The burst of magical energy that’d come from within the pill bug’s carapace shattered it and caused its fragments to fly towards us at an incredible speed. The resulting attack that came at us was so fast and destructive that it was almost like that of a shotgun.
I hadn’t realized that the pill bug could use its Magical Emission skill in such rapid succession. It hadn’t done anything like this before despite having crashed into walls. In other words, the damned insect had been holding its trump card in reserve.
We’d been under the effects of Chronos Clock. As a result, everything was moving in slow motion, but the insect’s projectile continued to move at a ridiculously high speed regardless. With the attack’s absurd speed came an incredible amount of power. Even a single fragment of the insect’s shell could probably inflict onto Fran a serious chunk of damage.
Shit. I can’t deploy my full powered barriers in time.
I’d already created a set of magical and physical barriers purely out of reflex, but neither had been full forced, and as a result, the pill bug’s attack had shattered them both with ease. The moment I realized that was the moment I played another one of the cards I had on hand. One of our contingencies was for me to use my Telekinetic Catapult. To that end, I’d been saving up a bunch of telekinetic energy. I immediately unleashed every single last bit of in order to form a defensive wall so I could protect Fran. However, there was a problem. I had to cover a rather large area, so I wasn’t able to exert all that much force. I was only capable of weakening the projectiles that came at us. Stopping them altogether was simply not an option.
Still, I at least had to try.
Fran had already pushed herself to the limit. She’d already started using several skills and spells in conjunction. Moreover was the fact that she’d also already initiated a full force charge in the pill bug’s direction — there was no way for her to suddenly avoid the bug’s counter. She simply didn’t have the liberty to do so.
I immediately tried teleporting us out the moment I heard Fran groan.
We needed to make a bit of distance between us and the pill bug if we wanted to be able to escape it.
But Fran stopped me from actually casting the spell. Unlike me, she had yet to give up on the assault. She put the left half of her body forward in order to shield her dominant hand from harm. The black catgirl supported efforts further by cancelling some of her offensive skills in order to erect a barrier, one that would assist her in her charge. She even made use of the Air Jump skill in order to make sure she wouldn’t get blown away.
Fran firmly held her ground, but as one could expect, she was unable to remain unscathed. The combination of Fran’s barrier and my telekinesis were able to drastically reduce the attack’s power, but each of the projectiles still held enough force to rend Fran’s flesh; countless shell fragments embedded themselves inside of her.
The numerous wounds that’d been torn into her body were painful enough to make even the most mature adults scream in pain, but she managed to endure the bug’s last stand by gritting her teeth and grinding down on them.
Fran used a flame spell to hit the gas yet again as she thrust me at the pill bug with all her might. The attack the magic beast fired off had rid it of its hard exterior and rendered it defenseless. Hence, my blade sank into its exposed body as easily as a hot knife would a block of butter.
I felt not the sensation of a hard exoskeleton, but instead the softness of tearing flesh as my body was driven inside of the insect’s.
Fran had managed to embed me within the pill bug’s, but she’d lost a lot of her own strength and stamina in the process. She seemed completely exhausted and on the verge of going limp.
『Come on Fran. Hang in there, you’ve almost got it!』
「Will finish now…」
Shit. I’m not sure she’ll be able to fight much longer. It’d be best for me to try finishing the damned thing off here and now.
I already knew exactly what to do. A clear image of my intentions resonated within my mind as I solidified them.
I focused all my magical energies into my blade and activated Vibration Fang and Wind Elemental Blade simultaneously. I then directed my attention towards the use of transformation and manipulated my body in much the same way the System Announcer had done before me. I imitated the actions she took when she’d used thin, sharp strands of my blade to absorb the numerous Skeletons’ magic stones. That is, I warped my body whilst retaining the image of having thin threads extend from my tip.
A hundred steel fibres parted from my body and began shredding the pill bug from inside out. I backed the effort further by throwing the Thread Manipulation skill into the mix. I forcibly controlled every last part of my body in order to have its strands run rampant within the pill bug’s figure.
I wasn’t able to manipulate myself nearly as skillfully as the System Announcer had, but that was honestly something I’d already been expecting.
Fran pitched in as well and used Elemental Blade to cloak my body in lightning.
