At the north gate, Tzar revealed his gigantic double-serpent form and caused a tremor as he moved, a sight that Lala saw from her position at the west gate, and that Asley was facing away from while he was minding his own business.
“”Now then, it is about time We cleaned up the monsters in front of the gate.””
“Whoa, he’s huge?!”
Tzar, having heard the voice he had come to be familiar with over the past few days, turned one of his heads around.
In response to Asley’s flabbergasted reaction and absolutely loud whisper, Tzar simply said in his usual tone, “It is quite effective as a threat against lower-ranked monsters,” before turning back around. Now producing a faint smile, Asley also turned around and started casting recovery magic to heal the Fal Braves.
The enemy may have been low-tier monsters, but that didn’t change the fact that they had found themselves in an unusual situation. The monsters had been extremely efficient in both offense and defense.
Tzar unleashed fierce breath attacks from both his mouths, with the Zombie Lords being the first on the list to be burnt to nothingness by the streams of fire.
It seemed that everything around the north gate was more or less taken care of, but then a disaster approached.
Tzar gazed at a certain silhouetted figure as it streaked through the battlefield, and to trace its path, Goblin, Marine Lizard, and Zombie Lord reinforcements appeared in droves. It was as if they had burrowed themselves up from the earth itself.
“”Hmph, We had thought the previous number of monsters never would have been enough to make it through… So that is where they are coming from – We foresee this becoming quite ugly if things drag on. Sir Asley.””
Tzar, without turning around, called out to Asley.
[“What is it? “]
Without getting his eyes off his work, Asley replied instead with the Telepathic Call magecraft.
[“Oh-ho, the ancient art of magecraft. Impressive. Now, regarding the enemy… if Our memory serves well, they appeared from a magecraft of a distant land – a Black Magecraft, one fit for the same designation of extremes, such as the Devil Contract.”]
Asley’s body immediately stopped all movement.
Tzar was ultimately not all that interested in Asley’s Telepathic Call magecraft, instead bringing up the topic of Black Magecraft, which even Asley knew almost nothing about.
[“Black Magecraft… the forbidden arts that were hidden away by the Dark Elves? How do you know about them, Tzar? “]
[“Hmph, We suppose that matter can be left for a later time. For the discussion to proceed, We suppose a practitioner must first be found.”]
That particular reply felt awfully familiar to Asley. He was reminded of Melchi as he remembered from their encounter two years ago, but that did not answer how that related to what Tzar had said – and so he only acknowledged the reply he had received and ended the Telepathic Call.
[I’d thought he was just a Kagachi youngling, but that… that’s probably Tzar’s former size. That would explain his extensive knowledge… and then there’s Lala’s age to consider… what in the world is going on?]
Asley’s face had clouded up for a brief moment, what with the piece information he had just received being so hard to swallow down, but thankfully, he was now able to shift his course of action as he was presented with a new piece of information.
After he was done healing the Fal Braves, he proceeded to invoke a spell in the direction where there was a sudden outburst of monster reinforcements.
“Rise, Magic Stalker!”
A red beam of light streaked through an active magecraft on the battlefield – or in other words, the shadow that monsters were spawning from. The beam was supposed to be pointing at the one who had drawn the Craft Circle. But instead, it drew a folding fan-like arc along the outer wall that linked the north and east gates.
Asley focused his eyes all he could, but found no one there. The invocation of his spell had been perfectly normal. However, the fact that there was no target to be found pained quite an expression of doubt on Asley’s face. But then he heard Tzar’s voice coming from behind him once again.
“”You there – We can see you. Surely you did not expect to deceive Our eyes… did you?””
Tzar’s eyes flashed with a bright red light.
What emerged at the end of his gaze, at the end of Magic Stalker’s light, was a black, wriggly ‘something’.
Asley’s blinked and focused once again, this time seeing a humanoid male figure, seemingly a mutant, clad in black tatters.
