It has been ten days since I -Kuromiya Haine- have come to Rudras Metropolis.
I am now here for a completely different reason than the time I arrived here.
We had come here to prepare for battle, prepared for the possible arrival of the Demon Lord.
We actually suffered from a hard battle, but it wasn’t a battle with the Demon Lord, it was because of a battle called preparations for the wedding.
In this time when there was only ten days before the wedding, they understood that the preparations were not proceeding to an extent they didn’t expect.
The reason was because of the workaholic levels of Juo and the current head that is Shiva.
Moreover, the people in question think that being buried in work is natural, so it was truly troublesome to drag them out and make them participate in the preparations of the wedding.
Of course, the preparation itself is being done by specialists of the trade, but there will be things that only Shiva and Juo themselve can decide on, so they have to participate as well.
Hyue was the one who dragged Juo out, and I -an outsider- dragged Shiva out.
“Aniue-sama obediently hears what Haine-dono says after all.” (Hyue)
Hyue said as if that were a matter of fact.
And so, when we received requests of support from the ones in charge of the preparations, we would look for Shiva. It is not as if he is always shut in his office, there are times when he leaves to do inspections and visits, so it was common to search for him and drag him back.
In the free time, Karen-san, Doraha, and I enjoyed touring Rudras Metropolis, and in no time at all, the day came.
Day of the wedding.
The festive mood of Rudras Metropolis, that has been enveloping the whole city since ten days back, was now at its highest peak.
Everyone was already so high in excitement that I felt as if deaths might even appear from all that.
Well, celebrations are kind of like that, so it should be okay as long as they are careful.
“It is great to see you here. Can you please show me your invitation? …Yes, yes. Then, please head to the ceremony hall. This is the pamphlet. There’s precautions you have to take written in it, so please read them before the ceremony begins.” (Haine)
For some reason, I am doing receptionist work.
It is not as if I am not thinking ‘why?’, but I do understand that we are lacking in personnel, so it can’t be helped.
“At the time of leaving, we will be giving out a commemorative present, so please do come to accept it….. Well then, enjoy the ceremony.” (Haine)
Even so, I have attended a good number of guests and am beginning to gain some leeway.
And when I was doing this, Doraha and Karen-san approached me.
The girls had dressed themselves to participate in the wedding ceremony and looked like high-class ladies.
“Do you want to go to where the bride is before the ceremony begins?” (Karen)
Is what she said.
It is apparently okay to leave my reception job, so I headed to the waiting room of the bride with Karen-san.
And what about the groom, you ask? Who cares.
When we arrived at the waiting room, there was already quite the density of people there.
“Juo! Congratulations on your marriage!!”
“I have come to celebrate.”
“Ya can now make babies with yer head held high up. Make sure to do it like crazy tonight.”
The ones surrounding the pure white Juo-san were women that were around their twenties.
When looking only at that, it would be a simple group of friends having a pleasant talk, but when looking at it carefully, the members of it are quite the big deal.
Previous fire hero, Abi Kyouka-san; previous water hero, Ra Sarasa-san; previous earth hero, Iemon Yoneko-san.
And the bride Juo-san is basically the previous wind hero, so it would be a gathering of the previous hero team.
“Ah…so you girls were also invited to the wedding?” (Haine)
When I ask, they made a cheerful expression befitting of this great day.
“Of course. We have to stand witness to the best day in the life of my friend, or it would bring to shame my name as a previous hero!” (Kyouka)
She had received a heavy wound from the fight with Michael, but it looks like she has completely recovered.
“We did receive a polite invitation after all. No matter the case, this is the wedding of the Wind Founder, so the other churches sending envoys to celebrate this is a matter of course. If I am the one to go, it would be two birds with one stone.” (Sarasa)
Sarasa-san says with a big proud face.
“I have left Sasae-chan defend the fort~. Those girls been leaving and having us defend the fort all the time lately, so this be the time for us ta spread our wings.” (Yoneko)
Yoneko-san says with a bright smile.
Hearing this pained the ears of Karen-san as the previous light hero was still missing and, even with that, she was out in another nation.
I could only make a bitter laugh.
