Chapter 51 — Explosive Power
The kobold commoners who had been running around frantically since the beginning of the fight collected themselves and started throwing stones at Soran. Even though the stones did not contain much power, it would still hurt when they hit, especially when volley after volley of them came flying. Despite his high Dexterity of 20, he could not avoid all the attacks due to the limited space and was hit a few times. As the saying goes, little drops of water make the mighty ocean; the accumulated damage received from the rocks might prove to be fatal.
With his past knowledge of spells, Soran instantly identified the spell used by the crimson-scaled kobold and rolled away. He could still remember the Ground Blade Style used by drows; with a single slash, he cut off the legs of three kobolds. Players always jokingly called it the barrel-roll style, as it focused on avoiding attacks and retaliating through low movements such as rolling and ducking. It looked like something cowards would do, thus it did not give people a good image. Nonetheless, most close-quarters combatants learned at least parts of it because it was effective in group fights where everything was a big mess. Rangers, warriors, and ronins could choose to advance to the profession Ground Blademaster, which was renowned for its combat prowess in group battles.
It was a combat style which required the user to have high coordination, agility, flexibility, speed, and even strong inner organs. Dual-wielding drows were masters at attacking lower areas such as the stomach, groin, and legs. Soran had once seen one of them sever the thighs of a dozen enemies in one single slash; the enemies all fell to the ground dismembered before they could even touch the drow's clothing.
True masters in combat rarely stayed in the air for extended periods of time even if they could, as there was no leverage to give additional power or to unload power from incoming attacks. It was also inevitable for one to show openings when landing, making them vulnerable to attacks in that timeframe, even if it was only a short one. The most they would do was leap into the air and swoop down at the enemy. Thus, compared to jumping, rolling was much more practical.
The fire on Soran was extinguished after he rolled on the ground. However, the kobold sorcerer moved its palm toward Soran; the flames from the spell followed suit and pursued him. It was one of the more troublesome Level 1 spells, as the caster could freely change the direction of the spell as long as it was still in effect. Soran grit his teeth as he lifted up the corpse of a kobold and threw it with all his might at the kobold sorcerer. Fifty pounds was barely within the weight range of things he could throw as weapons. The dead body struck the sorcerer head on, interrupting and ending the spell. But that was not without its price; the kobold warriors leaping and rolling around Soran cut him twice while he was tossing the corpse.
Soran turned his body as he stood up, grabbing the ankle of a kobold while doing so. The kobold let out a cry in fear, but he ignored its cries and swung it like a club, forcing the surrounding kobolds to back off. Soran let go of the kobold as if he was hammer-throwing, and sent it flying away. With a great leap, he jumped out of the kobolds’ encirclement as they were distracted for a moment.
It was crucial not to get surrounded by enemies in a group fight. When trapped in an encirclement, the advantages of high reflexes and agility disappeared due to the limited space available for dodging. In the end, the surrounded person would have no choice but to take the attacks head on.
Soran took out his enhanced crossbow once again and fired at the kobold sorcerer. The kobold archers took out their bows and fired at him as well, but their archery was not good enough to hit Soran, who was running around at high speeds. Instead, their shots landed on their brethren.
Soran unsheathed his curved sword and swung it as he spun in a full circle, blocking an incoming arrow. Perhaps because he felt awesome, he continued to parry another three incoming arrows with his sword instead of dodging them.
Soran dashed toward the crimson-scaled sorcerer; spellcasters were bad at close-quarters fights, and their Constitution was nowhere as high as warriors’ either. He was confident that he could split its body into two in one hit.
The kobold sorcerer pushed out its palms at Soran, an icy blue glow enshrouding the outstretched hands. He was immediately struck by a freezing aura, and a layer of frost began forming from the tip of his curved sword all the way to his eyebrows. It chilled him to the core, his arms turning stiff from the cold.
Soran ground his teeth as he endured the Level 1 spell. Forcing his body to move, he continued to rush at the kobold sorcerer and delivered a slash. Formless dark energy gathered on his blade, and he beheaded it with a single slash.
Ice and frost formed by spells did not last long, especially so after the mana supply from the caster was cut; the frost on Soran's body shattered and melted immediately.
Spellcasters were simply such dangerous existences. Fortunately, the troublesome kobold sorcerer was finally dead. Without looking back at its dead body, Soran kicked the ground and lunged at the kobold archers that were quite some distance away.
Once the kobold leader died, there was a high chance that their ranks would collapse. This meant that they would flee, having decided it was impossible to defeat the enemy. It was also the reason why kobolds could not be completely exterminated; they were simply too good at running away, with them splitting up and running in different directions. The only feasible ways to completely annihilate a group of kobolds were to surround them with numbers or snipe them with ranged weapons.
