CHAPTER 66: GOLDEN WOLF, SABRE, AND GROWING DISADVANTAGE
Darkness is approaching from deep inside the forest.
The darkness has many eyes and within the darkness is a glint of light.
While every single footstep might be small and silent, with more than a hundred of them, these footsteps become much more audible.
Based on raw numbers, there’s clearly less monsters compared to the stampede in the past, but I feel a much greater pressure right now coming just from that one monster in question.
Only a few seconds left before they arrive.
Ciel is already done with the preparations.
It’s a slightly large magic circle.
A slightly large magic circle that might be able to fit in about a hundred wolves.
Fighting the crazy-looking monster while dealing with a hundred wolves would likely be difficult, so it’s preferable if this can at least get rid of all the grunts in an instant.
If possible, I hope that it can get rid of the crazy-looking golden wolf as well.
This magic circle should have enough power to do that.
In our first battle, the battle with the cyclops, Ciel’s sorcery back then wasn’t strong enough to defeat the cyclops without support, but the sorcery she’s utilizing now is capable of tearing apart a hundred, if not two hundred, cyclops.
In regards to A-rank monsters, I have no idea if the same can be applicable.
After all, while Ciel has defeated a number of monsters up until now, we haven’t fought A-rank monsters yet.
Despite that, I’m confident that with my full support we should have enough strength to defeat an A-rank monster.
Though, to exert that much power, proper preparations will be necessary.
『The large one really stands out.』
『Rather, I’m more surprised that something that large can actually be obscured by the other wolves.』
『I’ll activate the magic circle as soon as they get in range.』
『I’ll start singing right after this.
From what I can sense with detection, they’re unlikely to stray off the anticipated course.』
『Ain, I’m counting on you.』
『You too, Ciel.
Please do your best since those claws could be a genuine problem.』
Even with the black wave approaching right ahead of us, Ciel and I were exchanging words as we usually do; but before I could finish speaking, Ciel activated the magic circle.
In my opinion, we still have some leeway left but I guess it can’t be helped, Ciel isn’t as proficient with detection as I am after all.
This will only increase the necessary magic power consumption by a slight margin, so it’s not a big deal.
As I finished speaking, I immediately began singing.
While we’re fighting against an enemy of unknown strength, strangely, I don’t feel tense.
I don’t feel afraid or restless as well.
Even as the golden wolf is heading straight towards us while mowing down the trees on its way, and even when it’s so fast that it’s unlikely that we can run away from it.
Ciel activated her sorcery before I could sing.
And this sorcery is to produce a blade of wind that can cover a wide range.
The enemies within range would be shredded apart by not only one blade, but an innumerable amount of them.
The instant they entered the effective range, a multitude of wolves screamed in agony.
Heads fall, bodies split open, and limbs torn apart.
Thereafter the fallen heads, the split bodies, and the torn limbs are then sliced into much smaller pieces.
Just like a bucket of spilled water, blood was pooling all over the ground, and a thick scent of death enveloped the area.
Even people used to killing monsters would probably grimace before this disastrous scene.
In the case of people unfamiliar with death, they’d likely feel sick from it.
At worst, they might even faint from the sight.
I myself feel somewhat unwell from this, but there’s no time for that right now.
『As I thought, it survived.』
The sorcery persisted for roughly one minute.
This sorcery that consumed a third of Ciel’s total magic power completely drowned a hundred wolves in their own blood.
However, the main threat that is the golden wolf has kept its body in one piece.
More than that, while there are small scratches visible on its body, it doesn’t seem like it received any damage at all.
In other words, this wolf is A-rank or above.
It’s tough, agile, and has high offensive power.
Like, at this point, I can’t help but think that it might just be S-rank.
The wolf in question seemed to have completely recognized Ciel as an enemy as it shot a bloodthirsty glare.
【KiLl tHE pEoPLe.
ThEy wHo CReAtED Us, tHeY wHo TurNeD uS iNto iMiTAtIoNs, ThEse fOOlS dEsErVE DeAth.
KiLl, kIlL, KIlL, kiLl, KilLkilLKilLkILl……】
The wolf howled and the surrounding area trembled from its voice.
More importantly, this wolf… it spoke.
And more than than, what it said was pretty disconcerting.
An artificially created being.
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Suddenly, Viviana-san’s explanation about wolves being divine messengers came to mind.
While I’m aware that this seems absolutely absurd; at the same time, I’m confident that it wouldn’t be out of character for Duke Rispeligia to at least attempt to create divine messengers for his goals.
