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- Nanashi (Discount Anon)
- Ringo (u/Ringo_17)
Proofread By :
- Fr (u/Fr81)
- Ice (u/IceOccultism)
- Graced (/u/GracedHarperd)
- Nobi (u/Nobidexx)
Fan Art Source
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ALL RIGHTS BELONG TO TAPPEI NAGATSUKI, THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF RE:ZERO STARTING A LIFE IN A DIFFERENT WORLD FROM ZERO, THIS IS A TRANSLATION OF THE FREE JAPANESE WEB NOVEL INTO ENGLISH
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Arc 5, Chapter 51: Malice in Trickery
special thanks to u/Ringo_17
Ricardo: “Why’re ya makin’ that face. Somethin’ botherin’ ya?”
Just before reaching the control tower, Ricardo spoke to the knight, who wore a stiff expression.
Halting in his step, Julius raised his brows in surprise.
Julius: “How surprising, Ricardo. I never expected you to be concerned about others’ worries.”
Ricardo: “Don’t mistake that phrase for somethin’ else. The one with ya’s just me. Even if ya say somethin’, it’ll be a secret from miss too.”
Julius: “… You’re not wrong, huh.”
Though it was rare, Ricardo often made correct observations of people.
If not for that, he wouldn’t have been able to to take up his role as the head of the [Iron Fang], hearing only fragments of his splendid career would lead tell so. Looking at only one’s self and ignoring surroundings was no way to stay alive. Slave, mercenary, this applied to both roles.
Ricardo: “Now that’s quite the brutal brat. Even so, I’ll play the role I’m supposed to, so ya can depend on me. I’ll also take son-in-law’s consultation.”
Julius: “That ‘son-in-law’ is scary. I do not hold any such strange feelings for Anastasia-sama.”
Ricardo: “What’s that, ‘s miss’ affair huh. Maybe it’s about Mimi. Besides, she hasn’t managed to convince miss yet.”
Julius smiled bitterly. This gesture of quietly shaking his head was graceful as always, but this time he lacked precision when choosing appropriate words.
And at that gesture,
Ricardo: “Somethin’s off ‘bout the recapture of the city hall. Miss agrees too. Miss hasn’t heard much ‘bout it, but I’ll force it all out.”
Julius: “It seems you are rather unforgiving.”
Ricardo: “Of course, it’s life-threatening. Don’t want t’ leave my back to someone who’s in th’ dark. ‘Re ya goin’ t’ fabricate some kinda excuse as a rebuttal?”
Julius: “… No, it is indeed as you say. It was I who was mistaken. Certainly, I am increasing our risk by hesitating to speak.”
Julius earnestly nodded to the pursuing Ricardo, and curved his brows with elegance.
However, no more words came out of the mouth of his troubled self. Facing that attitude, Ricardo got out of his own numbness and let out a sullen voice.
Ricardo: “Why’re ya stoppin’ there? It’s sad that you’re so lost. Just let it out of yer mouth and frankly speak it all out, can’t ya do that? Jus’ what’s stoppin’ ya?”
Julius: “I apologize. I am unable to decide which words would be appropriate to express what I want to say. —The reason for my worry is just as you guessed, the Sin Archbishop that was encountered in the City Government Building. Roy Alphard of [Gluttony], was that person, unmistakably. Unmistakably, but…”
Julius confusedly cut off his words halfway as uncertainty wavered in his yellow eyes.
Julius: “Similar to the other Sin Archbishops, perhaps [Gluttony] also possesses an inexplicable ability. The power of eating memories, eating names, was noticeable back at the time of the battle with the White Whale. However…”
Ricardo called out the moment he felt unease touching his very core. And Julius instantly recognized the meaning behind it.
—The atmosphere trembled, all sounds disappeared from the world, and a light rose into the sky.
There could be only one situation in which that extraordinary light would pierce the night sky. It must be the aftermath of a slash by the strongest individual in this world.
Ricardo: “Such a fancy move. I’m correct to assume it’s the Sword Saint, huh?”
Julius: “Ah, Reinhardt, isn’t it. It seems that Subaru and the others have already come in contact with [Greed]. We cannot afford to make any delays either. We must also hurry.”
When one Sin Archbishop was attacked, the other Sin Archbishops did not come together in defense and retaliation.
Julius and Ricardo sped up their pace, aiming for the approaching control tower.
Ricardo: “So, what’s so strange ‘bout that [Gluttony]? Did ya say he’s an extraordinary monster?!”
