Ah, I see, this is the real way of using the divine protection.
The first divine protection isn’t something that artificially changes my black mana into the fire element. This is just the first step of the process needed to release its full power.
Creating the spell formula for『Force Boost』in this way without any consideration for the danger of my arms being blown off or my body exploding is the『correct』way to activate this divine protection.
If I wasn’t in this situation, I would never do this; this is a dangerous spell formula that I should never use.
And now I’ve finally figured out how to activate the divine protection. No, this situation might have forced me to figure it out. Because Nell taught me this method of strengthening myself, and because she is now in danger.
That’s why I’m going to use this power to save her.
The first divine protection is unleashed.
The clasps of the armguards on both of my arms fly off instantly. The sleeve of『Diablo’s Embrace』that covers my left arm flutters so violently that it looks like it’s going to be torn apart.
The sleeve of my right arm is still destroyed from my battle with Saeed; without the armguard my arm would be completely naked.
The blood vessels on this arm form shining red lines that run all the way to my fingertips. They glow so brightly that I can see the light through my gloves.
And then a crest of flames forms on the back of my hand. In the moment this magic circle of red light that signals the activation of the divine protection appears, a burning, flaming, bright-red aura bursts out from my arms.
If there was ever a Demon King of flames*, I’m sure he would have arms like these.
But it’s not just their appearance that is flashy. Right now, my arms possess a power that my self-taught『Force Boost』can’t even compare to.
Yes, the transcendental strengthening that grants pure, simple physical strength is the true effect of the first divine protection.
The bundles of chains wrapped around the Greed-Gore’s tail let out high-pitched creaks. If I hadn’t absorbed the iron sand of the greatsword, they might have lacked strength and snapped.
Hitsugi’s hard work is paying off. Not a single chain breaks; they are holding strong against this incredibly heavy burden.
And then the Greed-Gore finally stops.
My feet stop gouging the earth and prevent me from being pulled forwards, stopping the Greed-Gore from taking another step.
The Greed-Gore attempts to push forwards to devour the prey right in front of its eyes, but my – the Demon King’s – arms don’t allow that to happen.
But I still have far more power than this, you know.
With an adorable yell, she begins winding the chains in forcefully.
The huge tail above my head that’s swaying back and forth begins to sink downwards. It’s as if it’s become snagged on a crane’s hook and is being forcefully pulled down.
As the pointed end of the tail is dragged down in front of me, I reach and grab onto it directly.
If I just prevent its movement, nothing will happen. The fastest way to put a stop to this guy is to defeat him with my own strength.
Now I’ll show you the physical strength of a Demon King.
Like an explosion, the crimson aura around my arms begins to rise up violently. My arms are so hot that it feels like my very bones are going to melt, but my strength keeps increasing limitlessly.
I grasp the tail as if I’m embracing it, and a crack forms on the surface of the carapace around the fingertips that are digging into it. At the same time, the ground I’m standing on begins to crumble.
My body is currently bearing the entire weight of the Greed-Gore.
I wonder if this guy is wondering how this is possible. I hear a loud, high-pitched cry that sounds like a scream.
And then I finally lift it up. The Greed-Gore’s enormous body is in the air.
Holding the tip of the Greed-Gore’s tail, I throw it behind me as if performing a shoulder throw*.
I send the Greed-Gore flying. Even I can’t believe that I’ve managed to pull off this unreal feat.
A mountain of stone passes over my head. Maybe it’s more appropriate to call it an enormous meteorite. As I imagine the impact of it hitting the ground, I feel certain that that’s a better way to describe it.
And then the moment of impact comes.
The deafening sound of an object of enormous mass striking the earth echoes out, drowning out my war cry, the Greed-Gore’s scream and the sound of the falling rain.
The force of my throw and the tremors running across the ground’s surface knock me off my feet, and before I know what’s happening, I’m on my back on the ground.
The sky above me is earth-colored. A huge amount of dirt rains down on me, as if trying to bury me alive.
「Buhah! Damn it, I’ve been getting covered in dirt all day today.」
Pushing aside the layer of mud that’s fallen on top of me, I stand up, full of vigor.
The Greed-Gore is lying on the ground motionlessly like a beached whale, but it’s only temporarily unable to move from the shock of what just happened.
I’m not going to let my guard down until I finish it off – no, even after I finish it off. And now’s my chance to do that.
The Demon King’s strength is still running through my arms, but not for much longer. I’m sure that if the effect is released even for a moment, my arms will become motionless and I won’t be able to lift even a single finger.
There’s a price to pay for the power that I desired.
But this is enough for now. I’m not foolish enough to let this chance escape me.
「Come!『Wrath-Pun’s Right Arm!』」
When I took that attack from the iron sand greatsword, this guy fell to the ground, but I’ve still got control over it with my Sword Arts. When I summon it, it quickly returns to my hand.
As I grip the handle of the red machete, the Greed-Gore lets out a howl.
Still lying on the ground, it twists its tail violently towards me to prevent me from closing in. It’s like a castle wall has just begun moving on its own. This might be a vain struggle on its part, but if it hits me, I’m still going to die instantly.
I slip past the tail that’s being thrown around like a whip and step on its base before approaching the Greed-Gore’s torso.
I wonder if it feels an unpleasant sensation, like an insect crawling around on your skin. The Greed-Gore thrashes its body around violently, trying to shake me off as I run up the side of its body.
I won’t do something pathetic like losing my footing and falling off. I step firmly on the red, brick-like carapace and leap up with all of my strength. I’m already within range.
The crimson blade of『Wrath-Pun’s Right Arm』that I’m gripping with both hands is aimed at the neck.
