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“N- No matter what you say, i-it’s just my skill.”
I remembered going through this before, but I still couldn’t say anything else in response. I had no intention of telling them about VMB or the fact I fell into this world from another one. Only a few families possessed bloodline skills, and none of them had publicized any information regarding their skills. Even the Kurtmelga only proclaimed their skill as “The Royal Family’s Skill.” I couldn’t do anything besides sticking to this story.
“What’s wrong, Mitche?”
Ruu-san was the first to come back after dealing with the remaining hobgoblins in the room. Marinda-san and Frau-san also came to check on how I was doing.
“Ruu-nyan, listen, nya. Schwarz isn’t injured at all, nya.”
Eh? Wait a minute… Ruu-nyan? Not Ruu+ her usual ending word, but “Ruu-nyan”? Ruu-san didn’t talk much during party discussions and she didn’t seem to be the type who’d like chatting with other members. She usually just stood around with a poker face. Yet, she was close enough with Mitche-san to be called like that…
“Mitche, stop doing such things during exploration.”
“Schwarz! I saw you deflect the hobgoblin’s sword, but you really weren’t injured?”
Even Marinda-san got worried – she was looking at my left hand intently.
“No, I’m not. My skill [Arms] can be both offensive and defensive.”
“Bloodline skills really are mysterious things huh. Maybe it’s capable of other things besides attacking and defending too?”
It was Frau-san who said this. Her words were not only sharp enough to sting, but her jade-green eyes were also boring into me, demanding an explanation.
“Frau-neesama, my healing magic doesn’t work on Schwarz-san…”
Lali-san’s lamentation ended Frau-san’s questioning, not a confession from me.
“Because he’s a Manuke?”
“I think so. Lali-san, could you cast some physical boosting magic on me?”
At my request, Lali-san began chanting.
“～～～～, ～～～～, Strength Boost.”
When her magic was cast, a thin film of light began to envelop my body, but halfway through it suddenly scattered as if being burst open.
Seeing her magic failed to work on me again, Lali-san sagged down to her knees.
“As expected, bestowal magic and healing magic don’t work on Schwarz.”
“No, they don’t. Both bestowal and healing magic work by interfering with the recipient’s magic, right? For a Manuke, someone without magic like me, there’s nothing to interfere with. So they can’t work.”
“I haven’t tried, but I think debuff magic also won’t work since they work on the same principle, though in a negative way.”
I considered Frau-san’s reasoning while consoling Lali-san, who was still moping about her magic failing on me. What the hell was a Manuke anyways? In a world were every little thing required magic, how did people with no magic come into existence? Well, thinking about it wasn’t going to help anyway. We must move forward first.
We regrouped and continued deeper into the labyrinth’s depths, but I avoided any risky pre-emptive strikes this time – I wouldn’t be able to heal if I got injured. If healing magic didn’t work on me, healing items also wouldn’t. Since my body did have natural healing power, I could still heal myself if I got injured after some rest though…
We passed the small room and went further into the labyrinth. Looking back on the battle just now, even though I had been distracted by Mitche-san’s scream and missed my shot, the Scar’s offensive power was still satisfactory.
However, the gunshot was too loud for a beast-woman like Mitche-san. It’d be best to give them a warning next time. In VMB, a suppressor could be attached to submachine guns like the P90, but not to AFRs like the Scar. Offensive can be used, but attachments like suppressors could not. This was so the game would have balance.
By the way, I don’t smell any gunpowder at all.
Once again, I switched to the P90 and continued walking while keeping tabs on my goggles map. According to what I’d heard from Will, once we passed that small room and went deeper, there would be a higher-ranked monster in the area. Since hobgoblins were the norm here, that higher-ranked monster was no doubt the Gatekeeper.
We continued walking, killing goblins on the way. Then a large room showed up on my map. With multiple blips inside of it, of course. I also heard multiple heavy footsteps.
“Take a turn here, go forward a bit, and there will be multiple enemies ahead. It’s a large room.”
“If it’s a large room, then we’re near the inner sanctum.”
Frau-san nodded and gave out commands. This time, Frau-san and Lali-san will use ranged magic attacks. I would also attack from a distance, leaving the other 3 to advance in on the enemies and crack down on them. I told Mitche-san beforehand that I’d be using the Scar-H again. She said OK, and flattened her ears to her head. Looked like she wouldn’t be hearing anything directly.
The room’s entrance came into view, and we caught sight of the hobgoblins inside. There was a total of 7 of them, 3 were in the center, and 4 were just loitering around. Frau-san and Lali-san were right behind me, but they didn’t look like they planned to attack at the moment.
“There are mages. Even if they don’t come out of the room, they’ll set up a barrier once they notice our chanting.”
“You mean those 3?”
The 3 hobgoblins in the room’s center were wearing something I’d never seen on any of the other hobgoblins. Normal hobgoblins left their upper-bodies bare, but these 3 wore something like knee-length tunics with necklaces.
“That’s right. Lali and I probably can nullify the barrier, but with those 3 in the fray, I don’t know how much damage we can cause. Schwarz, focus your attacks on those 3.”
“Marinda, please take care of the other 4.”
“Leave them to me! I’ll charm you all properly with my performance!”
The hobgoblins had also noticed us, and were growling while readying themselves for battle. I didn’t know why monsters gathered in these rooms, but it seemed as if someone was insisting on having group battles no matter what.
“～～～～,～～～～,～～～～, Storm Dance Cyclone.”
“～～～～,～～～～,～～～～, Whirling Tides Waltz Aqua Dance.”
Frau-san and Lali-san began their magic attacks. At the same time, the hobgoblins started to harp something and the air in the room distorted – they had set up a barrier. I watched the tornado and the disk of water swirling around the monsters like a vortex. If such magic were directed at me, how would I deflect it? Flee with a slide-jump, defend with CBS, or prevent them from casting in the first place…? While thinking on future tactics, I went down on one knee and aimed my crosshair at the storm and whirling water.
The magic attacks came to an end and after the area cleared up, it was confirmed that the 3 mages still lived. Out of the 4 normal hobgoblins, 1 seemed to be outside of the barrier’s range and had been torn to pieces – he was laying face down on the ground. The other three had only sustained some minor injuries. Since the mages hadn’t launched their counterattacks yet, I put them in my crosshairs and began to finish them off. Flipping the selector to semi-auto, I aimed at the one in the center and squeezed the trigger. He looked to be the leader of the group.
Three shots rang out, the sounds overlapping with each other. Metallic clangs rang from the discarded shells and three monster heads exploded.
Once they had confirmed that the mages had been killed, Marinda-san, Ruu-san, and Mitche-san charged out from their positions by my side. My duty was to deal with the mages. Even though I had enough bullets left to deal with the normal ones, there wasn’t a need to do so.
I placed my crosshair on the normal hobgoblin that was lying face down from the first magic attack earlier. After confirming he was sinking into the black mist, I then watched the other 3 fighting through my iron sights.