Ricardo tapped on his shoulder in hopes of hearing Julius’ story to its conclusion and interrupted Julius’ forward momentum. Julius turned his head and looked back, with a gaze which denied what he had just said.
Julius: “No. Although it does seem like he was not completely serious, the skill of [Gluttony] does not seem to exceed human knowledge itself. If we both are his opponents, then that may just be enough for him, however, the enemy’s creepiness is a totally different subject.”
His unavoidable worry itself was because of the fact that Julius himself did not know the extent of its true creepiness. And it was Julius’ unusual selfishness which made him avoid mentioning this argument in the previous strategy meeting.
Julius considered [Gluttony] to be an unfathomable and eerie opponent, but still believed that he must cross swords with him.
Ricardo did not know the reason behind it.
It could not be said that even Julius clearly knew, either.
They kicked the stone pavement and passed the curve of the street to its exit. There lied one of four control towers, colored differently compared to the other buildings, and in front of that was—,
???: “A~h, we thought that you’d come. We expected that you’d come. That’s right, that’s exactly right, that’s completely right, perhaps that’s right, maybe that’s right, probably that’s right, isn’t that right, isn’t that probably right, because that’s right ~tsu! The wait was well worth it ~tsu!”
—Before the entrance of the control tower, a lone boy stood on the cobblestone square.
Dressed in dirty rags, dark brown hair left to grow for a long time till it reached great length. His crazy eyes twinkling and shining with happiness, sharp canine teeth and a dripping tongue hung from his mouth.
With both arms slouched down, he was a young boy. No matter how you looked at him, he barely seemed to have any power and looked like simply a vagrant child—but an aura of dreadfulness emanated from his body.
Ricardo: “One more thing, jus’ to confirm… It’s him, right?”
There wasn’t any need to ask, whether it was. There was no doubt, it was completely convincing.
As a response to Ricardo, Julius only lowered his jaw quietly.
There was no possible doubt, no possible mistake, that it was the Sin Archbishop of [Gluttony] standing there.
The worst kind of blasphemer who chewed on the names and memories of others.
Julius: “Roy Alphard—”
Roy: “Yes, correct answer. That’s our name. We’re happy that you remember it. Quite happy. Pretty happy. Really happy. As we’re happy. Because we’re happy, drinking ~tsu! Gluttony ~tsu! It would be worthwhile to eat, and dri~nk. And also…”
Declaring his name, Alphard laughed with terrible brutality. His eyes glared directly at Ricardo standing right next to Julius.
He opened his mouth and rings his nose as his eyes filled with ecstasy.
Roy: “This time it seems that we will be even getting a puppy-chan. That makes us unbelievably happy. After all, our stomach might have had gotten a bit troubled if it was ju~st Julius Juukulius-kun. Whatever you say, it would have had been completely tasteless, won’t it.”
Julius: “It seems I have gotten rather bored by your words of insult. Henceforth to settle this quickly, I asked my friend to accompany me this time. Though it is definitely inelegant to have more than one person…”
Roy: “A~h, it’s nice, that way of starting. Doing that to raise self-consciousness may be nice and it is typical of Julius-kun bu~t, it’s rather weak. We are gourmands so tasting that is a bit problematic, but still, we are intrigued as Julius-kun is one of the top-class we have seen till now! Tidy a~nd consistent.”
Julius: “Well, well… in addition to the big welcome we received, I am grateful for those words as well.”
Roy: “Well that cannot be helped ~tsu! Our, our honesty is something that gets overlooked. What we want you to overlook right now is this slight mismatch of characters.”
Waving his hands, Alphard did not bend his posture till the end. Provocatively, Julius kept his calm, but Ricardo was unable to hide his feeling of unpleasantness. He clicked his tongue and cracked the bones of his neck.
Ricardo: “O~h, say what ya wanna say, boy. It’ll be mistake to overlook you as just some brat. What ye’ll get for your sins won’t be very pretty. I’ll even travel across dimensions just to beat your ass. Because, boy will I break that.”
Roy: “Oh, scaryscary. Don’t stare at us with that scary face. We apologize if you got offe~nded that we called you a puppy, Ricardo Welkin. But still, we still longed for you a bit, you know? Don’t scare us, in that rough loud voice of yo~urs!”
Calling Ricardo by his name, he shouted, as Julius frowned. Seeing his eyes, Julius shook his head. Strange. Alphard’s remarks were merely a madman’s delusion, but the enormous sense of discomfort could not be easily wiped away. For example— when did he, learn Ricardo’s name?
Ricardo: “Damn spooky brat…… From where, and when, did ya learn our names.”
