History

CH 23

An hour had passed since Wataru, and the others had entered the tunnels.

A few players could be seen in the inn’s dining room here and there. Although they didn’t say anything, it was easy to imagine that they had all come down after seeing the heroes off in the morning.

One shut-in with no combat experience asks no one, “What happens if the Monshou loses?” while others are muttering, “The cafeteria feels so small today.”

And amidst all this, one girl was staring intently at the map.

(The red dots in the tunnels are dwindling—Wataru and the others are winning!)

Misaki can only observe.

There are only a few red dots left in the large space where the invasion is said to be taking place, and the number of blue dots representing players is nearly the same as when they entered.

However, the large red and black dot remained.

In other words, Goblin King is still alive.

Misaki widened her search area, keeping an eye on it as if praying; she’s keeping an eye on a sign of new invasion, as Flame requested.

(Two blue dots…? Are they people from a separate group?)

A short distance from the goblin encampment, there were two stationary blue dots. However, Misaki remembered that there was only a group to stall the King and another to reduce small fry mobs in the operation’s plan, and she wondered for a moment…

(No, it’s different….!)

Misaki gets up quickly from her seat, and the man chewing on a piece of bread beside her looks at her in surprise.

There were no mobs where those two blue colors were. What’s the point of waiting in a place like this while everyone else is fighting the Goblin Kings?

She couldn’t stop thinking about it after that thought hit her.

Misaki’s mind was free of her rationale and drifting in a negative direction. Perhaps it was because her guilt played tricks on her as she felt depressed and couldn’t participate in the raid.

(Are they Players who were not involved in the invasion prevention force? If that’s the case, they could have unknowingly entered goblin territory, and Wataru and the others would have to deal with a formidable foe while protecting those two.)

Or they could unintentionally collide with each other and become stuck before fleeing the scene. In any case, the fact remains that these two are still wandering in the tunnels.

Misaki, who didn’t know the levels of the players, remembered that the appropriate level for the tunnel was 5 to 8 and that the players who took part in the operation were at least level 15 or higher, which made her feel even more uneasy, and that feeling is growing with time.

Armed with the Iriana Tunnel map she received from Alba yesterday, she was desperately looking for a way to meet the two players and keep them safe while it wasn’t too late.

(It’s possible. I can make it. It won’t take too long from the entrance here. The question is how to get there…)

Misaki’s level is 3.

She is almost level 4, but all of her experience has come from quests, so she obviously lacks the knowledge to be useful in battle.

But one thing she excels at is avoiding unwanted encounters by using [life-sense]. Even so, Misaki is not reckless; she knew she needed a bodyguard with at least the necessary level and experience.

But that’s also why she hesitates.

(Again, I rely on others? What I’m doing now is to pull others from a safe place to the most dangerous place possible…)

She is aware that they are all gathered here because they are all terrified; level or combat experience has nothing to do with it.

She was no different, and Misaki was painfully aware of the feelings of the people here. She knew that well, still…

The possibility of two lives will be lost.

The possibility that Wataru and the others would be at a disadvantage because of them.

She no longer cared what others thought and gave priority to the path she believed was the right one.

“Everyone, please listen!”

***

The battle in the tunnels was raging.

While a mixed force of volunteer players and NPCs were going around crushing the goblins that were coming up in the fixed intervals, the rest of the players were engaged in a back-and-forth battle with the Goblin King.

“The [roar] is coming!”

Alba’s warning was answered with a quick response from the tank and the healer.

The King, who had slammed his machete into the ground, stomped his log-like feet and roared in a hoarse voice – in the case of many bosses and mobs, a [roar] is a skill that could induce stun for a certain period of time after it hits you.

If the stun duration is up to five seconds, anyone other than a level 35 or lower tank could risk death if they were hit by it.

However, the two top men in the Monshou are able to hold down the King. Not only are they managing the hate from the King by using defensive skills and magic here and there, but they are also keeping giving precise instructions to whittle the enemy’s troops.

