「Come forth and roar, red lightning『Reinhardt!』」
Charlotte chants the name of her great ancestor who has risen to the position of divinity. His divine protection manifests itself as red lightning, granting power to his beautiful descendent.
The crimson aura that appears instantaneously around her body blows away dozens of the snake-like parasites that have closed in on her.
With her twin tails and cape fluttering proudly behind her, she appears not as the princess of a nation, but as a powerful Rank 5 Thunder Mage.
On the other hand, the Greed-Gore doesn’t even look at her as it remains lying at the side of the pond, as if it is confident in its own ability as a Rank 5 monster.
「Hmph, I don’t know whether you’re an earth-element or lightning-element enemy, but my attacks are strong enough for me to ignore things like resistances!」
Letting out these spirited words, Charlotte waves the『Crimson Bolt』with all her strength and begins to chant.
「ترى، البرق في السماء تشغيل (The lightning that runs in the sky, look at it.)」
Red lightning is converging at the tip of her wand.
「يرتجف، وهدير الرعد إلى الأرض (The thunder that echoes in the earth, tremble at it.)」
The thunder that is bundled together there lets out high-pitched explosions that sound like a scream.
「ساطع يا مجد الأحمر (Shine, my glorious red fury.)」
An object forms before Charlotte, an enormous sword that is twice as long as her own body height. It is in the shape of a traditional Spadan double-edged blade.
Charlotte’s deadly blade of red lightning, the Ancient Magic that can only be invoked through the divine protection of the Red Lightning Lord Reinhardt, is released.
Her target’s body is over thirty meters long; there is no way that she can miss. Even if the Greed-Gore were to take evasive actions, it would be impossible to avoid this lightning-speed electrical attack.
The Greed-Gore does not show any sign of movement, and Charlotte’s『Lightning Spada』hits it directly.
The unique crimson lightning shines brightly, enveloping not only the Greed-Gore’s body, but the nearby pond as well.
Even the caster, Charlotte herself, closes her eyelids reflexively.
As the thunder that matches the heavy rain that is pouring down echoes across the Iskia Hills, she opens her eyes again. She knows that the light has already subsided.
She also knows that even a Rank 5 monster receiving a direct hit from this attack is surely fatally wounded.
「Ahaha, I did it! Jeez, I knew I should have just done this from the start –」
However, her expectations and confidence are betrayed.
「Eh, no way, what is this!」
Before Charlotte’s eyes is the Greed-Gore, lying there exactly as it was before.
The one difference is that its body surface has now turned a brick-red color.
「H-how? Does this mean that it blocked it?!」
Monsters shouldn’t be able to understand words, but as if responding to her question, the Greed-Gore moves. No, it uses the Characteristic Ability hidden within its body.
As it releases purple lightning, a deep black sandstorm begins to rise around its body, whose original color seems to have been the red that it is displaying now.
It looks like a darkness-element ability that manipulates the caster’s own shadow, but it is indeed black sand that is rising from the ground.
「It’s using lightning to control iron sand...」
Though Charlotte cannot be called wise, she herself is a lightning-element user, and so she immediately understands the Greed-Gore’s ability.
It is not a black Greed-Gore with a color variation. It has been covering its entire body with iron sand.
This enormous amount of iron sand, compressed and molded around its body to form a black full-body armor, has perfectly blocked the『Lightning Spada.』
The Lightning Spada did indeed have incredible power, enough to blow away all of the armor in an instant, but by recasting this spell, the Greed-Gore can easily rebuild it.
By the time Charlotte comes to understand this, the Greed-Gore’s black body lies before her once more.
「Doesn’t that mean it’s strong with both the earth element and the lightning element…?」
Both people and monsters have affinities for certain elements. If an individual’s affinity is for only one element, then that affinity will be strong, while if there are multiple elements, then the affinity is divided evenly among them or distributed with a preference towards one or another. This is a fundamental rule.
However, from this one act, the Greed-Gore appears to have powerful affinities for both the lightning and earth elements.
Indeed, it is as if it is made of two different monsters, one with an affinity for the earth element and one with an affinity for the lightning element.
「It looks like some other Rank 5 monster has taken over the Greed-Gore... This is just the worst, isn’t it...」
With this being the case, this is as dangerous as facing two Rank 5 monsters simultaneously.
Never mind Charlotte alone, it is questionable as to whether even the entirety of Wing Road could take it on – As anxiety and unease pass through Charlotte’s chest, the Greed-Gore stands up, as if it has finally awakened.
As it stands, it looks like a black mountain of stone. It has the same majestic appearance it had when it appeared before the students several days ago.
Back then, it delegated the work to its subordinates and left, but now it is gazing with both eyes directly at Spada’s princess.
It seems the attack that Charlotte was so proud of was an alarm clock for the Greed-Gore. It was sufficient to make even this lazy monster feel cautious enough to set its sights on her and take action personally.
As if to devour her, the Greed-Gore’s enormous, vicious mouth opens wide.
Charlotte immediately senses danger upon seeing this movement.
