「No! He’s been paralyzed!」
Seeing Kurono take the greatsword fired by the Greed-Gore head-on and then fall onto the ground, Wilhart shouts from atop the fortress’s walls.
The black shield that Kurono produced was quite powerful, but not enough to completely block the attack.
Wilhart knows that that attack was just like Charlotte’s lethal technique,『Lightning Spada.』Therefore, he immediately understands just how powerful it was.
Seeing Kurono suddenly being pushed into such a desperate situation, Wilhart begins to panic.
「Ah, no! KURONO-KUN!」
However, the fact that there is someone panicking even more than him – no, someone who has gone half-mad, somehow calms him down.
Next to Wilhart is his childhood friend, a person he is very familiar with – Nell Julius Elroad.
Princess Nell has shown herself to be extremely gifted at magic through the spell she used to treat Simon which only took a moment to cast, and the『Lux Rampart Defan』that blocked that ridiculous Breath earlier.
But why has she lost her composure like this now?
With Nell displaying an expression and emotions that Wilhart has never seen from her in over ten years of knowing her, he is dumbfounded and forgets about the danger right before their eyes – almost. He has no time for that.
「Nuaaah?! You can’t do that, Princess Nell!」
Wilhart quickly grabs onto the arm of Nell, who raises her wings and prepares to dive down from the fortress.
「Let me go!」
「C-calm down! It’s far too dangerous for a Priest to go to the battlefront! And Kurono has only been paralyzed, it is not as if he has been heavily wounded – buh?!」
In the middle of his speech, a loud slap explodes across Wilhart’s cheek.
That white, soft hand that is supposed to heal people instead strikes his face hard and leaves a bright red mark. It is so forceful that it sends his monocle flying.
It hurts, but if Wilhart didn’t grab onto the arm whose hand is holding the staff, he would likely have received a blow from the staff that comes from Avalon’s national treasury.
If the Orichalcum staff struck his face, he would be helpless. He is very fortunate that he received only a slap.
「Ah, look! Nero has come back!」
At that moment, right behind where Kurono has collapsed, Wilhart sees a Unicorn dashing forward like a gust of wind.
As to be expected from the literal prince on a white horse, Nero Julius Elroad. He has returned with perfect timing.
「Now that Nero is here, it will be fine! No, it might be impossible for him alone, but I am sure that Kurono will recover from his paralysis soon and the two of them will be able to defeat the Greed-Gore!」
Wilhart remembers all too well that Nero has the worst possible impression of Kurono after the incident in the dining hall.
In fact, it seems that Nero has no intention of healing Kurono with a Potion and has merely spoken a few words to him. Wilhart can guess that he said something along the lines of,「Don’t get in my way.」
But even so, Wilhart believes that once Kurono recovers and the two of them are fighting at the front line, they will surely cooperate with this enormous foe before them – perhaps not, but they should at least be able to fight without getting in each other’s way.
He trusts in Kurono’s strength, but beyond that, he has known Nero for a long time and knows just how powerful his abilities are. He truly believes that if the two of them joined forces, no enemy would stand a chance.
And then, as Wilhart expected, Nero leaves Kurono where he is and begins fighting the Greed-Gore.
Nero’s movements and attacks demonstrate the power worthy of a Rank 5.
That man who finds everything bothersome is even unleashing his『Blade Skills』; Wilhart can tell just how serious he is.
It is even possible that at this rate, he will defeat the Greed-Gore on his own. The other students lined up on these fortress walls have likely realized this now as well.
They cheer loudly, as if they are spectating a one-on-one battle between two star gladiators. Finally, victory is within sight.
However, Nell lets out a dark whisper.
「This... can’t happen...」
「W-what do you mean, what can’t happen? At this rate he’s going to defeat –」
「The one who saves Kurono... HAS TO BE ME!」
Wilhart is too late to realize what is going on.
As Nell shakes her arm free, Wilhart reaches out to try and grab onto it once more.
