The strength of Ilias Ratzel is the real thing.
The speed to catch up to the sword, the superhuman strength to endure the pressure of the sword, the technique to deal with irregular sword trajectories.
Even if not all of them are 1st class, I can say for sure that she is outstanding compared to any other opponent.
“Yeah, not bad. You are not bad. But it wouldn’t be fun like this, right? There’s no way we can be satisfied with a fight that ends one-sided, right?”
It is great that she can keep up with my movements, but she hasn’t slashed at me even once, and is simply taking on my sword.
Judging from her breathing and gaze, it is not like her current speed is her limit. It would be more appropriate to say that she is concentrating on defense in silence.
What’s the reason for this? In order to analyze my movements? No.
Because her sword style is originally mainly for counterattacks? No.
There’s no doubt this fighting style in itself is very far apart from her usual style.
The reason is simple. It is because of the man that’s watching this battle nearby -the resident of Yugura’s planet.
(…Ha, that’s a creepy gaze.)
A gaze as if he is trying to see through everything. I can understand why they say he is the same as Ritial… But it is not like they are exactly the same.
The eyes of Ritial are his talent as an Illegitimate, but this guy’s eyes are something that he himself polished.
There’s a difference regardless of superiority.
Ilias isn’t thinking that she can win against me in a one-on-one from the very beginning.
That’s why I have no intention of getting involved in this duel.
If this man is going to comprehend me and see through those movements, I will acknowledge it as a strength in this battle as well. On the contrary, I am looking forward to it.
I have already grasped the limit of this knight called Ilias a long time ago.
No matter how polished the techniques she brings out from here on, I would be able to finish it in one hit.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that, if this were a plain one-on-one, the victor would have already been decided.
Even if so, this man will definitely do something that will betray my predictions.
Looking at those eyes gives me the hope that he will be able to corner me.
(I am looking forward to the wonderful gift of you trying to overwhelm me and surprise me.)
But that hope will only be for one time. That’s right, only once.
I am protecting this place under the orders of Ritial.
I have been told to hold them in place for as much as possible, so it is not like I have that much leeway to enjoy fighting these two.
I have to catch up with the group that went into the ruins and finish them.
Ritial would be one thing, but there’s no assurance that Seraes and Raheight definitely won’t lose.
That’s why I have no intention of loosening my attacks on Ilias.
I will show my movements as much as possible to this man so that his preparations are finished quickly, and have him read my personality, habits, and thoughts.
(Don’t disappoint me, okay? Slashing down a plain weakling is really lame after all.)
“Ekdoik, aren’t we already on the mid layer?”
“It is true that I don’t see traps anymore. Should we send the signal?” (Ekdoik)
We got through the upper layer filled with traps, and I confirmed the sensation of the chains that I gave to the teams.
We can send information to the other teams by using methods like this one.
The respective teams also have similar methods to this one.
Wolfe’s team has already reached the mid layer and the Haakudoku team still hasn’t.
“Hiih… Hiih…” (Rakura)
It may have only been the simple job of following my steps, but with the believers of Leitis appearing at every given instance to get in our way, she has no choice but to direct her attention at that.
It seems like these ruins where there’s an unknown number of attacks being repeated are far more incompatible with her than I imagined, and she is breathing heavily due to the mental fatigue.
I would like to put a bit of breaks in between, but we don’t even have the leeway to lower the speed as long as we don’t know what the time limit is.
“Rakura, there shouldn’t be any traps for a while. Even if there are, I will be on guard, so move on without being on edge.” (Ekdoik)
I spread out the range of the chains as we advance through the path of the mid layer.
I really can’t feel the presence of traps and ambushes at all.
That means the one waiting ahead should be someone aside from Ritial.
According to Comrade, Ritial will be using a lot of traps in the mid layer, and they will be waiting for us with the cooperation of Tsudwali.
The other ones should be able to prepare their own respective way to intercept us.
In that case, the reason why the Haakudoku team is lagging behind could be because it is the route where Ritial is awaiting, and has no leeway to contact us.
We arrived at a spacious location after advancing for a while.
This dark and deteriorated space resembles the cave where I was raised by Beglagud in my infancy, but the silence is amplifying the creepiness of it.
“This is an underground cemetery. It seems to be a space prepared as a mausoleum of sorts. The Demon Lords were defeated by Yugura before it was finished, and they didn’t build it until the end…” (Ekdoik)
“It is bigger than I thought. Creepy too…” (Rakura)
“Hey, cleric, cemeteries and churches should be your workplace.” (Blue)
“I am specialized in monster subjugation!” (Rakura)
According to what I saw of the underground cemetery’s structure, it should just be a bit complicated, but it should be easy to tell which direction to go and there shouldn’t be any worries of getting lost.
