「STOP IT WITH EVERYTHING YOU HAVE! HITSUGIIIIIIIIIIII!」
This attack isn’t something that I can avoid with a jump or a step. As I realize this, I put everything I have into defending against it.
「Please leave it to me, Goshujin-sama! Here I go –」
The defensive spell that I possess is the『Shield』spell, which hasn’t changed since the times of the reconstruction experiments on me. Using this spell bare-handed just hardens the black mana and produces only a low-class defensive spell.
In Hitsugi’s hands, the shield is constructed using wire-shaped strands woven together, increasing its defensive ability and raising it to a medium-class spell.
And now, with the evolved『Black Chain Curse「Iron Cage」』, the shield’s power should increase even more.
The shield is composed not of hardened wires made of black mana, but chains of black steel that have absorbed the Greed-Gore’s iron sand.
This is a new spell for me, but Hitsugi teaches me everything I need to know. Including the fact that this is no longer a mere『Shield.』
I produce a tough barrier that possesses the luster of real steel despite its pitch-black color. The rectangle that is large enough to cover my entire body is more like a solid lump of metal than a shield.
There are two chains forming a cross shape across the rectangular mass of heavy steel, contributing to its unrefined appearance. Of course, despite this appearance, it should definitely be as powerful as any other high-class defensive spell.
However, even this won’t be enough to stop the Greed-Gore’s sword of lightning – so I think, but at this point, I’m out of time.
With a vicious howl that accompanies the roar of lightning, the Greed-Gore releases the sword of iron sand.
It moves too fast for me to even perceive with my eyes, just as I thought it would. I wonder if it’s being accelerated through electromagnetic induction, like how a railgun works.
Either way, before I know it, the black blade has pierced through the shield of black steel.
Tearing the two chains to pieces at the point they intersect, it penetrates the steel wall.
Even so, the『Metal Shield』hasn’t collapsed, and it hasn’t allowed the attack to pass through completely. It’s somehow managed to allow only half – no, two thirds of the blade through.
But that is still enough for the blade to reach my body.
However, I’m still unharmed. That’s because I’m holding two more reliable shields in my hands.
The first is the『Hungering Wolf Sword「Evil Eater」』in my left hand.
Thanks to its mana absorption, I’ve avoided taking damage from the fearsome electrical discharge from the sword’s blade.
Unfortunately, the fang-blade wasn’t able to withstand the sword’s penetrative power; Evil Eater has been skewered by the black sword.
The Greed-Gore’s blade broke through the shield and pierced the fang-blade, but what stopped the tip of the blade from reaching me is the『Absolute Malice Hatchet「Neck Cutter」』in my right hand.
Back when it was still『Stomach Render*』, it was pierced by the Eighth Apostle Ai’s attack, but this time it has held firm. Not even a millimeter of the enemy’s blade has reached my chest.
With my two weapons held out in front of me crossed over each other to form two more layers of defense, I’ve somehow managed to survive the attack.
It’d be bad if the Greed-Gore were to follow up on that attack now, I have to start a counterattack –
「Guh, haah... Shit...」
However, my body opposes my will to fight. I fall backwards to the ground, face-up.
As I hear the maid’s heartbroken cry echoing in my head, I feel the sensation of the ground hitting my back. My senses are really dull right now.
No, that’s not right. I’ve gone numb.
Hitsugi and my weapons stopped the blade. Evil Eater prevented the electrical discharge from burning me to a crisp. However, that’s all that my defense managed to do.
There’s no doubt that I’ve received the Paralysis Status Effect that is an additional effect of lightning-element attacks.
During the mobility experiments, I experienced paralysis to some extent, but back then, it just slowed my movements a little. Right now, I can’t even move the tip of a finger. My whole body is paralyzed.
The explosive, paralyzing electrical attack has caused my two weapons to fly out of my hands. They fall uselessly, their blades sinking into the ground.
「Goshujin-sama, please get a hold of yourself!」
I’m perfectly conscious, but my body isn’t listening to me at all. Even though I can open my『Shadow Gate』, there’s no way I can take a Potion from there and drink it.
