Biggest thanks for Ace-Triad helping me with SPAG edit. Also thanks to Angel Wraith for reading my rough draft and provide important feedbacks.
My chief editor Ace-Triad is currently involved with Radiant Force, a fan made original anime/comic/webnovel/audiobook series, which to my best (and admittedly very limited) understanding is a story about four neo-colored anime looking superheroines. You can check the project in deviantart . c 0 m/ radiantforcehq if this sounds interesting to you.
More author note at the end for people who are interested to see me blabber some more.
The shivs quickly pull the companions of the Shield Hero away from the windows and down onto the ground. One of the taller shivs dives over to where the Bitch Lord now lays motionless, and starts binding the bandit's arms and legs.
Their small size doesn't give them any difficulties for their tasks, not even with giants like Yatsuhashi, or Farkas. It seems like the Whip Hero wasn't full of himself when he bragged about the strength of his retinue, the shivs are clearly in mid-prestige level range at the very least to handle Farkas so easily.
"When did we crossover from off brand Dragon Quest to Call of Duty, to a Godzilla movie?" Naofumi's pupil is dilated, his eyeballs threaten to fall out of their sockets. He pops more nonsense out of his mouth despite fighting against his rapid breath.
This is the first time Mein sees her Naofumi completely panicking in front of a threat before engagement. Granted, a thunder lizard the size of a small mountain is nothing to sneer at. But it still shouldn't be as powerful as the outsider demi-god the Life Root almost became.
Then again, they don't have a small army, an earth conjurer strong enough to summon a mud golem the size of a castle, or another summoned hero backing them up this time. All they have is a full party of infiltration experts sent to them by the prince of Faubley. An alliance that's highly suspectable.
Speaking of which...
"Rico?" Tanya looks over to the shiv who is currently running her hands over her scoped long musket.
Rico puts her eyes down to the scope and levels her gun out of the window. She gives a nod and thumb up to Tanya. "Still good."
Tanya nods back to her subordinate. "Status of the enemy?"
"Its head is diving down and... I can see a pair of legs between its teeth?" The voice of the shiv became slightly more... distressed isn't the right way to describe it. But she no longer sounds as neutral and professional as she did before. "Looks like It just took a huge bite out of the fleeing bandits."
Chapter 52: God Awful Zilla
Naofumi's face is slowly turning green at Rico's mention. "Call of Duty beats Dragon Quest, and Godzilla beats Call of Duty! Even that shitty American Godzilla can tank multiple missiles in her face... We are fucked... we are so fucked! Game Over!"
Something tells Mein there is more at play than face value with the fear her Naofumi is displaying.
She doesn't know how he acted against the Life Root before she arrived with Claes' men, but the Shield Hero hold himself well during the fight. A giant size monster on the other hand, while usually a prestige level threat, still can't compare to that overgrown weed one-step away from ascending into earthbound demi-godhood. Yet, her Naofumi is close to a complete mental breakdown without even facing the giant thunder lizard.
"Quiet, fool!" Farkas flips himself over the Shield Hero and crouches near the window. He turns his nose up at Rico. "What's it doing now?"
"It's standing still and looking around." The shiv's eyes never left her scope.
"Let me see it." Rico moves her head away while holding her long musket still for Farkas. The werewolf leans over, tongues clicking. "It's hungry after it woke up... trying to sniff out its next meal."
"Meaning... us?" Naofumi's eyes quickly fly up in alert to look at the wolf man.
"We aren't a meal to something that size. It'll have to eat an entire nest of grown gutter beaks, or a full town of men." Farkas moves away and shakes his head. "We'll be okay so long as we stay out of its sight. It won't bother wasting time on us."
"That's a relief. I don't ever want to fight Godzilla. Even that crappy Hollywood one..." Naofumi lets out a sigh of relief. His relaxed feature freezes up again with sudden realization. "Where is Firo, Gaston and his bird?"
The body of Farkas also tensed up like the shield hero, while Kyubey gave his account. "We left them in the courtyard to deal with the bandits."
"Damned egg layer!" Farkas shoots out of the now utterly ruined master's bedroom faster than the shiv's bullets. He even knocks Éclair onto her rump with one of his flailing arms during his turning. He's not the only one, as both Kyubey and Yatsuhashi turn around towards the door. Éclair also flips and jumps up to her feet.
Of course! That chief god damned gluttonous devil bird is going to be the death of them all! Mein tries to push herself upright, but loses her footing and falls back onto the castle wall once again.
Yatsuhashi sees her trip and steps over. He easily picks up the princess as if plucking out a baby bird and throws her onto his back. "Hold on tight, my lady."
"What's going on here? What's the hurry? Shouldn't we be hiding?" Naofumi looks around, completely clueless on why everyone is suddenly agitated.