“Well, even if we didn’t have anyone ta protect the fort in our absence, we would have still come here today.” (Yoneko)
“That’s right. We have to celebrate the important day of our important friend after all.” (Sarasa)
“Juo-san is a comrade that fought in the same team as us. We have to share the happiness with everyone.” (Kyouka)
Is what the three said in good will.
Hearing this, Juo was teary.
“I am glad that I participated in the hero match…! To think I would be able to meet such great friends as you all…! I will treasure these connections the rest of my life…!” (Juo)
“Yeah, go ahead and do that. Of course, second to your groom, that is.” (Kyouka)
“No need to throw the bouquet at us. We are already married after all.” (Sarasa)
“I want everyone ta have babies, so that my children can get more friends~.” (Yoneko)
Everyone speaks out their mind as they hug.
…What a sight.
When they were first introduced, the previous heroes hated each other’s guts so much, but now, none of that is left.
I am surprised how humans can have such sudden changes, or more like, there’s nothing difficult when humans get along with each other.
As I thought…
“This is proof that the world is changing. Even humans and monsters are beginning to get along with each other! It is obvious that heroes would get along as well!!” (Karen)
Karen-san was incredibly moved.
In this heartwarming view, something disturbing caught my eye.
A gaze that was peeking from the small opening of the door.
I can only see a part of it, but that face that can be seen from the opening, it is that of Hyue.
Hyue, why are you doing that and not entering the room?
In the end, Hyue left just like that, leaving the young bride team and Karen-san.
I left the room and chase after Hyue.
- 359: One other stage
Chasing after her in a corridor where there’s no one, I was finally able to confirm the figure of Hyue.
Seeing her outfit that I couldn’t see from the door’s opening, I was shocked.
“That appearance…!” (Haine)
Isn’t that a battle costume?!
The kind that a hero wears to fight monsters. Clothes that prioritize movement and defense.
It is an appearance I am used to seeing her in, but today was a day where it was abnormal.
Today is a day to celebrate the wedding of Shiva and Juo. There should be a dress for such occasions.
Even Karen-san has taken off her usual armor and has come in an evening dress that matches her age to attend the ceremony.
If Hyue who has the biggest connection with the bride and groom is looking like that, could it be…
“Haine-dono, I won’t be attending the wedding.” (Hyue)
She directly said that.
And she did so without stopping her steps, so I hurriedly had to follow after her.
“Not attending?! Why?!” (Haine)
“I have already told Aniue-sama. Even if this is a festive day, we can’t neglect the defense of our nation. There’s the need to station the minimum of security and someone to command them.” (Hyue)
“And the one commanding them will be you, Hyue?” (Haine)
“A hero is one that stands at the front of the military force. This is natural.” (Hyue)
That might be the case, but…
“Isn’t there anyone else? Shiva and Juo-san would be happy if you were to attend the wedding though.” (Haine)
From the series of conversations I have had since coming to Rudras Metropolis, I have grown certain of something.
Shiva, Juo-san, and Hyue get along incredibly well.
Hyue may show unbecoming jealousy as a sister and would look like she hates Juo at a glance, but Hyue and Juo actually acknowledge and respect each other.
That’s why this decision is probably not from negative emotions like not wanting to congratulate the two or things like not wanting to make the mood bad.
I also don’t think this is because of a sense of duty like Hyue had said just now.
To use a reason like that to not attend the wedding of his actual brother, there’s no way Hyue is such an unsociable person.
“As I thought, I can’t escape from Haine-dono.” (Hyue)
Looks like we have arrived at the destination as we did this exchange.
We were continuously walking as we went on after all.
I was simply following Hyue, but…isn’t this the laboratory of Juo?!
And the thing in front of us is the divine tool robot that she made together with Juo, the Wind Mobile Gun, Kukulkan!
“We made time in between the preparations of the wedding and finished it-de gozaru. The Wind Mobile Gun, Kukulkan.” (Hyue)
“But why today of all days did you come here?” (Haine)
“Because it is needed-de gozaru. I have to bring out the full potential of this guy when fighting!” (Hyue)
Hyue swiftly enters Kukulkan, activates it, and flies away from the storage.
“Uwa?! Hyue! Wait!” (Haine)
I was flustered for a moment, but the exit of the storage was linked directly to the outside of Rudras Metropolis.