Roy: “It wouldn’t be ve~ry wise to try and investigate. It’s just that, it’s obvious that we would know your name. Isn’t that true, Julius-ku~n?”
Julius: “No matter how much you consent, I cannot respond to you. You too, I am completely ignorant regarding you. If this is the way you will do it, I will break the flow just as much.”
Roy: “Look, there’s that boring conclusion again. Even though we care about it quite much, it’s uneasy it’s uneasy it’s unpleasant ~tsu! Hiding it in the chest, putting aside thinking about oneself for later ~tsu! It’s pretty virtuous as a knight, but it’s pretty boring as a person.”
Pulling out his knight sword, Julius’s lips silently whisper something.
And immediately afterwards, six extremely brilliant lights surrounded Julius.
They were the six quasi-spirits Julius is always accompanied by.
This mix of swordsmanship and spirit-arts was what made Julius the [Knight Impeccable].
Roy: “Neither the aroma of the feeling of inferiority, nor the rich texture of experiencing frustration, even the sweetness of a strong desire, or the rare taste of a sense of satisfaction after you’ve aged, you have no~ne of them ~tsu!”
Julius: “—Ricardo. Give it your everything from the very beginning. Let’s work together.”
Ricardo: “Yeah, leave it to me.”
Shaking his arms, Alphard revealed the daggers attached on his wrists. Wielding two daggers was [Gluttony’s] fighting style, but it did not seem to be enough to stop Julius’ magic or prevent Ricardo’s blows.
As long as the battle wasn’t an ambush, their respective victory and defeat were already in sight.
Regardless, in Ricardo’s eyes, Alphard did not seem an opponent that could provide a rich and challenging battle experience.
Julius: “Spirit Knight, Julius Juukulius.”
As per his manners, Julius gave his name ahead of the fight.
However, Ricardo, who was standing next to him, had no such obligations to follow. They fixed their eyes, waiting for [Gluttony] to give his identity.
Seeing Ricardo’s line of sight, Alphard shouted.
Roy: “How nice, quite nice, perhaps it is nice, isn’t it nice , maybe it is nice, possibly it is nice, probably it is nice, because it is probably nice ~tsu! Gluttonous drinking ~tsu! Gluttony ~tsu! Gourmet, bizarre eating, satiation, overeating ~tsu! Spiciness, blandness, deliciousness, delicacy ~tsu! We will eat everything up ~tsu! Even a life without taste, is also a taste that’s new to us ~tsu!”
Julius: “—El Clausel.”
The vibrance of the six colours draw a circle in front of Julius’s eyes, and an extremely bright light emanates from the tip of his sword that aimed to stab through Alphard’s centre.
Multiple affinities mixed, that destructive power develops into a rainbow-coloured blow that could swallow up everything.
Ricardo stepped on ahead with momentum that crushed the cobblestone, just behind the dazzling light. As if in an attempt to have Ricardo push Alphard aside, right into the extremely vibrant light. Against the heavy slashes and the rainbow-coloured extremely vibrant light, Alphard uncovers his fangs.
Roy: “—Truly, nii-sama is as magnificent as imagined. We will be enchanted, geez ~tsu.”
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Beneath the moon, flashes of silver sliced through wind, as sparks spilled forth from a symphony of swordplay.
The first musician was was a Sword Demon who swung a pair of blades with crisp notes.
His partner welcomed him; a swordswoman whose movements flowed reminiscent the path of a gentle stream.
Flashes of metal danced through the air; the clash of steel should have sounded cruel, and yet, somehow, this symphony was wistfully melancholic. The ringing of sharp, precise collisions resembled the gentle caresses of a pair of lovers.
The reason for this was simple; these two swordsmen complemented each other on a level beyond perfection.
The Sword Demon steeled his breath as he let loose a flurry of elliptical blows.
Those precise arcs were practically a form of art, their clean movements the ideal standard for all aspiring swordsmen.
His sheer skill was so overwhelming that anyone who was worthy of calling themself a knight would have been so captivated that their battle would be guaranteed a loss, and yet he merely, almost casually, unleashed flurry after flurry.
One single, light blow would have been more than fatal, in this rain of unending death.
However, meeting this peerless hurricane was a longsword whose owner was truly extraordinary.
Moreover, that longsword had an odd quality.
The length of the blade, as tall as its owner, was too unwieldy to make a proper weapon; and yet, the slender slender swordswoman swung the huge blade with ease, as if it were weightless.
Although the longsword’s owner was draped from head to toe in a black cloak, impeding on her vision, the tip of her sword flowed as if dancing through water.
