Chapter 106: Tragedy of War

Lilia said while tilting her head, confused as for why would Maru even say such a thing. Then she understood what he meant and asked.

“Are you, perhaps, troubled by that? I will stop and leave you be if you wish.” → Lilia

“Eh?” → Maru

When he heard her answer he blushed even more and felt like smoke was getting out from his ears. After Lilia said the last proposition, Maru woke up and shook his head in a hurry.

“No trouble! No trouble! It’s just that, you might get troubled from what the others would start thinking…” → Maru

He said while scratching his head helplessly.

“Useless concern. I don’t have to mind what others think. Now let’s please move out, the scarab is coming near.” → Lilia

She then grabbed his hand and dragged him toward the scarab.

“Y-yes ma’am!” → Maru

Maru walked stiffly and tried not to mind holding hands with one of the most beautiful women in the entire kingdom.

Focus, focus, focus, focus… → Maru

Maru tried to concentrate on helping Lilia with ranged support when the Scarab showed any openings or when Lilia was in danger. Great spells were activated at the right moment while at the same time he tried to give Lilia support by protecting her from sudden projectiles thrown by the scarab with an ice shield or to make the scarab distracted by a sudden flash of light right in front of its eyes and so more. Until Maru finally got out from his trance-like state, both of them finished in killing the scarab.

“Eh?” → Maru

Maru was dumbfounded in seeing how they finished the scarab with a fire-bomb from him and a thunder slash from her.

W-when did this happen? What did I do? Was I any helpful? Damn it, I can’t remember! → Maru

Being too preoccupied with the idea of being in a team with Lilia, he was completely unaware of what just happened, fidgeting and holding his head in confusion.

“Well done, Maru! I knew you are a reliable person!” → Lilia

Lilia got closer and said with a large smile as she patted his shoulder.

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“I-I am?” → Maru

Maru was shocked and felt a little bit embarrassed.

So I was helpful. How reassuring. → Maru

Lilia then placed her arms around his neck and said with a glitter in her eyes.

“Let’s continue like this until we finish all the high ranked beasts. The two of us are like an army.” → Lilia
“Eh?” → Maru

He was stunned for having Lilia hold him so close to her face and her sweet fragrance together with her suave voice made his face completely red while his mind clouded.

Wawawawa~! Too close! → Maru

Being dizzy and panicking, he answered in a hurry.

“Y-yes! Sure! Okay!” → Maru
“Great!  Let’s go!” → Lilia

Then Lilia held his hand again and rushed him toward the next S ranked beast.

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“Those two are incredible.” → Reva

Aura and Reva looked at them with dumbfounded faces while still struggling with B ranked monsters.

“In more than one sense.” → Aura
“Y-yeah… But still, to be able to kill a field boss monster so quickly, they aren’t normal.” → Reva

Reva said while controlling more phantom swords and used them to stab countless beasts at the same time.

“Ahahaha! Love can bloom even on a battlefield! What do you think about that, Shishu? Ain’t it beautiful?” → Jack

Jack laughed while cutting another head of an A rank beast which almost took his left eye.

“I don’t care.” → Shishu

Shishu said with indifference while creating another two clones from the darkness. Together with the clones, he disappeared and reappeared continuously while leaving behind deep cuts on a huge liger (half lion and half tiger) that was of rank A, making it die from blood-loss.

“What’s more amazing is the fact that you can still laugh like that when you almost died just now.” → Shishu

Shishu walked away from the demonic beasts that dropped dead in a pool of blood and walked toward another one, ready to for another round.

“Even though we might die, try to not be that rash, you’re my first brother in this world after all.” → Shishu
“Heh. May we be brothers in arms even in our next life, Shishu.” → Jack

Jack said with a grin then rushed inside a group of B and C-ranked beasts, weaving his great sword and decimating everything around.

“… Since when did those two become such good friends?” → Reva

Reva asked shocked to see two guys that are the complete opposite to each other, be such good friends.

“Well, since the first wave, Jack challenged Shishu on duels every time they had some time to spare, while on the battlefield they would cover each other’s backs from time to time. After a while, they started to hang out as the best friends in the entire kingdom.” → Aura

Aura said with a wide smile as she saw the always serious Shishu take glances at Jack and throw now and then a shadow kunai to repel sneak attacks from the monsters behind him. The same did Jack when he would suddenly shot out to Shishu to jump right before a beast would try to strike from the shadows.

While everyone started to welcome death with a smile on their faces, Gerome was barely pressed by the Orc and strongly pushed back.

Huff, huff”

His breath was rough. He was kneeling on one knee while resting upon his great ax. He could barely move while his entire body turned back to normal and blood was gushing out from his injuries.

[You fought well, old dragoon. But you should know to not challenge the champion of the Titanic Orcs.]

So he was a champion… what a stroke of bad luck. This kind of monster can only be of rank S+ at least. → Gerome

Gerome thought while feeling more and more hopeless.

