My team is different from Ekdoik and Wolfe in that everyone aside from me is cloaked.
What this means is that I have to get through this corridor packed with traps by myself.
“…Are you okay, Haakudoku?”
“…Yeah, somehow.” (Haaku)
There’s barely any chance of getting caught in deadly traps thanks to Instinct-sama, but it is not like I am finding the activation switches of the traps.
This is a good case to illustrate it.
It seems like there was a switch to activate a trap in the corridor we were going through, but Instinct-sama suddenly kicked me and made me go to the right.
I obviously obeyed that and forcefully changed the place I stepped… And so, I can evade the traps.
I can, but it is tough to keep my posture after that, so I end up tripping grandly.
Masetta is looking down at me, who was flipped over, with a hard to describe complicated face.
I have already explained my Instinct-sama to her, so she does know what’s going on. That’s why she is a super good person just from the fact that she is not looking baffled here.
But this situation has happened 4 times already which is rough for my heart.
It is fine to use underground ruins, but you should clean it up a bit more, damn it.
I am covered in mud thanks to that!
“T-They are set in a precise manner to get caught in them!” (Masetta)
“Even if you praise the enemy, it won’t lessen the sadness of showing such a pathetic sight over and over. Or more like, isn’t it already the mid layer?! Didn’t Brother say that the traps would decrease when we reach the mid layer?!” (Haaku)
“There was talk that it was only 2 out of the 3 routes, right? In that case, the one ahead of here is…Ritial-sa—Ritial, I guess?” (Masetta)
Aah, right. That creepy guy, huh.
I have won against Seraes once, so I thought I would be able to take it easy though.
“You were about to put a -san on him, didn’t you?” (Haaku)
“He was my superior in Morgana. It is not so easy to get rid of habits. Don’t worry, I won’t hold back in battle.” (Masetta)
“Aah, that’s true. I am confident I would call Brother and Sis the same even if they were to turn into enemies. Well, I don’t think Bro Gestaf would take the path of antagonizing Brother and Sis though.” (Haaku)
But Ritial, huh…
Well, he is the guy that tried to use Bro Gestaf after all.
The reason for this right arm is Ritial, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go and thank him for that.
“It seems like we are already in the mid layer, but there’s no big scale facilities like the other routes. That’s why it is similar to the upper layer in that there’s several small rooms. It is perfect for ambushes.” (Masetta)
“We should be reaching the church if things go well, right?” (Haaku)
“There was a path in the upper layer that had crumbled and we couldn’t proceed to it, right? It is probably around there that the information of our location was messed up.” (Masetta)
The setup of Tsudwali, huh.
I thought there wouldn’t be any issues because I have the key that Brother readied, but maybe she made it so that it can’t be detected regardless of enemy or ally?
Instinct-sama won’t react unless my life is threatened after all.
“Woah woah, there’s two exits in this room. There’s no dangerous traps on the left and right, huh… Let’s investigate the right one first, I guess.” (Haaku)
I open the right door and move ahead.
There’s a corridor leading further in, so I can’t tell if it is the correct path or not.
Let’s confirm the left side as well just in case and—?!
“Get away from the door! Something is coming!” (Haaku)
I felt something similar to killing intent from the door.
Masetta and the others moved back deeper into the room and I also took distance into the corridor.
Once we did, a part of the ceiling close to the door exploded and the path was buried along with the rubble.
“Oi, Masetta! Are you okay?!” (Haaku)
I can’t hear a response, but I should have been closer to the explosion. She shouldn’t have been caught up in it…probably.
“For now I should blow up this rubble and…wait, bloodthirst again?!” (Haaku)
The ceiling exploded one after the other and rubble rained on me. This is not a trap activating but someone activating it themselves, isn’t it?! Damn it! I have retreated all the way to the back in the corridor, but this means this was on purpose?!
I find a door in front of me and jump into it.
It seems like the chain explosions were limited to the corridor. The ceiling of the room isn’t exploding. What would have happened to me if even the dead end got detonated?
“But burying a whole path… Can we even regroup like this…?” (Haaku)
According to Masetta, this mid layer has several branching paths that meet up and separate over and over.
