Hi guys! A little bit of time has passed since chapter 17 was released, but I’ve been doing somewhere around 10-20 minutes a night after work / putting my kid to sleep. I went a little slower than the previous chapter, and I hope it shows in the quality / word choices for this chapter. There are a lot of great scenes, and I really hope you enjoy the read!
Clive pulled away, putting distance between himself and the rest of us, so the Ogres would not get the chance to change targets. As he did, the Ogres slowed their gait somewhat while moving to encircle him. It became difficult to glimpse Clive’s large frame, with the Ogres surrounding him.
“Clive, don’t do anything too reckless!” I called out, worried. If he grew too emotional now, things would almost certainly end badly.
“…Don’t worry. Let me take care of this.” Clive said, as he backed away from the Ogres slowly, trying to put some distance between them and him. But while increasing the distance between himself and the Ogres, he was also drawing farther and farther away from us.
“Kei, if we don’t do something Clive is going to be in serious trouble.” Grace warned, still unable to move. Looking towards her, I responded.
“…Eight minutes. Bind will wear off after eight minutes. If he can hold out that long…” Sylvia was also looking towards Clive, a worried expression on her face.
Even with a friend in such a dangerous situation right before my eyes, I was powerless. What’s more, Clive was risking his life to give the rest of us a chance to live through this.
One of the Ogres roared, lifting its club high into the air before bringing it crashing down. Clive managed to catch the wooden club on his shield, but from the look of things it was a terribly powerful impact. Clive had managed to maintain his form while battling the pack of gargoyles, but this single blow had been enough to cause his stance to waver. A moment later, another club from a second Ogre at his back came crashing down. Clive’s stance degraded further, as he intercepted the attack and pushed back with his shield.
That second blow created a visible dent in the plate shield. Seeing that, sweat began beading at my temple.
There were still seven minutes left…
Clive back-stepped to avoid the next attack. In the next instant, he brought his shield up to block a blow from his left, while parrying a blow from the right with his sword. But the Ogre’s circle was shrinking. If nothing was done, he would be receiving blow after blow nonstop.
Another attack came from Clive’s left. He managed to block it with his shield, but quicker than he could react, the Ogre who had initiated the attack threw a heavy punch with his empty left-hand. Unprepared for the second attack, Clive received the full impact to his lightly armored right shoulder. He stumbled under the impact, falling back and to the side until he landed on his back.
“Clive…!” Sylvia cried out, as she saw him fall. But Clive used that momentum, turning it into a roll that propelled him out from within the Ogre’s circle. As he bounded to his feet, a blow from an Ogre’s club crashed into his back…only to be stopped by the Magicwall spell I had cast on his armor that activated upon impact. However, Clive’s right arm, which had received the attack, hung limply at his side.
Six minutes left…
Swinging his injured right arm up, Clive aimed an attack at an Ogre that had drawn in closer than the others. The attack connected with the Ogre’s hand, and its wooden club spun to the ground, knocked from its grip. It must have hurt, because the Ogre let out a tremendous howl.
“Clive, try and use the columns!” I yelled. Clive didn’t respond, perhaps because he was focusing on the Ogres; but he did begin inching in the direction of one of the columns.
An Ogre lunged towards him from the right, but Clive managed to avoid the attack by moving behind the column. Just as he avoided the one attack, another Ogre came charging at him from the left, apparently planning on using its massive frame to crash into him. Clive managed to block the rush with his shield, but the force was so powerful it knocked him backwards, spinning to the ground. As he landed, the Ogre that had charged leaped atop him.
He just barely managed to bring his sword around in time, impaling the Ogre through the gut as it landed atop Clive. The sword had slid in deep, but it only drew the Ogre into a frenzy, with the creature somehow managing the strength to rain down blow after blow on him.
“Clive, get away!!” The words flew from my mouth before I realized I had even said them. Clive managed to shield-bash the Ogre on its head, allowing him the chance to pull away. But a smashing blow from behind caused him to lose his balance.
