“You’re not bad!”
I immediately used Legs of the God Wolf to move away and then land on the snow before he could do a follow-up attack.
“Manager. I think I’m going to need some help here.”
“It does seem pretty strong…”
She said as she slithered out of the shadow I cast on the snow. She carried six shadow blades between her fingers. She wasn’t holding back.
“Ohh? How amusing. And where did you come from?”
The goblin addressed her casually, but Manager didn’t respond. She wasn’t even smiling under her face mask. Unlike during the tournament, that was all that was covering her face now. Apparently, it helped her concentrate.
“I’ll follow your lead.”
“Heeey! Don’t ignore me!”
I ran. Manager tailed me as if hiding. The goblin was enraged at being ignored, and it raised its greatsword. Then it slammed the weapon on the ground, causing a cloud of snow to erupt and a volley of wind blades to shoot out. In order to dodge them, I thrust out my empty left hand for Manager to grab. She had to dismiss her shadow blades for this, but it was the best way to escape.
And with Legs of the God Wolf, I shot around him like a racer turning a corner, and we slid into position behind the goblin. Manager let go of me then and melted into the shadows. Even I couldn’t detect her. And so I was doubtful that the abnormally evolved being could. It was still a monster.
“Where did you go!”
To keep it distracted, I attacked it from the opposite side with my sword. With Presence Detection and Eyes of the God Wolf activated, it wouldn’t matter how much powdered snow was in the air. I would hit my target.
It must have been caught off guard too, because Velnoir went right into its left shoulder. This was not a shallow wound. However, it somehow did little to slow it down. I would have to just continue my hit and run tactic. But I couldn’t allow it to become a defensive battle. I would die for sure if that happened. I just needed to get in an attack and then let Manager follow…
I felt a chill and immediately moved into a defensive stance. The sound of metal against metal rang in the air. The force of the attack threw me into the air, and I broke through Daniela’s wind barrier.
Without being able to regain my balance, my body slammed against the snow in the raging blizzard. Thankfully, the snow acted as a cushion, and my hands didn’t suffer from the impact after landing on them.
Still, I managed to get up and grab my sword. But my fingers felt limp. What the hell was happening… It always attacked right after I hit it. It was as if it wasn’t really feeling the pain…
What if it really didn’t…? What if it didn’t feel any pain and just reacted to the sensations…?
“That would be too dangerous…”
It could react perfectly to every attack. There was little point in taking it by surprise then. With those reflexes and power, even Manager’s attacks…
I used Legs of the God Wolf to rush back into the barrier. If Manager sensed I was in danger and tried to attack…
The cloud of powdered snow dissipated within the barrier as the goblin turned to look at me. I also saw that Manager’s torso had emerged from the shadows, and she was about to attack.
She heard me and her arm froze in mid-swing. No, don’t stop. Hide…!
“There you are.”
Without even turning around, the goblin kicked backward. Its foot slammed into Manager and launched her into the air. She was pulled out of the shadow and went flying.
Her body moved in the air in an arch and landed outside of the barrier. She didn’t move.
“Huh. How weak.”
The goblin made a point to turn and look at me and say this after seeing her sink into the snow.
For a second, all I could see was red.
Powdery snow swirled around me as I gathered the wind and then let it explode all at once. I raised my speed and rushed straight past the goblin in a second. Then I picked up Manager moved away from the barrier.
“Hah? Aren’t you going to avenge her?”
“Daniela! Adlus! Forget the barrier! Take her and retreat!”
I knew what it was like to lose yourself in anger. It was easy to forget about everything around you. But I wasn’t going to let that happen here. Unsurprisingly, they were quick to react. The barrier went down the moment I raised my voice, and they quickly ran to me.
“Hmm. She is only unconscious.”
Adlus called her name while Daniela inspected her with the appraisal glasses that she must have taken out from her hollow bracelet. So, she was alive.
Daniela touched the glasses which were now covered in snow, and without removing them, stored them back into the bracelet.
The blizzard was as strong as ever, and I felt that the Queen’s Knight Goblin was approaching us as I told them to retreat.
“What about you?”
“I’ll be fine. No, I have to be alone. I think he has some kind of skill that shuts out any pain. It allows him to strike back immediately after every hit. So you have to attack him very quickly. I have to be alone for that. It won’t matter if someone else is there.”
“You may say that, but can you really take him down?”
I had a way to attack that was faster than the goblin’s reflexes. There were demerits to using it, but this was not the time to worry about such things. The goblin was right over there.
“Just leave now. I’ll be back in the village before dawn.”
“…Very well. If you don’t return, we will not be able to wait for you.”
“That’s fine. Now go!”
Adlus took Manager. I looked at Daniela and nodded. She understood me well. I knew I could depend on her. It was for her and Manager that I would kill the goblin. She created a barrier around them as they returned to the village. I watched them go before putting my hand back on my sword.
“You erased the blizzard and used that woman for ambushes just to try and kill me. And now they are gone.”
“Well, that was Adlus’s plan. But it wasn’t enough. It’s a simple fact.”
“I appreciate the compliment! Hmm? And you still think you can beat me?”
“Yeah… I guess I do.”
The goblin was still bleeding as he looked into my face. It was one against one. Or not. I didn’t see myself as alone. Adlus, Daniela and Manager’s hopes were with me.
“Now, I am going to kill you. And after that, I’ll kill your queen.”
“There is one, isn’t there? A queen goblin.”
That’s why he was the ‘Queen’s Knight,’ right? The fact that he was suddenly tight-lipped again seemed to be evidence enough.
“I see. Yes. Well, I have all the more reason to kill you now.”
“Come and try, you monster.”
“Good. I will do just that. Playtime is over!”
It was a battlefield where you couldn’t see more than two meters ahead of you. And so the deadly duel began.