Arifureta - Chapter 141
’’The Brunt of Feelings’’
’’Aa, geez! Cut it outttt!’’
In a small room in the eastern part of the great labyrinth, Shia's angry voice resounded followed by a creaking noise.
The source of the noise was Hajime's arm, which was in an arm-lock (TLN: the term used is Ude-Hishigi-Juji-Gatame, a grappling technique from Kodokan Judo).
’’What are you doing, Shia? His arm looks like it's about to break.’’
’’What are you saying with this calm face? Rather, Yue-san, please stop with the provocations!’’
’’... Nn. Hajime wishes for me but has to hold himself back because we're inside the maze... cute.’’
’’Now's neither the time nor the place for this!’’ Shia violently retorted.
Of course, her arm-lock over Hajime did not budge in the slightest. It was proof of her remarkable growth. Something to rejoice about.
Or so it should have been. She was holding Yue in her arms nonchalantly and threatening the approaching Hajime with a judo locking technique. There was really nothing to rejoice about.
They were currently taking a short break in a small room close to a junction of the labyrinth.
More precisely, the break was intended to let Kouki and the others rest. They were in low spirits from the disorder caused by the whispers. However, for some reason, the more intense the whispers grew, the greater a chance it became for Hajime and Yue to assure their mutual love, which had gone past the point of reason. 'You're flirting far too much inside a great labyrinth, Koraa!' was probably what Shia thought as she stepped in to hold them back.
’’Calm down, Shia. We're in the great labyrinth, you know? It's not like we're really going to start acting without restraint here, right?’’
’’... Just now, weren't you about to kiss?’’
’’That was just Yue replenishing her energy.’’
Hajime tried to exploit this opportunity and came up with this explanation, showing a firm face. But a mere glance at Yue by his side, who had narrowed her eyes while licking her lips, would be enough to make his declaration really suspicious.
’’But I didn't see her using her magic to the point she would need to replenish.’’
Shia replied with an unusually sharp observation and tightened her grip on Hajime's arm further.
’’No mercy, huh... ’’
’’Th- That's because he's my lover. So I will have my say about things that go too far!’’
’’Shia... Good girl.’’
Shia blushed slightly as she gave her reasoning. Hajime and Yue let out a 'Ho' and voiced their admiration. Then they corrected their postures.
So far, Shia had always followed Hajime and Yue from behind. However, now that she had been acknowledged by Hajime, it seemed she came to the realization that she could stand on equal ground with Yue.
She used to watch the two from behind and deal with things she didn't like from a distance. But now she was walking side by side with them and wouldn't hesitate to take their hands and pull.
’’Fumu, indeed, just like a lover.’’
Tio let out a weak murmur, exposing her mental fatigue. Next to her, Kaori forced a bitter smile as she agreed. There was envy in her eyes.
’’Shizu, Shizu? Is something up?’’
’’Eh? No, it's nothing? More importantly, is Suzu okay?’’
Seeing Shizuku watching Hajime and the others silently, Suzu raised a voice of concern.
Suzu also felt the pain caused by the whispers which was somehow similar to that of a needle piercing the heart. But she also remembered what it felt like to be truly stabbed and could somehow put up with the pain. However, she noticed no one was paying attention to Shizuku who didn't seem to be doing so well.
Usually, Shizuku would discreetly put aside her own feelings and only worry about others. Given her behavior, it was obvious that something was up.
However, or rather as expected, as soon as she was called by Suzu, Shizuku put on a delicate smile and replied to Suzu by questioning Suzu about her own well-being. Suzu's face certainly did not look very well either, but putting aside Shizuku's abstract words which didn't betray her condition, Shizuku should also be feeling exhaustion due to the whispers teasing her heart.
With a troubled smile, Suzu could only reply 'I'm fine' in order to not worry Shizuku over her and in the process forget taking care of herself.
’’What is it, Ryuutaro?’’
’’Ah, no, nothing in particular. Let's just leave this sickening place quickly.’’
Then again, Kouki was the person affected the most dangerously. Speaking almost no word at all, keeping replies only to a bare minimum when Shizuku, Ryuutaro or Suzu would voice their concern.
