Shaman 52: Ant and Mantis

The Shaman can't become a Hero

Act 5: Worst Harem Party

Chapter 52: Ant and Mantis

And lucky for us, the Big Ants weren’t that strong after all. We had 0 injuries, and they had 20 deaths, making it a perfect victory.

Their black shells weren’t as tough as an Armor Bear’s and bladed weapons worked well enough. It was harder than a Goma or Red Dog, so Natsukawa-san had to aim for the joints most of the time. The fire from the Red Saber and Red Knife was super effective as well. They were a big factor to our win. We just happened to be equipped with weapons that those monsters were weak to, talk about a lucky break.

Plus, I didn’t see any of that acid spit I was worried about either. Our fighter team’s weapons had gotten well doused in the Ants’ emerald green blood, but didn’t look like they were melting or rusting away at all. So I guess these Big Ants don’t have any poison? What they also didn’t have were any cores, unfortunately.

“Eww... it’s soo gross...”

But though we’d won by miles against these Big Ants that were in fact smallfry, I guess girls and the creepy crawlies don’t mix in any world.

“Bear it for now, Minami”

“Uuuu, no way... Asuna-chan, you can handle this?”

“Just barely”

“And Futaba-chan, you—?”

“Eh, me? I’m completely fine”

Wow, Mei-chan, you’re making me moist. I imagine I’m pretty used to corpses by now, but these gross insect cadavers makes your skin crawl at a whole new level. Even as a guy, I’d rather look away. Souma-san and Class Rep have been doing exactly that as much as possible, and Takanashi-san is in tears already.

Anyway, we made sure to be wary of more Big Ant attacks, and progressed further along the cave— no, I could call it, the Ant’s Nest.

But as we go along, I am made to realize my mistake. This isn’t an ant’s nest, but a Cave of Insects. They come, the come, many other big insects, creeping, crawling, they come.

But well, a majority of those were simple bugs. They didn’t have any particular hostility towards us, so were different from actual monsters. Grasshoppers, caterpillars, wood lice, even ones I’ve never heard of... Swarms of these pests were crawling on the ground around us. Their size would be considered big by normal standards, but they only went upto fist size.

So even if it made you a bit sick, the relief of safety was the more prioritized emotion.

I’m not especially good with insects or anything. But strangely, I’m pretty alright with this. Maybe it’s because I’ve been going through this fierce life-or-death dungeon survival that I can stay relatively calm amongst these large bugs that many people would instantly faint upon sight.

Though yeah, if I happened to see any suspicious ones, my Intuition Pharmacy can tell if it has poison or how dangerous it is. So I can have some peace of mind that way too.


Aaand, there goes off another piercing scream provided by Takanashi-san. The reason being: our torches-cum-light fairies were being crowded around by some big moths.

“Not again... I will burn them with my intense light, so everyone get back”

Seriously, why do you gotta do this every time? Wastes time, and mana too. Look there, Mei-chan has moths sitting on her shoulders and isn’t even batting an eye. She keeps walking all the same. Yeah I know. It’d be unfair to want that level of iron-heartedness from those girls.

Also, Intuition Pharmacy already told me how these don’t have any poison. So they’re not something to be afraid of.

After that, we took care of a few more Big Ant swarms, and were progressing steadily. Then,

An ominous hum of wings echoed inside the cave.

“Careful guys, we’ve got a big one... it’s here”

From beyond the loose curve of the cave appeared a mantis. Donned in dark emerald carapace, it had the characteristic long and thin mantis-like shape. But the main point of interest would be its long and sharp scythes. An actual mantis would use those forelimbs to only grasp onto its prey, but this one looks like it would use them to actually slice them apart. Its two scythes we’re shiny, metallic, and looked extremely sharp.

At around 2 meters in height, it was quite big compared to the Ants. If you count its long and slender abdomen, it would easily cross 3 meters length-wise. With that massive frame, it was buzzing away with its fanned wings, and flew in really fast as if sliding over the ground.

Armed with large blades, plus the high agility of its wings, the Mantis displays more than enough danger to be a threat to our safety.

“Let’s use magic first. Don’t close in carelessly”

“It’d be great if we could finish it with ranged attacks but... If it does end up close, be careful”

Souma-san nocks an arrow of light on her bow, and Class Rep holds aloft her ice wand. The frontliners also draw their respective weapons.

