Chapter 49: Bee Swarm

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While Erika and Vivi celebrated their victory, a new enemy snuck up to them.

"E-eh!?"

Erika was stabbed in the back. She rotated around to counterattack with her knife, but the assaulter nimbly dodged; it was another Drainer Bee.

What is going on? Weren't they passive mobs...?

The bee thrust its stinger again. Erika dodged by a thin margin and retreated to recollect herself.

"Ack! What is going on!?"

Another Drainer Bee stung her from behind. The bees should have been peaceful mobs, but now two of them attacked Erika at once. It didn't make any sense!

Wha...?

In truth, the situation was far worse than two aggressive Drainer Bees. Every bee in the area was attracted to Erika and itched to drill her new holes. She was in the middle of a huge swarm!

"W-why!? Curses..."

Erika dragged herself around as she tried to dodge the incoming stabs. Each time a stinger dug into her flesh, a portion of her energy was sapped. Her face, her neck and her arms - they were all rusty cogs that struggled to move.

There's no way out... I need to... think of... something...

More than six Drainer Bees swarmed her from all sides. It was a slow and efficient group bullying which erased a bit of Erika's consciousness with each stab. Nonetheless, even if every other part of her body rotted, she refused to shut down her mind. She squeezed every available brain juice to analyze the situation.

Strangely, the Drainer Bees didn't express interest in Vivi. The first aggressive bee they encountered clearly aimed at Vivi, yet this whole swarm was focused solely on Erika.

The RPG veteran had a hunch. When she killed the first Drainer Bee, Erika was sprayed by an odd, yellow aura. Her body still radiated this faint smoke even now; she was marked for execution by the bee colony.

"Ah! Like, shoo! Go away!"

"No, Vivi! Don't shoot-"

Erika's words rang too late. Vivi released a quick gust and blasted a Drainer Bee. Regrettably, the bee didn't perish and its attention now shifted toward Vivi; it was a grave mistake.

"Vivi, you should run! They all try to kill me!"

Erika started running, to draw the bees away from Vivi. Her upper body was almost entirely dead, but her unharmed legs moved just fine.

"Ah! W-who do you think you're attacking!? I'm the great Vivi!"

Sadly, Vivi didn't heed the advice. She was startled whenever a bee approached her, fearing that she'd be attacked. Therefore, she struck first! ...thus, digging herself into a deeper hole.

Seriously, that silly pixie...! Curses!

Erika gritted her teeth and backpedaled toward Vivi. With three irritated bees seeking revenge against Vivi, Erika's plan fell flat. It was mandatory to first kill these bloodthirsty bees, before doing anything else.

"A-ah! Like, get away from me!"

Vivi appeared tense and nervous, but she managed to dodge the incoming jabs. Same as the bees, Vivi was quick in midair and she was a tiny target to boot. As far as defensive play was concerned, the pixie could hold her ground.

While the enraged bees were busy with poking Vivi, it gave Erika the opportunity to sneak up to them. She slashed down the distracted bees without much effort, they were squishy targets. Her vision was hazy, but the Combat Aid made the slashes connect.

"Haa... haa... Vivi, run back to the village... while you can..."

Erika choked out this final message. Her vitality was severely drained, she was going to collapse any moment now.

"H-hmph! Like, if you beg so much, then the generous Vivi may as well comply!"

Despite the loud words, Vivi made a conflicted expression. A vague emote over Vivi's head notified that she wasn't comfortable with this arrangement. Nevertheless, she obediently darted away as instructed.

To ensure that Vivi could safely flee back to the village, Erika dashed in the opposite direction. She turned off [Communication], as she needed every last drop of energy to keep her legs working.

"Agh... ah..."

The Drainer Bees pursued her without mercy. They stabbed Erika in the head. In the neck. In the back. In the arms. In the shoulders.

It was a miracle that her legs continued to function when the rest of her body was no better than a corpse. Even her thoughts were slipping away from her now.

Now... it should be safe... to die...

Erika threw a faint smile at the huge swarm behind her. She did a decent job as a decoy and Vivi's safety was assured. Zelin City was already in sight, they almost reached their destination this time. Erika was going to die yet again, but she would fare better next time and would finally reach Zelin.

"Eh...?!"

Clarity washed over her for a moment. All her relieving thoughts vanished into thin air when she noticed a skyscraper in the form of a sunflower.

【Windflora King】

A short distance away from the city, this monster stood firm. It was identical to a Windflora, only it was bigger.... much bigger. It was at least 3 meters tall and its stem was no thinner than a bamboo tree.

You gotta be kidding...

Erika forgot all about the pain from the stings, forgot all about her fatigue. All her thoughts were fixated on the giant flower.

The Windflora King directed its big head in Erika's direction. She fought enough Windlofras, she knew what was coming next.

The Windflora King bombarded the land. A tornado erupted from its face and shook the world.

Ah... I'm flying...

Erika was high in the air, flung like little rock. In her final moments, she entertained herself by glancing at the Drainer Bees; they were also caught in the same explosion and were ripped to shreds.

Serves you... right...

Her body pummeled into the ground and squished.

【Congratulations! You died.】


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