“—! Give it a break already, you people!”
The pissed off Arcreal shouts.
He endured for longer than I thought. Good, good.
“What’s the matter all of a sudden?”
“Don’t give me that! When are you going to make your move on me?!” (Arcreal)
“If we are speaking of making a move or not, I have obviously already made my move from the very beginning.”
Arcreal must be thinking: The reason why Ilias is not retaliating at all must be because she is waiting for me. That the man that Ritial acknowledged as a formidable opponent will attack him in a way that he can’t even imagine.
If the opponent were a normal one, I would have thought of one plan at least, but it is not your average opponent.
Arcreal, who has the talent for combat on the same level as Yugura, is stronger than even the Scarlet Demon Lord.
The Scarlet Demon Lord would have higher physical specs due to the power of Strife, but Arcreal has the skills to compensate for that.
“Hah?! You haven’t done anything!” (Arcreal)
“Then, let’s have a bit of a talk here. You can fight while listening, right?”
Arcreal stopped interjecting.
It means he intends to listen. Or maybe he thinks Ilias will make her move using this conversation as an opportunity, but I have no intention of making her do that.
“Arcreal, you suck at going on the offensive, don’t you?”
“It is nothing to be surprised about though? For all I know, you have let your enemy escape twice. I am speaking of Dyuvuleori, and Ekdoik and his group.”
This is what Dyuvuleori told me about his battle against Arcreal. He encountered Arcreal on his way to regroup with Ekdoik and the others, and Dyuvuleori attacked with the intention of defeating him.
But he got counterattacked in a way that went beyond imagination, and got cornered in the blink of an eye.
He then found an opening to escape and headed to where Ekdoik and the others were.
“I thought of the possibility that maybe you had the leeway or you like to toy with your prey, but if that’s the kind of personality you have, you would just be an idiot if you were to pull the same thing when Molari and Yasutet were about to be kidnapped. What settled it was the battle against Yox. You apparently didn’t make the first move even once against Yox.”
Is it simply the surplus of the strong?
No, considering the talent of Arcreal, I can think of one explanation.
“You can tell the way to defeat the enemy with your talent as an Illegitimate. You can tell with your talent alone just how you need to swing your sword to defeat the enemy or how to best move. But you didn’t try to learn swordsmanship because you grew complacent of that talent, right?”
Arcreal had the means to defeat his opponents from the very beginning.
In that case, it means there was no need for him to polish his swordsmanship to learn the means to do so.
No, he didn’t even know how to polish it.
It is pretty difficult to understand how to learn how to do something that you could do from the get-go.
How would someone who knows how to swim from the very beginning know the method to graduate from being completely useless at swimming?
“Even you don’t completely understand your own strength. That’s why you haven’t learned any techniques to go on the offensive. You have no choice but to take a battle style that excels in counterattacks.”
“Heeh… You talk as if you understand me so much. And so, you think I won’t be able to defeat this woman if you never attack?” (Arcreal)
“No. It is true that you have talent worthy of being called the strongest. Even if the quality drops greatly when it is not a counterattack, your basic battle capabilities should have still been elevated by your talent.”
He is not a systematic enemy that appears in a game after all. It is not as if a guy with the strongest counterattack would be a complete weakling when he himself attacks.
It is the same as how the ability to detect danger of Haakudoku is elevating his detection magic.
I can’t tell how strong Arcreal is when on the offensive, or if Ilias can take it on completely, unless I see it myself.
But I saw enough opportunity there from the fact that he couldn’t finish Dyuvuleori. That Ilias should be able to see through the pinnacle that’s in front of her eyes.
“I see. I now know that you guys have no intention of making your move. Then, I don’t need to wait anymore. I shall make my move.” (Arcreal)
Even I could tell the atmosphere of Arcreal changed with my untrained eyes.
His moves have most likely changed from testing the waters to finishing Ilias.
I don’t know how much surplus Ilias has left, but I have discussed beforehand with her about what to do.
One is that: in the case that she feels she can’t handle it, she will tell me immediately.
Even if we were to have Ilias force herself to buy time, if she were to be defeated by Arcreal and he heads underground, we would be done for.
That’s why, in the case that happens, I will be escaping together with Ilias underground and shifting to the next plan.
But Ilias is not sending the signal.
She has judged that the attacks of Arcreal when testing the waters were no issue. Then, what about the attacks of Arcreal when he is serious?
I can’t tell just how much the pressure has increased now that he has switched to attacking proactively.
I don’t mind even if it gets tough here. What’s important is whether Ilias can continue moving in this battle.
…There’s no signal even when I waited.
Arcreal must still have a few methods to attack, but we should be able to do it with this. We can move to the next stage.
It has been a while since this has had a turn.
I put on the Superhuman Glasses that bolster the dynamic vision with mana imbued in it.
Moreover, this is an improved version with this battle in consideration.
This time it is not a correction to both eyes, but a monocle one.
I close one eye and observe the battle of the two through the monocle alone.
It is hard to follow the battle of the two even with my strengthened dynamic vision, but I have cleared the bare minimum requirements.
