“It seems everyone lost their composure.” → Gerome
Gerome looked from atop the cliff with a mild smile. His clothes were tattered and the ax he was wielding was all bloody and already chipped. Even so, he alone killed almost a thousand beasts of ranks A and lower while giving support to the left wing of the defensive lines.
“Aren’t you going down to help them?” → Tama
Tama asked surprised to see Gerome atop the cliff while staring down at everyone.
“Oh but I am helping them.” → Gerome
Gerome then waved his ax and a strong shockwave was created, cutting a young firebird in two, stopping it from shooting a fire breath toward an old Fox-man mage.
“See? This can be considered helping as well.” → Gerome
Gerome smiled while searching for his next target.
“…Sigh~ alright.” → Tama
Tama got beside him and started to shot out more and more earth spears, downing the flying beasts that wished to kill her companions together with Gerome.
“At least I can help with that much.” → Tama
Tama said helplessly, having only a Great Warrior Power Rank and low talent even for the strongest point of fairies: magic. Since young, she showed a poor affinity for magic, but she showed much higher wisdom than any other fairy together with great control and circulation of her own energies. Even though she was weaker than most, her true might could be comparable with an Adept Master at least.
“Hoho~ Indeed.” → Gerome
“…How come an old general like yourself didn’t help in the creation of the strategic plan against the waves?” → Tama
Tama, in the end, asked what was on her mind from the beginning.
“Hoho~ I’ve been found out.” → Gerome
Gerome laughed then shot out another shockwave.
“Well, first of all, I have experience fighting against opponents of the races, never having to fight waves of monsters. My rigid and psychological tactics could never work against these monsters, and I also just wanted to see how they’ll do on their own. I was well surprised to find out that they did a better job than I would have ever done on my own. Staying out of their way was the best decision.” → Gerome
Gerome said in a serious tone while glancing at Gregor and Bernard with admiration and respect.
“But wouldn’t have helped if you contributed only a little?” → Tama
Tama asked confused once again, unable to understand what Gerome was thinking.
“Are you blaming me for not contributing at the creation of the strategic plan in the beginning?” → Gerome
Gerome asked with a slight smile and calm eyes.
“Gods, no! Of course not.” → Tama
Tama said while looking at Gerome with big eyes.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make it sound like a reproach.” → Tama
She said in an apologetic manner while lightly bowing her head.
“It’s alright. I, for one, blame myself…” → Gerome
Gerome said with anguish while looking around the dead bodies of his comrades.
“I do not know if I would have helped with much… but I least I knew I did all I could… unlike now… only gazing hopelessly.” → Gerome
“It’s not your fault, Gerome. Even with the best plan, when we’re outnumbered more than 100 to 1, having no casualties is impossible. Please stop blaming yourself, Gerome. Let’s finish this and maybe search for a more peaceful life in our next lives, together.” → Tama
Tama said with a slight blush and held Gerome’s hand, smiling brightly at him through her long, earthen-yellow hair.
“Hohoho~ to still be loved by a beautiful lady at this age in my life, I can call myself quite the lucky old man.” → Gerome
Gerome laughed and held her back by the hand.
The huge beasts arrived and roared out aloud, making the ones under Grandmaster to feel dizzy or even to spit out blood from the shockwave. Gerome looked in the distance and firmly said after letting go of Tama’s hand.
“It seems is time for us to make our move.” → Gerome
He then jumped off the cliff and rushed toward the first rank S beast in front of him.
“Please be safe! [Earth’s Blessing]” → Tama
Tama enveloped Gerome with a yellow-earthen aura that raised his defensive powers and looked at him depart with worried eyes on. She remained behind, knowing better than going against a Rank S monster which could squish her in a moment.
“I thank you, my lady.” → Gerome
Gerome nodded with a wide smile in thanks then shot out in the air, jumping from atop the cliff with full force.
He jumped right in front of the rank S double-headed black skinned orc, with only one arm and as tall as a huge tree. With a strong strike to one of his legs, Gerome was able to stop the advancement of the orc, but not enough to at least injure him.
[Grrr~, pathetic races! How dare you stand before me!?]
The huge orc roared out and struck with his iron club toward Gerome.
Gerome barely dodged the strike while the shockwave still struck him, making him crash on the nearest huge tree like a bullet. He got up almost unscratched and looked at the huge crater created by the orc.
Good thing I stopped his advancement here. If he got any closer, at least two more people would have died just from that one strike. → Gerome
He prepared himself by taking a guarding stance then tensed up all his muscles while forcibly circulated his chi.
[Berserker’s Might!] → Gerome
His aura exploded and a red aura enveloped him. His muscles bulged, his skin reddened and his body grew in dimensions. From an old dragoon now he looked more like a middle-aged handsome and macho dragoon.
