634 – Strategy and Anticipation
The ending to the battle against the xiangliu is getting close as a result of Aro running low on MP.
She’s already cancelled her [Darkness Kaleidoscope], causing her clones to disappear. She’s flying around on her black wings, but it seems like her flight speed is gradually slowing down. No longer able to distract the xiangliu with her clones, she can’t to do anything but fly away as it chases her.
『Miia, keeping this up any longer is pointless. They don’t have any way of dealing damage now.』
The xiangliu is a Legendary monster. It has a massive stat advantage over Aro and treant. Its speed is mediocre, so Aro’s been able to delay the inevitable, but its main strength is its toughness. Despite being unilaterally attacked by Aro’s magic all this time, it doesn’t seem to have taken much damage. The xiangliu’s scales are thick, and it regenerates them quickly.
Aro doesn’t have enough MP to use keep using [Dark Sphere]. There’s no point in fighting any longer.
“It looks like the difference between them was too big… The experience points aside, it probably would have been better if it had been an attacker-type A+ rank, so they’d at least get used to dangerous fights.”
Miia says, holding a hand to her chin.
『Do you mind if I step in now?』
“Isn’t there [Death God Seed] still? If Aro-kun can protect treant-kun and keep luring the xiangliu, they might still have a chance.”
『She’ll get caught any second! It’s impossible for her in that state.』
“Hmm… I suppose that’s true. Well, from the start she wasn’t committed to killing the xiangliu. She chose a strategy that would let her safely stack up some damage. For better or worse, she really is an honours student.”
『What are you trying to say?』
“Even whenever she managed to crush some of its scales with [Dark Sphere], it quickly grew them back. Despite bringing out her copies, she still focused almost entirely on not getting hit, rather than on aiming at the same spot repeatedly to deal significant damage.”
『But she’s up against [Corrosive Acid] and the xiangliu’s high attack stat… She wouldn’t be able to fight back if it scattered the acid around.』
“She could have potentially won a quick decisive battle by using treant-kun as a shield. It would have been risky, but nothing else could have worked. If she was aiming to win from the start, she might have had a chance. But it’s impossible now.”
Miia’s tone is dispassionate, as though simply stating the facts, but her choice of words feels biting. I want to say something in retort, but decide better.
However, Aro has always fought like this around me, and I think the main objective currently should be raising their levels. Until I heard Miia’s comments, I had been thinking this way of training was fine. Besides, whenever she needs to, Aro really does fight to win. I’d prefer it if Miia wouldn’t sulk just because we’re not sticking to her ideal vision of training.
Besides, as Miia conceded earlier, the xiangliu is genuinely strong. If its stats were a little lower, Aro might have been able to win. But even I would have a hard time if I were to try fighting it in close combat. If Aro and treant had gone all in to try and overwhelm its regeneration, they’d probably just get the tables turned on them instead. It would be an intense close quarters fight, so it’s also possible that any help from Miia or me wouldn’t make it in time.
Miia is saying that they should have gone for it regardless. But can’t I agree that it’s a good idea to take that much risk, just for the purpose of combat training. Her thinking is clearly based on her view of her allies as resources to be spent. I remember her saying it would be fine if one of Aro or treant, since I have two.
God’s Voice is effectively an giant amoral system devoted to bringing about the end of the world. I already knew before meeting Miia that my way of thinking was too naive to fight against such a foe. But, this is a line that I absolutely won’t cross.
『…Sorry. I guess from your point of view, I look way too naive.』
“No, it’s fine. I didn’t mean to be judgemental. I was just saying what I thought. Sorry for giving the wrong impression.”
I can’t tell what’s behind her words. Whenever she’s laughing or is exasperated, her expressions always seem somehow artificial to me. I can’t even tell if she’s being sarcastic, but I don’t want to ask.
Suddenly, Aro screams. The xiangliu’s [Corrosive Acid] hit her back after she failed to dodge. She falls to the ground, shoulder-first. Her feathers melt, and the flesh of her back putrefies to reveal white bone.
Having slipped from Aro’s arm, treant hits the ground face-first.
The xiangliu surges forwards. It’s no longer possible for them to keep their distance.
『I-I won’t let you!』
Treant stands up in front of Aro and rapidly swells in size. Thick bark covers his body as he grows back into his world treant form.
He raises a huge branch overhead. The branch is entwined by thinner branches as a result of his [Woven Armour], resulting in a heavy lump at the end of the branch. Probably, his plan is to take a hit from the xiangliu, and then hammer back at it with [Wood Counter].
…But, the xiangliu isn’t that easy of an opponent. Even in treant’s forte of endurance, the xiangliu is far stronger.
Not only would a single hit from the xiangliu’s high attack be dangerous, but it also has a wide array of close-range skills. It’s far too dangerous to fight in close quarters. Miia seems to want them to fight, but I can’t support it.
Taking aim at treant, the xiangliu’s tail arcs back before whipping towards him. No, that’s wrong! It’s going to wrap around and restrain him. Not only will it prevent him from counterattacking, but once it starts squeezing, it’ll be difficult for me to rescue him safely.
I release a [Dimension Claw] at the xiangliu’s tail. The unexpected injury causes it to recoil and leap backwards. Treant lowers his thick branch, clearly relieved.
The xiangliu produces a whirlwind beneath itself to soften its landing, then glares at me from a distance.
『Miia, this is it.』
“There’s no helping it then. You don’t need to be so wary of me by the way. I don’t mean to be acting all arrogant.”
I feel relieved upon hearing Miia’s words. I thought she might try and make them fight even longer.
But… This xiangliu really is tough. It might take me a while to kill it. I also want to avoid getting into a close combat fight against that monstrous attack strength of its.
I kick off the ground and spread my wings to fly straight towards the xiangliu.
『Miia, some covering fire please!』
Miia’s attack strength is weakened as a result of her [Humanisation Technique]. If she doesn’t want to release it, then it’s better if she helps by using magic, the strength of which is undiminished by humanisation. A magical attack from Miia should be more than the xiangliu can shrug off. If I can draw its attention, we should be able defeat it quickly.
“There’s no need. I’ll deal with it by myself.”
Miia draws her sword and prepares to leap forward before suddenly vanishing. No, she darted forwards. Her movement was far faster than my flight.
It reminds me of Lilixira’s [Immortal Step] skill. It was what let her warp space to teleport, or to distort the trajectories of her weapons. Miia’s movement just now looked similar to that [Immortal Step].
But, Miia has no such skill. Probably, that was just [Godspeed Flash]. I’ve the skill in use before, and I know it temporarily raises the user’s speed. However, it seems Miia has honed it to the point that it looks like teleportation. I hadn’t realise it could become that powerful when mastered.