Not that the area immediately outside of the wall was dangerous – the layers of wooden fortifications helped, along with the real frontline, the actual soldiers fighting for humanity, being deeper in. It looked to me like the logic was to slowly build wooden fortifications, inching forwards, pushing the Formorians back eight feet at a time. That, or it gave more room for ebb and flow. The complexities of the war eluded me – I had a simple mission. I left the high-level analysis to the [Generals] and [Strategists]

We made our way through the maze of fortifications, Night pointing out various signs and what they meant, until we arrived at the start of my Outcropping, significantly different from Toxic’s. It started out here, on the wrong side of the wall, and it didn’t go nearly so high. It was, quite frankly, designed for weaker mages, those who couldn’t project force nearly as far.

Or, politely, who didn’t drop rocks on their enemy’s heads. Gravity was still deadly, and the Army had no problems exploiting the weakness.

We jogged along the Outcropping, narrow, rickety, barely wide enough for one person with good balance, steadily rising higher and higher, until we reached where the soldiers were in direct combat with the Formorians, soldiers moving in a single unit, Phalanx strong, tower shields down in a solid, interlocking pattern, spears out, stabbing in a practiced, uniform manner. A second line of soldiers were behind them, spears long enough to cover their fellow ahead of them. Whenever a soldier took a bad blow, deadly mandibles crushing through a shield and an arm, the soldier behind them would grab them, drag them back, then take their place in line.

A third line of soldiers were on double first-aid duty, and wall-building duty. When an injured soldier was thrown back out of the line, three soldiers would pounce, quickly wrapping the injury up, stabilizing the soldier long enough for them to make it back to the wall, where the healers had set up large tents to process the casualties.

When enough soldiers had fallen from the 1st and 2nd line, a number of soldiers from the 3rd line would backfill in, and the entire 3rd line would reshuffle to continue to be balanced, and continue to be building the fortifications.

The meatgrinder had reached peak military efficiency centuries ago.

From what I could see, it wasn’t “The Formorians are attacking! Quick, get into position!” No, it was endless. 8-hour shifts of combat were the norm, at which point the next set of lines came out, replacing the lines out, and the combat continued.

Every day. Every night. Endless, ceaseless.

For. Centuries.

How did the Formorians get so many bodies? How were they not stacked like cordwood, a massive wall made out of dead bodies? How – oh, they grabbed their dead and hauled them back. Probably to eat, and reprocess into more bodies.

I couldn’t think of many other reasons they’d drag them back.

As we passed the soldiers and the lines, crossing into enemy territory, high enough above them that they couldn’t reach us, but low enough that I could reach them with a really long spear, I used [Moonlight] and [Phases of the Moon] to heal every single soldier in range, my mana almost immediately draining to nothing, a combination of the sheer number of soldiers in range, and the frankly terrible image I had – just “heal”.

Wonder if I could get a “multi-processing skill” of some sort. It’d help me think about each heal I was doing

I pulled mana from the backpack, the frankly ludicrous amount of Arcanite crystals packed in it, and just kept right on going, healing all those in range as we crossed to the sea of Formorians, some of them seemingly to look up and chitter angrily at us.

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Constellation of the Healer] has leveled up to level 211! +10 Free Stats, +15 Mana, +15 Mana Regen, +15 Magic power, +15 Magic Control from your Class! +1 Free Stat for being Human! +1 Mana, +1 Mana Regen from your Element!]

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Constellation of the Healer] has leveled up to level 212! +10 Free Stats, +15 Mana, +15 Mana Regen, +15 Magic power, +15 Magic Control from your Class! +1 Free Stat for being Human! +1 Mana, +1 Mana Regen from your Element!]

I squashed the other notifications. [Celestial Affinity], [Center of the Galaxy], [Phases of the Moon], [Veil of the Aurora], and [Learning] all made it to 212 as well.

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Moonlight] has reached level 178!]

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Moonlight] has reached level 179!]

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Moonlight] has reached level 180!]

Man, this backpack full of Arcanite was good stuff! Healing people right in the thick of the fighting – even if they weren’t directly at risk of dying – was amazing experience.

A slight cheer came from behind us, as the soldiers realized a healer had just passed by, patching them up. I waved, not looking.

Cool girls don’t look back.

We reached the end of the Outcropping, and Night looked around, satisfied.

“Good. This will do. Do not hit me.” He said.

I looked around. Hordes of Formorians were marching past us, on their way to attempt to topple humanity – straight into the meatgrinder. A few Formorians flowed backwards, carrying bodies with them.

This was, quite honestly, a scary place to be. Hit the Outcropping too hard, a small earthquake, a moment of vertigo and I could lose my balance, and fall into the endless horde. There was absolutely, zip zero zilch, chance I’d survive falling. None at all. Not even a divine miracle could get me out of that.

