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Chapter 341 - Unknown Land (2)

    Chapter 341 - Unknown Land (2)

    'Tch, it is too late to avoid it.' Theodore reflexively stepped forward and reached out his hand.

    A wall of shadow rose from the ground, blocking the trajectory of the light ray. Ray type attacks were threatening because of their speed, but they also had disadvantages due to being a pure form of energy. For example, Jerem's wall of imaginary space had a property that sucked all the energy and turned it to zero, making shadow and darkness the nemesis of this light ray. However...

    Jjejeok.

    The shadow wall couldn't handle the power of the ray and got a few cracks.

    Theodore's low proficiency was one of the reasons, but the power of the Cyclops' ray was also stronger than he had thought it would be. It was a little below the level of great magic. Although it might be limited to this swamp, its level could be designated as a grade 3 disaster.

    "Randolph! Titania!" Theodore didn't need to look back at both of them. "As soon as this wall disappears, split to the left and right! I'll scatter the ray attack somehow!"

    "Then I will completely stop its breathing!"

    "I understand."

    There was no need to separately specify the timing. Randolph's two swords were drawn, and Titania's bowstring was pulled taut. The shadow wall reached its limit and shattered. Kakang!

    'Now!' Theodore triggered the magic he had prepared a few seconds earlier. The second weakness of a ray-based attack was deflecting using the nature of light. Theodore used the double attribute magic of wind and water, and a prism in the shape of an octahedron appeared, absorbing the red light.

    Wiiiiing!

    The refracted ray started to bend in eight directions. The moment the three people were exposed, Titania's bow cried out like it had been waiting. The arrow tore through the wind.

    "Grrrruk?" The cyclops received an instinctive type of warning and noticed the arrow's presence.

    Nevertheless, it didn't move its arms or step backward. Instead, it turned its gaze from Theodore to the flying arrow. The hot beam from the ray could burn even the arrows shot by Titania. The cyclops had a clever judgment.

    "Heh, you have a good head."

    However, Titania's archery skill was better than how cunning the cyclops was.

    Chiik. The wind and arrow were burned by the ray. However, this was followed up with another arrow. It wasn't just one or two. Titania fired three arrows in the same orbit without any error. The first one couldn't reach, and the second was a bit lacking. So, she shot three arrows. The last arrow pierced the cyclops' one eye.

    "Kuwaaah!?" The ray and blood scattered from the cyclops' crushed eyeball. The magic eye was ultimately dependent on the eye. It couldn't be used properly with damaged eyes.

    Furthermore, the cyclops who lost an eye had forgotten something. The sword master of the twin swords, Randolph, approached it and swung his two swords. The cyclops' shin bones and femur were split apart in an instant. Randolph's blades broke the cyclops' spine and moved upward, cutting its carotid artery.

    It felt like cutting a rock. The cyclops' skin was tough and full of swamp mana. A good aura user would find it hard to cut a single line. However, it was no match for a sword master's aura.

    "Gruk...! Grr...ru...ruok." Just two seconds after the shadow wall disappeared, the body of the cyclops was bleeding and torn to rags. Its opponents were too terrible. However, Theodore sighed bitterly. "Geez, I made a mistake."

    "What?"

    Before Titania received an answer, they heard it.

    Kwaaaang!

    A pillar of fire rose in several places simultaneously, and black smoke appeared. There was a reason Theodore had been wary of using magic after entering the swamp. It was hard to guess how many flammable gases and liquids were present in a swamp area that was thousands of years old. The rays of light that Theodore had refracted caused the environment to burn up.

    'Fortunately, it isn't all of the swamp...'

    Theodore looked around at the flames and spoke to his group, "Be prepared while maintaining your breathing."

    "What?"

    "The disturbance will reach quite far."

    The cyclops was powerful, but the group was still quite a distance away from the center of the swamp. It was just a little 'strong' here.

    ――――――――――――――!!!

