Serende is a neighboring country of Mejis, but it has the lowest influence from the Yugura Church after Torin which is the furthest away.
The biggest reason could be said it is because they have the least harm suffered from Nethers.
There would be times when devils of the Mejis Nether would head to Serende, but the devils with intelligence understood that it would be more efficient to hunt for humans in the nearby Mejis rather than Serende.
There may not have been diplomatic issues between Mejis and Serende regarding this, but they maintained a sense of distance between each other.
“That said, to think they wouldn’t show a proper cooperative stance despite there being a dangerous individual in their own nation…”
The reality that the demon Nektohal was infiltrated in Serende was hidden.
This is because they didn’t want Serende to do any arbitrary moves while the resident of Yugura’s planet was hitting their base in Torin.
Thus, we of the Holy Knight Order showed up, and explained the situation to them for the first time, but…the result was awfully empty.
We were given freedom to investigate, but Serende themselves have not taken any cooperative stance at all.
We may only be on the scale of a platoon, but I don’t know about them not placing even one lookout soldier on us.
It is weird for me to complain about being able to move freely in a foreign country, but it really does make me think as someone who protects a country of my own.
“Yox-sama, we will soon be arriving at our destination.”
We are currently heading to the historic ruins of a medium-sized settlement in Serende.
The comparatively peaceful Serende had the surplus and intention to preserve relics of the past.
They have the tradition to keep the remains of fallen countries and the temples built in the far past.
The place we are currently heading to is a nation’s facility that’s said to have fallen before Yugura founded Serende.
“Alright. Now then…will the key work…?”
I direct my attention at the key I am holding.
There’s no one who would think this is a key when you look at it from the side. It is a geometrical substance that was processed with several metals after all.
The theory is apparently that it interferes with a specific mana wavelength. In that case, it doesn’t even need to be in the shape of a key.
We arrive at the ruins, and I look around.
There are dilapidated buildings lined up, but there’s no signs of people living here.
I move ahead while holding the key and the key let out a mysterious sound as if resonating with something.
“Mouth shut… I see. This person called Tsudwali is a more troublesome individual than I imagined.”
The construction that was right in front of my eyes just a few moments ago didn’t look like it was in a state to be used at all.
But the sight of it changed right after the key resonated and returned to being a facility in its past glories.
Nektohal and his group restored the place where the ruins were and turned it into their base while Tsudwali hid it with a dilapidated appearance using her technique.
Serende treasures the past relics, but they don’t do excessive cleaning to those places.
Basically, it is a perfect place to use as a hideout.
I can clearly tell there’s traces of this place being used. In that case, it wouldn’t be strange for enemies to be hiding nearby.
I have my subordinates draw their weapons and have them be wary of the surroundings.
Should we use detection magic? We should if our movements have already been read.
But if the enemy has not noticed our intrusion yet, we would be wasting this opportunity for an ambush…
…We don’t know the depths of the enemy, so we should consider the worst development here.
I order the use of detection magic at the same time at my signal.
I can tell the tension of everyone in the platoon shot up in one go.
I synchronized the timing by lowering my fingers, and had everyone activate detection magic at the same time.
The equipment of Holy Knights has magic seal stones embedded in them, so the scope of the detection magic was spread in one go while avoiding the spots where our comrades are.
The detection range is smoothly being expanded, so there’s no possibility of there being magic seal stones inside the facilities.
And then, there was the reaction of a single person with high mana in the shadows of one of the nearby facilities.
My subordinates confirmed this too and ready their swords in that direction.
Someone with this much mana should have noticed our detection magic. No, them being in a place like that in itself means that he knows that we have come.
“Aah, there’s no need to be that wary. I have absolutely no intention of surprising you. I was thinking about how to show myself in a way that would be the coolest though. You simply used detection magic before I could think of any good ideas and couldn’t act cool…”
The one who showed from the shadows was a single young man.
There’s nothing resembling equipment aside from the sword on his waist, yet he was acting nonchalant despite many holy knights pointing their swords at him.
Long orange hair and his facial features resemble the portrait.
“Yeah, I am called Arcreal Aishia. Well, Aishia is the name of my dead master which I simply took though.” (Arcreal)
“Aishia… Could it be that you were the disciple of the Devilish Swordsman Aishia?!”
Devilish Swordsman Aishia was an adventurer that made a name for themselves at around the same period as the Eyes of Truth Ritial Zentry.
It is said that his skills don’t fall behind those of the strongest knight of Taizu, Salvet Ragudo.
“Haha, master really was famous, huh. Even though they were that weak. And so, there’s no mistake in saying you are the captain of the Holy Knight Order, Yox, right?” (Arcreal)
“That’s right… Where are the central figures: Nektohal, Ritial, and Raheight?” (Yox)
“Ritial would reprimand me if I were to tell you that. Well, you can see that we moved. Ritial told us that it would be about time for the resident of Yugura’s planet to come after all. I thought I would be able to greet them if I were to stay here though. Holy knights of Mejis coming here means that…aah, you must have come to capture Seraes, didn’t you? Even I can tell.” (Arcreal)
So Nektohal and his group have already moved from here?
