Episode 31: That battle of ours.
Even with its vital points destroyed, the Spiritual Beast was revived, and its figure was at the end of Yamato’s exhausted sight.
“Could it be that it’s immortal…?”
Calming his startled mind, Yamato tried to observe the other party carefully.
I crushed its brain and pierced its heart, I also slit its throat and I’m sure it died,Yamato was certain. Proof of that was that the ominous feeling emitted by the Spiritual Beast disappeared for a while.
However, that feeling… that aura was getting stronger and stronger now.
“Is this also a power related to the ‘curse’…?”
According to Gaton’s story, the ‘curse’ has various effects on different Spiritual Beasts, he remembered. Maybe one of them is the ability to resurrect after being killed.
It sounded like an unbelievable story, but that very scene was happening right in front of his eyes.
“If that’s the case, then I just need to kill you once again! “
He was already a victory ahead.
So, what he tried to do now was to act, while securing his equipment.
The knives can still be used.
He slowly went around, towards the back of the Spiritual Beast who was unmoving after just getting up. I will definitely finish it this time.
But in the next moment, just as he tried to attack.
Hit by a seemingly invisible force, his body was blown away.
Barely able to take a defensive position, he was knocked back and strongly crashed at the wall of the mining site.
*cough* “What was that just now…?”
An unseen attack. One that he couldn’t react to even with his improved senses.
I just felt like I received an invisible shockwave and being blown away, he thought.
He could still somehow move his body, but it was obvious by the pain that some ribs were broken. It was thanks to his improved physical abilities that it ended that way, otherwise, it could have been a lethal strike.
“Were ‘those’… what attacked me just now…?”
Something was seeping out of the Spiritual Beast’s body. Many jet-black tentacles were moving in the air, and an eerie light was coming out from its abdomen.
Is that a power it obtained from resurrecting? Yamato wondered, that attack from the tentacle was truly terrifying.
“What should I do…?”
After taking some distance, Yamato tried to devise a plan.
It was obvious that the Spiritual Beast had become a completely different existence from the one he had just fought. It was nothing short of a monster.
After all, anything that moved after having the brain, heart and throat destroyed couldn’t be considered an animal anymore. It had come back to life thanks to some power that was beyond the comprehension of human intellect.
That was probably the best choice considering the current situation.
Although he received some damage earlier, his body could still move. A tactical withdrawal was no problem for him even now.
As he chose to leave for now, he started to recover his equipment, and decided to challenge this Spiritual Beast on a different occasion.
“But, I wonder… will it really just let me leave…?”
The place the Spiritual Beast was standing right now, was next to tunnel that lead towards the exit of the mine.
It moved towards that spot almost as if reading Yamato’s thoughts and cut off his way out.
So, in order to successfully escape, he had to sneak past it while avoiding the tentacle attacks and flee towards the exit while exposing his defenseless back.
“The odds aren’t really in my favor…”
Even after calmly judging the situation he was in, he came to the conclusion that the probability of him surviving was quite low.
If it became a fight of endurance, there being no place to hide nor run, his opponent had an overwhelming advantage.
Therefore, even if his chances were low, he had no choice but to bet on trying to escape.
Liscia… Gaton… everyone. I feel like I won’t be able to fulfill the promise…
He was already prepared for his own death.
So, in his mind, he apologized to everyone from the village who were waiting for him outside of the mine.
He wondered what would happen to everyone in the village if he were to die here.
I think they should be fine for food for a while, so they should be able to survive, he thought.
But there is not enough salt in the village.
So, anyone could guess what would happen to such a remote and isolated mountainous village after the salt ran out. But that was something he refused to accept.
“I take back my earlier words… I will definitely get out of here alive.”
He made up his mind while thinking about the future of the village.
He swore to himself that he would survive for the village’s sake, a village that was originally destined to be destroyed.
But, how do I get out of this situation…
Just as he prepared and started to think about a new plan…
It was then.
