Chapter 47 – A life or death battle in sixty seconds
“Go all out with your attacks! We have one minute to deal with it!”
I raised my voice.
With the Skull Lord under the effect of three different types of debuffs and with its movement speed decreased, this is our best and last chance to take it down.
The Skull Lord swung its sword.
I deflected it with [Parry] and tried to counterattack.
However, it was easily blocked by its returning blade.
In terms of sheer strength I have the advantage, but in movement speed I’m far too behind….!
It managed to block Luce’s barrage with its shield and evade Celt’s attack by shifting its body too.
Without taking it off guard, Celt’s arrows fail to deal not just decisive damage, but barely any at all.
Its skeletal body is much weaker to direct impacts, rather than piercing damage.
It only needs to shift its body a minute amount to block the attack targeting its weak point, the core, with its sternum.
It currently has multiple debuffs on it, so its stats are much lower than normal, and yet even while weathering an all out attack from three people, it shows no signs of breaking.
“Dammit! Even if I shoot its horse-like lower body, it doesn’t even twitch!”
Celt gave voice to his irritation.
The difference between our level granted power is simply too big….
To think it would fail to show a single weakness even after all that.
It seems like we are the ones who are being pushed back instead.
After sending Luce flying with its shield, the Skull Lord sent out a sharp slash in my direction.
I can’t [Parry] that!
I quickly threw my Mad Demon Shield into the sword’s path, barely making it miss by a hair’s breadth.
I can’t let it break my [Life Shield] just yet…..!
I haven’t seen the Skull Lord’s Skill yet and haven’t found a weak point either.
However, the time keeps ticking and ticking even now.
The first effect to run out will be the [Disarm].
We are getting pressured even with that, so if the Attack decreasing effect runs out, we will lose in the exchange of blows.
I kicked the ground and circled around to the Skull Lord’s flank while maintaining my distance.
Maybe the Skull Lord took the stopping of my attacks as an opportunity; it raised its sword high.
The tip of the sword lit up with lightning.
I can vaguely recall something like that.
It should be the Skill, [Lightning Ground Impact].
“This is bad, everyone get back and jump in the air!”
I yelled in a loud voice.
In the moment, the Skull Lord thrust its sword into the ground.
Lightning raced through the surrounding ground, creating a shockwave.
I was nearly at a point blank range, so I had no way of avoiding it.
Blown away by the shockwave, I was slammed against the wall behind me.
A crack appeared in the magic shield covering my body, then it simply vanished.
My lifeline….my [Life Shield] was used up.
Luce used her [Acrobatic Steps] to run up the wall and head for the ceiling, but she was also caught by the shockwave and blown away.
She was far enough that it shouldn’t be a fatal wound, but…. she most likely won’t be able to return to the fight right away.
Although Mabel was at a safe distance, she won’t be able to help out with her current MP either.
With Celt fighting at a distance farther away than Luce and I, who were in melee range, he was able to escape it by stabbing one of his daggers into a wall and standing on top of that.
“Don’t look down on a seasoned adventurer who survived for a long time, you damn skeleton bastard….!”
In the next moment, the blade of the Skull Lord knocked down Celt, who was defenseless off the ground.
Celt crumpled to the floor, covered in blood.
It was a direct hit from a higher leveled Dream Lord.
Even though its power was decreased by [Disarm], it’s not something a lightly armored Hunter could take.
The Skull Lord started coming at me right away.
I used [Parry] to divert the first hit from its sword.
I tried to get in closer to force some kind of opportunity, but my slower speed and the reach difference made it extremely difficult.
Without any time to actually get closer, its second swing came at me.
I concluded that even if I try to use [Parry] again I won’t be able to divert it this time, so I forced myself to jump back fast enough that I ended up rolling on the floor, but I managed to avoid its blade.
The Skull Lord’s hit broke the floor where I just was.
“Its Attack power went back to full!”
The largest weakness of the [Disarm] was its short effect duration.
I used it so we could find a way to somehow win this, but against a Dream Lord its effect is suboptimal to begin with.
We were at our limits even before this, but now it regained its full strength.
