As thunder echoes and heavy rain descends upon Iskia Village, so too does a large army of monsters.
The one swinging an enormous metal rod around at the village’s west gate is Gustav, who leads the forces fighting to defend it.
The manifestation of the divine protection of the『Scorching Ogre King – Agni Aura*』has caused his pure-red body to be surrounded by a brightly-burning fiery aura and become even redder.
With a truly Ogre-like expression, he faces the enemy that is coming directly towards him – a Dortoth with an armed Orc riding it.
The ferocious Dortoth’s huge body resembles a mixture of an elephant and boar, and its most powerful attack is a direct charge. As this attack is about to land on Gustav –
「– Break Impact!」
A full, home-run swing catches the Dortoth’s head.
The fire element is added to the blow due to the overflowing scorching aura. The impact of the blow and the resulting fiery explosion blow the monster away despite its enormous size and tremendous weight.
The Orc riding it is thrown into the air, and unable to brace himself for a landing, drops head-first into the ground. His neck bends in a direction that it most certainly shouldn’t.
The corpse of the Dortoth, whose head has been completely obliterated, flies several dozen meters into the air, but its journey comes to a halt. It crashes onto the ground, crushing the Slimes and Goblins underneath.
「This is bad, real bad...」
Gustav begins complaining.
He has managed to prevent the Dortoth’s battering-ram-like charge from connecting with the village’s gate that has been tightly shut.
This is the fourth time that he has managed to do so since this battle began.
The large, faint shadow appearing on the other side of the curtain of heavy rain clearly tells him that the fifth charge attempt is imminent.
「S’pose I’m reachin’ my limit...」
As he glances sideways, he sees his reliable party members in the midst of a fierce battle.
「Nooo! Ganging up on me like this, you’re all planning to assault me, aren’t you?! Just like in those erotic novels!」
The one mowing down the hordes of Centaurs with a long poleaxe, while wearing a shocking pink suit of armor and helmet, is the Minotaur (♂) Douglalas. Also known as Lala.
While screaming in a manly bass voice a sentence that a young girl might cry when confronted by a group of rough-looking men, he utilizes the strength that all members of his race are blessed with to swing his axe in a remarkable fashion, butchering the enemies one after another.
「You want my body really badly, don’t you?! But you can’t have it, because even though I look like this, I’m the type of maiden to stay pure until I meet someone I love! URAAAAAAAH!」
Douglalas steps over the corpses of the Centaurs to deliver his deadly attacks to the huge Land Dragon approaching him.
His prided poleaxe has been improved over his long years as an adventurer using the raw materials from the monsters he defeated. In the moment he swings it, a dark gray aura surges from his body.
This is the proof that he has received a divine blessing from the『Trembling Raging Horned Bull – Bullbros.』
Its effect is vibration. The gray blade with a heart engraved into it lets out a sharp ring as it is swung.
Not only does the axe disintegrate the Land Dragon’s quadrupedal body into tiny pieces, it also pulverizes the ground in a radius of over a dozen meters. Of course, the bodies of the monsters unlucky enough to be standing in that area turn into a bloody mist as the high-frequency vibrations pass through them.
Douglalas has cleared the monsters in front of him with a single swing, but his body stiffens slightly following this all-out attack.
The Harpies flying through the rain haven’t missed this opportunity. Their harsh, piercing cries echo out as they descend upon him along with the incessant raindrops falling from the sky.
There are three of them. It seems they haven’t lost their ability to work together despite being controlled by the parasite; they show no signs of clumsiness such as crashing into each other in mid-air.
At the moment their sharp talons are about to assault Douglalas’s head, a whirlwind of steel appears.
Its origin is the Cyclops whose body is even larger than Douglalas’s. The battleaxes in his hands mow down the Harpies that are attempting a surprise attack on his companion.
Their richly-colored wings fall from the air along with bright-red splashes of blood.
「Ah, that was close.」
「Oh my, thank you, Gon-chan. I’ll have to thank you with a smooch later~」
「That’s not necessary.」
「Getting so shy, you still act like such a child!」
With incredible awkwardness, Gon averts his single large eye and charges into the group of monsters once more.
Perhaps because of his young age, he has not received a divine blessing yet. However, he is number one in the party when it comes to pure physical strength.
He swings the unrefined battleaxes that he is holding in both hands with abnormal strength, completely focused on cutting down the enemies before him. His dual-wielded battle-axes that push his strength to the limit blow through the battlefield like a whirlwind, piling up monster corpses around him.
「Those two’re fine, but the other one’s in trouble.」
Thanks to the powerful members of the『Iron Demon Brigade』displaying their strength as a Rank 5 party, the battle is proceeding well – or so it appears at first glance, but Gustav is all too aware that the frontlines will break down very soon.
It is the sheer number of enemies, the overwhelming difference in the military resources available. Even though the enemies mostly consist of Rank 1 monsters, with these numbers, even the Slimes alone pose a Rank-5-level threat.
The adventurers and vigilantes are truly fighting well.
But it’s not enough; they don’t have enough soldiers or manpower.