Whether it be in terms of speed or polish, the twin blades greatly outstripped the longsword. Even so, each and every one of the Sword Demon’s piercing attacks were, without fail, absorbed and deflected.
Between the sparks and sharp clangs, with an almost pitying hiss toward the Sword Demon, the swordswoman leapt backward. A beat too slow to react to the unexpected move, just as he was about to push forward, the gleam of a blade pierced his forehead.
Flashing before him, was a blow that he couldn’t allow to make contact.
This was a specialized killing blow that flashed faster than the blink of an eye, which disguised the approaching blade. If not for his extensive experience in dueling her, he would have been unable to see through the imminent death he’d nearly been dealt, and glem would have passed through the brain and killed him.
The skin between his brows burned at the close call. In an instant, the Sword Demon cast off his misgivings, and began to pursue to woman who’d frozen in her stinging pose.
Wilhelm: “huu, kuu”
Before he’d even gathered himself enough to act, the woman had driven her toes into his flesh.
Her slender feet pierced between his well-exercised abdominal muscles and jolted his organs; the weight of her kick bent his body double, as a silver flash drew an arc, which hung over his head.
The glittering sword flew straight as true, as if meaning to cut down the moon.
Having reached the peak of its flight, the sword began to glide back to earth, and slicing straight through the atmosphere, meaning to bisect the sword demon.
The power behind that attack was incomparable to any previous ones; both the deadliness of the blade itself and its owner’s skill were more than capable of slicing through any human body.
Approaching in the briefest of flashes, was this certain death.
Wilhelm: “Stop looking down on me!”
Still bent double, he immediately swung both his arms upward, staggering as they met the crushing force overhead.
The Sword Demon’s own blades overlapped as they caught the weapon bearing down on him, as his jaws clenched from its sheer power. Unable to fend it off entirely, his arms began to fall; shallowly, the blade pierced his forehead.
Blood spurted forth, splattering his field of vision red. However, he hadn’t fallen to knees, not had his own swords been broken.
The arms holding the sword back strained upward, pushing the fallen sword back again.
Sweeping the heavy blade aside, the residual aftershocks shook the form of the swordswoman before him; taking advantage of the moment, he kicked forward.
The force that should have slammed back into the ground was instead redirected into the woman’s airborne form.
The combination of the force from the falling blade and the kick slammed the woman’s body into the distance. The aging Sword Demon lunged into the slender body that had nowhere left to flee.
Against the swordswoman who had flown into the air, with no escape route, the Sword Demon lowered his shoulder and unleashed an attack.
Catching up to her fleeing form, the attack came simultaneously from top and bottom. As one, the two blades drew an arc, tearing toward her slender form with the bite of a wild beast.
In midair, with her back turned toward him, she could make no counterattack.
Even so, that clarity of that attack found itself shaken.
The hood that had covered the swordswoman’s head, unable to withstand the tug of gravity as she flipped her body, swished back, revealing what had once been hidden,
Cascading down was long hair the color of a beautiful, raging flame.
At the time of its entry into her field of vision, the swordsman’s attack carried a flaw which existed for briefer than a single instant.
A incredibly subtle, slight deviation from perfection, was this mistake. Even so, no one else would be able to parry this attack.
However, considering the Sword Demon’s current opponent, this mistake was fatal. To an existence which had once won the favor of the the god of swords, that turbid blade could not reach at all.
At the scene in front of him, the Sword Demon’s throat was frozen by a shudder.
That certain blow had been interrupted midway.
It hadn’t been anything special. The woman merely drew her sword in midair, and wedged it between the swords that came from above and below. As easy as sliding a brace between a pair of fangs.
The blade and the pommel of her longsword completely caught the advance of the two swords right in their tracks.What had the Sword Demon shudder was that bite of steel on steel rang out only once.
Catching the two blades with only one crisp sound, meant that she had calculated the timing of both of them colliding with her own weapon down to the millisecond.
What was truly horrifying was the necessary clarity of vision, skill, and sheer nerve to even attempt such an act.
The stunt, so far beyond what common sense dictated was possible, drew a sigh from the Sword Demon’s throat.
At that moment, the leg of the woman who was still caught between the swords flew in a wide arc, kicking away the Sword Demon’s hands, which still rested where his attack had stalled.
The impact jolted his weapons from the hands which wielded them, and, in that moment, he found himself completely defenseless.
Then, with a flash of steel, the longsword made a cross.
The combination of the speed at which the blade approached, and the range that couldn’t have been shorter.