I used strength and skill to make up for the difference in speed to successfully use [Parry], but I won’t be able to do the same after this.
That means that now that the [Disarm] has expired, the poison status effect with its movement speed decrease will run out soon too.
A large swing of the Skull Lord is approaching, even though I wasn’t able to regain my balance just yet.
The Skull Lord obviously intends to finish me off with this blow, since I was such a thorn in its side until now.
It’s focus is entirely on me.
“Go to hell you damn skeleton!!!!”
An arrow pierced into the Skull Lord’s core, the spherical mana within its torso.
The movements of the Skull Lord have stopped at once.
Celt was able to shoot it from a point blank distance from the floor.
“How complacent of you bastard to simply put me out of your mind, even though I fell down right behind you…..!”
That’s right, the Skull Lord’s focus was entirely on me.
Normally, it would be impossible for the Skull Lord to take its attention off someone who was at a point blank range to it.
It’s the effect of Celt’s Skill, the [Fake Death].
Celt used [Fake Death] right when he was hit by the Skull Lord’s attack to escape its attention.
I had Mabel recover Celt’s HP to nearly full before the battle.
In addition to that, I also used [Protect] on him to decrease the damage caused by the first hit he received by 30%.
The [Protect]’s effect only lasts for three minutes, but we had to take down the Skull Lord by the time the debuffs we managed to get on it with an ambush ran out anyway.
It was a dangerous gamble even so.
To fulfill the conditions for [Fake Death] to activate, to avoid using up [Protect] beforehand, the first damage he took had to be a potentially fatal one.
If he got hit by the shockwave of [Lightning Ground Impact], then it would’ve used up his [Protect], ruining our entire strategy.
For Celt that means that if my calculations were even a little off, he may not have gotten off with critical damage; the Skull Lord could have extinguished his entire HP in one go.
I had confidence in managing my HP since I used to play Heavy Knight even when it was just a game, but this was an opponent I haven’t seen before today.
Dread and suspicion could affect a person’s performance.
Even in a situation like that, Celt did his job perfectly.
“It’s the end, Skull Lord!”
I kicked the ground and charged closer to the Skull Lord that was still frozen in a posture where it was about to swing its sword.
I put everything behind the attack, targeting the skeleton.
The extremely powerful hit supported by the [Half-Dead Savage Dragon] and [Relentless Vigor] destroyed the previously cracked bones of the Skull Lord, then cut apart its spherical core deep with it.
The core halves started pulsing as they shrunk down, then they exploded, blowing out the Skull Lord’s torso.
The skull and shoulder bones scattered to the ground, then the horse-like lower body simply fell down to the floor.
【You have gained 9057 experience points.】
【Your level has increased from 66 to 71.】
【You have gained 5 Skill points.】
Smoke started pouring off the Skull Lord’s remains, then they simply disappeared into thin air.
We really, managed to win…..
If we failed here, then perhaps the majority of the Raid Quest participants….no, maybe even the city itself could’ve fallen into disaster.
The Skull Lord was simply that dangerous of an opponent.
Our current situation was also quite precarious.
The requirement for the greatest Dungeon disaster….a Zork, or Dream Break, was almost fulfilled.
If it came to that, then it could’ve led to the ruin of La Colina, the City of Adventurers.
“W-we really won! Against a higher leveled opponent like that….! I-I still can’t believe it…..”
Bonelessly drooping to the ground, Mabel let out some words of relief.
Celt didn’t have the energy to even do that, so he kept staring at the ceiling with a relieved smile.
“Celt, you did good too. Sorry about pushing a dangerous role like that on you, even though it shouldn’t have been your responsibility. If you haven’t managed to evade that [Lightning Ground Impact], then we would’ve lost any chances of winning.”
“For real….I don’t want to fight even one more down-to-the-wire battle like this one anymore….”
Celt covered his eyes with a hand.
Perhaps it was from the relief of getting through a battle to the death, or perhaps it was from the joy of victory, but some tears could faintly be seen.
“Dammit, what the hell. It’s not a bad feeling at all.”
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