「I suppose it didn’t work out after all.」(Kurono)
The guards are lying on the ground around me after finally suffering a crushing defeat. It reminds me of the enemy soldiers that were completely slaughtered in the crossfire at Alzas Village. The guards are utterly motionless, just like corpses, but it’s fine. I haven’t killed any of them.
But just because they’re not dead doesn’t mean that everything is fine. My objective was to experiment with my new divine protections.
For now, I’ve managed to confirm that the third divine protection converts my black mana into the lightning element.
I’d thought I should keep things simple to begin with so I tried imbuing my magical projectiles with the lightning element, but the convenient added shocking effect allowed me to immobilize my opponents without spilling their blood was more useful than I’d expected. This would come in handy during quests requiring me to capture monsters alive or weaken them through paralysis. It even seems like it’ll have various applications in real battles as well.
Incidentally, I’ve decided to name it『Shock Buster.』I’ve only used it to knock people unconscious so far, but if I use it for real, I’m sure it will release powerful, crackling electricity that will live up to the title of「Buster.」
Well, I wanted to test a lot of other things as well, but… I hadn’t expected them to all be defeated by the Full Burst of my Bullet Arts.
「Th-this can’t be…」(Helen)
No, there’s one survivor. The captain of the guards named Helen, the enemy general.
She is wearing a desperate expression, as if she has encountered a Rank 5 monster in a Dungeon, and her body is trembling in a pitiful way. Doesn’t this make me look like the bad guy here?
Well, whatever. All the other people were cleared out of the arena beforehand. Nobody is watching, so no matter how much I look like an evil Tentacle Man who is about to assault this maiden, I don’t care. I just did what I needed to do.
That’s right, the fact that she is the only one left unscathed is not because of her ability or due to some coincidence. It’s because I didn’t fire any projectiles at her.
After doing this much, my anger has completely subsided; in fact, I’m starting to feel sorry for the guards. But I harden my resolve and glare at Helen.
She’s more frightened than a frog being glared at by a snake. She lets out a girlish scream and falls on her backside.
O-oi, I can see your panties a little. At least readjust your skirt, it’s rolled up and now it’s bothering me.
Incidentally, they’re black.
「N-no… Stay away…」(Helen)
Doing my best to ignore the fact that I can see her panties, I manage to keep my eyes on her face as I step forward. That was close, I almost stepped on one of the students lying on the ground. It’s troublesome, but I’d definitely feel bad if I kicked them out of the way.
「So, are you satisfied?」(Kurono)
I spit these words at Helen, who is thoroughly frightened and trembling like a small animal. Where has her previous spirit gone?
No, there’s no way she can be feeling satisfied after a defeat like that, but I can’t think of a better line to say. I definitely don’t have the talent for making an ad-lib acting performance anyway.
「I’m going to explain myself, even though I think it’s probably pointless. Nell purely thinks of me as a friend, and I think of her as my friend. That’s why I haven’t done anything to hurt her.」(Kurono)
I deliberately omit the fact that I got her involved in the dangerous business at Iskia.
「Either way, can you stop making unnecessary trouble out of the relationship between me and Nell?」(Kurono)
The important thing is to make this really clear.
Getting dragged into this stuff is troublesome, and more importantly, it’s hard to deal with these harassment-like attacks.
And if even Lily and Fiona are affected, who knows what will happen. It’s not the risk that I’ll snap that I’m worried about, it’s the risk that those two will snap.
「The next time you try something like this, it won’t end with just a mock duel.」(Kurono)
Even I think this is a cliched threat, but under these circumstances, this is the best way to frighten her and make sure that she doesn’t do anything like this again. I do feel anxious about this, but I can’t think of any other ideas.
「Now then, Helen, I suppose I’ll have you take responsibility for causing this mess as captain of the guards.」(Kurono)
Though I say this, it’s not like I want her to pay me compensation or anything. I don’t really want to become the kind of scum who would shout,「Show some sincerity!」at her until she pays up.
