Chapter 49: It’s not like Anyone can Tell them What to do, so Why do Final Bosses Always Wait Their Turns to Attack?
It’s not glistening in the light like the other gemstone-like monsters; the gemstone-like scales on this snake look rough like uncut gemstones. The scales are a milky white, with some crystalline points poking up here and there.
It towers over us, even with us up in the trees.
The pressure it’s exerting is really terrifying.
“This is definitely the cause of the increase in monster attacks, this thing’s miasma, I mean.”
“It’s basically magic power infused with murderous intent; drives monsters crazy, and it’s not to fun to experience as a person either.”
Magic power, huh. I have that Magic Sensory, don’t I …
Ah, yup. A dark, queasy looking purple cloud is all around the Crystal Python.
The bad feeling from its miasma only adds to the oppressive glare of the snake. Being stared down like this, I finally understand how a frog feels being stared down by a snake. Its eyes, clouded with a red haze, seem to freeze you in your tracks.
It’s like if you make any move, you’ll be dead.
… Hm? Come to think of it, I don’t see any magic around Ragnall, but he can tell that there’s a miasma around the Crystal Python? He’s not using Magic Sensory or anything … it’s not just experience, right? He could tell I used magic even when I used Chantless Cast before too… Instinct?
The Crystal Python and Ragnall and I have been staring at each other for several minutes after its initial attack, but it feels like several hours.
All of a sudden some noise came from below, and the python shook itself into action, turning towards the source in a rage. At that moment, our frozen muscles relaxed and both of us released huge sighs.
“…? What is it doing? Got bored of our staring contest?”
Ragnall said, trying to see. The area with the disturbance is a bit far away, since the snake is so big. A couple kilometers maybe?
I peer down from my spot in the trees in the direction of the chaos.
… That’s …
“Hey, Ragnall, there’s some crazy person attacking it down there.”
“… Hah?! What idiot would … … No, wait, I know quite a few idiots who would.”
He gnawed on his lower lip a moment.
“Uuuun…. Shit, I’m no good at making decisions like this in moments like this. What do you think we should do?”
“Why are you asking me? I don’t know anything about how hard it would be to fight that thing.”
“Aaaah… that’s true too.”
Though he’s being indecisive, Ragnall descends the tree he was in, leaping branch to branch until he reaches the ground. I follow him, and the two of us land as lightly as we can to avoid drawing the python’s attention back towards us.
By the time he reached the ground, Ragnall seems to have made a decision.
“I feel sorry for the poor bastard who’s fighting it, but we should retreat. Gods know I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to hunt a Crystal Python, but if it goes bad for US it will go bad for EVERYONE. What do you think?”
I’m not really satisfied with that decision, but I understand. The feeling I’m getting from the python is that it would be VERY bad to let it get to the surface. Right now, Ragnall and I are the only two who know about it. Even if Jericho and the others can see the ruckus from a distance, I don’t think they would be able to see what was causing it. If we hurry, we’ll get back in time for the Guild to hear of our report and make quick preparations before the Crystal Python breaches the Labyrinth.
It’s not a pleasant decision at all, but I sympathize with Ragnall who made it, all the while looking like he’d swallowed something bitter.
“I think you aren’t wrong.”
I feel a little guilty, though. Am I being heartless?
But, I mean, every instinct I have is screaming that it’s impossible to attack that thing with just Ragnall and me, you know? I hate leaving people in trouble, I really, do, but this thing gives off the scent of death.
If we just had to distract it to let the man run away maybe we could do something, but that man didn’t escape even when the python was focused on us, you know? He actually went ahead and attacked this thing that has the same dangerous feeling as a nuclear missile. To get the snake’s attention back onto us in a situation like this, that’s just like being suicidal.
And then, there’s the fact that we probably won’t be able to escape it to give enough warning to the Guild before it breaches the entrance of the Labyrinth.
To go against my dislike of letting someone get killed, or go against my responsibilities to the Guild… it really is an unpleasant decision.
Well, in the end I just pushed all the responsibility of making the decision onto Ragnall. I’m technically still new to the common sense of this world, so give me this at least.
“Then off we go-“
Right when Ragnall and I were just about to rush, full-speed, towards the slope up towards the 1st level, A violent torrent of magic erupted. Looking over my shoulder …
… What the hell is that?! The snake’s stretched up full-length into the sky?!
Ragnall yelled, grabbing me around the waist and trying to get out of the immediate area.
