolferelda’s buffs aren’t enough to make it a quick fight.

Ara-san jumps over Yoshimura and me, calling out to me: “Keep the other one distracted so that I can switch and cast.” She may have recovered enough MP, but need time to actually use them.

So there is only one thing to say: “ARE YOU F*CKING SERIOUS, YOU IDIOT!!?”

Hoshibashi is following Ara-san and his route is through Yoshimura and me! Don’t train that tough bastard to me!

Yoshimura shouldn’t be keen to get between Hoshibashi and his target either. But instead of evading, he actually throws himself on me, holding me down. I can see in his grin, that he’s planning to let me go at the last moment so that I’ll be run over by the high-powered Hoshibashi.

But that made it possible to perform a maneuver, which seemingly bypasses a hero’s [Defense]. I just learned it a few days before, and it’s not [Armor Piercer] or another skill from the hero-system.

Too bad for Yoshimura, that he didn’t perform a proper hold: I can still move a bit.

So I knee him in the nuts! His eyes are widening and his body relaxes, time to grab that bastard and throw him towards Hoshibashi.

I see him flying and – Ouch! Good thing, I’m not him, since getting a knee in the nuts and being smacked away by Hoshibashi’s brutal strength right afterward is most likely hurting like hell.

Too bad that Hoshibashi is already right in front of me and I have no time to roll to the side. His foot is drilling into my stomach and I do something stupid again: I grab it.

Hoshibashi stumbles, falls on his hands, and throws an angry look back at me before he starts kicking out at my direction.

*Bam* A kick feels like a hammer strike.

*Bam* I’m about to let go, there is too much power, it’s about to push me back.

*Bam* And here we are.

Why do I keep doing things, which make me feel so much pain!?

“[Root Lances]!” At least Ara-san got the time she needed.

I take some pots out of my backpack and drink them like crazy, even though my stomach hurts like hell and I’m about to vomit.

Hoshibashi is more or less occupied by Ara-san’s attack and control spells, Yoshimura is also taking potions out as well.

How can he still stand? I kicked him in the nuts!

Dammit! Take out Yoshimura completely or bring down Hoshibashi?

“[Armor Piercer]!” Hoshibashi it is. He’s currently held by Ara-san’s spells, so that’s a good opportunity.

[Armor Piercer] is really a skill made to fight heroes, it works very well. But seriously, how much blood have a human body? It looks like Hoshibashi lost twice his body volume of it, for sure.

“AAAAAAARGH!” And he’s still not down? “[Steel Slicer]!” He got stabbed multiple times, lost so much blood that there is barely a spot on his body which is not covered by it and he’s still swinging his sword like nothing happened!?

If this is the effect of [No Pain] and [Regeneration], I’d like to get these skills! Probably this, plus the bonus due deleting his [Student]-class.

I want to be a cheater, too!

“[Root Lances]!” This next spell of Ara-san hits Yoshimura. The alfr girl keeps her cool, her ears are standing up, I get the cold-blooded fury vibe from her. “You won’t do anything to Aeolferelda anymore!” She really thinks highly of that tree and its buff is slowly winning us the fight. Ara-san is practically back to full magical power, while the rest of us are battered.

We will win this!

―○●○―

“Rine-chan!” I shout out to my companion, who just got grazed by the oni’s club. The girl herself is fine, even though she was sent flying for a bit.

I’d really like to heal her, but I’m currently stabbing at a squirrel.

These critters brought another level of difficulty into this fight, even though they’re now more ambushing than charging. But it’s better to take them out now, instead of waiting for them to use the worst time to interfere again.

But the oni is also in trouble, her regenerating body needs more and more time to heal properly. And she looks exhausted, it’s several minutes of intense fighting, each of us is panting, even though Rine-chan and I are better off than the oni.

This is the difference between a hero and a non-hero, as long as Rine-chan and I have some SP, we can force ourselves to keep going.

There is only one thing I fear: The moment the oni hits Rine-chan for real.

Not counting the fact, that the other demons are almost here, which will make it even more difficult to preserve. Even though a hail of arrows is falling on the mass of enemies, they’re still coming closer.