In short, I’m fine with a simple apology. Well, considering her appearance, I suppose it would be quite humiliating for her to lower her head to a hated enemy like me.
「… I-I understand.」(Helen)
Ah, her unreserved tone has changed to formal language. It’s the same response I got from the skinhead called Zack that we captured before we hunted down the bandits. A noble family’s daughter and a hooligan are both just humans when you’re holding their life in your hands.
Even I was completely obedient to those masked guys in the research laboratory, so rather than making fun of her, I can feel her pain.
But this isn’t the time to be sympathizing with her. I glare at her even more sharply, silently threatening her as if pressing her to hurry up and get on with it.
With a pale face, Helen finally begins to stand up unsteadily.
Surely she doesn’t have any pride or anything left now. She makes no attempt to conceal or wipe the tears spilling from her blue eyes. Her stout-looking, elegant face is now heartbroken and stained with tears.
Do your best, Helen! Once you lower your head and apologize, that’ll be it!
「U, uu… Fueeh…」(Helen)
And then she begins taking off her clothes.
First, the red cape that is the mark of a management cadet. Then the black vest. Now the red ribbon at the collar of her blouse is being undone.
What the hell is this girl doing?
Why would she take her clothes off here? Is it an Avalonian custom to be naked when making an apology? Even if it is, I can’t make a girl do something like that. No, I wouldn’t do that even to a guy, but – actually, if I don’t stop her now, there will be no going back.
Her hands have already undone the top half of the buttons on her blouse. I can see white skin and a black bra peeking out at me from her exposed chest.
「Oi, what are you doing?!」(Kurono)
As I shout at her, I grab her arms to force her to stop what she’s doing.
「Kyah! N-no, don’t rape me…」(Helen)
O-oi, what the hell is that response?! I’m trying to stop her out of my own goodwill, but now I look like a rapist attacking her, don’t I?
Then what, was I supposed to stay quiet and nervously watch Helen strip?
「Uu, guh… Save me… Papa, Mama, Onii-sama…」(Helen)
As the girl in my arms really bursts into tears, I realize something.
Ah, I don’t care about an apology or whatever anymore. If I don’t get away from her right now, I won’t be able to control the situation.
I can’t win against a crying girl after all –
「You should leave it at that, Berserker-san.」
At that moment, a voice calls out to me from overhead.
An unfamiliar girl’s voice. I don’t know anyone who would call me「Berserker-san.」
I almost reflexively look towards the spectator seats on the second floor of the arena where the voice is coming from, but I make a split-second decision to stop partway through my movement. This is dangerous, there’s an incredible amount of bloodthirst, no, desire to fight.
I thrust Helen away from me and throw my body in the direction that my instincts command me to.
I feel a slashing attack pass by my side at a fearsome speed. If I moved a fraction of a second later, it would probably have split my head open.
After rolling on the hard dirt to evade this attack, I quickly get up to prepare for a follow-up attack and confirm the situation. Standing in my field of vision is a young man holding a large wooden sword.
「Oh! It’s amazing that you managed avoid that just now!」(Young man)
His face has a completely joyful expression that shows no signs of guilt for performing a surprise attack. I’ve seen it somewhere before.
I don’t know whether his blonde hair is standing on end because he applies wax to it every morning or whether that’s just how his hair is, but it’s very unique so I remember it quickly.
Kai Est Galbraith. He’s the swordsman who serves as a frontline fighter for『Wing Road』alongside Nero.
As I recognize who he is, I give a fleeting glance in the direction that the first voice came from.
The person standing there is a bespectacled girl with long, vividly purple hair and a book in her hand. I’ve seen her somewhere before, too.
The genius Necromancer who is also a member of『Wing Road』, Safiel Maya Hydra.
I see. The fact that she’s a Hydra means that the purple eyes shining behind her glasses have the『Amethyst Gaze.』It’ll be bad if she glares at me.
