DCFM – Chapter 104-105: Regrouping and Bloody Battle

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We ended up in battle against monsters a number of times on the way, but we arrived at the entrance decently soon. 

…That place had already turned into hell.

(The only ones fighting are Alex and his party…?!) (Hikaru)

From what I can see, the parties protecting the entrance in the beginning were injured, have retreated to the stairs, and have already withdrawn from the frontlines. 

Jojordan and the Water Spirit Users were desperately using their healing abilities, but it is taking their all just to heal them to a degree that they don’t die. 

Right before the stairs to the 2nd Floor, there’s a boy that seems to be a porter blowing the hunting horn for dear life. 

Alex and Crabbell are somehow managing to stop the Demon Lord. 

However, why did the Demon Lord come this way? 

Does it really have a desire to leave the dungeon? Or was it the result of it chasing after Alex and his party? 

“Rifreya, we will be doing basically the same thing as before. I will be stopping the movements of the Demon Lord with my darkness, so if it uses Dispel, use Light, and only in the time that the ability is effective, attack it and then retreat. Got it?” (Hikaru)

“Okay. But can we defeat it with that?” (Rifreya)

“Just forget about the Viewer Count Race. It doesn’t matter whether we defeat it or not. What’s important is to survive.” (Hikaru)

“Really?” (Rifreya)

“It has been the case since the beginning. There’s nothing more important than surviving. Please go to where Alex and his party are and tell them about this strategy. I will be moving by myself.” (Hikaru)

“Got it! You be careful too, Hikaru!” (Rifreya)

Rifreya regroups with Alex and the others. 

I unsheathe my shortsword and participate in the battle too.

“Alex, I will assist you! [Darkness Fog]!” (Hikaru)

Alex and I were on opposite sides of the Demon Lord in terms of positioning. 

We could go for a pincer attack, but I would rather buy time than go on the offensive. 

We just have to keep it in place until the other parties that are scattered in the 3rd Floor come here. The hunting horn phrase is a complete mess, but if you perk up your ears, you should be able to tell it is close to the entrance. 

It would be best if the first half parties were to come while we were buying time though. 

Marchosias is bewildered inside the darkness.

Rifreya went around the outside of the Darkness Fog beforehand, and has regrouped with Alex. 

“[Summon: Night Bug]! [Phantom Warrior]! [Shadow Bind]!” (Hikaru)

All of them can only serve to buy time, but you could also say they do their job of buying time well. 

Even with a lack of firepower, there’s still ways to use them. 

In this time, Alex and the others should be able to regain their bearings. 

The Demon Lord is groaning inside the darkness.

It took cautious steps, keeping guard for any attacks coming from anywhere. 

With this, we have bought some respite.

I kept the scope of the darkness high, and regrouped with Alex and Crabbell.

I asked what I wanted to confirm.

“Can I have a word?” (Hikaru)

“Uwa?! That scared me. Is this voice…Hikaru? This is one astounding ability. This is what’s called a Dark Spirit Ability, right?” (Alex)

“Yeah. More importantly, the Demon Lord can’t move between floors immediately, right? If we run to the 2nd Floor, can’t we keep this guy bottled here?” (Hikaru)

All the information I have gotten said that the Demon Lord takes time to move between floors.  

In other words, if we all run to the 2nd Floor, the Demon Lord can’t go up and give us chase…at least from what I know.

“Aah~, how was it, Crabbell?” (Alex)

“About that, I haven’t seen one before, but it is apparently not gonna work. If there’re only monsters around the Demon Lord, it will eat monsters to gather strength before going up, but in a situation like this, it apparently would just go up normally.” (Crabbell)

“Really?” (Hikaru)

“Yeah. If it ends up with a situation where we withdrew and lost, and even let the Demon Lord come to the surface, we could get hung. That’s why, this is pretty dangerous, but there’s no choice but to keep it in place here.” (Crabbell)

The red haired Crabbell answered the question. 

So it really is a situation where ‘You can’t escape from the Demon Lord’.

“How about slowly falling back?” (Hikaru)

“If it goes up, it is going to evolve, right?” (Crabbell)

“Will it really…? Even without gathering strength?” (Hikaru)

“That apparently depends on the Demon Lord. But it is certain that the Chaotic Energy would increase if it were to go up. It is already problematic right now, so I would like to be spared from things getting worse.” (Crabbell)

There’s no other word to describe this situation but terrible. Though it looks like it isn’t the worst. The parties in the 3rd Floor should be running here after hearing the horn, and if we buy time, the first half team should be coming too. 

I separate from Crabbell and the others, and seeing that the bind has run out, I casted Shadow Bind on the Demon Lord again. 

Even a moment of bind can be useful here. 

Phantom Warrior and Night Bug are not bad either. 

They are methods to distract, but it serves perfectly to keep it in place. 