"Your filorial, Sir Shield Hero." The knight swore, but not at the werewolf. "Filorials are natural enemies of all dragonkind, including subspecies like thunder lizards. They might suicide charge at that thing out of instinct."
The princess can't see the face of her Naofumi with this revelation. The man she is riding on has already bolted down the flight of stairs after Farkas. She feels something rattle and shake around her leather armor, poking at her no doubt bruised torso. She wants to reach a hand inside to toss away whatever nuisance that's irritating her, but she doesn't want to lose her grip and roll down the stairs.
As the sworn shield flies down the stairs two or three steps at a time, the princess can hear the sound of boots rapidly clicking against stone behind her. It's clear that everyone has the same idea: Stop the filorials' instinctual charge that'll no doubt draw the gigantic lizard's attention toward them. Failing that... well, maybe they can somehow outrun and hide from the wingless dragon?
A thunder lizard's size keeps growing as they live longer and longer until the area can no longer sustain its appetite. And the one outside is practically ancient judging by its height. But it's intelligence is something that won't develop naturally, and it'd be barely smarter than a common beast. Breaking sight and hiding should be a viable option for them.
The princess loses the sense of time again between her still lingering dizziness and Yatsuhashi's dash. After what feels like countless stone stairs, and corridors. She hears the sound of struggle, and Gaston's muted yell before she even sees a silhouette amongst torchlight casted shadows. "Down! Damn you blasted bird, DOWN!"
Mein peeks over the shoulder of the large tribesman while he rounds a corner. Ahead of them in the courtyard, two boulder sized bundles of fluff are pushing at each other, neither giving any ground to the other. The Lute hunter is pulling back the reign of one of them, his body leaning back in a desperate struggle against someone both stronger and heavier than him.
"Shut it! Feral bird!" Farkas leaps into the air as soon as he clears the entrance. The beastman soars over Gaston's head more like a roc than a wolf and lands his knees on Firo's back, forcing the bird to heel. The garden breed screeches on top of her lungs, as she struggles to free herself from both the werewolf, and her darker feathered counterpart.
Yatsuhashi drops Mein at the foot of the ruined fort and joins the struggle. The princess notices how the broken remains of a wooden door lie not too far from where she's slumped against the wall. She reaches a hand inside her leather armor, feeling the cracked edge of shards against her glove. The princess turned adventurer takes a small piece out, and looks at the black, obsidian-like material the size of a tooth.
So that was how she survived her first encounter against a Raven Lord. Gaelion's scales that lined up underneath her leather cuirass is now shattered and useless, and she needs to find another blacksmith to replace them. But it was still hardy enough to protect her from the worst damage caused by Moontalon.
Naofumi, and the rest of his party and the shivs pour out of the Rabier Keep like a flood. The Shield Hero runs over, and jams his stone shield into the snapping beak of Firo to stop her from pecking Wolfgang. "Bad Firo! Bad girl! Stop struggling!"
They were lucky that at least one of the two overgrown birds was sensible, and actually tried to help his master contain the feral one instead of joining her suicide charge. It was clear that Gaston would not have been able to stop them, if both filorials went out and tried to fight the giant thunder lizard.
As for the other bird... Mein gives a quick glance to Firo, noticing her eyes has turned so red, they are practically glowing. It's clear despite her (below average) domestication, the wild instinct of the gluttonous devil bird has completely taken over.
The two shivs who still wear Éclair and Mein's traveling cloak briskly trots over the motionless bodies of the dead bandits. They run over to the side of the fort, and push a wooden wagon over while Naofumi calms down his aggressive bird.
The quality, and steadiness of the wagon acquired by Towair can't compare to the ironwood one they left in Flute. It might break down in the middle of the road if one of their filorial drag is at their full speed. But they can always get another transportation, or simply continue on foot as soon as they get away from the hungry thunder lizard.
"Get your bird saddled with that wagon, hunter. We are leaving." Tanya pulls down her face mask and slaps down her goggles, she whips around to look up at their overwatch. "Rico, keep an eye on the target."
The aforementioned shiv fires her grapple gun up the gate wall and climbs up, probably trying to get a better view on the giant lizard while everyone prepares their escape attempt.
"Yeah, not fighting Godzilla is good." Naofumi nods his head along as he taps and rubs Firo's cheek with his free hand. His action is only moderately successful, as the red eyed big bird is still violently thrashing around underneath the Shield Hero, his sworn shield and the prestige leveled wolf man.
It'll obviously cause problems if they leave behind a gigantic monster roaming the countryside. But Rabier County is already lost to bandits anyway, they can all be eaten as far as the princess is concerned. The damn thunder lizard can be someone else's problem, and for once the Shield Hero actually seems to agree with her.
"Crazy things happen around you, Shield Boy. Anyone told you that?" Gaston leads his filorial over to the empty wagon. The hunter quickly fixes Wolfgang's reign around a wooden beam, fixing the vehicle around his bird. "Ready when you are."