    The disturbance would agitate creatures with a far bigger presence than the cyclops. That wasn't all. The ground shook due to all the approaching creatures. Monsters were coming from all three directions except for the rear where the party had come from. If he had to count roughly, there were over 100 monsters. Theodore looked carefully at them with Hugin whom he had called in advance.

    'Let's see the left side.'

    It felt like the side had the most enemies. His vision greatly expanded, and he could see multiple creatures with green skin.

    Orcs-they could be found everywhere on the continent, but Theodore hadn't expected to see them in the swamp. The experienced orc warriors could fight one knight alone, but most orcs could be defeated by a group of soldiers. He never thought it would be a species that could stay in this swamp.

    'They are all mutated. They might be stronger than an ogre?'

    Looking closer, there were scales on their skin, and they had some aspects of a crocodile. The orc was tall and oversized, being at least over 3 meters in height. It was appropriate to call this the hybrid of an orc and lizardman. Furthermore, there were other creatures approaching from the front.

    There were twin head ogres with two horns and a pair of wings, reminiscent of chimeras. Their skin was hard like iron, and the flames coming from their mouths were alarming. The swamp trolls looked quite dangerous too.

    Finally, Theodore looked to the right, and his eyes shook.

    'Heok!'

    Shortly afterward, the connection to Hugin was cut off. However, the scene he saw at that moment was truly shocking. There was a six-headed snake with a body length of over 100 meters long!

    "Hydra...?"

    The number of heads was lacking, but Theodore guessed this was a hydra. A hydra was a snake with nine heads and an immortal body, and it had a poison that was hard to decipher. Similar to Jörmungandr and Azi Dahaka, it was something that couldn't be opposed by mortals if it was in a perfect condition. In the myth, it was defeated by a demigod, but it couldn't be completely killed. It was buried alive...? The standard of a hero was needed to defeat it.

    '...No, I can do it now.'

    In the legends, the hydra's immortality came from its one head, out of its nine heads, that had golden scales. However, this hydra didn't have any golden head. It didn't have nine heads either, so it might still be incomplete or was a variant hydra. In that case, its force wouldn't be as big, which meant Theodore could defeat it.

    "How can I give up now?"

    The odds weren't impossible. Theodore looked back at the two others who were smiling as they held their weapons.

    "I knew it would be hard when I accompanied you."

    "Well, it can't be helped. Let's do it!"

    As it happened, the combination of the three people was the best. The combination of a sword master, archer, and magician could display the best combat power regardless of distance. If they could complement each other's weaknesses and maximize their strengths, it wouldn't be difficult to wipe out the monsters.

    Theodore laughed at Randolph and Titania's answers. "Okay, shall I take care of the weak bastards?"

    His eyes shone as he looked at the mutant orcs coming from the left.

    *     *     *

    If there were two words to describe the southern swamp, it must be 'fearful' and 'unknown.' They were afraid because they couldn't know, or they didn't know because they were afraid.

    The sequence of the relationship wasn't important. All those who tried to conquer or explore the swamp were killed, making it a prohibited area. Transcendents didn't step into the area for an unknown reason, and over the years, humanity had lost the power to attack the swamp.

    ...At least, until today.

    Kwarururung!

    A few lightning bolts fell in the shape of a spear, causing the ground to turn over and fry two trolls. The trolls, notorious for their sturdy skin and natural regenerative power, were fried by the lightning. Theodore set up a lightning spear and threw it at another swamp troll.

    "Get lost!"

    The power was so fierce that the swamp troll's head vaporized, leading the headless body to fall down. In retrospect, it was surprising that it didn't die in one 7th circle blow. There was time to sum things up, so Theodore looked at the twinhead ogre fighting the other two.

    ■■■■■■■■―――!!

    'Strong' would be the only word he could say. The ogre had pure power and speed, and it used its power efficiently to handle two masters by itself. It used its two pairs of eyes to block attacks, the flying ability of its wings to accelerate, and the durability of its skin to withstand the aura blow. Additionally, he had an earth-shaking fist that contained all its power. It was almost like Superbia.

    'But it is still lacking to deal with both of them.'

