[Vol. 5 pt. 18]
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“Heed your master’s call, Bahamut! Wrap mine enemies in your accursed flame; rend apart reality itself with diabolic energies! I, Azalabulia, the Dark Sorceress of Twisted Flames, the Breaker of Reality, the One Who will Set the World Ablaze, and the Wielder of the Cursed Flame of Bahamut, have sentenced you to the realm beyond this mortal coil! Let this be the final breath of your life! Let this be the first and final strike of battle! Bahamut, let us merge our souls and show the world that there are none whom could ever stand before us and live to speak of it! Cursed Flame of Bahamut, Final Attack, Opening Verse: Exodus of Reality, the Purging of Life and all who Oppose it! Fire!”

“Bro, I think she added a couple of lines,” Rao says.

“Yeah, but it still sounded cool,” Fenrir says.

With Azalabulia’s chanting over, a massive blast of energy shoots out from the magical dragon head floating above her to annihilate all enemies at the bottom of the pit.

The resulting explosion is enough to blast all of the dragons in the air upward, almost causing those who they are carrying to slip away and fall.

Fortunately, though, nobody slips loose and falls into the fireball that Azalabulia has caused.

All that is left by the time that the fireball clears are random chunks of fish-monster flesh, lots of green blood splattered around, and a cleared landing zone.

“Looks like something out of a zombie movie,” Fenrir says.

“Replace the zombies with fish monsters and yeah,” Rao says.

“Aza is cool,” Serra says.

“Right?!” Azalabulia asks, turning her head to look up at the others. “That was such a perfect attack! I can’t wait to try off the new ‘Epilogue’ version of that spell! It is going to be so awesome!”

“Well, she’s hyped up now,” Cassiel says. “I guess that the rest of us might as well get excited, too.”

“Come on, Cass Cass. Don’t you want to thrust your long, hard weapon into things?” Fenrir teases.

“You want to sleep on the couch?”

“You love me too much to make me sleep on the couch.”

“Maybe, but I don’t love you enough to not hog the blankets.”

“That’s a bit uncalled for, don’t you think? I don’t have all this fluff in real life. I need the warmth.”

“Then wear another layer of pajamas.”

“How am I supposed to do that when Serra takes them off all the ti—”

“Bro, again. There are other people here,” Rao interjects. “And we’re going into battle, aren’t we? Like, that’s the stuff you should save for after.”

“Doesn’t romance and sex and all that usually happen before since you don’t know if you’ll be able to do it after?”

“I don’t know. I don’t watch that sort of stuff. I was just thinking that people would be all excited and relieved and want to do that after instead of before. Like, wouldn’t they normally be too stressed to do it before?”

“Yeah, which is why it can help as a stress reliever.”

“Hey, is it better to be stressed or relaxed for fighting?”

“I don’t know. I’ve always done better when calm, I think, but it’s more exciting when you’re stressed out over it. Kind of.”

“How?”

“I guess because it’s like… once it’s over, you’re way happier and prouder of yourself for surviving? If you’re calm, it’s all ‘hah, everything happened just as I expected.’ If you’re stressed out and worried, it’s all ‘holy shit, I actually survived, I’m amazing.’”

“I guess that makes sense.”

Fenrir’s and Rao’s conversation ends as soon as the large group reaches the bottom of the pit.

Dropped off on the ground, everybody gets to work securing the location, killing any monsters that are somehow still alive, and setting up Serra’s gun.

“I’m surprised that they’re letting her use it, honestly,” Cassiel tells Fenrir. “I would’ve thought it’d be too important for them to let somebody new use.”

“Eh. It’s just a game. Who cares? All that matters is that we’re having fun. Plus, after what they just saw Aza do, I bet they’ve got some faith in us now,” Fenrir replies.

“I guess. That gun, though… it looks pretty crazy.”

The gun that she is talking about might look like a gun, and it may look like it acts similar to one, but that is not the case.

Mounted on a tripod is a large, brass barrel with what looks like a revolver’s chamber located at the back of it with a hammer mechanism ready to pound against the construction’s ammunition. As for what the ammunition is, that would be the series of crackling, white and yellow stones inside of the revolving chambers.