However, Nell has already leapt off the fortress’s walls.
Her pure-white wings and priest’s clothes flutter gently in the wind. Her flowing black hair gives off a bright white gleam.
The scene is just like something one would see in an ancient painting of an angel’s descent. Leaving that impression on the people watching her from behind, Nell flies towards Kurono.
「Princess Nell, just what happened between you and Kurono...」
Even Wilhart’s brain cannot come up with an immediate answer to this question.
「Ah... Kuh, ugh...」
Seeing Nell fly down from the fortress’s walls, I wanted to scream, but my voice didn’t come out.
Damn it, even my tongue’s gone numb; I can’t speak properly. Even though I can open my trembling lips, I can’t form any words with meaning and just end up letting out long breaths.
This is bad, I have to stop Nell. A sense of impatience spurs me on.
It’s my fault that Nell, a Rank 5 priest adventurer is doing something risky like flying right in front of the enemy just to heal me.
This thought definitely isn’t just conceit on my part.
Because I let down my guard at the very last moment in my battle against Saeed’s Demon Eyes, Nell doesn’t have full trust in my abilities. It’s the same reason a mother wouldn’t let her child out of her sight.
I don’t have a deep connection or relationship with Nell like a child would have with his mother. We’re just friends, and we only became close recently.
But even though our relationship is only like that, it’s just like her for her to act without thinking about her own life.
She’s kind, no; her good nature should be called too kind. The short time that I’ve known her has been enough for me to understand that.
That’s why I’m angry at myself for being so worthless. I challenged the Greed-Gore with so much spirit, but this is the state that I’ve ended up in.
If Nero didn’t show up, I would have either been chewed to pieces and be in the Greed-Gore’s stomach, or stepped on and turned into a red stain on the ground right about now.
But now, I can’t even regret how pathetic I am or be happy that my life has been saved.
Showing off his rumored ability, Nero cornered the Greed-Gore with an amazing combination of sword and magic techniques, but Nell’s actions have turned the situation around completely.
The older brother stops his younger sister as she rushes out. The Greed-Gore hasn’t let this opportunity slip away.
It’s very cunning for a monster. It looks like it’s chosen a Breath attack, knowing that there’s no way to avoid it in these circumstances.
「–『Aiz Algalea Shield!』」
As Nero summons an enormous shield of ice, the Greed-Gore spits fire – no, lightning from its mouth.
This isn’t the Plasma Breath that destroyed half of the fortress’s walls, but the lightning-element Thunder Breath.
As if all of the lightning that should be coming down from this rainy sky has gathered into one spot, a bright torrent of purple lightning engulfs the two siblings of Avalon’s royal family.
As the loud, crackling noise of thunder echoes out, purple light fills the Iskia Hills. I close my eyes instinctively, but I can still see the brightness through my eyelids.
However, it’s over in an instant. The Breath was probably only fired for a few seconds.
As I open my eyes again, wondering if Nell is safe, I see two silhouettes standing in front of me.
It seems that Nero managed to block the Thunder Breath, but the shield of ice produced by the high-class defensive spell crumbles into pieces.
A direct hit was avoided, but some of the electricity might have gone through.
I can’t tell how much damage Nero took from here, but even so, I manage to see that he has chosen to discontinue fighting and escape with Nell in his arms.
With a side-step, Nero avoids the Greed-Gore’s biting attack that comes almost immediately after the Breath ends with his sister still on his shoulder.
As the large mouth lined with sword-like fangs bites into the earth, Nero lands back on the ground and makes a dash for it, running past the Greed-Gore.
He heads for Iskia Fortress, where Nell leapt down from. Indeed, it’s impossible to fight with her down here.
No, it’s likely that Nero can’t keep fighting like he was earlier.
His running is slow. It’s impossible for the cause of this to be that his martial art has worn off or that Nell is heavy.
