Once Tsutomu had returned, he saw the Shell Club still brandishing around their pincers. Garm was warding them off on one side using his shield while Amy used her double swords to cut through their legs.
As their legs were slashed through by Amy, their crystal armor began to weaken. Apart from the wound that Amy had made on their back spine, however, there were no other visible wounds, since the Shell Club had sharpened their armor very thoroughly.
In the distance, Tsutomu caught a glimpse of something that looked like a white sphere amongst the transparent background. The number 9 suddenly appeared behind the sphere, now shaped like an eyeball.
Tsutomu immediately identified it to be a camera livestreaming the event, as it matched the description given to him by Garm.
[It’s bothering me]
Gazing at the vast distance, Tsutomu tried hard to ignore it, but as it began flying around, he became annoyed once again.
Seemingly hearing his thoughts, the camera turned its gaze directly towards him, before eventually flying out of his sight.
When he returned eye contact to Amy, she approached Tsutomu hastily.
“I’m sorry. I’ve already used 3 potions.”
Said Amy as Tsutomu activated his 2 skills. Amy bowed her head as an apology.
“It doesn’t matter. You guys did well holding out against it.”
“It was mostly Garm, though.”
“You were the one who broke through the armor, right? As well as the one who gave it the wound on its back?”
Amy’s face began to light up as she activated Haste on herself while laughing.
“Anyway, the trap is finished. If you go into the wrong nest, choose another one. If you still can’t find it, you may consider retreating.”
“I’ll tell this all to Garm really quick, so could you switch places with him for a bit.”
Saying that, Tsutomu followed after Amy.
“Garm! Use Haste so you can switch places with Amy for a bit.”
Unlike protection, which increases your defense, Haste increases your movement speed. The difference with Haste is very noticeable when compared to without it.
Garm responded to Tsutomu’s call rather quickly. Bathing in a mana potion, he struck his sword onto the Shell Club, before hastily retreating, flying back towards Tsutomu.
Amy then headed towards the Shell Club in order to replace Garm, unfortunately sustaining cuts on her narrow legs while attempting to dodge the pincers coming at her from both directions.
Garm, reaching Tsutomu, bowed his head apologetically, before showing him 2 empty bottles.
“I’ve used up 2 so far, sorry.”
Garm’s head began to sink deeper while squeezing his furry tail in anxiety.
“It’s okay, I’ve heard from Amy that you did well on your own.”
“I’m really sorry, I don’t mind having this removed from my rewards.”
“No, it’s fine.”
“No, really, I’m sorry.”
“…We don’t have time to discuss the potions right now, we’ll talk about this later.”
Garm, agreeing to Tsutomu’s argument, raised his previously lowered head. Tsutomu continued the conversation, looking very serious.
“I’ve laid the trap already. If the nest you enter doesn’t have a trap, look for one that does. If you really can’t find one, maybe it’s time to retreat.”
“Is its armor gone yet? If we clear it we might even be able to take it down the old fashioned way. We’ll soon run out of Haste so let’s get on the way. If we run out too early, please activate Combat Cry.”
“Would that work?”
Their eyes broke eye contact, and Garm rushed back towards the Shell Club. As soon as the blue energy surrounding Garm ran out, he activated his Combat Cry, forcing the Shell Club that was currently attacking Amy to shift targets and begin moving towards him.
It was throwing its pincers around with such a force that it almost tore Tsutomu’s front hair out. Garm received the pincer with his shield, shoving it away towards the side. The pincers on the left now had a free shot at Garm, but he senses the danger and pulled back in the nick of time as the pincers grabbed at the air.
Amy sensed that there was an opportunity to get on its back, but she was held back by the threat of another one of its pincers. Whenever she got closer, the pincers would threaten an attack, so she just retreats and fires a water bullet at its back.
Amy began looking for strategies from her adventurer era while the Shell Club focused on Garm, who was slashing his sword at the Shell Club trying to hold it back.
Garm turned his head towards Amy’s voice. Amy was waving her hand at him from a nearby tree. Guessing what she wanted to do, Garm began leading the Shell Club towards the tree.
It followed Garm even more closely. However, it suddenly stopped on the way, rapidly turning its back towards Garm, before firing a water gun at him.
He probably would have dodged the attack if he still retained his form from 2 years ago, however, trying to think about leading the Shell Club to a specific area dulled his reflexes, and he took the attack headon.
The water was hot, and even though Garm took a defensive stance, the attack penetrated it, destroying his armor and hitting his torso.
The pain in his torso and legs felt like a massive needle had pierced him. His blood began falling onto the hot sand.
Garm did not collapse, however. During his time as an adventurer, he had experienced things way worse than this many times.
Garm continued his way towards Amy, avoiding the swings of the crab’s piercers. On the way, green energy began to envelop his thighs. Tsutomu’s healing spells were beginning to repair his internal organs.