"I'll be ready here... as soon as I- calm down Firo! DAMN!" Without the equally large and weighty bird holding Firo down, the Shield Hero is nearly bucked flying off the bird. His blue chromezoid helmet tossed off his head and rolled around the weed till it hit one of the dead demi-human.
"Leave her!" Tanya throws the unconscious Bitch Lord over onto the wagon together with the Seatto knight. The other shivs toss around the dead bodies of the bandit, clearing the way in front of their wagon. "No sense to risk the whole team with one pet filorial gone feral."
"NO! I'm not leaving the chocobo I raised since egg to die!" The Shield Hero renews his effort as he clamps down on his bird harder, pinning his entire body down on Firo's head. "Come on, Firo! Stop rolling around the floor and screaming!"
"The - the familiar seal! Master Naofumi!" The princess turned adventurer can almost feel her throat crack. Her voice sounds like a broken bellow. "Use the punishment penalty of the familiar seal! It should shake her out of her bloodlust!"
The Shield Hero rises his head up to look at Mein, eyes wide open. It's clear he is still against the idea despite the almost life and death situation.
"It causes pain, not damage! We'll hurt Firo more if one of us hit her!" The princess grabs the water skin Raphtalia hands her and takes a quick mouthful. She nearly chokes herself, and has to fight against a wave of cough. "That, or leave her to die!"
"Fine. Firo, FIRO! I'M SORRY!" Naofumi buries his face into Firo's feathers as he presses his left hand on his Shield. A brilliant glow flashes beneath the giant bird, followed by her piercing shriek. The princess is almost certain that even the thunder lizard heard her, and they have to ran fast. On the other hand, Firo blinks her no longer red and glowing eyes. She cocks her head sideways, lets out a soft chirp and nibbles at Naofumi's hair.
That's when the ground started to shake. Not enough to send everyone sprawling around, but the tremor can still be felt underneath their bodies.
"Go, go, GO!" Tanya runs over to Mein and Raphtalia. The shiv leader effortlessly pries the raccoon demi-human off the princess, and tosses Raphtalia over at the wooden wagon. Mein only catches a glimpse of another shiv catching the former child before she herself goes air born. Another pair of arms catches her, and throws her into the wagon on top of the Bitch Lord and Raphtalia. "RICO! The target!?"
"Target moving EAST, away from us." A voices comes down from the gate wall. Thankfully, the answer didn't confirm Mein's worst fear. "We are clear for evacuation."
"East? Why is it going east?" Naofumi climbs into the wagon together with Éclair.
Mein crawls back to give the rest of the party more room. Privately, she doesn't care if Lord Malfoy's emissary parade is still making their journey across Ascart County. As long as they are drawing the thunder lizard away from them... she'll spare a prayer to the Chief God for the less fortunate.
"Must be the border patrol and defense of Ascart County. Samphor is due east from us." Gaston climbs onto the carriage driver's seat on the opposite side with Kyubey again.
"Samphor... isn't that the town Mein came from?!" The princess has to pause for a few seconds before she understands where the Shield Hero is going with his thoughts. "We have to at least warn them!"
DAMNATIONS! Of all the times her fake identity caused her troubles, it had to push her in front of a starving oversized lizard the size of a small mountain!
"What are you getting at, Shield boy? Are you crazy?!" Gaston turns around, his single good eye threatening to fall out of its socket. "You can't mean we go towards that blasted lizard! We barely survived that overgrown weed back in Balafon, and that's when you had another hero and a small army backing us!"
"I agree with Mr. Gaston, my thane." Naofumi's sworn shield clamps one large hand on the hero's shoulder. "We just stopped Firo charging to her death. There's no sense for us to do the same thing, especially after we just rescued you from the clutches of the Ravens."
"Look, I'm scared. Okay? But that hungry kaiju is in front of us, going after a lot of innocent people. We can't just turn around and run, not even giving them a warning!" The Shield Hero waves his arms around, the fear he showed beforehand no longer present. "I'm a hero, protecting people is supposed to be my job!"
"Lord Shield Hero, I implore you to use caution." Tanya also adds in her opinions. To Mein's relief, the Shiltfreeden agent is unexpectedly useful. "You don't seem to realize your own importance. As one of the only four Cardinal Heroes, you are too valuable an asset to lose to some random monster outside a Wave."
"What kind of hero would I be, if I turned my back to innocent people needing help?" Naofumi turns his head around, practically spitting out words again. "All of you are around Farkas' level! Can't we take off brand Godzilla if we work together?"
"Our training is anti-personnel. We can be effective against a large horde of low level monsters, but against a single high leveled Leviathan class monster, we are effectively useless. Especially with our current load out." Tanya holds her repeater musket up and makes a click with it. "Your resolve is aspiring, but you simply lack assets to contain this current threat. And if you throw your life away here, more people will suffer from Waves of Catastrophe in future."