If I were to report this to Shiva or someone to that effect, there’s the possibility I will lose sight of Hyue.
I have no time to be hesitating.
“Kugh… [Dark Matter, Set]!” (Haine)
I used the repulsion of the dark matter to fly, leaving the laboratory to chase after Hyue.
Kukulkan easily surpassed the mobility of a normal ethereal car and quickly advanced through the barren wasteland.
Even so, this wasn’t a speed that I couldn’t keep up with, so I followed her from her back, and in time, she stopped.
“Haine-dono! To think you would be able to follow me all the way here, as expected of the ally that Aniue-sama acknowledged!” (Hyue)
No, it isn’t such a big deal though…
We were quite a few ways away from Rudras Metropolis. It is at a distance that one can see the moving city whole. With this much of a distance, no matter how much of a ruckus is made, they wouldn’t notice.
“What are you planning on doing all the way here, Hyue?” (Haine)
Weren’t you supposed to be taking command of the security of the city?
“Now that we have come this far, I can’t hide it from Haine-dono anymore. If possible, I want you to not interfere. This was my agreement with that person.” (Hyue)
“That person?” (Haine)
“That person said that they would be keeping the agreement. That’s why I want to keep my part of the agreement too.” (Hyue)
“That’s a good attitude.”
Suddenly, a whirlwind occurred in front of us.
It rose up a cloud of dust and completely blocked my vision for an instant.
“Ugh! What is going on?!” (Haine)
The whirlwind soon subsided and there was one abnormality floating at that same place.
Colorful butterfly wings and full-body armor covering his whole body.
“Wind Demon Lord…!! Raphael?!” (Haine)
To think he would appear at the day of the wedding!
“It has been a while, Kuromiya Haine. Whenever I appear in front of humans, you would almost always be there. You and I may have quite the annoying fate tying us.” (Raphael)
Is what the full-armored Demon Lord said with a sarcastic tone.
The first Demon Lord I met was also the moment humanity first encountered a Demon Lord.
At that time, he had a different kind of fantastical look. He had the look of a child with butterfly wings.
The reason why he is wearing that full-body armor is because he was about to be killed by me, so he is now in that armor to compensate for it.
“Now that I think about it, it was my mistake to be convinced that I had given you the finishing blow there.” (Haine)
Now that the enemy has shown himself, I have to seal my agitation and concentrate on the matter at hand.
“If you are planning on making a mess of Shiva’s wedding, if you haven’t forgotten your animosity towards humans, I have no choice but to erase you without leaving a single remain of you.” (Haine)
“Just what I want. Kuromiya Haine, you are the biggest threat in eradicating the humans. Overcoming that is basically the same as achieving our objective. Fighting you now and fighting you later would be the same thing.” (Raphael)
…As I thought, this guy doesn’t plan on stopping his battle with humans.
I thought that if Michael, Uriel, and Gabriel had joined the side of coexistence, he might have had a change of heart seeing those comrades of his, but…it looks like that was just a hopeless dream.
“Please stop, Haine-dono.” (Hyue)
I was about to take a step forward, but Kukulkan’s giant hand blocked my way.
“I asked you just now-de gozaru. To not interfere at all. That’s the agreement we had-de gozaru!” (Hyue)
- 360: Duel
“Agreement… What agreement are you speaking of?” (Haine)
An agreement between Hyue and Raphael that a third party can’t intrude in had already been sealed.
“Kuromiya Haine, you know of my power already, right? The power I inherited from my mother, Beelzebub. The ability to divide my cells into insects.” (Raphael)
That’s exactly the ability that made it so I couldn’t kill you after all. Moreover, the insects he is divided into are the size of cells, so there’s no way for a human to notice that one of them has flown off.
“I have already had several of my selfs infiltrated in the city. In order to gather information for the most appropriate time to attack.” (Raphael)
“How unscrupulous!” (Haine)
“My bugs should have been able to infiltrate without being noticed by anyone. But that didn’t happen.” (Raphael)
“There was someone who noticed my supposedly unseeable selfs. That wind hero over there.” (Raphael)
“You underestimate me way too much. My sharp senses that were trained with the Wind Long Gun technique can easily catch that presence of yours that I already know too well of.” (Hyue)
“Because of that, I had a better opinion of her and got motivated to do my move. That’s why I had an agreement with her.” (Raphael)
He used the fact that he was detected in his infiltration to his advantage and made contact with Hyue, exchanging this agreement.
