I Work As A Healer In Another World’s Labyrinth City - Chapter 60
Five days have passed since the meeting, and it's around noon. A report arrives from the knights that ’’a large-scale swarm of monsters is approaching the city’’.
「So she has finally come.」
Putting down the fork in her hand, the saint mutters. We're in the dining hall of the lord's mansion. Everyone who's staying at the lord's mansion had just sat down to have a meal.
「...Looks like it.」
It took her a long time. In these five days, I've just been killing time at the lord's mansion. I'd already done everything I could do in advance by sending requests to the nearby cities for reinforcements.
Since we didn't know when the succubus might attack, I haven't left the lord's mansion, which seems to have become our strategic headquarters. It's not like I can recklessly take peeks at Eris' breasts with all this attention on me either. And Ruruka has already left to call for reinforcements from the royal capital.
I've just been waiting for the succubus to come, with nothing at all to do.
Since that meeting, with nothing but time on my hands, I've just been earnestly petting Yuel's head.
「Master, this time for sure, I will protect you!」
I pat Yuel's eager head lightly.
...Yuel has been bothered by the fact that I was severely injured at the church while she was sleeping. To the extent that she has already begun guarding me throughout the night without sleep. She blames herself for not being able to do anything when her master was in trouble.
That's why I'm petting her.
Even when the saint looked at me with a profound smile, I petted Yuel.
Even when Eris' chest button popped off, I petted Yuel.
Even when the lord proposed a marriage to Fran, I petted Yuel while politely declining.
Perhaps because of that, Yuel, who was feeling down, is now giving off the feeling that she's trying to face forward and make up for her failure.
「Well then, Shiki-sama, let us make haste toward the ramparts.」
From the knights' report, the surroundings are in an uproar. They've been sending out scouts, so the succubus' forces shouldn't reach the city right away, but it's not like we have time to waste either.
We leave the lord's mansion in a hurry, aiming for the city's ramparts.
...In the meantime, I haven't just been petting Yuel's head;we've also been discussing our assumptions for the battle with the succubus.
The succubus' forces, and how she fights. We've had countless meetings with the saint as the core, since she's the one with the deepest knowledge concerning that apostle of the evil god.
The crux of the battle is... me. In order to make the best use of my healing magic, I'll be stationed in this stronghold on top of the city's ramparts to get a clear view, with the knight brigade arrayed right in front of the gates below. That's apparently the formation we're going with.
I wondered if the knight brigade might not be too far away for me to cast healing magic on them, but the saint said she had just the magic tool to cover that. And when the monster forces collide with the knight brigade head-on, I'll heal them from atop the walls using that magic tool.
In the case that the succubus brings more monsters with her than anticipated, the knight brigade will immediately return to the city for a siege. While we engage in a defensive battle from the ramparts, we'll wait for reinforcements from the royal capital.
That's the strategy. Fortifying a completely defensive position, the saint will presumably issue suitable orders for everyone.
「Oh yeah, what about that magic tool you mentioned earlier that lets your magic fly further?」
On the way over, I try asking the saint. Fundamentally, healing magic can't be invoked if the target isn't close. From atop the walls, it generally wouldn't be possible for healing magic to reach the knight brigade dozens of meters away. Many healers would be watering at the mouth for a magic tool that can extend the reach of magic. I'm a little interested in what type of item it is.
「I have brought it with me. However, it is quite conspicuous, so I shall hand it over after we finish moving...」
Giving me a smile, the saint puts on airs. Well, if it happened to break while we were en route, the strategy would fail right then and there. I guess it can't be helped.
-In that manner, I climb the ramparts along with the saint, Yuel, and the other assorted escort knights.
Down below, I can see a large number of monsters approaching along the plains that spread out in front of the city. In the skies above that swarm of monsters, there's a single black silhouette. It's the succubus. The succubus is guiding the swarm of monsters from above, almost like the light from a bug zapper.
There's still a fair amount of distance between us. Although they've come within eyesight of the city, at that rate it should still take them some time.
「She appears to be pointing at us and laughing her head off, does she not?」
The saint peers at the succubus through the telescope-like object she's holding in one hand. I borrow it to take a look, and yeah, it does feel like that. She's holding her waist with both hands and laughing idiotically with her head tilted back.
She seems to be confident in her victory. Well, I did hear that the succubus has formerly destroyed countless cities. Most likely, she has a general understanding of the war potential of this city as well as how much war potential it would take to win.
