Chapter 27 – Surprise Attack

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Author: Kaburagi Haruka Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Yuki English Source: Re:Library

They are still out of sight…… No wait――

「Vulturesー! 」

What appeared were large vulture-like monsters, and there were three of them.
The reason they were outside my detection field was that they aimed for the carriage from above.
Flying along the highway allowed them to avoid obstacles, making their attacks swift and slick.

「Intercepting!」

In response to my warning, Michelle-chan and her parents shoot arrows towards them.
Still, aiming for vultures flying in the sky is not an easy feat. The more they aim upward, the higher the difficulty after all.
Finia and I stand in front ready to intercept the three approaching birds.

「Guuuaaaaa!」

Along with a strange screech, they descent with their talons aimed at us. I swing my katana to match the attack.
The katana has a much thinner and lighter blade compared to a normal sword.
The blade is specifically known for its sharpness, compensating for its lightweight with tremendous penetration force.
Even with my current strength, I could swing it with enough power to kill.

While dodging with bare minimum movements, I aimed at a part that has a lighter amount of feather…… well, that’s what I intended, but.
With my current speed, I was not able to hit it properly.

「Tsk! 」
「Nicole-sama, please withdraw!」
「I don’t think I’ll be able to!」

Answering back to Finia, I prepared for the next incoming attack from the vultures.
While I focused on melee attacks, Michelle-chan specialized in long-ranged attacks and is not at all trained in close-quarter combat.
Her father is a hunter and not well-versed in battles like this.
Right now I’m standing in front of them to act as bait, but if they draw the attention of the vultures, then things might become a bit complicated.
Because Finia only knows self-defense techniques, she is unable to properly cope with the attacks from the vultures.

Luckily, the vultures are only using straightforward attacks.
We should be able to deliver an attack if we wait for a chance.

The vultures dive down once more to attack.
I hold my sword in a straight stance and wait. Making sure to put all of my weight on the katana, I prepared for a forward strike.
A vulture approached and aimed its talons at me once more.
Waiting for the last moment to dodge its talons, I made sure to hit the vulture with all my power as I jumped to the side.

After the exchange, the vulture fell down to the ground.

That’s one down. There’s still two more to go.
It would be great if they continued this way, but they probably would change tactics. Even if they are bird-brained, they would still be able to remember attack patterns and change their strategies depending on the situation.
Well, if that happens all I could do is come up with another plan.

「Crimson One—, Ultramarine One—, Gold—. Strengthen like Steel!」
Using this technique, I strengthened the wool thread I carried in my pouch.

Just like what I have experienced earlier, my current agility is not enough to catch up to the vulture.
That’s why I plan to receive its attack to slow it down, even if its attack hits, it won’t be a fatal one.
And because of that, I need someone who can strike it down at that moment.

「Crimson One, Ultramarine One, Jade Two, Gold Three. Unleash and Improve the Power of Bows」
Jade represents the range, one means zero range. With this effect, I can strengthen both myself and my equipment.

This time I added an enhancement to Michelle-chan’s bow. Because the distance between us is a bit far, I needed to add extra magic power to activate it.
But this time, I properly adjusted it, it’s not the same as that time where I clumsily used magic power and exhaust myself.
Probably provoked by the flow of magic power, the vultures started their assault once more.

This time, one targeted me and the other one went for Finia.

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I took off my jacket and covered my hands with it.
This would serve as a cushion against the vulture’s talons.
Needless to say, it was impossible for children’s clothes to completely block the attack. It easily penetrated the jacket and damaged my arm.

「Guuu!」

I clenched my teeth from the severe pain and made sure not to let go of my weapon. A newbie with no experience on the battlefield might just release their weapon immediately.
Though none of that matters right now. The talons dug deeper into my jacket than expected and it refused to let go.

With my lightweight body, it was possible for the vulture to actually lift me up.
But I have also prepared methods to stop that.

The goal of the vultures is to secure food.
Then the lightest one among the group would serve as good bait.
Which is why it can be assumed that they will target me and lift me up just like this.

「Nicole-sama!?」

Seeing me slowly being lifted to the sky, Finia raised her voice in panic.
She was about to rush towards me and pull me down, but before that happened, the other vulture attacked her and stopped her attempt.
It’s fine, you know. If you came over here, then my calculation would be completely in disarray.

The vulture did its best to lift me as high and as fast as possible. But suddenly, it stopped ascending.
I was held down by a thread that was tied to the carriage.
It was the wool thread that I reinforced earlier. I tied this to the carriage in order to hold down my body.

The vulture was confused and didn’t understand what happened to make it stop ascending for a moment.
Using that gap, I pierced my blade at the base of its wings delivering as much damage as I could do. But since I’m only using one hand to attack, it was not really that effective.

However, that much is fine. My attack only serves as a bonus and the follow-up will be the real attack.
That’s because, during that moment, an arrow shot by Michelle-chan pierced through the skull of the vulture.
Strengthening the attack power of the arrow, it easily pierced through the hard skull of the vulture.
And as a result, the two of us are now falling down from as high as it had ascended.

The bonus attack from earlier wasn’t really meaningless as it managed to stop the vulture for a moment.
And though the height of the fall is not that high, I don’t know if my body could withstand it.
As a measure to at least break the fall, after pulling out the katana from the base of the vulture’s wing, I grabbed onto the vulture tightly and used the corpse as a cushion.

「Guha」

The impact from falling squeezed out air from my lungs.
My body ――especially my right hand―― hurts, but it’s not painful enough to immobilize me.
That’s because most of the impact was received by the vulture’s body during the fall.

The impact was successfully reduced and I was able to survive the crash landing. However, it’s not yet time to feel relieved. There is still one more…… and is currently fighting against Finia.
Looking at how their battle goes, Finia was able to properly block the attacks of the vulture using her dagger in a defensive stance.
During those moments, Michelle’s father steadily incurred minor damages by hitting it with arrows.
Doing it this way, they will probably be able to defeat it before I join the fight.
Rather than that, I think the situation would end up getting worse if I suddenly join the fight.

Finia is quite capable as a servant of Heroes.
Although not on the same level as Michelle and me, who received specialized training, she was still capable enough to hold a fight on her own.

After a while, the last vulture was finished off by Michelle-chan with a headshot, immediately killing it.

「Nicole-sama, are you alright!?」
「Un, I’m alright」
「Just what you are thinking! Please let me examine your hand!」

Immediately after the vulture was killed, Finia rushed towards me to check up the damage I received.
There were tears falling from her eyes, there was probably a bit of anger and self-loathing mixed in.

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「Ahh, to let you be hurt like this…… Nicole-sama’s pure skin……」

While leaking a coarse voice, she applied medicine on my arm and wrapped it in a bandage.
As a half-elf, she has a profound understanding of herbs and their effects.
A wound like this would not be considered deep, but it might probably leave a scar.

「If only I was more useful, I would have been able to prevent it…… Uuuu」
「No, I’m all right, you know」
「Please! Don’t try dangerous things like that again! If you do it again, then I will really cry!?」
「Ack, that would be a problem.」

Looking at Finia who is crying and not knowing if it’s from anger or sadness, I decided to never again do something that would make her this worried.



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