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They were stupid. Hyun and Yoo-Jung didn’t stay in formation. Thankfully, I was acting as Sol’s Protector. After fiercely glaring at Yoo-Jung I struck the tail that was flying towards us with the flat surface of the sword.
And after realizing what just happened, I had spaced out. Even though I did manage to strike the tail by gathering my strength, it was just a defensive skill to break its attacks. However, when the tail hit my sword, it started to scream and the tail shattered into little pieces. I came back to my senses after hearing the monster’s roar.
Apparently, I had activated a special swordsman skill or an undeveloped skill. Different thoughts passed through my mind, but I needed to focus on the current battle. I started talking with a good amount of mana still within me.
“This is a Dark Scorpion. Their tail contains deadly poison, so be careful. Their weaknesses are the eyes and their abdomen. Since it’ll be hard to get past their defenses focus your mana on your weapons and attack with all your might.”
Finished, I lowered my raised head. Sol still had a shocked expression, with her mouth open. She was still shocked that she could’ve died a moment ago. I thought that it was pretty pathetic, but I spoke to her in a low voice.
“An Sol. I don’t think it’s a good idea for a priest to stop casting in the midst of battle.”
Perhaps she was terrified by my comment as she began murmuring a spell. After letting out a sigh, I looked back to the front.
This was just a brief lull in the battle. Dark Scorpions tend to travel in pairs, so they’re somewhat linked. Once the one I injured cried out loud, the one An Hyun was fighting stopped attacking.
It stopped attacking, but only for a moment. The angry scorpion screamed loudly and released a violent aura. Then, the two Dark Scorpions started to crawl out of the darkness. A shocked expression appeared on the others’ faces once they saw how big they were.
We were attacked first, so there wasn’t much we could do. We were prepared now, but the Dark Scorpions were fast approaching. Both sides had their defenses up and it was hard to tell who would strike first.
After observing the earlier confrontation I realized that it was pointless to continue delaying the battle; my side will just run out of energy. I decided to attack first after judging for the right moment.
“Yoo-Jung and I will form one group. Hyun and Sol will pair up. Sol use Restrain on your scorpion’s tail. In that moment, Hyun you will need to gather your mana and focus it on the tip of your lance, then stab its body. Their skin is pretty tough, so don’t think about taking it out in one shot. Yoo-Jung stand behind me. I will attack it in a way that forces it to reveal its abdomen. You need to take that opportunity to attack. You should approach after it attacks with its tail.”
No one answered, but they nodded their heads. The scorpions were approaching us. Soon, they were caught in my Sense; I took a step forward; the combat resumed.
The part of the tail that fell to the ground earlier was still twitching around; it still contained deadly poison. I ran straight ahead as it raised what remained of its tail.
Once again, the Scorpion screamed as it targeted me, blue blood seeping out of its tail. Dodging it wasn’t difficult as the tail only attacked in one direction. Once I stepped to the side, the tail passed by and struck only air.
And during that time, I shortened the distance between myself and the monster. Feeling that Yoo-Jung was behind me, I slowly lowered my sword. In that moment the Dark Scorpion almost seemed to grin.
“Soo-Hyun! Behind you!”
I felt a chill. A Dark Scorpion’s tail was long and flexible. Even though its first attack only allows them to attack in one direction, but it can move in whichever direction it wanted as it stretches. It was possible to attack in that window. It seemed like it wanted to attack the back of my head after u-turning. I smiled back at the scorpion and continued to run towards it.
Yoo Jung screamed as its tail was about to reach the back of my head. I shifted my head to the right, the tail grazing past my cheek. At the same time, I raised up my sword and placed it along the side of the tail, angling it so that its tail headed back towards its eyes.
The monster didn’t expect me to dodge its attack right in front of its eyes. It was obvious that it didn’t know that I was trying to change the direction of its tail. The skill that I just used was nothing more than an acrobatic skill.
The result was apparent. The Dark Scorpion stabbed its right eye with its own tail.
Seeing the monster in pain made me smile. I kicked its face upwards as it raised its right pincer. Shocked, the scorpion’s body was thrown up into the air. Its claws extended out as if admitting defeat. I yelled out as I saw its abdomen.
It was hard to say if this was the best timing. I wasn’t sure what she was doing to prepare, but she took her sweet time coming forward to attack. She used the daggers in her hand and attacked the Scorpion’s abdomen in an X.
Seeing the monster cry in pain again, I put my hand on Yoo Jung’s shoulder and kicked the scorpion back into the air. I pointed my sword upwards as the scorpion’s body started to fall straight down. My sword pierced the center of my body, without the aid of mana. With just my strength, my sword cut through its thick skin. It hadn’t taken even 10 seconds to completely take down one of them.
There was still one left. When I turned my attention to the other fight I noticed Sol release a spell: a white light shot out from her staff. Sol listened to my plan and had targeted the monster’s tail.