「Their numbers are around 3000, or thereabouts? Kobolds, Goblins, Forest Wolves... she really did bring anything in this area that she could get her hands on. That number is fewer than anticipated, though.」
3000, huh? I'm sure that at the church, they were saying 6000 in 4 days. 3000 in 5 days is lower than half of our estimate. Certainly, that's considerably fewer than we anticipated.
「Maybe because her revival was incomplete, it takes her more time to manipulate monsters?」
「That may be.」
From what I heard at the lord's mansion, the number of knights that the city can mobilize in its present condition is approximately 500. The enemy has roughly 6 times that number.
Whether we'll win or lose is complicated, but at the very least if we fight head-on, the knight brigade is bound to incur heavy losses. I get the feeling I've figured out the reason why the succubus is laughing so hard. If the number of knight brigade members is reduced, they can't be immediately replaced, but for the succubus it'd be just fine to go bring more monsters from some other place. With two or three attacks of this scale, it wouldn't be unusual for this city to fall.
And the knight brigade was on standby inside the city so they haven't completely finished deploying yet either. The succubus... it's inevitable that she'd make a mistake in her reading of the situation.
「Such an incredible number...」
Seeing the monster forces, Eris mumbles anxiously. I told her she didn't have to come this far, but she said she didn't want to wait for me and came along. As I thought, Eris seems to be against waiting for someone to return. Well, monsters shouldn't make it as far as this stronghold, though, so I don't really mind.
「Worry not, Eris. With these numbers, we can win.
...And reinforcements are coming, too.」
At the same time I reassure Eris,
「Crusell knight brigade, 300 troops, deployment complete.」
a report comes up to the saint. It's from a knight wearing armor with a slightly different appearance from the one of this city's knight brigade. After that, a number of reports come up in succession.
「Arias knight brigade, 200 troops, deployment complete.」
「Lumiere knight brigade, 500 troops, deployment complete.」
「Latoa knight brigade, 300 troops, deployment complete.」
The reports continue further. Again and again, the reports continue to arrive. Looks like the knight brigade deployments are finally complete. I take a look below the ramparts, and a great number of knights are in formation there.
That number is... 5000.
-Calling for reinforcements was a success. Which is to say, from all of the cities close enough to dispatch soldiers within 5 days, the majority of the forces have assembled here.
「Such a magnificent view. This is also thanks to Shiki-sama's proposal.」
The saint smiles at me.
...The reason that the lords of the other cities were hesitant to send out reinforcements. It was the risk that their knight brigades would be annihilated.
If they sent out their knight brigade as reinforcements and it ended up being wiped out, that would pose an obstacle to the future operation of their city. Furthermore, the opponent is an apostle of the evil god, the succubus. An existence that destroyed countless cities in the past. Since reinforcements will come from the royal capital anyhow, abandoning this Merhatz and fortifying their own city's defenses would be an extremely rational choice for the lords who manage those cities.
...But I knew. For a powerful person, especially a person such as the lord of a city, my healing magic is something they would want to get their hands on by any means necessary.
Just by saying ’’I will reveal my own ability’’, I can overturn the lords' judgment. Because for the lords of this region, making an ally of me is worth the huge risk they would have to take.
-In this world, ’’illness’’ is seen as considerably serious.
I've had plenty of material to consider so far.
For example, the purchasing price for a Slime Drop, a drop from the Huge Slime on a low level of the labyrinth, was high enough to be called abnormal. That was because a regional lord was purchasing it from the guild as an ingredient for a medicine to treat an endemic disease.
Another example, the derelict old town where people no longer live. For the mere reason that it didn't get enough sunlight and health problems were likely to occur, the entire neighborhood was completely abandoned.
And, in the Krankheit Turtle incident, that state of panic among the citizens. Many citizens stormed the hospitals, and the treatment wasn't progressing at all.
In this world where monsters abound, what will happen if sickness runs rampant within a city? Even for people who haven't fallen ill yet, they can't simply escape outside the city. As the sickness continues to spread within the city, it will become a huge disaster. If treatment falls behind like at the time of the Krankheit Turtle incident, disputes will occur over the distribution of medicines and healers. It will turn into the worst situation. At that point, it will become impossible to manage an independent city.
As the lord of a city, every one of them should understand that.
That's why I made the proposal at that meeting, to offer the other lords the deal that ’’if you send reinforcements, whenever a disease flourishes within your city, I will treat the entire city and put a stop to it’’.
