Chapter 46 – The Nightmarish Monster Horse
We all took the positions we agreed on during our strategy session.
Thanks to his Skills, Celt will know when the Dream Lord will arrive at our position.
If everything goes as it normally would, then we will simply lose.
Even normally, since higher level opponents could kill you with a single hit, going for a long fight is not a valid choice.
With the Wandering Lord, we need to fight in a tight space, which makes dodging a difficult prospect.
We need to take it down with a short battle at all costs.
I wanted to take some time to gather information, but Celt and Mabel may just crumble in the meantime.
I intend to make use of the Skills from the [Smoldering Fang of Madness] and take down the enemy in one go with the firepower of the Heavy Knight.
In this long corridor, I was standing on the right, while Luce stood on the left side, with Mabel behind us at the ready.
Footsteps were coming closer and closer, becoming louder and louder in the process.
From the darkness of the corridor, a giant skeleton appeared.
It had a helmet on its head and gauntlets on its hands.
Its left hand was holding a sword, while its right one a shield.
And its lower body was that of a large jet black horse.
It was something like a centaur skeleton.
Obviously, it was different from the Knight Bone….which means it really did Evolve.
A bluish-white sphere was floating within its sternum.
The Knight Bone had the same trait.
Although it is a weak point, with the sternum in the way it’s not easy to hit.
The skeleton monster howled.
“I-It’s really completely different from what we heard it should be! What a vile appearance!”
Monster: Skull Lord
Here it is…..a 【Lv：85】.
The HP of Dream Lords starting around this level shoots up greatly.
From a metagame perspective, this was most likely because it was the point where parties were able to start working together by combining the effects of their Skills to deal much higher damage than before. Although this is just the logic for it when it was still a game.
However, my own stats increased greatly too.
The Attack boost I got from my Mythril Sword should be very effective.
My life force manifested and covered my body with a radiant defensive membrane.
〈Life Shield〉【Normal Skill】
It takes 20% of your maximum HP to activate.
A shield with the same durability as the HP deducted covers the entire body.
And with this I can activate [Half-Dead Savage Dragon] without too much risk.
〈Half-Dead Savage Dragon〉【Special Skill】
When the user’s HP is less than 20%, Attack and Agility is increased by 100%.
By fulfilling the requirements for it, my body started to emit a reddish light from deep within.
I can feel power flowing into my entire body at the same time.
“Then [Relentless Vigor] on top of that!”
I thrust my sword into the air and roared.
〈Relentless Vigor〉【Normal Skill】
Can only be activated when the remaining HP is under 50%.
It lowers Defense to 【0】 and increases the Attack by the same amount.
While it’s activated, it continuously consumes MP.
The bluish-white light of the [Relentless Vigor] started mixing in with the red light of the [Half-Dead Savage Dragon].
It’s the standard three Skill combo of the early Heavy Knight.
My HP decreased to a very low amount, with only my [Life Shield] providing protection.
“It turned into a form with a bit more focus on speed than the Knight Bone, but it shouldn’t have changed that much otherwise! We are going with the strategy we agreed on!”
I kicked the floor and charged at it from the right side of the corridor.
Luce ran the other way, getting ahead of me in a way by using her [Acrobatic Steps] to run up the wall.
The Skull Lord looked just as I imagined it would.
Celt judged it to be a four legged monster from the sound of its footsteps.
With it most likely keeping the traits of the Knight Bone to some degree, I was able to predict its shape and fighting style to a certain extent.
However, I did not expect it to have a shield.
There is a huge difference between it having something like that or not.
What we are hoping for is a short battle…..and one that depends on the high combo damage of the Heavy Knight.
If it can divert the decisive blow in any appreciable way with its defense, then that just might mean our loss right there.
In terms of speed, our opponent is simply too far ahead.
Even though we have the numbers advantage, dealing a decisive blow to an opponent with a shield is a difficult prospect.
