It’s been one hour since we parted with the beginner party.
〈Fran’s Level has risen to 9〉
『Yes, yes. We’ll confirm the changes later.』
We’re currently at war with a crowd of Goblins.
I didn’t particularly intend to find their den, but we eventually became surrounded by Goblins after hunting them for EXP for a while. There’re ~100, probably. Furthermore, multiple Highbreeds are leading them.
『Here they come again!』
*hyuh hyuh hyuhyun hyun!*
A myriad of stones are thrown towards Fran through the gaps of trees. It seems that it’s not just stones, however. Wood chips and such are mixed within.
The Goblins in the surroundings are all throwing such things in unison. Because the attack is from all sides, avoiding would be impossible.
『Aah, leave it to me. Fire・Wall!』
A dome of fire covers Fran’s body, protecting her from the projectiles. But their attack wasn’t over.
Fran takes a stance with me in her hands, and when the wall of flames disappears —
Ten Goblins attack Fran simultaneously. Two of them jumped too early, and crashed into Fire・Wall, causing them to be engulfed in flames and writhe along the ground.
We pass through the crowd exchange blows with the Goblins. Doing so, 5 Goblins were immediately defeated.
Striking the Goblins, Fran’s small body dances while being colored bright red. Swords tear at her shoulders and Spears bore into her back,
but Fran bears the pain and continues to hold me in her hands. I wanted to suggest setting Pain Reduction, but losing ones’ sense of pain might adversely lead to even more damage.
The usually quiet Fran lets out a war cry and attacks the Goblins. With that, 10 more are defeated.
This battle of offense and defense has repeated several times, leading to the corpses of a little less than 40 fallen Goblins laying around Fran. Still, the number of Goblins surrounding Fran don’t seem to have decreased.
『Oi, Fran! Are you alright?』
『We should escape soon. There’re other methods of gaining EXP, ones even more efficient than this.』
We made light of their numbers… The numbers that the Goblins would put to war.
My body feels neither pain nor fatigue, and is repaired as soon as I sustain damage. For better or worse, I’m able to fight without struggling against strong Demonic Beasts.
But as a result… My sense of danger had been dulled. Things like it’s too dangerous, or that Fran wasn’t ready yet hadn’t even come to mind. I had thought from the bottom of my heart that we’d manage somehow with my power.
And yet, we’re now in a hard fight against the Goblins… But it’s too late to regret now.
In Recovery Magic is an auto-recovery spell that resurrects the target when their HP becomes 0 — although the Spell is only works once per chant. It’s difficult to die when one has this technique, and it makes victory only a matter of time.
But… How much pain would need to be endured, and how much blood would need to be shed until then? Fran still isn’t ready to endure such things. Remembering this fight might breed a trauma, so we should withdraw before that occurs.
『They’re coming again! We can still escape!』
If it’s through Floating and Aerial Jump, making our escape through ascent would be possible. The wall of Goblins would be easy to break through, too.
『W-What are you saying?! Getting hurt any more than this is pointless! If we go hunt larger Demonic Beasts we’ll gain even more EXP!』
Muttering so, Fran takes a stance with me once again. A look of strong determination appears on her face as she does so.
「With Teacher: I won’t die. Without dying: pain can be known. Can be used for battle. Then, experience is accumulated.」
『 ! 』
「Fighting to the limit: necessary to be strong, I think. This is… The perfect battleground.」
Saying so, Fran has a ferocious smile.
Ah, I made light of Fran. She had resolved herself long ago. It was only me who wasn’t prepared.
My resolution to see Fran hurt wasn’t strong enough. Aren’t I too naïve? Certainly, if she’s led by me her level will rise. But would that really make her『strong』?
Experience and strength of will. Enduring pain can only happen in battle, so isn’t there no meaning in just having one’s level raised?
Fran understood that firmly.
Amazing. Unlike living snugly in Japan, readiness is different from being overprotected here.
Alright. I’ll also show my resolve. I’m prepared! No more hesitating! Let’s abandon my easy-going protective spirit! Even without my protection, she isn’t a weak kitten. She’s a fierce child — a predator sharpening her fangs!
『Leave the recovery to me!』
「Nn! I’m going!」
With that, Fran sprints. She plunges into the crowd of Goblins and swinging me to her heart’s content. And as for me, I put my heart and soul into supporting Fran as she accumulates combat experience.
In that way I noticed a change in Fran.
Haven’t her movements become a bit amazing? Even though she isn’t using Sword Techniques, her thrusts almost match the speed of Triple・Thrust. Even now, with Double・Slash — no, its movement exceeds Double・Slash.
I had thought Fran was utilizing Sword Arts, but…… That doesn’t seem to be the case.
No, wouldn’t that be natural? Suddenly getting Sword Arts at a high level one day, it would be impossible for her body and mind to so easily adapt. So far we had been finishing off small fries and concluding out battles in an instant, so it wasn’t a problem… But now, fighting to her limit, her Skills and body have begun working in unison.
Until now only the sharpness of my blade could be admired, but that was only then. Now, things are different. Sword and Body are one. As the number of Goblins increase, the accuracy and ferocity of her attacks does as well.
Two hours have passed.
『Fran, you’ve done well!』
The corpses, blood, and bodily fluids of the Goblins are littered across the ground; it was a disastrous scene that seemed to have come straight from hell. At the center, using me as a cane, Fran barely stands. There’re no wounds thanks to Recovery Magic, but her endurance has been stretched to the limit, as can be seen as her shoulders raise and fall intensely.
She’s covered in blood, dust, and mud to the extent that not a single surface of her skin is clean. Even the newly bought protective gear was dyed dark red. The damage of the armor in particular is quite terrible, so repairs will be necessary.
If I had attacked more proactively we probably wouldn’t have had such a hard fight… But it was necessary for it to be difficult.
Only 6 levels were gained, but the growth that Fran has shown exceeds such things. During the middle of the fight Goblins were defeated exclusively through smashing their Magic Stones — in other words, during the melee her skill had reached the point where I would pierce into the exact area of the opponents’ vital areas.
I cast a Magic used to recover one’s endurance, but mental fatigue won’t be cured through it.
『Rest a bit. I’ll remain vigilant of the surroundings.』
While I do so, I suppose I could secure any usable materials an absorb any remaining Magic Stones…
『O-Oi. Are you really alright?』
「Finish quickly: leave quickly.」
『I see…… The King didn’t show up in the end, so we should finish before reinforcements come, then.』
『Alright. Take care of their equipment and horns. As for me, I’ll focus on the absorption of Magic Stones.』