Surrounded by the snarling brown wolves, Wilbert was momentarily at a loss as to what to do. His grip on the sword and shield tightened as the wolves inched closer to him, tightening the circle, drooling dripping from their mouths.
'If I attack one of the wolves, I'll leave my back exposed to the rest. I may be an amateur, but even I know that's not good. Yet, if I don't attack one, there'll be no escape.'
While he was thinking, another few wolves approached and joined the encirclement. It seemed the dozen or so wolves around him were far from all of the pack.
Caught in such a predicament, Wilbert could only hurriedly formulate a rash plan.
After surveying the group of wolves, he identified the brown wolf that was most isolated and charged at it.
"[Basic Shield Bash]!"
Caught up in the moment, Wilbert could not help shouting the name of the skill, perhaps to boost his state of mind, or maybe to jog the muscle memory and ensure it executed properly.
The Jante Vicious Brown Wolf was stunned, but instead of attacking, Wilbert simply ran past it. As he ran, he returned the sword and shield to his bag before withdrawing the training staff.
'While I'm running, this should be the easiest to attack with.'
He glanced over his should and saw the pack of wolves. 'What the… There's at least double what there was before!'
The pack of wolves, which was more like a surging tidal wave, were hot on his heels.
While still running, Wilbert looked over his shoulder, aimed the staff, and quickly activated a skill.
Having gotten a taste for it, Wilbert shouted out the name of his skill once more.
The skill seemed to summon a strong wind, which congregated at the tip of his magic staff, absorbing the energy within, before shooting towards a wolf at the front of the pack.
"Yelp!" cried the brown wolf as the sharp wind connected with its nose. The wind blade seemed to slice straight through its nose, drawing copious amounts of blood. With a whimper, the wolf fell to the ground.
However, that was just one of many. The other wolves merely leapt over it or ran round it—the loss of one more of the kin seemed barely an inconvenience, although the anger in their eyes seemed to somewhat intensify.
'Hmm?' After glancing to confirm that the spell had hit the wolf, Wilbert felt confused. 'I definitely hit it, but I didn't hear the message. Did I not kill it?'
Since there had been no kill notification, that meant the Jante Vicious Brown Wolf was still alive.
'Was that wolf just stronger, or is this skill not as powerful as the others?'
On the verge of panicking, Wilbert tried his utmost to remain calm and think the situation through. The issue was that he did not know if that wolf was just stronger than the others or the skill was too weak. Thus, the simplest solution was to use the skill again.
Once more, the wind congregated into a sharp blade and shot towards a wolf near the front. With another yelp of pain, blood gushed from the wolf's nose as it collapsed to the ground, causing the eyes of the rest of the pack the glimmer with fury.
Unfortunately, the kill message did not appear. To add insult to injury, when he looked back, he spotted a wolf with a large gash on its nose.
The first wolf had got back up and rejoined the chase!
"Dammit!" Wilbert could not help but curse out loud. He almost threw the staff aside, but he held onto it and simply returned it to his backpack before drawing the bow and quiver.
'The sword and shield will simply get me swarmed by the wolves, and the staff doesn't even take them out for long.'
With shaking hands, Wilbert tried to nock an arrow on his bow, but while running under such pressure, he simply could not accomplish this first step.
In his annoyance, he hurled the arrow behind him at the pack and stowed his bow back into the backpack.
With nothing in his hands, he focused on running. He avoided running through vegetation that he could not pass through easily and just about managed to maintain his lead.
However, he was only human, and he had never trained his body before. Yes, he had helped around the village, but that had not trained his long-distance running.
Before long, Wilbert started to notice that the pack was gradually gaining. At the rate it was going, if he did not find a solution soon, the pack would catch up to him within twenty minutes.
'Roughly twenty minutes, huh? And that's if I can even keep this pace up…'
It really seemed Wilbert's luck was not with him that day. His thought was interrupted by the end of his path.
A natural wall from a cliff face rose up before him, blocking the way forward. Wilbert turned around in a panic, but it was too late. The wolves had caught up and blocked off all paths of escape.
Turning his sight back to quickly survey the cliff face, Wilbert realised that it was completely smooth—he could not scale it to escape.
With no other choice, Wilbert turned to face the wolves, who were inching ever closer to him as if savouring their revenge.
'No choice but to fight. Although it doesn't kill them, I'll launch a [Wind Cutter] to slow down some of the wolves before drawing my sword and shield. If I aim it right, I should be able to knock several out for a minute or two.'
As the blue staff materialised in his hand again, Wilbert went over the plan once more. 'If only I could use more powerful magic…'
Alas, magic was not something so easily controlled. When the magic power circulated around one's body, it was not unlike blood circulating. Could a person urge their blood to pump quicker? Magic power was similar. Running fast would make someone's heart beat faster, but that was not exactly a conscious decision.
'I can only try.'
Although he visualised the same circulation route in his body, this time, Wilbert imagined it rampaging through his body, the magic power like a flood of blood fracturing all the veins and arteries in his system.