"I made a promise to myself that I won't take another easy way out again... Two of my companions already lost their homes to the first wave. And now the home of my partner is threatened. I can't just run away!" As he looks at the princess pretending to be a commoner from Samphor. "Isn't it right, Mein?!"
"Yeah... I mean... obviously I don't want my home destroyed and people eaten." The princess looks away from the expectant eyes of the Shield Hero. Not wanting to see any hurt or betrayal that'll obviously be in his eyes. "But you are one of the four summoned heroes, Master Naofumi. Your survival is more important than my home town... more than you know..."
"Traitor!" Éclair's yelp suddenly booms inside the wagon, for a brief moment the princess wonders if the knight is angry at her. But the last Seatto tackles Tanya into a bundle of limbs instead. The dishonored knight claws and grabs after the shiv's wrist, trying to pry her hand open. With a clank, a device that looks like a vial with a needle on one end, and a press on the other drops onto the wooden plank. "You won't harm Shield Hero!"
Injectors, the first princess of Melromarc faintly remembers this device being covered in one of her classes about Faubley. It's supposedly a new device created to help ingest potion into one's body faster, and more effective than pouring down the mouth. That... or bypassing one's armor and injecting them with... poison.
"You want to poison my thane, you rats!?" It only takes a blink of an eye before the previously cordial group to draw weapons up, daggers on one side and shivs on the other.
"Shield Hero! Come back!" A loud bird quacks, and Kyubey's voice breaks the standoff between the Shield Hero and Whip Hero's retinue. Mein turns her head around, realizing that her Naofumi is no longer with them during the commotion between Éclair and Tanya's scrabble.
"You guys go ahead, I'll follow Godzilla and warn Samphor's people! Don't worry! I'll be back!" Outside the fabric of the wagon's walls and ceiling, Naofumi's voice quickly grows distant together with the fast steps of a filorial.
"YOU IDIOT!" Tanya kicks Éclair away from her hard enough to crack one of the wagon's wooden support beams. "It's a sleeping potion! I was trying to put the Shield Hero to sleep to protect him! And now he's gone after that thunder lizard thanks to you!"
"Oh." Comes the eloquent response from the Seatto heiress.
"Damn boy! He's going to be my death!" Farkas barks at the still paralyzed Lute hunter. "What are you waiting for! After him!"
"Right! Giddy-up!" The wagon lurches forward with a thud on the ceiling, making the princess tumble into the bound body of the Bitch Lord. For a moment, she sees both stars and moon in her eyes again when her forehead collides with a steel plate, the monster fur padding outside only helps a little.
Mein nurses the bump on her head with one hand, feeling someone flipping her upright again. It takes her a few more moments to recognize Raphtalia's fully grown features. If she's going to fight for her life against a gigantic monster, she'll need to make preparations... and be useful within the fight. "Raphtalia, give me three vials of healing potion, two vials of pain relief."
Normally, it's risky to take too much extra pain relief potion, on account of them stopping open wounds from healing. But it'll help her ignore the previous wound suffered against Towair. As long as she can stand and cast spells, it'll be enough. It's not like she's going to run around swinging her broken sword against that thunder lizard anyway.
"Ri-right!" The raccoon girl fumbles her hand with the supply, almost dropping one of the potions till she finally manages to push the mouth of the potion bottles into Mein's mouth. The poor girl clearly isn't used to her now suddenly grown body. At least as long as she's lobbing the payload of her sling towards the enemy's general location, there's no way she can miss hitting against the broad side of a barn.
"RICO! What's the situation!" Tanya screams on top of her lung, isn't the one she's calling at still on the gate wall of the ruined Rabier keep?
"Shield Hero isn't slowing down... estimated contact with target, five minutes!" A voice comes from the ceiling of their rocking cart. The princess belatedly realizing the thud she heard earlier was the shiv jumping on top of their wagon. "Permission to fire at target?"
"Weapons hot, shivs. Fire at will!" Tanya takes off a long box from her repeater musket and slams in a new one with a clanking sound. Around the wagon, the rest of the shivs do the same. A loud popping sound can be heard atop their wagon, probably coming from Rico firing her long musket. "Target damage?"
"Negative, it didn't slow down or pay attention. I think my bullet bounced off its scales." Rico's response makes the princess worn under her breath. She didn't have high hopes for the shiv's fancy Faubley firearms to have much effect against a gigantic monster to begin with. But to hear it did nothing is still a withering thought.
Tanya stays silent for a moment, she reaches down and pulls a blade up from her leg and fix it underneath the barrel of her gun. "Rico, trade weapons with the hunter. Everyone else, prepare a bayonet."