Fran’s actions functioned as a finishing blow; her spell caused the pill bug to let out one last cry as it lost its life. The strength drained from its limbs. Its body’s functions slowed to a stop.
〈Self Evolution has activated. You have gained 60 self-evolution points.〉
I ranked up. That was nice and all, but I had priorities. What mattered right now was Fran. I made use of my telekinetic abilities and gently laid her down on the boss room’s floor.
『Fran, are you alright?』
Whew, looked like I managed to heal her in time. Most of her larger wounds had closed up. She was still alive and kicking.
『That we did.』
Fran pushed herself off the ground with both arms in response to my words.
「First victory in long time.」
『What do you mean?』
「First time in long time facing strong enemy head on and winning.」
Hearing Fran say that made me think about all the strong foes we had faced in the past.
The demon we fought hadn’t been able to show its true potential, and we’d only won because it’d basically half screwed itself.
Amanda always completely rekt us every time we sparred her.
The Lich totally destroyed us. We probably would’ve died if not for the System Announcer.
Fran hadn’t been able to engage in direct combat with the Midgard Wyrm. Plus, we didn’t end up actually taking that one down either.
We only won against Rynford because of the people that’d helped us beat him back. We probably would’ve lost otherwise.
There was only a single instance in which we went head on against anything that was considered a C level threat or higher and won, and that was when we fought the Legendary Skeleton.
〈Fran has reached level 45.〉
『Nice! You finally did it!』
Race: Beastkin (Black Cat Tribe)
Job: Magic Warrior
State: Bound to Contract
Status Level: 45/45
Espionage: Lv 4
Wind Magic: Lv 2
Court Etiquette: Lv 4
Presence Detection: Lv 5
Sword Techniques: Lv 7
Sword Arts: Lv 7
Blink: Lv 6
Fire Magic: Lv 4
Cooking: Lv 2
Evil Resistance: Lv 1
Sense of Direction
Black Cat’s Divine Protection
Match For a Thousand
Lord of Dismantling
She Who Slaughters
Big Game Eater
Wielder of Flames
Wielder of Wind
Lord of Cooking
Black Cat Set (Body Armour, Gloves, Shoes, Earring, Cloak, Belt)
Bracelet of Herculean Strength
Fran had finally hit level 45. She’d capped herself out.
Urushi and I both watched over Fran with bated breath as she opened and closed her palms as if to verify whether or not there’d been any changes.
『…Doesn’t look like anything’s any different.』
Damn it. It looked like my hunch had been right all along. Nothing happened to Fran; she didn’t evolve.
『Don’t worry about it too much, alright?』
「Nn. More importantly. Master ranked up too?」
「Right, yeah I did. I totally forgot because I was too caught up in everything.」
Race: Intelligent Weapon
Magical Conductivity: A+
High Speed Self-Repair
Self Evolution 〈Rank 12 | Magic Stones: 6689/7800 | Memory: 112 | Evolution Points Remaining: 62〉
Self Modification (Superiorized)
Lesser Telekinetic Amplification
Lesser Attack Boost
Space/Time Magic: MAX
Dimension Magic: Lv 1
Intermediate Status Boost (Wielder)
Lesser Recovery Boost (Wielder)
Eye of Empyrea
Lesser MP Boost
Knowledge of Magic Beasts
Intermediate Memory Boost
Principal of falsehood: Lv 5
Sword Arts SP
Skill Taker SP
Doppelganger Synthesis SP
『I’ve got a whole 62 self evolution points. Looks like we’ll be able to make ourselves a decent bit stronger.』
I couldn’t help but feel good about the fact that I finally had over 600 base attack. I’d only ever seen a few with numbers that high.
Heh, I was finally strong enough to be worthy of a sword with a name, even without all my skills and what not. I’m no longer the same sword I once was! No way in hell I’ll ever get depressed by appraising one of Gallus’ swords ever again!
『Thanks! Don’t worry, you’re next. We’ll definitely find a way for you to evolve!』
To that end, we’d need more information. I didn’t know if Aurel actually knew anything about how Black Catkin were supposed to evolve, but he himself was still a beastkin that’d undergone an evolution, and thus, he might at least be able to point us in the right direction.
『Alright! Let’s go meet that Dungeon Master so we can get Aurel to tell us what we want to know.』