Absolute Shopping Addict 68 Chapter 68/
Absolute Shopping Addict 68 Chapter 68
Vastillo's primitive appearance was based on his Mongolian origins: long hair, a mult.i.tude of tribal markings and tattoos visible on his shirtless form.It was a contrast to the awakener looming above him, decorated with various accessories and carrying several weapons.Only a moment was needed before the battle began in earnest."Nothing personal, but I have to take you out," Jake said nonchalantly as he began the a.s.sault, jumping down with a slash."What?"Vastillo only managed to utter a single word before the sword came down; he was surprised due to Song attacking him multiple times already, but never in the heart of his camp.The blade never got to meet him, as a thin layer of translucent red mana sprouted from around his body, stopping the slash cold.Despite the advantage of surprise, Jake never counted his attack to connect; thanks to his briefing, he did know that Vastillo is a division leader, even if a minor division like Froad.The sword crashed loudly into the shield, and Jake's attack was rendered useless."What are you?" he asked at Jake.The only answer Jake gave him was another powerful slash from that glittering two-handed sword he had on him, its force stopping Vastillo in place even as the mana protecting him kept him from being injured.He reared back to slash again, but before Vastillo could conjure up a counterattack, he had to bring up his shield again as a blob of what looked like water crashed into his shield, bouncing off after a part of it evaporated into a cloud of steam on impact.Despite the power in those swings and the upgrade Jake's own water skill had, the shield held – it even had some form of elasticity to be able to defend against the Aqua Sword.Jake flinched as he also felt the effect of the shield on the Aqua Sword, his weapon linked to his magic via his bankroll ability.Vastillo took that chance to use his own explosive skill, throwing a red ma.s.s at Jake with a long-practiced movement.'c.r.a.p.'An explosion blasted the cloth walls of the command tent off, and nearly everything else around it.""How dare you? You don't even know where you're at, huh?" Vastillo asked as he watched the aftermath of the explosion.'With a clean hit like that, you're in trouble,' he thought, believing in the power of his skills."Nice trick, do you do New Year's?" a voice asked from the smoke."What the—" Vastillo said, caught off guard as he heard what appeared to be his opponent from within the smoke.'I threw one of my grenades at him in close quarters! How the h.e.l.l is he supposed to sound fine? d.a.m.n it! This is why I try to avoid using my skill at this close a range, can't see anything!'
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The smoke clouding his vision prevented him from seeing how his enemy survived the explosion, but within a blink of an eye, he suddenly had other things to worry about, as a glittering blade made a beautiful curve in the air before it violently crashed onto Vastillo.The shield allowed him to see that Jake survived the blast due to the armor set he was wearing; must have protected him from the brunt of the explosion.He backpedaled as soon as the slash bounced off."Give up trying to break my mana shield!" he yelled confidently as he threw another explosive at his opponent. "I just need to hold you here until my reinforcements arrive, and you'll be dead meat!"Jake's answer was a blank stare as he dodged the blast easily and used his speed to throw another slash at Vastillo, at the same spot where he swung at his enemy before – but the shield once again deflected his attack.It was the tone of the fight for the next few moments: Vastillo stepping back and throwing explosive blasts, Jake persistently taking the explosions before getting in close and striking the exact same spot in Vastillo's mana shield persistently."Keep it up, stupid! You're not going to break it!" Vastillo said after laughing at Jake's foolishness: repeating the same attack, even though he knows he can't break the mana shield?However, when Jake emerged from another explosion, the blank expression was now replaced with a smile.'What is he smiling about?' Vastillo wondered. 'He's wasting his time and my men will return. He's a goner after that.''Once they've returned, I can make enough distance from you to use my secret skill, and have my men keep you busy so I can finish you off.And this secret skill of mine can pierce through that overrated armor of yours.It's only a matter of time before you're dead, so what's that smile on your face for?'Despite his obvious disadvantage, Jake was still smiling while pressing the attack, and Vastillo couldn't shake the belief that something had gone horribly wrong.It all came to a head just a few moments later, when he heard the first crack.'What's that noise?'Vastillo found himself cornered, and before he could make good his escape, he heard those cracks again, throwing a blast to keep his enemy away.However, he miscalculated and ended up having to take another hit so he could evade again, and this time, the cracks started getting louder.'What's going on here? Wait a minute…'After he dodged an attack and saw that the sword was once again aiming at the same spot… that was the moment when he realized the awful truth: the sounds he was hearing were the sound of his mana shield beginning to crack.He could see splinters beginning to appear from the spot where the shield was cracked, and when he turned to his opponent, the smile had become murderous."Your a.s.s is done. My Bankroll is still plentiful."