Even with a little time and distance, the empty-handed swordsman had no way to block.
The longsword pierced his thin skin and continued drive into his organs and sever his spine, driving through his left side in one single motion and splitting his body into halves— coughing up blood and internal organs, the body already shackled by old age breaking with blow. That was the unavoidable fate that awaited him.
That was the end that could not be evaded, and the conclusion of the matter.
After the end of his life, having lost everything, he couldn’t even cling to a chance at redemption.
—That kind of conclusion was simply impossible to accept.
He rebelled against the bloody end that flashed through his mind.
The throat of the sword ghost burned with the final scene of the illusion, the vitality of his twilight years erupting forth. Breaking the limits concentration so that even passage of time stalled, only he and his opponent existed in that moment, the sounds and colors of the world fading from focus.
The impending blade traced an unexpected orbit to stab into his body.
Slowly feeling the touch of the blade piercing through his fragile skin, as well the heat and pain of bleeding, whilst feeling as if the natural force of gravity had increased tenfold, he planted all his the power into his two feet.
Digging his heels in hard enough to shatter stone, he redirected the force of swinging his arms to the right into a reactive motion.
Reversing his body with the shortest distance and best angle, turning to the side as if approaching the blade that brushed his body, a form of evasion which allowed him to roll along the blade that slid across his side.
Having been thwarted in her attack, the swordswoman’s follow up attack was delayed by but a brief moment.
In that time, the Sword Demon retreated several paces, plucking his twin swords from midair. With a sigh, he placed the palm of his hand onto his side, checking the depth of the wound.
This was certainly no minor scratch.
He’d turned while a blade had been invading his body, after all. Spinning while being pierced, he’d naturally draw a wound on his own body.
Fortunately, by a hair’s breadth, he’d kept the blade from plunging into his organs, but the amount of blood dripping from the wound mere centimeters away from his innards was by no means a small amount.
To ordinary people, this was a serious injury. Although that was natural—
Wilhelm: “… From the very start, I didn’t feel that I could persist in this battle for long.”
He’d already been running on a time limit, it had only grown shorter.
The Sword Demon— Wilhelm rolled off his shirt and violently staunched the bleeding from his waist; exposing his healthy flesh during this emergency treatment, he was not pursued.
The woman opposing him merely watched quietly, her gaze devoid of emotion.
At his own anticipation of any swaying or subtle changes in those eyes, Wilhelm gave a bitter smile. Pressing on his open the wound, he awoke himself with the pain.
Wilhelm: “Such weakness is useless. Stop dreaming, this sacred reunion, you will one day be able to indulge in as much as you want, in the heavens.”
Wilhelm: “I don’t think I’m hallucinating. Nor do I expect miracles. My wife was a woman who was reluctant to follow the way of the sword, but pushing the responsibility of wielding the sword onto others, was something she never once did.”
An emotionless corpse, a revived construct.
Crimson hair silky and flowing, smooth skin snowy and transparent, eyes bijous of precious gems; closing his own, he recalled that cute face that he would never tire of.
All this was before him, and all this shouldn’t have been before him.
Wilhelm: “Thearesia, how lovely you are. —Therefore, you can’t remain here.”
Wilhelm tightened his grip on his swords, taking up fighting a stance again.
At this moment, standing here, was not the husband of Thearesia van Astrea. The one who prayed to stand here was not Wilhelm van Astrea.
Who stood here at this moment was Sword Demon Wilhelm.
—Facing his dead wife, Wilhelm steeled his spirit, his gaze becoming clear and clean.
Even if his blood were boiling, he wouldn’t allow his anger at the sinister presence to come to a breaking point.
But, right now, at this moment, at this time, anything else was superfluous.
His old friend, his comrade-in-arms, his wife, had said to Wilhelm.
Don’t allow heat to besmirch the blade, don’t allow your blood boil, you must learn to love the coldness of steel.
How about now? Was it growing hot?
Wilhelm: “No, it’s frigid. Like the blade of a knife.”
Under the moon, the Sword Demon pierced his opponent with a gaze of steel.
The talent swordswoman who was his opponent, also waved the tip of the her longsword again, without any flaws.
In an instant, their swords once again flashed again toward each other.
The sounds of steel intertwined with each other was a wail, a plea, a courtship.
The expectation of an end, and the hope that it would never come to an end.
As if exchanging endless dialogue without a single word. The sound of swordplay played ceaselessly, echoing.
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Garfiel: “Ah, damn it! No response ‘t all, what a joke!”
Kicking off the ground, kicking off a wall, kicked off a roof, and soaring up.
