601 – Finishing the Snake King
『Treant, I’m going to throw you at the apophis. If you can crash into it in your [Statue] state, you’ll be the one to defeat it.』
『A-a-are you sure that’s a good idea!?』
Treant flaps his wings in panic. I nod my head deeply.
『Aro and I will cover you, of course. Even if you’re don’t manage to kill it, they should all be distracted by you. We’ll use that chance to quickly finish off the boss.』
『It’s not without risk. But, if you can defeat the apophis, it should bring you all the way to max level. We can’t take too long in this forest.』
As an A+ opponent, the apophis would usually be out of reach for the low damage output of treant. But this time it’s different. The apophis is specialised for attack and speed stats. For all that it’s excellent at attacking, it has sacrificed its capability at defending. As injured as it is now, a single hit from the treant might be enough to finish it off. This is a situation where it’s correct to go on the aggressive.
『Master-dono… I-I understand! I will see this duty through!』
Treant says, staring down at the [Human-Faced Tongue] far below.
『Let’s do this!』
I shoot [Wind Slashes] down as I continue to fly up, intentionally aiming away from the death carriers and apophis, targeting instead the swamp around them. I want to disrupt their formation and delay their response by as much as possible. There’s a risk that by hitting the apophis I could put it more on guard and we could lose this chance, so I want to miss. If it were to withdraw its tongue and switch to complete stealth, this strategy would become unusable.
『Get big, treant!』
Gripping the treant in my forefoot, I toss him into the air.
He releases his [Tree Spiritisation], swelling up to his tyrant guardian form midair. I grip his branches with both my forelegs.
『Here we go!』
I activate [Gravity]. Black light expands out from me, and we shoot down towards the swamp.
I hear something between a scream and a war cry from the treant. Part way through the fall, I shove him down and away from me. I used my own [Gravity] to hasten his initial acceleration, and then threw him will all my might.
After all, we need to strike fast enough to penetrate the swamp and deal enough damage to kill the apophis while taking it by surprise. The apophis’s defence is poor for a A+ rank, but it’s still a tall order for the defence-specialised B+ treant to defeat.
Treant plummets straight down. He’s falling even faster than I expected. It’s fast enough to make me worry whether his [Statue] will make it in time.
Seeing him impact the water while fully metal, I feel relieved. The nearby death carriers are sent flying, and the [Cursed Flame Spheres] burst harmlessly against his surface. I see the apophis’s [Human-Faced Tongue] looking up in surprise for a moment, but then it’s soon crushed beneath the treant’s metal mass.
It’s over in an instant. With thunderous roar, a huge depression forms in the swamp. A shockwave of muddy water explodes out, knocking away the death carriers and forcing them beneath the surface.
Muddy water quickly flows back in to close the hole in the swamp.
“T-treant-san, are you alive…?”
Aro calls out uneasily. Watching the hole in the swamp closely, I dive down.
…Is this okay? It’s possible that I could have gotten too worked up and threw him too hard. I’m not sure how effective the defence boost of [Statue] is. I probably should have held back a bit more to be safe…
I’m not seeing him floating up at all… No, this should be okay. If the worst really did happen, I would have gotten experience points. If treant had died in this situation, it probably would have been treated as my doing.
【12350 experience points have been acquired.】
【Due to the title skill [Walking Egg: Lv -], an additional 12350 experience points have been acquired.】
【The level of [Oneiros] has risen from 125 to 128.】
Th-that surprised me. For a moment, I really thought I killed him. But this amount of experience can only be from the apophis. It would be too much to come from the treant, considering his rank and level.
…It wasn’t the experience for both of them together, was it?
『Master-dono! Master-dono! I can’t breath!』
As I get closer to the swamp, I hear a [Telepathy] from the bottom, and an immense feeling of relief washes over me.
Phew… He’s still alive.
Suddenly, the a large number of death carrier heads poke above the water surface. They’re aiming at me.
As three, Aro forces the death carriers back with [Gale].
『Thanks, Aro! I’m diving in!』
Holding my breath, I dive into the swamp, plunging into the depths.
My foreleg touches something hard. I open my eyes a crack. This… I can’t see clearly, but is this his head?
Most of the treant’s body is buried in the swamp bed. I didn’t expect him to sink this deep…
Gripping tightly, I push up, flying out of the swamp. Once I’ve pulled him most of the way out, he finally releases his [Statue].
『I thought I was about to die… You threw me so hard knowing that the water would slow me down and that the ground below was soft… But please warn me in advance next time, master-dono…』
『S-sorry… I didn’t think you’d go that fast. That was my bad. I was fairly sure you were okay, but I got a little worried.』
『Did you not think it through, master-dono…?』
He looks up at me with cold eyes.
『Y-you did it, treant! You managed to defeat the apophis!』
Treant’s gaze still feels a little cold. I check his status, and see that he’s risen from【Lv: 78/85】to【Lv: 83/85】. Going up five whole levels this close to evolution is impressive. Just two more levels to go now.
『You’re just a tiny bit away from maximum level now! You’ll hit it in no time if we hunt the remaining death carriers! You can almost evolve!』
His trunk straightens out in joy.
“Are you okay with this, treant-san…?”
Aro murmurs quietly.