|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3301 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1530 words|
The Lich continued attacking. There were many openings for us to counterattack, but every time we tried, we met strong counterattacks from it as well, which demoralized us even more. It appeared it had gained a taste for tormenting us, as it stopped all its minions from attacking and only allowed itself to deal damage to us.
I was sent flying together with an adventurer I had been together with for a long time. I had already lost count of how many times I had fallen to the ground like this. My breath was ragged as I lifted my upper body. By now, even thinking felt like too much work. The Lich chose the spots it attacked carefully, aiming at the parts of my body that were still largely untouched. Thanks to that, I felt my entire body being assaulted by pain.
I forced my aching body to stand on my knees and I surveyed my surroundings, there was not a single person left standing, our fighting strength was practically zero. We would either be killed by the Lich now, or be fed alive to the monsters. The defense strategy we built had turned into utter defeat. I could only hope that the few people remaining in the city could escape safely… When I thought that, a giant fireball came flying from one side without any warning.
The fireball was many times larger than that an average magician could muster, flying straight into the monsters that were mocking us just moments earlier and exploding into a large mass of flames and heat that irradiated all around there. The center of the explosion being the Lich itself.
The monsters closest to the explosion were charred completely, not even leaving bones or other remains, those who did not die instantly, began running around spreading the flames indiscriminately before collapsing on the ground. One armed troop opened a path through the chaos the monsters were plunged into.
“Don’t underestimate adventurers!”
It turned out to be the group that had gone ahead to stop the monsters’ advance. Even though they had completed their mission, they took the risk of coming here to help us. I felt my heart warming up when I realized that.
“Is everyone okay?! Master!”
Ciel came running to me and lent me her shoulder so I could stand. She had also been the source of the earlier fireball. Just when did she get so skilled… Her magic was much stronger than the average of any iron rank adventurer.
“We have no losses, but doubt there’s anyone who’s not wounded now. I’ll be okay, so focus on carrying anyone who can’t stand and flee this place!”
“It’s okay. The enemies are undead, right? Then my magic-”
‘Hmm. That was quite powerful, but not enough to affect me.’
The Lich had been engulfed by the flames, but now it calmly walked out of them unscathed. Even though the fireball packed so much heat in it, the Lich appeared as strong as before, not even a scratch present on its body. The realization that her magic had been completely useless made Ciel’s face drain of any color.
“That can’t be… I thought fire was a counter element to them?”
“…Not even the priests’ holy magic had any effect on it. Ciel, I’m telling you again. Take everyone and run from here.”
‘Heheheh… I won’t let you escape, not even a single one of you… Hm?’
The Lich’s arm was swinging down again, but it changed trajectories halfway and changed into a horizontal swipe. A black shockwave spread around him, sending even some of the monsters flying into the air. But there was one adventurer who skillfully dodged the incoming attack and charged towards the Lich with blades in both hands.
Her blades were emitting a soft glow. What is that? Karin readied her blades and cut straight through the monsters attempting to protect the Lich. Her skills were amazing, I did not remember her being so strong, and her blades were neither famous nor magic blades, but she was still really strong.
The Lich mainly used magic attack, so if she got that close to it, there was not much it could do to defend itself. The tides were about to be overturned in a single sweep…but it did not happen in the end, Karin’s blades could not reach the Lich.
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‘Heheh… That was a close one, little girl.’
Karin ought to have been attacking an open spot. First Ciel had created a wall of flames, the Lich then lowered its guard when passing through it and Karin would exploit that moment. Their timing had been pretty much perfect, but for some reason, her blades had been deflected by a staff the Lich materialized out of nothing.
The Lich hit Karin with the staff, sending her flying like a small pebble, it was hard to imagine it would have so much strength in its bony body. The adventurers that tried stepping in to protect her were also hit by another black shockwave.
“Keh! In this case I should finish it in a single-”
“No! Run Ciel!”
When Ciel saw how Karin had been pushed away, she began chanting another attack, but the Lich would not allow that as it knocked us away once again.
The adventurers who had just come to help without regard to their own wellbeing, as well as the adventurers who had started to feel hopeful again, were hit and thrown on the ground all the same. This was it… As vexing as it was, we were just human and had no way to resist a being so powerful. Everyone else had also given up, lying sprawled on the ground with their eyes fixed on the Lich, the being that would bring death to all of us.
‘Heheheh… That’s good. It feels good. Seeing a budding hope for salvation crumbling in front of your eyes, that’s the most exquisite feeling. However…I’m growing tired of this as well. I’ll take my leave here to search for a new and fresh offering to me.’
The skeleton laughed creepily. It appeared to be ready to finally end our lives. What could only be described as a conglomerate of shadows formed a sphere on its staff which grew increasingly larger. I did not know what type of magic that was, but I was convinced it was stronger than any I had seen until then, and that it was capable of severing the lives of everyone there.
‘Well then, this was entertaining, humans.’
The large orb was launched. Feeling death so close to me, I closed my eyes and tried to prepare myself for the attack. Yet…the attack never arrived. I hesitantly opened my eyes and was greeted with a scene I would have never imagined.
“I’m sorry for the delay, Master.”
I saw Lapis, the new recruit who had only recently started working at the guild. She was part of the healing team in the back lines, so why is she here now? And more importantly, how is it possible that she’s single handedly stopping the attack from the Lich?! I knew her swordsmanship was above my own, but did this mean she was also really proficient at magic?!
‘…Hmm? Who are you? How dare you stop my-‘
“I’ll take care of this one.”
She interrupted the Lich’s words as she crushed the black orb she had stopped with her bare palm. But the most surprised one had to be the Lich, seeing how she literally crushed its power, which until moments before it had use to torture all of us.
‘What was that? Tell me! What is that power?!’
“…I’m sorry, but I’m not in the mood to chit chat with you. I’ll get rid of you in an instant.”
Black pulses began emanating from the Lich’s entire body. The monster had finally decided to act seriously as the pressure I felt increased much more than earlier. But Lapis stood still, as if only feeling a breeze with her hair swaying behind her. This was dangerous, a Lich was not an enemy she could defeat by simply standing there like that. I forced my mangled body to move, trying to reach for her so she could escape, but when I got closer, her body vanished.
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I thought I heard the Lich say something, but when I turned to look at it, that skeletal body that had remained untouched until then was already knocked back. Lapis was standing on the place the Lich had been moments earlier, her leg lifted in a kicking pose.
The Lich bounced on the ground before crashing into the other monsters and starting to roll on the ground. Did she just do that with a single kick? Its position had reversed entirely, now it was the Lich’s turn to roll on the ground. There was no way for its skeletal head to show any expression, but I could tell it was housing an immeasurable amount of rage now.