111-Battle of the Apostles: Gathering

 Day 10, the last day of the event.
 However, nothing has changed.
 We dove into dungeons, collecting stardust shards and gaining experience. Rin and I were just going through the motions we'd grown accustomed to.

 Our ten days of circling had finally come to an end. In another half hour, it would be five o'clock in the afternoon.
 That meant the end of the event and the beginning of the battle to destroy the apostles.

'I know it's a little early, but let's wrap things up here.

'Hmm, I guess so.

 Since it wouldn't add up to much in terms of shards if we circled any further, Rin and I cut the circle early.
 With this, each of us would finish the event with about 240,000 stardust shards.
 I don't know if I'm on the top of the rankings, but I hope I am, since I worked so hard.
 I've spent a lot of time and effort on it.

 Anyway, I had a lot of fun with Rin during the whole event.
 I've reached a point where I'm not too far behind her in terms of progress, and the two-week gap that existed when I first started has been filled.

 So we returned to the safe room, catalogs in hand, to gather up items that we could use.
 What follows is a unique raid battle in which almost everyone is an attacker.
 We must do what we can to prepare for this desperate battle, in which the division of roles is to hell with us.

'Speaking of which, did you get your weapons?

'Yeah. They got here just in time.'

 I give the same considerate reply to Rin-chan, who asks me to hide the subject because she's delivering.
 The new weapon that Haruru sent me with the message 'If you have any good materials, please let me know ......'.
 A quick check of its performance shows that it has more potential than Kagewi. Haruru does a really good job.
 However, I wouldn't start with her. Or perhaps I should say that I can't play her from the beginning.
 But I am confident that I can make a show for her. If I don't get a chance to show it, that's all right.

'I've collected the items, and the equipment is durable. Yeah, I'm all set.

'Well, let's not get too carried away. Even if we fail to defeat them, there are many strong players in the city of beginnings.

'I'm not overwhelmed, though. I'm rather excited about it.

'It's the same for me. Finally, at last, there's a monster that I can really put my firepower to the test against.

 I couldn't help but break out into a smile as Rin smiled with genuine happiness.

 Rin is a mage player with a solid pure demon build, a staff made from named materials, and a number of rare skills.
 She has only one goal in mind. 'To use powerful magic'.

 The time has finally come for me to use the status I've developed in this way to the fullest.
 It was inevitable that he would be excited.

'It's about time, isn't it?

'Yes, it's about to start.

'Alert: The Apostle Defeat War will begin shortly.
'Alert: The apostle battle is about to begin.
Residents in the vicinity of the gate, please stand clear.

 It's an alert, not an announcement.
 The loud volume that echoed through the safe room like a school announcement made you frown. I'm not good with loud noises.
 Lin-chan, on the other hand, was completely unfazed and was checking her equipment. You're so reliable.

"Confirming the establishment of the transfer route to the other universe, the gates of the Stardust Labyrinth are closed.
We will continue to use the Great Key of Trials to initiate the transfer.

 The Great Key of Trials, which I had placed in my inventory, softly floated to the surface as the voice spoke.
 The two of us were enveloped in a circle of light emitted by our own keys.

"Good luck.

 I see, a forced warp.
 Feeling the floating sensation of warp that we had become accustomed to over the past ten days, we were sent to the land of the battle to destroy the apostles.


 I close my eyes at a flash of light.
 When I opened my eyes, the landscape was a scorched earth.
 The earth was covered with charred rubble, as if an entire city had been destroyed.
 We were standing on a circular field that had been left empty in a part of it.
 We looked up at the sky, which was blackened by the black smoke rising from the smoldering earth, thinking that we had created an easily recognizable space.
 When I looked back down, I saw the light of the transition gushing out. It seemed that Rin and I had arrived too early, and I watched in a daze as more and more players appeared.

 Including us, there were fifteen people who had moved to the area. We didn't even reach the limit of 30 players.
 Let's not delude ourselves that there were more than thirty players and that the fifteen of us were the first group to be sent to .......
 It's useless to think that there might have been a limit to the number of players.
 No matter whether there was a reserve or not.
 It doesn't matter if there was a reserve or not, the fact remains that 15 of us had to fight and win against the monsters called apostles.

 However, it's hard to have so few people. Since this is a raid battle, the HP of the enemy monsters will be more than five times that of ordinary boss monsters.
 This is because raid battles are all-out battles in which up to five full parties are allowed to participate.
 If there are simply five times as many players, the firepower will naturally increase not only by a factor of five, but also by a factor of five. This is because hate and targets are dispersed, and there are more openings to attack.
 However, this is only true for sophisticated raids, and not for this game where you're fighting with just a bunch of people.