    It was obviously the ogre's defeat. There was only one head left. Its wings were torn, and one area had been cut so many times that the bones were revealed. Randolph's blue blades once again shone brightly. "Ha! Your bottom will be exposed, you monster!"

    Black blood splattered, serving as proof that Randolph was getting close to the bone marrow. Nevertheless, the response of the mutant ogre was fearsome. It ignored the pain and bleeding as it tried to kill the humans. The strike was too fast for Randolph, who had just finished his attack, to avoid.

    Chaaeng!

    However, its fist bounced off. The fist that contained the force of a thick wall was pushed back by a single arrow. It was Titania's arrow which had flown in with perfect timing! The ogre had been subjected to this technique a few times and roared angrily. However, Titania's footwork exceeded its speed. Above all, Randolph's blades kept coming while the ogre was chasing Titania. Either way, the ogre was one-sidedly pushed and beaten. The monster that had never been pushed by force before reached its limit.

    "This is the end!"

    An arrow pierced the ogre's mouth, causing it to step back. Then it raised its left hand to its face to pull out the arrow. One hand was in view, and a sword master would never sit by idly when a gap was revealed.

    Clovis Two Swords Style.

    Hidden Technique.

    Triple Lightning Strokes.

    The two blades were charged with blue lightning as they moved. One blade accurately pieced the ogre's throat, and blood gushed up like a fountain. It lacked the power to completely behead the ogre, but the amount of bleeding couldn't be ignored. The ogre realized it had made a mistake and lowered its left hand.

    "Too late you idiot!" Randolph shouted as a flash of lightning shot from his right hand.

    The second strike was a diagonal split. From the left temple to the right jaw joint, the surface of the ogre split open. Its relatively thin skin was cracked into two.

    ■■■■■――!?!

    This was a fatal blow. Randolph's blade gouged deeply into the ogre's skull and almost cut its brain. Before the ogre could back away, lightning struck it. Randolph's other blade once again struck the ogre's head in the same spot. It was the end of the mutant twinhead ogre. Half of its severed head slipped down, and the ogre's body collapsed to the ground. The creature that would've caused a disaster outside the swamp had died.

    "Sigh, the appetizer is done." Randolph shook off the blood on his swords and took out a bottle of potion. He hadn't received any direct injuries, but his skin had been scraped by the ogre's fist. Theodore wasn't the only one to think about Superbia when facing that absurd power. Randolph would've struggled if he had to deal with it alone.

    "It is the first match, but there are more powerful monsters left." Titania couldn't hide her tiredness as she sighed.

    Compared to Randolph, her role was easy. However, it was difficult to maintain a distance of hundreds of meters while shooting, and there was a corresponding consumption of mental power. Despite that, Theodore couldn't allow both of them to take a break. "It has come a lot closer. It will soon be in sight."

    Although it might be imperfect, the hydra-the disaster which had been recorded in the old myths-was making its appearance. There was a chance of victory. Theodore had saved his magic when fighting the twinhead ogre, and he had also refrained from using scrolls and artifacts in order to save it for the hydra.

    The three people were alert as they stared at the swamp and waited for the hydra to come.

    Then they saw it.

    "...Wow, it is huge."

    It was much smaller than Hraesvelgr, who covered the sky with his wings, but this realistic size made it feel more real. The hydra's body length was over 100 meters, and it had six heads. It was like a small hill wriggling around. The hydra looked down at Theodore, and one of its six heads opened its mouth.

    [Two humans, one elf... What a strange combination,] a cunning voice tickled the ears of the three people.

    This dubious voice belonged to the hydra.

    "Six-headed snake, are you the master of this swamp?"

    The hydra answered the question with yellow eyes, [You don't need to know.]

    "..."

    [By the way, in your body... I feel an unpleasant power. The strength and smell are that of the corrupted god who repulsed my ancestors long ago...]

    The hydra's killing intent grew stronger. In this breathless atmosphere, Theodore gave a hand signal to the two people. It was to prepare to fight. Simultaneously, the six hydra heads opened their mouths, and their poisonous fangs aimed at the three people.

    [Die.]
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