It is to sometimes be able to confirm the body and expressions of Arcreal.
“Now then, this is where the real deal begins… Do your best, everyone!”
I restrained the unconscious Rakura and cast a number of curses on her.
The inside is Raheight even if she were to regain consciousness.
It would be all for nothing if he were to kill himself or used magic to move his soul.
“But what do we do after this?” (Blue)
“Who knows. That man should be able to give us some ideas if we bring her to him. It is his woman after all. I am sure he would think seriously about it.” (Dokora)
“T-This man…” (Blue)
Leaving aside how much Comrade thinks of Rakura, I am sure he wouldn’t abandon Rakura.
At worst, he would let Raheight escape and corner him at a later time.
“Don’t be so wishy-washy. I am already at the limit of my sanity. Don’t rely on the dead for every damn thing.” (Dokora)
“…Hey, Dokora, is it really that painful?” (Blue)
“Yeah, so bad that even a bad guy like me feels bad for having used it to threaten others. Well, not like I regret it though.” (Dokora)
“…I see. Right.” (Blue)
Even if someone who has learned necromancy tries to fight back desperately, they are in a state where they can’t maintain their sanity for a long time.
Blue has used that kind of power on many people for a long time.
For Blue who was being eaten away by emptiness as she continued living, she couldn’t direct her attention at such things.
“Ha, there’s no point in getting aware of the weight of your own sins again at this point in time. There’s no one in a position to judge you, and there’s no proper method for you to atone either.” (Dokora)
“…I know.” (Blue)
“—Well, there might be worth to it at least. Being able to bear the weight of the sins that you are shouldering is what’s worth the most for you. Even if it is self-imposed guilt, it is veritable proof that you are a person.” (Dokora)
Dokora is also someone who took a wrong turn in life and walked down the path of evil.
He was fine with bringing down others, and stopped feeling pain about it.
The resurrected guilt might have more worth for Dokora than I think.
“Then, is it okay to undo it now? Is there no need to say farewell to him?” (Blue)
“That man isn’t my lover or anything. He is the guy that killed me. Also, I have already finished my farewells a long time ago. The dead should just return to the dirt.” (Dokora)
“Dokora, can I ask one more thing?” (Ekdoik)
“Were you not listening? Oh well, fine.” (Dokora)
“You knew about Rakura, right? —Including the good sides of her.” (Ekdoik)
Dokora died before Comrade met Rakura.
The reputation of Rakura in Mejis was mostly bad. Dokora should have at least heard those rumors as an anbu.
In that case, it is normal to think that Rakura is someone who would pull your leg.
And yet, Dokora believed that Rakura would do well, and entrusted her with the plan to catch Raheight.
This is something you wouldn’t be able to do unless you know Rakura herself.
Dokora silently directed his gaze at Rakura, and snorted before answering.
“…A bad guy like me being the trigger for her becoming a cleric wouldn’t even be a moving tale, right?” (Dokora)
I see, that’s why, huh.
Then, I shouldn’t ask any further.
“I see. Then, allow me to thank you. Thanks for your help in this matter, and also for bringing me and Rakura together.” (Ekdoik)
“Thanking a bad guy ain’t really a good thing to do, you know?” (Dokora)
“Comrade often says to put some sarcasm to it too.” (Ekdoik)
“Haha, he must be. Well then, go ahead.” (Dokora)
Blue undoes the necromancy with those words.
Dokora’s body began to crumble, and what remained was the mask of Blue and the fragments of the crumbled skull.
Dokora was caught in the explosions of the undead.
The shockwave of those must have destroyed the skull that served as his core.
We gathered the fragments of the skull and moved them to a bag.
“…I will ask Comrade whether we can bury a bit of these bones in his hometown.” (Ekdoik)
“Right. He did do that much after all.” (Blue)
Let’s keep the emotional stuff to this much. We must think about what to do from here on.
We caught Raheight and managed to get through the mid layer protection.
But the price is that Rakura is out of commission.
“Blue, please bring Rakura to the upper layer with you. I will move ahead.” (Ekdoik)
“…Right. We can’t just leave her here.” (Blue)
I normally would want to bring her all the way to the surface, but it would be dangerous to approach the battle of Ilias and Arcreal.
We discussed beforehand about which rooms in the upper layer could be used to take refuge.
It should be possible to rest safely in the places that are not the shortest route to the mid layer in the scenario that Arcreal heads underground.
“Ah, right. What have the other teams said?” (Ekdoik)
“Oh, yeah. Uhm…there has been a call from Purple. It seems like her side was a no-go.” (Blue)
“I see… In that case, it would either be ahead or in the route of Haakudoku, huh…” (Ekdoik)
“Be careful, Ekdoik.” (Blue)
“Yeah, I will be going.” (Ekdoik)
I go through the mausoleum and advance through the corridor.
I have to hurry as much as possible if our route is the correct one.
It may be difficult to face Nektohal alone, but I should be able to bring it to a battle to buy time.
We should have enough of a chance if Wolfe and the others regroup at that time.
“…So it wasn’t.” (Ekdoik)
But the corridor leading to the lower layer was completely buried contrary to my wishes.