His eyes were especially suspicious, glowing a ferocious, monstrous, dazzling gold, and his mouth gaped far wider than what humanly possible. Lining his gums were what seemed closer to fangs than teeth. What with how impossibly sharp they looked. His ears seemed to have been mutilated, and his face was covered in severe burn scars. His presence had been uncovered only because Tzar could detect targets with their body heat.
“That’s… shadow-blending magic, like the one Mel showed me! But more importantly… what in the world is that…?”
“”…Sir Asley, you leave this place to Us and go do something about that… individual. Now that you know that he is a principal offender, anything less than his defeat is unacceptable.””
Asley started running toward the mutant.
The opponent, facing Asley as the ran along the top of the wall, crouched down and started drawing a Circle.
Asley also drew a Circle as he ran on, and then invoked the magecraft at his left hand.
“Rise, A-rise, Shift Stance! Hit Point Reduction!”
The interference magecraft was targeted at the Black Magecraft at the mutant man’s feet.
It converted the Craft Circle to a Spell Circle, and then modified its properties. With that, Asley successfully stopped another outpour of monsters before things went south.
From a result-oriented standpoint, this action also did a great deal to assist Lala, Tzar, and Pochi to keep on doing what they needed to.
The mutant, although a second slower than Asley, also successfully invoked his spell.
His voice was difficult to comprehend, his enunciation extremely unclear.
The spell he had invoked was directed at the top of the outer wall. Asley started to run again, but then was met by the explosion at the position he was about to head toward.
In the face of a spell that had just instantly blown off a few meters of the outer wall’s top, Asley braked his rush, cold sweat streaming down his face.
“That was close… Man, that’s a pretty stinging spell you’ve got – good speed and power. All right – Rise, A-rise, Demonic Acceleration!”
Now he unleashed the magecraft to buff the effect of his Hit Point Reduction spell.
It was the same combo that Asley had used against on Ogre Queen some time ago, as Gaston had witnessed.
Asley then proceeded to invoke his Appraisal Glasses.
Since he has now lost the high ground and created some distance from the mutant man, this was done so that he would play his next card right.
SPECIAL SKILLS: ???
[Someone’s who’s ‘overcome the invisible wall,’ huh… My Appraisal Glasses can’t see through him, so that must be it. Not to mention how he’s got so much raw power as a mage…]
The mutant man almost instantaneously lifted the magic effect off himself via an arcane energy release technique.
[Hoo boy… and he just got rid of my easy way out just like that. This guy’s quite a tough customer.]
“You…… Interfere, why?”
“From an objective standpoint, it would be strange NOT to interfere with your actions.”
“Gruuu… uuu… reasonable.”
The mutant man, seeming to have heard Asley’s words just fine, cracked his mouth open even wider than it already was, producing an eccentric grin.
Asley was agape in awe of the man’s repulsive smile, but of course, the width of his mouth could never hope to match the latter. Asley tried leaning his neck forward and cracking his mouth once again, but then he suddenly heard a thunderous howl coming from further east behind the mutant man.
What came running from that direction was the regular-sized Pochi, having already disengaged her gigantification. Both Asley and the mutant man were surprised by her unprecedented reinforcement. Asley had entrusted her with rescuing Ryan, so he had never thought she would be back so early.
“Ohh, Pochi! Is Sir Ryan safe?!”
“Thanks to your magic, he’s good as new now, sir! He’s got the east gate under control!”
“All right, show this guy how wide you can open your mouth!”
“Hah, look at how she just showed you up! That’s how good we are, strange man!”
“Grrraaa… aaaa… you people, funny.”
Pochi, having leapt over the mutant man to get to Asley’s side, now turned to look at the one behind the invasion. Then her face was painted with an expression of disappointment.
Pochi’s expression prompted Asley to incline his head in doubt.
“Master, that man doesn’t look like the mastermind type at all! From all the stories I’ve read, the mastermind’s gotta be handsome, you know!”
“…You, raise her, not good.”
The man’s reaction of intense anger prompted Asley to scold Pochi for her behavior.