Masetta remembers the details of the map, but…I obviously don’t.
It means it will not be possible to regroup with them using the shortest route.
“It can’t be helped. I will just go down randomly and wait until I can regroup… —By the way, don’t direct such passionate killing intent. You are going to make me blush.” (Haaku)
The room I jumped into seemed like a storage, and there’s wooden boxes here and there on top of each other.
There’s killing intent they have no intention to hide at all from the shadows of some of those wooden boxes.
“—Haaku…doku. Ritial-sama’s enemy… Why obstruct Ritial-sama…despite being Illegitimate?”
Only the voice echoed through the whole room.
It is the voice of a woman, but it sounds raspy.
Rather than saying she can’t articulate well, it is more like…there’s something that doesn’t allow her to speak well?
Considering the trap just now, she must be Tsudwali.
“So you are Tsudwali? Jam packing traps like an idiot. I am covered in mud thanks to that!” (Haaku)
“Then answer mine too, geez.” (Haaku)
“…That right. I Tsudwali.” (Tsudwali)
Oh, she is decently obedient.
No, she is simply compromising because she wants to hear my answer, huh.
Let’s probe what I can since the opportunity has been given.
The reason why I am opposing Ritial despite being an Illegitimate, huh…
“I am simply fighting under the person that saved me. You may have been saved and guided by Ritial, but Ritial didn’t show up in my place. If you’ve got complaints, bring them to Ritial who missed a spot.” (Haaku)
The one who saved me when my parents threw me away and survived alone was Bro Gestaf.
That’s why I am here.
If I had been saved by Ritial, I would have surely stood in the path of Brother together with Tsudwali as an enemy.
“Ritial-sama…doing his best for the Illegitimate that can’t adapt in world… So that they don’t end up like you and me.” (Tsudwali)
“I see. That’s great. I am not making fun of it, okay? I do think it is great. But that’s not something that’s limited to just Illegitimate. The reality is that the person who saved me understands the Illegitimate. That goes the same for the one that has become the enemy of your Ritial-sama.” (Haaku)
I don’t know what connection there is with completing the resurrection magic to create new Demon Lords, and saving the Illegitimate.
I might be able to get an answer I could understand if it is explained in detail to me.
“Ritial-sama correct… Can you be enemy…while unable to deny that?” (Tsudwali)
“It doesn’t matter who is right here. I am living to repay my debt of being saved. I will simply be advancing through any path, even if it is the path of evil, until I have repaid all the debt I have with Bro Gestaf.” (Haaku)
It is of course best if it is the right path, but Bro and Brother understand at least that much.
Far better than an idiot like me.
They are going down that path while fully resolved.
An idiot like me speaking up against that way of living would be insulting.
“Damn right. I am the number one fool within the raid members, you know? Ah, wait. Am I more stupid than Rakura? No, wait, no no no…” (Haaku)
It is true that I would lose when it comes to plain old information, so wouldn’t Rakura be above me? No, it is better to say she is below.
Ah, crap. I am not confident about that one.
Let’s ask Brother next time.
“Talking…waste. When I heard your background…I thought there chance…” (Tsudwali)
“That I would turn sides? Haha, aren’t you more of an idiot than me? Would you betray Ritial if you were to learn that he was actually in the wrong?” (Haaku)
“…I see. You intelligent.” (Tsudwali)
Ah, she is the type that sarcasm doesn’t work on.
But I like loyal people regardless of whether they are enemies or allies, you know?
I can compete to see whose feelings are stronger after all!
I take a deep breath and spin my tonfas horizontally and vertically.
My body is nicely warmed up thanks to the traps in the upper layer.
“This is the first time since I was born that I have been called intelligent. I might end up falling in love with you from happiness. Oh well, let’s talk more about that after we try to murder each other, okay?” (Haaku)
“That idiot. He hasn’t died, right…?”
I hear rumbling intermittently.
It seems like most of the corridor has been buried…
Haakudoku should have been able to take refuge before the explosions happened though…
“He must be dealing with Tsudwali here. That’s why I can’t really say he is okay, but he won’t be dying soon.”