Most importantly, the left hand that was holding his magic sword of ice is now limp. It’s been paralyzed completely.
With Nell in that state, I’m sure she can’t use a restorative spell right away, and there’s no time to drink a Potion.
The Greed-Gore immediately turns around and begins chasing the two of them. Like a cat playing with a mouse, it somehow seems like it’s enjoying itself now.
Seeing Nero’s current state, I don’t think he can run any faster. I’m sure the paralysis has spread to his legs; it’s impressive that he’s still running about as fast as an ordinary person’s full-speed sprint.
But I can see that at that speed, the Greed-Gore will catch up to him soon. The fortress is right in front of him, but the hundred meter distance might as well be a million.
Sensing danger, Will has given an order, causing a covering fire of arrows to be released from the fortress’s walls, but it doesn’t slow the Greed-Gore down at all. Even though the iron sand armor is now only covering its neck, its rock carapace is enough to block the arrows.
I’m the only one who can do something about this.
But the problem is that my whole body’s paralyzed – no, that’s not the problem, the Blackening is.
Are you not done, Hitsugi, haven’t you finished Blackening this iron sand greatsword yet?
「I’m finished, Goshujin-sama~!」
A happy voice filled with a sense of accomplishment echoes out inside my head, as if asking to be praised.
Nice, well done, now I can move freely.
I’m affected by full-body paralysis, but I have no problems using magic. Instead of my hands and arms, I can use Hitsugi’s countless, flexible tentacles to take out Potions or anything else from my shadow.
The reason that I didn’t do that and cure myself the moment I collapsed from the paralysis was the fact that this greatsword was still rattling and moving, trying to continue attacking.
When Nero appeared, I sensed that it was going to aim at his back next, so I couldn’t undo my shield spell.
I transformed the pierced『Metal Shield』into tentacles and began wrapping themselves around the sword to begin Blackening it right away, but taking over this heavy mass of iron sand that was still under the control of a powerful Characteristic Ability, took me until now to complete.
Well, the one casting Blackening is me, but when I’m casting it through the medium of Hitsugi’s tentacles, her ability has an effect as well. The effectiveness of Blackening is less than when I’m in direct contact with the object I’m using it on.
However, the Blackening is finished now. As Hitsugi absorbs the iron sand that I’ve taken control of, I open the『Shadow Gate』and a single tentacle searches inside it.
If I’m not mistaken, I don’t happen to be carrying a Potion to cure paralysis. Err, it’s a little bit of a waste, but I’ll use the『Fairies’ Miracle Medicine.』
「Hmm~ Is it this one?」
Yes, it’s that one wrapped in a white package, hurry, there’s no time.
「Here I go, Goshujin-sama! Hee~ere!」
I hear a tired-sounding shout as a shining powder of light is thrown onto my face - *Cough! Cough!*
「You dumbass! What kind of medicine do you apply onto the face?!」
「Hyieh~ I’m sorry, Goshujin-sama!」
I scold the silly maid as I stand up – the fact that I can do this means that I’ve recovered from the paralysis completely. As to be expected of Lily’s medicine.
I don’t have time to be admiring its incredible effectiveness. For now, I have to stop the Greed-Gore.
Before I’ve even come up with a plan, I’m already running at full speed.
I don’t have any martial arts or strengthening spells, but don’t underestimate how fast my legs can carry me. My body wasn’t reconstructed and strengthened for nothing.
Now then, the question is what to do from here. Even if I wanted to stop the Greed-Gore, it’s not like I have some kind of secret plan to do so.
The only thing I can do is the straightforward method of stopping it by force.
It seems ridiculous for me to take on this enormous, mountain-like opponent, but with Hitsugi here, it shouldn’t be impossible.
「Please leave it to me, Goshujin-sama!」
Of course, I use the『Anchor Hands』that have now become steel chains – these are no longer mere tentacles.