I wouldn’t be that surprised if he had the facilities and equipment to do so in secret as well.
And if that uncomfortable presence coming from those claws are some divine godly something, it would make complete sense.
I want more information.
Since it’s capable of speaking, communication might be possible.
Well, let’s put that nonsense aside.
Even if it can speak, a being with this much bloodthirst can’t be conversed with.
Now if we have the leeway to defeat it, there might be a chance for negotiation.
Though, I don’t intend to stop singing until we figure out how strong the enemy is, so I actually can’t make any suggestion to Ciel.
As I was occupied with my thoughts, the golden wolf raised its foreleg and attacked Ciel.
While I can detect its movements to some extent, it was so quick that it’s somewhat doubtful if we can avoid it even with physical reinforcement.
In a blink of an eye, the distance between us vanished.
In response to that, Ciel moved aside at the last moment, escaping the wolf’s claws.
However, the force produced by its large body moving at a high speed was so great that although Ciel should have avoided a direct hit, she was still blown away.
There was a sudden hovering sensation.
Without even the time to compare it to the sensation of riding a roller coaster, we slammed into a tree.
As my barrier nullified the impact of the landing, Ciel has neither any physical trauma nor any internal injuries.
Naturally, there’s also no pain at all.
Still, this is dangerous.
Ciel’s clothing is completely torn at the upper arm part of the right sleeve.
It was cut through my barrier.
While my barrier has been breached, it’s different compared to that time with Carol-san’s Glacio Lentzo.
That time, it was offset by the spear of ice.
That’s why, even though the spear broke through my barrier, its power was still reduced.
However, it’s different with the golden wolf.
Its attack went through my barrier as if it didn’t exist.
Something of a claw mark is left on the remains of the barrier; and while it didn’t collapse, repair is necessary.
While I do have more than enough magic power to repair a damage of this extent, the issue here is that the barrier couldn’t even mitigate the damage.
For better or worse, our fights up until now have been won through either powerful first moves or aggressive use of my barrier.
And just now, both of them have been shrugged off.
A barrier that can be used constantly as long as it withstand damage is entirely useless if it can’t absorb damage at all.
And without the barrier, Ciel won’t have the leeway to cast sorcery, so it’ll likely turn into a one-sided beatdown.
To begin with, Ciel’s sorcery at full power didn’t have any effect at all, so defeating the monster would require the enhancing buff from the Dance Princess.
However with sorcery being our main mode of combat, while Ciel is dancing and invocating her sorcery, she would be wide open to the golden wolf’s attacks and that would disturb her rhythm.
At worst, we could die then and there.
Moreover, perhaps taking offense from the fact that it couldn’t kill us with a single hit, the golden wolf is looking at Ciel with a deadly glare.
While we do have the option of running away, outrunning it is practically impossible.
In that case, we’re left with only one option.
Perhaps realizing that as well, Ciel drew her sabre from the magic bag.
With my barrier serving no use, the risk of Ciel’s sword being immediately destroyed from just one hit from the golden wolf’s claws, and her general lack of experience with swordplay; I’m really uneasy.
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I can’t express my anxiety right now but, for some reason, it seems like Ciel saw through me as 「It’s alright, so let me hear your song Ain.」 she said so with an awfully confident tone.
I don’t know the reason but since all I can do is sing, I complied to Ciel’s request and continued singing.
Suddenly, without any time for Ciel to take a proper stance, the golden wolf rushed in like a bullet.
This time, it only went for a tackle instead of clawing at us, so Ciel simply dodged the monster nimbly as though it was a bullfight.
As I thought, the only issue is that claw attack.
Without any time to be relieved by how we pulled through, the golden wolf attacked us once again.
Similar from before, it was another tackle.
While this would blow us away if it connected, it’s not scary since we won’t take damage from that.
I see, while we’re afraid of the monster’s claw attacks on our side; from the golden wolf’s perspective, that same attack didn’t deal much damage against us.
In other words, it hasn’t noticed that using its claws is its most effective mode of attack.
Given no time to rest, it rushed at us for the third time.
While I expected it to be the usual tackle, as the golden wolf was about to pass by us, it extended its forelimb to claw at us.
From the trajectory of approaching claws, this is unlikely to kill Ciel.
Still, as Ciel is already in the middle of an evasive maneuver, she won’t be able to avoid this.
I braced myself for the incoming pain, but Ciel’s body moved without any hesitation.
It was by no means quick but with her sabre, Ciel hit the golden wolf’s claws with the least possible movement.