Silently thanking Tsutomu for the support, he turned back towards the Shell Club, Garm realized that it had stopped moving, and was just standing there quietly.
Suddenly, its antennas began moving – towards Tsutomu.
The Shell Club quickly approached Tsutomu, rolling up in the sand like a tank. A shadow began to appear over his head as it began swinging its claw.
Tsutomu threw himself sideways with all his power after spotting the attack. A sand grain from the blast hit his cheek as he was doing so. The area of sand which had been struck by the claw had been left with a large dent.
If it hit him, he would most likely die. Tsutomu felt his leg starting to cramp, but the shell club was attacking once more. The wind pressure gave him a sense of sensation and adrenaline.
Garm’s voice was heard by Tsutomu, who was sent rolling in the sand due to the wind pressure. Regaining his footing, he was thankful he was no longer being focused on by the Shell Club, and raised his cane and shouted
A rather ocher color began swelling around Garm and Amy as Tsutomu shook his head to get rid of the sand particles.
Tsutomu pulled a mana potion from his mouth. A refreshing mint-like flavour filled his mouth.
Tsutomu felt refreshed as he placed the empty bottle back in his belt. Looking around, he tried to observe the current situation.
Garm, who was the current target of the Shell Club, climbed up a tree and headed under Amy, who was hiding under some leaves. While using his dexterity to dodge the Shell Club’s attacks, he was able to make it safely.
After Garm reached Amy, he tried to provoke the Shell Club’s attacks while his back was against the tree. Then, as Garm had hoped, the Shell Club opened its left pincers and tried to attack him.
Garm wrapped around the back of the tree, using the trunk of the tree as a stepping board, and flew backward. The tree that was grabbed by the pincers broke in half and began to fall as Amy jumped off of it.
Amy screamed the spell’s name and struck two swords she had been carrying into the Shell Club. The swords caused the shell to break, inflicting heavy damage, as the crab’s white insides had just become visible.
The Shell Club screamed so loud that it could be heard even by Tsutomu, who was standing a reasonable distance away now. Garm and Amy began to retreat to avoid the Shell Club’s anger.
It continued to devastate the same area even after they had backed off. Bubbles were flying out of its mouth, its pincers were swinging back and forth, and countless water bullets were being fired. The two left quickly while avoiding the water bullets.
“I can’t get that close. I’ll avoid it for now, and just put Haste on Garm until it stops.”
Since there were so many water bullets, Tsutomu made sure to keep a Haste spell on Garm. In the meantime, they tried to avoid the water bullets as well as they can while attempting to keep their distance as to not bump into each other.
Even with Garm’s Combat Cry activated, Haste was still not enough for him.
He could see the water bullets from a further distance than usual due to his increased agility thanks to Haste. The water bullet is very fast when it starts out and can penetrate the human body easily, but its damage is significantly reduced the further you get from it.
When they were a little ways ahead, Tsutomu was struck on his face with several water bullets that fell harmlessly towards the ground, creating a small pool in the sand.
When the Shell Club’s tantrum had stopped, Tsutomu stopped casting Haste on Garm. As usual, he cast Protect on both of them and drank a mana potion while Garm cast Combat Cry.
Then, Amy aimed at the Shell Club’s back, where she had previously scarred. Garm focused on the Shell Club as Tsutomu continued his support and recover skills. If Hate was not enough, they would cast Air Blade.
The Shell Club expended a lot of its ammo earlier, it now shot water bullets at a lower frequency. Amy was timing her attacks perfectly, and the Shell Club began to stagger on the soft sand. Since Garm wanted to recharge his Hate spell, he signaled to her to reduce the frequency of her attacks.
The attacks of the Shell Club grew weaker. However, Amy and Tsutomu would still die instantly if they were to be hit by one. Garm was a little stronger, but not by much, so there was still no room to take risks.
Amy grew a little jealous as she saw Garm attacking the Shell Club while being granted two support skills.
Garm slammed his legs on the ground as he avoided the attacks of the Shell Club. Thanks to that, the shells of three of its thin legs were destroyed, and its body was almost fully exposed. The three of them focused on the leg and attacked it extensively, shattering the muscle fibres.
Tsutomu released an Air Blade towards the leg, tearing more of the Shell Club’s white innards, as Garm attacked it further from another angle.
At the command of Garm, a long sword wrapped in a mysterious blue appeared. It attacked the Shell Club, causing it to scream and fall backwards.
Garm was instructed to primarily use skills that fill up his Hate meter, such as Combat Cry, so as to conserve mana. Mystic Blade is a powerful attack, but not very useful here as it is best to use after the Shell Club had moved back to its nest.
Tsutomu began thinking at the back of his mind that Garm had risen to the same level as Amy.
As the Shell Club retreated, it spat a white, viscous liquid that came from one of its broken shells at Garm. The liquid was meant to burn any skin that it came in contact with.