Heh. → Gerome

Then his face lightened up and smiled at the double-headed orc.

“If my time has come in battle, then I welcome it with both arms open.” → Gerome

He got up then welcomed the orc with a smile.

“COME! The great champion of Titanic Orcs! Send me to the Hall of Fame up in heavens! Right beside my wife and son!” → Gerome

[With pleasure, warrior dragoon.]

The orc lifted his club and with titanic power, he slammed it above Gerome.

-BOOOM!!-

-SPLASH!-

The ground shattered on an area of one kilometer around, making beasts and warriors to stop for a moment on their tracks.

[Head on… huh?]

A huge cloud of dust rose from the ground while the ground was splattered with red blood. However, besides the broken ground, around 10 meters away, Gerome was looking with big eyes at the pool of blood under the orc’s iron club.

No… → Gerome

He remembered how right before the club could kill him, a little winged body pushed him away. He got up and walked slowly toward the pool of blood.

Gods no… → Gerome

The little body had yellow wings, yellow hair, and yellow eyes.

Anything but this… not again, gods, please… → Gerome

She was a fairy and looked to be around 14 years old.

I give my everything so this won’t be real… Oh heavens, please not again this… → Gerome

Even though she seemed to be young, Gerome knew that she had more than 100 years already. And her name was way too familiar for him.

Tama… why…? → Gerome

Gerome then fell on his knees right in front of the pool of blood. He clearly remembered the face filled with tears and the blooming smile of the fairy right when she pushed him away. And also the few words she told to him, the two words which sounded to him like a blessing and at the same time, as an unbreakable curse:

Live on.

Ah, foolish child… Now how should I tell you that living on it’s my biggest pain in this world? How should I forgive myself now? → Gerome

His eyes turned red. He wished to cry but had no tears, he wished to shout but had no voice. His neck was hurting, as if he swallowed needles, while his chest throbbed as if a devil stabbed his heart countless times with a mocking smile.

[… Useless sacrifice. I’m going to send you to where she is right now.]

The orc said with indifference after he lifted his club once again.

splat, drop-

From the club, Tama’s staff and more blood fell on the ground with a heavy sound.

“… You know?” → Gerome

Gerome looked with shallow eyes at the staff atop the bloodied earth. It was the staff he worked his hardest on borrowing from Ryu. If someone wished to get an epic or legendary weapon, they had to prove worthy. After showing great talent at commanding and fighting, Ryu thought that he could grand Gerome’s wish to make a little gift to Tama even though her power-rank was low, making her at least as strong as a normal Grandmaster.

“She told me to live on… Can you believe it? How could I die now…” → Gerome

He slightly chuckled with a trembling voice as he grabbed his epic-ranked   once again. The ax shone with a bright red light, together with his entire body.

[Useless struggle. Now die.]

BOOM!-

The ground shook again, but this time it wasn’t as bad as before. It was mainly because the club did not reach the ground this time.

[Hm?!]

The orc starred with huge eyes at Gerome who blocked his club with his ax, holding it with only one arm.

“…[Bestial Power].” → Gerome

Gerome activated the deadliest skill from Bernard and Shen’s library. This ability would give extreme power for 20 seconds. But if overused, the warrior will die in a pool of blood. As splashbacks, the user could die after a few months if not treated urgently. This skill was a skill that would merge the Yin and Yang inside the body, then make it generate an explosive and uncontrollable burst of power. This power would then be used as wished, but only for the first 20 seconds. More than that and the user would explode into a cloud of blood from the chaotic energies.

18 seconds. → Gerome

He then suddenly disappeared and reappeared at the legs of the orc.

[GROAH!]

The orc roared out in pain for having one of his legs cut. The leg was sent flying from the impact and blood gushed out like a fountain.

Then, before the orc could fall on his back, Gerome reappeared above him and punched out with his fist inside the orc’s stomach.

-BOOM!-

The orc slammed hard on the ground and entered with his entire body, two meters deep in the ground.

[Gagh!]

The orc spat out a mouthful of blood as he stared in confusion and even fear at Gerome. He knew that his stomach and intestines were done for from just that one punch.

[W-wait! Why it’s your power superior to mine so suddenly?! Why did you not use this before? At least explain to me before I die!]

The orc wished to understand what was the sudden burst in Gerome’s power. But he simply rose his ax like a guillotine and said with blood-shot and cold eyes.

“Sorry. I have no time.” → Gerome

16 seconds. → Gerome

-SLASH!-

Gerome used all his power and cut the more than 30 m tall orc in two halves diagonally. A huge scar remained on the ground, which was slowly filling up with the blood of the orc while a creat crescent was formed from the pressure, cutting in two whatever was in front, be them beasts, boulders or trees.

“…”

Gerome then looked behind him and saw in the distance more of his comrades having a hard time against other three rank-A beasts.