In response, the Mantis raises the both scythes, spreading them in a show of intimidation. Both sides geared for combat. Any moment now, arrows of light and ice will fly, and the fierce battle will— inside all that tension, the hem of my uniform gets a light tug.


We’re kinda busy here, I think while turning around, whereupon Rem faces behind us, and readies her spear. You idiot, the enemy’s in front of us see? Must be a bug in her programming, is not something I’m so dumb as to presume.

“There’s Ants behind us!!”

Soon enough, we heard that loud droning again coming from the path we’d left behind.

“Eh?! this is craz—”

“Watch out!”

The Mantis accelerated with shrill noise coming from it’s wings, commencing its assault. Souma-san and Class Rep’s magic arrows were supposed to launch at this timing, but because I called out to them about the attack from the rear, they lost focus.

Both Souma-san and Class Rep had, for a moment, diverted their attention behind them. But the Mantis had begun moving so they had to shoot anyway. In a hurry, they shot their magics with terribly weak aim. As a result, the light and ice arrows flew in a straight line and made impact only around the Mantis’ feet, as if trying to avoid the creature. They didn’t serve to stop it, or even slow it down.

But though the Mantis used its new momentum to start its onslaught on our vanguard, I could no longer afford to keep watching the action. The Ants closing in from behind had at last come into visible range.


“I’ll do something back here, you handle the Mantis!”

I’m reminded of that recent trouble with the Zombies. It’s the same thing again. If I can hold them off until Mei-chan gets rid of the Mantis, it’ll be our win.

Big Ants are kinda strong compared to Zombies though.

“Putrefy, in the depths of vile red— Rotten Bog

What I can do is also the same as before. I can only use Rotten Bog to hold off the invasion. Will this bog really work on these tough-shelled insect monsters? I can only hope. If it doesn’t, I’ll have to make do with Blackhair Bind.

“Souma-san, support the vanguard, Class Rep, help us here!”

“Eh, but—”

“What the, Momokawa-kun, you can’t just give us orders!”

Crap, I forgot. I didn’t have even a speck if leadership ability. There’s no way they’ll simply listen if I ask like Mei-chan would. Souma-san and Class Rep are fully aware of the Mantis in front of them and the Ant swarm behind getting closer by the second. But they’re divided between the two and can’t make a decision. Or more like, they’re almost panicking already.

Goddamn, I don’t have the any time to slowly convince them.

“Class Rep, I’m begging you here! Rotten Bog!!”

The first bog I made was on the ground. This one, on the walls. The Big Ants are insects and as such, they can come crawling along the walls just fine. Whether it’s 90 degree walls, or the ceiling even, they walk along the surface as if ignoring gravity.

Implying, even with the ground and walls on both sides bog-ified, it won’t be enough.

Shit, this is a problem. I need to have my blood stick to manifest the bog. The curse seal on my palms can spray out, but not far enough to reach the ceiling.

Gotta do something, gotta block them somehow, or those Ants will get too close—

“We can stop the ants with Class Rep’s wall! Fuck, here goes nothing!!”

Along with some words of persuasion, I shove a hand into my bag of stones that I’ve yet to use. I take out a small pebble.

As I’m grasping it, I release blood from the curse seal. I would’ve thought getting a bit of blood on it would be alright, but that’s not what happened. Maybe this is an effect of Black Bloodline, but the spat out blood crawled bubbling all over the pebble, fully engulfing it.

I feel like, this is gonna work. With that conviction, I throw the bloodied pebble up towards the ceiling.

“Spread out, Rotten Bog

Awesome, it worked. As soon as the pebble knocked on the surface, bubbling crimson bog expelled from that center-point and shrouded over the ceiling.

With that, all 360 degrees were wallpapered in poison. And if Class Rep could raise her Ice Shield on our shore, the defense would be perfect.

“Let’s go Rem! Cover me!”

Ga Ga Ga!”

Man, Rem’s so cute how she listens so well. Now, let’s show ’em your new powers appropriated straight from the Armor Bear!

I grip my spear and stand together with Rem. At last, the Big Ants have started stepping into my Rotten Bog.

GIIIIII! One cries out shrilly.

“Yes! It’s melting!”

