The Hero of Regression – The Talentless Boy Vows to Protect His Childhood Friend, the Female Hero, This Time Around – Chapter 72

𝐀𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬

“Take this!!!”

After sending Allan and his team back to Asgard, Imina finally confronted the swarm of monsters head-on, putting up an incredible fight.

Wielding Mjolnir—a magical hammer modified by the world’s best craftsman, Dwerk Dwarflord, who is also her grandfather—Imina swung it with the tremendous power and skill of a Hammer Saint, annihilating numerous monsters in a single blow.

His performance closely resembled the unparalleled spectacle once shown by Blade in Rin’s hometown; it was a feat worthy of the title Holy Warrior.

“Tch! What a hassle!”

However, these adversaries were no mere cannon fodder to be easily slain by a great hero.

Each one had earned its right to survive in the vast labyrinth known as the Celestial Mountains, and now they were led and even imbued with immortality by a unique tribe of demons.

It wasn’t likely they would fall so easily to a hero’s attack.

Yet, Imina was far from outmatched.

Thanks to the Hero’s Party cutting down the monster population as pocket change, their numbers had halved.

With the support of golems and Iron Dwarves, it was not an unmanageable fight.

The real issue was the other, far more formidable creatures mixed in with the strong beasts.

“Grrrr!”

“Whoa?!”

Suddenly emerging from the pack, the one who unleashed a particularly fierce attack was a lion cloaked in pure white fur.

A mature-aged Murder Lion.

Presumably, this individual led a different pack than the one she defeated the other day.

Last time, she took advantage of a moment of weakness to land a surprise attack, defeating it in one blow. But if fought head-on, even for a Holy Warrior like Imina, it would be a formidable opponent.

“Shh!”

“Danger?!”

Next to charge at her is a massive, elderly wolf with pitch-black fur.

A mature-aged Dark Wolf.

Not only does it match the Murder Lion in combat capability, but it has also gained wisdom and skill through age, mastering the art of ambush from the darkness by utilizing its black coat.

It never directly confronts Imina, sticking to hit-and-run tactics, and meticulously targets any openings created during battles with other formidable foes.

The most annoying enemy.

“Hee-hee!”

“Eek.”

“Whoa?!”

As the Dark Wolf retreats, Imina is now hit with a simultaneous attack of thunderbolts and blizzards.

Quickly neutralizing the assault with a strike from Mjolnir, she looked to see where the attack came from. There she sees a horse enveloped in lightning and a one-eyed rabbit that carries an unusually commanding presence.

A mature-aged Bolt Horse and a mature-aged Snow Rabbit.

A horse that controls lightning, and a rabbit that controls blizzards.

They are in charge of the enemies’ long-range attacks.

Due to their precise supporting fire, she can’t fully engage the Murder Lion or Dark Wolf who approach for close combat.

And what was even more problematic was. . . . . .

“ROOOOAR!”

“Ugh?!”

A dragon with a rocky exterior roared as it charged, launching a full-power stomp at Imina.

With a massive body spanning 20 meters and an equally immense weight brought down with tremendous power, even Imina found herself forcibly pinned to the ground.

While she managed to guard with her weapon, a moment’s lapse would mean being completely crushed.

The formidable adversary who has pushed Imina, the Holy Warrior, this far bears the name of the Rock Dragon, a high-ranking species among dragons.

This creature is one of the monsters referred to as “high rank.”

In this context, it proved to be the most formidable and troublesome foe.

“Don’t underestimate me, damn it!”

However, Imina was also one of the strongest heroes.

As the lone Holy Warrior who had defended the dwarf village to this point, she channeled her power throughout her body, simultaneously unleashing the power of her Thunder Hammer.

With a single, concentrated blow from close quarters, she shook off the massive foot of the Rock Dragon, which was trying to crush her.

“『Thunder Hammer』!”

“GYAAAAAAAAAAAAA!?”

Wielded with the full force of the Hammer Saint, the world’s greatest weapon shattered the dragon’s formidable shell, searing and cauterizing the wound. Furthermore, electric shocks permeated from the wound, paralyzing the beast and halting its movements.

To press the attack on the immobilized Rock Dragon, Imina leapt to strike its head with Mjolnir.

However,

“””GAAAAAAAA!!!”””

“””WAOOOOOON!!!”””

“”HEEEEEN!!!””

“””KYUUUU!!!”””

“Damn it! So annoying!”

Her attack timing was ruined by a kamikaze assault from a horde of monsters.

