Everything in my field of vision freezes and becomes motionless, to the point that I feel like time has stopped.
The Greed-Gore, or rather, the Sloth-Gil, probably saw a static picture of the world like this as well. Seeing my magic bullets aimed at its eyes would have been easy for it.
This is the third divine protection. An ability that stops time – no, an ability that enhances my concentration.
I had Nell cast『Concentration Boost』on me in the battle at Iskia, but it was something that increased my ability to internally process spell formulas for magic.
If my ability to concentrate increases, I’ll naturally be able to complete spells more quickly and it even becomes possible to construct multiple spell formulas simultaneously. To put it more simply, it increases my imaginative ability, making the images I create in my head more vivid and more precise, producing more refined spells.
The martial skill called『Concentration』, purely improves the concentration, reflexes and eye movement needed to read an enemy’s movement while not affecting anything to do with dealing with complicated calculations.
This『Over-Accel』combines the effects of both the『Concentration Boost』spell and the『Concentration』martial skill, acting as the ultimate thought acceleration ability.
However, what I need right now is not only for my eyes to see the enemy’s attack, but for my body to actually move to avoid it.
In this frozen scene, I can see the Mythril flamberge heading slowly but surely towards my neck. Silently doing nothing like this would be simply delaying my inevitable death.
So I’ll move. I’ll avoid it. I’ll push my strength as far as it can go, no, I’ll overcome my body’s limits.
I intend to shout, but my voice doesn’t form an actual sound. I’m sure I’ll hear it when I undo concentration-enhancing effect.
My body is as still as the rest of this frozen world, to the point that my vocal chords can’t even vibrate. It’s like sleep paralysis.
Even so, I force myself to move. I should be able to move. The Sloth-Gil controlling the Greed-Gore managed to do it.
I have to force my body to move using my super-fast nerve transmission that is greatly enhanced by the lightning element.
My body leans backwards just a tiny amount.
It’s a stiff and awkward movement, as if every joint in my body has rusted, but it’s still a movement.
There are less than ten centimeters between the blade and its target.
Not yet, this isn’t enough. I still won’t be able to avoid a deep slash to my Adam’s apple at this rate.
Move, move more. I don’t care if I need to collapse backwards. As long as I can evade this one attack, I can manage the rest!
The world begins to move once more.
I hear my own shout echoing across the arena as I feel the dull pain of my back striking the hard ground.
I see a silver trail being drawn across the place my neck was a moment ago. Evasion successful.
I can’t see the Undead knight as I lie here face up, but it’s still definitely right in front of me. If I fire at this point-blank distance, I’ll definitely hit.
Eat this, my full-strength Grenade Burst that I prepared while evading your attack.
I launch a projectile containing black flames from the fingertips of my right hand towards the enemy that should be right there.
A huge explosion occurs right on top of me. My vision turns black and the world spins around me.
The explosion is powerful enough to send my body flying away with ease, but my『Nanablast Amulet』blocks out the heat.
I fly through the air, trapped by the swirling air currents, but I don’t have such weak nerves that I would panic over something like this.
I twist my body, regain my posture and make a landing before I crash into the wall like Kai did. I’ve landed with one knee on the ground. I suppose my landing wasn’t all that magnificent.
「You surprised me. To think that you were able to avoid that.」(Safiel)
The explosion disperses just as I make my landing and face forward once more.
I hear the voice of the girl who called out to me earlier, coming from the other side of the faintly-lingering black smoke. The one actually standing in front of me is the skull-faced knight in Mythril armor, however.
「I didn’t think that my attack would be blocked, either.」(Kurono)
The Grenade Burst that I unleashed as a counter-attack after my evasion was blocked by the buckler attached to the knight’s left arm.
It’s a shield made of Mythril like the knight’s sword and armor, but after being stained black by the explosion, it’s lost its shine. If I look at it the other way, it’s a sign that my explosion only managed to dirty it a little, dealing no damage at all.
I see. It’s not just equipped with expensive equipment; it’s got some pretty high specs to match that equipment.
No, I don’t give a damn about that. There’s something else that I should be worried about.
「So what exactly were you trying to do with that surprise attack?」(Kurono)
Jokes aside, Safiel Maya Hydra is the master of the Undead knight that unleashed an attack that could have really killed me. What is her true intention?
「You’re the one who said to come at you as if we meant to kill you, aren’t you?」(Safiel)
You idiot, those words were directed at Helen and Kai. You’d apply those words to yourself when in full spectator mode?
Well, considering that Safiel is smiling as if to say,「I’m very malicious, do you have a problem with that?」it’s easy to tell that she’s not being serious.