There are already small sparks of purple lightning surging inside the Greed-Gore’s oral cavity.
A Breath of lightning – No, from the fact that the iron sand protecting its body is now peeling off and gathering around its mouth, it is clear that this is no mere Thunder Breath.
Using all of the iron sand armor on the upper half of its body, it creates a sword.
It has the exact same shape as the『Lightning Spada』that Charlotte threw at it earlier.
The only difference is that it is completely black. It contains the same amount of electrical power – no, perhaps even more. If one were to give it an appropriate name, it would be『Darkness Spada.』
With such an attack about to fly towards her, Charlotte does not feel any desire to turn her back and run.
She has no choice but to make the best defense that she can.
「–『Line Argalea Shield!』」
To block a lightning-element attack, the best option is to use the absorption effect of the same element. Charlotte casts a high-level lightning-element defensive spell.
A rectangular shield forms in front of her, with the red electricity of her divine protection wrapping around it like thorns.
As the spell is in her element of specialty, it is built to a considerable degree of perfection, even with a short chant. However, she cannot erase her anxiety over whether its defensive power will be sufficient.
「Block it, Raa-chan!」
As commanded, the Undead Wrath-Pun leaps in front of Charlotte and takes a defensive stance to act as her shield.
The Greed-Gore releases its iron-sand blade shining with purple lightning.
All Charlotte sees is a momentary flash around its mouth.
Her vision spins rapidly, she doesn’t know where she is looking or even whether her eyes are working properly.
Even her sense of hearing has been affected. As if lightning has struck right next to her, her ears are ringing loudly. She can’t even hear herself scream.
She realizes that she fainted for a moment.
She can feel the sensations of wet grass and cold raindrops dripping down her cheeks. It seems she is lying face-down.
Looking up a little, she can see the Wrath-Pun collapsed on the ground, its abdomen pierced by an enormous black blade.
She begins to remember.
The blade that pierced the Wrath-Pun continued through, pulverizing the『Line Argalea Shield』that she created.
From the impact of the shield breaking, she was blown several meters away, and now she is in this unsightly state.
「Kuh... I can’t move... my arms...」
Paralysis is the typical additional effect of lightning-element attacks.
The iron-sand blade itself didn’t reach her body, but her body fully received the electrical waves that it released.
The fact that it has applied paralysis to Charlotte, who possesses a high resistance to the lightning element, shows just how incredibly powerful the lightning attack was. The next attack will turn her body to ash if it hits her directly.
However, that is only if that is the death that the Greed-Gore desires for her.
The next attack doesn’t come. Instead, the Greed-Gore slowly approaches Charlotte directly, its footsteps causing the earth to tremble.
「Eh, no way, stop, don’t come here –」
Charlotte, lying face down and unable to move, can only watch as the black menace draws closer to her.
Both arms are paralyzed right down to her fingertips; she can’t even take a Potion from her pouch.
If Nell was here, she would be able to cure her with a single low-level, chant-less restoration spell. No, if she had one more companion, anyone at all, they would be able to use one of her countless expensive items to help her.
As the Greed-Gore stands in front of her, Charlotte learns the hard way just how risky it is to act solo.
It pushes its enormous snout close to her, blowing its breath that reeks of blood upon Charlotte’s beautiful face.
She grimaces at the stench, but she is in a situation where that smell is the least of her problems.
「No! Stop! I’m telling you to stop!」
The Greed-Gore opens its mouth, but it does not devour her. Instead, purple lightning appears once more.
It is unmistakably one of the snakes, a part of the parasite.
From this close, she can see that its body really is made entirely of purple sparks. Like a hydra, its head has no eyes, only an ominous-looking mouth.
More snakes are crawling out through the gaps in between the Greed-Gore’s sword-like fangs.
Is one snake insufficient to infest her? Or is it intending to play around with her using multiple snakes?
She trembles in fear.
The only thing Charlotte can do now is let out a scream.
「NOOOO! SAVE ME, NEROOOOOOO!」
「– Instant Flash.」
And sure enough, she is saved.
A line of shining white light directly hits the Greed-Gore’s snout.
Letting out a surprised cry, the black monster retreats two or three steps.
At the same time, the snakes that were looking to violate Charlotte’s body vanish like mist due to the shockwave of the attack.
The parasites have been erased without leaving a single trace, but as if the power of the attack was perfectly calculated, it does not even ruffle Charlotte’s hair.
「Nero, you baka... You came... so late...」
She knows exactly who has come to rescue her after seeing the slash of white light.
The martial art that releases long-ranged light-magic attacks, officially known as『Instant Flash.』
This is the signature move of Nero Julius Elroad, the First Prince of Avalon. It is impossible that Charlotte, his childhood friend and party member, does not know this.
「Jeez, you pushed yourself too hard on your own.」
As Charlotte hears a familiar listless voice, a pure-white Unicorn lands lightly in front of her.
「I have a lot of things I want to say to you, but that’ll have to come later. I’ve come to help you, Sharl.」
Thus, the prince on a white horse appears in the princess’s time of need.