The Morjura’s aphrodisiac had no effect on my reconstructed, strengthened body; my resistance to drugs is high, and I should be far more resilient to Status Effects than the average human.
I think this full-body paralysis will pass in five minutes, but there’s no way that the Greed-Gore will miss this opportunity.
Of course, I’m the one who chose to leave the fortress and engage in close-quarters combat. And there’s is no way that Nell’s restorative magic can reach me from the fortress’s walls.
This is really bad.
The Greed-Gore takes a step. Not towards the fortress, but towards me.
Ah, damn it, it looks like it wants to finish me off. In this state, while I can’t move a single finger, there’s nothing I can do –
「Oi, Tentacle Man, what are you doing here?」
Suddenly, the view of the sky that I have no choice but to look up at is interrupted. I see a young man looking down at – no, looking down on me.
I only have a vague memory of this handsome face, but from his black hair and crimson eyes, I can guess who he is.
If it were a cute face whose gender and age were ambiguous, I would assume that it is the divine Demon Lord, but since it’s not, there’s only one other person who it could be that has inherited that bloodline.
Nero Julius Elroad. Avalon’s First Prince, and Nell’s older brother.
It seems that my fate hasn’t been decided just yet.
「Leave this guy to us! Nero, you get back to the fortress!」
As the Wrath-Pun is easily taken control of by the Parasite and begins to rise from the ground, Kai shouts these words at me.
He is normally a fool, but I can trust his quick decisions at times like this.
As we left Iskia Fortress, it was already on the verge of falling. With the Greed-Gore headed there, they’ll all be annihilated in less than five minutes.
Right now, at least one person has to get back – no, this guy won’t let more than one of us get away from him in the first place. In any case, it’s as clear as daylight that if one of us don’t make it back to the fortress as soon as possible, it’ll be too late.
Rather than me being chosen for this because I’m the leader, well, if you consider our abilities, then it’s an appropriate decision. I’m the one who can get back to the fortress the quickest, too.
「Sorry. I’m counting on you.」
「We’ve already beaten this thing once, it’ll be a piece of cake! We’ll take care of this quickly and head over there to back you up.」
「Just make sure you come back before I finish the Greed-Gore off.」
After this brief exchange, I turn back and head towards Iskia Fortress.
As I leave, Sharl and Safi look like they want to complain, but in this kind of emergency situation, even they won’t say selfish things. They might pick a fight with me about it later, but I’ll deal with that when the time comes.
The three of them hold the Wrath-Pun in place while I turn my mount around and quickly get away.
「يعمل من خلال سرعة القدم لتشغيل أسرع –『Speed High-Boost.』」
The running Unicorn speeds up as I cast my strengthening spell, and at the same time, the wind currents surrounding us begin to deflect this annoying rain. What a handy side-effect.
When Kai, Safi and I were hurrying to get to Sharl earlier, I was moving about this fast. Well, for an adventurer, this is pretty fast, but now that I’m on my own, I can go a bit faster.
I use the martial arts technique that grants the fastest movement. It’s one of the higher-class techniques in modern magic, or at least among known martial arts techniques.
The two speed-boosting effects, the spell as well as the martial arts technique, increase my speed by more than double. The only people capable of reaching this speed are probably the small portion of adventurers who excel in horse-riding techniques, or the elite knights of Spada.
This increase in speed requires the caster to have considerable ability, but requires even more from the mount – the mount must be talented.
「The only one who can keep up with my full power is you.」
That’s right; mounts other than this Unicorn wouldn’t be able to withstand my double speed-boost.
I saved this Unicorn from poachers who had captured it in the Asbel mountain range, just before I moved to Spada to study, I guess.
I hadn’t accepted a quest to destroy that poaching organization; it was really just a pure coincidence.
Unicorns are famous for only allowing maidens to ride them, but to think that I’d be the one to prove that they’ll let men ride them too if they’re tamed properly.
