Before I knew it, I laughed dejectedly as I saw the four Gigas pouncing towards me.
"This is going to give me cancer…"
But leaving cancer aside, I had to fight them first.
"Thunder Dragon! Gargantuan Tiger! Go get the cat and come back quickly!"
What? Bu-, but…
"Do you guys want to be charged with insubordination too?"
...Okay. I mean, roger that.
As soon as they responded, the two Gigas quickly flew far away. The moment the enemy caught sight of that, two of the four Gigas coming at me tried to overtake me to chase after my allies.
"Where do you think you're going! Napoleon! Reactivate the gravitational control!!"
Gotcha, partner! Let's do this!
Napoleon answered and lowered his posture at the same time while activating <The Word Impossible Doesn't Exist In My Dictionary> and <Amplification> simultaneously.
He turned around with a 'vriiingg' and charged the shield with energy. Then, he rushed at the spider-type Gigas that was coming at me.
It was a given, but it was impossible to have a head-on fight. Although the concept of body strengthening technique was possible in a Gigas battle, the enemy, who was so intimidated that he was wrapped in a shield, like now, could only be approached once we broke the shield. Things would have been a little different if I had the right Ability for close-quarter combat, but at the very least, it was impossible for me right now.
I synced with Napoleon's Iron Heart. Napoleon's huge reserve of soul energy began to react by connecting with my humble soul.
It was the soul energy of the Iron Heart that formed the shield of a Gigas and its basic properties were similar to solid matter. But since it was not a real substance, it was possible to transform its properties if the soul energy was synchronized.
'Become as flexible and elastic as a rubber ball!'
I concentrated my thoughts. I wasn't able to synchronize to this extent when I was playing The Great War on the virtual simulation device. So, it was the first time I actually tried it, but it didn't feel like I was going to fail.
And of course, the result was a success! I snuck under the Gigas that was coming at me and threw him up into the sky.
The sight of the spider-type Gigas bouncing off like a bolt of lightning and flying accurately towards the two Gigas that were chasing Thunder Dragon and Gargantuan Tiger had me bumping my fist up in the air.
I didn't have any offensive-based Ability to penetrate through the enemy's barrier, but it was possible to push, throw and press down on the enemy like this. And most of all, my normal attack and barrier was in a strengthened state, so the momentum was also fierce.
Upon being crashed after being rammed hard by another Gigas from behind at a high-speed, they soon turned their eyes towards me.
Thunder Dragon, Black Wildcat and Gargantuan Tiger were chasing the fleeing enemies, and instantaneously, my allied Gigas had widened the distance from where we were. The two enemy Gigas, who wanted to pursuit them, decided to do a suicide mission and came at me - the closest target. As a result, it became a one against four battle.
Partner! They're coming!
Along with the warning, I dodged the bombardment that was raining down from both sides. The two Gigas shaped like humans, which was quite rare for a Gigas belonging to the demi-humans, lunged at me. On top of that, the way they were targeting their artillery fire at Napoleon's shield looked strange.
I shouted out loud at the familiar feeling.
"Napoleon! Reduce the shield's coverage to just above the body!"
But if you don't maintain the shield in a sphere-form, it will consume too much of the system's computational power! The soul energy consumption will also be severe! We don't even have a close-combat Ability, so why?
"It can't be helped. The enemy is using weak Abilities just to hit the barrier. Don't let their attacks touch the barrier!"
You're saying we shouldn't let their attacks touch the barrier when the barrier is used to block incoming attacks in the first place?
Napoleon was baffled, but perhaps because it was somehow convincing to him, I could feel the coverage of the shield reducing. At the same time, a photon cannon grazed past above my shoulder. As expected, that bastard was shooting recklessly as long as it could land a hit on the shield.
<Erosion> was one of my favorite Abilities to use. It was a skill that invaded the enemy's Aura and disrupted the controls to induce an overdrive. The most ideal method of using it was, of course, direct contact with the enemy's Iron Heart or the soul vein that flowed inside the deck. However, simply landing a hit on the enemy's shield could also adversely affect the enemy's recovery speed or defensive capabilities.