…There was still too much time before Bind ran out. If nothing changed, Clive would…
The Ogre that had had its gut stabbed fell over, dead. There were only four left now, but Clive had dropped his White Long-sword in the scuffle. But more than that, his face, chest and back had been heavily bludgeoned.
There were only five minutes left now. But looking at Clive’s HP, I saw he had barely more than half remaining.
Even so, Clive moved resolutely to stand in front of the remaining Ogres. He did so because the effects of Taunt would wear off if he distanced himself too far from the Ogres. If that happened, he wouldn’t be able to hold aggro, and it might end up with myself, Grace or Sylvia getting pummeled. To keep that from happening at all costs, Clive was taking massive damage and still moving to stand in front of the Ogres.
Grace watched Clive’s movements with an intense expression. Sylvia was watching too, but her face was pale and if her body could move, she would most likely be shaking.
This time, two Ogres attacked Clive at the same time. His shield blocked one attack, while he used his right arm to receive the other.
“Hhrr…” A grunt escaped Clive as he weathered the attacks. There was no doubt his right arm had been severely damaged. But the attacks didn’t stop there; another Ogre launched itself at Clive from behind. Unable to completely avoid the attack, Clive ended up rolling hard across the floor.
Watching this, I called out to Clive as calmly as I could.
“…Clive, listen to me. Use the Return spell. Then bring as much backup as you can.” At those words, Sylvia turned her gaze on me, her eyes wide. She looked like she might speak, but she must have thought about what would happen if she did, and chose to remain silent…had to remain silent.
On the other hand, Grace’s expression seemed contemplative and cool. Those eyes said she would follow whatever decision I made.
But Clive roughly brushed my suggestion aside.
“Kei-san, you’re telling me to leave my friends behind and run.”
“Clive, please understand—-“
“No. I can’t. I can’t do that. If I did, then nothing will have changed since then…”
Four minutes remaining.
With a great roar, Clive lifted his shield and charged at the Ogres. The Ogres must not have been expecting such a charge, as the one Clive slammed into dropped its club as the impact caused the beast to go flying across the room. Clive didn’t waste any time, and took the chance to recast Taunt, redirecting the slightly wavering aggro back to himself.
The other Ogres who had been pulled by Taunt lashed out with clubs from both the left and the right. Clive tried to block the onslaught with his shield, but couldn’t fully avoid the attack. One of the clubs smashed into his stomach, winding him and causing him to buckle over. As he did, the fourth Ogre brought its club down in a powerful swing to smash into Clive’s head.
“Clive!” Sylvia’s shrill scream pierced the still air. Clive, having received a powerful blow to the head, staggered, before falling to his knees. Blood was snaking down his face, and his HP was almost gone. Clive tried to pull himself up, but lost his balance and fell forward, almost crawling as he tried to place himself outside the Ogre’s attack range.
But as he was crawling away, the watch affixed to a chain around his neck slid out from his shirt, to dangle by its chain in front of him. Clive’s eyes fastened on the watch, and he froze. In the next instant, he was forced himself shakily to his feet. The four Ogres were approaching him slowly now.
The situation hopeless, I called out to Clive while gazing at the watch dangling from his neck.
“Clive…this battle was your victory. I’m sorry I tried to make you break your promise. …There are just three minutes left. Please…for just a little longer, protect us…!” At these uncharacteristic words, Clive’s head snapped around and he looked at me, his expression full of shock.
At the same moment Grace and Sylvia turned similar expressions towards me…a barely audible click sounded as the minute hand of Clive’s watch struck zero, and with that a blueish-white light poured out from the device, completely enveloping Clive.
“Th, this is…!”
When the minute hand struck zero, an enchantment activated that surrounded Clive in an Ender Heal. Clive’s HP shot up to nearly seventy-percent of full.
“A pre-timed healing spell…!” Grace must have been surprised, the way her voice rose as she practically croaked the words.
Just before we had entered the room, Clive’s watch had caught my attention and a certain thought had crossed my mind. I had called out for him to wait, and this was the enchantment I had cast on the watch.