I face the place where the voice came from and Ritial Zentry was leaning by the door of the left side.
Since when was he there…?
Did he have Tsudwali hide his presence?
“It has been a while, Masetta. Looks like your discord with Rakura Salf has been dispelled.” (Ritial)
The hood that was on me came off due to having taken a stance reflexively, but judging from his reaction, he must have already deduced that I would be in this team.
I must not think that’s expected of him, Masetta. I have to defeat this person, so I must not be swallowed by his pace.
“I would have liked to not be your enemy if possible. I still think there’s no one more suitable than you to be the guild master of Morgana.” (Masetta)
“Thanks. I have no intention of denying that evaluation of yours, but there was something that I had to achieve even more. That’s all there is to it.” (Ritial)
“Where’s the need to complete resurrection magic and create new Demon Lords?!” (Masetta)
Ritial thought for a bit, and then nodded.
Looks like he has judged that talking like this will serve to buy time.
“Illegitimate will continue being born from here on. Right now they are at a birthrate where there’s no same talent, but that rate will be increasing. That’s how Yugura set it up in humanity after all.” (Ritial)
“The Illegitimate…will continue increasing?” (Masetta)
“The Illegitimate are a system that Yugura set to have the people of this world become heroes instead. It is a curse that changes their body slowly to the point where humanity will be able to have talent on the same level as Yugura after centuries.” (Ritial)
I heard that from Representative-san, too.
Yugura made it so people with special talents continue being left in society to oppose the Demon Lords that continue resurrecting.
But this is the first time I heard about them continuing to increase.
“What does that have to do with increasing the number of Demon Lords…?” (Masetta)
“Humans are beings that hate foreign substances. Everyone is naturally aware that this doesn’t encompass only Illegitimate. You should be aware of it, too.” (Ritial)
What surfaced in my mind were the memories of the time when I hated Rakura who was an outlier.
Humans easily feel dislike towards special beings in the good and bad meaning of it. I can understand that.
“People that will be hated as individuals will continue increasing. What kind of action will humanity take when that happens? The people of the past have given a good example of it when they saw the army of the Demon Lords. The fear towards the new race that will eventually swallow them.” (Ritial)
“The conclusion is that humans will deny the Illegitimate. They will antagonize them as monsters created artificially, and will move in order to eliminate them. Even if there’s understanding right now, that’s simply because they are few in numbers.” (Ritial)
“That’s not…” (Masetta)
“It is true. Just how many people who hated my talent do you think have obstructed me on my way to become a guild master and when I became one? That was the same when I was an adventurer. We have been hated our whole life.” (Ritial)
I can’t say that’s not true.
The bigger the name as an adventurer you have, the more adventurers will envy and hate you.
That’s something even I have experienced a decent amount as someone who got a decently high position.
“If Illegitimate are noticed by the world, that will happen eventually. It will be too late once things get to that point. We won’t be able to make it in time even when we try to help or won’t have enough hands to. There’s the possibility that understanding people will coincidentally save them by coincidence like Wolfe and Haakudoku, but most of them will be eliminated. I am trying to make a new sense of value take root in the world in order for the Illegitimate to not be cornered into such treatment.” (Ritial)
“New sense of value…?” (Masetta)
“That’s right. So that there’s no fear of an increase in Illegitimate. I will be etching an even clearer threat to the world. If an enemy of humanity in the name of Demon Lords were to be present, humans will fear that over Illegitimate. What I am trying to do is the continuation of Yugura’s adjustment. Yugura created Illegitimate to go against the threat that is the Demon Lords. That’s why I will increase the Demon Lords for the sake of going against the threat that is the Illegitimate.” (Ritial)
“Wouldn’t that just be a repeat of history?!” (Masetta)
Humanity was cornered to the verge of falling.
It may be hard to tell whether it was correct to create Illegitimate for that reason, but I can easily tell that humanity will soon fall into ruin again if Demon Lords are increased.
