Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
Probably a whole hour passed since the fight began.
Can’t tell how accurate that number is since measuring time isn’t my main priority at the moment. If I ask Luna she might even be able tell how many seconds have passed, but asking that will probably only make us feel even more exhausted.
The fight with Dark Skeleton was still continuing.
Taking turns fighting in the vanguard, we gradually deal damage.
Usually, unless the difference in power is too great, it’s pretty common to fight boss class monsters for an hour or two.
At times it even takes a whole day.
Dark Skeleton shows no signs of weakening or exhaustion. Not sure if it’s because he is a monster or bones, in any case, pretty enviable from our point of view, as our fatigue keeps piling up from the long fight.
Luna pulled out a potion and took a sip.
The rear is also busy with casting all this time, so it’s only natural that it will begin to get to them as well.
Still, we couldn’t make up our minds on retreating. The reason being, the fight was going better than expected.
If the opponent was clearly stronger, I wouldn’t hesitate to retreat.
But right now……
Marius unleashed his sword from the sheath. His prided iai, but this time the trajectory was slightly different.
Dark Skeleton already grew used to it by this point, so Marius changed it on purpose, to confuse the enemy.
If I was attacked by that I also probably wouldn’t be able to react in time due to the initial surprise.
Going past the sword that Dark Skeleton raised up to guard himself, the katana went towards his chest
Shards of the magic stone fly into the air.
Dark Skeleton’s weak points are his eyes and heart. Damaging his magic stone is probably the way to go, but it’s pretty sturdy. It’s probably working in the same way as our outer shells.
We surely dealt it some damage, but there is no telling how much.
If his movements slowed down, or like it happens with some monsters, he entered some kind of enraged mode, we could make a judgment on that.
Arika and Luna are drinking water. During that time I defend from Dark Skeleton’s attack especially carefully.
Everyone is using recovery items when a chance shows.
Then, Dark Skeleton stepped back.
Pulling back his sword he is gathering magic power into it.
He is going to release a chain of wind slashes. A technique somewhat similar to the skill 『Slash』that humans can use.
「I will erase some of them.」
「I will block a few.」
「If they will get through anyway, I will take it. Ready recovery magic.」
Marius put the katana back into the sheath and took a similar stance.
Rafan closed her eyes, as if in prayer.
The slashes are incoming.
Marius released a few slashes of his own, negating some of them.
Those that went through anyway, were blocked with Rafan’s『Protection Shield』.
Then, I blocked those that broke through the barrier with the shield.
The shockwave staggered me. Even so, the impact isn’t that bad, since it was greatly lessened by my comrades.
「I will tank him. Marius, use this time to recover. Rafan, protect the rear, Sinanis, attack when I give a signal. Luna and Arika, prepare support magic.」
「Master, I’m nervous about the attacks. I will buff Sinanis-sama with wind magic, to improve his evasion.」
「Got it. Sinanis, attack as soon as you receive the buff.」
「Rude-sama, I will cast a buff for defense.」
「Got it, please do.」
Everyone understood their tasks and immediately began executing them.
It reminds me of parties that worked together for long years.
Sinanis and his teammates also look a lot more confident.
Such reliable comrades.
And what’s even more important, they are following my instructions, putting their trust in me.
On the other hand, it also means that if something goes wrong then it was my screw up.
While it’s accompanied with a heavy responsibility, the position of a leader is quite fun.
Stepping forward I repeatedly use Taunt.
I dodge a vertical slash from Dark Skeleton at the last moment.
It was immediately followed by a horizontal slash, which I block with the shield.
Gradually retreating I pull him to a different location. Sinanis observes from the side, waiting for his chance.
Then, he noticed a buff.
At the same time, I also was surrounded by mysterious magic.
「Sinanis, do it.」
He made a short nod and immediately leaped at the enemy.
Like a wolf on its prey. Using that short opportunity, Sinanis slashed at the enemy.
With the attack hitting Dark Skeleton in the chest, it once again sends red splinters flying.
Staggered, he sunk to the ground for a moment. But then, his blue eyes immediately shone.
His head turned to Sinanis.
He might be extremely pissed, but it doesn’t matter. Protecting them is my duty, Sinanis put his all into that attack, believing in me.