This evolved ability has established itself as one of my new techniques, worthy of joining the ranks of my『Bullet Arts』and『Sword Arts.』
「Seize it!『Bind Arts!』」
Bundles of black chains are released from both of my hands.
Each and every one of them are accurately controlled by Hitsugi, and they sway back and forth in the air like snakes attacking their prey before winding themselves around the Greed-Gore’s tail.
Its tail that’s like a tower made of bricks is covered in the rugged carapace, providing sufficient grip for the chains to attach themselves onto.
And as Hitsugi carefully ties the chain-tentacles together in knots, they become a snare that cannot be escaped from unless the chains themselves are broken.
I dropped Neck Cutter and Evil Eater earlier and didn’t manage to retrieve them. I use my empty hands to grip the chains firmly, as if I’m playing tug of war.
From here on out, it’s a pure contest of strength.
The effect of this spell lasts for less than twenty seconds. But this Boost that I learned directly from Nell compensates for the brevity of its duration with its overwhelming effect on my physical strength.
The『Force Boost』that uses my first divine protection, the black flames, as the source of its power grants my arms that are pulling the chains even greater physical strength – but it’s not enough.
The chains are wrapped around the Greed-Gore’s tail, and I’m pulling them. Maybe this was to be expected, but I’m the one being pulled forward.
I’m being dragged forward, as if I’m water-skiing. The heels of my feet that I’m planting into the ground are gouging out the dirt, scattering the carpet of weeds and mud everywhere.
The Greed-Gore’s footsteps don’t stop; in fact, it still hasn’t even noticed that I’m here.
If I lack strength, then I need more. I’ll burn more of my magical energy and turn it into strength.
Think back to the fruitless training that I did before Nell taught me. Back then, I had enough heat stored up inside my body that I was on the verge of exploding.
Right now, I need that violent, explosive power. I don’t need control; I just need it to work.
As long as the bare minimum of the spell formula remains, the strengthening magic can be cast.
I don’t need that complicated detailed spell formula that Nell showed me through telepathy. Since I’m self-taught, I’ll always be one who learns by watching others.
I imagine the spell formula as a channel in my body. It’s arranged with various divergences and convergences that prevent the burning mana flowing through it from overflowing.
But right now, I break that spell formula that governs the flow of mana.
I don’t care what kind of reaction my body will have. Right now, I just want power!
I feel like I heard something snap. At the same time, a white-hot pain shoots up both of my arms.
But they don’t lose their strength. They won’t lose their strength, no matter what. I’ve finally felt some kind of response, there’s no way I can let go here!
The chains creak, as if they’re screaming.
I feel like the force that’s pulling me forward becomes just a little weaker. A little more, with just a little more my strength will be able to compete with the Greed-Gore’s.
「Goshujin-sama, any more than this is dangerous! Your arms will tear apart!」
Shut up, be quiet. I’m well aware of that.
Something that looks like red smoke is coming out from the gaps in the black armguards that I’m wearing on both arms. This ominous mist that looks like the evaporation of my blood is definitely a consequence of the burden my arms are under.
But so what? It’s not enough, I still don’t have enough power.
If I don’t stop this guy, Nell is going to die.
I’ve saved Will, and Simon is at least still alive. I’m going to save Nell as well.
I’m not going to let anyone else die; I swore I would protect everyone. I’ll never give up; I swore to god – no, to the Demon King – that I will protect everyone this time.
With the divine protection of the legendary Demon King, this can’t be all the power that I have. So give me more, give me –
「GIVE ME THE DEMON KING’S POWEEEEEEEEEER!」
「I said it before, didn’t I? Even though it’s a divine protection, that power belongs to you, Kurono Maou. Look, your arms already possess the power of the Demon King. But let’s see, I suppose I can at least tell you what it’s called –」
I suddenly hear a familiar voice. Before I even register the meaning of the words, my mouth is already saying the name that I’m being taught.
The true title of the first divine protection.
Buy us some coffee!