But why are these two here? No, more importantly…
「What are you playing at, attacking me so suddenly?」(Kurono)
Safiel’s expression changes to one of exasperation.
Standing on the spectator seats on the second floor, she leans forward and falls to the arena. No, she’s come down of her own accord.
Just before she hits the ground, her body floats in the air unnaturally, allowing her to step lightly onto the arena.
She probably used wind magic to decelerate mid-air. On top of it being cast with no incantation, I didn’t really feel any signs of mana being used. On top of that, her skirt didn’t flip up at all, which means that her control over her spell was perfect.
「We’re not playing at anything. We need to step in to help if one of our own female students is about to be raped, don’t we?」(Safiel)
What kind of messed up things are you saying, what a terrible misunderstanding – before I can make such objections, I realize something.
The defeated guards. Their captain, an undoubtedly beautiful girl, with her disheveled uniform exposing much of her body.
Until just a moment ago, I was forcefully holding onto Helen’s arms while she struggled. And she was crying earnestly while saying,「Save me」in a heartbroken voice.
Huh, from an outsider’s perspective, aren’t I the perfect example of a rapist?
「But the scenario where you go out of your way to violate the captain of the guards right before their eyes is quite exciting. You have talent.」(Safiel)
I don’t know what to say. No matter what excuses I make, they won’t believe me. Truthfully, Helen probably actually thought that I was attacking her.
This is how false accusations come to exist, isn’t it…?
「Well, that’s how it is, so that means it’s fine for me to knock you out!」(Kai)
Kai points his wooden sword at me, looking and sounding truly delighted. Considering that his eyes look like those of a child with a toy that he wants in front of him, I guess he isn’t being driven by a sense of justice that makes him want to punish me for my serious crime of sexual assault.
「You look like you’re having quite a lot of fun. I thought you had a grudge towards me, though.」(Kurono)
「You mean about Nell? Hmm, I don’t really know what happened with her, anyway.」(Kai)
Kai swings the wooden sword that is modeled after a wide greatsword, causing a whooshing sound. Strangely, I can tell from this action alone that this guy has gone through an incredible amount of swordsmanship training.
「It looks like things have gotten kind of troublesome, but it doesn’t have anything to do with me and I’m not interested. I just want a fight with you, the guy who beat the Greed-Gore!」(Kai)
I see, this guy is a battle junkie just like that Vampire Samurai Ludora. Ah, he looks like a simple-minded guy, but because of that, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to avoid a fight.
「Fine, I’ll accept your challenge.」(Kurono)
I give a bold reply as if I want this battle as well, but considering the situation, this is the only answer I can give.
Well, whatever. Since Kai is holding a wooden sword, I can guess that he just wants to end this with a mock duel. If he really intended to kill me, he would be using his greatsword that’s made of an Orichalcum-Mythril alloy. I feel a little more at ease knowing that my life isn’t on the line.
And since he’s a Rank 5 swordsman adventurer, he’s not an unworthy opponent. This time for sure, I’ll test out my divine protections as much as I want.
There’s more than a small chance that I’ll just lose, though.
「Heh, you’re the best! There’s nobody else left in this academy who will accept a challenge from me!」(Kai)
He’s boasting, no, I suppose that’s just the simple truth. For a battle junkie like him, not having any opponents that he can use his full strength against must be the greatest sorrow. He’s looking truly happy from the bottom of his heart.
Still, I can’t stand the fact that I’ve been dragged into this by a misunderstanding.
「I think you know my name, but I’ll say it anyway. I’m Kai Est Galbraith, a pure swordsman-class fighter!」(Kai)
「I’m the Nightmare Berserker, Kurono.」(Kurono)
Oh man, I finally said it. But with this atmosphere, I feel like I won’t be allowed to introduce myself any other way. I guess things are probably heading in a direction where there’s no going back…
「Well then, here I come! KURONOOOOOOOO!」(Kai)