Chapter 46: While it’s Fun to Play Games with Realism, being OverEncumbered is too much of a Trial for Packrats
Despite tens of beetles crashing and smashing against the Barrier, it holds firm.
“… It doesn’t seem to be collapsing at all.”
“ … yeah.”
“I wouldn’t put it up if it would collapse, right?”
Though I say that, kind of arrogantly, it’s not like I actually thought about the problem where, after too many beetles, the Barrier collapses and we get crushed by a flood of beetles. It would be one thing if I had actually thought about it and decided that my barrier could withstand the pressure, but I had thoughtlessly thrown up a Barrier with no consideration.
I’m reflecting on it.
“… But Jun-san, this Barrier isn’t reinforced with an element. How is it so strong?”
Miina squints at the Barrier.
By the way, nobody’s touching the Barrier to test it. As for why …
Barriers are actually really weak on the inside. To make a Barrier, you designate a “surface” to harden, and the side you want to harden. Though really, it’s more of a “don’t let anything come through from over there” feel.
If it hits anything, and I mean ANYTHING, other than air as it’s being forced back, it shatters. I found that out when I tried to use Armor Barrier like armored gauntlets. Aside from the large MP consumption of Armor Barrier (50 MP a second) and the heavy concentration needed to keep it up, if I hit something, my own hand will shatter the effect.
After that, I tested a bunch of things while on night-watch at The Queen Mary’s and discovered all Barriers had the same weakness. The most problematic thing is, even if your Barrier is strong enough to withstand barrages of magic, it can be moved by the force. If your opponent forces your Barrier back into an obstacle, he can dispel it instantly.
So I tried to make a Barrier that couldn’t be moved, and a new skill, this Barrier Shield I put up, was developed. Fumu, it’s a Barrier that’s useful if I’m a rearguard, but even though it only increases the MP cost by 10 MP per second, the concentration needed increased too much for it to be useful if I’m a vanguard. I wouldn’t be able to make decisions while fighting AND maintain Barrier Shield at the same time.
Maa, it’s a spell that you wouldn’t normally use on the frontlines anyway.
Incidentally, I did try to make a Barrier I with both sides designated to resist attacks, and another skill called Boundary was formed. But … well, the MP consumption went up by 5 times. And with the concentration required to keep that up … it makes a good shield if I’m standing perfectly still and ignoring my opponents. It may be useful someday… but I have my doubts.
Anyway, what does Miina mean by “reinforced with an element”?
“To make Barriers sturdier, usually people cast Barrier through an element, like Air to make a Wind Barrier or something like that, instead of casting it through Unattributed. Against Jeweled Beetles, it would backfire and send the magic violently out of control as soon as they hit it, but … “
Uh… oh, that’s right. People usually can’t just cast magic, they have to cast it through an element. It’s like telephones in the past in my original world, where you called an operator and they connected you to the person you wanted. Like, you “call” one of the elements, and according to what you tell it in your chant, the element will handle the construction of the magic for you. At least, that’s kind of how it feels to me.
If someone wanted to cast a spell that doesn’t have an element assigned, they have to cast it like they’re casting it through an element, but it won’t “connect” to an “operator”. They call that the Unattributed Element. Because there’s no element involved, in general those magics are weaker and much less complicated.
Basically, compared to how I manipulate magic, other people’s Unattributed magic spells are weaker and much more inefficient.
I see, so Miina thought I was either going to cast an Elemental Barrier that would backfire when the beetles hit it, or that I would cast a weak, Unattributed Barrier that would collapse and endanger our lives.
“Oi, Miina, worry about that later. We’re still technically in a crisis, you know.”
I had extended a second Barrier blocking off the North tunnel too, so now we have a little bit of time. But really, if Kristaf hadn’t stopped her, was Miina planning on studying the Barrier in a time like this?
Ragnall sighs, tapping the back of his short sword on his shoulder.
“So what are we going to do, Jericho? You know I’m no good at plans for things like this.”
…Were you … not going to help the loli-hime up? Jeez, if I didn’t have a soft-spot for kids … I pull out my towel and hand it to her. Because she has a lot of pride, I’m sure she’d get upset if I tried to clean the beetle goo off her myself.
