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413 – Buffer Zone
Rogueheil’s main body crawls away from me.

『Fuu, fuu… That was a little dangerous. I needed to be saved by the gigant.』

Rogueheil’s eyes blink and squirm as they look at me. It’s a disgusting sight.

As long as the gigant slime is around, it’ll butt in whenever I try to fight any of the others in melee. But if I were to try and deal with the gigant slime, the trolls and body doubles would surround me.

I’d like to use my speed advantage to shave away at the trolls and Rogueheil body doubles, but… That would be dancing to his tune. Rogueheil’s objective is to wear me down. He wants to fight me bit-by-bit to shave away at my HP and MP.

Even if I have to take a risk, I need to take down one of the gigant slime or Rogueheil. I haven’t used it much before, but [Death] might be effective against the gigant slime. For an A- rank, the its magic stat is low.

『But that doesn’t have much range? Either way, we need to get closer.』

Against an enemy that tough, trying to get [Death] through has got to be better than slowly shaving away at its health. Once one of the A- opponents is down, it should get a lot easier. It should be worth it even if we have to take some damage in exchange.

Crushing Rogueheil first might be faster, but after setting the gigant slime and trolls on me, he’s entirely focused on provoking me and interfering from a distance. It’s hard to pin down an opponent that is so devoted to avoiding me.

Since it’s likely that I’ll have to fight the Demon Lord later, using up my MP here could be fatal, but I can’t survive by crushing those around Rogueheil one by one. Even if I try and push past the trolls and body doubles in order to catch Rogueheil, not only will I probably be unable to catch him, I’ll also show countless openings.

The gigant slime is fairly slow, and its motions are all large, but there’s a need to be cautious how how fast its tentacles can accelerate. It’s a whip attack with incredible reach, so there’s no way it could be slow. It has reminded me that size can be a threat of its own.

…Hmm? Huh, can I perhaps do that? According to the explanation from [God’s Voice], the gigant slime should be a monster that attacks everything around it without discrimination. I don’t know if it’s been trained well, or if it’s some ability of the Demon Lord, but it seems to have enough intelligence to obey Rogueheil for now. But that seems to be limited to occasionally trying to hit me, and it doesn’t seem like it’s very clever. If things go well, I might be able to make use of it.

I look around to grasp the positions of the giant slime, Rogueheil, his body doubles, and the trolls… It’s a risk, but it has to be better than playing into my opponent’s hand.

I bend my neck and use [Roll], suddenly accelerating towards the gigant slime. The three trolls and four body doubles chase after me in a battle formation.

『By the way, it’s not as though I am limited to five bodies with [Doppelganger]…』

Rogueheil’s unsettling slime body expands and splits with a crackling sound. Another four [Doppelgagners] are produced. The body doubles that were five in number had one crushed, and now have increased by four to a total of eight. There really is no end to them.

『Hyohyohyohyo! How is it? Are you surprised? Now that I’ve gone this far, you have no chance of winning. This battle was already decided before it began.』

The eyeball-riddled bodies that resemble otherworldly slugs are all too hideous. No matter how much I look at them, I can’t get used to it. Rogueheil’s main body falls back, and the four new body doubles chase me.

『Ugee… Does that guy not have any limits…? Isn’t he unbeatable? We need some way of dealing with him first, or we won’t get anywhere.』

My partner says wearily. Even though she can happily eat the Holy Sword and declare the Feared Gods of the forest delicious-looking, like the abysses, Rogueheil is too much it seems.

But it’s wrong to say that his [Doppelganger] is unbeatable. If anything, the more he uses it, the more apparent its weakness becomes.

Each of the [Doppelganger] body doubles require a constant exhaustion of MP to maintain. Looking at his status, I can see a slight periodic decrease in his MP, greater than his automatic MP recovery. If that wasn’t the case, he would have already created a stock of body doubles beforehand.

If he didn’t have to he would never use the [Doppelganger] skill that cuts away at his HP and MP in front of his opponent. He was satisfied with their number, but as soon as I started heading towards the gigant slime he increased them.

He probably plans to recover the MP he spent while watching from afar.

The four new Rogueheils crawl along the wall towards me at full speed.

Even though he just created them, he isn’t leaving any behind as guards. No, at this distance, he might be thinking there’s no problem with recalling any nearby ones as soon as he notices any suspicious movements from me.

Still rolling, I kick off the ground, changing my direction to curve around the gigant slime.

『Do it, gigant!』

I hear Rogueheil’s command. The gigant slime lifts a huge tentacle high.

It’s a bad time for me, with the other monsters closing in on me from every side. And so, I just have to let it hit me. I need to change my thinking. If I focus on absorbing the hit, I should be able to reduce the damage taken.

The gigant slime’s tentacle swings. I kick off the ground to fly up, reaching out with my claws to the tentacle’s tip that has still yet to begin to move.

The next insant, with me on board, the gigant slime’s tentacle stretches out at incredible speed. Rogueheil is in this direction. The reason I curved around the gigant slime was to set up this angle. Right now, Rogueheil has worn away at his own health through repeated uses of [Doppelganger], and even sent his newly created body doubles at me, leaving his main body defenceless.

I kick off the tentacle and land on the ground. The tentacle hits a wall, severely denting the metal and causing the entire underground chamber to shake. The tentacle winds back, returning to the gigant slime’s side.

『Wh-what absurdity! You used the gigant’s tentacle as a means of transportation…!?』

Right in front of me, Rogueheil flusters. The body doubles immediately start heading this way, but they’re too late.

『[Holy Pillar], [Holy Pillar]!』

Two blue metal pillars approach me. I swing my forelegs hard to brush them away. They stick into the wall next to me.

His next move is predictable. I stoop down low and spread my wings.

『I-In that case, [Doppelganger]!』

As Rogueheil retreats, his body tears apart and expands, four more of him. I flap my wings, sending the wind produced down the path of my arm, and then release it from the tips of my claws. It’s the [Wind Slash] skill, with four concurrent shots. The body doubles scatter to dodge. But two of them are chopped up by the blades of wind.

The body doubles fall apart, melting into a thick liquid and disappearing.

He’s using the [Doppelganger] skill that he was reluctant to use, right in front of his enemy. Is that proof of just how cornered he is? I’ll end it right away, Rogueheil.

『…The safety measure backfired. I had hoped to present the experience points to Demon Lord-sama, but it seems I have no choice but to go for the kill.』


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