A blinding flash drenched the sky in an instant. The light condensed into a single beam and exploded, engulfing the wyverns above.
The wyverns’ bodies quickly disintegrated into dust as they were engulfed in Cosmic Flash Cannon. A light that colored the sky. Not only were the wyverns shattered without a single scream, but the enemy forces on the ground were baffled by the blocked view.
“Regain sight and resume attack! Reload the Cosmic Flash Cannon!”
Quickly restoring their vision with magic, the Twilight Knight Order immediately attempted to counterattack. It wasn’t too difficult to kill the scattering creatures.
A surge of sword energy swept across the battlefield, and in the blue sky that was left behind, the wyvern horde was no longer visible.
Only a dozen or so wyverns that narrowly avoided being in range flapped their terrified wings in the distance.
“Cosmic Flash Cannon! Aim for the ogre horde in the northwest!”
Monsters didn’t have much raw power. It was their numbers that mattered, and if they could control the power of the Cosmic Flash Cannon and used it as many times as possible, they would be able to stop the monster legion that rushed like a tidal wave from hell.
It was the moment when Modeleine, having judged that, raised his voice again.
From the rear of the monster legion, something massive rushed forward. A giant shadow, advancing indiscriminately, ignoring damage from allies.
Modeleine’s expression hardened as he realized what it was.
* * *
Cracks began to appear on the northern side of the barrier. Cadel swallowed dry saliva and condensed his mana onto his hand. Thankfully, the Twilight Knight Order held out much longer than expected.
“I’ll keep the barrier up for as long as I can. Fight to the death, but never die.”
Their effort couldn’t be in vain. A breeze of wind wrapped around each person. The momentum of the mercenary corps became solemn.
Van stepped forward, his greatsword at the ready. Red eyes stared beyond the crackling barrier.
Soon enough, a giant fist burst through the rapidly shattering barrier.
“……It’s a giant troll.”
The fist that had pierced the barrier moved upward as if to lift the barrier. Shards of the barrier fell from beneath the unstoppable ascending fist, and through the hole created by the ‘Giant Troll’, the monsters the Knight Order had failed to slay began to pour in.
Instinctive eyes quickly scanned the monster legion. Fortunately, there was no undead in sight.
“I’ll entrust this to you, Van.”
Responding to the familiar voice calling out to him, Van gave a small nod and rushed to the front.
Soon the goblins, having spotted Van’s presence, leaped to their feet with a shrill cry. Smoothly dodging their haphazard attacks, he struck with his sword aura. A red afterimage sliced through the goblin horde. A gush of blood followed, and their shattered bodies crashed to the ground.
Van’s eyes lit up as he was covered in goblin blood without hesitation.
[Blood Flow Sword]
In the flooding, swirling red aura, Van’s movements evolved every minute, every second.
‘He’s soaring well.’
It was Cadel’s impression as he watched Van slaughter monsters from the front line. So far, there had not been many opportunities for ‘Berserkers’, who awakened their abilities through large amounts of blood, to play an active role.
As much as Cadel regretted that his subordinate was not able to properly draw out his strength, Van also did not want to miss his chance to shine.
The sword aura that cut through the sky severed the head of the flame-spewing wyvern. His aura, soaked in blood pouring down like a rain shower, increased its size as if cheering. The greatsword vibrated, its blade stained red beyond recognition, and a wild, feral energy flashed through Van’s eyes.
As the Blood Flow Sword evolved, his reason was gradually captured by the instinct of killing. A low voice leaked through tightly clenched teeth as if suppressing a seething urge.
On his wrist, the [Bracelet of Rest], a gift from Cadel in the past, continued to emit mana. The [Bracelet of Rest] was an artifact that stabilized the wearer’s mind. Now that it was functioning for the first time since it was given to him, the mana of the bracelet let them know that the current Van was displaying the power of a ‘proper berserker’.
“I can’t let Commander deal with even one.”
He straightened the blade of his greatsword and watched the gaping hole in the barrier. An endless stream of monsters poured through the gaping hole. A faint sense of anticipation and a deep sense of killing intent lingered above the reddened eyes.
And in the next moment, dozens of auras stretched out from Van’s greatsword.