「If you murder someone at the academy, won’t you be in a lot of trouble even if you’re from a noble family?」(Kurono)
「To stop an evil rapist, to protect an important friend, there are plenty of excuses I can use.」(Safiel)
What a demon. I’ve been called a demon plenty by the Crusaders, but the ones who really deserve to be called demons are cunning people like her.
Even though I’m cursing her in my mind, there’s no change to the fact that I look like the villain in this situation.
The annihilated guards and Helen, who is still crying in the corner of the arena right now. And Kai, who is lying on the ground, the Berserker’s newest victim.
Uwah, this scene really is a nightmare.
「Well then, do you really intend to kill me here?」(Kurono)
「No, I’ll stop here. Fighting you directly would be the act of a fool – Reverse.」(Safiel)
As if proving that she has no intent to fight anymore, Safiel unsummons her servant, the Undead knight.
A magic circle is drawn in purple right above the skull-faced knight’s helmet. Poisonous-looking purple smoke appears from it. It wraps around the Mythril armor and helmet as if it has a mind of its own, completely blocking out their silver light.
In the next moment, the smoke disappears into the magic circle as if sucked into it, and the Undead knight that was there is now suddenly gone. It’s a strange unsummoning spell, as if the knight was dissolved in the smoke and sent beyond the magic circle with it.
But it’s not the time to be admiring that.
「You nearly killed me. You think I’m just going to let you go because you said you don’t intend to kill me anymore?」(Kurono)
「If someone sees you attacking a beautiful girl who isn’t showing any resistance, it really will become something more than a simple misunderstanding, you know?」(Safiel)
「I see, misunderstanding, huh… You knew right from the beginning that I was innocent, didn’t you?」(Kurono)
There was no reason for me to make excuses in the first place. Well, even if I’d wanted to try and make excuses, I didn’t have the time to.
Still, she’s pretty confident to be able to call herself a beautiful girl as if it’s an obvious thing. Well, it’s frustrating that I can’t deny that it’s true.
Keeping Safiel’s beautiful face in the corner of my vision, I take a quick look at the area around the arena. As I thought, there’s nobody here. There’s no sign that there’s going to be some new intruder appearing.
「Haven’t you two been watching ever since these guys picked a fight with me?」(Kurono)
「We just came back to the school after finishing lunch. If we had been watching you from the beginning, that idiot would have jumped in before you annihilated the guards.」(Safiel)
「The timing of your arrival was pretty convenient, though.」(Kurono)
「The fact that Princess Nell’s guards picked a fight with the Nightmare Berserker has already caused quite a commotion.」(Safiel)
Eh, seriously? I almost give this response out loud, but manage to stop myself in time.
But I guess that’s how it is; there’s no way I can see what’s going on outside from inside the colosseum. I was facing them one at a time at the start, so quite a lot of time has passed, too.
There are probably a lot of people who are free right now gathered around here, full of curiosity. If something were to happen, they’d rush in here straight away.
If it’s become known that the guards picked a fight with me, then it seems that the misunderstanding should solve itself, but if I’m seen trying to make a serious attempt to kill Safiel, that would cause new problems. As unfortunate as it is, I can’t do anything more here.
「Tell me the reason you tried to kill me.」(Kurono)
「Yes, I suppose it’s alright to tell you that much –」(Safiel)
Safiel brushes aside her characteristic purple hair as she continues.
「– It’s because you used the『Amethyst Gaze.』」(Safiel)
The Demon Eyes behind her glasses are gleaming dangerously… I think.
「It seems that the story being told to the world is that you beat the Greed-Gore to death with your bare hands, but what cut off its head was the crystallization effect of the『Amethyst Gaze.』That would be very clear if you were to have taken one look at the cross-section of the wound.」(Safiel)
I suppose I can’t truthfully make an excuse and say that I didn’t use it. Not that I think that such an excuse would fool this cunning Necromancer in the first place.
「So are you trying to say that your pride has been hurt by the fact that the prided Demon Eyes of the Hydra family were used by a mere adventurer?」(Kurono)
「Certainly not; there is no way that someone like myself would get so serious over something as worthless as a noble family’s pride, is there?」(Safiel)
No, I have no idea what kind of person you are.
「I wonder if my explanation was a little insufficient. The problem lies not just with the fact that you used the Demon Eyes, but also with their original owner. Since you defeated him in the『Cursed Carnival』, you should at least know his name, right?」(Safiel)
The image of a screaming, insane man with shining Demon Eyes flashes in my mind. There’s no way I could forget.
「You mean Saeed.」(Kurono)
Safiel gives a broad, evil grin, as if congratulating me in a condescending way for getting the right answer.
