A violent ringing filled the room as Fran and the skeleton exchanged blows. Blade against blade, the two continued to clash.
The battle was rather simple and barebones, but if anyone were to have watched it, they undoubtedly would have ended up staring in wonderment, for the duel almost seemed to be one of an inhuman calibur.
From a pure numerical standpoint, Fran was at an overwhelming disadvantage. Her stats were much lower, and the two were about equally proficient in swordplay. Luckily, I was able to bring her up to par by raising her abilities with my skills and spells.
And so, we were stuck at a stalemate.
The most annoying part of it all was that the skeleton was capable of appraisal jamming. I wasn’t able to figure out where it’s magic stone was, so I had to guess. Thanks to that, I wasn’t able to catch it off guard with a sudden telekinetic catapult. Though, I guess I did always have the option of just using it over and over again until I hit the right spot.
『It’s healing again!』
「Kakaka! (Skeleton noises)」
Another aspect that brought us trouble was the Skeleton’s Dungeon Guardian title, as it provided rapid recovery to both its HP and MP so long as it remained within the dungeon.
Seriously? God damn, dealing with something with the ability to regenerate this much is a huge pain in the ass… On second thought, telekinetic catapult might not be the best idea, as using it would revealing it, which in turn could potentially allow the skeleton to react to it when we need it the most. Our only choice was to slowly and steadily whittle him down.
Another thing that gave us trouble was that one autocast skill it had. The skill did exactly what its name implied, and continued to bombard us with magical projectiles. And since it was automatic, it would continue to function regardless of what the skeleton itself was doing. It would often end up getting in our way the moment we got it into any sort of favourable position. The spells it fires off are pretty powerful too, so our HP tends to take a nosedive every time we get hit.
We were able to fight back by putting points into magical barriers. Through their use, we managed to not only nullify the spells automatically cast by the skeleton, but also some of its other attacks as well, a welcome miscalculation.
The tradeoff was that a decent chunk my precious self evolution points ended up getting used up in the process.
The duel continued for over ten minutes.
The sound made by the clash of steel on steel was occasionally drowned out by the ringing of a glass bell. Each ring was accompanied by an activation of the Black Cat Armour set’s instant death prevention passive. In other words, the skeleton’s magic sword, Deathgaze, must’ve had some sort of instant kill ability, but it was negated through and through.
Thank you Gallus! I’ll definitely treat you to a good drink or two once we meet up in Ulmut!
Even with the anti-instant-kill passive, Fran was still at a disadvantage. The enemy we were facing off against was a member of an undead, a walking corpse that knew not of fatigue or exhaustion. Fran, on the other hand, would suffer from its effects. The longer we fought, the bigger a toll would be taken on both her body and mind. That said, the ten odd minutes this exchange had lasted had not been spent in vain.
『It’s magic stone is probably somewhere in its head.』
I’d left all the fighting to Fran whilst instead spending my time observing the skeleton and searching for its magic stone.
Since it had no sense of pain and could regenerate rapidly, the skeleton straight up tanked most of our attacks. The only exception was when we targeted its head; it would always defend against anything aimed towards its cranium.
『Looks like it’s invulnerabilities ended up giving us a hand!』
That said, it wasn’t going to just let us attack its sole vital point.
Our knowledge of that point, however, caused the battle’s intensity to suddenly rise to a whole new level. Fran focused the entirety of her assault on the skeleton’s head while the skeleton defended against her attacks and concentrated on countering them.
The skeleton focused every last bit of its attention on Fran’s attacks, a fatal mistake.
Urushi hadn’t been able to provide much support due to how quickly and erratically the two melee fighters had been moving about, so instead of focusing on long ranged bombardment, he ended up sneaking into Fran’s shadow. There, he waited until the most opportune moment: now.
He extended his head out from within the shadows and grabbed ahold of the skeleton’s leg.
『Here we go!』
I finally reveal my trump card and launch myself with a telekinetic catapult from point blank range.
It didn’t matter how strong it was or how fast it reacted. The skeleton wouldn’t be able to dodge the attack; it was done for — or at least it should’ve been.
Light erupted from the skeleton’s body and blew us back just as we were about to emerge victorious. What a tremendous amount of magical energy!
I quickly scanned our surroundings in order to figure out exactly what was going on; the skeleton was already on the move.
The skeleton moved so quickly that it almost seemed to vanish on the spot. Before I knew it, it’d already ran up to Fran, who had yet to recover from the last attack she received. She quickly drew her phantom blade, but the skeleton knocked it out of her hands with but a single strike.
I quickly started moving towards her right as the skeleton began to swing it’s blade once more. The weapon moved with an incredible speed. I didn’t know if I could make it in time.
The sound of steel on steel echoed throughout the room yet again
I managed to force my way between them at the very last moment. I didn’t have enough power to fully deflect the blow, and I was sent flying yet again. Luckily though, I was able to buy Fran enough time to get back up.
『You still okay?』
The skeleton continues to attack, but Fran manages to grab ahold of me and defend.
God damn! Fran’s started to get pushed back. She’s been taking more damage than I can heal, and all that damage has been piling up. All the magical barriers I have to keep casting have also taken their toll on my mana. Why did this god damn skeleton suddenly power up so much!?
Race: Legendary Fighter Skeleton, Undead, Magic Beast
State: Guardian, Latent Potential Unlocked
What the shit!? All it stats rose by 500? Seriously? It’s strength, vitality, magic power and dexterity are all over a thousand too. What the hell! Talk about overpowered bullshit!
Its current state says that it has its latent potential unlocked too. That’s probably because of that Latent Potential Release skill it’s got. Let’s take a look.
Latent Potential Release: Unlocks the user’s latent potential. Gains stats based on how much room the user has to grow. Since it pushes the user to its limits, this skill will drain the user’s life force throughout its activation. The user is also required to provide some sort of compensation. Compensation will vary from user to user.
Now that I take a second look, I realize that the skeleton’s HP is plummeting at an incredible rate. That’s nice and all, but with the way things are going, Fran will probably collapse before the skeleton actually manages to use its remaining hp.
Shit! Why the hell is it so strong! I have to use Telekenesis every time it attacks just to stop myself from flying out of Fran’s hands.
It’s reaction speed seems to have risen as well. Urushi was cut down the moment he emerged from Fran’s shadow and attempted to attack.
『Urushi, fall back!』
Urushi musters up whatever strength he can and dives back into Fran’s shadow. Thankfully, the skeleton’s attacks aren’t able to follow it there.
Jean’s voice rings throughout the room right as the skeleton’s blade passes through where Urushi had been just a moment before. The spell he cast was one with a powerful effect; it could completely obliterate undead creatures. It should be even capable of turning high tier undead into nothing but dust.
But it failed.
「Curses, it is as I feared. My magic has no effect.」
Fran and the skeleton continued to exchange blows, but her HP was still dropping much faster than the undead’s. It was gradually but steadily driving us into a corner.