Mein has to give more credit to the shiv leader. Her knowledge of Faubley musketeers is extremely flimsy, considering all of them come from her classes. Secondary account with various degrees of inaccuracy or exaggerations at best. But from the story, not a lot of gunners have the courage to willingly give up their range advantage and engage in close quarters bayonet fighting.
That was how Lord Isshin of Siltvelt destroyed Faubley's army and saved Siltvelt at the end of the Great War. He dug in his troops behind the fortification instead of meeting them in open combat like Lord Mufasa. When the Faubley troops grow cocky and complacent with their victories against Siltvelt, he ordered his shinobi to infiltrate the Faubley camp under the cover of the night, blew up all of their ammunition reserves, and had his army raided the confused and reeling Faubley army.
Out of ammunition and utterly demoralized by the remnant of Isshin's Q'ten Lo legion that seems to come out of every waving shadow, most of the Faubley army end up trampling over each other in an effort to run away from the demons of the night.
Martial disasters on Faubley's side aside, bayonet combat is one way to have a firearm scale with its user's attack rating. Since it effectively turns a gun into a much more unwieldy spear, where the damage is delivered with a pair of good old hands and not over complex firing mechanism.
But as a fire mage, there is something Mein can help. She slowly turns around to look at Gaston in the front. "Toss me your bow and arrows first, Gaston. I'll imbue it with [Fire Aura]."
Gaston is still busy controlling their rumbling wagon forward, Kyubey tosses his weapon back into Mein's laps. The princess crosses her legs and shuts her eyes to grant her slightly better concentration even as their cart waves like a boat in a storm. "As the source of thy power, I order thee. Decipher the laws of nature, into my blade, come burning sun, giving fleeting aid unto this dweller on the earth."
A tiny ember of her inner flame breaks apart, travels down her arm and breathes itself into Gaston's bow and arrows. Mein opens her eyes, and sees how the unremarkable looking hunter's weapon is now coated in a shimmering layer of crimson and orange.
"Imbue Fulcrum too, Lady Mein." After Kyubey takes Gaston's weapon away and hands them to a pair of arms reaching down above, Yatsuhashi edges over to her and lays his two-handed great sword into her laps.
"Keep them coming." The princess closes her eyes, and enchants the weapons of her fellowship again and again. She imbues more and more weapons, chucking mana potion as she needs. Mein can both feel and hear people leaving the confinement of the wooden wagon around her, obviously departed to support the Shield Hero in his not thought out charge. She doesn't stop, even after a deafening roar almost knocked their wagon over.
When she finished all the weapons by her account, she notices Tanya leaning over her. "Cast on our weapons too."
"Your bayonet? Take them off first." Mein reaches her hand up and tries to pull the blade off its fixture. "Don't want to blow up your fancy guns by accident."
Tanya slaps her hand away. "No, the whole gun."
"Did Shield Hero's insanity affect you!?" The princess clenches her mouth shut after blurting out the first thing on her mind.
The more complex the mechanism for a weapon, the less stats scaling it has to offer for its user. Since unlike something simple like a spear, the instrument is the one delivering the payload. This is why something as large as ballista, catapult, and trebuchet, as small as a crossbow all have zero stats scaling despite their much higher flat attack boost compared to a simple weapon like sling, or bow.
But unlike the aforementioned weapons, guns and canons that feed gunpowder have an additional handicap when safety is concerned: gunpowder explodes!
This is why they can't be, or rather, shouldn't be imbued by magical effect no matter it's a permanent enchantment, or a temporary spell: The magical reaction when an enchantment array or spell active have chances to ignite the gunpowder, and have the weapon explode in its user's faces. And out of all possible enchantment, a fire spell is the most dangerous since creating fire is its intended effect.
"The bullet and magazines designed by the Hammer Hero have better magic protection." Mein simply glares up into Tanya's eyes, despite her reassurance. "JUST DO IT! Better to catch a face full of shrapnel than chomped down, swallowed and digested by an overgrown lizard!"
What's she hesitating about anyways... it's not like the whip boy's henchmen had her Naofumi's best interest at heart anyway.
"Don't blame me if you get disfigured or worse." Mein bites down on her lips. She grabs Tanya's gun and sets it down on her lapse and imbues it with [Fire Aura], the rest of the shiv's muskets and blunderbuss follow. She follows them out of the wagon, into the heated battle field before her.
The forest around the giant thunder lizard is completely leveled. It stomps its foot at the companions of the Shield Hero, as they hacks and kicks at its toes, lower stomach and tail. Anyone who found themselves the target of the gigantic monster quickly dived out of the way, instead of foolishly standing their ground and trying to block the giant monster.
Away from them, Rico and Raphtalia shoot arrows, and lob fire pellets at the monster. Orange flowers of burning hot plasma bloom on the scale of the giant lizard, but don't seem to cause much damage aside from painting its skin a darker color.
In addition to its size, the thickness and durability of a thunder lizard's scales and hide is also something that increases as they age.