Flying diagonally in the air, his short blond hair fluttering as it bathed in the wind fluttering, exposing his teeth, a picture of desperation.
Time and time again, gnashing his fangs, fighting the burning sensation in his body and chest.
Garfiel: “Bastard! What’s up, hello!”
His clothes fluttering, he broke into a run the instant he touched the ground again.
This was a feat that only those of exceptional strength and endurance, far beyond a human level, could achieve. However, the one who flew over the city with only his own body expressed no pride in his abilities.
Instead, he kept roaring into an unresponsive hand mirror.
The one sprinting was Garfiel, who was howling into the magic device in his hand— the conversation mirror.
The conversation mirror, which should have been able to link him to others who possessed one, remained silent. No one picked up Garfiel’s call, even though, clearly, there were two groups of people capable of responding.
Garfiel: “City Hall guys, or [Wrath] fightin’ guys! Th’ hell’re ya not replyin’ for!”
The conversation mirrors were supposed to have been assigned so that everyone could stay in contact during their respective battles.
In fact, they’d been working perfectly fine just after he’d left the City Hall. But now, when contact was necessary, the function of the dialogue mirror had fallen silent.
—This needed to be be communicated immediately.
Garfiel: “Gotta tell ‘em that they’ve to evacuate the City Hall now, damn it!”
As he said so, he leapt upward, skipping the street in front of him as he took a shortcut.
Although his rough landing shattered the roof he landed on, Garfiel had no attention to spare. Compared to damage to the city, ensuring the safety of his companions was far more important.
The goal of his rapid travel was the City Hall.
Garfiel was rushing back to the place he’d left only dozens of minutes ago. Leaving behind Wilhelm, his comrade-in-arms, he desperately called to the conversation mirror.
There was no other reason.
Danger was quickly approaching the City Hall that was serving as their base.
—Wilhelm and Garfiel had arrived at the control tower occupied by the [Lust], at about the same time that Reinhardt began to engage with [Greed].
Having witnessed the distant aurora, the two entered the control tower.
None of the witch cultists nor the troublesome people who they’d expected had appeared to intercept their path. As expected, the Witch Cult minions in the city seemed to only consist of insignificant opponents.
Everything had been smooth sailing until then, and hadn’t been any other rooms worth checking out aside from the water gate control room.
So, the pair naturally headed to the top floor to prepare for a decisive battle with [Lust]. In the imagination, the proportion of the power of the [Lust] camp is the most dangerous. In addition to [Lust], there were two outstanding fighters, which meant that the two would have to face three enemies— naturally, they were both engulfed in tension.
Wilhelm: “If possible, I’d appreciate the swordswoman being left to me.”
Garfiel: “Th’ cap’n also told me so. Seems like there’s something between ya. But, my amazin’ self also has a bone t’ pick with that woman. Can’t let ya have ‘er so easily.”
Wilhelm: “That is my wife. Those bastards made a mockery of my wife’s death, trampled upon her soul, and forced her to point a sword that which she’d sworn to protect.”
Wilhelm: “No matter what, this is impermissible.”
On the way, Wilhelm had revealed his reason for wanting to fight.
That was a reason that Garfiel, who should have had no basis to give up, couldn’t help but keep his mouth shut against. And his inability to form reply in that moment, may have been just what decided the most fitting opponent of the swordswoman.
Although he’d said nothing, Garfiel conceded the opponent to Wilhelm. Wilhelm also indicated his understanding of this, silently bowing his head to express his gratitude.
So, when he stepped into the control tower, Garfiel felt his the cold sensation of his hair sticking straight up.
If Wilhelm is going to fight the female swordsman, then he’d have to deal with the remaining two by himself. The swordswoman went without mention, and the giant accompanying her was no less powerful than she was.
Although [Lust] was seeming lacking in terms of combat effectiveness, Subaru had repeatedly emphasized that what was fearsome about the Witch Cult was its direct combat ability.
Silent tension and pervasive fighting spirit.
As his sense of smell caught an increasingly strong scent of blood, Garfiel equipped the silver shields which had been strapped legs, and rushed into the room.
There, he saw it.
[Why the hell would I just be obediently waiting here? Fool.]
Words scrawled in blood, occupying an entire wall of the room.
When he realized what they meant, Garfiel’s head seethed.
Fleeing from a battle as if it were a matter of course, a type of personality which could straightforwardly say that there was no obligation to wait.
Wilhelm: “—Neglectful. Those bastards are exactly the type to pull this kind of trick.”