With the blow deflected, the golden wolf lost balance and tumbled onto the ground.
While it was deflected, that attack should still have a considerable force behind it; but against my expectations, the sabre seemed to have sustained no visible damage.
Far from breaking, it didn’t even have a crack.
As her plan went well, Ciel displayed a dauntless smile; while in contrast to that, the golden wolf is glowering at us intensely.
If based only in this last exchange, it would seem as if Ciel outmaneuvered the golden wolf but as we couldn’t inflict any damage against the golden wolf, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re at a disadvantage.
The part where the golden wolf didn’t take any damage is natural since Ciel only deflected its attack, but Ciel isn’t taking the initiative to attack as well.
Despite that, Ciel’s composure persisted on.
I wonder how many attacks have been exchanged ever since the battle started.
Perhaps noticing that the only attacks Ciel parries with her sword are the ones making use of its claws, the golden wolf began attacking mainly with its claws.
It’s likely more intelligent than other monsters considering that it can speak, so this probably would have happened sooner or later anyway; but we’re literally forced into the defensive right now.
Still, it’s not as if we haven’t gained any information from the past exchanges; we’ve learned that with its physical capabilities, the most it can attack consecutively at full speed is three times.
Although Ciel seemed to be on guard against a fourth consecutive attack just to be sure, three times is likely the limit.
Moreover, the golden wolf generally attacks in a straight line.
It has a wide range when it uses its claws, but it seems like it can’t change its course while in the middle of its movement.
Still, Ciel went on the offensive once when the golden wolf wasn’t constantly attacking with its claws yet; but the most she was able to do that time was lightly wound the monster, so it wasn’t worth the risk to attack.
Considering the golden wolf’s speed, shifting to combat sorcery would be difficult as well.
The moment Ciel was forced into a reactive role as a Dance Princess, she’s already at a considerable disadvantage.
Additionally, I have a speculation on why my barrier is ineffective against it.
To begin with, the reason why Ciel told me that It’s alright is probably because a C-rank hunter succeeded on buying time against the golden wolf.
If this monster could destroy weapons and armor with ease then the hunter would have been unable to actually keep it at bay.
So because it was possible, then we can consider that the hunter’s equipment could take the attacks.
The difference between my barrier and Ciel’s, as well as the said hunter’s, equipment is the influence of their Job.
I’ve heard that in the case of Jobs that makes use of weapons, the utilized weapon’s durability would increase.
Ciel has, in some sense, a Job that makes use of weapons; so while it’s only a small amount, a certain amount of magic power is actually flowing through her sabre.
So my speculation is that if this magic power originates from her Job, then it’s likely to be power originating from the gods.
Which is probably how it can stand against the similar hypothetically divinie-ish power that the golden wolf’s claws have.
Other than that, it seems that it simply can’t destroy physical objects unconditionally.
In other words, the nullification of magic power originating from the opposition and strength increase are the abilities of the power dwelling in its claws.
It’s the worst matchup against me who creates barriers without the assistance of Jobs.
Even with more information, the situation isn’t changing for the better.
Rather, the longer Ciel’s stamina and her sword’s durability continues to be chipped down, the worse our situation becomes.
And then the second attack out of the three time consecutive rush came.
While Ciel managed to deflect its claws, this time, the blade of her sabre broke right in half.
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The sword broke!
Hiya~! It seems like this battle isn’t ending any time soon.
No working barrier, no way to make any significant damage.
What lies for them in the future
One thing I liked about this chapter is how you can really see how composed Ciel is, considering that she was the one who realised that parrying the wolf’s claws should be possible.
Ain was a bit too tense, which is completely understandable from her standpoint.
Also, this chapter shows a glaring disadvantage of the Dance Princess, the necessity for the “dance”.
While dancing is, in a sense, the activation key to the Dance Princess’ abilities, it’s really hard to keep the rhythm in combat.
That hasn’t been a problem up until now since, as Ain says, they tend to be the ones attacking first and also abuse Ain’s barrier in many occasions, but in a fight where they don’t have the combat initiative and are forced into a reactive position, it’s pretty difficult to actually dance.
I really like it.
Still, this far away from the duke and he still manages to cause trouble, lol.
An artificial A-rank, if not S-rank, monster () and it’s probably a failure in his eyes, considering how it’s a bit, well, insane and murder happy, which isn’t something I’d expect from divine messengers to be honest.
Whatever the duke’s shenanigans are, it’s definitely troublesome, lol.