And then, there was also his look, which was getting increasingly intense and reflecting his negative feelings.
His look was directed at Hajime. Maybe the person himself wanted to take his eyes off of Hajime, but he was too obvious. Sometimes, he would also turn his gaze to Kaori. So it was not difficult to guess what he was being told by the whispers.
’’Well then, how did it go? Everyone, did you get somewhat better?’’
Tio asked, tilting her head. It had already been one hour since they started to rest. Tio had suggested they use spirit magic on everyone to stabilize their minds.
’’Yup. Thanks, Tio. I feel that the inside of my head has become clear.’’
’’Un. Maybe my body also got a little lighter...’’
After all, the whispers were mere voices. What was tormenting Shizuku's mind was her being reminded of every bad memory and thought that had piled up inside her. That's why, if the person herself was repeatedly worrying after being reminded of unpleasant memories, spirit magic wouldn't be any help. It was only magic that could refresh one's spirits temporarily.
Even so, compared to how they were before resting, the faces of Shizuku's group had considerably regained their colors. Therefore, even taking into account the consumption of magical power the use of spirit magic required, it seemed to have been a wise choice.
Nevertheless, it seemed there was someone for whom that wasn't the case.
’’Ah. Thanks, Tio-san. I feel more comfortable.’’
Although Kouki slightly smiled and expressed his thanks, there was an unmistakable weight in his voice which betrayed his statement. His face seemed shadowed somehow.
’’Don't thank me. More importantly, we must hurry up and get out of this maze. Goshujin-sama. How much is left?’’
’’U... n, let's see. In a straight line, there's not even one kilometer left. It won't go well if we keep resting in this place, so we should go without stopping,’’ Hajime said and stood up with his compass in hand.
The others followed suit. The previous atmosphere when they were fooling around had completely vanished. Most of it was truly intended to refresh their spirits. Definitely, surely, maybe...
Shizuku and the others seemed to be feeling a little heavy. It had already been thirty hours since they entered the maze, and they had not gotten a wink of sleep. They had been using magic and magic potions to recover from the lack of sleep, but the mental fatigue caused by the whispers had been accumulating as well.
They resumed walking along the mirror-house-like passage. As usual, even after resting, the abstract whispers, using their own voices, were reverberating inside their ears unpleasantly and reminding them of things they disliked. The frost ogres coming after them sporadically, along with the annoying traps, were clearly meant to make them drop their concentration and significantly increased the danger.
Just now, Kouki, who was following behind Hajime, received yet another surprise attack from an ogre, defeated it, and hit the ice wall with his fist while swearing.
―― It ended up like this again?
―― As I said, it will be stolen
―― If only I had power
And so the whispers continued. Kouki's frustration kept accumulating.
Then, at that time, he had an uncomfortable feeling after looking up at his own image reflected in the ice wall ahead. It's not that something was strange. What was being reflected was his own face. It's just that he was looking at himself devoid of any expression. But strangely, he couldn't stop staring.
’’... What the hell?’’ Kouki muttered unintentionally.
Then, he became aware of the true reason of his uncomfortable feeling and a shiver ran down his spine.
His face reflected in the ice wall stood as firm as a rock... expressionless. Neither his irritated frown nor the sight of his gritting his teeth out of exasperation, were anywhere to be seen. Also, his lips which were supposed to have been moving just now after he muttered something...
He stiffened and opened his eyes wide. The Kouki reflected before him... suddenly parted his lips.
’’Ko-Kouki!? What happened!?’’
’’Are you okay, Kouki!’’
Kouki jumped back from the ice wall after hearing the sudden strange voice. Shizuku and Ryuutaro became confused and called out to him. Hajime and the others also turned around to see what was going on and stared at Kouki in wonder.
Cold sweat was running down his spine, and his breathing rhythm was thrown out of order by the mental strain he felt. But still, he managed to draw and point his holy sword towards his reflected self in the ice wall. His reflection in the ice wall also drew his holy sword and did the same, with the same facial expression and breathing rhythm. Kouki no longer sensed the intense unpleasant feeling he had been feeling up until a few moments ago.
