Simon was trembling, but there was something about David’s cool confidence that helped ground him. Still, the other man hadn’t seen what was coming, so there was still a vicious live wire of worry at Simon’s core. After all, in his Astral Projection form, he had managed to see how large the assault was.
And based upon what he saw, these first waves were only the beginning…
The two of them walked out of their small tent, seeing people respond in an impressively orderly fashion. Most people, and the few children that were here, walked back and away, heading towards the Star Crossing Inn. Meanwhile, those grim faced individuals with weapons and armor pushed the other way, heading towards the perimeter of the village.
David immediately began heading towards the perimeter, which is what Simon thought they SHOULD do, but had he been alone… it was hard to say whether he would have actually done it.
As they pushed through the crowd, they saw a familiar face standing up on top of a low wall, receiving reports and directing people to different areas: Thea. She saw them almost immediately, her eyes drawn to David’s rather imposing air, Simon supposed. After a brief hesitation, she hopped down off the wall and approached the two of them.
“...I didn’t know if you guys would be willing to fight.” She said, her eyes burning as she looked at David. David looked at Simon. Simon gulped.
“Well anyway, we are glad to have you. Stay with me, you can be considered an addition to my battle group for now. Accept the party invite, it will help keep communications up.” When the notification popped up, Simon accepted it immediately. “David, you are this… messed up name correct? I’ll send you an invite too.”
Thea was already turning away, moving deeper in the lines, yelling for people to move to reinforce different areas, but Simon paused. David was glaring forward, struggle written on his face, as he looked at the air in front of him. That familiar expression of pain was there too, as he struggled with whatever injury plagued him.
After a few seconds it passed, but David just shook his head, his expression annoyed. Then he caught Simon’s eye and gave a small smile, tilting his head forward. Nodding wordlessly, they followed Thea, Simon wondering what happened.
Did his injury… prevent him from receiving notifications…? The Village Spirit did say that he was extremely unlucky, and would go mad from the pain and die. Was it a System related injury…?
That possibility was seeming increasingly likely, and increasingly difficult to work around. Simon’s skill with Mending Liquid had been steadily increasing, but it didn’t really seem like it was increasing fast enough. David’s body was a veritable black hole for the stuff. Clenching his fists, Simon resolved himself to commit more fully to its production. With the Mana potions that David could make, it was rather simple, and it was good for some PP.
The area around Star Crossing was filled with low, rolling hills, that broke up the terrain and made it rather difficult to climb, especially for Simon, who realized that he needed to invest more stats in physical areas. But the difficulties cut both ways, and when they reached the top of the hill they would be fighting from, it became apparent that Star Crossing had handled things like this before.
The side of the hill the enemy had to climb had been sheared away, with only a criss crossing series of stone steps, cutting back and forth, all the way up. Otherwise the angle of the terrain was too steep to climb.
Inwardly, Simon was very glad they had arrived from a direction not facing a dungeon.
But that relief drained away as he looked out at the horde approaching the hill, his heart tightening. Their bones and jaws clacked creepily as they moved, their bodies swaying to and fro, carrying broken and rusted weapons. The skeletons’ eyes gleamed with a red light as they looked up at them, seeming to grin.
Thea swore quietly, getting up on Chrysanthemum’s back. “At least the fuckers will take some time to get up here. Long range attackers! Fire at will!”
Immediately, a slew of Mana Bolts, Fireballs, and Entangling Roots erupted, staggering and destroying a lot of the front line of skeletons. They didn’t appear to be sturdy at all, but disconnecting the bones did little. Severed arms continued to inch forward, the bones of the fingers struggling to drag them forward.
Torsos that had simply lost their legs were even worse, dragging themselves gleefully up the back of their compatriots, riding forward. There was a certain… joy to the skeletons, Simon thought numbly. They were enjoying this.
“The heads!” Thea bellowed. “Hit the heads and the animation of the bones ends.”
Now the skeletons had come close enough that the non mages could fire, and hatchets, arrows, and throwing knives whistled out, hitting the front line, aiming for their skulls. This time, a lot of those skeletons that were taken down stayed down, but there were more coming-
Congratulations! You have leveled up! You are now level 2.
Simon blinked, then chuckled. Party experience, huh…? Because he hadn’t really done anything so far…
David pointed, his expression firm, clear of the usual pain that he had when moving around. For a second, nothing happened, and Simon felt a pang of pity. Was his access to the System truly damaged…? That would end up getting him killed in this world, as he is unable to grow more powerful or-
A flame hammer, the size of a moped, crashed into the spot where David was pointing. 5 skeletons, near the epicenter of the crash, were vaporized instantly. When it hit, the hammer splashed liquid fire, which began to burn away 6-7 others that were nearby. Beyond that, a dozen or so fell to the ground, the shockwave shattering their bones or knocking them to the ground.
Then, with increasing speed, David pointed, again and again, and altogether 10 of those hammers crashed down, destroying the densest part of the enemy's forces, leaving them with large holes in their ranks as they marched forward. Even after they hit, they continued to cause problems as they burned, bright and hot, for around 30 seconds before dissipating.
Attacks from our side stopped, as everyone just looked, wide eyed at the scene in front of them. Of all of the other skills used, none of them was really as effective as an arrow, which could pierce a skull and destroy the skeleton. Fireball incapacitated, but was rarely hot enough to melt the skull. Mana Bolt shattered it sometimes, if it was strong enough, but you had to hit at just the right angle. Entangling Roots was just a delaying tactic.
This was like watching somebody play a video game. David pointed, and 50 skeletons were instantly killed, another 150 debilitated or put out of commission. Just how…?
“Don’t let your guard down! They are still coming!” Thea bellowed. Then she turned, quietly, and said to David. “Weren’t you a close range type…?”
David did his typical shrug, and Thea could only sigh. “Well, if you need Mana potions, I can-”
Waving his hand, David produced 3 Mana potions, all of them a dark blue, much more potent than the ones he had given to Simon, drinking them all at once. Then he gave the two of them a thumbs up.
Simon wasn’t sure what was scarier. That he had potions more powerful than restoring 100 each, or that he was able to casually drink 3 of those more powerful potions without so much as blinking. He didn’t display any sort of mental strain there, which you would usually experience if you used too much Mana too quickly, around half of your pool. And he had drank those 3 potions…
Even assuming they ONLY restored 150, which was one of the most silly statements Simon had ever thought, that meant he had over 900 mana.
Simon had just over a 100. Plus David was better with his physical stats…..
Honestly…. Did this man have any weaknesses at all…?