“Yamato-sama! Are you okay!? “
From the upper levels of the mine, audible voices resounded throughout the cave.
The owners of those voices were those who came with him from Urd.
Those who were supposed to be waiting for him outside of the mine, were now coming to his location.
“Ohh, what the heck is that!? “
“It’s giving off that bad feeling, I’m sure it’s the Spiritual Beast.”
The village children, who rushed to the lower lever, finally saw the figure of the sinister-looking Spiritual Beast. The black beast with tentacles drifting in the air was now nothing short of a monster.
“Everyone, ‘two stage battle formation’, take positions! We will support Yamato-sama! “
But after hearing the orders from Liscia, the children regained their composure.
Remembering their battle experience while defending the harvest last year, they took positions almost instinctively.
The front row was holding shields that covered their entire bodies, and at the back the children were divided into two groups.
This was the ‘two stage battle formation’ that Yamato had taught the children.
The appearance of the children. Along with their sudden attack formation.
They took Yamato by surprise, so he was a moment too late to speak.
Along with the command of Liscia, the children fired a steady volley.
Metal-tipped bolts were shot one after the other by the powerful crossbows.
In order to overcome the loading time weakness, Yamato had devised that ‘two stage battle formation’. It was one-of-a-kind offensive force that could pierce metal armor and shields, as proved when they fought against the bandits.
And now, that heavy rain of bolts was attacking the defenseless Spiritual Beast.
An ear-deafening roar resounded inside the cave.
The crossbow team possessed a destructive force not found in this world. The Spiritual Beast had assumed that their fire power was nothing to be afraid of.
“Yeah! Take that! “
“Yamato-niichan, don’t worry, we got this! “
Convinced of their victory, the children rose their voices. They weren’t conceited, they had confidence, built from their hunting experiences so far.
No beast that had ever taken an attack by their ‘two stage battle formation’ had come out unscathed.
It was a formation they rarely used, since it excessively tore and minced the animal’s meat.
“Damn, everyone! Run away now! “
But those were the words Yamato shouted.
He told the children, who had a look of relief to escape. He wanted them to leave the mine quickly, to abandon him and escape themselves.
“Yamato-sama, what are you…? Eh!? Shield squad! Three-point defense stance! “
(TLN: Both feet on the ground, and shoving the tip of the botom of the shield down too, making three points of contact to avoid being pushed back.)
Liscia was the only one to respond, while the rest of the children were confused by Yamato’s instructions.
As soon as she gave those instructions, the shield team on the front row took a stance for defense.
The next instant.
Along with the monster’s roar, jet-black tentacles extended like a whip.
In response to the attack by the monster’s tentacles, the sorrowful cries of the children blown away echoed.
The counterattack by the tentacles came from a distance so far, they didn’t expect it. And all the children were blown back, tumbling along the shield squad.
“Are you alright…?”
With Liscia’s quick judgement, the shields were up just in time.
However, even though they lessened the blow, the shields were currently in tatters.
If they were to receive a single more blow, just like the previous one, the life of the children would be in extreme danger.
In order to unleash another strong attack, the Spiritual Beast was seemingly gathering power.
Judging the crossbow squad to be the most dangerous existence right now, it was trying to finish them off first.
Crap! What should I do…!?
Yamato was at loss.
What could he do right now?… he didn’t know.
Even after receiving the direct attack by the “two stage battle formation’ earlier, the Spiritual Beast hadn’t fallen. That was the strongest firepower in the village, himself included.
That meant that if that previous attack didn’t work, an attack made by himself would not be able to pass through the Spiritual Beast’s defenses either.
As a commander, the correct choice would be for him to escape this place using this gap.
Some of the children would die as a result, but that would buy him some time to safely secure Liscia and the surviving children and return to the village.
And after that, it would be correct to rethink carefully the strategy, arrange the necessary equipment, and challenge again the Spiritual Beast… that would be the decision made by a cold-headed commanded.
Am I a cold-headed commanded…?
Laughing to himself, he dismissed the words that floated in his mind.
