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657 – Weapon and Shield
I jump towards the spiral staircase and use [Roll] to charge upward. After gaining momentum, I kick off the staircase, flying up towards Miia.

『Aro, make a foothold!』

“Got it! [Clay]!”

Two lumps of clay appear in midair. Kicking off them, I increase my speed while obscuring my angle of approach.

I look at Miia and send in a [Dimension Claw]. However, Miia securely defends against it with the blade of her greatsword.

By the time I get close enough to Miia, her surroundings are already bathed in a haze of black light from [Eclipse].

No matter what it takes, I’ll defeat her here…! I swing my greatsword at Miia.

“It’s not like I don’t want to try clashing blows with you. But unfortunately, this is a battle to the death.”

With her defence up, she guards against my blade. The difference in ability in our sword techniques is huge. With her devoting herself to defence, I can’t find an opportunity to break through, no matter how much I struggle.

“Dragon-god-sama! I’ll create an opportunity with my magic…!”

As Aro is about to cast one of her magic attacks, a part of Miia’s abdomen tears off, flying towards me as a giant pallid snake. It’s a [Thanatos Serpent] from [Split Beast]! It seems she prepared it within her body so she could take me by surprise. The serpent opens its mouth and flies straight towards my chest.

『Tch…!』

I can’t evade it, so I’ve no choice but to be bitten. If I tried to evade before attacking again, she’d be able to set up her [Eclipse] protection.

“I made an opportunity, it seems. Alright, [Death].”

『Uu…』

Should I attack, or should I withdraw? Before I can decide that, I instinctually pull my body back. The black light of [Death] expands right in front of me.

In that moment, the haze of black light morphs into a sphere, and covers the thanatos’ body completely. It’s the absolute protection of [Eclipse].

“To think that you’d come attacking before coming up with a plan to deal with [Death]. Well, you probably didn’t have any other choice.”

…Miia’s [Death] perfectly captures treant’s weak point. Treant’s HP, defence, and regenerative power being excellent, he can only fight at his best when he can make good use of it to receive his opponents’ attacks. However, [Death] ignores all of his HP, defence, and regenerative power. It’s only effective against lower ranks, but as he doesn’t have very strong magic, his life could easily be taken away if one of those strikes him.

When she used [Death] to keep me in check, I had no choice but to pull back. I knew she would use it, but as Miia said, I couldn’t think of any convenient way to deal with it. I could only charge on haphazardly.

『Master-dono… I’m sorry… It’s my fault…』

Treant mumbles with regret.

『No, we still have time!』


I put strength into my greatsword, and it shines with the light of magic. If I use [Flash that Drives Away the Darkness], I might be able to break through the defence of even the magic bulwark of [Eclipse]. I have no choice but to use a large swing to increase the momentum of my sword, but if it’s before the barrage of rays appears, it shouldn’t be difficult to cut into it.

Of course, that is, if I can make it in time.

Thick rays of black light shoot out and close in on me. I sharply decrease my altitude as I fall back.

Failing to avoid them, half of my right wing is torn off. If I had been slower in acting, my body would have been completely consumed by the black magic power. While I somehow restore my wing with [Autoregeneration], I desperately make full use of my flight ability to dart around, so as to avoid being caught by [Eclipse].

I didn’t make it in time… Treant is forced to maintain his [Undying Regeneration] until he has only 1% of his MP left. In this state, we’ll reach our limits while Miia does nothing but wait inside her [Eclipse].

She’ll fully recover her HP, and then will emerge once treant’s MP is exhausted. Aro will also run out shortly as a result of [Darkness Kaleidoscope]. Once she does, we won’t have any good solution to deal with Miia’s inexhaustible supply of [Split Beasts].

In addition, I had one wing destroyed by [Eclipse] when I tried my sink-or-swim assault. I’m holding it together with [Autoregeneration], but my flight ability is still affected. It’s questionable whether I can take distance from [Eclipse] in this state.

I didn’t have the leeway to take caution when [Eclipse] activated. However, [Eclipse] is a powerful shield, and a weapon at the same time as well. Not only did I let her get away with activating it at point-blank range, I received a blow from it immediately too. This situation can only be said to be the worst.

Miia’s combat ability is way too strong with her full stats… This battle might be the time I’ve most keenly felt such a large difference in ability in my life. I’m somehow fighting on thanks to treant and Aro, but even so, it doesn’t look like I can keep going much further. It might have been impossible from the start for me to win against Miia.

…I should run away. Miia’s speed is greater than mine, but if I charge up the stairs with [Roll], she might not give chase. It’s a gamble, and even if by some chance we escape, Miia will probably hunt us down.

If I flee poorly, the situation will only get worse. However, all our paths to victory are already gone.

『Ugh…』

The [Eclipse] rays pass right in front of my eyes. As I thought, I can’t use my right wing properly right now. I forcibly halt my movement and flip around, changing my trajectory.

However, seizing that chance, another ray closes in from the opposite side. I can’t evade. I can probably endure one blow using the [Perseverance of a Champion] skill, but I won’t be able to continue after. I’ll get hit by follow-up attacks before I can regenerate my fully burnt body.

Suddenly, treant uses his wooden roots to kick off of my body, leaping forward. His body expands rapidly, returning to the full size of a world treant. My field of vision is covered by his.

『I will take on this one blow, at any cost…! Master-dono, somehow, please correct the situation in this interval…!』

The black ray of light assaults treant with no mercy. A large hole opens up on his back, and his whole body is covered by the black light.

『Treantt!』

His body falls towards the ground. It looks like he’s still barely alive, but even his [Undying Regeneration] restorative ability appears to have reached its limit. The blue light coming off his body is completely gone.

『It’s just an attempt, but… I’m returning it! [Fairy Hex]!』

The falling treant opens his eyes wide. Black rays of light shoot out from him, and hurtle towards the black [Eclipse] sphere as if to absorb it.

[Fairy Hex] is a counter skill against magic attacks.

【Characteristic Skill [Fairy Hex]】
【Whenever a direct magic attack is received, fairies living inside the tree will return the same kind of magic.】
【Irrespective of the user’s magical strength, the returned magic will be the same power as the received magic.】
【The magic produced by this skill has high directionality, and only targets the attacker.】

Miia’s actual body has perfect endurance versus darkness attribute attacks. However, the [Eclipse] bulwark isn’t like that. In addition, that bulwark should be roughly the same kind as the rays of black light. [Dimension Claw] didn’t show signs of penetrating it, but if it’s the [Fairy Hex] that can maintain the same firepower, it might be able to break through even that bulwark.

The black light continues to crash into the [Eclipse] bulwark for almost an entire second.

Then, cracks race through the [Eclipse] bulwark, and it bursts open. The giant frame of the thanatos is blasted back by counteracting [Eclipses], and smacks into the wall of the tower.




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