They look just like the rocks that Tabitha uses as fuel for The Shoebill’s engine, only with a lightning aesthetic rather than a fire one.

“I think I see how that guy got away with creating a gatling gun. Same way that Tabs got away with creating an engine,” Fenrir tells Cassiel.

“You mean that it’s like one of her inventions?”

“Yeah.”

“Should… should we be worried?”

“Probably.”

“It’s okay,” Serra says, giving them a thumbs-up now that she’s behind the gun. “I’ve got this.”

“I know you do,” Fenrir says, walking up to give her a gentle smack on the back before drawing his sword and looking around. “Everything is clear so far. I would have thought that there’d be more monsters coming at us.”

“They shall come,” GG says. “We were able to defeat the remnants of the monsters the last time we assaulted this position, but more will come and in far greater numbers as soon as they realize what has happened.”

Several of the dragon players that accompanied them are already in the process of setting up various magical runes around the pit of water next to their landing zone.

“Traps?” Fenrir asks.

“Yes,” GG answers. “The moment that the monsters activate the runes, they will, for a lack of better words, explode.”

“Explosions?” Azalabulia asks. “There are going to be more explosions?”

“Many more.”

“Fen, can we live with these dragons?” she asks with wide eyes, standing in front of Fenrir with her hands gripping his shirt.

He can’t tell if she’s behaving more like an explosive pyromaniac or an excited little kid.

All it takes are some explosions and roleplaying for her switch to be flipped and be herself. Any shyness and hesitation is gone. Right now, she is Azalabulia, the explosive and distractingly-sexual spellcaster.

Fenrir can’t tell if she’s purposely pushing her breasts up against his chest or not, but he can tell that Cassiel looks jealous that she never gets anybody pushing their chest up against hers like this.

He can’t help but look at her with a bit of a smug smile to call her out – to subtly tell her that he knows she’s jealous.

Then he stops as soon as she glares at him.

“We have our own town,” he tells Azalabulia.

“But – but! Explosions! Fen!” Azalabulia whines.

“Explosions are dangerous in mountains. You might cause landslides, cave-ins, and all that stuff. Wouldn’t you rather live at our town where there is a vast ocean and flat land around for you to use explosions? You can make your explosions as big as you want then! I doubt they’d want you to be exploding everything around here.”

“That’s… a good point. Alright, you have convinced me. I – I am allowed to keep using explosions while we fight here, right?”

“Only smaller ones until we’re at the final phase of the plan.”

“Deal!”

The pressure against his chest goes away, leaving him disappointed and colder.

“Nell, I need you,” Fenrir says.

“Yes, my hero?” Nell asks, standing in front of him now.

“Hug me.”

“Gladly!”

And so, they hug, resulting in Nell’s smaller-but-still-nice breasts pressing up against Fenrir’s chest.

“I know that I may be lacking, but is this good enough?” she asks, knowing exactly why he wanted her to hug him.

“Yep. Definitely good enough.”

He looks over at Cassiel again.

She’s still jealous.

“Alas, I do need to go prepare. I am only capable of getting my magic to work when in a safe spot with a cleared mind, so I cannot spend too long here,” Nell says before stepping back and leaving his chest lonely.

There is no other option.

Serra isn’t tall enough to warm his chest nor does she have the required warming mounds.

Fenrir looks at Cassiel. This time, he does not look at her to be smug.

He looks at her out of need.

“Cass Cass, I nee—”

She flips him off before crossing her arms over her chest.

At least he has the tsundere fanservice to warm him.

Then somebody else steps up to Fenrir with their arms open for a hug.

“I’ll – I’ll pass,” Fenrir tells GG.

“Is there something wrong?” GG asks.

“Many things.”

GG lets out a loud laugh before smacking Fenrir on his shoulder. “Come! Let us wait for the battle to begin. As the leaders of our respective groups, it is only natural for us to fight side-by-side to determine this alliance’s worth!”

Fenrir might not be one for roleplaying, but he is still feeling a bit hyped up from hearing that. “You got it.”

Several more minutes pass by with everybody in their positions.

Yet, no monsters seem to be coming.

The only ones that are around are dead, and the water that they came from is still and empty.

“How long do we have to wait?” Serra asks.