An enchantment that activates on contact, with the minute hand as the catalyst. The contact of the timer’s minute hand as it struck the zero position had initiated the enchantment, causing the activation of Ender Heal. The only thing I had been worried about, was whether or not the magic still hold after I had been put under Bind, and could no longer use magic myself.
For that reason, that the magic might not activate, I had lost control of my emotions and urged Clive to run away. But, Clive had managed to hold out until the spell activated. In the end, Clive’s disposition as a Tanker had saved us all.
I called out to Clive again.
“…Clive, don’t let your guard down. You still need to hold out for a little over three minutes. Maintain a set distance, and keep dodging in and out from behind the columns. All of us have Magicwall ready to activate on contact, so we should be able to withstand a single attack.”
Cautiously, Clive began shuffling across the floor, this time while actively taking the columns into consideration. With a column between them, the Ogre’s formation broke apart as two took the initiative and charged. Clive prepared a Shieldbash, and continued feinting while keeping his distance.
In this manner, time began to pass…until Clive finally managed to fulfill his charge.
A green light suddenly shrouded the center of the room. Slow, Weakness, Lower Defence, Lower Resist…debuff after debuff was cast over the Ogres. The Ogres, with an already substantial weak magic resistance, were caught by each and every spell.
“…Clive, thank you for protecting us. Leave the rest to me, ‘kay? You just stand aside now.” Having been unable to do anything as she watched her childhood friend be beaten down, Sylvia’s eyes were now alight with a fierce, fiery anger.
“I’m going to burn everything to cinders!” Sylvia moved to attack before I could even utter the command.
Sylvia used Drake Gun to wrap earth around the Ogre’s feet, holding them in place. She then used Rock Wall to surround them. The Ogres surrounded by earth on all sides could only huddle closer together, unable to escape.
Seeing that, Sylvia laughed darkly, lifting her Staff of Dan high into the air as she poured every last drop of her mana into an explosive torrent of magic. As she did, everything inside the walled-off area suddenly exploded into a tower of burning hot hell-fire. Sylvia’s high-level fire-attribute spell, Inferno ruthlessly burned each Ogre into a chared heap of ash.
After the Ogre’s bellows died away, Sylvia’s Inferno also began to grow weaker and weaker. The temperature of the heated air in the room also began to lower back to normal. As the rock walls crumbled into dust, not a single Ogre could be identified.
Sylvia had used up every ounce of magical energy she possessed, and once the spell faded she plopped down onto the ground.
“…Kei, thank you. I thought I was the one protecting everybody, but in the end, it was you who saved us.” Clive said, as he went to pick up his dropped sword.
“No…Clive, you protected us. Until the end. I’m the one who should be thanking you.” As I spoke, I stretched out my hand towards Clive, who clasped mine in return, and we both shook hands.
After the four of us regrouped, we decided on using Return to escape for now. Clive and Sylvia activated the spell, Returning one after the other, until only Grace and I remained in the room. When we were alone, I called out to her.
“Grace, it’s great we were able to get out alive this time…but it looks like us being “Adventurers” is at an end.”
Grace knew what I was about to say. Her face was taught, and her eyes sharp.
“That Dark Elf just now…Curt? He wasn’t some mob monster…He was a Demon.”
Grace’s grip on her sword tightened as she squeezed, her knuckles going white.
Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed the chapter. I seem to be able to continue the 10/20 minutes a night pace, and it looks like that might mean a chapter every 1 to 2 weeks.
Also, I just wanted to say thank you so much to all you guys supporting me over on Patreon, it means the world to me (and my wallet for books / website upkeep and the occasional beer, lol…).
So, thank you to: SFcipher, Rewind, XPwnNtiaLy Quick, Carsten, Friibii, Senor Clean, Matthew T., Scanner L., Robert M., and Leo Tong.
If you enjoyed this chapter, and feel like supporting me over on Patreon (I have it setup per chapter release, not per month, and you can set a cap, even 1$), then just click this link! I already can’t believe how many people are supporting me now. Again, thank you guys!