After going through so much trouble, Soran naturally did not want his prey to escape. Before the kobolds' morale plummeted, causing them to flee, he would have to slay as many of them as possible. The complicated terrain of the forest made it hard for Soran to catch the kobolds once they fled; it would be a waste to let hundreds of Slaughter EXP go.
The death of their leader caused some of the kobolds to panic. The weak-hearted ones were about to flee, while the braver ones were still struggling between fighting and running away. There was only one enemy after all, not to mentioned that he was injured.
After making up their minds, the kobold warriors once again tried to surround Soran. They still had the advantage in terms of numbers; they would not run away until over half of them were killed.
The battle had lasted for a few minutes already at this point. Soran, who was using his explosive power to its maximum, had consumed considerable stamina. As such, his movements were gradually getting slower. Even though he still managed to avoid most of the attacks, some still landed and injured him, albeit not fatally. Getting injured in the wild was something inevitable, especially when there were so many enemies. His leather armor effectively protected him from the arrows, and most of his injuries were either shallow cuts or bruises from the stones thrown at him. Contrary to his expectations, the kobold archers were not as threatening as the stone throwers. He was struck more times by stones than by arrows, perhaps because the archers were trying their best not to hit their allies. The stone throwers, on the other hand, did not worry too much about it as they knew they could not kill the other kobolds with stones. The most they could do was make their allies shout in pain—nothing more serious than that.
What truly hurt, though, were the Level 1 spells Burning Hands and Icy Hand. The former dealt 8 burn damage, while the latter dealt 6 cold damage. If he had not levelled up his profession to Level 5, he would be suffering from heavy injuries after getting hit by the two spells, lowering his combat prowess by half.
His stamina was decreasing while his injuries were worsening; even Soran felt a bit powerless.
He was not a warrior; a Level 5 warrior equipped with chainmail armor would be slaughtering the kobolds as if he was chopping up meat for dinner. When equipped with a shield, things were even easier. The only thing warriors had to pay attention to was their stamina. If they were too slow, they would get kited by the kobolds and would not be able to close in on the kobold sorcerer. Armor heavily affected one's movement speed and agility after all.
Level up the profession Rogue! Soran said in his mind.
With twenty or so kobolds left, Soran promptly decided to level up.
“The profession Rogue is now Level 6.”
“Received 24 [DEX 20 + (INT 18-10)*0.5] Skill Points, HP increased by 11 [Profession HP 6 + (CON 19-10)*0.5].”
“Received 1 Free Attribute Point, 1 Ability Point, and 1 Weapon Point."
Left with no time to assign the other points, Soran assigned the attribute point to Constitution, increasing it from 19 to 20 and reaching the threshold for extraordinary Constitution.
Having 20 Constitution made everything different, bringing Soran back to his peak condition instantly. Vitality surged from within his body, and the accumulated fatigue blew away as if it had never existed. His wounds became itchy as they started to heal, and he could no longer feel pain from the bruises caused by the rock throws.
Soran, who had been sluggish, demonstrated his explosive speed and power once again. The curved sword flashed through the air, splitting a kobold into two halves. He took in a deep breath, then kicked the ground to launch himself into the air. As he landed, he spun his body along with the sword, killing two kobold archers in a single slash; even the wooden short bows were cut apart.
Even though he had yet to learn the combat ability, Soran manually performed several rogue techniques with his replenished stamina. He did another full spin on the ground, his sword cutting through everything in its path; three kobolds had their upper and lower bodies separated after the spin. Immediately after, Soran pulled back his blade and stabbed a kobold that was rolling toward him, pinning it to the ground.
The kobolds' morale finally fell apart. The commoners all dropped their stones and weapons and fled into the forest. Even the kobold warriors were showing signs of fear; the enemy seemed to have gotten stronger all of a sudden.
Soran continued to attack mercilessly, cutting off limbs and heads every time he slashed. One after another, the kobold warriors were killed. Soran went on to slaughter the kobolds who were trying to escape, but around ten of them still managed run away. They crawled through bushes and ran into the forest and were soon out of his sight. Tracking them down was troublesome, thus Soran did not bother to do so.
Soran sheathed his sword and let out a sigh, then began to bandage his wounds.
The arrows did not deal too much damage, as they were stopped by his leather armor, but the grazes and cuts on his legs were different. They had to be bandaged, or else they would worsen over time.
Rows of data appeared:
"No longer in combat!"
"After a tough battle, your have improved your skills!"
"Evasion (Body-shifting) +1, Evasion (Rolling) +2, Listen (Position Perception through Wind) +1."
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