“I will be your opponent, Titanic Orc.” → Ryu
Gerome said with a powerful and firm voice, pointing his great ax at the orc.
With incredible speed, he shot out toward the orc leaving afterimages behind him. Gerome learned the Wind Set of martial arts and was able to get over a Destroyer’s weakness of being slower than any other class of warriors, reaching the peak of the class Destroyer and almost acquiring perfection.
Gerome tried to cut the orc’s leg with a powerful swing once again, this time enveloping his ax in sharp wind element. The orc blocked with his iron club, being surprised by the powerful blow that made his one arm feel some pressure.
[Not bad, for a pathetic race! Let’s see if you can block mine!]
The orc swung his club with full force and tried to smash it on Gerome.
“Block? I’m not for an honorable fight. I am striving to survive here.” → Gerome
Gerome dodged the club and jumped high in the sky. There, he created a huge hammer from the element of wind and slammed it hard on one of the orc’s two heads.
For the orc, it felt more like a good punch while that particular hit could’ve destroyed a castle’s wall and turn it to rubles.
[Take mine as well!]
The orc punched back with his own punch, landing it and sending Gerome flying while spitting blood. Gerome crashed on the ground and created a deep crater. Even so, he got up and wiped the blood from his mouth. Crashing and leaving a deep trail on the cracked earth, Gerome then got up after he wiped out the blood from his mouth
“You’d expect more from an S rank monster. I’ve experienced even worse times in my younger days.” → Gerome
He then took the same fighting stance and activated [Wind’s Touch]. Wind gathered at his feet and made him move around as if he weren’t even touching the ground.
[Arrogant little dragoon.]
The orc was annoyed by the comment and rushed toward Gerome with heavy steps, making tremors while advancing and leaving deep footprints behind.
Gerome dodged the club, kicks, and fists while also countering with his own ax, trying to cut and smash at the same time but only leaving shallow cuts on the orc’s thick and hard skin.
“Well done Gerome! Keep him at bay for now! We’ll try to come and help after we deal with the rest!” → Bernard
Bernard shouted out after observing Gerome trying to bust heads with an S ranked monster. Even so, he never truly thought that he’ll get the time to go and save him. He already gave up living, all he wished was to die while fighting until his last drop of blood left his body.
He roared and shot out right toward a lion chimera with great eagle-like wings, a snake as a tail and sharp front claws of an eagle.
“That Chimera King is mine!” → Bernard
[Die, little beast-man!]
The chimera roared in fury and shot out dark lightning from its humongous mouth filled with sharp teeth.
While rushing toward the beast, the lightning struck Bernard in the fullest making a cloud of dust to rise around him as his Heroic-Ranked armor cracked and chipped all-over the place.
“Bernard!” → Sofia
Sofia shouted out in fright, wishing to rush at him and give out a helping hand. Even so, there were simply too many monsters surrounding her group, not letting her leave until she defeated everything around.
Even though everyone seemed to do as they pleased at first, in truth the strongest ones stood in front and stopped the stronger beasts to advance while they left the weaker ones for the ones behind them. What Gerome and Bernard did was the right thing, even if that meant they might sacrifice their own life, it was still the best idea for securing the highest surviving rate.
All the dust then dispersed from just a wave of Bernard’s palm, showing his confident and somewhat dark expression.
“Hah! That’s nothing. Andrew’s lighting stings harder.” → Bernard
Smoke was rising from his body, but besides some burnt fur, no serious injuries stood out.
[So arrogant! I’ll be sure to eat you whole after I’m done with you!]
The chimera pouched toward Bernard with his claws and fangs, ready to transform Bernard into minced meat.
“[Form of the Mighty]” → Bernard
Suddenly, Bernard emanated an indomitable aura while his skin and fur became harder than metal, shining with a yellowish luster.
Bernard punched out with a heavy fist and collided with the chimera head-on. A loud cracking sound was heard then a roar of pain boomed all around the battlefield.
The chimera broke one fang and one claw from the right paw. In exchange, Bernard lost one eye and had a huge ugly cut going up from his right fist, all the way to his eye.
“Guch! I need to stop my bad habits.” → Bernard
Bernard loved frontal collisions. Even when he would lose, he’ll ask for a rematch all the time only so he could go head-to-head with his opponents all over again.
The chimera pouched again, this time with his claws enveloped in lightning. Two lightning claws shot out and struck Bernard again, not even able to pinpoint the location from where he was struck.
Bernard stood tall even after the lightning struck him, his aura as domineering as before. Even though he looked more ragged and blood flowed down his cracked his, he gave it no mind as he stared at the chimera with a mad grin on.
“When lightning strikes, a mountain will welcome it with his all!” → Bernard
Bernard then took a martial art stance and provoked the chimera.