"Shivs, spread out and lay down suppressive fire!" Tanya and the rest of her party move forward and level their guns. Five barrels boom at the large monster, adding their own payload to Rico and Raphtalia. More explosions pelt the monster's scaled skin, adding more patches to darkened scales caked by fire and soot.
The gigantic monster still isn't hurt by their combined fire power. Although it does look annoyed at them as it lets out another thunderous roar. The tremor alone is enough to knock Mein off her feet once again.
"KYUE!" Firo jumps high into the air. For a second, the gluttonous devil bird looks like it is in pain as its body seems to squeeze or crunch into itself. Then, she spreads her wings and raises its head. What looks like a glowing energy pellet the shape of flower petals flies away like a vortex, blowing up on the wingless dragon and further obscures its vision. The giant lizard still doesn't look hurt, but it does close its eyes and cringes its head back. It's hard to know if it's trying to protect its softer eyeballs, or simply dazed by the light show.
"Chance!" Naofumi twists his shield towards the giant lizard's head. "[Variable Shield Prison]."
Unlike his usual [Shield Prison], emerald colored ethereal shields didn't sprout out from earth. It seems to shimmer into existence around the thunder lizard's neck, and grow towards its snot. A new, upgraded version of his old skill unlocked either with a new shield, or mastery of the lower weapon art, perhaps?
"[Shield Change], [Five Stars Geo Shield]." The Shield isn't finished yet as he twists his shield around. All of sudden, the green ethereal shield that simply turns the monster's eyes green becomes a thick case of mixed, solid stone mask. It tips over left and right, struggling to stand upright with its sudden vision loss and the extra weight around its head. "NOW! Hit it with EVERYTHING!"
Farkas, Yatsuhashi and Wolfgang all charges at the monster's left foot. The werewolf and the bird simply ram their mouth mounted greatsword, and body into its ankle. The remnant of Miyamoto clansman has slightly more finesse despite his weapon of choice. His body seems to split out two additional shaded mirages, as all three of his curved greatswords slam down with a silver streak. "[Triple Crescent]!"
"KYUE!" Firo screeches again as she dives down towards the thunder lizard and drops onto its feet with a belly flop, kicking up a cloud of dust and debris. The monster finally loses its footing, tips over, and crushes down on earth harder than the vine of Life Root.
"Target down! Initiate bayonet charge!" The shivs wordlessly flows forward like a wave at Tanya's command, trying to get some damage in while the gigantic monster is unable to defend itself.
The Shield Hero looks back and notices the raccoon girl. He runs back towards her while waving his hand. "Raphtalia! Get back, it's too dangerous for you!"
"NO! I can fight now!" Raphtalia lobs another fire pellet into the distance. "I'm a grown up now!"
"No, you are not! You are a child in an adult body you aren't used to!" Naofumi runs over and squeezes his hand around Raphtalia's sling, trying to rip it out of her hand. "You can fight later when you get more practice. Leave this fight to us now-"
"No! NONONONO, NO!" Raphtalia pulls her sling away hard enough to make Naofumi stumble on his feet. Considering how well behaving she usually was, the Shield Hero is clearly startled by this sudden violent and rebellious behavior.
It reminds Mein of Raphtalia's sudden emotional outburst the morning after them delved into the Lost Laboratory dungeon outside Balafon.
"I was useless when my parents died! I was useless when my best friend died! I don't want to be useless ever again, and have all of you die too! You are the only family I have left!" The newly grown raccoon demi-human stomps her feet, tears flowing down her eyes like a river while sniffing her nose. She suddenly seems to realize what she's doing, as Raphtalia presses her free hand over her wide open mouth. "I'm sorry, Master Naofumi. It's... it's hard. I can't control myself when I'm big."
"Shhh... it's okay. You don't have to apologize." Naofumi pats one hand on Raphtalia's shoulder, while running another hand down her back. "It's your sudden adult hormones, nothing's wrong with you. But you'll need time to get used to it and control your emotions. That's why I want you away from fighting now. I don't want you to make a bad decision and get yourself hurt because of your hormones. The Bitch Lord is still in the wagon, right? Go look after our prisoner. We'll... we still have to bring her to justice after this is done."
Raphtalia's fingers slowly go slack around the string of her sling, letting the weapon fall onto the ground. Good thing it isn't loaded with another fire pellet, or else she'd give herself a scare and probably a minor burn on her shin. She slowly nods her head, and turns around to make her way towards the wagon. In control of her emotions or not, Raphtalia is a good and proper girl who listens to her parents. Unlike a certain trouble making bird.
Mein crawls back up to her feet again, and half hop, half limp her way over to the Shield Hero. She no longer feels any pain in her body thanks to the pain relief potions, but her body still isn't moving right. "That was bold... and dumb of you, Master Naofumi."