“No idea. They’ll be here when they get here,” Cassiel answers.

“Less than a minute,” Eva answers.

“How can you tell?”

“I can smell them.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah.”

“How?”

“One of my body parts enhanced my smelling to make it really strong, but I’m not sure which. It didn’t start happening until a couple of weeks without getting any new parts, and the last part I got before that was my angel eye, so I really doubt that was it. Angels aren’t known for having extreme smelling, are they?”

“Huh. That’s weird.”

“Yeah, it really bothers me.”

“Do you have any other body parts that are unexplained? Or traits?”

“Yeah, my penis.”

“I see.”

It takes him a few seconds.

“Wait, what?”

“I’m joking. Sorry, it’s just so easy to trick people with that since they know of all my other parts.”

“I… honestly didn’t even doubt it. Not for a second. I just assumed you were being honest and that you seriously have a dick.”

“Nope. No dick. I haven’t figured out how to get one yet and none of the other scholars will tell me.”

“So, you are trying to get a dick?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I? I don’t have one in real life, so I want to experiment with one here to see what it’s like. Also, I’ve heard the ‘you can experiment with mine’ joke about a hundred times already, so please don’t if you’re thinking about it.”

“I’m not going to lie, I definitely would have made that joke if I was single. Anyways, I—”

“It’s possible to get dicks?” Serra asks.

“Shouldn’t you be at your gun?”

“I heard a conversation I want to be a part of.”

“Do you just naturally appear in any conversation that is related to dicks?”

“Yeah. I want one.”

“Why do you want one?”

Serra smirks and wiggles her eyebrows up at her loving-but-very-worried boyfriend.

“No,” he tells her.

“Yes,” she tells him.

“No,” he tells her again.

“Yes,” she tells him again.

“Yes.”

“No.”

“Good, we agree.”

“What?”

“You said no.”

Serra thinks about it for a few seconds before realizing what just happened, resulting in a pout and a light kick at his ankle. “You tricked me.”

“I did trick you. I also—”

“They’re almost here. Get ready,” Eva says.

Fenrir nods at Serra and they drop their conversation so that she can hurry back to her setup.

Those nearest to the water consist of most of the dragons, GG, Fenrir, and Eva. Cassiel and Rock are staying the closest to Serra so that they can defend her if any monsters make it past the front line, Azalabulia and Nell are staying off to the sides so that they can support with magical attacks from afar with Rao and Shogun to defend them, and then there are a couple of healers among the dragons waiting the farthest back to enter the battle when needed.

And now, with everybody in their positions, the battle begins.

“I’ll try to thin them out,” Eva says, lifting up off of the ground to position herself directly over the water.

Swimming up from the depths of the subterranean passage is easily over one hundred monsters, each one with the aesthetic of a corrupted fish combined with an eldritch abomination.

Eva flies up high, flips herself upside down, and then dives toward the water.

Right before she dives into the water, she unfurls her right wing – the wing of a thunderbird.

Electricity crackles out from her wing and shoots into the water with a blinding flash!

She may not have any “magic” of her own, but that does not mean that the natural traits bestowed upon her by her collection of monstrous parts aren’t magical in effect.

The water becomes electrified and anything within it gets a strong shock.

Next is her eye.

Eva opens her right eye—her angelic eye—wide.

A beam of holy energy shoots out from her eye into the water, cutting through the foul monsters as they are left immobilized by her first attack.

“Still can’t control this eye that well,” she groans, holding one of her hands over her right eye as she lands next to Fenrir. “That’s all I can do until they’re out of the water.”

That’s all I can do, she says. Damn. That was awesome,” Fenrir praises.

“I only killed a couple of them. They’re strong, so it wasn’t too awesome.”

“Who cares? It was still awesome. You looked awesome doing that, the attack was awesome, and just – everything about that was awesome.”

“It – it really wasn’t that big of a deal.”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever you say, showoff.”

“I—”

The first wave of monsters breaches the surface and climb out of the water.

The instant they come into any contact with the runes placed around the water’s edge, they are subject to a multitude of magical effects whether they are shocked, lit on fire, covered in a cloud of poisonous gas, or just exploded in general.