My utmost thanks, Ruinhilde-sama. Your esteemed curses have worked swimmingly against these insect curs.

With hard sizzles, the tips of their pointy legs are were melting away. Their posture was slowly crumbling. They kept coming nonetheless, but at the point where they were melted up to the middle of their legs, their bodies finally splashed in. Like those Zombies, the Big Ants also tasted the acid defeat of my poison bog.

Blackhair Bind!!”

However, the time that Ants needed to melt into complete incapacity was clearly longer that Zombies. Must be their shells. The first one that entered the bog died pretty easily, but from the 2nd after, they were running fast enough to just barely cross it.

Of course, we can’t let them pass or we’re screwed. I’ve been using my Blackhair Bind and Rotten Bog combo to sink the Ants one after another.

But my Rotten Bog can get fully covered with a mere 10 or so Zombies. Compared to human-size Zombies, these Ants with their big frames will fill it up in not time.

Uaah!? What fell just now!?”

With a huge splash, something black-ish lands in the middle of the Bog. A large volume of acid rose, and almost reached all the way to us. That was close.

Looks like what fell was an Ant with its legs melted. It must have been caught in the ceiling bog. With the legs melted first, its body had only to be released down.

It’s great that I could seal off the ceiling route that’s hard to defend at, but with Ants falling from above too, the ground bog was being buried in them even faster.

This is bad. At this rate they’ll make their bridge of corpses too fast.

AAah, go to hell!”


I keep manipulating my Blackhair Binds and also attack the Big Ant that’s already come to the edge of the pool. We strike our spears into it in full force, pushing it back into the poison. Rem and I both don’t have much muscle to speak of, but we weren’t weak enough to fail in taking down something already half melted.

That being said, that right now was too close for comfort. I honestly don’t know if we can last another 30 seconds.

“C’mon Class Rep! We’re dying heree!!”

Kuh Pierce, Ice Sagitta!!”

Finally, we got our magic support, now we can win this!


“You concentrate on supporting our fighters Sakura, I’ll help back here— Ice Shield

In a moment’s time, thick walls of ice rose powerfully in front of me. Those Ants overflowing the bog were steps away from the wall. Now stuck behind the shield of frost, they could only uselessly pick at it with their melted legs.

They looked like suffering denizens of hell being punished in the lake of fire. Hahaha, melt away you mongrels.

“Yes, we can do this, we’re doing this... now sink! Blackhair Bind!!”

With support fire, plus a reliable barrier of ice holding off the enemy, our fight suddenly had the tables completely turn to our side. I got excited as hell, and went wild with my blackhair tentacles, while also making good use of my spear.

There were two, three walls of ice raised with gaps between them enough so that the Ants couldn’t pass through. Using those gaps, me and Rem dealt the Ants already suffering in acid, a nice helping of spear.

“—Ice Sagitta



And somehow or other, we fought off around 20 or so Ants.

Haah... haah... I-is it over...”

Yeah, shouldn’t have jinxed it.


A single Ant was attempting to jump over the Ice Shield.

Crap, it’s the last survivor. And to make things worse, we killed a lot of them at the pool’s edge so their bodies had piled up enough for it to climb and make the jump.

As I’m thinking, it became too late. The Ant was already in front of me.


The first one to react was Rem. She went to intercept without so much as a word from me. Really, how upstanding.


But Rem doesn’t have that much power still. Even if it’s only one Big Ant, she isn’t strong enough to win in a head-to-head match. No, she’d lose in fact. Rem has her trusty spear on her, but she’d be outnumbered by the Ant’s powerful mandibles and two arms 3 to 1.

But as long as I’m here, Rem won’t be doing this alone. If it’s just one Ant, I can easily bind it up. As long as it’s not moving, we don’t have to bother anyone else about it. Rem and I can skewer it with our spears.

Souma-san or Class Rep could use their magic... but the Ant is in a really bad position. It practically pounced into the middle of the rearguard, so any close range magic attacks might hit someone. Looks like Class Rep is also troubled whether to shoot or not.

Well then, the best choice in this situation would be to capture it using Blackhair Bind so she can fire at ease. So I didn’t panic and calmly invoked the curse.

“Blackhair Bi—ind!?”


With that piercing shriek, my curse was disrupted. She slams into me, almost making me fall.