“Begin.” Night ordered, and with some small amount of trepidation, I threw a [Fireball] into their midst, the light of the fire briefly illuminating the ants before impacting. It exploded with violence and fury, a few Formorians staggering under the blow.

[Oath] was silent. They were exactly what they looked like – oversized ants, a killing machine. There was no twist, they weren’t secretly sentient, just a black tide threatening to overrun the whole world.

Well, I had fantastic regeneration, and a small mountain of mana on my back. I could quite literally do this all night – and that seemed to be the plan.

With the unrestrained glee of a [Pyromancer] who’d finally gotten a real, legitimate target, a good cause, and no need to restrain herself, I fired off as many fireballs as I could, in just about every direction.

Mage Outcroppings were either so high up, or so far forward, that mages could unleash skills without needing to worry about friendly fire. Which was the whole point of having them sticking out like this.

“Very good. I shall take the right-hand side. Please limit your attacks to the left.” Night said, and with that, he stepped off the Outcropping, falling into the horde.

“Night!” I screamed in concern, only to see him gracefully land on top of a Formorian, punching straight through, blood and ichor spraying everywhere. He rode the body to the ground, then did the most frightening thing.

He laughed. The unrestrained laughter of a lunatic, of a killer unleashed. Red blades emerged from him, and started to swirl around him, and he began casually walking through the horde, spinning blades around him slicing and shredding all who came too close.

Slowly, his range of blades, the area they were active in, started to expand, becoming larger and larger, and he started to jog, then run, Formorians falling by the dozens – no, by the hundreds – as he ran back and forth through the battlefield, a one-man maelstrom of death.

“What are you doing, Ranger Elaine?” Night asked me, annoyance in his voice, ignoring as his lethally spinning blades around him cut down Formorians by the hundreds, the deadly ants realizing the threat in their midst and attempting to converge on him.

There wasn’t enough Formorian left after he was done with them for them to be able to drag a body back.

With a start I realized I’d stopped shooting off [Fireball], and went back to my barrage, feeling bad.

I sometimes killed one, maybe two Formorians with my shots – although I was injuring a bunch – but compared to Night’s hundreds killed every dozen seconds, I was nothing more than a drop in the bucket.

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Pyromancer] has leveled up to level 113! +5 Free Stats, +14 Mana, +8 Mana Regen, +14 Magic power, +8 Magic Control from your Class! +1 Free Stat for being Human! +1 Strength from your Element!]

Well, a leveling up drop in the bucket.

At the same time, with the light of the moons illuminating, and the flashes of [Fireball] screwing with my night vision, the endless black tide of Formorians didn’t relent. Didn’t end.

Even Night’s efforts were a drop in the bucket, although the soldiers behind him probably appreciated the reduced pressure.

“I’m off for a brief run. I’d like to see how Toxic is handling himself. Do take care not to fall off Ranger Elaine. It would be a shame to lose you.”

I mutely nodded, and Night took off, whirling blades around him slicing and dicing.

What were those even made out of? I found myself wondering.

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Ranger’s Lore] has reached level 173!]


[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 17]

[Mana: 28600/28600]

[Mana Regen: 29432]


[Free Stats: 606]

[Strength: 169]

[Dexterity: 212]

[Vitality: 297]

[Speed: 220]

[Mana: 2860]

[Mana Regeneration: 3287]

[Magic Power: 2506]

[Magic Control: 2808]

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 212]]

[Celestial Affinity: 212]

[Warmth of the Sun: 193]

[Medicine: 192]

[Center of the Galaxy: 212]

[Phases of the Moon: 212]

[Moonlight: 180]

[Veil of the Aurora: 212]

[Vastness of the Stars: 139]

[Class 2: [Pyromancer - Fire: Lv 113]]

[Fire Affinity: 113]

[Fire Resistance: 113]

[Fire Conjuration: 113]

[Fire Manipulation: 113]

[Fuel for the Fire: 113]

[Burn Brightly: 113]

[Rapidash: 113]

[Fireball: 113]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Identify: 133]

[Recollection of a Distant Life: 156]

[Pretty: 130]

[Vigilant: 192]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 199]

[Ranger's Lore: 173]

[Training: 160]

[Learning: 212]

A note from Selkie

The frontlines!!

If you could give me an advanced review, that'd be great. They're weighted more heavily than anything else, and I've been looking carefully at trending - it's clear that the rating the novel has is super important. Hence, advanced reviews help me go up in the trending list. They help more people see it, which gets more people rating and following it, which has a synergistic effect that hopefully turns into a runaway effect, which gets enough people interested that I get to do this full-time. Seriously, it matters, and it helps.

BTDEM is bog standard in many ways. However, I'm willing to do things that turn some readers off - and so far, more of my reviews have been from people that I make mad more than people who are happy. Just how the internet works. I'm hoping some of you that are enjoying things are willing to leave reviews or advanced reviews. They matter. You matter.

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