Unfortunately, the explosions are rather weak, and Fenrir can sense Azalabulia’s disappointment from where he is. That disappointment is confirmed when he looks at her and sees what he could only describe as looking dead inside.

Such little explosions were all it took to make her look so depressed.

“Hey, since you think I’m a showoff, I might as well be one. How far do you think I can send one of those monsters with my tail?” Eva asks Fenrir.

“I bet you can make them hit the wall back there.”

“That far?”

“Yeah, why not? I’ve got faith in you after your display there.”

Eva smiles, turns her attention to the monsters, and flies forward.

She twists her body around to slam her tail at full force into the nearest monster—a creature with the body of a man but the head of a fish with tentacles for arms—and sends the monster flying across the water into the wall at the other side.

“GG, got any cool tricks that we can use to compete with her?” Fenrir asks.

“I’m afraid not, but let us try to compete with her regardless!” GG answers.

“Hi, ‘I’m afraid not, but let us try to compete with her regardless.’ I’m Fenrir”

GG and Fenrir lock eyes.

Dadjoking the dadjoker is all that it took.

A new, deep level of respect and admiration has been developed between the two men – an unbreakable bond between men and their dadjokes.

There are few things stronger than such a bond. Arguably, nothing is stronger than this bond.

“I’m embarrassed by how proud you feel about that,” Saya suddenly chimes in.

“Hi, ‘I’m embarrassed by how—”

“You are absolutely horrible, onii-wan. Goodbye.”

As much as Fenrir wants to tease his virtual little sister some more, he finds out that there is not going to be any time for that.

The monsters are coming out of the water in a large force now.

“Let us channel them between us, Fenrir! We shall create a line of monsters for our gunner,” GG announces.

“Sounds good to me! Serra, get ready to shoot as soon as you have a clear shot!” Fenrir shouts.

Serra gives a thumbs up and starts to spin the reel-like handle on the left of the gun.

The moment the first monster shows itself, she pulls the trigger on the right side of the gun.

The gun’s hammer hits whichever electrical stone is in front of it. All of the energy emitted from the stone is focused into the gun’s barrel and shoots out in a long ray of lightning that electrocutes whichever monster is unfortunate enough to be in her sights. Then another shot of lightning hits it. And another. And another.

It takes four total shots to down the monster, but it does go down.

Serra may have been lacking in confidence before, but she’s full of determination now that she has killed her first monster with the gun, and Fenrir can see it on her face.

If anything… she might look a bit too confident at this point.

She starts smiling the moment that another monster comes into her sight in front of the gun.

While Fenrir and GG channel enemies into Serra’s fire, Eva stays constantly moving. Despite having the body parts of so many different species all in one, she’s able to flawlessly maneuver through the air and on ground thanks to them.

With her maneuvering, she is constantly on the hunt for any distracted enemies to make quick work of. She has switched from performing large and obvious attacks to small and sneaky attacks that are much deadlier.

The monsters may be covered in dripping water, but her fiery breath is still capable of causing severe damage when she carefully lands behind one to engulf it in her flames. The moisture covering their bodies only serves to turn into scalding steam.

Then, before the monsters she attacks can retaliate, she’s already back in the air to search for a new monster.

Those capable of spitting that deadly, green acid try to focus on her, but she’s able to either evade their attacks or swiftlty slay them before they have a chance to harm her or anybody else.

The battle seems to be going perfectly.

None of Fenrir’s nor GG’s forces have been killed yet nor even seriously injured, and they have been killing dozens upon dozens of the attacking monsters.

Yet, it is the allied forces being pushed back away from the water’s edge.

There are simply too many monsters rising from the depths for them to hold back.

This is when those with magical abilities get a chance to shine.

Azalabulia might not have been using magic before since there was nothing she could effectively use on such small groups of enemies without either potentially hurting allies or wasting mana, and Nell – well, she has been preparing herself this entire time. She is still somewhat new to magic, after all, and her special variety of magic requires a great deal of concentration.

Fenrir hasn’t even seen Nell’s magic in action yet.

“Fen!” Cassiel shouts.

He looks over at what’s happening.

Serra is in the process of replacing the now-depleted stones with new ones, and both Cassiel and Rock are occupied with monsters already.

