|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2719 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1448 words|
The restraining group seemed to be hard at work as the monsters that made it this far were rather small in number. There were at least a few dozen monsters that were covered in wounds as well. Thanks to their efforts in giving us more time, we had been able to organize a not quite perfect but still decent line of defense.
First, we had magicians deform the terrain, so that instead of being flat it elevated sharply on the sides, so it would form a bottleneck for the large flood of monsters. Afterward, the guards of the city built multiple barricades in regular intervals going away from the gates so they would tank most of the damage. The barricades did not cover the whole width of the passage though, being offset to the left and right, creating a zig-zag pattern. That was done so that when the monsters passed through, they would get diverted into smaller groups and arrive at the exact places we wanted them to be at. We would then stand on the elevated ground around the passage and attack the monsters, shaving away their numbers.
Everything was going as planned. On the elevation, the adventurers from the city as well as a few from other guilds who offered their help prepared for the attack, eagerly waiting for the order to engage. Feeling the reliability coming from them, I unsheathed the sword dangling from my belt and after raising it, I swung it down.
“Commence the attack!”
“Let’s do this!”
“Hit’em where it hurts!”
The adventurers roared as they began relentlessly attacking the monsters. Different types of magic crossed paths, flames and explosions burst up everywhere, arrows and spears soared through the air, painting a mesmerizing scene of a multitude of hues and lights, but the destruction it brought forth could only be compared with hell.
Monsters as they were, they still were overtaken by chaos and confusion when facing the arrows, stones, spears and other attacks that headed their way. The monsters coming behind them had no choice but to keep moving forward, so they walked over the dead bodies of their companions and ran past them towards the barricades, where the awaiting soldiers increased the death toll on the enemies even more.
But the monsters would not go down without putting up a fight. Some realized that they would only get stopped by moving forward, so they began climbing the sides of the passages to reach the hills with the adventurer’s camps, while others picked up the spears that pierced their kin and began throwing them back. Ogres began using their large clubs to knock away the spears from the soldiers, creating an opening for goblins and kobolds to sneak past and attack the soldiers from close range.
After around an hour, the battle turned more fierce. We had organized shifts for everyone beforehand, so those heavily wounded could be taken to the back lines while others took their places. Thanks to that, we still had not seen a single death, but everyone was aware that even that could change with time.
“At this rate…”
I felt the strength behind my sword begin to wane at moments. The adventurers fighting alongside me were drenched in sweat and blood, their breaths ragged, but continuing to fight no matter what. They had gone over their bodies’ limits, fighting with willpower alone now. We had defeated half the monsters, but there was still another half left. And on top of that, their leader was still on the loose. At this rate, our only option would be to take a chance at breaking through their front line all at once… As soon as I began planning that, my worst prediction was proven right.
“Master! Over there!”
One adventurer called to me as he pointed somewhere, when my eyes followed his finger, I felt like looking up to plead to the heavens while cursing my bad luck. There was one monster behind the entire flood with a different color. A quick look confirmed the presence of a distinct miasma flowing out from it. Looking at it caused an overwhelming pressure to take hold of my heart. Its body looked like a skeleton, its bony fingers covered in multiple rings glistening with a bewitching shine. A black robe, darker than the night itself covered his body. That was without doubt a-
“It’s a Lich…”
The monster also known as the ruler of the undead had appeared in front of us.
“Call the priests! We’ll proceed as planned!”
The adventurer in charge of relaying messages forced his wounded body to move and ran to the backlines. Now that the identity of the undead leader was known, we would have the priests stop their work as healers and move to the front lines to be our trump card against the Lich.
Even though the situation was this bad, we had to forget about healing and prioritize our use of the blessings from the gods to attack the Lich. As I saw the Lich get closer, I noticed I had instinctively taken a few steps back. The other adventurers were cowering in fear, trembling with clattering teeth.
Noticing the effect the Lich had on me, who had encountered many powerful foes in the past, I could not blame the iron class adventurers for reacting that way. But we still had to hold out and buy enough time for the priests to finish chanting. We had to do our best to stop the monsters from getting any closer until the holy magic was ready to be cast.
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I grit my teeth, then rallied up my allies with a loud voice.
“Don’t fear! If we let them trample over us here, everything will be over! Defeating monsters and taking their spoils home with us is the essence of our work! That skeleton is worth a thousand gold coins to whoever defeats it! Show me what you’ve got!”
“I’ll take those rings home!”
“It’s our job to kill monsters! We can’t lose here!”
The adventurers began roaring courageously again. Keeping a close watch on the Lich that slowly crept closer, they desperately swung their swords, threw their spears and shot their arrows.
Just moments ago the front line was about to fall back, but now they had managed to turn things around and were once again pushing on the monsters. The moment I thought things were on good tracks again, I saw the Lich raise its hand and swing it effortlessly.
Something that could only be described as a black shockwave emanated from it, approaching us at neck-breaking speed. Before I was able to raise my voice, many adventurers threw themselves to the ground to evade it just as the shockwave passed across them.
The black wave clouded my vision. I had been able to avoid a direct hit, but my body was still shaking and I felt incredibly nauseous. That was a sign of my body rejecting the miasma I had just been hit by. Adventurers began collapsing all around me. I was barely holding on, supporting my body on my sword pierced on the ground, but I had no confidence that I would be able to resist another attack like that. But as my luck would have it, the Lich still held its hand up, ready to unleash a second attack.
When I had already given any hope up, knowing it was all useless, a streak of light came from the sky and bathed the scenery around me white. That warm and gentle light enveloped me and easily restored my strength to live. All the wounds I had received to that point were healed as well, strength returning to my muscles.
This could only be…Holy Magic. Many priests came forward, praying to their respective gods and expelling the evil magic while also healing the wounds of their allies. The time we had fought so much to buy for them had paid off and they had finished their chants.
Any average undead monster would vanish from reality just by touching that light, so even the Lich would be unable to ignore it entirely… Everyone looked forward thinking that, but the Lich was still standing inside the light, its hand making a quick and careless swing.
A dry and high pitched noise rang and all the light shattered. The Holy Magic the priests had brought forth with so much effort and pride was cast aside effortlessly, without leaving even a single scratch on the Lich after it waved its hand, as if it was just knocking aside a small bug.