Back then, I thought it was annoying for getting so attached to me, but now I have accepted it as my companion, the only one who can move at the speed that I desire.
Thanks to this Unicorn, I’m able to make it back to Iskia Fortress in half the time it would otherwise take me.
「Good, the fortress hasn’t fallen yet. Wait, where have all the monsters gone?」
I can only see corpses of various sizes on the ground; the large army of monsters that were advancing on the fortress has completely disappeared. It’s impossible that they’ve invaded the fortress and are all now inside there.
But what’s even more impossible is for the monsters to have been wiped out without us. If we had that much fighting power, we wouldn’t have accepted the plan to defend the fortress in the first place.
So then, this situation – why is the Greed-Gore rampaging around in front of the fortress all by itself?
I have a vague suspicion, but I don’t want to accept that suspicion as true. However, seeing the reality with my own eyes, I have no choice but to take it in.
「Nell, you used the『Radiance Exile...』」
The one standing on top of the half-destroyed fortress walls, holding the『Scale of White Wings』as if to say that she’ll never back down, is undeniably my younger sister.
Why are you here? And how did you even come all the way out here in the first place?
There are too many questions I want to ask, but what’s done is done. And the reason that she would do something so reckless is obvious as well.
I’m sure she heard about the danger closing in on Iskia Fortress from the messenger that Will sent out. Upon receiving such news, I’m sure she wouldn’t be able to sit still and do nothing.
Me and her other companions of Wing Road were here. Three hundred students from the academy as well. This is Nell, who would accept a bandit elmination quest in order to save a few female students who have been attacked by bandits. There’s no way that she would do nothing.
Even so, I didn’t want her to come here. It’s just too dangerous.
「Well, I can’t do anything about it now that she’s here. She’s swept away all the other monsters, so all I have to do is finish this guy off.」
And as I get close enough to the Greed-Gore to challenge it –
「Tch, that guy is...」
The Greed-Gore fires the same greatsword of iron sand that it fired at the Wrath-Pun. Its target is not me, but the man who is fighting it on his own right now.
He instantly uses a defensive spell that creates a large, black shield, but the shield is pierced and he collapses onto the ground. For a guy who challenged the Greed-Gore on his own, he looks pretty pathetic.
If it were just an academy student or one of the adventurers who came out for the rescue effort, that’s all that I’d think of him.
But this guy, this man is –
「Oi, Tentacle Man, what are you doing here?」
Kurono, why are you here, of all people?
I climb down from my Unicorn and look down at the face of the unsightly Kurono lying on the ground.
He laughed. Oi, is he making fun of me? Did you think I wouldn’t know? The one who brought Nell all the way here is you, isn’t it?
I don’t see any of his other allies; the only ones who weren’t at the fortress when I left it are Nell and Kurono.
Nell isn’t capable of an attack that could have broken through the ring of monsters surrounding the fortress. Therefore, the only one who could have possibly rushed here is Kurono.
In other words, without this guy, Nell couldn’t have made it all the way out here even if she’d wanted to.
Just how much will this man get on my nerves before he’s satisfied? Should I kill him – shit, calm down, I don’t have time to deal with this guy right now, right?
「You just stay there and sleep, I’m going to take care of that guy. Don’t you get in my way.」
Well, he’s probably under the same full-body paralysis that Sharl was hit by earlier, so he won’t be able to do anything anyway.
Unlike Nell, I’m not nice to everyone. I’m not going to go out of my way to give him a Potion.
Speaking of Nell, she’s looking flustered, looking as if she wants to fly down over here from the fortress’s walls... Is she that worried about me fighting the Greed-Gore on my own?
For now, it seems that Will is doing his best next to her to calm her down. Please keep stopping her.
Since Nell is anxious and all, I suppose it’s time that I put an end to the Greed-Gore.
This is a Rank 5 monster, an enemy I can’t let my guard down against, and the original plan was to fight it with four people.
Having to fight it on my own is such a pain. The thought of just trying to buy some time crosses my mind, but –
「You hurt Sharl. I’m not going to be satisfied until I cut you down myself.」