Although she wiped them out with a single blow from Mjolnir, more kept coming like an avalanche, leaving her no opportunity to attack the Rock Dragon.

Adding insult to injury, a Dark Wolf blended into the crowd aiming for an assassination, making it impossible to deal with it casually.

Using the time bought by the monsters’ lives, the Rock Dragon had fully recovered.

(I can’t keep doing this!)

Imina screamed inwardly.

It’s been like this over and over.

Every time she lands a good blow, interferences prevent her from delivering the finishing strike, allowing the foe to recover.

Although the number of minor enemies has been decreasing, since the golems holding them off are also diminishing, it doesn’t significantly impact the overall situation.

The key is defeating the main force.

It’s disgustingly strong, to the point of becoming detestable.

Depending on the species, monsters originally in the prime or high-rank class are so strong that they can engage in a proper battle against the Holy Warriors, the pinnacle of humanity’s strength.

However, it’s crucial to note that they can only engage in a proper battle; in most cases, the Holy Warriors emerge victorious, and in terms of skill, Holy Warriors are superior. But that’s in a one-on-one, direct confrontation.

When surrounded by a multitude like this, the story naturally changes.

(I boasted too much to Allan and the others, I should’ve left someone behind!)

Words that would nullify her previous heroism.

At least she hadn’t voiced them out loud.

However, the fact that she’s having such thoughts means the situation is really bad.

“BOOOOOOOOO!!!”

“Enough with the self-doubt! There’s nothing to do but fight! Bring it on!”

Reinvigorating herself with a shout, she faced the Rock Dragon as it opened its massive mouth to unleash its breath.

She could dodge, but she would rather intercept.

After all, dodging would mean the breath would hit the village behind her.

Though she doesn’t think the Saint’s advanced barrier would break from a single breath attack, she can’t be sure when stray shots from the Four Heavenly Kings might arrive, so minimizing the strain on the barrier is best.

Imina gripped Mjolnir tightly, bracing to counter the breath attack head-on, but. . . . . .

“BOGYA!?”

“Huh?”

Suddenly, the Rock Dragon’s massive body swayed.

The culprit was a 5-meter tall Iron Dwarf, with a body made of alloy.

Taking advantage of the opening created by the other golems at the cost of their lives, it delivered a punch to the side of the Rock Dragon’s face with a force incomparable to that of humans.

Due to this, the breath attack veered off course, wiping out some of the monsters instead.

It was unthinkable.

A golem operating remotely from its caster shouldn’t be capable of such complexity.

It could fight the enemy in front of it, sure, but there was no way it could carve a path through enemy lines, assess the situation, and follow Imina like that.

If such an unthinkable event had occurred, there could only be one explanation.

“””Imina!”””

“What’s everyone doing?!”

Turning toward the voice, there stood the women of the village, gathered within the barrier.

They were the ones controlling the Iron Dwarfs, helping Imina.

“Get back! It’s dangerous!”

“What are you talking about?! We can’t just hide and leave it all to a young girl!”

“But!”

“Besides, normally we wouldn’t, but with this barrier protecting us, we can fight here!”

“Ah!”

Yes.

Normally, it would be too dangerous for these women, who had no means of combat other than golems, to stand on such a chaotic battlefield.

However, thanks to Rin’s barrier, a safe zone was secured.

In this situation, they could focus solely on operating the golems from within the barrier, without worrying about defense or evasion.

“I overlooked that. . . . . .Can I rely on you?!”

“Of course!”

“We won’t put all the burden on Imina forever!”

“Besides, we wanted to go all out with the weapons the men have been troubling us to create!”

When asked for help, the response was reassuring.

These women may not have combat experience, but they are competent individuals who have been supporting a village full of eccentric Dwarfs.

Imina felt as if she had gained a million allies.

And that analogy wasn’t entirely incorrect.

“O Light Spirit, guardian of a corner of the magic’s reason.”

“Infuse life into the earth, give it form.”

“Create a warrior to stand against my enemies.”

“””『Earth Doll Creation』!”””

Once the incantations were complete, the Earth Doll Creation spell was activated simultaneously.

New golems were created from the remains of previously destroyed golems and the earth beneath them. They picked up weapons used by their predecessors and marched toward the enemy.

When the caster is nearby, the number of golems could be infinite as long as magical power persists; they were virtually indestructible in some sense.

The advantage of numbers and immortality that the monsters had was now in their hands.

Furthermore, now with operators, the remotely-activated Iron Dwarfs started fighting with movements far sharper than before.

There were nine Iron Dwarfs present, with one destroyed by Asgard.

