In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 79
"NO YOU DON'T!" Elze screamed and leaped overhead and punched out with full force. "TAKE THIS!"
A punch that would have shattered rock and bent inwards steel plate only staggered the creature. But that was enough. Yae let out another grunt of pain as the piercing limb was removed from her body. She rolled away quickly, and left behind a ribbon trail of red blood on the dry dusty-gray ground.
"Come forth, Fire! Crimson Duet: [Fire Arrow]!"
Whoosh. Whoosh. Bang!
The Crystal Creature didn't even notice Linze's attempt at drawing its attention. The dual explosive Fire Arrows with a limited homing ability, burst against its shell and faded away quickly. Linze scowled. She did that while fully knowing that it was pointless and might be making the enemy stronger, but if it was a magic-eater then she was making herself the better target.
Elze was having none of that, and darted in and out punching and making sure that the creature focused on her instead of her much less physically capable sister.
But even Elze's brute strength was reaching its limits. It was absorbing the magic inherent to the [Boost] and making every subsequent punch much less effective as its crystal body hardened.
"[High Frequency Blade!]" I shouted out as I crashed into it from above, smashing my sword onto a leg joint. My sword just slid right off the crystal, leaving at most a small scratch that quickly regenerated. Rules of Nature, why have you failed me?!
In response, it swung the whole limb while I was inside its guard and it couldn't reach me with the bladed tips. "Ugh!" I absorbed the blow by crossing my arms together, and its swipe flung me across the clearing.
In mid-air I made another [Air Burst] to throw myself towards Yae. The samurai girl clutched a hand to her left shoulder, trying to staunch the bleeding. Her pink silk kimono was starting to stain red, a color crawling out in intensity like a flower blooming.
"Over here! You! Come at me! You creepy bug!" Elze yelled and began to throw rocks.
The Crystal Creature chased after her. I slid to a stop right beside Yae. "Yae! How are you holding up?"
"M-my apologies" Yae gasped at me. She sat up, grimacing in pain, but her eyes were still clear and undaunted. "Playa-dono Monika-sama"
"For what? You saved Elze and Linze's lives. I should thank you and I should poke you in the forehead, what the hell was that?! It looked like you were throwing your life away!"
"But that is my role in this f-formation, is it not? It is an honor to give my life to protect the more important members of the formation. That is the role of the vanguard, it is."
I narrowed my eyes. I flicked open the casing to my VR headset so I could look at her directly with the rear phone camera, a gesture that everyone understood was equivalent to staring them directly in the eyes. "Kokonoe Yae, I value you just as much as Elze and Linze. Don't you DARE consider yourself any less important in this team."
Her gaze didn't even waver. I shook my head, finding that sort of fearless self-sacrifice disturbing.
"Now don't move I'll get you back to the fight right quick." I put my hand over the wound and winced. The creature's swipe from before also cracked the bones in my left forearm. I quickly muttered the spell [Cure Heal] to close her wound, and then again over my left arm.
"Thank you, Playa-dono. Battling with a healer in the team, that is indeed most convenient, it is." She touched at the bare flesh of her healed shoulder. The wound had gone straight through and out her back, and had cut the upper portions of her chest bindings. It still stung with phantom pain, but at least she could hold her swords again. "But I understand my role in this formation, please allow me to stand in front of Linze-dono again. All I can do is to put my body in between her and the enemy. My sword is ready. I do not need any more than this, I do not."
I winced again, but this time in worry. I looked away to see that Elze was leading the Crystal Creature into a merry chase through the ruins.It was just smashing through the buildings without even being slowed down. I could feel that Monika's attention was not on me, but that that she was instructing Elze where to run without having to look behind her. Linze must have given one of her earbuds to Elze when they separated.
"Don't thank me yet. This is way, way, way too high for our level. How do you beat something that eats magic and is composed of such a stupidly hard material that our swords are just useless?"
"I.. I do not know. Blunt weaponry?" If only we had some heavy war maces or a kanabo.
Linze was standing a short ways away, completely ignored by the enemy, her face likewise set in worried concentration. If Yae was feeling less than useful, Linze had to be feeling worse than useless. Anything she could do here was actively detrimental.
I had the same problem, and how ironic it was to feel 'with great power comes great responsibility' at the same time as having that power be so completely worthless. But if we only tried to save ourselves, we would succeed. If we just were willing to accept that would get a whole lot of innocent people killed!