Even if both Luce and I were to charge it straight, it would be able to fend us off with a single swing of its sword.
I raised my voice and shouted to Celt.
Celt showed up out of nowhere from behind the Skull Lord.
It’s the effect of Celt’s Skill, the [Shadow Sink].
Apparently he got it from the [Assassination Basics] Skill Tree.
He can conceal himself within a shadow, but it takes MP to keep it up, so he can’t do it for long.
So I had him hide right before the Skull Lord showed up.
I had him do that because by doing that we could attack our opponent from both sides in this long corridor.
When the [Shadow Sink] is activated, the user’s presence fades out somewhat.
If he doesn’t get seen by the Skull Lord first, then taking advantage of an opportunity to attack it with its guard down is more than possible.
No matter how fast the Skull Lord might be, avoiding an attack sent from a perfect ambush in this gloomy and narrow tomb-like corridor is nigh impossible.
Especially not with its large, four legged lower body.
The arrow flew through the gaps of the ribcage of the Skull Lord, piercing right into its bluish-white colored spherical weak point.
The entire body of the Skull Lord jolted from the impact, then it tried to twist around to check its flank.
It seems he really comes through when it really counts.
“How complacent with an enemy right in front of you…..! [Stunt Barrage]!”
Luce kicked off from the wall, then spun around, her knife flashing.
The Skull Lord drew its sword and used its shield to block Luce’s barrage.
The narrowness of the corridor should prove a significant hindrance due to the Skull Lord’s large body.
It’s a monster that was originally designed for fighting in a wide open space.
It turning into a Wandering Lord is indeed terrifying, but having to fight in these corridors is not entirely to its advantage either.
Luce, with her walking on the wall trick via the [Acrobatic Steps], is very hard to hit with a giant weapon like that monster has.
If it’s not careful enough, the blade could hit the wall instead.
That’s why it ended up having to use its shield from an awkward posture like that, even though it pulled out its sword already.
It couldn’t even block all hits, taking some of them head on.
“And now for the most important part! [Disarm]!”
Lowers the Attack power of the opponent by a level for a short time on hit.
The blade was enveloped by a purplish light.
It’s a hit powered up by both [Half-Dead Savage Dragon] and [Relentless Vigor].
My heavy slash impacted the Skull Lord’s sternum.
[Disarm] is a powerful Skill, but its main disadvantage is that it only lasts for a single minute.
Furthermore, thanks to a Dream Lord’s resistance against ordinary abnormal status effects its duration and potency is halved.
Mabel also sent out a spell targeting the Skull Lord, piling it on to our attacks.
A purple light managed to hit the Skull Lord.
It’s a magic Skill that lowers the speed of the opponent for a certain amount of time.
To be able to land this [Slow], Mabel also came forward to a distance normally unimaginable for a back-liner.
“I-I did it, Elma-san! The poison worked!”
It’s thanks to the Centipede’s Venomous Short Sword’s poison effect that has a low probability to activate.
This extra effect had excellent synergy with Luce’s [Great Fortune] and the multiple consecutive hits done by [Stunt Barrage].
The Attack decrease, movement speed decrease, and the poison status effect all managed to activate.
However, with the Dream Lord’s resistances those effects are limited and will run out before long too.
But even so, it’s much better than not having them at all.
The poison is only at a level where a Dream Lord’s resistance and its self-recovery cancels it out entirely.
However, the poison also has a movement speed decreasing effect. This time that will be the more important aspect.
We were able to make best use of our advantage from the ambush to pile on a few types of debuffs and land a hit from a Heavy Knight.
For now, everything happened just as I predicted.
However…..the problem is what comes after this.
We played all our cards to create an ambush to lay on those debuffs.
The time those effects will remain will vary from 30 seconds to 90 seconds.
If we run over that limit, then the four of us will be killed in the blink of an eye without any chance of resisting.
We need to keep striking at it with everything we have.
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