"Second Tranch!" Viscount Atre commanded and immediately, the second tranche of buff skills, activated.
I heaved a sigh of relief as I moved my saber to cut these wretched plants, which have gone crazy in the past minute.
They have tasted the flesh and now they want more of it.
Our plan was to not use the second tranche of buff skills before reaching the twentieth column, but we have used it near the seventeenth. There is no choice. If they did not, people like me wouldn't survive.
As the buff skills activated, I felt my strength and speed increased more than before and injuries begin healing slightly faster than before.
The last one is from Brul. The healing type buff skill is rare and very useful in battles like this.
With this tranche, the people have used all their buff skills. The last tranche is going to be from Viscount Atre alone. Till now, he had not used any skills other than army skills; he used three.
Slash Slash Slash
As the power of the skills filled me, the speed of my attacks increased, and so is the power behind them.
I slash one plant after another with Consecutive Strikes. The buff is good, but I still need to use the skill.
Though, I am not using as much Weighted Strike as before. Which will save me a lot of stamina; that skill is powerful, but it takes a lot out of me.
Soon, we reached the eighteenth column and moved fast toward the nineteenth.
Since the second tranche f buff skills activated, the Viscount had increased the speed. Which put more pressure on us, especially Ethan and Cooper.
They are barely surviving, but for how long they would be able to do that? I don't know.
They are fighting with everything they have, especially Ethan.
If they had been somewhere less dangerous; they would have been able to survive with the efforts they are putting in, but here there is no guarantee. It is what making them fight so desperately.
I cut through plant after plant, swinging my saber again and again with the power of the Consecutive Strikes.
Soon, my saber moved in thirty-sixth strikes and cut the four plants at a very fast speed.
At speed, that I could barely see the flicker of my saber.
As I finished the thirty-sixth strike, I cut the skill and activated it again. At thirty-seventh, the speed and power behind the attack would have been increased further at a higher rate, but I don't want that.
That power and speed come at a cost. It drains stamina too quickly; I could not afford that.
I could have gone above the thirty-sixth strike hundreds of times, but I chose not to do it.
I am one of the weakest in here, weakest after Ethan and Copper, but unlike them, I am not protected. So, every decision I make needs to be with my survival in my mind and nothing else.
We reached the twentieth column, and I saw the surrounding scenery changing.
The untamed garden has become beautiful; each plan looked aesthetically pleasing. Especially those enchantingly beautiful red roses I have never seen something so beautiful, and I want them.
I am sure they will smell amazing. If I put them in a hall of my establishment. It will take the aesthetic of it to the next level.
I nearly took a step toward it when suddenly a powerful aura washed over me, clearing my thoughts immediately.
I cursed loudly, with cold sweat pouring all over my body as I shook in fear.
I was nearly done. If not for the aura saving me in time, the plants would have had me.
"Careful. The attacks from plants wouldn't be limited to the direct physical attacks," Viscount Atre warned.
After firsthand experiencing the effects, I became more careful. Focusing only on cutting the plants and nothing else.
Minutes passed, and I was able to keep my focus, despite many plants trying to entice me psychologically. It also helped that the Viscount would kill most of the plants that affect the brain.
Some remain and resisting them is hard, but I am doing it as failure will mean death. I had survived once and didn't want to push my luck further.
It is hard to believe this place that is trying to kill us was made to protect the people. There is a reason why the garden is present in between each building.
It is to absorb the death energy coming from the temple. Every plant here was a special plant that absorbs the death energy and, for thousands of years, they have done just that, until the things change.
Over time, in thousands of years, the temple was able to manipulate them into something nefarious and bloodthirsty.
Now, instead of consuming the death energy, they hunger for life and kill anything that had a life. It is why they are attacking us like crazy.
It is a good thing, many of the measures of the creators of this place are working. They are still keeping the garden within their limits, but slowly, with time, those limits are eroding.
The present is a good example of that. The plants have broken their restriction and moved inside.
They have captured the most important corridor, and in a few thousand years, they will capture other buildings before moving to the open space. When that happens, nobody would be able to survive here.
Even S-Class will die in a matter of minutes.
I shook my head of doom thoughts and focused on killing plants. Things have become even more dangerous, and even buffs are not helping.
I have once again started to use Weighted Strike with Consecutive Strikes and also Quick Steps but on rare occasions.
It is very risky to move around this place, even a step. So, I only move around when I need to, otherwise, I stayed in my place between Heiman and Brul.