Shizuku approached him with a worried face and put her hand on his shoulder. He did not break his stance and kept breathing roughly. He suddenly came to and managed to regain some of his composure before opening his mouth.
’’... In the wall, the me reflected in the wall laughed. Even though I didn't laugh... Just as if it were a different me...’’
’’Are you sure it wasn't your imagination?’’
Shizuku took a breath after listening to Kouki's words and turned a serious gaze to Kouki's reflection in the ice wall, as well as her own.
However, Kouki quickly turned his face towards Shizuku. He was irritated.
’’... You won't believe me?’’
’’Eh? No, it's not like I'm doubting you?’’
It seemed Kouki thought Shizuku's words were expressing her doubts about what he stated. Of course, that wasn't Shizuku's intention. She just wanted confirmation from him. Actually, she had even turned a wary gaze towards the ice wall. That's why, when she heard Kouki's next sentence, she thought 'What could he be saying?' as her face became suspicious.
This seemed to irritate Kouki even further, and a sarcasm unlike him escaped his mouth.
’’... If it was Nagumo, you would believe him easily, right?’’
’’Kouki? Really, what are you saying now? Didn't I tell you I believed you?’’
Although Shizuku frowned angrily in response to his sarcasm for a moment, her face immediately became worried the next moment.
Kouki was able to calm down a little after seeing she was worried about him, but immediately after, her body suddenly started quivering as if she had just been whispered something. She then took a fleeting glance at Hajime. It was truly just a moment, as she averted her eyes right after she saw Hajime. But it seemed it was more than enough to make a heavy emotion well up inside Kouki.
’’For now there's no sign of the reflections moving on their own... but let's be careful as much as possible.’’
Hajime had also been diligently observing their reflections using his demon eye stone, but he breathed out a sigh before long and gave the command to be careful. He ignored the argument between Kouki and Shizuku.
The other members had been listening to the argument and watching the two. When they received Hajime's order, they nodded and resumed walking.
Then, witnessing no such weird phenomenon such as their reflections' actions differing from their own, the party finally discovered a large room at the end of the passage. Inside the room, there were gigantic gates which had a design a lot like the previously sealed doors they saw. Because the gates had no dent where something could be inserted, unlike the previous sealed doors, it seemed they would not need to go through the trouble of doing something like collecting gems one more time. Checking the compass, it seemed there was no mistake about this place being their goal.
’’Fuu, looks like we finally made it. These gates are the goal. However...’’
’’Nn... it's obviously suspicious.’’
’’Right. You would normally expect to be attacked once you get here.’’
Having gotten tired of the maze as well, Hajime breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the goal and used his demon eye stone and perception abilities to search for the enemy. It was trivial that it would be far too easy and uninteresting for there not to be anything taking place in the big room right before the goal. Agreeing, Yue and the others started exercising caution.
’’... As expected, no response. Maa, there's no choice left but to proceed.’’
As expected, Hajime perceived no magical response. He raised his eyebrows and walked ahead as the vanguard. Yue and the others followed behind.
Then, by the time they reached the center of the room, sure enough, it happened.
’’Ah...? The sun?’’
Hajime pronounced these words as he looked up towards the source from which light suddenly started pouring down. If Yue and the others were to look up as well, they could indeed only call this 'the sun'.
Shining from a single point in the spray of snow overhead, the light it emitted increased the brightness of the room significantly. Given that they were in a maze, it couldn't be the real sun, but the heat it generated could easily cause such a misapprehension.
’’... Hajime. The surroundings.’’
As Hajime was looking up at the false sun with a grim face, Yue urged him to be careful. Accordingly, Hajime took his eyes off of the false sun, only to see something quite strange.
All the surroundings were glittering. The light coming through the spray of snow overhead was reflected on the ice crystals in the air. This phenomenon had a name: diamond dust.
However, compared to natural diamond dust, something was off. The glittering was obviously far too intense. It felt as though there were countless lamps floating in the air. Moreover, one part of the ice shard was shining increasingly bright moment by moment.
’’... I smell something dangerous about this supposed diamond dust. Everyone, strengthen your defenses!’’