“It won’t be a repeat. I have these eyes. I just have to make the ones who understand my will and can achieve it as Demon Lords. It may on the front look like a harsh world, but it can be made a peaceful one on the flip side.” (Ritial)
“There’s…no assurance something like that will go well…” (Masetta)
“Yugura chose the wrong people to make into Demon Lords. All of them lived selfishly for themselves. The result was that Yugura himself had to step in to kill them. That said, it seems like the Scarlet Demon Lord was correctly trying to become the enemy of humanity though.” (Ritial)
The invasion of the Scarlet Demon Lord is still fresh in my mind.
If a fearsome army like that were to get through the army of humans, just how many casualties would it have caused?
Yet Ritial is saying the Scarlet Demon Lord alone was correct.
“You are exposing humanity to danger just for the sake of protecting the Illegitimate?!” (Masetta)
“‘Just for the sake’? Can’t say I appreciate the wording. Are you saying we should eliminate the Illegitimate just for the sake of not wanting to expose humanity to danger?” (Ritial)
This shouldn’t be such an extreme problem, but I can’t state for certain that the scenario Ritial is pointing out won’t happen.
I have seen the people that are called Illegitimate.
The world might be able to accept their humanity, but will they be able to accept their talent and abilities?
Can I really say for sure they won’t feel jealousy and fear in the bottom of their hearts?
The first and last one to surface in my mind was…Haakudoku.
I sympathized with his past after learning of it and accepted how he acts…
“I am not an Illegitimate. But I can understand what you are saying and can sympathize with it. I have had countless times when I would feel envy towards the talent and environment of others after all. I do think it is wrong to consider Illegitimate as dangerous the whole time.” (Masetta)
“…Yet you will continue denying me, huh.” (Ritial)
Looks like Ritial can already tell what I will be saying to him. But this is something I have to tell him properly in my own words.
“Yes, I know Illegitimate aside from you. He was saved by someone who understood him, was guided by him, and he is walking together with people that are not Illegitimate.” (Masetta)
“He is simply a special case—” (Ritial)
“No, you are the one who is labeling him as a special case, Ritial. You and him may have led a different life, but that’s normal. There may be differences, but it is not a special case.” (Masetta)
Haakudoku said I am amazing and praised me a lot.
He was acknowledged by people who are not Illegitimate, and he has also been acknowledged by others that are not Illegitimate.
“He can trust in people that are not Illegitimate, but you can’t. That’s why you are getting desperate about making this plan work.” (Masetta)
“You must have had a past that made you think in this way. I don’t know about it. That’s why I have no intention of denying everything about you. However, I will respect the lifestyle of others who are living happily over you.” (Masetta)
“Even if the result is that there will be people who will be born without a chance to be saved?” (Ritial)
“Of course, I will search for them as much as possible and save them -so that there won’t be anymore people ending up like you.” (Masetta)
Representative-san said I may have a narrow vision and don’t have outstanding talent, but I am a flexible and straightforward person. That I should move forward rather than stay in place.
If I do that, something only I can do will appear in my future, and I will accomplish it.
I can’t tell just how much pain and despair has led him to stand here, but I can face it straight on like a normal human.
“Yes, pursuing ideals is a human thing to do -for both of us.” (Masetta)
“A shallow ideal that could be taken as wanting to live safely…is not what I would call it. You at the least are holding that ideal to heart as you go against my own, and become an enemy I must defeat.” (Ritial)
I don’t know what Ritial is internally thinking right now.
What I can tell is that the talk is over.
Or more like, why am I talking so passionately here?
“What. Masemase said everything I wanted to say. Where’s my ground as the oldest?!”
“Please stop calling me Masemase…” (Masetta)
“…Right. I was worried you might not be here since it didn’t reek of alcohol, but there’s no way I wouldn’t meet you here, huh… Gradona.” (Ritial)
Gradona-san at the back took off the hood of his robe and stepped to the front.
The legend that’s called the Holy Fist and had his name resonate together with Ritial will be fighting together with me.
It feels like a dream.
“Wait, wasn’t the plan that you wouldn’t reveal yourself until the end?!” (Masetta)
“You may not have noticed, but the other teams have already reached the mid layer a long time ago, you know? It was just so Ritial wouldn’t make countermeasures for them, so it shouldn’t matter if the person himself is in front of us, right?” (Gradona)
“Eh, ah, that’s true.” (Masetta)
I completely forgot about that when going through the mid layer, but the signal from the Ekdoik and Wolfe-chan teams came.
