I have a feeling that I’m screaming.
Pain? Agony? No, this is a much more terrible sensation.
Ah, that’s right. This is just like when the inside of my head was violated, dominated and messed around with.
Something is tampering with my brain right now.
I can’t see anything. I can’t hear anything. There’s only an uncomfortable, disgusting feeling.
Stop it, stop it. I’m me. Nobody else.
I desperately try to resist, but I can’t stop the『thing』that’s trying to get into my brain. It won’t... stop...
「Gah... ah, agh...」
Even trying to maintain my consciousness is incredibly painful.
Suddenly, something starts flickering in front of my eyes. It’s blinding – no, maybe my eyes have already been destroyed.
Now I hear something in my ears. A loud, grating sound, just meaningless noise. But my willpower is stolen from me, like I’m being heavily assaulted verbally.
Next is my nose. An irritating odor that feels like stabbing needles. And after that is my tongue. Finally, my whole body.
My five senses have been twisted. Sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch – the suffering inflicted on each of them harmonize perfectly to torture me.
It’s enough to make me want to willingly hand my body over!
And as my consciousness leans towards a slow suicide... I feel like there’s a light shining.
It’s not the purple sparks that attack my vision; it’s an incredibly gentle, soft, white light.
That white light gradually begins to take a clear shape. Yes, that’s a single white wing –
In an instant, my consciousness, my five senses, everything returns to normal. I feel like I’ve just woken up from a deep sleep.
It’s still raining incessantly. I see the Greed-Gore’s corpse. I feel the physical weariness that envelops my whole body, and the heaviness of my arms that feel like they’ve turned into lead.
I’m sure I only lost consciousness for a few seconds. The scenery before my eyes hasn’t changed.
The only change is that the culprit of that mental attack is rolling around in front of me.
「I see... This guy is the『Sloth-Gil*』, huh.」
The creature writhing in pain on the swamp-like ground can only be described as a Lamia-shaped mass of electricity.
Its entire two-meter-long body is covered in purple lightning; the only features that I can barely make out are the depressions in its head that look like the eye sockets of a person’s skull and a mouth.
I don’t know if the sounds that sound like groans of pain are being made by this guy’s vocal chords, or are just the sounds of the crackling lightning.
Its long tail of lightning is wriggling left and right, and its four-fingered, thin hands are desperately clawing at the earth. It’s crawling and writhing in agony in an unsightly way.
This ominous-looking monster is the Sloth-Gil that bears the title of『Sloth.』
This is my first time seeing it, but I am immediately able to conclude this because the left eye that I received from Mia glowed red as a sign that this guy is one of the trial monsters.
Right around its back, it looks like there are red lines running down its body. That’s probably the proof of extermination that I need to offer.
「The Guild’s information isn’t very reliable...」
When I did my research before, I read that the Sloth-Gil was likely to be a mutated version of a catfish-like monster called a『Maznacles.』
But in reality, it’s a Lamia that doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to a catfish. There was no way that anyone could guess that it would possess dangerous abilities like being able to infest a Rank 5 monster or being able to create a monster army, using only the small amount of information provided by the Guild. The only thing that the Guild got right is that it’s able to use powerful lightning-element abilities.
But I suppose since nobody even knows what kind of monster it is, let alone where it lives, that means it’s a pretty rare monster. One could say that it was careless of me to believe all the information I read.
Whatever, I can regret my decisions later.
「I’ve cleared the third trial as well, thanks to Nell...」
This charm that Nell gave me, the『Aria Guard-Feather』, protected my mind.
It was originally given to me just in case I was ever at risk of being possessed by the cursed weapons when I participated in the『Curse Carnival』; I hadn’t expected that it would be of use here.
This charm isn’t limited to just blocking the effects of curses; it removes Status Effects that affect the mind such as Charm and Confusion.
In other words, it also acts to counter parasites.
On the other hand, it has no response to attacks like『Amethyst Gaze』that affect my body directly. It didn’t come in handy when I wanted it to, but in the end, it still saved my life.
I really don’t know how I’m supposed to thank Nell.
The only regrettable thing is that all of the charm’s power has been used up in forcing the Sloth-Gil back out of my head.
When I take out the feather that I had in the inside pocket of my coat, its faint glow has disappeared completely and its original white color has faded to gray.
As the wind blows, it crumbles away like ash, trickling through my fingers and vanishing into the air.
It shouldn’t have been limited to a single use, but I suppose this is to be expected of a Rank 5 monster.
Most parasites would be obliterated after being repelled by the divine protection of the Heaven-Calming Imperial Princess Aria. The fact that the Sloth-Gil narrowly escaped with its life shows how much vitality a Rank 5 monster has.
However, as it’s now on the verge of death, its survival means nothing.
My body is near its limits from the activation of『Overdrive』, but I still have enough strength left to finish off the pitiful Sloth-Gil squirming in the mud.
This guy doesn’t even have scales or a hide, let alone a hard carapace like the Greed-Gore. It’s obvious that creatures that specialize in parasitic abilities don’t have strong bodies. This guy is probably something like a Wraith or Elemental; a half-physical, half-magical creature. Those kinds of enemies are usually fragile.
But I don’t feel comfortable about directly hitting this mass of electricity. I don’t even know if I can give it a proper punch with my current strength.
Then I have only one weapon I can choose to use here.
I produce the twin-barreled prototype rifle from my shadow. I’m going to pay you back for the Morjura attack on Simon with this weapon that he created.
The gun in my hands feels a hundred times heavier than usual. As I take my aim, the muzzles quiver.
But I won’t miss at this distance. My bullet will definitely pierce your head.
「... Bullet Arts.」
The end of the third trial is marked by the sound of a gunshot.