Ordinarily, even if I made a proposal like this, they wouldn't possibly believe me. There shouldn't be any healer capable of treating an entire city. They would respond like that, and that would be the end of it.
But now it's different.
That maximum Area Heal during the Krankheit Turtle incident. That was referred to as a miracle from god, and even became the cause for the city festival to become so lively.
At this point everybody knows that a real ’’miracle’’ occurred in this city. After that, all that Saint-sama from the church had to do was drop a few lines. That there was a person in this city who was behind the ’’miracle from god’’.
「...I never expected it to turn out like this.」
That Area Heal, the one I used to comfort Yuel when she was depressed over our bracelets shattering. I never thought that it would become the key to calling for reinforcements. Moreover, with that max Area Heal, I can reduce the knights' losses. That made it easier for the lords of other cities to send reinforcements, too.
Well, we did assemble more troops than I was expecting, though.
Knights: 5000. Monsters: 3000. In terms of numbers, that's already overwhelming. That's easily enough war potential to ensure certain victory even without my healing magic. Knights are powerful. If we're winning by numbers, there's no way we should lose against this mishmash of hastily-assembled monsters.
Taking a look towards the succubus, her army that was heading this way is coming to a halt.
As I thought, she must not have expected so many reinforcements to be here. Well, I'm pretty sure the Bible mentioned that when she crushed towns one by one in the past, there was ongoing conflict between fellow humans, though. If I had to put it in words, she was just waiting on the sidelines to nab the prize after they weakened each other. She might not have been thinking that a single city could assemble this many troops.
「She seems somewhat irritated, does she not?」
The saint comments as she observes the Succubus through her telescope-like device. I borrow it again, and yeah, it does look that way. Her face is bright red and her eyes look a little watery, as she shouts something at us. Maybe it's something like ’’Calling for reinforcements, you cowaaards!’’.
But without my healing magic, no matter how even the numbers, we'd still incur a certain amount of losses. Perhaps knowing that, the succubus once again resumes her advance towards us. Well, losing knights would be a serious blow to us, but for the other side she only threw together a suitable number of monsters. In the end, she may be thinking that even if she doesn't win, it's good enough to deal a certain level of damage to us and come back with more monsters later.
As far as I can tell from the succubus' face, I can only see a look of complete desperation forming, though.
...Most likely, as the saint mentioned at the meeting, there's a connection to her not being able to subdue monsters for an extended period of time.
Man, there's a limit to how foolish a plan can be. The succubus won't even be able to deal any damage to the knight brigades.
...So far, I've entered the labyrinth by myself, and fought formidable enemies such as the Armor Ogre and Bardas one-on-one. And every time, I got the crap beaten out of me. But the reason I didn't die is because I was able to heal my own injuries.
But my way of fighting up until now wasn't making the optimal use out of my healing magic. Fighting directly isn't a healer's role. A healer's job is to provide support from behind.
I look at the knights in formation below.
Large army vs large army. Furthermore, the ability of my allies is overwhelmingly higher. And they have me supporting them.
In exactly a situation like this, I can exhibit the true worth of my healing magic.
「Shiki-sama, by all means, please use this equipment.」
At the same time the succubus presses onwards, the saint hands something over to me.
「...This is, a cane?」
「Yes. It is a venerable item handed down through the church. Not only does it allow one to cast magic from a distance, it also enables one to use higher degrees of magic.」
Kinda sounds like an amazing cane. The extravagant decorations do make it look expensive, yet it also appears to have seen many years of use. But it seems to have been carefully maintained;even though it's full of scratches, it doesn't look worn-out. It's as if it was brought out from a museum exhibit or something, that's the kind of atmosphere it has.
...I try using Appraisal.Magic Tool Properties: Mana Capacity Up, Mana Amplification, Casting Range Expansion, Effect Range Expansion, Magic Effect Up, Mana Absorption - User - Persistent
Somehow, there are various effects attached to it that I've never seen before. If I recall correctly, even a ring that only raises mana capacity costs around 10 million Zeni, though. This cane, how many millions of Zeni would an item like this be worth?
「S-Something like this, is it really okay for me to use it?」
「Yes, this cane cannot be handled without an enormous amount of mana, after all. With your aptitude, Shiki-sama, I would like for you to use it by all means.」
The saint says with a radiant smile. Apparently it's okay for me to use it. Well, that was the plan from the beginning, though.
...But man, this cane, I get the feeling I've seen it before somewhere. Although I have no interest in canes, so I shouldn't have had that many opportunities to see it.