***The battle wasn't just in Vastillo's command tent; outside his barracks, there was an ongoing fight as well.Song was currently engaged with the remainder of Vastillo's troops, the ones who weren't around to support Hammer's group.This fight wasn't Song's specialty, as Froad's members don't like close combat – they prefer to stand from a safe distance and throw fire spells at their enemies, as befitting a division consisting of mostly mages and wizards.'b.a.s.t.a.r.ds,' Song thought at Froad's own footwork skills, something a magic user needs to evade attacks and maintain distance while throwing magic attacks at the enemy.It was a necessity for all magic users in Nohas to learn, and Froad's skills in footwork were just as good as any other division, despite their lower rank.Song, who was thought to be strong enough to surpa.s.s the name of Evergreen, found himself grudgingly impressed by this footwork.Another factor here was that Song was currently engaging a third of Froad's troops: if he found himself fighting enemies one by one, he'd have an easier time.But they were all fighting at once, throwing spells in memorized patterns and antic.i.p.ated spots to keep Song on his toes.'I don't have to defeat all of them, just keep them busy while Jake does the job,' Song thought. 'You're Evergreen's last hope, you'd better provide the goods.''I wanted to take on Vastillo myself, but I don't have enough trust in you to watch my back…'Song thought it would be too risky for him to let Jake keep the remaining soldiers busy and prepare their escape route.If Jake gets overwhelmed by the Froad's awakeners and decides to run away while he was confronting Vastillo, he could see what would await him.'…but this is the only measure I have left. I still have to secure our escape route, and I know your way of fighting has higher chance to break through his mana shield.Also, this is the best moment to strike: the awakeners of Froad have grown complacent with their victories and their blockade; they have let their guards down.Now is the time to strike.'"How dare you!" an awakener yelled, and Song cut him down.Several awakeners approached, trying to break through Song's chokepoint and to the command post where their leader Vastillo was located.This was a serious situation, and if the troops that went to support Hammer knew about this, it would mean the end of the operation.'We're running out of time!' Song thought, looking to the command post and hoping Jake finished the job quickly as he warded off another group Froad's awakeners trying to get to their leader.That was when he saw a man in armor running towards Song from the command post."Come on, let's go!" Jake Smithson shouted.***'Okay, let's see my points,' Jake thought, his vanquishing of Vastillo nothing but a memory.'No guilt whatsoever. It's war, right? Kill or be killed.Besides, this guy set me and Liam up to get killed. He gets no compa.s.sion.Still, though. That is an impressive number of points.'Jake let out a low whistle as he saw his point stash.Vastillo left points when he was killed in battle.A significant amount of points.Two hundred thousand points, to be precise.'Whoa, I get a 'first kill bonus'?'Let's see here: Vastillo's bounty is 100,000 points.Plus, I get another 100,000-point reward for securing my first bounty kill.Well, I guess the value of an awakener's life is around 200,000 points over here, Jake noted wryly. And this is a lot better than hunting monsters. I'm not a fan of killing people, but…'It was here that Jake realized that Nohas is a lot different from Earth: Nohas is a place that doesn't regard killing or murder that highly.That was why Jake was finally more comfortable with it."That way!" Song shouted, pointing towards a direction as they ran from Vastillo's camp full-throttle.'I'll bother myself with the details later,' Jake thought as he ran side by side with Song, putting those thoughts aside for now. 'I'll think about it when I return to Evergreen or something.'"What's that?" Jake said as he squinted his eyes and saw a man standing in their path."I don't think he's from Froad," Song replied as they ran further down the path, towards the man. "He doesn't have the Mongolian hairstyle Froad is known for. It's some sort of… knot…""Top knot," Jake said, and saw Song come to a stop. "It's a samurai thing… what's wrong?""f.u.c.k," Song replied as soon as he heard 'top knot' – he was able to identify the one standing before them."What do you mean?""We're in trouble""What do you mean, 'in trouble'?""That man is an awakener from Musashi, one of the Ten Stars."***