The two legendary figures: the Eyes of Truth Ritial, and the Holy Fist Gradona.
Gradona-san has more tales of his heroic deeds.
The reality is that Gradona-san excels in battle more, which is something I can tell even in the short span of time I have been watching them fight.
I thought we would have enough of a chance to win if Mix and I were to join in, but…
“The two young ones would be one thing, but seeing you like that is pitiful…Gradona.” (Ritial)
Gradona-san is by no means weak.
He is without doubt the strongest within our group, and yet, the one on his knees is Gradona-san, and Ritial was looking down at him.
“Fuuh…fuuh… Not bad…Ritial. You two, are you okay?!” (Gradona)
“I-I am okay-desu zo!” (Mix)
The two have received quite the damage at the front from Ritial.
I am unharmed because I have been sniping him from the back with magic, but I have consumed quite a lot of mana.
“Holy Fist and Blade of Annihilation; your combat skills are wonderful though.” (Ritial)
“Ritial-dono, I would like you to stop with that nickname if possible-desu zo.” (Mix)
“Speaking of which, you don’t like this nickname that much. You hate how dangerous it sounds, isn’t it?” (Ritial)
“There’s that, but…there’s one more reason as of late.” (Mix)
“I am a bit curious now. Can you please tell me?” (Ritial)
“Because it overlaps with Blue-dono.” (Mix)
Eh…that’s the reason?!
Ah, but I can understand how she feels a bit there.
I would also feel conflicted if I had a nickname that’s the same as a Demon Lord.
I don’t have a nickname though…
“Aah, now that you mention it… That one is a power of the past and yours is a new one, so I don’t think there’s the need to worry about it though.” (Ritial)
“You wouldn’t get it, Ritial-dono. How I felt the first time I met Mister Friend in Gahne, when I was wondering how to introduce myself to him, and there was someone within the Demon Lords that was called the Blue of Annihilation!” (Mix)
“…I do pity you a bit. I would also feel conflicted if there was an ‘of the Eyes of Truth’ within the Demon Lords.” (Ritial)
The atmosphere is like that of a joke, but the situation is close to the worst.
Mix-san is acting like she is playing around, but I can tell that’s a tough front.
This is all because of that holy sword, Dioside.
Dioside’s other name is the Two Slashes.
Its power is to create an illusion, and hide your own figure in the shadow of that illusion.
If you mistake whether his attack is that of the illusion or not, you would end up getting hit in a defenseless state.
It is a simple power, but the problem is that the one using it is the Eyes of Truth, Ritial Zentry.
Ritial can predict whether the other party will judge the attack as being real or not.
For him, the two choices given by Dioside’s power aren’t uncertain, but an inevitable power that makes the other party take the wrong choice all the time.
Dioside’s power not only works on the offensive, but also for defense. He can create an illusion of him defending to lead the other party to attack where he wants.
Gradona-san and Mix-san have been tricked by that and can’t land any proper attacks.
“You were a bit more easy to punch when you were young though…” (Gradona)
“I was simply holding back because I didn’t want to take your confidence away. There’s no need to worry, you are stronger than me in pure strength, Gradona.” (Ritial)
“Uwah, that hurts for my age~. I am so popular~!” (Gradona)
The physical strength of Ritial is pretty high too.
His movements don’t lose to those of the Holy Knight Yox-san. That’s why he can deal with the movements of Gradona-san that are beyond human boundaries.
“You are like a Mister Friend that can fight… That said, Mister Friend is a far superior version when it comes to being a gentleman though!” (Mix)
“I have no intention of denying rankings. I will say that you have bad taste though.” (Ritial)
There’s practically nothing they can do in close combat because of the power of Dioside.
That’s why Mix-san has switched to projectiles, but the knives are all being evaded without any difficulties.
He is also taking the best action to deal with the special traits of the knives as if he knew every trick up her sleeve from the very beginning.
I can’t see a way to victory.
This is different from overwhelming power; a monster outside the boundaries of reason.
How do we defeat an opponent like this one…?!
“What was that sound just now?!”
There are thunderous sounds and tremors coming from the other side of the wall. It is slowly approaching this place.
Could it be… Could it possibly be?! With such an absurd method?!
Giant cracks ran through the wall the moment my expectation changed into certainty.
And then, detection magic came flying through those cracks.
This mana…there’s no doubt about it.
“So…Tsudwali was defeated.” (Ritial)
“Everyone aside from Ritial, move away! I am gonna break through this in one go! Ora!”
The wall was blown up and Haakudoku showed up covered in wounds.
This guy forcefully dug his way here?!
“Hey there, Masetta. Looks like you are still looking good. As for Gradona and Mix…uoh, are you okay?!” (Haaku)
“You yourself look like a beaten rag-desu zo, Haakudoku-dono!” (Mix)
“Beaten rag? That’s just fine. It works far better than a new rag, you know?” (Haaku)
Now that I look closely, there’s a wound on the face of Haakudoku from something sharp.
He must have fought someone after he separated.
Even though he is completely in tatters like us… Even though he doesn’t look cool, I am a bit happy, geez!