Each ally falling accelerates the rate at which the difference in military strength grows further apart.
For now, the Swordsmen and Warriors are still fighting, the Archers haven’t run out of arrows yet and the Mages’ spells are still potent.
However, within the next half hour, fatigue will set in and their attacks will grow weaker. By that time, their numbers will have decreased considerably.
When that happens, this tsunami of monsters will swallow the village whole.
If they wish to fall back, now is the time, but there is nowhere to run.
This west gate is not the only place where battle is occurring.
Iskia Village is already completely surrounded; even now, there are monsters climbing over the stone walls –
「Bad news! The east gate has been breached! Monsters are entering the village!」
It seems that Iskia Village’s defenses have crumbled.
「The Knights’ Order didn’t make it, huh...」
They should be close. But the half-day – no, few hours that the knights would take to arrive is time that they don’t have.
With this number of monsters, it won’t take even a single hour for every one of the ten thousand people in Iskia Village to be eaten alive.
Even with the monsters being controlled by the lightning parasites inside their heads, it makes no difference.
「– Head, small monsters such Goblins and Slimes have made their way inside.」
Gustav hears the robotic voice of Zedra, the Golem Archer that is firing arrows with Mythril arrowheads at the enemy.
As a Rank 5 party, each member is equipped with a magic item that allows telepathic communication.
However, the only one capable of relaying information effectively is Zedra; it’s not very useful on the Cyclops and Minotaur fighters who seem to have brains made of muscle tissue.
「We’re not moving any men from here! We’ll leave the defense inside the village to the “backup soldiers”!」
“Backup soldiers” sounds promising, but in reality, they are made up of young boys with no experience in battle and old men whose strength has long since declined.
Of course, there was no way these men could be sent to the frontlines; Gustav had no intention of doing so, but in this situation, there is no choice but to have them fight.
「Don’t worry about the Rank 1 – no, even up to Rank 2 monsters, just make sure to stop the really big ones from gettin’ inside!」
Even if it were to turn into a bloody battle on the village’s streets, they have no choice but to fight as hard as they can.
If they can delay just a little longer until the Knights’ Order arrives, they should be able to save at least half the village.
It is already certain that there will be heavy losses. However, they must do everything they can to save as many lives as possible.
「Even though I say that... We’re reachin’ our limits here as well.」
The west gate that faces the Dungeon is where most of the monsters are coming from, and where the battle is the fiercest.
Although all the members of the『Iron Demon Brigade』have gathered here, they have their limits.
Their strength should be praised for managing to hold the village with its weak defensive equipment up until now.
However, Gustav can’t help but to think… If there were one more Rank 5 adventurer party here, they might be able to turn the tides and force the monster army back.
「Hah, am I a fool or what! Ain’t no way something so convenient could happen.」
The only thing adventurers have is the harsh reality that life and death come hand in hand.
「It’s the Salamander! The Salamander is here!」
Indeed, the worst news arrives with the worst timing.
Gustav looks up to see the unmistakable crimson body of the creature that can be recognized at first glance.
With the rain beating against its powerful wings, it begins a nose dive, flames curling around its tongue as if it might unleash its crimson breath at any moment.
If this attack isn’t stopped, it is possible that it will break down the frontlines – as this prediction flashes through his mind, Gustav shouts a command.
「Zedra! Stop it, even if it’s just for three seconds!」
He will do something about it during those three seconds.
With the scorching divine blessing surrounding Gustav’s body, he would be able to block the fire directly using his own body. He might even be able to make it through the Salamander’s breath to land a blow on its head.
Either way, if the Salamander comes close to the ground to deliver a rain of fire at point-blank range, he will need to stop it.
And so Gustav believes. He believes that the Rank 5 Archer Zedra, with his unparalleled accuracy, will create an opening for him.
「– There is no need for that. Please fall back immediately.」
However, the voice that he heard over the communication device is not the usual「Roger」, but the lovely sound of a young woman’s voice.
Who is that? And more importantly, what is happening?
This is a situation where every second is precious, but Gustav spares a moment to glance back at the tower on which Zedra should be pulling back the string of his bow.
He sees an enormous, glowing, golden fireball.
The pouring rain is evaporating from its surface; he can see the water vapor rising from it even at this distance. Or rather, the air above the fireball appears to be distorted.
In the rain, this object that is emitting incredible amounts of heat and light resembles a radiant sun.
And the one who created it, standing directly beneath the golden sunlight streaming down, is a witch dressed in black with her staff raised high in the air.
「Everyone, this is quite dangerous, so fall back please.」
The witch’s voice is but a whisper; the fact that it echoes across the entire battlefield is likely due to magical amplification.
At this moment, everyone on the battlefield has no choice but to acknowledge and obey this order to retreat.
There is not a single person here who does not realise that this fireball is about to be launched.
Giving an order that sounds like a scream, Gustav makes his own retreat back towards the gate.
As the fighters at the frontlines begin to scatter like spiders –
「–『Golden Sun – Aur Soleil.』」
The witch throws the sun.