According to Sharl, the Greed-Gore is capable of using powerful lightning-element abilities because it’s been infected by a Rank 5 parasite monster.
I don’t have any doubts about this theory. There’s no mistake that the parasite boss responsible for spawning the monster army is hiding inside this guy’s head.
In that case, it would be best to have Nell cast a spell that cures the parasite’s Status Effect, but she’s already used『Radiance Exile』, so I’m worried about how much mana she has left. In fact, considering that she hasn’t run empty and collapsed, her mana reserves are impressive.
But after that, it’s surely impossible for her to cast a restorative spell powerful enough to destroy the parasite monster that’s able to freely control the Greed-Gore and make a huge monster army. Even if she used a Hi-Potion to recover, limits are a thing.
In any case, since I can’t rely on Nell, I have to do something on my own.
I’ll go all out from the beginning, just this one time.
As I dash forwards with the still-active『Sonic Walker』, I draw my beloved blade from its sheath at my waist – the『Spirit Blade「White King Cherry Blossom.」』
When Nell and I moved to Spada to study, Dad gave us each one item from the national treasury.
Nell received the『Scale of White Wings』, and I got the『Spirit Blade「White King Cherry Blossom.」』
But that was just officially giving me permission to use it, a kind of formality. I’ve actually been using this thing since I was a kid. This is the first blade that I ever pulled from a sheath.
The『Spirit Blade「White King Cherry Blossom」』from Avalon’s national treasury dates back to the ancient times and is famous for choosing its owner. It harbors a spirit with its own will, which is why it’s called a『Spirit Blade.』
If you’re not chosen, you can’t unsheathe it. Dad couldn’t draw it, and neither could his dad, nor that guy’s dad. In the hundred generations of the Elroad royal family, apparently only a handful of worthy masters have appeared.
Basically, I’m the first worthy master to appear for several hundred years. Well, I’m not conscious about that at all; I just pulled it normally and it came out of the sheath. It’s not like I can hear a voice from the sword like a cursed weapon or anything. I’m not even sure if there’s actually a spirit resting in the blade.
However, it’s definitely a legendary blade worthy of being known as an item from the national treasury. This weapon’s abilities are extraordinary. Of course it has the simple sharpness of a blade, but it also possesses magical effects that even staves can’t compare to. And they fit me perfectly, as if I’d had it custom-ordered.
First, a light pre-emptive strike.
The martial art that combines the light and wind attributes releases a faintly glowing, white slash from my blade.
Right now, the Greed-Gore’s black iron sand is covering only the lower half of its body, and it doesn’t even cover the back half of its tail. I’m guessing Kurono shaved it off; if you’re going to do that, can’t you get rid of all of it instead of getting defeated and leaving things only halfway done?
For now, I’m aiming at the head, where the defense is a layer thinner. The blade of magic lets out a high-pitched noise as it hits the brick-red carapace right between the Greed-Gore’s brows.
My attack is powerful enough to cut a Rank 3 monster clean in half, but against such a huge opponent, the only effect it has is to cause its head to move slightly.
But it’s not completely unharmed. There’s definitely a line-shaped mark in the rock-like carapace.
Nice, I can cut it as long as the iron sand isn’t there. I can’t cut it in half with one attack, but as long as I have the『Spirit Blade「White King Cherry Blossom」』and my sword techniques, I can slay it.
「Oops, are you angry that I’ve put a scratch on the carapace that you’re so proud of?」
With my back facing the fortress, the Greed-Gore in front of me lets out a growl and suddenly gives a sign that it’s going to attack.
The iron sand flies off the lower half of its body and spreads out like mist, but in the next moment, it has changed into numerous sword-shaped projectiles, suspended in mid-air.
I heard from Sharl that it stole the idea for its enormous iron-sand greatsword attack from her『Lightning Spada』, but these are normal longsword-sized blades.
I see hundreds of pointed blades floating in mid-air, aiming at me with menacing purple lightning around them, but I have a good feeling about this.
A loud crackling sound echoes out, signaling the simultaneous launch of the projectiles.
It’s a torrential rain of swords. It’s aimed over a broad area, but with this number of projectiles, there are no gaps in between that I can use to dodge.
In that case, I have to make my own gap.
I dash forwards and make a slash in front of me.
It repels one of the black longswords completely. From the fact that the sword isn’t broken in half and only a small amount of iron sand has chipped off from it, I can tell that the iron sand that makes up the swords is packed quite densely.
If I were using any other sword, mine would have been the one to break.
As I think this, I manage to pass through the wide-area barrage of black swords. I’m sure that was your best attack that you used all of your remaining iron sand for. That’s too bad.