Jericho lightly gnaws on his lower lip as he thinks.
“Informing the Guild and stalling the stampede takes precedence. Second priority is getting everyone who won’t be able to handle this out of here, including the injured. Kristaf, lead the way and forge a path. Take the ojou-chan back with the other parties and the injured and then come back. Nars-san, I’m sorry, but I think it’s best if you head back too. Jun-san, Ragnall, sorry, but can we rely on you here?”
Ragnall stretches his shoulders, saying,
“Hai-yo, I guess it’s time to do some more work.”
Oh, that’s the biggest, most frighteningly blood-thirsty smile I’ve seen him give today.
“I can handle this. I don’t want to go back, because I can fight!”
The loli-hime glowers up from where she’s still sitting.
“Refused. I can’t protect you, so go back.”
Ragnall flatly rejects her immediately.
“I know I screwed up and got in over my head earlier, but I can at least protect myself!”
Hey, all you adults. Hurry up and deal with this! – is what I’m thinking, but right, she’s a Noble-sama’s daughter, huh … Well, at least she’s not saying something like, “I’m paying you so you have to listen to me!” or “Do you know who my daddy is?!”
Though honestly, it’s probably because they know who her father is that they really don’t want her here at what will soon become Ground Zero. Seriously. Hurry it up. You guys know I’m still maintaining the Barriers, right? Like, this is totally eating up my MP. Well, I still got 1.8 million left though …
“B-but I can’t accept that SHE can stay but I can’t! Even though she needs other people to be able to get through the 1st level of the Labyrinth!”
Hm? Who? Ah, me?
Hey, you can’t blame me for your own mis-interpretation of things. Miina frowns.
“That’s because Jun-sa-“
I quickly cut Miina off.
“Right, well whether or not I’m strong, see, I’m going to be a support role. With that barrier and my abilities to clear the fighting area, it’s necessary to help the people fighting, right?”
I’m not lying. Technically, that is what I’m going to be doing. With Miina as a rearguard, 4 vanguards in this narrow area is impossible so I had already decided to play support. I’m just keeping quiet that I’m actually pretty strong.
The loli-hime seems like she accepts that, but she frowns stubbornly, saying,
“Then I can-!”
“Can you really, honestly, say that you have the abilities necessary to deal with the support while staying completely out of the fighters’ way? And I mean, I literally have special magic to deal with this situation. Can you say the same? No, right?”
The loli-hime grits her teeth angrily, but she looks away. Ok, one last push!
“And, right now, there are injured Adventurers, right? Since you can’t do anything here, you need to do what you CAN do and properly escort them safely to the exit, as well as report to the Guild. We’re counting on you, Kristaf, and Nars, ok?”
Ah, she still hasn’t accepted it. She still hasn’t accepted it …
Oh? She says it kind of sullenly, but she seems to be swallowing her stubborn pride.
Yosh! Dealing with Masaki’s younger siblings has totally paid off! Man, I’m lucky the loli-hime isn’t nearly as stubborn as their youngest brother. Because the situation we’re in right now really is kind of dangerous, see.
Organizing together, the return group soon rushed out, and as soon as the loli-hime vanished, Miina gives me a side glance.
“Wouldn’t it have made things easier if you had just told her you were strong?”
For the future, yeah, probably, but you know…
“There’s no way she would have just accepted it, right? Since she doesn’t believe it, we’d have to prove it to her somehow. Giving an excuse like that was the quickest way to get her to leave.”
“Ahaha, so Jun-chan wanted to get rid of her quickly too.”
It’s not like you’re wrong, but there has to be a nicer way to say that …
“Whichever it is, the truth is that we’ll be relying on her skill to clear away those beetles. We’ll get crushed under the corpses otherwise. Jun-san, how much space do you have in your Storage-like subspace skill?”
Jericho tries to blow the sour atmosphere away. Eeeto… how much space should I tell them … are?
“Um … you said, a S-storage-like subspace?”
“Well, it was kind of hard to miss that you weren’t really using Storage. If you were, you’d have to open Storage and actually put things into the subspace. But somehow, you can just store things by touching them.”
… Eeeeeh. So you guys knew this entire time and didn’t let me know.