The issue is that a shambling monster with a crab’s claw for one arm and another arm covered in oozing barnacles is heading straight toward Serra, and nobody else is free to support her.

And she has just dropped the lightning stones she was reloading with out of rushed panic.

“That ooze looks like the corrosive kind we were warned about,” Fenrir thinks to himself.

“It does look like that,” Saya confirms.

“I thought you weren’t allowed to help me?”

“I’m not. I’m just stating an objective fact that you already said yourself, onii-wan.”

“Right. Thanks, Saya – sorry, I mean Pupayaya.”

“Don’t correct my name to something stupid, especially not the stupid version of the stupid name!”

Fenrir charges forward with his sword drawn in his right hand and Rod in his left hand.

Those who haven’t seen Fenrir fight before can’t help but to look on as he charges at an enemy with a fishing rod, but they catch on to what he’s doing when Rod’s line is sent out to wrap around the monster’s oozing arm to restrain it.

The monster tries to smash the line with its clawed arm. It tries to cut the line, too.

Neither of those attempts succeed.

The monster isn’t able to get any closer to Serra, either.

Rod reels the line in on his own to prevent the monster from being able to approach Serra. Fenrir might not be able to reel the line in, but Rod still can without any help.

Of course, the monster isn’t so stupid that it just tries to continue reaching Serra regardless. Instead, it rushes at Fenrir.

It would much rather use its murderous intent on somebody it can actually murder.

Unfortunately for the monster, a beam of extremely pressurized water cuts right through its body. Its upper half becomes separated from its bottom half in under a second.

The beam of pressurized water then goes on to cut through several more monsters in the immediate area before running out.

When Fenrir goes to look at who just did a move extremely similar to his favorite, juvenile serpent friend, he sees the serpent whom he is dating.

Nell.

Damn. What is with everybody getting all of these awesome moves without me?” Fenrir asks. “I’m starting to feel left out here.”

“I must admit that it is very tiring to do, my hero,” Nell pants.

“You helped me out and it looked awesome, so good job.”

“Are you proud of me?”

“Of course I am. Plus, that was kind of hot.”

Shogun might be the one protecting Nell instead of Rao, but he still looks at Fenrir with an expression that can only be described as, “Really? You’re talking like this again? Right now?”

Fenrir, being part canid in-game thus being able to interpret Shogun’s obvious expression, says, “I don’t want to be judged by you. Don’t forget I’m the one who would be your father-in-law.”

Shogun stops judging him.

Fenrir gets back into his previous position once Serra finishes loading her gun, and then the battle rages on.

A couple of the dragons go down during the fighting, but the healers are able to get them back in the action before long.

Even Eva gets seriously injured at one point. When a claw closes around her right arm, it breaks the bone and makes it look like a pixelated mess to anybody without the option to see gore enabled.

But that only seems to make her even more excited.

In both a bloodlust way and a regular lust sort of way.

Not only that, but all she has to do is bend her arm back into shape and then it’s fine. It heals incredibly quickly, too.

“She’s seriously like her own mini boss,” Fenrir thinks.

“She basically is. That’s what happens when you push what’s allowed to its limits to customize your character,” Saya replies.

“OP,” Fenrir mumbles.

And so, the battle rages on.

Fenrir ends up spending more time on crowd control, slowing down monsters for Serra using Rod, than he does actually attacking any of them. Even Rao gets more combat done just thrusting his spear into the heads of any monsters that try to get close to him and Azalabulia.

Nell only manages to use her magic a couple more times before being too exhausted to continue, instead taking up one of the spare spears that was brought to assist in defending Serra against incoming enemies.

“You can use a spear?” Serra asks Nell while reloading again.

“Ah, yes, that I can! I actually toyed with the idea of being a beautiful maiden fighting with a spear while dancing across the battlefield when I first began playing. Before everything happened, that was what I tried my best to do,” Nell explains.

“Hot.”

“Thank you!”

Nell jumps forward to impale one of the monsters that Fenrir has slowed down.

“Really hot,” Serra says.

Yet, no matter how many enemies they seem to kill, there is just a seemingly-endless supply of them.

The corpses of monsters are piled so high around the water’s edges that the water itself isn’t even visible anymore unless somebody flies up to look over the corpses.