Napoleon kicked against the ground. Even for Napoleon that could freely fly with gravitational and inertia controls, it was a given that he would also naturally be restricted by the laws of action and reaction. I reached top speed instantaneously by using <The Speed of Marengo> after minimizing the acceleration time by kicking the ground.
Boom! Boom! Boooom!
The large-calibre bombardments, which could only be done by ships on Earth, grazed my body, no, grazed Napoleon's body and craters appeared where the shots landed. Since I had already figured out their firing angles and their target from the start, I had lightly manipulated Napoleon to evade all the attacks. I then infiltrated into their formation and swung the Lightsaber like lightning.
But in that instant, Napoleon's wrist which was holding the Lightsaber, twisted.
As if space itself had been refracted, the trajectory of the Lightsaber changed rapidly and the Lightsaber which should've cut the enemy, returned to me.
Partner! This is…!
"I know! It's a defensive skill! Space Refraction!"
It was a sudden situation, but I wasn't flustered. No, rather, this was an opportunity. I've known from experience that this kind of concentrated defence was easier to pierce than a regular barrier.
I leaned my back down for now and avoided the blade of the Lightsaber that was flying towards my neck. At the same time, I used the recoil of the sword, strongly held by my now twisted right hand, to rotate around like a spinning top.
I waited for them to creep in before turning around with a 'vriiingg~' and slashed diagonally. The enemy was flustered by the swift counterattack and attempted to pull their bodies out of the way. Unfortunately, it was for naught as they were split into two.
As I cut them down, I had the Iron Heart activate <Dry Heart> instantly at the exact moment and sucked out the enemy's soul energy to the point where there wasn't any possibility of recovering.
Holy... crap. What was it that you just did?
"What do you mean what did I just do? I attacked them and that was reflected, so I used the momentum generated to attack again. Ughhh, I can't believe I lost one wrist just to defeat one of them, what kind of hardcore mode is this…"
But then there was no time for a breather as a 'whiiiiiingg-!' sound rang in my head and a pulsating wave passed over and struck my body. Of course, I was protected by the Avalon System, but it wasn't an attack that was aimed at my main body in the first place.
"Oh, this group fight is annoying. What the hell is it now?"
I frowned upon the realization that Napoleon's control had been delayed by half a beat momentarily. When I looked up, I found a wolf-type Gigas bent down. His jaw was dropped and his mouth was wide open and it looked as though he was roaring.
'Is it an Ability similar to the Fenrir's Howl used by Major General Chun Hyun-il?'
However, unlike Erosion, it was an Ability that I didn't know of. For someone like me that was 100% familiar with the Abilities that appeared in The Great War to not know of a particular skill meant that this skill was either extremely rare or it didn't appear in The Great War.
Be careful, partner! The Iron Heart's soul energy was slowed, so the reaction speed is too slow! You can't avoid the attack!
"No, why do you sound so serious for something as trivial as this?"
I moved the Magic Hand and laughed at the damage report, which was coming up on the front screen chaotically.
"It's just saying that it's lagging for about two seconds, right? We can just solve it with a wire input."
It was true that I didn't even have time to invoke <The Undying Emperor> to fix the destroyed right arm. But my purpose was not victory anyway.
For me to stall this much time by myself...
We took too long! I mean, we're late! Sorry!
We'll join in! Now you don't have to worry about your back!
To defeat another one in that meantime…
As the positionings had changed during the battle, Thunder Dragon, Gargantuan Tiger and Black Wildcat appeared from behind the demi-human's Gigas. To be honest, they were far from being reliable, but it was not to the point where they could not deal with the enemy which had suffered heavy damages and had no numerical advantage.
And in that meantime, one of the demi-human's fighter jets was shot down by the red fighter jet and crashed next to us. While we were fighting, the fighter jets also won.
I leaned my back on the cockpit as I watched the demi-human's Gigas stood rooted as they couldn't move carelessly. It was a perfect victory.
