“Big 4, come help me!” Not satisfied with giving up so quickly, No.3 charged at the golem once more. This time however, he had learnt his lesson. Prior to impact, he transformed into an elemental state and tried to use his elemental energy to hurt the golem.
Infant Flame Devils weren’t able to fully turn themselves into flames. At the very most, their ability allowed them to only convert a limb or a portion of their body. Thus, No.3 changed his right arm into its elemental form before smashing down onto the one-armed golem’s head.
There were no explosions to be heard anywhere, all we heard was a faint splutter, like iron coming into contact with cotton. Seeing that, No.3 wasted no time in retreating right away, avoiding the golem’s counterattack in the process as he soared into the skies once more.
“Why is that piece of junk’s fire resistance so high…”
Whether it was his physical or elemental attacks, they had all failed in harming his opponent. Now sensing the vast difference between himself and the golem, No.3 tried to retreat but unfortunately for him, he had underestimated the golem once more.
With a thunderous creak, the golem bent its rocky joints and leaped into the sky, reaching an astounding height of over 10 meters despite its giant size. It had closed the gap between itself and the fleeing No.3 and instant. Using its last remaining arm, it easily caught both of No.3’s legs with a quick swipe. It was then that the golem reached the peak of its flight and because of its unimaginable weight, plummeted to the ground in an instant, bringing No.3 along with it…
Because No.3 had assumed that he had escaped, he wasn’t at all prepared for the giant’s sudden attack. Panicked, he desperately flapped his wings to try and break free of the golem’s grasp. Unfortunately for him, that tiny pittance of strength was nothing before the mighty weight and strength of the golem. His fate had been decided from the very moment he was caught.
Thankfully, his panic didn’t get the better of him as he managed to transform his two legs into flames at the crucial moment, narrowly breaking free just as the golem was about to impact the ground.
The golem came crashing down, in a shower of dust and fractured rocks. Having just rushed over, Big 4 reached for his waist and drew a black short sword he kept there. That was a weapon given to him by Mo Na not too long ago, after she had just crafted it from countless Flame Devouring Fishbones. With how refined it was, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it could even slice a strand of hair.
One had to know that, as of right now, the bones of said fiendish fishes were the most suitable crafting material we had found for weaponcrafting. By condensing hundreds of fishbones into one single short sword, the sharpness of its edge was indescribable.
Because such a powerful sword required so much materials, Mo Na was only able to create one sword, and that was given to Big 4 who was in charge of scouting ahead for us. Naturally, I wasn’t one to make such a statement based on feeling alone. Back when it was first crafted, I had it tested against the igneous rocks nearby and it performed spectacularly, cutting through the hardened rock like it was just tofu.
From that demonstration alone, one could tell how powerful the short sword was.
Yet when Big 4 forcefully stabbed at the head of that golem, the short sword merely slid past the rounded surface, causing a screeching sound amidst a shower of sparks, and nothing more…
‘The defenses of a Six-stars are formidable after all…to think that short sword isn’t even able to leave a scratch on it…at this rate, only my Shadowfang could possibly hope to stand against it.’
As I thought that, my eyes travelled down to the stump of its former arm before taking another look at the multitude of wounds carved into its body. I could tell that it must have gone through a vicious battle in the end: ‘Just how powerful was it in the past…’
Having failed to cause any damage despite his confident stab, the look on Big 4’s face immediately turned to one of shock after which it was blocked out by a forceful slap from that golem. Like a ping pong ball, Big 4 was sent flying over several miles away…
Not expecting this turn of events at all, Big 4 crashed into the ground with a resounding crunch before he could even come to his senses, mind still too addled to even try and climb to his feet after that. However, the golem wasn’t done with him at all. With a powerful kick of its legs, it charged towards the fallen devil, clearly not intending to let this newfound prey off the hook!
Seeing the two of them engaged in such a difficult battle, Sasani had no choice but to charge right into battle once more, with the intention of using himself as bait to give Big 4 some breathing time.
From his measured gallops and approach, I could tell that Sasani must have clashed with that golem before, and had probably suffered at its hands as well. Choosing not to face the golem head on, he circled around the lumbering construct while looking for a chance to launch a flanking strike.
Even though the one-armed golem was surprisingly speedy for its size, it wasn’t able to turn too well. Sasani knew that and was specifically exploiting this weakness to gallop around to the back of that golem before using his relatively more agile movements to leap on the golem’s back. Jaws wide open, he bit down viciously into the back of the golem’s neck, making sure to throw in a flame breath for good measure as well. And yet even this mighty attack was unable to pierce the defenses of that golem. With all his biting strength, Sasani was only able to leave a shallow scratch mark while the flames harmlessly scattered about in the air.