“We might need to proceed to the final phase without clearing them out!” GG shouts.

“Aren’t we screwed if we do that?” Cassiel asks Fenrir.

“Probably screwed, yeah. We can’t defend against these monsters while taking cover from Aza’s explosion. But, if we have to, then closing off the tunel is more important.”

“Heh,” they hear somebody chuckle. “Hehehe. Hahaha!”

The villainous laughter is coming from none other than… Azalabulia.

“I suppose that it is time for me to reveal my new magic! Dark magic to conquer all other dark magic!” she shouts, pulling out a familiar tome that nobody has seen since it was acquired.

It is the tome with a skull on it and tentacles escaping its pages – the tome that they got from the chest after killing that large, necromantic boss with the tentacles.

Without opening the book, she shouts, “Page seven, paragraph five, line three! I, Azalabulia, shall now embrace the secrets of necromancy! I shall call this: Swallow the World in Undeath, Abyssal Enslavement!”

Tentacles sprout out from the corpses of monsters lying around, but they are not the same sorts of tentacles that the party has been dealing with.

Instead, they are similar to the purple, eldritch, more cosmic-looking tentacles of the boss they killed than the eldritch, undead fishy-looking tentacles that these monsters come with.

Then the corpses stand up.

“Fight! Fight for your new master! Slaughter all who wish to oppose us and show these foul creatures who trulydominates the night! Show them who shall blanket this world in an eternal covering of raw darkness! Your lives were meaningless in life, so make them meaningful in death!” Azalabulia commands, prompting her undead legion of newly-tentacled tentacle-fish-monsters to fight for her.

It is only thanks to the monsters under her command that they are able to finally start pushing the attackers back. Even though her undead monsters don’t last for more than a few minutes, they are still able to assist well enough to make the battle far easier than it has been up until now.

“Hey, sis, don’t you uh… think it might have been nice to let us know about this sooner?” Rao asks Azalabulia.

“I wanted to wait until the perfect time to reveal it!” Azalabulia explains with sparkling eyes and smug satisfaction.

“But… don’t you think we would’ve saved a lot of trouble if—”

“Timing is important!”

“How long have you been able to do this for?”

“Ever since I got this book. I practiced a few times in private, but this is the first time using it in actual combat!”

“Well, alright then, I guess?”

Azalabulia nods before returning to look over her work.

The sight of her undead monsters fighting against more monsters gets a satisfying sigh out of her.

“Does literally everybody other than me have a new ability or something?” Fenrir asks before looking at Cassiel.

“Don’t look at me. I don’t have anything new,” she answers before he can even ask.

“Cass Cass, we’ve got to go on a quest to learn some new abilities for ourselves after everything settles down. We can’t let ourselves be the only ones who don’t learn anything.”

“What, are you actually jealous?”

“Yes.”

“Seriously?”

“Yes. I know I’m only here for the fishing—”

Serra snerks.

“—I know I like to tell myself that I’m only here for the fishing, but I still want to learn new powers if everybody else is.”

“Eh. I guess,” Cassiel says and shrugs.

“Alright! We’ve pushed them back and the next wave looks small!” GG shouts, hovering over the water as Eva dives down to electrocute it again. “We’re going to move onto the final phase of the plan! Get near cover and wait for the command!”

“Fen! It’s explosion time!” Azalabulia excitedly shouts as she rushes over to him.

“Yeah, it’s explosion time. You’re going to have to give us one of the biggest explosions yet. Think you can handle that after everything you’ve done?” Fenrir asks.

“I still have enough power in me to bring this entire mountain down!”

“Maybe not that big of an explosion.”

“Enough to bring a castle down?”

“Let’s go a little bit smaller.”

“E-enough to cave in an underwater tunnel?”

“Perfect.”

“Hey,” Cassiel says, “isn’t there a chance that she’s going to bring this entire cave down on us?”

Fenrir looks up.

Several dragons are flying around placing runes on the surrounding walls and ceiling.

“I’d say there’s probably a thirty percent chance we all get crushed under rocks and die,” Fenrir admits.

“Seriously?” Cassiel asks.

“Seriously.”

“I still get to make a big explosion, right?” Azalabulia asks.

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