“I challenged Raphael to a one on one duel.” (Hyue)
“So she told me to come today to do exactly that.” (Raphael)
A formally issued duel?!
“Hyue! Why did you do that?! Confronting a Demon Lord on your own is not a sane thing to do!!” (Haine)
“Killing Raphael for certain is not something easy-de gozara nu. And in reality, not even Haine-dono managed to completely kill him, and the root of evil has lasted till today.” (Hyue)
Can’t say anything against that.
“In order to defeat him, there’s the need for proper preparation-de gozaru. Thus, it was necessary to have a fixed date for the battle.” (Hyue)
“Meaning, you have a plan?” (Raphael)
Raphael adds in with a provoking tone.
“Are you telling me that trump card is Kuromiya Haine himself? It is certainly true that if he were to have another chance, he might be able to kill me for sure. You could even call it the most effective of moves. But I wouldn’t say this abides to the agreement of a one on one duel.” (Raphael)
“Don’t misunderstand. Haine-dono is an unexpected intruder. An unwanted third party-de gozaru.” (Hyue)
What a terrible way of putting it!
“The one who will be killing you is none other than me. It is the duty of I, the wind hero, Toreido Hyue. Defeating the Demon Lord is the job of the hero!!” (Hyue)
Hyue makes the engine of Kukulkan roar.
“I will have Haine-dono act as the witness of this duel. I once again ask of you, do not interfere!!” (Hyue)
“But, Hyue…!” (Haine)
“If you are to participate, please do so after I have been defeated and die. That’s my stand as a hero-de gozaru!” (Hyue)
I could tell from her expression that there was unbending will.
The kind that, if I were to not listen to her request here, she would never forgive me.
Of course, I have no obligation of accepting her request.
Even if the other Demon Lords have become friends, the Demon Lords themselves are still a threat to humanity.
In order to avoid the danger for sure, we should crush them with our all when there’s the chance.
Then, it would be best to have the two of us fight Raphael.
I couldn’t answer with anything else -faced with such resolve.
“I am in your debt.” (Hyue)
Hyue gives me a short sign of gratitude.
She was already locked onto Raphael, not allowing him to escape.
“Sorry for the wait. Then, just as agreed, let’s have a one on one.” (Hyue)
“It won’t change anything though. I will be killing all the humans in that city. This simply means you will be the first one… And so… What’s with that over-exaggerated outfit you have?” (Raphael)
Raphael says with a scoffing tone as he looks at Hyue.
Looking at the metallic robot that Hyue is riding in.
“It is ugly and exaggerated. You thought that if you were to cover your whole body with such a thick shell, you would be able to protect yourself from me? You look like a turtle who has withdrawn its limbs!” (Raphael)
“Don’t misunderstand. This Wind Mobile Gun, Kukulkan, is not something made for the sake of allowing me to survive, it is something that was made to kill you. Human’s tenacity, human’s wisdom; learn that with your body as you travel to the realm of the dead!” (Hyue)
The signal to start was a gunshot.
Gunfire that the Wind Mobile Gun of Hyue spewed out.
“[Wind Gun, Gatling]!!” (Hyue)
The several gun barrels in a ring-shaped bundle, equipped at the right arm of Kukulkan, began to revolve.
Wind bullets were scattered at terrifying speed matching the revolutions.
What was shot from the wind divine tool were all compressed wind bullets.
That’s why there’s no moment where it would run out of bullets, and in theory, it is possible to shoot infinitely.
“How stupid! You think something like that will work on me?!” (Raphael)
It is just as Raphael says.
The Demon Lords are the summit of monsters born from the four Base Elements, and the strength of the divine power they possess is one that wouldn’t lack at all with their title.
It is on a level that would completely overwhelm humans.
As proof, the tornado that Raphael created with a single flap of his wings had repelled all the bullets of the gatling gun and was now heading towards Hyue!
Hyue was hit by the tornado, but she somehow managed to resist it.
The armor of the robot she is riding is not just for show, and because of its weight, it wasn’t send flying by the tornado.
On the other hand, she used both arms to rip the tornado apart.