Blood Flow Sword’s First Form. Thorns.
Razor-sharp thorns lined the strands of aura that stretched out as if devouring the front. The aura’s free-spirited movements had no target, so it attacked the enemies in front of it even more indiscriminately.
The multi-pronged aura swiftly wrapped itself around any foe it encountered, its thorns digging into the body as it tightened. After inflicting terrible pain on its foes, the aura swelled up, absorbing the leaking blood, and split in two once more.
The more enemies there were, the more densely packed they were. The range and power of [Thorns] grew. In an instant, the aura that enveloped the area was like a giant spider web, drawing in and destroying monsters.
As the power of [Thorns] grew stronger, Van’s mental strength was quickly consumed. His aura proved it, as the reddish energy became turbid and slowly blackened.
However, Van did not cancel the [Blood Flow Sword]. He knew that he was the most skilled in annihilation warfare within the mercenary corps, and he also knew that if he didn’t do a good job of killing his enemies, everything else would fall to Cadel.
He hadn’t been of any real help. Not in the battle against the witch, not in the Forest of Enchantment, so it was only fitting that the commander’s faith in him should be repaid now that he had relinquished the first attack.
Van’s thorns, which killed ten goblins at once, rushed toward the hole in the barrier. The group of monsters that had just squeezed in was the best prey.
‘Maximize the power of Blood Flow Sword by devouring the incoming troops. After that…….’
Planning quickly in his fading consciousness, Van swung his greatsword with all his might. Thorns curved along its trajectory, encircling the monsters piercing the barrier. Just as the thorns were about to pounce.
Something that came out of nowhere caught them first.
The giant troll’s giant grasp reached into his wildly distorted eyes. The giant troll thrusted its arm through the gap in the barrier and snatched the horde of monsters before Van’s aura could reach them.
With a short tongue click, he swung the thorns again and wrapped them around the giant troll’s forearm, but it tore off the aura with a grotesque roar.
“It’s trying to protect the others.”
He had never heard of a monster protecting another monster, even of a different race at that. He wondered if this was part of its power.
Van chose to remove [Thorns]. This was to condense a sword energy strong enough to slice off the giant troll’s entire forearm.
But before he could complete condensing the sword aura.
The remaining arm of the giant troll tore through the barrier and slithered inside.
‘……What is it trying to do?’
Van’s brow wrinkled at the sight.
The giant troll’s movements were strange. At first, Van thought it was trying to protect its allies, but instead of pulling the monsters out of the barrier or holding them safely, it spread the palm holding the monsters wide open.
The assembled monsters stomped their feet, unable to leap from the unusual height. It seemed to be openly giving away allies to its enemies.
—Or so he thought. The next move of the giant troll was completely out of Van’s expectations.
The other hand that wasn’t holding the monsters moved slowly. Its thumb was pressed tightly against the nail on its middle finger, making it round, as if it was about to flick something.
In that state, the knuckle of the middle finger was placed on the palm of its hand where the monsters were. As if trying to flick the monsters in its hand far away.
Van’s head whipped around quickly. The giant troll was aiming directly behind him. It was the position of the Scarlet Scales Mercenary.
‘Is it trying to bypass me and send its allies flying toward the mercenary corps? At this distance, those monsters are more likely to just explode and die, and it doesn’t matter? Or…….’
Was there a reason why its allies had to meet the mercenary corps?
Van’s gaze found Lumen in the distance.
These monsters were all servants of Ergo. As the monsters created by the demon himself, it was entirely possible that they had the ability to detect the presence of the core.
‘Its purpose is not combat. Only the core. It doesn’t care how many of them die, as long as they can retake the core.’
He couldn’t let that happen. Van’s sword aura flew out, aiming for the giant troll’s wrist.
His sword aura was a beat too late, arriving only after the giant troll’s middle finger had been stretched out and a single tearing ripple was heard.
The giant troll’s fallen arm made a roar.
A loud roar that one couldn’t tell if it was from pain or triumph. And a horde of monsters shot out like bullets.
Looking at the dark legion of monsters scattered randomly and coloring the sky, Van’s mouth slowly opened.