This is hell. I don’t know if the whole battle is going in a good or bad direction, but it’s too much for me.

And why am I stabbing squirrels? This doesn’t make any sense!

My head is woozy and my body moves on its own.

Why am I doing this? It made so much sense until now, but there are so many things which don’t fit, it’s too much to process. So I keep on stabbing.

“[Heal]!” And then I heal.

It’s like it’s not me doing this.

I quickly look at my status, but there is no new condition. So there should be nothing wrong with me, but something is. I feel like I’m about to faint.

Ken’s status is looking bad as well. I didn’t look before since it would distract me, but now I can see it. He’s currently drinking a potion to heal some HP. But I have to return mentally to this fight!

Rine-chan is facing against the oni and I’m about to throw another stink bomb since the rest is no good. Fire bombs would endanger Rine-chan and smoke bombs wouldn’t help anyone now.

I’m looking at my status again, hoping to find a clue, and I noticed something. Finally, a new skill, or rather a spell, again!

[Exorcise]. What does this skill do? … It damages demons and undead and can dispel some of their abilities.

This is… damage?

Is this real?

This would be something entirely new to me. A spell for damage.

I don’t know how this [Spell] will work, but I aim with my open palm towards the oni, mimicking Eri-chan’s spell casting. “[Exorcise]!” A cone of faint white light shoots out of my palm, but I’m too far away. The oni didn’t even notice it since she’s too occupied with Rine-chan.

Do I really have to get closer? I don’t want to, it’ll be dangerous.

… But the spell might actually be powerful. And it will definitely help Rine-chan. She’s still my best friend in this world.

Rine-chan is about to approach the oni, ready to get close enough for another hit, the oni is about to spit fire, but I use this moment to sprint towards her. [Exorcise] uses up quite some MP, so I have to make it work. “[Exorcise]!” The oni is bathed in the light.

Then, white flames springs from her red skin, which engulfes her completely in a bright bonfire. “IIIIIAAAAAAAAAARGHHH!” This high-pitched howl of immeasurable pain will surely follow me into my dreams.

“Great, Kyou! [Dismember]!” A combo of strong strikes are slashing into the white, warping fireball, but Rine-chan’s face is in wonder, while she performs her sword swings.

And I know why: She didn’t dismember anything!

The white fire figure is racing out of Rine-chan’s reach, it’s currently less than a third of the height of the oni, but after getting out of there, it grows again. It’s like she warped her form to evade the attack at the last moment.

“That was scary!”, the oni complains. The flames are dying out and the red demon looks at me. “Stay out of it, sis! [Oni Fire]!”

Red flames are flying towards me, but Rine-chan is rushing in, slashing at the fire. A small explosion, but Rine-chan stems her feet to the ground and withstand the blast. “This was close.” The princess is brightly smiling while wiping off the sweat on her forehead with her arm.

Rine-chan you’re a real hero.

“Piu!” The oni is stomping on the ground. “The two of you are annoying! And bringing this spell out is unfair! That’s why I hate humans! You’re so racist, that you’ve developed anti-demon spells!”

Is she serious? “If you didn’t attack this village, I wouldn’t use a spell like this.”

“Don’t wisecrack me, sis!” The oni is looking at the cave under the tree and then back to us. “Ah, I want to fight that one-”, she points at Rine-chan “-but there is no time. Argh, why can’t I do what I want!?”

“I don’t want to fight you!” Rine-chan is stepping towards the oni. “I want to beat you. You’re endangering everyone in this village and it’s time to put an end to it.” She’s not asking why the oni is doing it or for her to stop.

Rine-chan is always honest. That means, that the moment you anger her, she will let it out. And you don’t want to be the one on the receiving end.

Even the oni seems to get it, since: “Look behind you!”

And Rine-chan actually does so. Stupid! She’s so stupid!

Using that chance, the oni is hurrying into the cave under the big tree. “Wait!” Rine-chan is about to run after her, but-

*Squuuuuueeeeeeek* Squirrels jump her and hinder her movements. She shakes them off but lost some seconds. Nonetheless, Rine-chan wants to continue her pursue.