Crystals. Gems. Diamonds. Hard but brittle. My thoughts whirled looking for a solution, but there was nothing around us that was just hard enough to take the punishment of breaking past that magic-eater defense.
Wait. Maybe that-
/"Elze, try to get it to chase you through that corner!"/ Monika shouted out suddenly. /"I've got an idea! Player! I'm putting a targeting reticule up! Keep your eyes on the monster!"/
Elze ran with the crystal creature still on her heels, then zigged into a corner. The creature just punched through the building in the way of the L-shaped intersection, and the Elze zagged into another alley and out into the open.
The Crystal Creature emerged in a shower of splinters and stone. /"[Slip!]"/ said Monika, and magic circle appeared under the creature. Its sharp pointed legs abruptly failed to find friction onto the ground and it slid off. The magic circle moved under it, and carried by its initial momentum the Crystal Creature continued to slid right off the clearing to crash into some free-standing curtain walls some distance away.
"Hell yeah!" I stood up and pumped my fist in joy. "Monika, that's awesome!"
"Miss Monika! I thought it absorbed magic?! How did you make it work?!" Linze asked breathlessly as she ran over to us.
/"Any magic that hits it directly it can absorb. But indirect attacks apparently could still affect it! It's still just something that buys us time. It's still going to be absorbing the ambient magic from that."/
"But at least now we have a fighting chance. That's still amazing, love. Thank you."
Monika fell silent.
SKREEEEE! The Crystal Creature was starting to sound annoyed.
"Hey Monika!" Elze yelled out suddenly, while holding up her sling. "I need you to make this thing as strong as you can. I'm going to try something too!"
/"[Amplify: Durability] [Stack] [Application: Reinforcement]"/ Monika stacked and reinforced the sling repeatedly until it was practically indestructible without losing its inherent qualities.
Elze reached behind her to the belt-bag on her back, a similar thing to my fanny pack. All of us now actually had belt bags for sundry items, because pockets were so useful and skirts didn't have any. Elze's was an ammo belt.
She took out a conical lead slug and placed it into the sling. She began to whisper quickly as she spun it between her fingers "[Boost.] [Boost.] [Boost.] [Boost.] [Boost]"
The Crystal Creature charged at us. I stomped my foot onto the ground in an Earth Bending stance, pointed my flat right palm at it and shouted "Come forth, Earth! Staunch barrier, [Earth Wall!]"
A thick rock slab rose up out of the ground. The creature simply smashed through. But then I clenched my right hand into a fist, swiftly brought it down to my waist, at the same time raising my left palm out as if slapping a post with a Buddhist Palm. Again, "[Earth Wall!]"
It slowed the creature's charge enough for Linze to finish chanting "Come forth, Ice! Grand Frozen Mass: [Ice Rock]!"
The air cracked over the creature, and with coruscating brilliance under the noonday sun a great mass of solid ice appeared overhead. It came down onto a point, a building-sized ice spike that drove the Crystal Creature straight down into the ground.
It tried to push off the ground, but Monika applied [Slip] again under it, and the Crystal Creature crashed down again.
"[BOOST!]" Elze shouted. "Take this! [BOOST BULLET]!"
Elze pitched forward, letting one strap of the sling free. There was the cracking sound of something breaking the sound barrier. The heavy lead bullet smashed into the Crystal Creature and actually blasted off a small crater out of its shell.
The crater began to shrink and heal over as the iceberg pinning it down began to melt. Nevertheless, it was wounded and in pain.
"BUT OF COURSE!" I shouted in excitement. "THAT'S JUST PURE KINETIC ENERGY! IT CAN'T ABSORB THAT. Magic is making it happen, but once it's under way it's nothing but pure physics. I could understand maybe absorbing energy in the form of lightning or heat but just things hitting other things? ELZE! YOU'RE A GENIUS!"
"Ehh, for someone who says 'Speed kills' so much, I'm disappointed you didn't figure this out any earlier."
"I could kiss you. Now we have a way to deal with this thing."
Elze scratched at her cheeks with a sheepish look on her face. "Eheheh. Don't say things that can be misunderstood." Then her expressioned firmed up back into the focused calm of battle. "I can try again. Just keep it distracted."
"Mister Zah look!" Elze pointed.
The red orb inside the Crystal Creature's head was now glowing almost fire hot.