Wilhelm lowered his voice and retrieved the conversation mirror from his sleeves. The reason for trying to get in touch with the City Hall so immediately was because Wilhelm had thought of the notion first.
Wilhelm: “If our forces are sent out in raids, then our base’s combat power will naturally diminish. These guys won’t have any shame in exploiting this gap.”
Before the pale-faced Garfiel, Wilhelm grimaced at the unresponsive mirror.
At the same time, along the roof of the control tower, emerged a deep, oppressive hostility.
A feeling that his back was being stroked by a blade, was what tipped Garfiel off about the existence of the enemy.
Wilhelm had also felt the hostile presence.
Wilhelm: “Garfiel-sama, I’ll entrust the City Hall to you.”
Garfiel: “‘F it comes down t’ it, my amazin’ self can get there faster.”
They exchanged ideas in a flash.
The enemy was as a razor-sharp, clandestine blade. Exposing their backs as they tried to flee would only result in the both of them being cut down from behind.
Between them, one of them needed to stay.
Then, one of them needed to return to the City Hall.
Wilhelm: “Please, continue to try to establish contact. —My master, I entrust her to you.”
Garfiel: “Goes without sayin’. ‘S a [Libre’s voice rouses the blood of soldiers].”
Garfiel caught the thrown conversation mirror and sped out of the control tower.
Like so, he flew across the city, crossed the waterway, and continued into the mirror that offered no response. —Wilhelm’s battle was also probably starting.
Garfiel: “Damn it! All that, for nothin’…!”
If [Lust] launched a surprise attack on the City Hall, there would be very little forces capable of greeting her.
Anastasia and Ferris had no combat power, and Crusch had collapsed from her injuries. Although several members of the [Iron Fang] stood on guard, their combat power wasn’t enough to compare with Mimi.
The instant that he thought of Mimi, Garfiel’s chest grew sore.
The girl who, even now, hovered in the abyss of death, who he’d rescued, saved, protected.
Keep her alive, saving her, clearly should have been his duty.
That duty had been conceded to another due to sentiment, and his chance at vengeance grew further by the second. However, even the work that was taken as an alternative could not be completed satisfactorily.
What was he doing? Looking as he did, what was he doing?
To Mimi, Subaru, his sister, Ram, or anyone, he couldn’t lift his head to face them.
Garfiel: “My amazin’ self, once again—!”
Can’t do anything?
The unresponsive conversation mirror reflected such an unpromising face. In the moment that he cursed himself,
As he smashed the roof whilst leaping, he was a beat too slow in reacting to the shadow flying in from the side.
That form, far more massive than his own, met him with a horizontal impact.
The reason why he couldn’t even issue a cry of pain was because his throat was hooked under an elbow. Blood and oxygen unable to circulate through his brain, maintaining his consciousness grew steadily more difficult.
Pulling him back into gradual consciousness was the force of the impact over his whole body.
The body that had greeted his obliquely from the air and slammed into a nearby building. Breaking the wall with his entire body, Garfiel tossed up a cloud of dust.
The dull pain and broken bones drew a groan from Garfiel, as he felt himself being liberated from the restraint. Using his body’s elasticity, Garfiel slammed the ground as hard as he could, pulling himself upright again.
He found himself in a structure with no lighting. The smog that filled the room had become a white smoke under the moonlight, and, before his own blood-coughing figure, he could detect another presence.
That was undoubtedly the culprit who’d sniped him and landed them in here.
Garfiel: “Ya bastard, y’ really know how t’-”
The instant when he’d taken a battle stance, a fist slammed into his stomach.
Garfiel’s entire abdominal area took the force of his opponent’s huge fists, and his body flew upward. Then, he was smashed by the fist that had been swung from above, and the already decrepit floor broke beneath him and he fell another level.
Garfiel: “Kuu, what… guu!?”
The sole of a foot slammed into his downward falling body.
The damage caused by both the momentum and the mass caused him to spit blood, and his body, stomped on once again, crashed fiercely and directly through to the entrance to the building, where it was smashed into the street.
From this striking impact, Garfiel continued to cough and he climbed to his feet. At the same time, he applied simple healing magic himself, knitting broken bones as he raised his head.
The one who’d chased Garfiel from the top of the building to here was a hulking figure who he needed to crane his head to see.
Although covered head to toe in black robes, even that could not disguise the thickness of his arms and legs. Rather than saying he was muscular, it would be no exaggeration to say that he wore an armor of muscle.
To Garfiel, this would be the third time facing that enemy.
That name was already known as well.