「I met Saeed-ojisan before. But it was only once, when I was only a child.」(Safiel)
I see, so he was her uncle and she was his niece. It’s only natural for them to be related in some way since they’re both from the Hydra family, but I’d totally assumed that Saeed was someone who had lived in the distant past.
I don’t know what the results would be if I had the Demon Eyes appraised, nor did I get a glimpse of the memories within them like I did for my cursed hatchet and Evil Eater.
However, I can say one thing with confidence.
「It’s not like I killed him. By the time of my match, Saeed was nothing more than a severed Undead head.」(Kurono)
「I know. I know that he was tricked by a filthy prostitute, exiled from the clan and then killed by her, meeting a foolish end.」(Safiel)
Eh, Saeed’s past had a story like that?! Uwah, what should I do, I really want to see the results of an appraisal for the Demon Eyes. I suppose I should give up on it…
「Then you should resent the woman responsible for that. It doesn’t have anything to do with me.」(Kurono)
「Yes, you’re right. I don’t have any particular resentment towards you as an individual, but I can’t stand the fact that you still possess Saeed-ojisan’s Demon Eyes.」(Safiel)
「I expended Saeed’s Demon Eyes to defeat the Greed-Gore.」(Kurono)
The『Amethyst Gaze』that I shoved into the Greed-Gore’s neck was lost. Physically, they were just a pair of eyes. There’s no doubt that they were crushed by the Greed-Gore’s rock-like body as it collapsed.
「Both eyes awakened for him. With that being the case, you have one eye remaining, don’t you?」(Safiel)
Tch, I wasn’t able to fool her after all.
Indeed, I still have one Demon Eye remaining in a jar in my Shadow Gate.
「If you were to willingly hand it over, I wouldn’t mind letting you go here, you know?」(Safiel)
「Even if you had 10,000,000 Klans to pay me, I have no intentions of giving it to you.」(Kurono)
When I first acquired them, I’d thought that I’d be better off selling such dangerous things, but since one of the eyes played a huge role in my victory, I’ve changed my mind.
The Demon Eyes are dangerous but useful. They’re so powerful that they might even work against the Apostles. You think I’m going to hand it over that easily?
「I see, what a shame. Well then, I’ll be sure to target you at the next opportunity, so it would be helpful if you could let down your guard.」(Safiel)
She gives a dark smile so that I don’t know whether to interpret her words as being serious or a joke. Seriously, spare me… As I begin to feel fed up with all of this, one doubt suddenly surfaces in my mind.
「That’s quite the sense of duty you have, to be so obsessed about a relative you met only once.」(Kurono)
She herself denied that she had the pride of a noble family, but this is how she’s acting. Doesn’t that mean that she kind of has strong feelings towards her own clan?
「Not really; even if you were to take the Demon Eyes from both of my parents, I wouldn’t really think about taking them back.」(Safiel)
Safiel looks incredibly exasperated. It’s not like she’s letting out crystallizing beams of light from her eyes, but I feel an unpleasant sensation.
「You’re quite dense, aren’t you?」(Safiel)
「Huh? What are you saying all of a sudden?」(Kurono)
「Come to think of it, your party members are the famous Fairy and witch bishoujo combination… Fufu, you’re going to go through hard times from now on, you know?」(Safiel)
「It’s none of your concern.」(Kurono)
「Ufufu, well, it doesn’t matter. If you’re that thick-headed, I’ll explain it for you clearly. Saeed-ojisan was –」(Safiel)
As Safiel speaks, she gives an incredibly happy smile, as if she’s truly enjoying herself. Her face is undeniably that of a beautiful woman, but anyone looking at that smile wouldn’t be able to help feel a『shadow』that causes them to shudder.
I can instinctively sense it. This girl is broken somewhere.
「– my first love.」(Safiel)
Honestly, the idea of wanting to own the eyeball of someone you love is a little repulsive to me. But now I understand.
As if there is nothing more left to say, Safiel turns her defenseless back towards me and begins to leave. I don’t ask her any further questions.
There are some things that I’m curious about, like whether it’s alright for her to just abandon Kai like this, but even so, I don’t say anything to her. No, I can’t say anything.
「Kuh… As I expected, using my divine protections three times consecutively was pretty rough…」(Kurono)
I can’t move my arms; my joints are creaking and my vision is blurry. An easy victory for me has turned into a battle that I barely managed to win, and now my body is in a terrible state.
If some new intruder were to appear now, I would meet my doom.
Therefore, I only have one option right now.
「Right, I suppose I’ll go home.」(Kurono)
Buy us some coffee!