* * *
"This is a totally unexpected situation."
Looking at the screen, Hyun-il was in a really bad state.
His snow-like white fur was scorched as if it had been considerably burned, and one of his ears was cut off at an angle and the severed portion was nowhere to be seen. His right arm was tattered like a rag to the point that his muscle fibers were visible, and a huge part of his face was torn, offering a clear imagery of his large molars and fangs. He was in such a severe condition that if one had a weak stomach, they'd feel nauseous.
"Are you trying to get in shape? You look like you're about to die right now."
"What nonsense are you spouting? This kind of injury will heal just by spitting some saliva on it." Hyun-il replied jokingly to the Princess of Leonhardt Empire, Celestia's nagging, but it was actually true.
In actual fact, even at this moment, his injuries were healing fast. The burnt skin slowly regenerated and white fur began to grow. The broken bones connected together by themselves and the ear that was cut off was growing back.
"This is what's scary about Physical-type Transcendents. To only become like this after being hit by an ultimate spell that's famous for impeding regenerations…"
"I'm only looking like this because I was hit with an ultimate spell. Otherwise I would have completely healed before even coming back here." Hyun-il murmured under his breath while slurping on the Thousand Spirit Tea.
It was a precious tea that was drunk only when Hyun-il was hosting a precious guest, but it was also the best spiritual elixir for an injured person such as himself now. As he took a sip of the Thousand Spirit Tea and replenished his vigor, Celestia, who was waiting in the Captain's Room as the most distinguished guest of the Albatross ship, turned her head to the screen.
"By the way… Why the hell did he go into battle?"
The situation of the fight proceeded in a way that was entirely different from what she initially imagined it to be.
A young man from an extremely peaceful region that only had a few incidents, let alone wars, entered the battlefield for the first time, and commanded specialists, who had lived on a battlefield for decades, to drive out the enemies. She expected him to play an active part, but she didn't think it was going to be in this manner.
"Ahhhhh, I was taken aback because of that too. That guy clearly had <Sniper>, right? There was Thunder Dragon, a Gigas without any long-range Ability that could pierce through the enemy's barrier, so why did he get on Napoleon, a Gigas specialized in bombardment, and fight a close-quarter fight?"
Hyun-il, who had reached the level of transcendence as a warrior and also had great talents and skills as a pilot, was able to accurately grasp the Ability used by the Earthling that went by the name of Specter just by looking through the videos left behind after the battle with the demi-humans.
"From Stealth to Penetration and to Sniper... And on top of that, even Teleportation. In fact, the only Basic Ability built into the Thunder Dragon was Penetration, so the others must have been Inherent Abilities."
It was impossible to use both long-range weapons and close-range weapons like Penetration, but when it comes to Abilities like <Sniper>, it had the power to penetrate through a barrier. In addition, it also had the power to increase the firing range of bombardments, so it would have been possible to support the Leonhardt army safely by using the <Stealth> Ability to hide in a lightning cloud where proper detection could not work and use <Sniper> from afar.
Previously, Celestia was against Dae-ha's participation in the war as he was considered a guest, but she understood the circumstances and agreed to it eventually. However, now she had an expression as if she found the situation incomprehensible
Celestia muttered, "Why on earth did he engage in a close-range battle with Napoleon, a Gigas specialized in bombardments?"
"Actually, that's not really important."
Celestia laughed at Hyun-il who was brushing off the tangled hairs with his hand while watching Napoleon's battle scene.
"Oh my, did you think I was just casually saying it when I said that that young child had the technique of a Gigant Master?"
"Then do you think there'd be a crazy bastard that would believe that right off the bat?"
He received reports on Napoleon's other awakenings, which was <The Speed of Marengo> and <The Undying Emperor>, as well as the extremely rare Ability <Dry Heart>, which absorbs the opponent's energy to restore its own energy.
In actual fact, this was not a problem. Though it was very rare, there were existences in the past that possessed many rare Abilities compared to others.