But as long as this is the mid layer, there’s no doubt this will be the place where the enemies will do their move.
I use detection magic in a wide range and check for—
“Keep it down, you two. There’s a lot of people around. No, this is…” (Ekdoik)
A lot of mana reactions could be felt in this underground cemetery, and most of them are heading this way.
The mana amount of each individual isn’t that big of a deal, but their numbers are abnormal.
They have been doing ambushes of 1-3 people irregularly until now, and yet, I could easily feel over 500 in this underground cemetery.
I direct my attention to the mana reaction that’s the closest.
That was right at a corner of the underground cemetery.
But I have felt this mana before. It was in the Kuama Nether…
What showed up at the corner was an undead which Blue used before. But it doesn’t have anything resembling equipment like the time when she broke through the walls of Kuama, and gives me the impression it is the dredges of a civilian.
“Baffling. Using undead of all things to stall me, who has the power of Annihilation? That really saps away my spirit. Ekdoik, we are breaking through in one go.” (Blue)
“Wait, Blue. Don’t approach them carelessly.” (Ekdoik)
Undead are created with necromancy.
It is different from the monsters that were born in the Nether in that they are monstrosities created through the soul of humans.
“I know. I don’t need to do that. I just have to send a bit of magic to undo the necromancy—?!” (Blue)
“Watch out!” (Ekdoik)
Blue interfered with the mana of the undead in front of her.
Its body swelled up weirdly, and exploded while scattering blood, flesh, and bones.
I went to the front to cover Blue, but the barrier of Rakura protected us faster from the explosion.
“It seems like they were tinkered in a fashion so that they will immediately explode when something is done to them.” (Ekdoik)
“I see… So their countermeasures against me are perfect, huh… Raheight, you’ve got guts! Come out!” (Blue)
The only one I can think of who might be able to use necromancy within the helpers of Nektohal is Raheight who is an Illegitimate that can affect souls.
The only ones showing up to the shout of Blue were undead. There’s no sight of Raheight anywhere.
Raheight isn’t that strong himself to begin with. He wouldn’t challenge me or Rakura from the front.
“You have been ignored.” (Rakura)
“Bring it on! Ekdoik, we are wiping out these small fries! Undead that haven’t been strengthened at all are not a threat!” (Blue)
“Calm down. We learned just now that they self-destruct when they are affected with mana. Then, it is possible to intentionally make them self-destruct.” (Ekdoik)
That might actually be the aim of Raheight.
Have countless undead approach us, and once he confirms that they got near us, he would detonate them.
Undead that have been destroyed with a normal method regenerate soon after.
Purification magic can invalidate the necromancy itself, but…will it be possible to invalidate it if they explode instantly?
I send a single chain flying and pierce the cranium of an undead with its tip imbued with purification magic.
I saw the peculiar reaction of purification magic, but the undead exploded instantly.
The scraps of the scattered body are slowly regenerating.
“Uhm, can they…be defeated?” (Rakura)
“It should be possible to surround them in a large barrier so that they can’t detonate. But incapacitating all of these would be too much for our mana.” (Ekdoik)
“Good grief. What a nasty way of attacking! What do we do, Ekdoik?!” (Blue)
“It would be better to refrain from purification magic attacks that would influence them. Let’s attack them long range so they don’t approach us, and advance as we do.” (Ekdoik)
We are fortunately composed of members that excel in long range attacks.
Even if they were to explode at a distance, we don’t have to worry about being dealt damage thanks to the barriers of Rakura.
I spread out a barrier and attack the undead at the front.
I would normally attack with chains imbued with curses and poison, but I use none of that and destroy the undead purely with physical damage.
“It seems like they really don’t explode when it is physical damage. Rakura, you get ready for any sudden explosions. Blue and I will blow the undead away as—” (Ekdoik)
“—! Stop attacking, Ekdoik-niisan!” (Rakura)
The sudden shout of Rakura made me stop my chains reflexively.
Rakura’s gaze is directed at the horde of undead, but just what…?!
“So that’s how it is… The undead scraps…” (Ekdoik)
Their movements resembled those of undead, so it took me time to notice, but there’s some that don’t have any corrosion in their body contrary to the undead around.
Their skin is also clean…no, it would be better to describe it as having make-up.
There’s clearly living humans mixed with them.
There would be no need to hold back if they were believers of Leitis, but their appearance is that of normal villagers.
That’s not necromancy but puppetry through mind control.