To Hajime, these glittering ice shards were like small batteries that had saved up energy. He could tell because he used batteries to power his cross bits and send them flying. He issued a warning to the other members. They were stunned at the danger that presented itself before them and felt shivers down their spines.
It seemed like the analysis was correct.
They automatically regrouped. The moment Yue and Suzu cast 'Holy Interruption' there was a flash.
’’Uh, it's like a high energy laser weapon.’’
As Hajime predicted, the countless ice shards floating in the room started unleashing the accumulated light as heat rays.
It seemed the thin, white rays weren't especially directed at Hajime's group but were scattering randomly, hitting both the ice walls and the ground. A 'Bi ' sound was heard as the rays struck the 'Holy Interruption' cast by Yue and Suzu and slipped through.
The rays were apparently fired completely randomly. In addition, the ice shards were rotating and moving randomly, making the trajectory of the rays unpredictable. Every second, there were additional scars in the ground and the ice walls. It goes without saying that this process scattered even more ice shards into the air. It was a vicious circle.
To make matters worse, as if it had just been dropped by the false sun, the spray of snow overhead started descending towards Hajime's party. At this rate, it would dramatically reduce their field of vision in a few seconds like in Haltina's Sea of Trees.
’’Tsk. It'd be a bother to be wrapped up in smoke. We're running through in one go.’’
’’Nn... Suzu, get ready.’’
’’Y- yes, onee-sama!’’
Following Hajime's instruction, Yue addressed Suzu to sync their timing. They were waiting for the moment the heat rays would turn away from them. Then, the moment all the rays disconnected, they would turn 'Holy Interruption' into shields that could be deployed on the surroundings, mimicking the defensive ability of Hajime's cross bits.
After Hajime issued his order, they all simultaneously broke into a run. Meanwhile, the heat rays were mercilessly attacking the shields of 'Holy Interruption' and quickly shaving them off, but Yue and Suzu would repeatedly repair them each time, so it could be thought they would have no trouble reaching the gates which were only a hundred meters away.
However, or rather, maybe we should say as expected, it wouldn't be that easy.
With an earth tremor from the spray of snow that was approaching from above, several lumps of ice, each the size of a car, came falling down. They looked fairly heavy and broke the ground from the impact and left craters. The big ice lumps were so transparent that the other side could be seen. Maybe they were what they call 'pure ice'. In the heart of those ice lumps were dark red crystals. Their purpose was easy to guess.
’’Tsk. My favorite.’’ Hajime clicked his tongue.
As if acting accordingly, the shape of the lumps of ice immediately changed and turned into human-like forms of five meter in length. They held a halberd in one hand, and a tower shield in the other. They totaled nine. Exactly like the number of people in Hajime's party. Short and stout, just like golems, they lined up to block the exit.
’’Let's scatter them.’’
The group nodded at Hajime's order and simultaneously entered combat mode to break through in one go.
Hajime started a pre-emptive attack with Donner and Schlag. The revolvers roared several times, sending high-power bullets aimed at the enemy's hearts.
However, the tower shields the frost golems were holding were unexpectedly solid, and even though they were smashed into small pieces after receiving the bullets, they managed to protect the golems, even if just barely. To withstand Donner and Schlag's attacks after their specs had been increased... It seems these golems had the best stamina among the monsters they had fought so far.
’’But, there's no problem.’’
’’It's as you say!’’
’’Let's scatter them away!’’
Hajime muttered as he spun his gun and reloaded. Shia and Tio confirmed his statement and respectively fired explosive slug bullets and dragon breath. Simultaneously, the other members unleashed their skills, except for Yue and Suzu who were focusing on defense.
Kouki used 'Soaring Blade Quake', Kaori used 'Decomposition Bombardment', Shizuku flew and slashed and Ryuutaro used 'Shock Wave' ―― at each other.
The shining slash Kouki unleashed directly made its way towards Hajime. Judging from Kouki's slanted position behind Hajime, and the frost golems he was aiming at, there was no way he could have mistakenly slashed at Hajime.
(EN: This is where bakapervert's translation takes over.)