The ground shuddered, and …
Though Ragnall ran as fast as he could, even trying to leap up the falling fragments, it won’t work like it does in anime.
Ragnall and I, and the snake, fell through the 2nd level in the newly formed shortcut to the 3rd level.
I grimace, shaking rubble off of me. Though it was unnecessary of Ragnall to try to carry me to safety, even if he wasn’t burdened down by carrying me I don’t think we could have avoided this result of falling through the floor no matter how fast we ran.
That crater – no, that whole through the floor – is larger than a baseball stadium, you know?
“… Holy shit… I heard people say that a Crystal Python was heavy enough that it could smash through a Labyrinth floor, but …”
Ragnall popped out of the rubble with that shout. He looks fine.
“How heavy are they?”
“Something like 200k kilograms?”
“What the hell!? How can something that heavy exist?!”
“Dunno. Try complaining to him and see what happens.”
“Nah, I’m good.”
Thanks to Augment Body, I’m more or less fine.
I tried a Barrier Shield, but it shattered in an instant without slowing my fall in the slightest. It was probably not effective at all because I was rushing at the ground, and not the ground rushing at me. I wonder if I could work on some sort of cushioning-type Barrier … but that should be left for later.
I’m not sure how Ragnall is fine … ah, his legs are a little jelly-ish. Though he’s shrugging it off pretty easily.
So if we’re fine…
Ah, yup. The snake’s fine too.
“Gahahaha, great, come on, bring it on!”
Oh, we can clearly see the (crazy) man who’s attacking the python now.
With a loud yell, the broad-shouldered man with the bushy red hair and full beard launched himself at the python.
His axe glints with a magic light …
… but it just bounces off the snake’s scales.
“… So … what now?”
I ask Ragnall as I look up at the gaping hole we fell through. Even though the thickness of the ground was like a medium-sized skyscraper, that Crystal Python broke through it so easily. Ah, I guess it really wasn’t that easy. It was a shock that could have devastated a city back in Japan. I mean, the hole is the size of a baseball stadium, but what about the area on the 2nd level surrounding the hole? Gone, I’m sure.
“Hard to say since I don’t know exactly where we are on the 3rd level, but … I’m guessing we have to fight it?”
Ah … yeah. That’s a reasonable assumption, since we’re basically in a cavern with very little cover, and that cavern is mostly taken up by snake. It might be because it’s a bit dark, but I can’t see an exit anywhere. It might be behind the snake.
Ragnall walked over to a specific pile of rubble and dug through it to find his short falchion, embedded deeply into the ground nearby. Instead of dropping it he had thrown it below us, perhaps to avoid accidentally stabbing himself with it when he had landed. Anyway, it made it easier for him to find it even buried underneath the rubble. I should remember this for the future.
With a casual yank, Ragnall pulled it from where it was deeply embedded in the ground and checked it for loose or broken parts.
I also pulled my nodachi out of Inventory. I had tossed it in when we were up in those trees, because, well, we were climbing trees, and it’s a really long sword.
The crazy man is still going at it, very effectively distracting the snake from Ragnall and me. He’s only just barely able to dodge the snakes frenzied lunges, but he’s still attacking it with enthusiasm. Ah, I see. The attacks on the python’s body are to keep it irritated enough to attack him, but the crazy man’s true attacks are aimed towards the snake’s open mouth and eyes.
To attack right into the mouth of the lion – I mean, snake. That comes with some guts.
“To be honest, I have my suspicions about why the Crystal Python is rampaging, so maybe I should just let that bastard get eaten for starting all this.”
“…Eh. You think it’s that guy’s fault?”
“Almost 100% sure.”
“I see … by the way, Ragnall; he got eaten.”
As we were kind of casually talking in the background, the crazy man was just a split second too slow to dodge out of the way.
I’m pretty sure that strangled sound he just made wasn’t a real word in whatever language Ragnall is speaking, let alone being a word that could be translated into Japanese.
Ragnall immediately launched himself towards the snake, winding up almost 180 degrees, before unleashing his sword with an amazing THWUMP! beneath its throat and behind its head.
I have to say … what enviable strength. Although the scales didn’t break, the huge body of the python arced magnificently into the air and the front part of the snake was hurled backwards, with a face that looked like a human who had gotten kicked in the stomach.
From its gaping mouth, a slimy mess of a human came hurtling out, landing with a thud and a grunt.
Ragnall grimaced as he took some distance and then, as the snake recovered and turned its snakish temper on him, Ragnall smacked it again with his sword, giving a good yell as he did so.