"I did only want to follow off-brand Godzilla from a distance, and warn the people of Samphor if it comes near." To his small credit, the Shield Hero looks away from her in shame. "But Firo..."
"She already lost control once, you should have expected this." Mein interrupts Naofumi's aggrieved rambling. "But we can play the blame game after we survive, let's find a way to kill... or incapacitate this fat lizard first."
"Good plan." Naofumi nods his head. "I'll try to summon another [Shield Prison] and seal it in."
"Better do it fast then." Mein walks away from the Shield Hero and starts tossing fireballs at the thunder lizard in the distance. Even under the furious assault of everyone, it's still trying to crawl back up. The stone 'mask' Naofumi encased around its head was already cracked and crumbling. "Keep it down! Shield Hero is trying to seal it back!"
A task obviously easier said than done, but nobody complains considering everyone's survival depends on it. The companions of the Shield Hero, and the Shivs all focus on hacking at the lizard's feet, trying to stop it from standing back up even as large emerald ethereal shields rise up from the ground like walls around them.
Yatsuhashi holds his sword in a reverse grip and jumps up, pointing Fulcrum like a fang falling towards the thunder lizard's feet. Farkas leaps backwards with his back against the same ankle, and suddenly spins on his heels to twist his mouth mounting a great sword into a horizontal spin cut at point of contact.
Mein isn't someone who masters greatsword, but she can still recognize [Reverse Wind], one of the top tier damaging greatsword art. Considering the required speed to pull it off, it's hard enough not to trip over one's own feet when holding a greatsword normally with two hands. The werewolf was able to use it while biting down on his sword with his mouth... It's nothing short of a miracle in itself.
The sworn shield's [Earth Rupture], and the former gladiator's [Reverse Wind] both hit their mark at the same time. Two top tier great sword weapon arts assaulting on the same foot on two opposite axes finally manages to crack scales and draw blood out of the giant monster. It loses its footing on its wounded leg again, unable to step out of the trap set up by Naofumi. His companions, and the Shiltfreeden shivs quickly back away between the incomplete [Shield Prison] before they are trapped together with the thunder lizard. Firo has to be half pushed, half dragged outside by the others.
"[Shield Change], [Five Stars Geo Shield]." Naofumi twists his shield again, forming a literal mountain around the giant monster to seal it inside. The Shield Hero falls down on his knees, clearly spending all his energy for the impromptu sealing ability.
Despite only being level 35... and has less Attack rating than an average and untrained commoner teen, her Naofumi just shown the strength of a summoned Hero and why they are needed for Wave of Catastrophe. Using a combination of his shield and hero abilities, he just accomplished a feat that a full party of Earth Wizards twice his level are hard pressed to manage.
The Shield Hero reaches towards his shield, pulls out a mana and a stamina potion, pops open their stopper and downs both into his mouth in one go. "That should hold it for a while, as long as it doesn't have atomic breath..."
The stone wall suddenly starts rumble and shaking, before a crack starts to grow out from the ground and climb upwards like a snake. With a loud roar, the mountain breaks apart as the oversized lizard charges forward out of its prison, shaking the earth with its booming steps.
"Move!" The princess feels her arm being dragged by Naofumi as she limps after him, trying to run out of the way of the monster's unstoppable rampage.
She only manages a few steps before tripping over her feet and falls down on the ground.
"NO!" The Shield Hero turns back and throws himself on top of her, even as the looming shadow of the monster's large foot starts to fall down on them. The young hero holds his shield over their head upwards. "[Air Strike Shield], [Shield Change], [Five Star Geo Shield]!"
Multi-layered stone slabs practically spawn into existence over their body, covering both the princess and the summoned hero under a dome of protective earth. Mein certainly didn't expect her Naofumi to be able to mimic the effect of a defensive earth spell with a combination of his weapon arts.
Their comparative thin layer of protection quakes, cracks and shatters on top of them, pelting them both with a hail of stone shards. Mein turns her head sideways and shuts her eyelid tight. She can feel Naofumi squeezing down on her tight, no doubt shielding most of her with his own body.
Despite her fear of being imminently crushed to death, the worst threat is clearly over. The princess tentatively opens her eyes, seeing dim moonlight shines down on them instead of an all consuming darkness underneath a giant foot. The Shield Hero's emergency gambit saved them from being flattened by the thunder lizard.
"*Cough, cough*, are you okay, Mein?" The Shield Hero's face is darkened by dust and ash, a thin layer of the dirt trickles down his armor as he slowly edges away from the princess.
Mein doesn't feel any better than the Shield Hero looks. If she has a mirror, she is probably covered by grime and soil just like her Naofumi. But still in the land of living is something to be grateful for. "I'll live, Master Naofumi."
She feels the Shield Hero's body tense on top of her. The princess tries to wiggle out of her Naofumi a couple of times first. Failing that, she turns her head to look the best she can. A short distance away from them, a pile of smashed wood lies. Not like the broken, or overturned trees around them, but splintered and broken wooden boards with torn fabric between them.