Right now, the Greed-Gore’s weakest point with the thinnest defense is where Nero’s shining martial art cut about halfway through its carapace.
The black heat is compressed not in a projectile shell, but in『Wrath-Pun’s Right Arm』itself.
I pour the red-hot energy of『Overdrive』that’s raging inside my body into my weapon, almost enough to melt the blade off.
The crimson blade turns even redder, and the overflowing magical energy becomes an aura of rising flames. I don’t care if it breaks from this attack.
「– HIGH BURST!」
My crimson weapon buries itself in the Greed-Gore’s neck with the momentum of my entire body. With the power of the Demon King behind it, my blade – no, warhead – finds the gap in its broken carapace.
And then it releases the heat contained within. There is a huge explosion.
The flames surging out of my weapon fill my vision.
The fact I’m able to register a hot sensation rather than being burned alive is thanks to the『Nanablast Amulet.』
But even though that blocks the flames, the shock wave produced by the attack affects more than just my target. My whole body is almost blown away by the resulting blast wave.
However, the heat and shockwave running into the Greed-Gore’s neck is greater than the recoil that I’m experiencing.
My all-out, point-blank bombardment blows away the red-brown rock carapace completely.
The carapace has been smashed to smithereens. I can see black scorch-marks, and the faint smell of burning flesh stings my nose.
In payment for this explosion, the『Wrath-Pun’s Right Arm』crumbles into pieces as well. Only the base of the vividly red blade remains.
But this was a worthy price to pay. With that, I’m finally able to finish this guy off.
Right before my eyes is a large gash in the the carapace where it has been destroyed and the Greed-Gore’s flesh has been exposed.
The muscles that move this abnormally huge creature are as strong as bundles of steel fibers, but not strong enough to withstand this next attack.
I will definitely pierce them with this attack.
My first, fastest black magic spell,『Pile Bunker』– no, with the Demon King’s arms, it deserves a more suitable name.
The burning red energy flows up my right arm.
It gathers at my fist as I twist it forwards in a screwing motion, adding a second source of destructive power to the attack.
I feel the dull sensation of striking flesh. At the same time, my right arm sinks into the Greed-Gore’s body, piercing through it. In one movement, my arm is buried in flesh up to my shoulder.
Taking the Greed-Gore’s size into account, I suppose being pierced by an object the length of a human arm is equivalent to a human being stabbed with a nail. Either way, it’s still got to hurt. In response to that violent pain, the Greed-Gore lets out a shriek loud enough to burst my eardrums.
And at that very moment, the heat in my fist is released. The high-temperature explosion sears the Greed-Gore’s muscles, scorches its nerves and boils its blood.
Letting out more screams of anguish, the Greed-Gore raises its head and writhes in pain.
As it howls at the sky, bloody vomit mixed with black smoke leaks from its mouth. It seems that the heat reached its throat, burning all the way into its respiratory tract.
But I’m not done yet. This isn’t enough to bring death upon this enormous monster.
And so this is truly my final attack.
「Demon Eye Release.」
My fist is still inside the Greed-Gore’s neck. Using the shadow in my hand as an opening for my『Shadow Gate』, I summon the terrifying Demon Eyes that transform everything they see into purple crystal – the『Amethyst Gaze.』
Hitsugi skillfully uses her tentacles to open the jar that contained the Demon Eyes and gently hands one of them to me.
The eye itself isn't hard like a stone. Gently, so it isn't crushed, I let go of the eyeball in my hands.
The moment it leaves my fingertips, the Blackening is undone – I feel like I heard a voice whisper, “GIVE HER BACK.”
And so I discard the Demon Eye that shines with malice inside the Greed-Gore.
I quickly jump away and watch the Greed-Gore as it writhes and howls in agony, whispering words of pity.
「How’s that... The Demon Eye is pretty effective, isn't it?」
The interior of the Greed-Gore’s neck is bathed in the crystallizing light continuously released by the Demon Eye. It’s being turned into amethyst from the inside out.
That purple light is soon visible through the surface of the Greed-Gore’s body. It’s only one small crack at first, but as I look on, the entire reddish-brown carapace is being consumed by the purple crystal before my eyes.
The incredibly hard rock carapace being transformed into brittle amethyst is a wondrous sight.
However, that transformation is reaching its end.
And the moment that the Greed-Gore raises its head as if to escape the pain of being crystallized, the transformed amethyst at its neck crumbles, unable to bear the weight of both its head and body.
With one final, forced scream, the Greed-Gore’s head rolls onto the ground.
There’s no blood. All that can be seen at the neck’s cross-section is beautifully shining purple crystal.
「I finally... defeated it...」
With its head severed, the Greed-Gore is completely silent.
There are no cheers of victory from the fortress; the only sound echoing through the Iskia Hills is the sound of the continuously falling rain.
Even I don’t have the strength left to raise my voice in happiness. The red-hot aura around my arms fades away, as if being extinguished by the rain. As it does so, I feel the strength leaving my arms, little by little.
「With this, I’ve cleared the second trial.」
With the Greed-Gore’s motionless corpse in front of me, in the moment I’m about to lose focus –
I hear something that sounds like the crackling of lightning.
The Greed-Gore’s mouth is half-open with its tongue hanging out loosely, and from within comes a single line of lightning.
It let out a Thunder Breath? No, that’s not right?!
This is an ominous-looking mass of electricity in the shape of a Lamia. With its tail of purple lightning wriggling around behind it, it closes in on me in a straight line. What is this thing?!
By the time I perceive this, it’s already got a hold of my face –