The golem flailed its upper half about in a frenzy, trying its best to dislodge the annoyance stuck on its back. However, Sasani’s vice-like jaws refused to let go and soon the two were locked in a heated wrestling match. On one hand, there was the golem who, because of the restrictions of its body, was unable to capture Sasani. On the other hand, there was Sasani who, while still unable to damage the golem at all, was still an annoying pest. For the time being, neither side was able to do a thing to the other.
Seeing that, No.3 took the bold move of resuming his attacks while circling around the golem. Although they still weren’t all that effective, they at least limited the movements of the golem somewhat.
“Sinmosa, if I rode on your back, can you guarantee that I won’t get swatted by that golem?” With how powerful that golem was, I knew that the only hope we had now was the blade, Shadowfang, resting on my back. However, with all its flaws, I reckoned that as long as Sinmosa and I coordinated this attack together, it should work. After all, Shadowfang’s sharpness had never once disappointed me.
“There won’t be a problem there, but your strength…” She immediately answered without any hesitation. Seeing her husband engage in a deadly melee with the golem like that, she couldn’t help but feel anxious as she said: “It doesn’t look it can turn too well, as long as I circle around it, I doubt it will be able to hit me, but your strength…”
“Don’t worry, I still have this.” At that, I drew out Shadowfang, the blade which had I never used since I slew One-eye. Had it not been for the golem’s obvious lack in speed, and the fact that it could only be hurt by physical means, I would have never made this offer at all. For the most part however, I was pretty certain that I wouldn’t be any danger while on Sinmosa thanks to her speed advantage. All that left was, as she said, my strength, however that was something that had to be tested firsthand.
‘Well, Sinmosa should be able to protect me even if Shadowfang isn’t able to penetrate its outer shell.’
“Mama…don’t go…it’s dangerous…”
“Sweetie, don’t be scared, Papa will be alright.”
“Mhm, Mo Na believes in Mama too…” Her eyes started to water. “Mama, make sure to come back…”
“Got it, Papa will come back for sure…make sure to take Cinderel and hide somewhere safe, don’t distract your Papa, got it?”
“Mhm.” She nodded her head vigorously before flying up to give me a peck on the cheeks and flying off with Cinderel safely in her arms.
Had this been the past, Mo Na would have definitely clamored about trying to protect me. From that incident with the Nightmare Steed however, Mo Na had matured noticeably. No longer did she try to offer to protect me at the drop of a hat; in her mind, she probably thought that was some kind of mysterious power dwelling in me.
“We’re off then.”
“Mhm, I’m almost prepared.” As I said that, I breathed in deeply and forced my pounding heart to quieten down lest it jumped out of my throat. Had it not been for Sinmosa being with me, a small fry Three-stars like me would never have even thought of joining in the fight unless I wanted to get flattened like a pancake.
This golem wasn’t the most powerful foe I had faced down before, but it was the foe that I had to face right now. Without Ferti’nier to back me up this time, this trial was one that I had to overcome myself with the help of my companions.
Big 4 was still out of commission because of that powerful swat from the golem. Sasani and No.3 were currently working together to restrict the golem and buy more time for Big 4 to recover. Yet while they were doing that, they suffered some minor injuries from time to time. At the very least however, they managed to avoid any lethal blows though such a dance of death took a heavy toll on their stamina. Before their stamina was spent, I had to end this quickly or at least buy more time for Big 4 to recover and…run.
Either way, I had to stand out now. Whether it was No.3, Big 4 or Sasani, they were all companions I couldn’t give up on!
“Let’s go!” I yelled, partly to encourage myself, and partly to give Sinmosa the signal that I was ready.
She said nothing but instead sped off like bolt of lightning towards the one-armed golem, taking a hard but fast turn to its right just as we reached it. Because the golem was missing its right arm, that flank was a gap in its defense we could exploit without ever worrying about resistance.
Knuckles white from gripping Shadowfang, I clamped both my legs down on Sinmosa’s back and secured a stable platform for myself. Blade reaching over two meters long, the jet black Shadowfang swung out a moment later towards the neck of the golem. Immediately, a powerful shock reverberated through the blade and back towards me, causing my hands to go numb instantly. Unable to stand up to that overwhelming force, I lost my grip on Shadowfang and it went spiralling away before piercing the ground nearby with a resounding stab…
However, that wasn’t the end of my problems either. Because of that powerful shock, I was thrown off Sinmosa’s back. Never once in my life had I fallen off a horse, because I had never ridden one before. Yet now, in this strange world, I had experienced falling off a mount for the first time ever but with even graver consequences than it otherwise would have…