The carriage her Naofumi told Raphtalia to hide in has been destroyed by the rampaging thunder lizard.
Once again, that escalated quickly.
Not going to lie, this chapter was probably the most pain in the ass chapter I written so far (aside form my difficulties with getting Raphtalia's tone right in her interlude), because I was very undecided in how this chapter would progress. At one stage, I toyed around the idea of this being a fast speed chase battle where Firo actually did brought God Awful Zilla's attention on the main cast, and they have to ran away on a rickety wooden carriage while the shivs support them using Attack On Titan's vertical maneuvering equipment.
I gave up on that plan, because I don't want to do the same thing Allen Blaster already did in their story. I don't think I can top Hope of the Shield Hero's chase battle when that story had three cardinal heroes in it.
And sorry I unintentionally lied about this chapter will reveal Raphtalia's physical growth. My chapter ends up running longer than my first anticipation... again.
But yeah, it'll be revealed next chapter. Spoilers considering what happened at the end this chapter, but is anyone honestly expecting her to die here?
Guest review time.
Originally, Ituski's backstory would be partially connected with FATE. But with Comrade Broseph's disappearance (I was going to give this part to him), that idea has since been canceled because he's the one who knows anything about that francise.
Well... next chapter will reveal a bit more about Raphtalia's physical growth... I hope. I don't think I'll have to break the chapter again.
Hmm... I suppose Alenko will make for a fine waifu, considering how they portrayed most of the 'good' female characters in their story: Absolute tools living for their men with no character agency for themselves whatsoever.
Who am I kidding. Alenko will be too busy simping after their imaginary dream pet husbando in Rising of the Shield Hero, and using every moment to bitch and moan about how utterly stupid and useless every other men is.
Glad you are enjoying the story so far. Hope you will continue to have a good time.
To get a bit deeper about my change to gun (and other more mechanical weapon like crossbows and siege engines) mechanic, I don't think canon's world lore make much sense.
The way I see it, one of two situation would happen if gun and mechanical weapon with a fire mechanism would also scale with stats:
1. Guns are simply too good with higher initial ATK boost, AND stats scaling like other weapons. And it would pretty much phase out all the cold weapons like our world because all the nations realize guns are the most viable weapon when it's invented.
2. Guns simply wouldn't be developed anywhere past a very VERY costly leisure curiosity, because it'd be completely not viable and Faubley having army fitted with firearm wouldn't make any sense (and they definitely wouldn't be the strongest nation because they'd be pissing too much of their resources into the wind). If guns doesn't have higher initial attack boost than other weapons, AND it scale the same as other weapons, it would have too many draw backs compared to other weapons. Here are just a couple I can think of on top of my head:
Guns are expansive to make with the existing technology level shown in canon, because of all the smaller and complex mechanism that have to go into them. Especially the modern variant used by whip boy's harem.
Ammunition for guns explode unlike ammunition for bows and crossbows. So all it needed to defeat a fully modernized army in RotSH's setting is a team of highly leveled and specialized infiltrators, who can blow up said army's ammunition reserve and blow them up to kingdom come (which is basically what Isshin did in my story).
So my idea is to make guns much better at low level, but completely drop off the cliff around the first class up cap (both for the user, and receiver who aren't glass canon or frail speedster build) due to stats scaling. And this give it a strong niche to exist alongside more traditional weapons.
I suppose it's possible that guns simply scale differently in canon than most other weapons, so it still have a niche to exist while not completely make other weapons obsolete. But I don't see how that's different than what I did at the core.
I won't say anything about Malty's eventual liar/reveal scene.
Yes, Naofumi lived on an Earth with an alternate history where Japan was punished much more harshly than our version. It first existed as a joke where Comrade Broseph asked me if he lived in a world like Code Geass. I decided to make this joke partially canon.
Beastman actually being an engineered weapon race is an interesting idea. Before I started writing this story, I actually had a RotSH/Mass Effect crossover idea, where in that story the Salarian Counciler proposed a theory of demi-human being an engineered species from a progenitor species that has since gone extinct.
Being X isn't involved in this story, it's just a sarcastic quip from Naofumi.
I have put all my reference in my author's note in my last story. But for this one, I decided to simply leave them as nods and in-jokes for people who can recognize them.
[Stop Hitting Yourself] isn't so much a loophole skill, as it is considered a counter skill. Which scales with DEF, and not ATK rating.
Jokes aside, Naofumi wouldn't be able to pull off what he did with Abby left and right like he's Bethesda reboot Doomguy glory killing demons. The reason he easily overpowered Abby is because he sneak up on her and used enough of his shield abilities to daze and paralyze her. Which he obviously won't have the opportunity against enemies who are fighting him face to face.