But the fact that Arcreal stayed here means that it shouldn’t be that far from here. There’s no doubt it is somewhere within Serende territory.
If we capture the man in front of us, we should be able to grasp the current location of Nektohal and his group, but…if what’s said is true, this man has strength comparable to that of Hero Yugura.
This won’t be easy.
In what way should I be perceiving this situation?
“…Then, I will have you spit out the location.” (Yox)
“Oh, wanna fight?” (Arcreal)
I can tell he is strong even if I don’t want to. But the mana I can feel with my skin is not that unbelievable.
It is lower than that of the Great Devil that defeated me in Taizu…
“I have heard of your strength. I don’t plan on choosing my means.” (Yox)
“I don’t mind that, but I would be grateful if those weaklings over there didn’t move. I don’t really like cutting down way too weak people. It discourages me.” (Arcreal)
“Don’t get provoked. He is not someone that sporadic attacks will work against.” (Yox)
I can tell the anger of my subordinates rose up with him belittling them. But attacking carelessly without making use of these numbers would be nothing but suicidal.
I give the signal and spread them out to surround Arcreal.
There’s 40 people on our side including me. All of them can fill the role of frontline and backline, and also excel in supporting with magic.
“I am not provoking them though… Right, I have to show my strength a little bit here, or you won’t acknowledge it, huh.” (Arcreal)
Arcreal unsheathed his sword without a care.
A sword without many defining features. I don’t feel any abnormal mana either, so it doesn’t seem to be a magic sword.
8 holy knights attacked from all directions at my signal.
8 holy knights behind shot magic, and the remaining ones get ready to deal with any actions Arcreal does.
He is showing this much leisure despite facing this many people, so there’s a high chance he will be using some strange power.
I will analyze that power without letting my eyes wander for a moment!
“I won’t be using any technique though.” (Arcreal)
The head of the first holy knight that slashed at him flew. The body of the holy knight that had his sword almost reach was sliced in two.
The following people had their lives dropped with one swing one after the other.
He avoided every single spell shot without any difficulties.
All 8 had been sliced down in a single breath.
“One last warning: weaklings, don’t move. If you don’t, I won’t kill you.” (Arcreal)
The exchange of Arcreal just now wasn’t something I couldn’t follow with my eyes.
All the holy knights here most likely could see his movements.
Arcreal simply swung his sword a little bit faster than his opponent without any flare.
“All hands, switch to offensive magic. I will step in!” (Yox)
I don’t think the other holy knights will be able to deal with the speed of Arcreal.
He managed to deal with everything despite having attacked from all directions, so I am the only one who can fight in close range.
It is true that it is a problematic speed, but it is to a degree where I can deal with it.
“Long range attacks, huh. Well, that much is fine, I guess… It doesn’t change the fact that it is pointless though.” (Arcreal)
Arcreal didn’t try to swing his sword even when I approached him.
In this range, my sweeping slash is faster than his speed of before. At this rate—?!
I stop my sweeping sword and shift my body to the back.
But I still didn’t make it in time, and I could feel a burning sensation on my arm and chest.
Bright red blood sprayed out to the front a little later.
There’s no following attack from Arcreal.
He leisurely evaded all the spells that came from all directions without any wasted movements.
“Oh, you are alive. Got out of it with a shallow wound, huh.” (Arcreal)
That’s not true.
My right arm that was further to the front had been sliced all the way to the bone, and the wound on my chest reached all the way to the lungs.
That one attack just now ignored my wall of armor mana strengthening as if it were paper and sliced deep in.
My body would have been sliced in two completely if I hadn’t shifted my body.
I barely managed to follow it with my eyes, but Arcreal had swung his sword faster than me.
That speed was far faster than before, and I barely managed to avoid it exactly because I saw my subordinates being sliced down just before.
I take distance and cast healing magic on myself.
But I can’t heal a deep wound like this one immediately.
My subordinates behind were trying to cast healing magic on me too, but he obviously can attack faster than they could do this.
“You can heal that? Then, I will wait. It would have been boring if it ended in an instant anyways.” (Arcreal)
Arcreal is not moving.
It seems like he seriously doesn’t plan on attacking.
The leeway of the strong. I am angry by how arrogant he is being here, but this is an opportunity.
This would normally be an irreversible defeat, but he is overlooking us.
I direct a gaze at my subordinates and hurry the treatment.
“Now then, it would be a bit difficult to do this here. Let’s move to the side.” (Arcreal)
Arcreal said this and moved while avoiding the corpses of my subordinates, changing the location where he was standing.