There were the Noblesse which even the transcendents dare not carelessly go against, and the Untouchable bloodline, which was even more rare than the Noblesse. If it were those beings, it wouldn't be strange even if they had ridiculous Abilities from the day they were born.
Even in the case of 'using an Ability that the Gigas itself did not awaken by using an Inherent Ability', though it was extremely rare to the extent that it was considered hearsay, it wasn't to the point where it was unbelievable. Rather, the bigger problem was his technique.
"Haha. Did you see him change the properties of the shield? It took me more than 30 years to even do that. And that kid did it so easily?"
That wasn't all.
Even in a constantly changing battle situation, Dae-ha had the capability to judge the situation and find an answer to it in a split second. Despite having subordinates who disobeyed his orders, he could pull off excellent battle tactics. He even possessed astonishing piloting capabilities and could easily suppress enemies that were of the same grade even without any proper offensive Ability.
This was not a matter of talent alone. It required countless training, practice, and more than anything else, 'experience'.
And above all else…
"Didn't he learn how to pilot a Gigas in The Great War? But in real practice, in a battlefield filled with death, he perfectly adapted to it to this extent?"
Hyun-il couldn't feel from Dae-ha a hint of hesitation or fear, a characteristic of new recruits. A Gigas battle might not be comparable to the hand-to-hand combat where breaths and swords clash against each other, but it was also not something to be taken lightly.
There were a number of officers who were traumatized by a single battle and couldn't go to war again, even though they recorded excellent results in simulations that were similar to The Great War. This was because it was by no means easy to synchronize with the Iron Heart calmly in a battlefield where having to kill the enemy and the fear of death coexisted.
But Dae-ha, having only rode on one proper Gigas, jumped head first into a battle that had overwhelming odds without much hesitation. And that young boy, without even a moment's hesitation, eliminated the enemies and fought calmly, despite being in a crisis due to his uncoordinated allies, leading the troops to victory.
This was not something that a new recruit was capable of displaying. On the contrary, it was doubtful whether Hyun-il, a long-time pilot and even considered a war veteran, would be able to imitate him. Was this really possible?
"Eyyy, but didn't you say he was a genius who scored 1.28 billion points in The Great War? Even if he learned in the form of a game, if he could obtain such high scores, wouldn't he be able to perform well to a certain extent in an actual battle too?"
"1.28 billion points… Hahaha. This is just ridiculous. It feels like it was just yesterday when the headquarters made a big fuss over me 'barely' scoring 9.5 million points. Eventually, the 100-member committee summoned me in person and I had to play another round of The Great War in front of them. But then, he didn't just score 10 million or 100 million, he scored 1.2 billion?"
The Great War wasn't just a game. It was a highly reliable battle simulation that had raised countless pilots. Even a current Gigant Master wouldn't probably be able to reach the one billion point mark, so how could a kid who hadn't even lived 20 years scored more than that?
But Celestia smiled and shrugged, "Well, anyways, I'm glad things turned out well."
"Yes, it worked out well. The dinosaur bastard was injured as much as I was, and the pursuit plane was successfully destroyed, plus I was able to mine for enough Gallats to repair the ship."
Nevertheless, questions remained in Hyun-il's mind. It was a question regarding Dae-ha's identity.
'He absolutely didn't infiltrate our ranks with malice. If so, he wouldn't have dealt with things this way.'
At the same time, however, Hyun-il was confident that Dae-ha was by no means an ordinary being. Dae-ha's amazing technique, as well as the massive number of Abilities, was anything but ordinary.
"I'll have to thoroughly observe him.", Hyun-il mumbled and slowly fell asleep. He didn't show it, but he was also pretty tired from the fierce battle.
While Hyun-il was asleep, Celestia looked at the screen again. It was unknown what had happened but Napoleon, that Dae-ha was riding on, lightly smacked Black Wildcat's head.
"Ahhh… This won't do. This, perhaps." Celestia muttered as she watched the returning troops with a complicated and subtle expression.
"Grandpa Mae-pa might come."Previous Chapter Next Chapter