The entrance, the halfway area, and the depths of [Chaotic Flugel] all looked distinctively different. Firstly, the entrance was where man-made structures met with the forest. In the halfway area, monsters could be seen making use of the man-made structures that were either already in ruins or in the process of doing so.
As for the depths…
None of the buildings are intact…the monster attacks here must have really been ferocious.
Not a single building that could be used by the monsters remained here in the depths. The forest had affected this place to great degree.
The already broken-down houses, after being exposed to numerous rain all this time, have been so weathered that a single step could make whatever remained of them to fall down.
And given that this place had been ravaged by multiple monster attacks over a long period of time, the tension in the air here was very different from before.
When Herbert turned his gaze toward the other two, he saw that Rodeo’s face has tightened while Marlon’s face was much more serious than before. At the same time, Herbert could feel blood lust prick his skin.
Herbert had been taken back by the monsters’ hit-and-run tactics, but that was only at first. Up until they entered the halfway area, at most. After getting used to it and even learning how to deal with it, those ambushes became no problem at all.
Right now though, Herbert could feel immense pressure. The atmosphere here was so heavy unlike before. Herbert could only guess that perhaps it was because the monsters here have risen up in strength.
“Hmm, miasma is thicker here. I guess that means the real challenge starts now.”
“Miasma…you mean that poison that contains some magical substance that monsters seem to love?”
Marlon asked so and Rodeo silently nodded in reply.
Whenever a large group of monsters or even just a single powerful monster settles on an area, miasma would flow there sooner or later.
Miasma was poison to humans, albeit a weak one. It didn’t sap away one’s vitality, but rather, reduces the power of spells. On the other hand, miasma would cause a monster to become more lively. In other words, when fighting monsters in a place where there was miasma, people had to do so from a slight disadvantage.
“There are Blade Knights ahead. Two of them. I’ll take one down, so you two take down the other.”
After saying so, Rodeo sprinted off.
Herbert and Marlon looked at each other, nodded, and then followed after Rodeo. Somewhere along the way, Herbert started going to the right and Marlon went to the left.
The enemy in Herbert’s eyes was the C rank monster known as a Blade Knight. From afar, it looked almost like an armored knight. The closer you get though, more you would notice what was weird about it.
For starters, it didn’t carry a sword. Instead of hands and gauntlets below its armored shoulder and elbows…there were only blades. Yes, although this monster didn’t carry swords, its entire arms were swords. Both of them.
On top of that, this monster boasted strength beyond that of a normal human. So, even if it swung just one of its sword-arms, one would have to meet it with a sword held by both hands. A troublesome monster, to say the least.
As for why Herbert and Marlon split into two directions, it was to imitate the move Rodeo did earlier.
The two Blade Knights’ attention were on Rodeo at the moment, so Herbert and Marlon took that opportunity to launch their surprise attack on one and engage it in close-quarters combat.
Herbert and Marlon were so in sync that all it took for them to communicate was a moment’s eye contact with one another.
Rodeo got up close to the other Blade Knight and struck.
Rather than fight the Blade Knights within the range of their swords, it was probably better to fight really up close where its movements could be obstructed.
The Blade Knight crossed its arms to defend against Rodeo’s attack. Despite most of its body being made of metal, it was actually capable of swift movements like that.
Still, Rodeo’s attack managed to damaged the Blade Knight’s right sword-arm. Rodeo’s sword was made of mithril while the Blade Knight’s arm seemed to be only as sturdy as steel, true, but one would be mistaken to think that was the only factor in why a single attack produced such an effect.
We mustn’t lose to that…
The other Blade Knight concealed itself behind the one Rodeo was fighting and awaited for a chance to launch its own attack, but in keeping its focus entirely on him, it failed to take notice of its surroundings.
Having it done to them, Herbert and Marlon knew just how effective a surprise attack was in overcoming the difference in combat abilities should it connect.
With a look, Herbert saw that Marlon was also ready to engage. In this fight, both Herbert and Marlon were going to focus on using their swordsmanship.
Blade Knights were classified as golem-type monsters in that they had a kind of core somewhere within their body. The inside of a Blade Knight’s armor was hollow, and the core stood where a person’s chest might normally be. If this core was destroyed, the Blade Knight would cease all its movements. In other words, that was the thing Herbert and Marlon was aiming for.
Herbert raised his index finger, a hand signal meant to say that he was going first. After confirming that Marlon saw that, he approached the distracted Blade Knight as sneakily as he could.
That Blade Knight itself had gotten quite closer to Rodeo. But whether it was because its prey was so near or because it was just confident it would win no matter what, the Blade Knight’s attention was still completely on Rodeo.
Herbert took one big breath in…and then started sprinting. His distance to the distracted Blade Knight thus rapidly decreased.
Herbert has been jogging and training intensively everyday, so as a result, he was able to regain some of his running ability. He was still a bit slower than average though. His body was also still quite fat and heavy, so loud thumping sounds couldn’t be helped when he sprinted.
That alerted the distracted Blade Knight. At that moment, there was about 10 steps between them. A surprise attack that would catch the enemy completely off guard was now impossible. Even so, the Blade Knight was in no position to counterattack, so this was still acceptable.
Concluding that going unnoticed was no longer possible, Herbert changed tactics. While running as fast as he could, he readied his sword to thrust with great force.
Meanwhile, the Blade Knight took a defensive stance, the same one the other Blade Knight took against Rodeo earlier: crossing its arms.
Soon enough, Herbert’s thrust made contact with the Blade Knight’s crossed arms. That produced orange sparks, which disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
Herbert withdrew his body and paused to gather force. He then made use of that held power by turning around and slashing horizontally.
The Blade Knight took that attack by using only one of its arms this time. Herbert’s attack was powerful though, so that caused it to stagger a bit. That said, it was still capable of launching an attack of its own using its other hand. And so, when it thrust at Herbert…
Along with a sound that suggested something was smashed, the Blade Knight stopped moving. And then, it lost all of its power and crashed into the ground. Behind it was Marlon who stood with his sword still at the ready.
As Herbert was currently, it was hard for him to pull off a perfect surprise attack. It was only natural for the Blade Knight, even distracted, to notice him. So, after Herbert got close enough thanks to Rodeo, the real attacker, Marlon, was to launch his own surprise attack and destroy the core.
That was the plan the two thought up and agreed on in an instant when they locked eyes earlier.
Marlon raised a fist as he approached. Laughing, Herbert raised his own fist and made it lightly strike against Marlon’s.
“Great work. Well then, let’s be on our way then.”
Pleased that they could do it by themselves, Herbert turned toward Rodeo with a cheerful expression. Rodeo, by the way, had taken down the other Blade Knight before the two noticed it.
Like that, their group finally arrived in the innermost part of [Chaotic Flugel], the area where the [Stone Root] grows.
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“In the halfway area, monsters could be seen making use of the man-made structures that were either already in ruins or in the process of doing so.”
‘doing’ >>> being*
“managed to damaged” >>> damage*