Also, I myself am beginning to get used to the movements of the Demon Lord. 

Being enclosed in the darkness, it is running around here and there searching for prey. When it understands that such efforts are futile, it will cast Dispel.

That’s basically the pattern.

“[Light]!” (Rifreya)

Aiming for the moment when the darkness was erased, Rifreya casts Light.

This one hit that burns the retinas that were opened wide inside the pitch black darkness was effective even against a Demon Lord, and in those tens of seconds, it is almost completely defenseless.

An all-out attack between Rifreya, Alex, and Crabbell had hit the Demon Lord full on. 

(It really is so tough!) (Hikaru)

Even if not on the level of Rifreya, the weapons of Alex and Crabbell are big, and there’s also the big frame of the people themselves, so they can bring out quite the power too. 

Moreover, in this situation, they can get the first 2 hits in at a practically defenseless target. And yet, it is still far from being a fatal wound. 

The attacks themselves are connecting. If we repeat this over and over, we should be able to defeat it eventually, but the problem is Rifreya’s spirit energy. She probably can’t use Light much.

I did the Point Loan, so I can’t exchange Crystals for spirit energy potions. 

After that, I once again enveloped it in the Darkness Fog, and once it gets dispelled, use Light and an all-out attack. You could say it is a certain victory pattern. 

However, there are holes in this plan.

One is that it can stun the people around by using Fear. 

The other one is that this is a combo limited to when Rifreya still has spirit energy. 

And the last one is…

“Gwuaoooooonn!” 

It opened up its wings even within the darkness, rising up into the air to escape. 

We have no means to hit the Demon Lord when it is flying around. 

“Everyone! Be careful of fire breaths and lunges from above!” (Hikaru)

“Alright!” 

“Got it! You be careful too, Hikaru!” 

Alex and the others have pretty high teamwork. 

They should be able to avoid the charges of the Demon Lord if there’s the support of Spirit Abilities. 

The problem is the fire breath.

“Jojordan! Once the fire breath comes, please put up a shield! Can you do it?” (Hikaru)

“Y-Yeah. Alex gave me a spirit energy potion, so I should be okay for 5 times!” (Jojordan)

Jojordan has blocked the fire breath once with his ability before. The timing seemed to be difficult, but the fact that he managed to do it means that -contrary to his appearance- he is a pretty practiced Spirit User. 

Fire breath is only one of its attack means, but having a countermeasure for one of them is really big in battle. 

  • Chapter 105: Full Use of Darkness and Victims

The Demon Lord makes a violent roar and is leisurely flying at around 20 meters up. 

It is most likely waiting for an opportunity to attack from above. 

The chances of it attacking me hiding in the darkness is low.

“Rifreya! Alex! Crabbell! Even if it charges, there’s no need to intercept it! Aim for the opening after it charges and tries to go back up! Leave the fire breaths to Jojordan!” (Hikaru)

If they were to get a counter while it is charging, they might be able to deal big damage, but the risk is equally high. 

It would be safer to modulate both attack and defense. 

“Gwaoooon!” 

The Demon Lord made a decently big howl while in midair, and then, after baring its giant fangs, it lunged onto Rifreya. 

“As if I will let you! [Shadow Bind]!” (Hikaru)

The dark tentacles appearing from the darkness tie up the Demon Lord doing a sharp drop as if welcoming it into its arms. 

They were torn up in an instant, but even with that, it still managed to slow it greatly. 

If it had been just a few moments ago, it would have been impossible to match the bind with a fast moving target, but it is possible now that my Proficiency has increased. I can instantly make bind appear anywhere. 

Forcefully making it brake, it slowed down, but the Demon Lord still charged on, and Rifreya easily avoided it. 

The Demon Lord landed on the ground as if sliding on it and tried to regain its posture, but Alex and Crabbel welcomed it with sharp slashes to not let that opening escape. 

“Grrrrrr.” 

Displeased by the attacks of those two, the Demon Lord moves. 

However, it seems like it didn’t deal that much damage. Half-baked attacks won’t be getting through the body of the Demon Lord protected in tough fur. 

It is either attacking the base of the neck that is their weak point, or aim for its legs or wing to damage its mobility as much as possible. 

“You two, move back! [Phantom Warrior]! [Darkness Fog]!” (Hikaru)

It is dangerous to fight for too long against a Demon Lord. I don’t want what happened to Rifreya to happen all over again. I don’t have any means to heal big wounds. 

The Demon Lord caught in the darkness gave one big cry and escaped to the air at once. 

It must have learned after having been hit over and over by the Light of Rifreya.

The Demon Lord flaps its wings and flies overhead. 

If it wanted to, it could escape somewhere, but you could say this is as expected of a Demon Lord, there doesn’t seem to be the choice of running away. 

Those eyes glaring brilliantly were burning with the strong desire of devouring us.