The tanks standing in front of the others prevented the [roar] and were hit by a momentary stun, which is immediately recovered because the healers had finished their preparation to cast heal, status recovery and enhancement before the stun even hit the tank.

The attackers fired off a barrage of skills and magic to retaliate, and when the time was right, Alba would use [provoke] to grab the enemy’s attention while bracing himself to take the King’s attack – this is the cycle that repeated itself has been going on for a while.

The fight now has lasted about an hour and a half.

King’s LP was down to 73%.

(Fortunately, only a few NPCs were killed, but even so, we were exhausted. I wonder if we took too long to exterminate their soldier?)

While enduring the onslaught by the machetes, Alba clicked an imaginary tongue in his heart.

The goblins reinforced by the King were not only strong but also numerous; Flame and her team of exterminators took quite a bit of time to finish them, and several NPCs were killed in the process.

The NPCs’ action routines are surprisingly simple, and it has been concluded since the beta era that they should not be relied on as a fighting force, but now that firepower is in short supply, they are truly the help they need most. The situation is so urgent that they even need the help of NPCs.

(If we are missing Wataru, Kidd, or even one of the attackers… we may not be able to defeat this King by the end of the night.)

If this situation, in which they cannot relax even for a moment, continues for hours, mistakes will eventually increase.

If the number of mistakes increases, there will be more deaths.

Alba really wanted to avoid that.

And suddenly…

A sword grew out of Alba’s chest.

“Uu…gh?”

The battlefield froze at that moment.

Alba falls to his knees with a startled expression on his face while fresh blood spurts from his crumpled armor as Flame’s scream echoes.

But The King won’t stop its attack, and its huge machete swings down on Alba as he collapses.

“ALBA!!!!”

A dome-shaped light ward barrier is deployed from the magic circle that appears at Alba’s feet. Wataru invoked his level 3 magic reflexively; the shield manages to antagonize the King’s machete for some time, but it soon shatters, and the machete is resumed its course into Alba’s body.

Boom!

With a loud explosion sound, stone fragments scattered around the area.

Alba is blown away, but he lives; in his place, they could see a black horse enveloped in particles of light.

Just in time, Alba lets his black horse cover him.

“Over here!'”

Wataru immediately took the Boss’s hate and set up in a position that separated the King from Alba.

After multiple layers of restorative and reinforcing magic were applied to Alba on the ground, he regained consciousness and, though wobbly; he stood up using his greatsword as a supporting cane.

Alba’s black horse is a skill, and it will revive after some time, but still, Alba’s condition is still bad; he had a lingering mild concussion from the shock.

His opponent was a level 40 boss.

Even a single defensive failure could result in a total loss of LP, but Wataru and Alba held their own with their well-honed mental fortitude; however, these injuries were fatal for a tank playing the shielding role, where situational judgment is critical. – and it was clear to everyone that the tankers could no longer operate as before.

Wataru frantically scanned the area and caught sight of an eerie man disappearing into the distance.

It was PK-er; it was the man in the gray rags who had once attacked Kidd and taken his friend’s life.

(Why would you show up under these circumstances, you black dog?)

Wataru turned a vindictive gaze.

One player’s angry shout echoed.

It was Kidd who had found his opponent and was furious.

“Black Doggggggg!!!”

“Wa..it… Don’t go, Kidd!”

Kidd, who had been participating in in in in in an active role in the middle of the battlefield, was so agitated after finding his nemesis, and despite Alba’s plea, Kidd still chases the PK.

The situation is growing dire; the [tank switch] between Wataru and Alba is vital not only because of their exceptional stability and judgment but also because of their need to efficiently wait for the recast time of their magic and skills.

Both of them are not only excellent shield tanks but also high firepower attackers. So while one was tanking as a shield, the other was using out all of his reusable magic and skills, thus contributing a lot of damage.

Right now, the coordination between the two is broken.

And Kidd, who had been a significant source of damage, also left the scene.

The battle situation was quickly tilting to their disadvantage.