“Are you playing around?” (Yox)
“Playing around…would be a bit rude towards my opponent. It is true that I would be able to do this as if this were a game, but it is not like I am a guy that doesn’t think anything of the lives of others, you know?” (Arcreal)
“Then, why are you waiting for my wounds to heal? Is it not simply because you want to enjoy this?” (Yox)
“Ooh, you are not wrong there. I do respect the lives of people, but that’s all. I have no obligation to take into account your honor to the point of holding back my own desires. If you don’t like that, just come at me right this instant. I would slice down all of you and that’s the end of it. I will at least put my hands together before I leave.” (Arcreal)
Arcreal laughs nonchalantly.
I don’t feel the desire to bring down someone at all. This man is simply stating facts.
He is saying he doesn’t have any intention of belittling others, but he also has no intention of showing consideration.
I was troubled about whether to have my subordinates use magic to keep him in place, but it would be better to just accept the time given.
I give the order to stay on standby and concentrate on healing.
“Hoh, that’s fast. As expected of a holy knight. Your skills in healing magic are impressive.” (Arcreal)
I am not completely healed, but I have healed the necessary parts to move my body.
There’s still blood flowing down, but there’s no issues with resuming battle.
I hold my sword and step to the front again.
“Sorry for the wait.” (Yox)
“It’s alright. I am free today. I can tag along for as long as you want until I get hungry.” (Arcreal)
I was hit by Arcreal, but I have now learned that the speed in which he swings his sword and the sharpness of it are abnormal.
Basically, half-baked defense won’t be of any use.
There’s no point if I were to swing my sword to check things out and things end with one hit of his retaliation.
I have to attack with the intention of finishing this in that one hit.
I…have the means to.
I fix my breathing and gather mana.
I have continued training to obtain the ability to defeat enemies that are above me since the day I was defeated in Taizu.
What came out of it was this technique…
It still doesn’t have the power to completely kill devils that can regenerate over and over, but for a human, it is enough to just have this blade reach them!
The stance is the same as before. The tempo of my step in is also the same. However, the range is one step farther, and it is normally a distance that the sword shouldn’t be able to reach.
But right before I finish swinging my sword, I unleash the mana gathered in my sword and shape it.
“What. That won’t rea—” (Arcreal)
I activate a barrier around the blade of the sword.
The same technique of Rakura Salf, an invisible blade that utilizes a thin and sharp barrier to slice through your enemy.
Rakura increased the sharpness by utilizing the speed at which the barrier appeared, but I obtained sharpness above that by adding the swinging speed of my sword.
A swift attack that’s longer, thicker, and faster than the visible blade. You can’t avoid this attack the first time you see i—
I couldn’t stop this time around.
Due to this, I couldn’t evade in time and I instead burned the movements of Arcreal with these eyes of mine.
Arcreal didn’t evade after he saw my sword. He slipped into a place outside the trajectory of my sword and swung his sword as if it was coupled with that motion of his.
The distance between me and Arcreal was further apart because of the length of my sword increasing, so his attack didn’t slice me in two.
But it is far deeper than before.
My right arm was sliced off, and my torso is barely sticking together by a thin layer.
I obviously wouldn’t be able to kill the momentum of swinging my sword with such injuries, and ended up collapsing on the ground.
“That was an interesting technique. So you used a barrier to shift your range.” (Arcreal)
“Impossible… Reading…even the swing of my sword…” (Yox)
“It did surprise me. I only realized the trick after I cut you.” (Arcreal)
If that’s true, then he moved to the spot where he had to go to avoid it without even understanding the trick to my attack, and swung his blade at the spot where he should.
The talk of the resident of Yugura’s planet surfaces in my mind.
The Illegitimate is able to react to threats he himself can’t detect, and avoid with that abnormal survival instinct of his.
Then, Arcreal could be the same in that he can take the best approach to survive by instinct.
Is that possible?
My consciousness is trying to leave me because of how deep the wound is.
I am trying to use healing magic as much as possible to keep myself alive, but this is not a state I can do anything about by myself.
“No, come. You didn’t die instantly, so you should be able to make it in time if you treat it all together, right? Come on, heal him quickly.” (Arcreal)
Arcreal moved a few steps back and told my subordinates to heal me.
My subordinates were cautious of him as they ran towards me and began treating me.
Arcreal was watching with a smile as if he were a child waiting for his meal.
“That just now wasn’t bad. My body moved nicely after a while. That’s why I will tag along for a bit longer. I will wait for as long as you want for your healing until you die instantly!” (Arcreal)
“D-Don’t joke around! The fight is already—”
“If you are not going to heal, then that’s the end. I will just slice everyone down when that happens. Do your best!” (Arcreal)
My subordinate that was going to criticize him was at a loss for words. And then, he moved his gaze towards me as if clinging onto me and resumed the treatment.