But my sixth sense warns me of danger.
The swords that had only cut empty air without even scratching me sank deeply into the muddy, wet ground and stopped moving – or so I thought.
「Tch, so it’s not a fire-and-forget attack!」
As if pulled from the ground by invisible soldiers, the black iron sand swords rise back into the air. Their target is my back, of course.
Theoretically, after that kind of attack, one shouldn’t have the ability to control the projectiles again after firing, but I guess this should be expected from a Rank 5 opponent.
No, this isn’t the time to be admiring it. If I don’t make an appropriate move here, I won’t be able to block this attack.
I turn around. Holding my sword in my right hand, I hold out my empty left hand in front of me.
The spell I cast is one of my originals.
「– Bloom,『Snow Moon Flower.』」
Blue light appears on the back of my left hand to form a magic circle.
In the next moment, a sword of ice surrounded by a freezing aura forms. It’s so transparent that it should be called crystal, rather than ice.
Its length is the same as a regular sword, but its blade is thin, like a rapier.
Dual-wielding this Force Edge* created using modern magic and the physical sword『Spirit Blade「White King Cherry Blossom」』is my true battle style.
Since I have an affinity for every element except darkness, I can freely change the element of the sword in my left hand to take on any enemy.
And the『Spirit Blade「White King Cherry Blossom」』has the effect of strengthening every element. With this weapon, I have no need for a staff or wand.
「Ice Seal Flash.」
As the black swords close in on me once more, this time I face them with the sword of ice.
My sword of magic reacts to my self-taught martial art, and the freezing aura surrounding its blade grows larger. From an outsider’s point of view, at this moment, the blade probably looks like it’s doubled in size.
As I swing with my sword of ice,『Snow Moon Flower』, the enemy blades that are on a trajectory towards my body are repelled like before.
The blade of crystal ice strikes the masses of iron sand, but the sound produced as they collide is as high-pitched as the sound of steel swords clashing. Shining, blue-white particles linger in the air.
The swords that have been in contact with this freezing blade can’t move anymore.
All of the black swords that I repelled are surrounded by heavy ice and fall to the ground. The earth is wet with rain, and that moisture is frozen as well, trapping the iron sand swords in prisons of ice on the dirt.
Sealing whatever it cuts in ice – that is the power of the『Ice Seal Flash.』
Normally, the ones who use Force Edges are mages, not swordsmen. They’re mainly used in emergency situations when the user is forced into close-quarters combat; one could say that it’s a minor offensive magic that’s not often used in real battles.
Therefore, there are few that can use martial arts with Force Edges, which are magical swords. At the very least, I’ve never seen a single other person able to do so.
There’s nobody to teach me something like this, so I invented it myself. This is one of my originals.
Fire, water, ice, wind, lightning, earth and lastly, the light element that I’m most proficient with. The Force Edges of seven elements, and martial arts made specifically for each of them.
They are all my originals, and together, I have named them『Blade Skills.』
Possessing both swords and magic – no, implementing the use of magic with my swordsmanship – this is why I call myself a member of this class. The『Lord Knight*』class.
Ever since I came to Spada, I’ve never used『Blade Skills』in front of people except when on high-difficulty quests, but when I was in Avalon, well, there were various occasions where people saw it.
Because of that, people started calling me by the embarrassing nickname『Lightning Lord Knight』, but... I don’t care about that. By the time I graduate and return to Avalon, everyone will have forgotten about it.
Now then, more importantly, the Greed-Gore.
「Now that it can’t control its weapons anymore, it’s panicked and gone on the defensive, huh.」
There is no third storm of iron sand that comes towards me, and the rest of the swords return to the Greed-Gore to become its armor once more. But it’s lost multiple swords’ worth of iron sand, and the area covered by the armor has been reduced.
「You can’t defend against my attacks fully with that – Instant Flash!」
I aim for its brow as I did earlier. This second attack should create a cross on its stone forehead with the mark from the first one – tch, it’s been blocked.
The meagre amount of iron sand that remains moves up to its forehead at high speed like a crawling Slime, focusing its defense at the target of my attack. A black spray scatters around, but no more damage is done.
I see, it’s capable of precise, high-speed control as well. It’s quite an amazing Characteristic Ability.
「But it’s not enough – Flying Ice Seal Flash!」
I throw the『Snow Moon Flower』in my left hand.
The magic sword of ice is released from my hand as a long distance spell, powerful enough to rival the high-class offensive spell『Aiz Fortis Sagita.』
With my throwing martial art, the sword of ice covered in the freezing, sealing aura flies in a straight line, closing in on its target with the speed of an arrow.