Since Garm was being given Haste by Tsutomu, he could avoid it easily. More importantly, they knew that that attack was a sign that it was below 50% health.
“Can I go yet?”
“I’ve been waiting for you!”
Amy, who received a GO sign from Tsutomu, jumped out like a cat chasing a mouse, and immediately jumped on the Shell Club’s back with her two swords, widening the previously existing scars. It paused and tried to fire more water bullets, but it had run out of ammo a long time ago.
It tried to replenish water from a nearby oasis, but was stopped by Tsutomu’s Air Blade. Apart from that, Amy was sticking on its back, blocking any water bullets from coming out with her swords.
The Shell Club screamed as she digs into its back with the double swords. Amy hung onto the two swords while laughing maniacally as though she were riding an amusement park ride. Tsutomu noticed this unnatural behaviour and reminded himself to keep this in mind when evaluating her later.
As the battle continued, the Shell Club struck both forceps on the ground and began ploughing through it with white bubbles coming from its mouth.
“Tsutomu! It’s moving!”
“Yeah, and its shells are peeling off!”
Garm was screaming while blocking the flying sand with a shield. Tsutomu also continued sending Air Blades at the Shell Club as Amy jumped off its back and ran towards him.
The Shell Club jumped up vigorously after another long rampage. While spinning its body like a drill, both of its pincers were stabbed into the ground, digging up the sand in the immediate area and disappearing, producing a rumbling-like sound as it moved through the ground.
Struggling to breathe, Tsutomu leaned on his cane. Garm and Amy also sheathed both of their swords.
“If you listen to the sound, it seems to be going in the opposite direction as the trap.”
“I’m feeling pretty good. If we find it, I can probably beat it immediately!”
Amy seemed to be excited with her face covered in the Shell Club’s blood.
“No, let’s check the trap this time. If we can’t check it from a safe distance, we’ll withdraw.”
“No! It obviously went there! We can get a closer look!”
Garm grabbed Amy’s neck as she fluttered her legs in the air. Amy glanced at Garm, causing him to drop her back towards the soft sand.
“The party leader is Tsutomu. Listen to the instructions.”
“But his instructions might not be correct! Even major clan leaders give wrong instructions sometimes! Also, this is his first time on the beach. I’ve been here many times!”
As Amy continued talking, Garm squeezed his arms.
“Same for me. I also feel like we can finish it off. But still.”
“It’s definitely dying right now! We can beat it right away!”
Amy’s eyes looked back towards Garm’s to see that his usual coolness was gone, which was unusual. Perhaps they got too excited thinking they had defeated the Shell Club.
“Well, we still have 5 healing potions, so even if we retreat, we can immediately try again. We can make a profit with the cursed stone in the wilderness.”
“Aren’t we acting a little weak?”
Amy, who currently being rather greedy, immediately refuted Tsutomu. Garm unravelled his arms.
“Tsutomu’s right. We can even afford 5 more potions.”
“Garm, can’t you see that we’re missing a big chance here?”
“If so, want to ask for God’s assistance again? Worked out well for your last clan.”
“Hey! That’s foul!”
Amy opened her eyes wide and jumped up and down furiously, with her long white hair wavering in the air somewhat resembling the shape of a monster. Tsutomu tried to do something to calm Amy down, but eventually withdrew.
Garm looked a little surprised at Amy.
“I don’t know all the details of your clan. But you were basically in the same boat as me. Both of our main problems came from not having an attacker. That made us incapable of climbing the hierarchy.”
“Don’t group us together.”
“The trapping strategy has failed multiple times even with bigger clans, but at least my clan never resorted to it. I just looked for the shell club at the request of the gods.”
At the time, rumours were spreading in the guild that only the clan chosen by God would find the Shell Club. If you were to stop relying on your own power and focus on the gods, you would succeed.
The two clans collapsed after that, without trying any other method.
“Our luck isn’t high enough to ask the gods.”
“That may be the case before, but now we have our Lucky Boy!”
Amy began to laugh hysterically.
Tsutomu’s grip on his cane strengthened, and his eyes closed tightly as though it was sewn together with a thread.
Garm tried to grab Amy by the chest, while Tsutomu approached from the side with his cane.
“Amy, haven’t you noticed? This strategy has factored that in as well. I brought my luck up to D+. That’s more than before.”
Tsutomu put his hands on Amy’s shoulders, trying to calm the mood. They looked at each other’s eyes.
Tsutomu was still smiling the same smile he usually displayed. However, Amy’s eyes turned into those of a small kitten’s as she began to feel a cold sweat.
“Okay, we’ll leave it to Lucky Boy, but if we don’t do anything soon, the Shell Club will soon recover.”
Tsutomu went back to usual as Garm began to stretch his shoulders. Garm stared at Amy for a moment with no expression before going back to work. Amy continued with an indifferent attitude, not noticing the camera from the sidelines, watching them from afar.