That is NOT a sword strike, but I can’t say anything against his form that looks like a pro baseball batter. He’s really using his all to wallop that thing; his muscles are bulging and he builds up all the power in his body from the tips of his toes through the blade.
Tch. I’d probably have to hit it repeatedly at lightning-speed to pull off that kind of feat, or use up way too much MP in Augment Body. I won’t even try to hide it; I’m seriously envious of that ridiculous strength!
I wonder if I’m fixated on natural, non-magic enhanced strength because I came from a world without any magic.
Putting that thought aside, I dart under the momentarily dazed python and grab the crazy man covered in slime, pulling him out to safety.
“Uwooooh-! Oh, excuse me jou-chan, gahahaha! Didn’t know there was anyone else around!”
Another resounding crash echoed in the cavern-like space, and the walls shook.
Panting, Ragnall jumps back towards us as the Crystal Python struggled to free itself from the chasm in the wall it had been embedded in.
“Dammit. I’m smacking it around, but it just brushes it off like rainwater. Oi, you’ll make me cry, you snake bastard.”
… Seriously? He was smacking it around that much, though? Or like, is this really the time to be flippant like this?
“Ooooh, oooh, it’s Ragnall, isn’t it? Gahahaha, looks like your falchion’s still going strong; how is it going?”
“Oh, y’know, it would be going better if some foolish bastard hadn’t decided to poke at a monster marked as Calamity class.”
… Middle-aged men shouldn’t go “teehee” and stick their tongue out cutely. That’s really disturbing. Only a cute girl can pull off a “tehe-pero” like that.
All of a sudden, Ragnall tensed, and his face became stern for a change.
“Damn. It went stealth.”
… Hey, did anyone see where a 200k kilogram snake the size of a subway go? Because it’s not there anymore.
“Even though it was giving off so much magic, I can’t sense it anymore…”
“When a monster like that goes stealth, it kills its aura too. Or else it wouldn’t be a problem, since I’m sensitive to magic fields.”
Ragnall muttered, no, practically whispered that. He was concentrating every sense on looking for the Crystal Python.
I see. Even Magic Sensory can’t detect it … nn?
“Oi, get down!”
I kick the crazy man to the side, and at my yell Ragnall leaps out of the way, keeping low to the ground.
Urgh-! What strength-! Die – I’ll die if I fought this thing on my own! I can feel my MP being drained at an alarming rate as I pour it into augmenting my strength.
The impact dispels its stealth, and the gaping maw of the Crystal Python is perfectly arranged around me. Like I was going to let you eat me -!!
With one hand gripping the hinge of its mouth and my nodachi stabbed in the roof of its mouth, my body is trembling from fighting its strength. Because it was trying to devour me, the python had closed its mouth forcefully, and driven a quarter of the blade into itself. At that point it realized it was stabbed, and now it’s trying to pull away-!
“Holy – good, hold it there, Jun-!”
I can only vaguely make out Ragnall’s yell.
Gnnnn… like hell I’ll let you get away, damn snake -! Discharge!
The bright sparks leaping off the blade flared brightly in the murky dimness, and the Crystal Python wailed in agony. It lurched backwards so violently that it was impossible for me to hold it down.
Ragnall’s falchion clove through the air where the snake’s eye had been moments before.
We both barely dodge out of the way as the snake goes crazy. It seems to be in considerable pain. Unable to close its mouth, it whips its head from side to side. It almost looks drunk, as it bashes itself into the walls and ceiling of the cavern.
Needless to say, we both fled from directly underneath it. Even so, we have to dodge its agonized strikes and the rocks and debris its kicking up. It’s like watching a violent typhoon tossing houses around.
Damn. I guess the blade wasn’t deep enough to give it a direct shock to its brain. Or like, how durable is this thing?!
“Oooh, gahahaha, you did it now! It’s teed off!”
Shut up crazy man, what does ‘teed off’ even mean!?
“Shut up, it’s all your fault anyway, right?!”
The crazy man, who Ragnall had scooped over his shoulder like a bag of potatoes, laughs loudly at Ragnall’s retort.
I ignore the both of them and yell,
“Hey, Ragnall … what now!?”
I mean, we can’t even get close to that thing anymore, with how it’s flailing! Not just that, I think this entire cavern is going to be brought down with the snake bashing every inch of open space like that! I mean, the cavern will collapse even more than it already has after we fell through from the 2nd level. And now I don’t have my swo-
Aaagh! My sword! It’s lodged firmly in that snake’s mouth!