 Anyway, in order to counter the player's strength, the boss monsters of raid battles in all games have extra large HP without exception.
 This game is no exception, and the monsters you're about to fight will probably have the most massive HP you've ever encountered.

 The HP was designed for a two-hour battle between 30 people. It would have been extremely difficult to cut down the HP with only half the number of players.

 Although the players had gathered, they began to make their final checks.
 One of them was coming towards us with a leisurely gait.
 Drago, the leader of the clan "Dragon Fang".
 He was the first player to defeat a named boss monster in this game, and at the same time, he was a heavy swordsman who became famous for being the first to possess a named weapon.

'Hello, you two.'

'Oh, Drago. Did you change your armor a little?

'Very astute. I've updated my gauntlet.

 Even though there were a lot of people around, the two of them stood out and attracted the attention of the people around them.
 Lin, of course, and Drago, as the clan leader of the largest clan in the world, Dragon's Fang, were the ones who attracted the most attention.
 Both of them were chatting with each other without a hint of nervousness, and I had to say that their mental strength was superb.

 Nevertheless, the people gathered here are the top players of today, the ones who have overcome the ordeal to participate in the battle to destroy the apostles.
 There is no hierarchy of ability or position, and they are definitely the top group of cripples in the game at the moment.
 Surprisingly, the two avatars were particularly famous and beautiful, so I might have just been looking at them as eye candy.

 As I continued my observation, thinking that everyone had a good expression, I was suddenly approached by a voice.

'Sukuna, it's been a while, hasn't it?

'Ah, Shuya-san.

 The third place in the rankings of the clan "Knights of the Round Table".
 He's undeniably strong, but he's also somewhat elusive.
 When I first played with Toka-chan, it was Shuya-san who guided her to Dualis.

 He still has an indescribably loose vibe, but today he's covered in armor, unlike the last time I saw him.
 His silver mail was exactly like a knight's.
 The choice of equipment was surprising, because I thought he was a light warrior with light armor, although he was not a complete heavy warrior and seemed to have secured ease of movement.

'That's kind of surprising.


'Yes, not only because of the equipment, but also because I thought Shuya-san didn't seem to like going around like this much.

 I'm not sure what to make of that.
 I thought he was the type who hated going around.

'You're not wrong. Normally I would never do that. But well, it's the leader's request.


'He wants to put it on the ranking from the round table as well. Well, I wasn't worried because I had Leo and Erumi, but it's always better to have insurance. By the way, Leo and Erumi are the tiger-beast and cat-beast duo of that place. They're our number one and number four, so they're pretty strong.

 Leo is a ...... two-handed sword, right? Erumi's is a two-handed sword. I'm sure you'll be able to find something that works for you.

 I think I've seen something very rare.

'So there are three of us from the round table.

'That's right. And those three over there are the 'Livestock Task Force'. It's a strange guild where all the members are either freelancers or self-employed.

'Yeah, ......'

 Clan "Livestock Task Force". If you believe Shuya's words, it's a clan with that name and no livestock.

'The leader, Tetsuya, is a tank, so it's nice to have them in this raid.

'What about the other two?

'I don't know that much about them. Why don't you ask them later?

'I will.

 Well, now we know the identities of the nine.
 Three from the Round Table, three from the Livestock Task Force, myself, Rin-chan, and Drago-san make nine.

'By the way, there are four of us with dragon fangs. I heard that they were destroyed in the trials once, but Drago-san's whole party made it through the trials.

'The whole party is amazing.

'Actually, I think it's great. In addition, I'm really grateful that you have all the healers and buffer tanks.

'It's a perfect example of a crippled party .......

 I'm sure Drago is a full attacker according to Rin.
 The balance between the three supporters and the one firepowered one is not very good, but he must have survived the last ten days with that party.
 Above all, having a healer and a buffer in this battle was a huge achievement in itself.

'And then there's ...... that one...?


 As I was asking Shuya to tell me about the players who had gathered, the earth shook with a roar.
 It wasn't an earthquake. It was the aftermath of something jumping out of the pile of rubble with great force.

 After a moment to make sure that Rin-chan was safe, I looked up at the sky as if I were following something.

'......Ah ......'

 I couldn't help but let my voice leak out.
 A bad memory comes back to me.
 It was more than two weeks ago, and yet the memory of defeat still lingers vividly.

 Its wings tremble in the sky, its claws and fangs are blades that cut through everything.
 The proof of absolute strength, capable of killing a man with a single tail.

It's not the same as that time, though. ...... Let's call it a revenge match in a different form.

《Ars Nova Lv90, Giant Dragon of Wave Motion》

 Once again, we meet the dragon with the blue shell.
 A desperate raid battle with only 15 players was about to begin.

We will now begin the battle to destroy the Apostles.