The Greed-Gore looks towards the three new prey that have appeared – no, six including their mounts – as if examining them.
With a displeased expression, Nero glares directly back at the sinister, glowing eyes that are as purple as the lightning their owner emits.
「It’s unharmed after receiving a blow from Instant Flash, how tough.」
「It’s strong with both the earth and lightning elements. It even blocked my『Lightning Spada.』」
Healed by a Status-Effect-removing Potion, Charlotte stands up and explains this information.
「Tch, it really hurts to not have Nell here right now.」
If the Greed-Gore is being controlled by a Rank 5 parasite-type monster, a healing spell to remove Status Effects would be incredibly effective.
Even if it did not defeat the Parasite, it would force it out of the Greed-Gore’s body.
「Oi, we have no time to think, let’s hurry up and do this!」
Having dismounted from his Bicorn, Kai is already holding his sword in a stance, ready to attack.
「Since we came all the way out here without a plan, we have no choice but to attack it head-on, right?」
Safiel does not get down from atop her false Sleipnir. A spell book is open in her hand, ready to summon a new servant.
Looking at『Raa-chan』who is lying on the ground, she frowns a little in disappointment at the fact that her newest creation has already become a piece of junk.
「Well, I really wanna cut this bastard down as well, so that’s fine –」
Readjusting his grip on his sword, Nero gives a fearless smile. However, there is clearly anger shining in his crimson eyes.
「We’re going all-out from the very beginning. Formation『Dragon Killer.』」
The one who gives appropriate directions depending on whether they are fighting a person, an army or a monster, is none other than Nero.
The『Dragon Killer』formation that he has ordered, as its name suggests, is a formation created with the objective of killing dragons in mind, a perfect formation for dealing with large monsters. It is a deadly combination where each member uses their divine protection and skills to their full potential.
And so Nero, burning with rage that the Greed-Gore hurt his childhood friend, Kai and Safiel who respond to Nero’s expectations, and Charlotte who has made a full recovery thanks to a Potion and the power of love, begin to move to defeat their hated enemy, the Greed-Gore – but at that moment –
With a reproduction of the terrifying roar that the Greed-Gore let out eight days ago when it first appeared, there is an explosion.
A tower of earth and sand suddenly rises up and mixes with the heavy rain before scattering down over the surroundings.
The fiercely rising cloud of dirt and muddy rain stops Wing Road’s first attack.
「Kuh, this bastard – he’s gone underground.」
As Nero spits out these words, the Greed-Gore’s enormous black body has already vanished.
In the place that it was standing just a moment ago is an enormous hole, as if a giant gouged out part of the ground.
It is not that the Greed-Gore moves underground by digging a tunnel large enough for its body to pass through. It simply swims through the earth as easily as if it were water.
Unless one possesses an attack powerful enough to penetrate the earth, they cannot touch the Greed-Gore until it resurfaces.
「Heh, doesn’t that just mean we need to cut it down wherever it pops back out?」
「Isn’t that impossible? After all, it’s getting further and further away.」
With her somewhat cold tone, Safiel sounds as if she is joking, but the earthquake-like movements are definitely becoming more distant.
「Eh, could it be that it ran away?」
But as Charlotte speaks these words, sounding somewhat disappointed, Nero denies them.
「No, this direction... It’s going towards Iskia Fortress.」
「No way! Why?!」
The members of Wing Road are not foolish enough to think that the Greed-Gore has escaped in fear of their power.
Considering the situation carefully, they can assume that something has happened at Iskia Fortress, something important enough for the Greed-Gore, the supreme commander of the army, to go there personally.
Or it is possible that the fortress has been conquered already, and it is headed there to consume its prey in high spirits.
「Shit, either way, this is the worst possible scenario.」
If the Greed-Gore appears at the fortress, then for what purpose have they come all the way out here in the first place?
「Well then, we have to get back quickly!」
「Ah, I think that’s impossible as well.」
Charlotte’s words are shot down once more, this time by Safiel, whose voice has become even more lifeless than before.
Charlotte tries to question her further, but Safiel simply silently points a finger in response.
That is enough for her to understand the situation.
「Oi, don’t tell me we have to fight this guy again...?」
With purple lightning crackling around its entire body, the Wrath-Pun that was protecting Charlotte before rises up from the ground.
The blade of iron sand that pierced its abdomen disintegrates, and then forms an armor to protect its body.
It seems that the partial body of the parasite that has taken over the Wrath-Pun’s body has control over its mana precise enough to manipulate the iron sand as it wishes.
「I thought it couldn’t control corpses?」
「If it were a normal corpse, that would be the case. It’s hijacked the entire formula of my『Necromancy.』It’s a more powerful parasite than I’d thought. Or maybe the one that’s taken over Raa-chan is special in some way.」
「Oi, either way, we have to defeat it or we can’t return to the fortress, right?!」
The Wrath-Pun that has been revived for the second time lets out a roar, as if in resentment towards its former master.
It is far more powerful and dreadful than the roar that was heard in the Galahad mountain range.
The howl of black wrath echoes out across the Iskia Hills.