“Kyaaa! Noooo!”

Uaah, wait, hey, Takanashi-san!?”

The one committing such an act was of course, Takanashi-san. As if she was using me as a shield, I was tightly grabbed from the back and couldn’t move as I wanted. And She was shaking me so roughly, neither do I have the calm to cast my curses, nor can I get into position to use my spear. There’s a life-threatening monster right there, and we’re messing around like idiots.

But as for why this girl, the only person in the party who doesn’t play any role in fighting, suddenly panicked so hard after the monster got this close— I really don’t have the time for any psychological analyzing right now.

“Let go! Let go hey!! I can’t fight like th—”

“Nooo!! Save me! Souma-kuun!”

There’s no awesome Hero here dumbass! We can handle a damn Ant without Souma-kun so stop being a pain.

Like, you can just use your Word of Rejection and protect yourself dammit! Why aren’t you doing that, stupid idiot!

“L-Let me go dammit!!”

“Kyaa!! Ouch!?”

I forcefully shook her off of me. I may be weak, but I can sure as hell manage something with my strength if it’s against the petite and slender Takanashi-san. But in contrast, I can’t hold back.

In other words, she bashes hard on the ground. Takanashi-san isn’t a sporty girl to begin with, and splendidly failing to break her fall, she fully allowed gravity to do its work. Ouch indeed.

But before I can pity, I gotta do something about this An—


The Big Ant’s sharp forelegs were coming at me full swing. Rem— has her spear stabbed into the Ant’s abdomen and giving it her all to stop it from moving. But the Ant’s life force isn’t weak enough to be deterred by a mere spear.

It’s over, I can’t stop it anymore.


It was a miracle I didn’t die then and there. The two scythes only cut lightly at my left shoulder and below the arm on my right. They’re only flesh wounds, but it hurts so bad I want to start rolling on the floor and cry.

No well, try as I might to endure it, I can’t fight back at all, so it’d be no use. In its next attack, I won’t be so lucky—

Pile Bunker

The Ant’s body exploded like a water balloon. Pieces of it’s thick, black, and metallic carapace flew off like it was made of the thin rubber.

“Kotarou-kun, are you hurt?”

Ah, that’s right, in the end, Mei-chan’s the only one always looking out for me.

“Thanks, you saved me... and the Mantis?”

“It was close, but we beat it”

As I follow the gently smiling Mei-chan’s gaze, I see its head removed, both scythes torn off, wings made into shreds. It was the Mantis’ gruesomely massacred corpse. From the results, it would seem like it was a one sided slaughter, but Mei-chan said it was “close”, and both Natsukawa-san and Kenzaki-san look tired too. It must’ve been a tough opponent.

“No wait, Kotarou-kun, you are hurt!”

“Ah, no, it’s ok... stings like hell though”

Yes I’m weak so I can’t act tough forever. Like, it hurts you know? I said it was a flesh wound, but those do hurt. It would’ve gotten into my meat in just a bit more. And Mei-chan who can go, “Kuh!!” and endure stuff like this, is simply too handsome for words.

“Souma-san, can you come heal Kotarou-kun?”

“No, I’m good, my meds can handle stuff like this...”

“No can do, there’s a limited supply of those right? And with magic you can heal up right now. So Souma-san, can you please hurry up?”

“... I will start with Kotori”

Souma-san made a stern face and said. She made a quick glance at me, and quickly started going over to Takanashi-san who was lying sprawled and crying a river.

“Souma-san, aren’t you getting the picture? I’m doing all this so you can atone to Kotarou-kun you know?”

“I’m afraid I don’t see what you mean. Girls should be given priority in treatment, and that is simply what I’m doing”

Awkward silence ensues. Mei-chan’s expression had frozen in that smiling state but... This is dangerous, is what I honestly felt.

“Sakura! Look at that, Momokawa-kun’s wound looks serious. He’s bleeding too, so you should do him first right?”

The one who repaired the broken air was our ever-reliable Class Rep.

One moment later, Souma-san nods.

“... You’re right. I’m sorry, I didn’t see that well”

“Ah, sure... I don’t really, mind...”

Then, feeling an infinite level of awkwardness, I received Souma-san’s Healing Light. My first experience of healing magic. It’s efficiency was so stupidly good, my ointments seemed like trash in comparison.