“Looks like they have also mixed villagers that they must have kidnapped from somewhere.” (Ekdoik)
Why is it that the undead around are not attacking them?
Undead should be attacking the living indiscriminately.
I couldn’t tell the difference with detection magic before, so the living have had some other spell to be perceived as dead aside from mind control?
The strength of the undead is decently high, so a suitable amount of power is required to send them flying.
But if I were to do such an attack on the controlled living, they might die just like that if hit in a bad spot.
When that happens, the corpse will be affected by the necromancy and become undead…
I directed my gaze at the two and they made complicated expressions.
Even if they are humans, if they were enemies, they would have had the resolve to take their lives, but the ones in front of us are innocent people.
“Oya oya, your atmosphere has changed an awful lot, Blue Demon Lord-sama.”
One of the humans in the group of undead suddenly adjusted their posture as if they had regained their sanity and directed their gaze straight at us.
“And then there’s you who changes your body, yet that haughty attitude doesn’t change, Raheight.” (Blue)
“I think I am a modest one despite appearances, you know? I don’t have the muscles of Arcreal and the observation skills of Ritial, so it is impossible for me to fight you people from the front…” (Raheight)
“And I am saying you using others like it is natural is haughty.” (Blue)
“The resident of Yugura’s planet also uses others though. I don’t think there’s much of a difference.” (Raheight)
I was on the verge of throwing my anger at him, saying he is different from you bastard, but the anger I felt right by my side calmed me down.
So Rakura can get angry in this fashion even if there’s not much pressure in it, huh.
“Counselor-sama is different from you!” (Rakura)
“He must be. There’s no instance where I have felt good at being told I am the same as someone else. Even if so, to think I would have to buy time against the people that I utilized in the past… This must be fate.” (Raheight)
“It is only karma coming back at you. Don’t go spouting about fate and destiny when you have been creating enemies left and right.” (Blue)
I was hired to take the life of Comrade, but Rakura and Blue are people that were caught up by Raheight.
Raheight laughed as if baffled while leaning on an undead by his side.
“Ekdoik, wouldn’t you be able to head to the lowest layer without minding the hostages? I wouldn’t mind that, you know? You can go there to confirm whether what’s ahead is a dead end or not.” (Raheight)
“I have no intention of jumping into a blatant trap. I don’t plan on letting you escape anyways.” (Ekdoik)
“That’s a shame. It would have been easy if it had been just the cleric and Demon Lord with no brains though.” (Raheight)
It is a cheap provocation, but it would be enough to displease Blue.
I have been told to prioritize incapacitating Ritial, but to captured Raheight.
Even if we kill the body, there would be no point if his soul were to move to a different body.
It wouldn’t be wise to ignore him as long as he is an opponent that can freely change appearance and form.
“You could use necromancy too, huh, Raheight.” (Blue)
“I can’t just be playing around with my own soul the whole time after all. I naturally mastered this when polishing this talent. I refrained from using it to hide my origins though.” (Raheight)
There’s tight security on the Yugura Church all over the world towards the magic that’s called forbidden.
Did Raheight not use Necromancy simply to not stand out?
No, I feel like there’s a different reason considering the personality of this man…
Could it be…
“So you were the necromancer that destroyed Supine, Raheight.” (Ekdoik)
“Oh, an awfully nostalgic name came out.” (Raheight)
Supine is a small nation that’s said to have existed close to the borders of Mejis and Serende which was destroyed by a single necromancer around 20 years ago.
That necromancer was an Archbishop of the Yugura Church that was defeated by Maya…
Raheight, who can move to the body of someone else, should have been able to escape.
“The reason why you were refraining from using necromancy was because you didn’t want the Yugura Church to know that you are alive, huh.” (Ekdoik)
“There will always be a monster no matter the era even if they are not Illegitimate after all. The two of the Yugura Church, Maya and Filia, have shown me quite the awful time before.” (Raheight)
Filia is the name of Ilias’s mother. It is the duo that even defeated a Great Devil in the past with Maya.
Raheight is within human realm even if he is an Illegitimate.
So he had no choice but to hide his identity against those two who were said to be the strongest within the clerics at that time.
“Ekdoik, it will be dangerous to move forward before defeating this guy.” (Blue)
If someone were to be stalled in the same fashion as Arcreal, it would be possible to go ahead with the remaining people.
But I don’t want to take measures that are not certain.
In the first place, I would like to avoid facing Nektohal, who might be waiting ahead from here, while missing someone from the group here.
Raheight must still have a trump card remaining, but that’s the same for us.
Even if we are caught in his trap here, we just have to break through this from the front.