Well, whatever. I hold the cane lent by the saint in my hand. Then, gazing at the succubus' army, I hold it aloft.
「M-Master... Master is... amazing, amazing!」
When I do, Yuel who was waiting by my side stares at me with a look of reverence for some reason and begins to shower me with praise. What's going on? I haven't even used any healing magic yet.
...Hold on, something tells me that this look of reverence from Yuel is different from normal. Usually she's sending me a look of respect because she feels happy about my actions, that kind of feeling, but this time the look feels somehow distant. Like she's realized something incredible, surprise mixed with admiration.
「...! S-So that's what it was...」
Seeing Yuel's reaction, Eris seems to realize something too. She's looking at me with a face like she's somehow become convinced.
But well, I have no time to worry about that right now. Very soon, the knights and the monsters will collide. I mustn't misjudge my timing to cast healing magic.
...However, right before the monsters clash with the knights. The succubus comes out in front of the monster army, at a distance where our attack magic may or may not reach, and shouts.
「You may have the numbers, but your victory isn't decided yet!」
Attack magic just barely won't reach. Maybe the dragon could attack her, but Ruruka and the dragon haven't returned yet. Just to be sure, they went to the royal capital to call for reinforcements. If Ruruka and the dragon are going ahead of the reinforcements, in terms of days they should be coming back around today, though.
「Foolish humans, who sealed Evil God-sama! You bastards, how many of your corpses will rot on this soil? Watch and see!」
The succubus is stubborn but she doesn't declare ’’I will win’’, most likely because she realizes herself that she can't win.
Even so, she doesn't make a temporary retreat to assemble more monsters, probably due to the weakness of her ability to manipulate desire. From the fact that she couldn't manipulate the dragon, it's not a perfect brainwashing type of ability. Besides, while their se*ual desires still exceed their other desires they'll remain focused on the succubus and she can influence them, but no matter how much she fans up their se*ual desires, when they get hungry enough they should switch their target to the meat in front of them instead of her. Most likely, after the monsters are gathered for a while, they'll no doubt start to cannibalize each other.
And the saint was also saying something like if she's manipulating them for too long, they'll break free from her control.
Moreover, there aren't any airborne monsters either. This too is most likely because the succubus is using herself as bait to lead the monsters. If she tempts monsters that can fly, she'll likely end up being caught by them.
-As I'm speculating, I see the wide formation of knights intercept the monsters' attacks. The battle has begun. Time to get to work.
Raising the cane, I recite the incantation.
I sense the gathered mana become amplified. From the cane, I feel more than my full power being drawn out. When I invoke the magic, in a single shot its light envelops every last knight.
The knights maintain their ranks, advancing over the monsters' corpses. Each time the knights thrust their spears, a large number of monsters simultaneously fall the ground. However, no matter how much the monsters attack, no knight corpses are produced. In cooperation, the knights cover each other, and they steadily reduce the monsters' numbers. Then for the second time, I set off healing magic there. In the distance, I can see the wounded knights promptly return to the front lines.
「This is an incredible cane.」
After using it, I understood... this cane is incredible.
It doesn't just let me cast magic at a distance. Just as I expected, it also lets me precisely specify the maximum extent of my Area Heal. Moreover, that maximum extent itself is expanded. Furthermore, even though the light of my healing magic was that of a mere Heal, it shined as bright as the average High Heal. Most likely, it had the corresponding effect. Just holding the cane gives me the sensation that my mana is being sucked away, but for me the impact is negligible.
「Yes. Among the magic tools possessed by the church, this is the highest-class item, after all.」
As I listen to the saint's voice, I continuously fire off healing magic.
This is already a total victory. The monsters the succubus brought with her are all small fry. Mostly low-grade monsters that the knights can cut down in a single stroke. I wonder if this is a result of the succubus' incomplete resurrection as well? In a small amount of time, the twinkling of an eye, the monsters' numbers are diminishing. Furthermore, even when a knight occasionally gets injured from a monster's attack, they make an instant recovery within seconds. I knew this from before the start of the battle, but we have an overwhelming superiority.
I take a quick look, and the succubus is gazing out over the battlefield with a dumbfounded face. The monsters' corpses are piling up, but not a single knight corpse has appeared.
...The succubus didn't know about my existence. That was the biggest reason for her defeat.
I hold the cane aloft. And once again, on the knights who are fighting below, I cast healing magic.