Volume 7 Chapter 3 Part 2
“Yes. There were no survivors among the local forces, so we don’t know how the battle went. A scouting unit, however, went to check on the occupied city. They said that some places were not only covered in sand, but some houses were almost sinking into the sand.”
Zero survivors. In that case, we can’t expect any intel about the battle itself. All we can do is make an educated guess from the current situation.
“Is it sandy around the city?” I asked.
“No, only ordinary forests and grasslands. We don’t know where the sand came from, but I think it’s probably their magic or something. I believe our Intelligence Unit is calling the enemy that occupied Raijis the ‘Sand Unit’.”
If there’s no sandy soil around, wind-type magic might not be the culprit. In that case, it’s a spell that directly materializes sand. But I don’t see the reason of using just any sand magic. If it’s the kind that you use against a battalion of five hundred people, and leave sand in its wake, I can only think one spell.
“I think it’s a magic spell called Sandstorm.”
“I’ve never heard of such a spell before. The name suggests creating a storm of sand.”
As expected, they don’t know about it. There’s nothing strange about the king having no knowledge about the Skill. After all, Sandstorm is a high-level Skill available to Sages, and an unusual method is required to acquire it.
You don’t acquire Sandstorm by just uttering it or spending Skill points. You learn it only after undergoing special training in the desert. It’s a pretty handy spell to have, but I never learned it because of the time and effort it takes to acquire it. Compared to other Skills that you learn simply by uttering the Skill number, this one’s way more effort than it’s worth.
That probably ended up as a good thing for the Empire. Humans in this world don’t know how to acquire magic through ‘normal methods’ like uttering Skill numbers. On the other hand, there could be records of acquiring them through special methods, like training or something.
“Yeah, but it’s far from a normal sandstorm, though. Even wearing goggles, visibility is limited to ten centimeters, and you’ll be pushed down by the gust, and if you fall, you’ll be buried in the sand and suffocate to death. It has a wide area of effect, and without any countermeasures, a single Sandstorm can wipe out an entire battalion.”
“Th-That sounds horrible. Can you even counter it?”
“Yeah, there’s a few methods you can use. One of them is just brute strength. A warrior class or someone extremely sturdy can withstand the pressure of the sandstorm. Once you get out of the area of effect, the sandstorm is pretty much gone.”
Like Steam Explosion, Sandstorm has no function to prevent friendly fire or self-destruction. The caster, then, has to cast the Skill in a location away from himself, i.e., you just have to close the distance to the caster to avoid the sandstorm. Of course, the enemy should be aware of such a weakness, but if you’re not tough enough to withstand the sandstorm and push through it, closing the distance is not easy.
“Brute strength, you say?” the king said. “If there was someone strong among the local forces, they would not have been wiped out.”
“True. Just having a tough body is not enough to endure the sandstorm. The spell is that powerful. You can only hold your ground with the help of powerful defensives Skills. If the enemy’s really strong, even Mylia might not be able to handle it.”
“Mylia… Do you mean the Flame Spear?”
Oh, so he knows about Mylia too. I couldn’t think of any other good examples, so I just mentioned her, but I’m glad he got the idea.
“Yup, that Mylia. I guess even the king knows about adventurers with aliases.”
“Not everyone of them, no, but the Flame Spear is famous. There’s even talks that she’s the strongest A-rank adventurer in terms of ability. To top it off, she’s done incredible feats the past year.”
The past year would mean right after the battle with Cardinal Georgis ended. Mylia was already at a high level to begin with, plus she used efficient Skill combos. She also has an amazing advanced class called Hero (called special class in this world). I would not be surprised if she was deemed the strongest among adventurers.
“If the Flame Spear can’t withstand the Sandstorm, brute strength doesn’t sound that reliable. You seem to be stronger than the Flame Spear, but you’re not exactly the type to push through using brute force, right?”
“Yup. If she can’t withstand the spell, then I can’t. Simply impossible. I might be able to at least escape, but I can’t push through. No way.”
Heroes have an excellent defensive Skill called Over Guard that they can use to counter a Sandstorm. A Sage’s Magic Veil is on the same level in terms of an instant defense boost, but it’s not good against spells that last for a long time such as Sandstorm, as it drains mana at a tremendous rate while under attack. Mobility Skills also don’t work well in a Sandstorm.
“Well, if you take the enemy down before they cast the spell, you’re good. So yeah, that’s the best way to deal with it. There are many ways to deal with a guy who only has one powerful spell in their arsenal.”
“Very reassuring. The enemy sounds incredibly strong, but I can’t imagine an opponent that you can’t beat.”
“We’ll do what we can. I can’t say for sure that we can defeat them, though.”
If the Sandstorm’s caster has a greater variety of magic and better combat skills than me, there’s no way I can win. No point in talking about countermeasures at that point if the enemy is just way stronger. Then again, if the ability of Cardinal Georgis’ army and those who came to take the royal palace is anything to go by, there’s a low chance that the enemy’s Sage has mastered the class.