Garfiel: “Kurgan of [Eight Arms]…”
He was one of the Vollachia Empire’s sword swinging heroes.
Although he was said to have died in battle while defending an imperial city ten and some years prior, for him to be here right now, could he have suffered the same humiliation in death that Wilhelm’s wife had?
When Garfiel spoke that name, the giant, Kurgan, extended his arms.
At that moment, the clasp of his robes gave way, revealing his figure. That is to say, the hero Kurgan revealed his expertise in close-range battle.
As expected, his strong body was covered by a thick armor of muscle.
A powerful physique which could rival the giants, and face on a neck which could be described as demonic, filled with the domineering expression of a war god.
And what made this war god a war god, were the eight arms which enabled those strange fighting techniques.
In addition to the two arms that usually grew from the shoulders, two more arms sprouted from the same place. Move down his body revealed two more arms using his shoulders as the starting point, and the rest stretched their palms forward from behind.
That was in accordance with Kurgan’s name [Eight Arms]. Someone capable of sapping his enemy’s will to fight with just his natural body.
Facing Garfiel, who’d swallowed a deep breath, Kurgan kept his silence as he drew his weapon.
Strapped to his thick legs, coincidentally mounted in the same style as Garfiel’s shield, were a pair of thick, long, distorted blades— the [Ghost Cleavers] that this war god swung.
This war god drew two other Ghost Cleavers from his back, for a total of four. Although the remaining four arms are still unarmed, Garfiel would nonetheless be completely overwhelmed.
He had no leisure to underestimate the enemy in the slightest.
His body trembled.
In front of this real hero, Garfiel’s body trembled from his core.
Garfiel stared at the hero, the legendary figure, the great man who’d made a mark in history.
To not know the name of the Kurgan of [Eight Arms] was impossible for him.
Garfiel indeed took great interest in his myriad legends coming from every which way.
And today, he stood in front of his very own eyes, as an enemy.
This was a nightmare. A ongoing nightmare that had begun yesterday.
What else could it be, malicious as it was?
Garfiel: “… ha, ah, huh.”
Garfiel’s breath quickened as he reached toward his legs.
Mounted there in the same way as Kurgan’s Ghost Cleavers were silver shields. Unaware of how many times his fingers slipped, finally, the straps came undone.
Placing his shields on his arms as if to cover his fists, he knocked them together for confirmation, creating a sharp note which echoed in the night sky.
His equipment is ready, and his injuries had healed enough to not be debilitating.
However, his mind was still, at the moment, frazzled.
Garfiel: “‘S no time t’ say stupid shit—!”
Clenching his fangs, Garfiel hit himself in the face.
Shaking his head from the dizzying pain and shock, he turned his gaze forward again. Assuming his stance again, he bared his fangs at the war god before him.
Garfiel: “‘F you’re jus’ standing there, th’ hell’s my amazin’ self for! Whether ‘s th’ cap’n! Or the other guys too! They’re all fightin’! Obviously, all yer good for ‘s fightin’, so th’ fuck’re ya stallin’ for?”
Against the screaming Garfiel, Kurgan remained impassive.
The silent war god that Garfiel was facing would only watch him quietly. With a pout, he broke the line of the street, then rushed forward with a single step.
Through the soles of his shoes, he absorbed the power of the earth, allowing his [Divine Protection of Earth Spirits] to redirect all that energy into a blow.
His fist was truly infused with the power to shatter a stone building.
His silver shield reinforced the fist’s blow, one strong enough to break even a hero.
His arm flew straight and true into Kurgan’s waist—
Garfiel: “—How’s this?”
Using the full force of his body, Garfiel’s attack was blocked by Kurgan’s Demon Cleaver.
The Demon Cleaver, blocking the direct attack to Kurgan’s abdomen, withstood the power of Garfiel’s blow. He did not evade, nor did he flinch.
With only a hard block, a full-bodied attack was dispelled. The hero of [Eight Arms] had used only a single arm.
Garfiel’s stiff expression ushered in a punch from the shoulder. The body that turned backwards was caught by the arm that protruded from a side, and, unable to escape, he could only take a wild beating.
His cheekbones were broken in an instant, and his fundus was crushed. The field of view of his right eye was stained bright red. A razor fang shattered and blew away. His body still caught, he was thrown to the ground, kicked down the street by a powerful leg, and rolled, rolled, rolled, rolled into the nearby waterway.
Everything went in a flash, and he stared at the moon that floated so high above him.
That moon seemed to laugh at him. Afterward, Garfiel’s body sank into the waterway.
—The surface of the water was slowly dyed crimson.