The air that it’s soaring through is filled with large raindrops. Freezing the raindrops directly above it along its path, the『Flying Ice Seal Flash』leaves a white trail behind it.
And true to its aim, the sword of ice strikes the forehead covered in iron sand. It creates a pure-white, freezing explosion like a blooming flower.
With this, the last of the iron sand has been sealed.
The Greed-Gore’s head, including the black armor, is frozen solid and the spreading cold air forms a thin layer of ice on the surface of the rest of its body. It’s black, red-brown and white, what a mess.
Well, soon it’ll be covered in red that’ll be the end.
Other than the head that’s covered in black armor, my all-out martial arts with the『Spirit Sword「White King Cherry Blossom」』should be able to cut through any part of its body. It’ll take some effort and it’ll be a pain, but this is checkmate for the Greed-Gore.
The martial art I release is a long-range attack, like the『Instant Flash.』Since it needs some time to prepare, it’s not the kind of attack that can be performed at a moment’s notice.
However, the power possessed by the『Lone Flash』compensates for the opening that it creates for the enemy to attack me.
The slashing light released from my blade is larger and brighter than that of the『Instant Flash.』The flash of light that seems to cut apart the very air strikes not the Greed-Gore’s heavily-defended head, but its neck.
It sounded like a groan of anguish came from that large mouth, but it’s drowned out by the sounds of destruction as the white light cuts into the stone carapace.
Before long, the intense flickering of light stops, and a crack is left near the back of the Greed-Gore’s neck.
It’s still not enough to draw blood, huh. But how many more of these attacks can you endure?
At last, I step forward until the Greed-Gore is right in front of me. If I use the『Lone Flash』at this point-blank distance, it’ll destroy this carapace for sure.
My sword is already in the air, and the preparation I need for the attack is already complete.
「This is the end –」
In this moment, I have no idea what’s happening. I don’t understand.
Nell, why are you there?
I’m right in front of the Greed-Gore, and right behind its enormous body – no, already by its feet, is Nell.
Impossible. Nell is of the Priest class; her place is always at the back of the party. It’s impossible for her to make the ridiculous mistake of being in a position right next to the enemy.
What’s wrong, Nell? I know you have a gentle personality not suited for battle, but surely you have a sufficient understanding of the fundamentals of combat. The time that you’ve spent as an adventurer is proof of that.
You’re supposed to have the composure to never lose yourself during a battle, aren’t you?
So why are you doing something so foolish as coming out to the front lines as a priest –
No, what’s more unbelievable is that Nell is calling that man’s name.
「Nell, you... What did Kurono do to you –」
I’m dumbfounded, but the crackling sound of thunder returns me to reality.
Sending the thin, white ice covering its whole body flying, the Greed-Gore raises its head. It opens its large mouth and takes a deep breath that causes its chest to expand.
It’s preparing for a Breath.
Nell runs straight under the Greed-Gore, between its legs, trying to get in front of it.
Nell’s right in front of me now; I’m sure my shouted words reached her.
However, right now, she takes no notice of my voice or the bloodthirst of the Greed-Gore preparing its Breath right behind her.
The only thing you can see in your eyes right now is the pathetic, collapsed man behind me, huh.
「Damn it –『Snow Moon Flower!』」
Summoning the sword of ice in my left hand once more, I sheathe the blade in my right hand.
Nell has lost herself completely; I have no choice but to stop the Breath. Of course, it’s my duty to stop my sister when she’s messing around like this.
As Nell tries to run past me without even glancing my way, I stop her with my now-free right hand.
「Nell, don’t move!」
「No! Let go, let go of me! Kurono-kun is –」
She’s gone mad, like she’s under a Charm.
Holding Nell’s abdomen with my right arm, I lift her up onto my shoulder with a single movement.
She thrashes her arms and legs violently and desperately tries to escape my grasp, but I can’t let her go.
She’s scratching my cheeks with her nails. Her white wings are flailing about, hitting my head hard.
Even so, I can’t let her go!
「يمنع الجليد العملاقة الجبل –『Aiz Algalea Shield!』」
I cast a high-class, ice-element defensive spell.
As I thrust the『Snow Moon Flower』into the ground, an enormous shield of ice rises out of the ground.
Using the『Snow Moon Flower』to cast the spell as well as using a Short Chant further shortens the amount of time the spell needs to cast, while also reducing the decrease in defensive power that results from shortening the chant.
A Dual Shield is impossible; this is the best defense that I can produce in this moment.
As the spell completes, the Breath is released from the Greed-Gore’s mouth.
All I can see is a blinding purple flash of light beyond the transparent shield of ice –