Looks like we were the ones who encountered the mid layer enemy last.
“Masetta-dono, those were truly wonderful words-desu zo! I was so moved that I didn’t even have room to get a word in!” (Mix)
“U-Uhm, Mix-san…it is embarrassing to get praised again…” (Masetta)
“…That’s a surprise. Mix-san was here, too?” (Ritial)
There’s no need to hide it anymore, so Mix-san also took off the hood.
Ritial seemed somewhat flustered seeing her.
“Hmph, even Ritial-dono didn’t see this development, huh!” (Mix)
“Rather than saying I couldn’t predict it, it is more like I discarded it. I thought there would be at least one person in each team with knowledge of traps in the team like an adventurer. In that case, the one in Wolfe’s team…” (Ritial)
“Oh, that face is the face of someone that has realized. We who are strong with traps being the last ones reaching the mid layer means that we didn’t have the wrong idea.” (Gradona)
“In that case…Niruryates who is a demon just like Nektohal would get caught in the traps—” (Ritial)
“Ritial, don’t forget about the ones that have been working hard. Isn’t there someone you and I know…? One that specializes in scouting?” (Gradona)
Gradona-san is grinning from ear to ear.
Ritial made a shocked face at this and changed into a baffled one.
“…You brought Ban?” (Ritial)
“You got it! I would have wanted to invite Salvet if possible though. If we did that, you would have sent soldiers or something to Taizu, right?” (Gradona)
The Ekdoik team had Rakura, and the Wolfe-chan team had Niruryates and Ban-san hiding their identities.
Ban-san was a merchant of Taizu, but he was one of the adventurers that acted together with Ritial and Gradona-san.
Representative-san recommended him as a raid member.
“I did think he wouldn’t be using only the very best, but…if they were going to include him, it would have been in this team.” (Ritial)
“That’s a balance in power-desu zo. You would have separated Haakudoku-dono from us somehow and face us. Mister Friend judged that Gradona-dono and Masetta-dono, who you know well, might not be enough!” (Mix)
That goes the same for Mix-san though.
Well, it is true that the more the better though.
“What~ Ritial~. Did you want to meet Ban that much~? Be satisfied with me. I can even give you some huggies.” (Gradona)
“I will refrain even if you don’t reek of alcohol, Gradona. It is just that I would have preferred talking to Ban than you.” (Ritial)
“Hmph, I also want to give huggies to Masemase and Mikumiku. Fuhehe…” (Gradona)
This is the Holy Fist…
He is someone that you can learn well that glory and personality don’t necessarily match…
“As expected of the resident of Yugura’s planet. I read a bit wrong here. But, well, this much can’t really be considered a defeat. Even if the pattern is wrong, we did have preparations for when Mix-san is in the group after all.” (Ritial)
Ritial draws the sword at his waist.
Aah, I know that sword well.
There’s no adventurer of Morgana that doesn’t know the tales of Ritial Zentry…aside from Rakura.
He was once called the Eyes of Truth, and there’s even heroic tales of him finding outstanding individuals with talent.
The existence of that sword can’t be excluded from those tales.
“Holy Sword, Dioside. That’s nostalgic.” (Gradona)
“An enchanted sword is such an ironic existence. If created by evil, it is called a demonic sword; if created by good, it is called a holy sword. Is it really appropriate to call this sword I am holding a holy sword? What do you think?” (Ritial)
Dioside is the holy sword that would always show up in the tales of Ritial when he is settling problems himself.
It is the strongest weapon that is inseparable from him.
No matter if it is in the path of good or the path of evil.
“No idea. I wouldn’t have to worry about my booze expenses if I were to sell it though.” (Gradona)
“This is why I wanted Ban rather than you to be here. The age of the conversation gets lowered.” (Ritial)
“Nothing bad about being younger. Let’s enjoy this as if we returned to those days!” (Gradona)
This is how the battle between legendary adventurers that are sung of in history began.