Similar to a camera’s flash, the forest was suddenly filled with white light. Sol didn’t come off as a beginner because of her enormous amount of mana. Hyun instinctively closed his eyes, then attacked when he noticed that the tail wasn’t moving at all.
With a loud yell, Hyun stabbed its body with his spear. The Dark Scorpion raised its claws as it noticed it couldn’t move its tail— but Hyun’s spear was longer. The spear ripped through its skin and entered the monster’s body. However, the Scorpion started to growl, seeming like it wasn’t really affected by his attack. Hyun had succeeded in breaking through its outer carapace, but the spear didn’t stab deep enough.
An Hyun was surprised and removed his spear. He tried stabbing it again several times, but it didn’t seem to feel any pain as it attacked Hyun with its tail, forcing him to dodge the monster’s attack. The scorpion’s tail was attacking Hyun violently which, at the same time, prevented Hyun from counterattacking.
“Wh-what is he doing? Why is he struggling so?”
I glared at Yoo-Jung as she made that comment, a confused look on her face. Sol was also just standing behind and watching. I felt really frustrated. What are they doing? Are they on a field trip to watch him fight? I clicked my tongue loudly and yelled at them as I ran forward.
“Did you guys come here to watch? Don’t just stand there and help!”
They came back to their senses as both of them nodded. An Hyun was doing his best to defend himself. He dodged the Scorpion’s constant attacks. When the monster attacked with his claws, An Hyun managed to block it. But that was all. Since he was so focused on defending, he didn’t have the courage to attack it.
That was the moment I realized my mistake. I had thought that they were ready just from their stats. Their actual skills could be seen in a life-threatening battle such as this.
They weren’t using their skills at all. It’s true that my expectations were high as I realized that they still had a long way to go. If they hadn’t trained their Sense, they wouldn’t have been able to even match the monster’s movements.
There were only two assailants before us. Yoo-Jung and I had taken down one of them. They were able to even just maintain the battle as it was a two vs one, but had it been a group ambush where we had been surrounded, they would’ve already been killed. I had a hard time just deciding on what weapon was right for them, but seeing them struggle against just one monster made me believe that there were other issues I should be concerned about. I attacked the tail, thus lessening the pressure on Hyun so that he could attack from the front.
“An Sol. Use Shackles again!”
She yelled out the spell as she received the command. A white light filled the forest and the scorpion’s tail once again stopped moving. An Hyun seemed to have been maddened after being forced to defend as his face turned red. Hyun seized the opportunity and jumped into the air to attack as Sol cast the spell.
Hyun stabbed its body as he shouted out profanity. He didn’t seem satisfied because he kept on stabbing the monster. He was probably utilizing his mana as the spear made noises whenever he attacked. It pierced through the monster’s skin. The scorpion was definitely in pain this time, as it fell forward and made a sad cry— as if it couldn’t take it anymore.
Despite An Hyun’s constant attacks, the Scorpion stood up and scuttled a few steps back. Its body was a mess, but Hyun was also exhausted. I let out a heavy sigh as I decided to kick this one too. As I took a step forward—
“An Hyun! Move!”
Yoo-Jung, who had been watching from the side, suddenly started to run. She held daggers in both of her hands and gathered mana, evident by the sound produced.
Seeing Yoo-Jung run towards itself, it raised its claws into the air. The spell probably wore off as the monster’s tail started moving slightly. This time, however, Sol cast another spell instead of just standing there.
A semi-transparent shell appeared around Yoo-Jung after Sol finished casting. Hyun looked like he didn’t want to stand still because he picked up his spear and started running to help Yoo-Jung. I felt relieved that they were able to work together, but I couldn’t ignore the fact that they were all over the place.
With Hyun and Yoo Jung’s joint attack, the Dark Scorpion fell swiftly after enduring for a while. The monster’s corpse was gruesome; its outer carapace was shattered into pieces, black blood seeping out. I would have never imagined that anyone would be able to take down a Dark Scorpion so idiotically… I was at a loss for words.
Hyun and Sol put their weapons away after seeing the corpse of the scorpion that we took down. Not able to believe that they actually took down the scorpion, they observed the corpse while trying to catch their breaths.
This battle was a lot harder than any in the Rite of Passage, yet we just went for it. The others bit their lips as they turned their attention to me. Had they a brain, they would be able to realize how awful this whole situation was.
I opened my mouth to say something, but I held it in. I wasn’t sure if my expectations had been too high or if it was normal for them to act this way. What exactly did they learn from the User Academy? It was so different from when I was a beginner. To be honest, I wanted to go back to the city and teach them everything from the beginning.
Their attitudes changed and looked uneasy when they saw my disappointed face, but I purposely turned my back and ignored it. Thinking that they still had a long way to go, I let out a heavy sigh.
I smashed my sword hard against the ground. The blood on the sword sprayed all over the ground, creating a half-circle.
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