I was cutting the plants come at me when I heard the scream before it suddenly cut off.
I turned and saw one of the most horrific things I had ever seen in my life. I saw tens of plants coming out of Cooper's body; they would puncture the hole from the inside before coming out.
It has seemed like the plant had attacked his stomach and from that, it grew inside him despite Jon cutting it.
Nobody moved to help him as plants sprouted out of his body.
Normally, mercy is offered by killing the person, but it wouldn't be a wise thing to do, especially for a person like Jon.
Cooper is also from a powerful family; not as powerful as Ethan's or mine, but still powerful enough. Killing him, even in the form of mercy, would still be murder, and his family might seek retribution.
Something Jon, or most others here, could not afford to bear.
It may seem too harsh, but is a reality. Jon and others already said, aside from mercenaries, they will not be offering a mercy killing to others.
If a plant similar to that attacked me, then I will die horrifying dead by it, without getting the mercy of quick death from people around me.
It is a horrible thought; that I decided to not think further.
Minutes passed, and we continued moving, cutting anything that came at us. It did not matter what it is, we will cut it and move forward.
Our coordination seemed to have increased, as we got to know each other's abilities better.
Zela had become very good at dealing with pods and other dangers. Most of the time, we did not even need to notify her; she knows it as our body language changed.
My efficiency had also increased, as I know what number of plants that Heiman and Brul will deal with and what I will need to deal with.
These are the small things, but they are affecting me in a big way. Especially now, when things have become very dangerous and will be even more dangerous.
"Mister Silver!" said Zela.
Immediately, Heiman and Brul got a little closer to me and dealt with all the plants coming at me, while I took out two potion bottles of healing and anti-toxin and took a sip of each quickly, before putting the healing potion back into the bag.
As for an anti-toxin one, I threw it away as it is completely empty.
A moment later, Heiman and Brul moved back to their places, and I resumed fighting. It is not the first time I had drank the potions and won't be the last.
Every minute, I am getting injured; there isn't a part of my body that isn't cut and armor that is not dented.
With injuries come poison and other things, while most plants only injure. Some leave behind nasty things and it is important that I deal with them quickly as possible, before they do some serious damage.
Slash Slash Slash
Minutes passed, and things got so hard that every second had become a challenge to survive.
Things have become so bad that I have drunk a stamina potion, which I only planned to do at the end, but there is no choice. Using the skills constantly is taking a lot out of me.
If I did not drink it, then I will die.
It is not just me, but the others are also having a bad time. They are the ones bearing the maximum burnt, more than me, and I could see how they are struggling.
Even Viscount Atre had not been spared and had gotten injured a couple of his times.
He is the one who is bearing the most pressure, they seemed to know he is strongest and attacking him crazily. He is dealings hundreds of them by minute, killing them by freezing them to the roots with his artifact.
Such a powerful artifact couldn't be used without paying a price. He is getting tired; I had already seen him drinking the potions a couple of times.
It is likely why he had started to push us harder. He had increased the speed, and that is putting a lot of pressure on us.
"Fuck!" I cursed as the plant gave a bloody cut to my neck. It is a good thing I dodged it on time with Quick Steps, or it would have been far more than a cut.
I wish I could say, it had happened the first time. No, it had happened over ten times, and it felt like a miracle that I am still alive.
Though the biggest miracle would be Ethan, he was still standing, despite his body being filled with injuries. He should thank Zela. She is the only reason he is even alive.
Her healing spells are keeping him standing.
Cursed Brul as thick vines pierced his shoulder. He cut the vines, before pulling them with his mouth, while continued using his swords.
People like him, who are on the edge of the formation and had to bear the greatest pressure, couldn't afford to put away their weapons, even for a second.
It is a good thing; he had armor, which covered most fatal spots, or he wouldn't have been standing right now.
Soon, we reached the thirtieth column and continued moving. The battle became desperate, and I am barely stopping myself from pushing all out with Consecutive Strikes.
I nearly did hundreds of times, before stopping myself, but I won't be soon, because, without it, I won't be able to.
Because not using its potential will kill me.
A minute passed, and I was moving my saber, intending to go beyond I had ever gone in Consecutive Strikes when something shocking happened.
Viscount Atre stopped.
Since we entered, he had never stopped, even when people died.
"The exit is ahead," he said, and my heart shook. I had thirsted for it, even prayed thousands of times.
Now, the thing I had been waiting for had happened; the exit had appeared.
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