I get close while using Taunt.
And then slash at Dark Skeleton, making sure he notices me.
As one would expect, Dark Skeleton wouldn’t just take an attack without doing anything.
If he sees my sword he surely would act.
As expected, Dark Skeleton ignored Sinanis, and turned to me. Taunt probably affected this as well.
Breathing a small sigh I concentrate.
During long battles, one has to know when to relax and when to exert oneself. Humans can’t maintain 100% concentration all the time.
I’m taking it easy when others are pressing with attacks.
Sinanis is also getting better at understanding when he should concentrate.
Sinanis fell back and took a sip from his flask. At the same time, Arika was using water magic to refill other flasks.
Marius was pouring water on his head. After slapping his cheeks with both hands he looked able to return to battle at any moment.
Then, next, we should……
The moment I thought that my leg sank into the ground.
Mud. Damn it. Sweat ran down my cheeks as an instant realization of the situation flashed in my head.
The battle dragged for so long that I made a mistake I usually would never make.
Instantly the brain made the decision. If I break down, then the collapse of the whole party is imminent.
「Luna, immediately get ready the magic for escape!」
The next second after I shouted that, I was hit by Dark Skeleton’s sword.
What followed was the pain and loss of almost all of my remaining outer shell. Almost all.
Recovery magic was immediately cast on me. The follow-up attack that I expected wasn’t coming.
Raising my head I see Rafan, Sinanis, and Marius fighting Dark Skeleton.
Beside me was Luna, helping me to stand up. And at the same time, pushed a salty candy into my mouth.
「Rest for now! You kept fighting non-stop!」
Sinanis shouted, jumping around the boss.
Failing the landing he planted his face into the mud, and then laughed, covered in dirt.
「You are the one to pass the last judgment. But you’ve been charging that attack all this time. You aren’t going to say『I’m too tired to land it』now, right?」
Both Marius and Sinanis were buying time, smiling.
……Indeed, I kept giving priority to the rest of my comrades and forgot to take it myself.
Taking water from Luna I’m trying to regain some of my stamina.
My head cooled down a bit.
The body also feels a bit lighter.
I look towards Marius and others.
The attacks of Dark Skeleton grow more and more furious.
Looking from a distance, I now see that the Dark Skeleton is very badly damaged.
……Is he getting impatient?
A sense of panic could be felt from his attacks. As if he was pressed for time.
Which might mean that he doesn’t have that much strength left.
While Sinanis is more agile than ever. I can clearly see that his perception is getting better.
I recovered enough to land the last attack for sure.
「Thank you, I can return to fight.」
「Then, we will open the path. Rude, finish him.」
Marius looked at Sinanis, to which he responded with a nod.
Rafan and Sinanis fell back, while Marius charged.
He slashes at Dark Skeleton in fast motions.
All of the attacks were light, almost as if he was provoking him. However, as if enraged by that, Dark Skeleton slashed down at Marius.
Marius evaded by jumping to the side. Right after that Sinanis closed the distance.
Before Dark Skeleton regained his balance, Sinanis got him in the left eye.
Dark Skeleton staggered, bending back, and then made another downward slash.
Sinanis blocked it with his sword but was pushed back.
Marius followed with iai. The sword of Dark Skeleton is up in the air.
The magic stone in his core area is exposed. Receiving a buff from Luna I rush to him.
「Do it, Rude!」
Marius shouted. The blue eyes of Dark Skeleton shone faintly.
Did he realize his defeat?
Charged with the skill, my sword hit him without any resistance. Piercing through his chest it shattered the magic stone.
The body of Dark Skeleton slowly dissipated, leaving behind two magic stones.
Both of quite high purity. I picked them up from the ground, both stones transparently clean.
The labyrinth that was enveloped by absolute silence suddenly turned very loud.
「Rude! We did!」
Marius jumped at me, putting his hand around my shoulders.
How annoying, right after the battle. I tried to push his hand away, but this time even Sinanis did the same.
「……I’m tired. Let me rest.」
「What are you talking about! This is the time to cheer!」
「That’s right, Rude!」
They roughly slap me on the shoulders.
……I’m happy as well.
Evading their hands I reply with a smile.