Two of them coordinated with other golems to provide covering fire with gatling guns, suppressing the lesser monsters. Four faced off one-on-one against Murder Lion, Dark Wolf, Bolt Horse, and Snow Rabbit.

The remaining three launched a unified assault on the Rock Dragon.

They clung to Rock Dragon’s massive body, firing gatling guns at point-blank range and drilling into its rocky shell.

“RROOOOAAARRR!”

Apparently, even a masterwork of skilled craftsmen like the Iron Dwarfs could hurt the Rock Dragon; it screamed in agony, attempting to shake off the trio by twisting its body.

One was thrown off by centrifugal force, another was sent flying by a swift flick of the tail.

However, the one equipped with arm-mounted drills stubbornly clung on, continuing its assault and inflicting damage on the Rock Dragon.

And so the Rock Dragon was utterly. . . . . .

“It’s full of openings!”

With cries of jubilation, the strongest forces of the dwarf village spring into action.

Thanks to the efforts of the Iron Dwarves, both the low-level monsters and mid-tier ones are held at bay, while the Rock Dragon desperately tries to shake off the drill units attached to it.

With everything so perfectly set up, there was nothing left to fear.

“『Thunder Hammer』!”

“Rooarrrrr?!”

Imina’s all-out attack explodes onto the head of the Rock Dragon, which had hardly any time to dodge.

However, the opponent is a high-ranking dragon.

Not an enemy that can be taken down with a single blow.

Even though the hit was a critical one, it only caused a significant crack in the dragon’s skull.

It was not a fatal wound.

“Take this, and this, and this!”

But if one strike won’t do it, then she’ll just keep hitting until it falls.

Up until now, she had been unable to pursue because of interference from other monsters, but now she can unleash her attacks freely.

As if venting all her pent-up frustration, Imina swings her thunder hammer again and again and again.

And so, the head of the Rock Dragon is finally shattered.

“One more round!”

Still, Imina doesn’t let her guard down.

All things considered, she’s a warrior who has lived for over fifty years by human standards.

Living for that long means accumulating a variety of experiences and knowledge.

She had already understood the nature of the monsters’ immortality without needing to ask Allan and the others.

She knew exactly how to kill them.

Imina’s further attack erupts towards the Rock Dragon, which is still trying to move despite losing its head.

The target is the heart.

Those mutated by the demon who wields the bluish-black blood acquire the same traits as that demon. Like the original, their hearts become the source of regeneration.

In other words, as long as the heart is not crushed, it can endlessly regenerate.

Knowing this, Imina relentlessly and mercilessly smashes open the chest armor of the Rock Dragon, destroying its internal heart.

“Alright!”

Thanks to its head being crushed, it could only move in a monotonous manner, making it easy to deliver the finishing blow.

With that, the most troublesome enemy has been defeated.

However, she still can’t let her guard down.

The Iron Dwarves have already taken significant damage in this battle, and those holding back the mid-tier enemies won’t be able to last much longer.

While the Iron Dwarves are holding out, it’s crucial to quickly reduce the number of enemy forces.

“But, it looks like the tide has finally turned in our favor. There’s nothing like having good comrades. Alright! Let’s keep up the pace and. . . . . .Huh?!”

Imina, who was about to charge at the next enemy with momentum, suddenly felt a chilling sense of danger that made her spine tingle. In an instant, driven by that feeling, she instinctively leaped away from the spot.

A moment ago, where Imina had been, an attack resembling a bluish-black beam of light passed through.

Unavoidably piercing through Imina’s side.

“Ugh?!”

“Imina?!”

“What just happened?!”

The women are thrown into disarray by Imina’s sudden injury.

However, maintaining her calm with innate skill, she immediately repositions the three Iron Dwarves to form a protective shield around her.

Seeing her reliable comrades, Imina grits her teeth against the pain and glares in the direction from which the attack came.

“So you dodged it. I aimed for the moment right after your victory, when you would be most likely to let your guard down. But it seems a Holy Warrior like you won’t be taken down that easily.”

Standing there was a man with silver hair and a cold, stunning beauty, dressed in the style of an aristocrat.

At first glance, one could mistake him for a human, but upon closer examination, his skin had the pallor of a corpse, and his canine teeth were sharp like fangs.

Moreover, emanating from the man was a menacing aura, as if to say that such external features were trivial matters.

One’s instincts screamed that this individual was an enemy.

There was no doubt—this man was an enemy of humanity, a demon.

And not just any demon; his characteristics were of the sort that would go down in legend—as the worst of the worst.

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