I want to ask them why they didn’t tell me about it, but this really isn’t the time.
“As long as it’s under fi- two thousand, it should be ok.”
Somehow, 5k feels like it’s too much to say. Heck, 2k is too much. Look, everyone’s shocked dumb.
“… Hey, Jun-chan, that skill… what is it?”
“Ah… a secret?”
I don’t know what it is either, Niera. But forget my cheat-skill, the force of those beetles is increasing against the Barrier Shield, you know? It’s so heavy that the beetles in front are being crushed to death.
“Nn… really, how are we going to deal with them? Once you pull down the Barrier, they’ll just come pouring in and crush us.”
That’s right, there’s that problem. Uuuun… a Barrier might not have been the best idea after all… wait. I have an idea…
“Wha- what the-!?”
Ooooo, it worked, it worked … it worked a bit better than I planned…
Violent blasts erupt between the beetles and the Barrier Shield at the two South tunnels. They’re blasts of Air-charged magic, repelling off the Jeweled Beetles and then repelling off the Barrier Shield, tossing them backwards.
“Hm, if it were stronger, maybe I can just blast through all of them …”
It’s really nice to be able to do Chantless Casting … It’s not just being able to cast magic without having to chant, it’s something like being able to ask the elements to do exactly what you want without words. I can’t say I’m controlling the elements; somehow, it’s a feeling like asking, “Hey, can you do this and make it like this?” and getting a response of, “Oh, like that, huh? Sure.”
If it’s something that can’t be done, you get a response that feels like, “Oh, no, that’s impossible.”
It’s a lot of fun, to be honest.
Anyway, a super charged blast of Air-element magic barrels its way through both tunnels. I can almost feel the feedback from the beetles that were hurtled into the ceiling, floor, and walls.
“Oi, what’d you do?”
Ragnall looks at me curiously. Oh, despite no chants or exaggerated movements, he noticed I was the one who did that, huh?
“I’ll tell you later, the Barrier Shield’s coming down now!”
Though I had blown them back a ways, it’s not like I killed them. Those damn tough beetles were just knocked back to give us a few seconds and reduce the amount that will tumble in on us right away.
The Mirror Cavern soon turned into a beetle slaughtering festival. Thanks to being disoriented by the pinball effect from the Air-element charged magic, instead of the flood of beetles from earlier, they came in 4s and 5s.
For every 1 beetle the Valor of Arms Brigade killed, Ragnall killed 2. If I had been solely killing beetles as well, I think I’d be killing them at Ragnall’s rate, but because I was dodging through while clearing the corpses, as well as luring off beetles that would overwhelm the others, I was killing them a little bit slower.
Come to think of it, Masaki has totally used me in raids as a support vanguard and for looting the mobs the rearguards couldn’t reach … isn’t this a little too similar? Who knew it would come in handy for real life.
Well, real life in another world.
“It … seems like … that’s the last of them… ”
Panting a bit, Niera leans on her naginata … eh? Naginata? She brought it with her? … I’ll comment on that later.
“I wonder how many that was.”
Jericho said, looking around. Well, other than the small handful of beetle corpses off to the side, they’re all in my inventory so he won’t be able to make much of an estimate just by looking.
“166 of them.”
That is, a stack of 99 and a stack of 67. Am I relieved or am I disappointed that the stacks don’t go to the absolutely ridiculous amount of 999?
“Heh… no wonder I was starting to get tired of it. There’s still the North tunnel, though~.”
Ragnall says, leisurely walking towards the other end of the Mirror Cavern.
“No, is that what you should be saying after hearing that? Jun-chan, how could you keep track in all that commotion?”
It’s not really anything special. I mean, I just look at the little numbers in the bottom corner of the icons.
“More importantly, Jun-san, what was that magic you used at the beginning?”
Miina cuts Niera off, looking at me really seriously.
“Apparently the beetles don’t reflect magic without elements, so I just infused magic power with Air-element so it’d go crazy, bouncing off between them.”
“… I see… so this is why Lor says you break magic…”
? There’s a lot of things you could comment on what I was trying to do, so which one exactly makes it broken?
<T/n: Thank you Magnadra for your donation!>