Cough!” → Gerome

He spat out thick blood and felt like he’ll fall at any moment now.

15 seconds… I should take those beasts down then deactivate this skill before I die… → Gerome

He looked at the pool of blood and said with tears of blood falling from his eyes, his voice rough and hushed.

“I should live on, right? Then I can’t die yet…” → Gerome

While friend tried to protect a friend, lover protect lover, family protects the family, the beasts found a weakness for a slight moment through which they could go forth. Because of the strong shock wave created by the huge orc, the warriors had to make a stop to regain their balance, while the beasts got the necessary time to break through the line for a moment.

Atop the tallest mountain, with a wooden little staff in his hand, an old mice-man stood tall while slowly caressing his beard, blood staining his clothes as ugly claw-marks covered his entire body. Even so, he seemed to not even be aware of them. Old Mingzhi stared down at the warriors, observing how the one who seemed to be the weakest, proved to be one of the strongest, observing how those who once were rivals now share the strongest bond of friendship, observing how the cowardly and weak players took arms and raised together to fight for another day. His weak elderly voice then resounded like the sound of the wind, brushing past the ears of everyone as only their subconscious actually heard him.

“In the darkest times, the stars shine the brightest. In moments of peril, you will find out who is your true friend. When the danger comes, the warriors resurface from beneath the sand as fear won’t be able to affect them any longer.”

Even though some were initially looked down upon, even though some showed a weak spirit and mind at first, even though they had no power and the word [WEAK] was plastered on their foreheads, the hard times and the dangerous situations proved the world wrong.

“Beasts are entering inside the Kingdom!”
“What?! What about the traps!”
“They have been used up!”

Hearing the cries of the warriors who wished to return, Mingzhi slowly levitated and appeared right in front of them, talking with a calm and mild voice.

“No need to worry for the young and aged. The young generation heard the stories lived by the older generation, such as having imparted wisdom and knowledge about hard times. No matter for who and when the inner warrior will resurrect at the right time. Our kingdom is in safe hands even when the soldiers left for war.” → Mingzhi

He then looked back as he calmly chanted blessings for everyone inside the kingdom, giving everyone the blessing of the wind for quick steps and fast thinking.

“HYA!”

A child of only 12 years old used a kitchen knife to protect his weak grandma against a C ranked wind Demon Bear. The child jumped from atop his own house for a sneak attack and implanted the knife inside his eye, then stabbing right through the brain in repetition.

A young girl of only 14 years used a sharpened iron pole as a spear and struck the heart of a wild Demonic Wolf of rank D, trained by an old wolf-man who was proficient with the spear. Then she used it again to throw the other three demonic wolves away from her mother.

“ROAAAH!”

An old blacksmith that was supposed to be bedridden, got up and used his blacksmithing hammer to smash the heads of two demonic hawks that tried to attack his two grandchildren of not even 6 years old.

The number of beasts that reached the Kingdom was small, but just a rank B monster was enough to destroy a village on its own, while a pack of demonic wolves was enough to kill more than 1000 villagers.

But they were no villagers. Every resident of the kingdom started to take intensive martial arts and magic classes. Their combat might be already comparable to a city guard at the very least. Their spirits were already steeled by the continuous waves of beasts and their minds matured from the horrible hardships they had to go through as slaves, making even the younger child of only few years old to seem even more mature than a teenager.

“Hup!”

A child jumped from atop his house, on top of a demonic gorilla and stabbed a knife in his head, killing it dead. This strategy was used by more children seeing how sneak attacks was the safest way to killing the monsters.

“HOAH!”

A mother punched the jaw of an alligator type demon that wished to eat her baby, crushing his jaw and killing him by smashing his skull.

“HAYA!”

Another young man that was initially helping in the kitchen to prepare for dinner helped out a young mother with her son from a tiger ranked B demonic beast, by throwing his knives at his ligaments, rendering the tiger unmovable then killing it by making small cuts to make it bleed. The only meat they had was that of demonic beasts, so for such, they needed at least Heroic Ranked weapons to be able to make an acceptable meal from the hard-to-cut meat of the monsters. Such, every cook of the kingdom was in truth one of the best slicers one could find at the borders, cutting through steel like cutting through butter while using at least Heroic equipment for cooking the warriors’ meals.

“Even if the talent is not present, even if nobody can see them as warriors, even if they themselves think that they’re nothing like a fighter when the time comes, everyone will find out if they truly are a warrior or not. Until then, not even gods can judge them, let alone themselves or the others.” → Mingzhi

Mingzhi calmly talked as he continued to stare in the distance while keeping up his blessing, feeling how the spirit of every man, woman, young or old, burned with passion and desire for tomorrow.

“We had nothing, now we have it all. This is the moment to prove that you deserve what you received. Fight for the next day and show your might, so once we die today, to still have the same flag under which we’ll reborn for our next life!” → Mingzhi

“HOAAAHH!!!!”

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