|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3052 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1550 words|
After an announcement from the guild master and the governor, the citizens began evacuating the city one after another. They could not take all their possessions with them, so they only carried their valuables as they left. As the city turned emptier, the guards began patrolling the streets all day and night to deter looters from stealing anything.
Before the evacuation began, the governor had also warned everyone that if someone was caught looting, they would receive capital punishment, so unless one had no care for their own life, there would be hardly any looters. Though I was also curious if the punishment would be applied after the commotion was over or as soon as they got caught.
While the guards were busy watching over the evacuees and patrolling the streets, we also had our own things to take care of in the guild and were in no way idle. Those who could use magic were building bulwarks of dirt to protect themselves while the other adventurers tended to their equipment to make sure it was all ready and distributed healing items. As a staff of the guild, I was busy storing important documents for the guild.
“I wonder how Karin and Ciel are doing…”
The two volunteered to fight in the front lines. After I trained them in the mountains, I did not think they would come down so easily, but I was still worried. I told them that if things got too hard, to run away without looking back, but I knew them enough to realize they would attempt something reckless either way. As I wished for them to return safely, I continued working.
§ § §
We were currently on a slightly elevated hill close to the dungeon. A small troop of adventurers that could attack from long-range was standing-by here, together with some close-range fighters to defend us. A couple of adventurers who could move quickly had entered the dungeon to carry out the dangerous mission of scouting the state of the enemy. Our turn would begin once they had confirmed the position of the flood of monsters.
“This is a bit nerve-wracking isn’t it?”
“Yeah…does your body also feel somewhat stiff? Though we really should calm down for this.”
“I know that, but even then…this is the first time I’m fighting together with such a large group, I’m a bit scared.”
I had gone on adventures together with her countless times so I knew her personality very well. She had a strong heart and was always smiling and trying to cheer up her comrades, even if the odds were against us. But even she was trembling now. I wanted to relieve her stress, but I was not in better shape myself, my mind constantly clouded by worry. After all, I could barely imagine how strong the enemies were to them to take out an entire party of gold rank adventurers.
(How effective will our attacks be against enemies so strong…)
I took a quick glance around. There were around fifty adventurers here, which was quite an impressive number, but most of them were intermediate iron rank adventurers. Some of them were new bronze rank adventurers too. It really did not feel like a reliable fighting force.
“Our mission is only to divert and slow them down, the soldiers and higher ranked adventurers in the city will deal the actual damage to them. Don’t expose yourselves too much until then.”
“I really hope it does go that way…”
Everyone knew that anything could happen once the fight began. Karin understood too, but she refused to mention it, probably in an attempt to calm herself down.
No one spoke a single word more. It was as if all the adventurers there could not afford to waste their energy in senseless banter. Earlier reports from the scouting team confirmed that the monsters had already filled the dungeon up to the first floors, so it would not be long until it began overflowing. My thoughts kept going back and forth between wishing they would hurry up and come out already, and wishing they would never come out, until a loud shout coming from an adventurer that ran out from the dungeon broke that cycle.
“They’re here! They’re about to come out! Everyone get ready!”
The adventurers readied their weapons all at once. I also reaffirmed my grip on my beloved cane while Karin unsheathed her sword in anticipation of the enemy attack.
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Small pebbles on the ground began jumping before the entire ground began shaking. At first, I thought that this was really awful timing for an earthquake to happen, but I soon saw that I was mistaken. The source of the shaking was the flood of monsters that crept out of the dungeon and began heading our way.
“This can’t be true!”
There were too many of them! There were at least two hundred monsters that were moving towards us while raising blood-curdling screams. That was enough to thoroughly demoralize all the bronze rank adventurers and even some of the iron rank ones began preparing to flee. A strong feeling that at this rate we would be unable to buy any time at all ran through my mind, so I leaped to the front lines with my cane ready in my hand.
“I’ll use my magic!”
We would be useless if we did not delay them at least a tiny bit. I pointed my cane forward while clearing my mind to begin chanting my magic. Thanks to my training with Lapis, now I was unbelievably faster to cast spells that carried many times the power of my old spells. For this situation I chose a fire spell, a small fireball sprouting from the tip of my cane and increasing in size as my chant continued until it reached around half a meter in diameter.
“O fire! Scorch them all!”
I focused my magic power as I shouted and released the large fireball, letting it build momentum before it crashed straight into the mob of monsters. The fire spread from the first monster hit to those around him, enveloping their frontline in a sea of flames. Some monsters fell with loud cries, others began running crazily while still on fire, spreading the flames to even more monsters and starting chaos there.
“That’s incredible! Not even silver rank adventurers are this powerful!”
“You’re amazing missy!”
I felt happy being told that, but I did not have time to spare and gloat over the compliments. The monsters caught in the fire went silent and were consumed by the flames like dead trees. That attack had done quite a number on them, but the other monsters paid no attention to them, stepping over their bodies as they continued moving forward.
“This is no time to watch standing still! We should also do our part!”
“Let’s do this!”
Other adventurers readied their bows and began shooting at the monsters while the magicians used whichever magic they were most proficient at and unleashed it on the monsters. But even with all that, the monsters showed no signs of stopping. While all adventurers that had the means to attack from a distance did all they could, a couple of fast monsters had closed the distance considerably, so the adventurers stationed for our defense headed to deal with them, with Karin spearheading the group.
The monsters were led by undead ones, but the monsters we were encountering were quite varied. They were probably all the monsters that originally had inhabited the dungeon. The orcs and kobolds Karin and the rest of that group were slaying were also common inside the dungeon.
With them protecting us, we kept unleashing all the attacks we could, but the leading group of monsters moved on around the small hill we were standing on and continued past us. By then, I had already used all the magic I had, the other magicians were the same, the other adventurers were also running out of spears and arrows. Many adventurers in Karin’s group had also suffered severe wounds, so there was not much fight left in us.
“That’s it for us! If we keep standing here, the next wave will drown us out and no one will survive!”
“Retreat! We have to go back! And don’t leave any wounded! We can’t let any of us die here!”
Following the orders of the leader adventurer, we gathered all the strength we had left and begun retreating. All the remaining arrows were shot at the monster trying to follow us, while other adventurers lent their shoulders to the wounded and carried them to escape. Once we had put enough distance between us and the main flood of monsters, the few monsters in our pursuit seemed hesitant to get too separated from their flock and went back. It was only then that we were able to finally plop down in the ground and breathe in relief.
Those monsters were headed straight to the city where we all lived, so…would the city still be there when we returned…? Thoughts like that inundated my mind, but I did not voice any of them.