“Hikaru, it really helps that you are giving orders! It is so tough, so big, we were a complete mess not knowing how to fight it.” (Alex)

After fixing their stances again, Alex ran to where I am.

“Figures. With our level, fighting it normally would be impossible. Even just now, Rifreya had been gravely injured and almost died.” (Hikaru)

“Seriously? Is she okay? No, she seems to be okay.” (Alex)

“I had Points, so I somehow managed… But there’s no next time, so let’s buy time here and do this safely. If we just do what we did before over and over, we should be able to manage somehow.” (Hikaru)

“Are you fine on Spirit Energy, Hikaru?” (Alex)

“Somewhat.” (Hikaru)

The reality is that I can fight in a way where I push myself in order to not lose.

There’s a limit to my stamina, so it would end up being a battle of attrition, but it is fine as long as reinforcements arrive. 

The explorers participating in this Demon Lord subjugation are all silver rank or higher. Even if not, the arrival of a Demon Lord in itself isn’t that rare of an occurrence. 

If adventurers with full stamina and experience battling Demon Lords were to come, our job would be over. 

“Now that I think about it, aren’t you using your Spirit Abilities, Alex?” (Hikaru)

“A-Aah…actually, I am still not used to utilizing them at the moment… Also, that guy spits fire, so I don’t think Fire Spirit Abilities would be that effective.” (Alex)

“Wonder about that. Well, if you are not good at it, then there’s no need to force yourself into using them. It does seem like it would be more efficient to just attack normally.” (Hikaru)

“Sorry. Please look forward to it next time. I will practice.” (Alex)

I haven’t had any issues with using Abilities, but maybe Fire Spirit Abilities are difficult to utilize. Or maybe this is the effect of Affection of Spirits. 

I do feel like Rifreya said that she also practiced her Abilities quite a lot. 

I separate from Alex, and check the state of things while inside the darkness. 

Because the attack of before failed, the Demon Lord must have increased its wariness, it isn’t coming down at all. 

But that works just fine for us buying time. 

And then, it soon happened.

“Ooi! Are you okay?!” 

“So that’s the Demon Lord this time!” 

Voices of reinforcement came from the other side of the mist. 

Armed warriors were rushing over while raising their voices. The explorers that had scattered in the 3rd Floor have reconvened.

I let out a sigh of relief thinking that, with this, things will manage somehow.

At that moment…

“Gwuwaoooooooon!!” 

The Demon Lord soared above, and after one big cry, it headed towards the explorer parties that came to help, and spit out fire everywhere. They were quite far away from us still, so we didn’t even have time to warn them. 

It must have seen the reinforcement as easier prey, or it might have just been simply an instinctive action.

The explorers who had fire thrown at them, some would block it with the shields they had, and the backline would try to block it with abilities. Those movements were those of seasoned explorers and there were no problems with that. 

However, even when spitting out fire, it was using that fire to cover their sights, folding its wings and descending sharply. 

The warriors were blocking the fire with shields, but because of that, they also ended up blocking their vision.

A loud sound of collision rang in the place where the explorer parties had stacked up and the big body of the Demon Lord had rammed onto.

They may be silver rank or higher, but they lacked way too much caution.

Because of the sudden heavy attack, the explorers completely fell into a panic. With things in that state, even if they have the numbers, they are just headless chickens. 

“Damn it! [Shadow Bind]!” (Hikaru)

The ability I casted while running was unable to show much effect because there was too much distance. 

Even in that time, the backline ability users were falling one after the other from the claws and fangs of the Demon Lord. 

“Gwuwaaooooooon!!” 

Is it a cry of victory? Marchosias, who had trampled over 12 people one-sidedly, did light steps, and flew up again. 

“Damn it…! It really is learning in battle…?!” (Hikaru)

It has learned that battling on land isn’t favorable, and has decided to take the strategy of hit and run. 

Monsters turn into Spirit Stones when they die, so it is normally misunderstood, but that’s an actual living being. It has enough brains to think of how to fight.

Even if that’s not the case, it can use Spirit Abilities, so it is natural. 

“Are you okay?! Recover yourselves before it comes back down, or if not possible, please withdraw to the stairs!” (Hikaru)

“S-…Sorry! We suddenly ended up pulling your legs instead…!”

“No, more importantly, is there anyone here with the means to attack an enemy above? Be it Spirit Abilities or bows.” (Hikaru)

“We don’t have an archer! The Spirit Abilities as well…I’m sorry. It seems like they died in that attack just now…” 

“Died, you say…” (Hikaru)

From what I can see, what should have been 12 explorers, have been reduced to 8.

With just one charge of the Demon Lord, 4 people have been killed.

In battle, the formation and your readiness really defines the result of life or death this much.

Marchosias flies leisurely above and awaits a chance for its next attack. 

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