633 – Miia’s Teachings
Miia and I watch over from a distance as Aro and treant fight the eyeball snake, the xiangliu. Treant is still in his tree spirit form, and is being held by Aro. The visibility in the area is poor as a result of Aro scattering her [Fog of the Dead].
Black wings sprout from Aro’s back, and she flies between the trees while shooting [Dark Spheres] at the xiangliu. Her two [Darkness Kaleidoscope] clones fly behind her, similarly shooting out [Dark Spheres]. Several [Dark Spheres] explode against the xiangliu’s dangling eyeballs.
But, the xiangliu doesn’t seem to flinch at all. It chases after Aro persitently, lunging forwards whenever it sees an opening.
Most of the xiangliu’s stats are in its HP and MP, as well as its high defence. It has a lot of resistance skills, its recovery ability is high, and its scales are particularly difficult to pierce. It would take a lot of work to kill, even for me.
“I was wondering why there would be a level 83 in this forest. Most things here either get hunted and die, or hunt others and reach maximum level. But what you’ve told me of its status has made it clear. It’s not as much as the hecatoncheir, but this xiangliu is quite the endurance specialist.”
Miia says, standing up tall with her back to one of the giant trees as she watches the battle closely.
“It’s fortunate that it’s low level and an endurance type. But, its attack power is fairly high, so its main speciality might be in close combat brawls. For raising Aro-kun and treant-kun’s levels, there’s probably no target more suitable. So why did you want them not to fight it?”
『I didn’t want to expose them to danger. To be honest, I would have preferred it if they never got involved with the whole divine skill conflict in the first place.』
“But it’s too late to turn back now. They don’t seem like they want to run away either, right? So you should resolve yourself. You can’t keep doing things half-heartedly.”
『…Yeah, that’s true.』
I nod my head. Miia lets out a quiet laugh.
While watching the fight, I start wondering whether it might be fine for me to trust Miia. It’s true that a lot of what she says is unsettling. It might not have fully set in, but she has the God of Madness status condition. The information she told me was highly restricted and full of holes. She might have the better perspective on how to fight against God’s Voice, but a lot of what she says seems cold and thorny. I’m sure she wouldn’t hesitate to kill me if she thought she had to.
But, if she intended to betray us, then she wouldn’t propose something like this. Even if she wanted to wear down Aro and treant, it’s way too roundabout an approach. Besides, she sometimes seems to genuinely be having fun. I don’t want to think that that’s all a lie.
Since being betrayed by Lilixira, it’s possible I might have become too distrusting of people. I can tell that Miia had to sacrifice a great deal to be able to fight back against God’s Voice. But, to some extent, I’ve had to do the same.
“Aro-kun is doing good. She’s blessed with good skills, and is planning ahead for how she’s going to move. She’s got the basics down, that’s for sure.”
Miia’s words fill me with relief. Apparently she has a high appraisal of Aro. I’m probably worrying about it too much, but I want to avoid doing anything that earns her displeasure.
“But, while her firepower is strong and she has many attacks, it doesn’t look like she can keep fighting at full strength for long. She’s got to be scraping the bottom of her MP soon. If this would be enough to overwhelm the opponent then it would be good, but since it’s not it’s would probably have been better if she avoided splitting into three. You should tell her that later.”
『Yeah, I understand. Though we’re here too, so she’s probably just trying to deal as much damage as she can to rack up her contribution.』
“That might be true, but if she starts out strong, then she’s still going to start to flag towards the end. It’s only at the start of the fight that she can decide her pacing. Once she starts having to slow down, it’ll be too late to rewind and take a different approach. This could be a weakness of hers. Not a mental weakness or anything though. Has she maybe had a lot of fights where she gained an early lead then kept running around?”
“Hey, isn’t she your subordinate?”
『It’s not like she would be forced into a negative position while I’m also in the area…』
Of course, Aro has told me about her fights against Thermal and Aruane. But she never went into detail about how she fought.
“You really are overprotective, I think. You should let her gain some real battlefield experience. Being able to survive a life-and-death struggle isn’t just about levels. It’s also important for her to hone her intuition and tactics. Even if she’s able to make up for some of it with talent, she still needs real experience. You’ve come this far, so you understand, don’t you?”
I think I get what she’s saying. At the start of the fight against the Lilixira, I was completely unable to predict the trajectories of her [Aparajita] weapons, and was thoroughly driven into a corner as she consistently out-predicted me. But, through desperate struggle, I gradually became able to predict what Lilixira was going to do. It might have just been that I was learning her patterns, but I think my experience from other fights helped a lot too. I think it’s that sort of accumulation of experience that Miia’s talking about.
『…You might be right.』
I hunch my shoulders and hang my head.
“I don’t mean to blame you. It feels like I’m being a bit preachy.”
Miia laughs, then returns to watching the fight.
A ball of earth shoots from treant and grazes past one of the xiangliu’s giant eyes.
『A-almost…! It’s quite hard to aim while being chased…』
As a result of the recoil from the [Clay Sphere], Aro’s altitude varies wildly. Liquid sprays from gaps in the xiangliu’s eyes and touches Aro’s left foot.
It’s the xiangliu’s [Corrosive Acid] skill. Dark fumes steam from Aro’s leg as her begins to rot away. It’s to be expected by its massive advantage in stats, but even a graze from the xiangliu does tremendous damage to her. In addition, the effect of the [Corrosive Acid] is steadily travelling up her body.
I shout as the xiangliu shoots another spray of [Corrosive Acid]. Aro manages to turn to the side to dodge.
I suppose this should be expected as a walpurgis, but by the time she finishes turning, her leg is entirely back to normal. Because of the effect of [Immortal Dark], it doesn’t seem to matter how much her body she loses. She gained her leg back in an instant. It’s far faster than [Autoregeneration] could ever be capable of.
“…Treant-san, umm, please stop using [Clay Sphere].”
『I understand… My apologies, Aro-dono…』
Treant hangs his head in disappointment.
“Aro-kun seems to be fine, but is that kid okay?”
Miia asks, still smiling.
『…This time just happens to be a bad match for him.』
Not only is the xiangliu slow, but its mid-range attacks also aren’t very powerful. Its skills don’t have much reach, and nor are they very fast moving. In exchange, it has high HP, defence, and attack power, making it excellent at close-combat fights.
Treant is an endurance type. But, it’s hard for him to outcompete the higher rank and close combat specialised xiangliu. If it was shooting long range magic, then he could counter with [Fairy Hex], but the xiangliu isn’t the type to do that it seems. It’s not like it would be impossible for him to fight back for a while with [Immortal Revival], but he would be the one to run out of strength first.
『But it’s not like he isn’t contributing. He’s using his [Death God Seed] skill to continuously drain its MP.』
I’ve also seen him use the [Guard Lost] magic to lower its defence and make Aro’s [Dark Spheres] more effective. He’s fulfilling his role as a support.
『Besides, by being held by Aro like that, she can absorb his MP. Without that, she wouldn’t be able to maintain her clones and keep firing [Dark Sphere] like this.』
“I suppose that counts as contributing… Maybe…”
Miia says as she stares closely at treant, tapping the side of her head. S-she really is scary…