Given his previous deeds and the context, Shinichi sounded serious, but Tomoe felt like he was poking fun at her, so she just ignored him and rendezvoused with the skills group.
“…I couldn’t have possibly put you in the vanguard, now could I?” Shinichi said.
Not a hint of tomfoolery was on Shinichi’s face when he said that after she’d left.
That show he’d put on earlier was nothing more than a play to put her in the position that suited her most.
Although they hadn’t known each other for a long time, Shinichi knew that she would never abandon her duties once she’s accepted it.
The reason he told her the truth was to keep her in this mixed class.
After all, there was no guarantee that nothing would happen to her or them again if the culprits for the incident that night were back.
“Looks like it’s almost time for our first battle. Those look perfect for our first match.”
Shinichi looked up ahead.
As he felt the presence coming from there, a smile appeared on his face.
Not even the fosters could notice them as fast as he could.
“3 guard robots approaching at 2 o’clock!” A student said.
“They traveled a long way, but unfortunately for them, it’ll just end in naught,” Shinichi muttered.
It’s been an hour since the guard robots invaded, but the unpaved terrain of the fields were difficult to traverse for the machines.
No one was using the first half of the fields for their exams either, so the guard robots actually had to dirty their armor and spend so much time traveling just to meet the class that was closest to the entrance.
“Prepare to intercept the enemy!” Shinichi said.
“Tsk! Three guard robots already!?” A student said.
“Maybe we should consider running or hiding first— Ah, damn it, they noticed us already.” Another student said.
A few students dropped their shoulders when they saw the light spots displayed by their protectors.
Because they saw that the guard robots were headed straight for them.
“Our weapons can just barely scratch those! And our skills won’t have much of an effect either!” A student complained.
Those machines were designed to deal with criminals, so naturally, such features were required.
But because they understood that, they also understood that they were much harder to deal with than the raybeasts.
“Hey, hey, don’t tell me you forgot what you did yesterday already!?” Shinichi said.
When Shinichi pointed that out, the students all made faces as though they’d realized something.
They were given many orders in the mock group battles yesterday.
Perhaps, there was a strategy there that they could use against the guard robots.
“Those aren’t really much of a challenge compared to Shinguuji, right?”
Shinichi said without the slightest hint of worry on his face, and everyone began smiling.
“Yeah, that’s right!” A student said.
“Come on, guys! Let’s do this just like yesterday!” Another student said.
“Hey, they’re coming into view soon. Vanguards!
Behind the clouds of dust rising from the thick vegetation appeared the guard robots.
The moment they saw the dirty four-limbed white machines, they made their move.
The students at the top of the triangle formation kicked off against the ground and jumped up, opening the formation, so that the rest of students could simultaneously aim their shooters.
“Don’t you dare miss at this distance! ‘Grenade’!” Shinichi said.
“I know! ‘Grenade’!” A student said.
The explosive bullet of light shot straight for the three machines and landed exactly at the legs.
The impact from the explosion spread out, and the machines still tried to move, but they were forced to stop.
The grenade bullets had carved a fissure onto the ground, preventing them from moving further.
Their limbs that were originally just big enough to span the body of a car had been caught by the dents on the ground, then while the machines were still struggling to move, the students that had jumped up
With their momentum bolstered by their descent, their attacks landed right into the body of the robots.
Blades, hammers, and lances hit the armor of the guard robots, but the most they could inflict was a small dent.
Even with the buffs and the momentum from their descent, that small dent was the most they could accomplish.
Or at least that would be the case if their attack had ended there.
More students descended from the sky and attacked the machines.
Sounds of metals clashing resound from the blades, hammers, and spears that descended with the students.
But even then they could only open some minor holes on the machines, nothing fatal.
But that was more than enough.
“I’ll support you!
Three aim marks – a cross inside a circle – appeared in the sky.
As a group of students invoked Lightning and shot at those marks, the cackling streaks of electricity converged together and then bolted out toward the opened holes in the armor of the machines.
The streaks of electricity penetrated the guard robots and wreaked havoc inside, and then in the next moment, a winding down sound resounded from the three guard robots as they collapsed.
Although the machines didn’t look particularly beaten, the circuits inside them had already been destroyed.
“No matter how advanced the technology, once the circuits inside are destroyed, they’ll be nothing more than a dummy,” Shinichi said.
That was the fatal weak point of machines. They had used this same strategy yesterday when fighting Ryou in his exoskeleton.
“We got them on our first try! Alright!!” A student said.
But of course, Ryou was too small and too fast compared to these guard robots, so it didn’t go well.
“We just killed three guard robots instantly, guys! Aren’t we like really amazing!?”
“Well, in a normal fight we’d just get our asses kicked, though.”
“Hehe, we did it, Safina-san!”
“I knew it, B Class is really amazing. I can’t believe you were able to converge so many skills and make them hit the targets!”
“Y-Yeah… Well, i-it wasn’t really that amazing,” Safina said.
This group of students from different low level classes hadn’t even thought that they could win. Their excitement was understandable.
As for Tomoe, she wasn’t used to being praised, so she found herself blushing and at a loss how to respond. Meanwhile, Shinichi touched the guard robots that had stopped moving.
“…As I thought, they’ve been cut off from the network. They’re not being managed by the Control System anymore either but by some internal program. That’s a problem,” Shinichi muttered with a troubled face.