“Come. Show me all you have.” → Bernard
[Not only arrogant but ignorant and also a fool!]
The chimera was angered beyond reason and pouched again at Bernard, this time making the mistake of attacking the same way as before.
Knowing what was coming, Bernard deviated one claw with his arm then struck hard the jaw of the chimera with an uppercut.
[Pushing the Mountains!]
After having the chimera rise his chin with the uppercut, Bernard continued with both palms pushing hard in front with full power, even cracking the ground from below because of the pressure. The push was strong enough to send the huge chimera flying and crash it on a great tree.
The chimera got up as if nothing happened and became more vigilant around Bernard.
“Amazing. The two of them can take on S rank monsters on their own!”
The players and the younger warriors looked at Gerome and Bernard with admiration and respect.
“It might seem like much but that’s mostly because they are being rash. If we teamed up, we could’ve brought down the monsters much more efficiently.” → Lilia
Lilia said while shaking her head with a sigh.
“Ugh… I don’t want to be rude but I agree. They became strong but I think they only want to see just how strong they are now.” → Maru
Maru explained while holding a staff in his hands. He was an Elementalist and while talking, he made ice spears one after the other, killing the monsters of rank C and D in succession.
“Let’s team up this time and bring down that stupid insect then.” → Lilia
Lilia said to Maru and pointed toward a huge scarab that was getting nearer.
“W-what!?” → Maru
Maru had mixed feelings. He wished to team up with Lilia, but he had zero confidence in being of any help against the S rank scarab.
“I-impossible! There’s no way I could fight that!” → Maru
Maru said with a flustered face while waving his hands in a hurry.
“Am I no good for you?” → Lilia
Lilia asked confused while tilting her head.
“T-that’s not it!” → Maru
Maru reddened and continued.
“It’s the contrary! I am the one who is no good for this team-up! I have no confidence in being of any help against that thing!” → Maru
Maru explained himself with a forced smile.
Well, saying such things about myself in front of Lilia quite hurts a bit. → Maru
“Oh, so is just about self-confidence? Please do not worry about such things. I know when a person is strong or weak, and you Maru, are strong.” → Lilia
Lilia said with a serious face while gazing at him in the eyes.
Maru stared at Lilia in a daze. That would be the first time he heard such a thing from the moment he was born.
I’m… strong…? Me? → Maru
He couldn’t control the confused light in his eyes. Because he was always skinny and his metabolism wouldn’t let him get some fat, everyone saw him as a weakling, especially because his muscle-building was just as poor. He always tried to stay positive and not mind what the others said but having an entire tribe say the same thing about him, he was left to make-believe that he was just as the others told him. Being discriminated and taken for a fool by everyone, Maru became to think of himself as a weakling which can’t do anything else but smile like a fool. The only reason why he has been chosen as the leader was mostly that he tried to convince everyone that everything will be alright. In return, his people told him: If you think it’s everything alright, then why don’t you take this responsibility and try to create a safe place for us pigs-men? In the end, he did exactly that and asked for Ryu to let the pig-men do the chores and cooking, together with the dog-men. Only a few pigs-men, together with himself, choose to fight as warriors or mages. However, even though Maru grew stronger after studying and learning from Shen’s and Gabriel’s books, he still thought of himself as weak and feeble because of his thin body. Now hearing that he was strong as well, able to protect the ones he tried his best to keep safe, he couldn’t help himself but tremble with emotion.
Lilia saw the confusion in his eyes and explained with a matter-of-fact voice.
“You have an incredible talent in controlling the wild mana, being able to hold on and fight even when almost everyone depleted their energy resources. When it comes to mana-pool and your control over it, you are between the first in our ranks. As for fighting-spirit, when the others started to feel fear and hopelessness, from the very beginning you had the eyes of someone who would sacrifice everything he had to keep the enemy lines away from his home. You are strong and with a heart of iron, Maru. If you lack confidence then that’s not a problem, with experience, comes the confidence, believe in my words and let me be your confidence until you find yours.” → Lilia
Lilia explained with a rare smile on her face and made Maru look at her stunned.
Has she observed me for so long? W-when? And why me?! → Maru
Maru reddened even more and felt a little bit dizzy.
No way, no way! Stop thinking such nonsense! Why would such a beautiful demoness have any interest in a pig-man like me? I must’ve gone crazy. → Lilia
While shaking his head Maru said with a blush.
“Please don’t say such things, Miss Lilia, or the others will have the misunderstanding that you have interest in someone like me.” → Maru
“Hm? But I do have an interest in you though?” → Lilia
Lilia answered back with a surprised expression on, unable to understand why Maru couldn’t see that already.
“In fact, I found you interesting the moment you raised up as one of the leaders when Shen made everyone pick up a representative from every race back inside the Snow Village.” → Lilia