But we lost the chance. “Wait, Rine-chan!”

“What?”

The other demons are here. Some alfar are also rushing towards us, but for now, we have enough to do. “[Exorcise]!” I bath the demons in the exorcising light, but it doesn’t work! Why?

My MP are dangerously low. I need to save them now. So I make my dagger ready. Not fighting is no longer an option.

―○●○―

I trip Hoshibashi using my spear and pierce right into his back. I finally adapted to his brutal strength and could use it to damage him further.

I guess, all this fighting in the past made me actually quite good at it.

Ara-san is casting another spell, aiming at Yoshimura: [Root Lances]!”

“[Earthshield]!” He tries to hide behind a shield of stone and dirt, but it got easily penetrated. The onslaught of Ara-san’s spells is showing its effect, even though his magic is powerful, his SP must be almost gone as I most likely depleted most of them in our fight earlier and the damage is also accumulating. “Aaahh… *gulp*” He’s clearly drinking a potion now, but it won’t help in the long term.

Ara-san is now high and mighty, she had her second wind and using Aeolferelda’s buffs to the fullest. “Roots are carving their ways through the earth and even though your magic is powerful, I have Aeolferelda on my side. And now comes your friend: [Root Lances]!” She even got a spell left for Hoshibashi.

Both of them are done for. After comparing combat skills, strategy and raw power, we finally have the upper hand. I could already see our victory, but I don’t plan to be negligent.

I lift my spear to deal a fatal blow to the root-stabbed Hoshibashi. Maybe he will survive it. But I will do this seriously, so there is no guarantee.

You thought that your power-up will bring us down, and the initial shock was great, but we got you now. It’s time to end it for good!

*Burst*

I don’t like that sound. It comes from behind!

Oh shit, the oni. She got some wounds, but what about Rine? Did she-

“[Oni Fire]!” The oni breathes fire, which burns roots and the bellow of Aeolferelda, flaming a tunnel through the tree. How powerful can you be, that’s a massive tree! It’s not like dry wood, it’s full of sap and water! “Let me take those two and you’ll live.” The oni looks exhausted, but somehow I get the feeling, that she’s more than capable to take care of us.

And something tells me, that she’s slightly pissed off.

So there is only one thing to do: I step behind Ara-san and grab her under her arms. “Go ahead.”

“Kenta-kun!?” She tries to free herself, but I won’t let her. The oni got pass Rine, so we won’t be able to handle her in this state.

“Your lot is dangerous.” The female, booming voice becomes happy, there is a bit of a laugh. “But we can’t stay. I’ll take these two and some stuff and then…” She takes a shelf in one arm and the two injured heroes plus her club under the other.

“Stop it, we won’t-” Hoshibashi tries to fight against it.

“Shut up!” He got silenced by oni-fist-power. Ah, his head bleeds. Maybe his skull just cracked.

“Thanks.” Yoshimura seems to be delighted, he suffered much damage as a [Wizard]. His [Vitality] is most likely quite low in that class. “We underestimated them and this place.”

“Shut up as well!” And another victim of oni-fist-power. The horned woman turned to us: “I hope we can play again.” She cackles as she jumps through the tunnel she burned through Aeolferelda.

“Kenta-kun, let me go!”

“It’s just some stuff. We better go outside and look for Rine and Kyou-san!” Grudgingly, Ara-san nods and I release her. “Come on!” Rine, better be safe!

In fact, she is, although a bit battered. But still, she’s fighting a horde of demons, who transform into midnight blue smoke after getting hit by her, side-by-side with Kyou-san and some alfar. Other alfar are casting spell after spell on Aeolferelda, trying to regrow it.

If you’re just outside the tree, you still get the bonuses, so it’s quite convenient to have the final line of defense here. “Ara-san, help the others healing your tree. I can only fight.” And so I do.

Good thing that the rest may be numerous, but weak. I’d hate to fight another strong guy.

So we subdue the remaining demon forces.

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