The machines had been destroyed from inside, but he knew that their connection to the outside had already been cut prior.
With that he would have to apply his mana directly if he wanted to take over them.
He would also have to open a hole in their armor just like they did just now.
Although the armor of these guard robots couldn’t block skills perfectly, mana still had a hard time getting through them.
One could force his way through if he really wanted to, but it’s a troublesome thing to attempt and it would require the students a lot of effort on their part.
It was a lot safer to just destroy them, but the fact that an internal program was controlling them now also meant that someone had overwritten the systems of all the guard robots.
That wasn’t something that could be done by someone who just came to Kutoria yesterday or today.
“As predicted, they really have been preparing for this for awhile now. But there’s nothing I can really do about that other than to cheer the teachers on when they investigate the matter.”
Shinichi said, then he turned to the students that were still excited.
The students couldn’t be faulted for celebrating so much. After all, even just this was a huge accomplishment to them.
It wouldn’t be right to rain on their parade, so instead, Shinichi decided to
“You get it now, right? Even if we’re weak individually, if we work together, if we take advantage of our numbers and apply the wisdom called strategy, then even against those much stronger than us───We can fight.”
‘We can fight’
Those words resonated strongly with them.
They were probably the words that they wanted to hear the most.
The words that students like them that haven’t been acknowledged by anyone wanted to hear.
This way of fighting was different from the one taught by the school, but right now, it was the kind of fighting that they needed.
They were already standing
“But of course, just being able to fight doesn’t change the fact that we’re at a disadvantage,” Shinichi said.
“Hey!” A student said.
“Man, you’re seriously…” Another student said.
One moment he was encouraging them, the next moment he was kicking them down.
Shinichi laughed and turned around.
“What I’m trying to say is… Don’t let your guard down. We can’t afford it. Look, they’re coming,” Shinichi said.
“There’s a response on the radar! 200 raybeasts, no 300, no they’re increasing even more!?”
A student exclaimed as he saw the dotted lights on his blaring foster.
Those raybeasts that had spawned from somewhere had already gotten close enough to enter their radar.
Although they weren’t close enough to be seen just yet, the dotted lights indicating the raybeasts covered the direction they intended to go.
Immediately, excitement and glee left their faces as tension replaced them. They gripped their weapons.
“They can’t all be headed here, right!?”
“No they’re spreading out like a fan. Only a portion of them are headed here. But because of that we’ll have to break through them no matter where we go!”
Their destination was the exit of the fields. That hadn’t changed.
And there weren’t many routes they could take to get there in the first place.
All the more so when the number of raybeasts had suddenly exploded.
Even if they took advantage of their numbers, they didn’t have the ability to release a powerful attack or the stamina to fight for an extended period of time.
Neither did they have the penetrative prowess to break through a dense group of enemies.
“If you get it, then that saves me the time to explain,” Shinichi said.
Despite that their leader casually told them that they would be doing just that.
“Dead serious. I told you just now, didn’t I? We can fight. What’s the goal of this exam? Is it to wipe out all the raybeasts?” Shinichi asked.
When Shinichi pointed it out, they realized it.
They didn’t have to kill the raybeasts. That wasn’t the objective of the exam.
They just needed to get to their destination. There was no need to fight needlessly and no need to win meaninglessly.
After changing their perspective and thinking about it again, they found that the situation wasn’t as bad as they’d thought.
“Breaking through while defeating the raybeasts is certainly difficult with our lineup, but if we just pick out an area with fewer raybeasts and avoid battles as much as we can…” A student said.
“In that case, we’ll go through this river! The raybeasts seem to be spreading out toward the opposite direction of the river!” Another student said while pointing at the field map.
The dots of light spread out like a fan were headed deeper into the fields.
The river the student had pointed at was flowing toward the opposite direction of that.
“You okay with this plan, Nakamura?” Yamanaka asked.
Shinichi quietly nodded, then he smiled, seemingly satisfied, as he took out his weapon.
In his left hand was the jet-black pile bunker, and in his right hand was the bright red compressed air gun.
These were the crazy romantic weapons created by the third year hobbyist of the Technology Class, Wernher.
The students looked suspiciously at the strange weapons, but since Shinichi had taken them out, then that must mean that he was going to be fighting too.
Inadvertently, the students gulped.
It felt as though the pressure emanating from Shinichi had doubled in strength.
“I’ll choose the route. Skill group! Keep casting Physical Boost and Accel on everyone else other than me. Don’t forget to recast before the buffs expire. Vanguards! Just blow away the ones in our way! Don’t obsess about defeating the raybeasts. Pierce through the crystals and kill them in one blow! The rest of you don’t forget the roles you’ve been given! If anything happens, I’ll give an order! From here on out is the real thing. I won’t be having any half-assed excuse from you like you’re not ready or you’re not prepared. Understood?”
After giving out his orders in one breath, he smiled a provocative smile.
“Sir, yes, sir!” After saying that out loud, they all cheered.
The morale that had been raised wasn’t about to fizzle out over something as trivial as a swarm of raybeasts.
With Shinichi expressing his intent to fight, that raised morale was spurred on even further.
The mixed class resumed their march, and like that, the attack that would be later talked about in the academy – a legend – began.