Nooo! I just finished that! I was even avoiding attacking the snake recklessly to avoid chipping the blade, but now-!
“Hm… I will…”
“Stay put right there, thank you.”
The crazy man was about to stand up and volunteer to do … something … but Ragnall lightly kicked him down as the snake’s tail whips by, narrowly missing both of them.
Ragnall bounces back into a crouch, readying his falchion. He glances at me.
“… Okay. Jun, Barrier me.”
“You going in?”
“Yeah. You two stay there. If this fails … we’ll move onto plan B.”
I’m not sure you can use Barrier as a verb, but I dodge behind a safe-ish rocky outcropping and apply a Barrier Armor to Ragnall. I have a feeling I’m going to need all my concentration for this.
I ask, just to be sure,
“And what is plan B?”
“I thought up plan A, so plan B is all yours!”
Ragnall darts off in a second and I open my eyes wide with Magic Sensory going full throttle. Concentrate, me!
Barrier, Barrier, Barrier, re-apply Barrier Armor-!
Ragnall runs, completely ignoring the falling debris as it bounces off the Barrier’s I apply, but the rocks and stuff are the least of our worries. Though Ragnall is dodging the attacks as best he can, Barrier Armor is destroyed in 1 hit from the snake. It smashes through every Barrier I set up.
But that’s fine. As long as they nullify the attacks, as long as Ragnall is able to move forward, I’ll keep applying Barriers until my MP runs dry.
The snake, realizing it’s being attacked, has stopped its flails of agony and is focused on Ragnall. This time, it’s using its tail instead of its already injured, and completely jammed open, jaws.
Leaping up towards its head, though the Crystal Python tried to shy away, Ragnall whipped out a small dagger from his belt. Aiming carefully at the bulge in the snake’s gullet, he yelled, “[Form of the Steel Talon:] <The Piercer>!”
Something shot out from the dagger’s spine and, suddenly, it shattered. That something struck the snake square in the bulge and …
A sickening sound occurred as the impacted hammered in, slamming the Crystal Python’s maw shut, and steel erupted through its forehead. As if it was screaming, the snake hissed at the sky, reaching up as high as it could, through the hole in the ceiling towards the 2nd level, then suddenly came falling back towards the ground.
The impact of the snake when it fell… well, the ground heaved and buckled underneath us.
The entire world shook as the Crystal Python writhed violently in its death throes, slamming against every exposed surface and destroying them.
I really thought we were all going to die.
When we were finally able to stand, the Crystal Python was lying there, twitching, with the blade of my nodachi protruding between its eyes.
“Oooh, thank god it worked out.”
Ragnall crouched on the ground, groaning.
“Ooooi. What were you going to do if my blade broke?”
“… Hope it killed it anyway?”
I’m not really upset, because it was kind of do-or-die, but, y’know, I just forged it, so I have a lot of mixed feelings…
Maa, it’s my fault because I lodged it in a giant snake’s mouth, though.
Even with cold steel through its brain, the snake is still spasming, but I manage to wedge the mouth open with Augment Body and, with a strong tug, free my nodachi. I’m amazed I still have 500,000 MP left. Actually, I’m amazed I have any MP left after all those liberal usages of Barriers and Augment Body during the snake’s death throes.
Wow, not even a scratch on this blade. Though it’s covered in the bodily fluids of a snake. Ew.
“I’m glad it didn’t, but I wonder why it didn’t break…”
I mutter that, half to myself. The adrenaline is wearing down … I feel a little sleepy.
The crazy man, who I’d pulled into my Barrier Shield with me when the snake caused all that ruckus with its death throes, suddenly plucked it out of my hands and carefully looked it over.
“Mm. How interesting. But it’s a fine blade after all. If it was cheap it would’ve broken in the skull.”
That kind of made me happy, but I ask what I was thinking anyway.
“But aren’t the Crystal Python’s scales impenetrable or something? It should have shattered inside.”
The crazy middle-aged man with the full, red beard pointed at where the blade had come out.
“Aah, that? Look at how the scales slide over each other. It’s impossible to break in from the outside, but from the inside…”
Now that I take a good look, with the way the scales are overlapped, although it prevents anything from getting under the scales from outside, it looks like a simple matter to force through from the inside.
“Wait. Don’t tell me you were planning on fighting that thing from the inside? Helward-san!?”
Eh? What did Ragnall just say?