Along that word, he fired what he had in his right hand.
And as he expected, the attack did not reach the Spiritual Beast.
The jet-black tentacles surrounded it and became its shield almost automatically, preventing the attack. That was also what had guarded against the attack made by the crossbow squad.
But at least he succeeded in turning the attention of the Spiritual Beast away from the children.
“Sorry but… I still haven’t finished repaying their kindness… I can’t let you touch them! “
And along with that shout, he sprinted. His aim was the ‘bosom’ of the Spiritual Beast.
There… if only I can reach its abdomen…
It was the result of observation and intuition.
The presence of the light shining in the abdomen of the Spiritual Beast after it resurrected. Those black tentacles, and the eerie aura were coming off from that place.
So, he thought that it might be its core, the true identity of the Spiritual Beast——– and its weak point.
If I destroy it, I might be able to defeat the Spiritual Beast!
But it appeared like the Spiritual Beast was fully aware of its weakness.
Against that existence that was becoming more dangerous, it moved all its tentacles to attack.
Keen and strong tentacles were waving as they came to attack Yamato.
“Ugh, such hardness! “
As he was about to receive an attack, he used a knife to try and cut it. However, the blade bounced off due to the tentacle’s stiffness.
If he couldn’t do something against the tentacles, there was no way he could even get close.
It was then.
A rumbling scream echoed at the bottom of the mine.
Raising his gaze, he saw Gaton running towards him. While holding a large, thick shield, he too was attacking the Spiritual Beast.
“Kid! Use ‘this’! It is my masterpiece! “
Together with that shout, something metallic was thrown from Gaton’s hand.
The place it would land was the middle point between Yamato and the Spiritual Beast. It was a weapon that could probably defeat the Spiritual Beast.
But the Spiritual Beast too perceived it to be ‘something dangerous’ instinctively.
So, it tried to crush the weapon thrown by Gaton using one of its tentacles. It tried to prevent the ‘black-haired man’ from obtaining that dangerous weapon with all of its power.
“Stupid Spiritual Beast! We of the Mountain Clan People are also stubborn enemies!! “
Running towards the Spiritual Beast, Gaton yelled and charged full power with his shield.
A Mountain Clan person, with many times the strength and power of a human. The Spiritual Beast defended with its tentacles, but the charge of Gaton had the grudge built over a hundred years, so it made the Beast flinch as he received the blow.
“Crossbow Squad! Fire! “
Along with the dignified command of the hunter girl, a stream of bolts was fired, raining on the Spiritual Beast.
“Yamato-sama! Now! “
Helping the kids that could move, Liscia assisted with covering fire.
Their numbers were less than half of before, and their attacks took longer. Some of the children were hurt to the point where they couldn’t load the next bolt.
“But… that’s good enough.”
Yamato smiled at the current situation.
The charge attack by Gaton and the desperate attempt by the crossbow squad. Many of the tentacles were turning around to defend against those.
But some of those tentacles remained and would attack him. Terrifying tentacles that couldn’t be cut by his knife.
“With ‘this’! “
Running, he grabbed the weapon thrown by Gaton mid-air. And using the momentum, he unsheathed the sword and confronted the tentacle that was about to strike him.
Gaton’s masterpiece was a single-edged curved sword.
Unfortunately, Yamato had never trained in katana-style fencing.
But, he believed.
The sharpness of this sword cried ‘masterpiece’, made by one of the best and most famous blacksmiths in the continent, Gaton.
“Let’s do it! “
And as he grasped the grip of the sword, he could feel it, the ‘I can do it’ feeling.
Sweeping all the tentacles in front of him, he reached the bosom of the Spiritual Beast.
“With this… it will finally be over…”
And after swift slash, the core of the Spiritual Beast was cut.
And thus he…
No, ‘they’, with the power of everyone, they succeeded in defeating the Spiritual Beast inside the rock salt mine.
A huge thanks to my Patreons for making all this possible, specially J., Alex and Vinny.