The way Kouki was moving and the dumbfounded expression on his face as if he couldn't understand why spoke more eloquently than anything about how unforeseen the situation was.
At the same time as that, Kaori's silver bombardment which carried her disintegration ability went at Yue, Shizuku's slash went to Shia, Ryuutaro's shockwave was approaching Hajime similar to Kouki.
Without delay, Hajime jumped out of the way without losing a breath, catching and evading Kouki's attack while his crimson magic power clashed with Ryuutaro's shockwave, neutralizing the attack as Hajime escaped from the danger. Yue also twisted the trajectory of the silver bombardment using the satellite of 'Calamity Sky', while Shia was rotating and sweeping away Shizuku's slash using Doryuken.
’’... What are you planning?’’
’’... Kaori, that's some nerve.’’
’’Shi, Shizuku-san? Ha-have I hurt your feelings?’’
The frost golem approached with a tremor on the ground and the spray of snow was already descending until a few meters over their head. There was no free time to be wasted, but as expected there was no way they could just leave alone the strange action of Kouki and others as merely a joke. Hajime and the others who received the attack were directing their gazes at the unexpected attackers.
Kouki and others who were perplexed at their own deed returned to their senses and showed fierce unrest at the same time.
’’Yo-you are wrong! I, didn't intend anything like that... but when I noticed... I'm saying the truth-!’’
’’Ye-yeah, that's right! I don't have any intention to attack Nagumo-! Believe me!’’
’’Tha-that's true! Truly when I noticed the attack was already heading at Yue... why do I... such a thing...’’
’’I'm sorry Shia! But, I also don't understand why that happened. I planned to cut the enemy yet...’’
Kouki and others made excuses desperately. It seemed that unconsciously their bodies moved mostly by themselves and their targets changed completely. Hajime frowned while he was checking the breath unleashed by the frost golems. Tio immediately spoke the conjecture he formed.
’’Goshujin-sama. Just before they attacked, I felt like I heard the whispering voice, though... possibly.’’
’’Chih, you are saying that's something like mind incitement?’’
’’I don't know if that is all. Goshujin-sama. Yue, Shia, and I art not affected, don't thou think that's not a coincidence?’’
’’... Troublesome. It's hard to cancel interference at the territory of the subconscious.’’
If they were brainwashed by magic, it would suffice to heal them using regeneration magic or Kaori's abnormal status recovery. However, until the end, this was a mind incitement. In addition, it was interference to the subconscious. As expected, even Yue would have a hard time dealing with such a thing. If it had to be said, the scientific factor here was stronger than the magical factor.
’’Now that it has come to this, beating all of them up until just a step before death is...’’
Hajime's look showed how troublesome he felt the situation was, his eyes narrowed dangerously while his gaze swept through Kouki, Ryuutaro, Shizuku, and Kaori in turn. He began to speak dangerous words. Kouki and the others took a step back, wanting to be spared from that because they weren't an old television that could be fixed by getting hit. Cold sweat flowed down their cheeks.
While they were doing such things, the snow spray that covered the air above was coming to the ground.
’’Geez-, in the end, what are we going to do?’’
A crowd of Frost golem was pushing in from the front. There was a poor field of vision where it had become hard to even see the person at their side. On top of that, there were allies that might make friendly fire.
Suzu was defending against the laser attack with a desperate look that spoke roughly towards Hajime and others still in a standstill.
Inside the space where their field of vision was being closed second by second by the snow spray, at the moment where the figure of their comrades vanished, Hajime raised his voice.
’’Everyone, attack without reservation and smash the golems!’’
The mind incitement and the snow spray were the trials that the great labyrinth prepared. If everything was covered in mist blocking their vision, the possibility that their attack would be guided into ally was large. No, rather, if it was not like that then it wouldn't be a trial. So nine out of ten while they couldn't see each other only their attack would be aiming accurately at their ally.
Hajime said those words for exactly that reason. The people aimed at were Hajime, Yue, and Shia. He figured the friendly fire of the likes of Kouki and others just didn't matter.
’’Well, if the attack is guided at anybody else other than us... my condolences to them.’’
He became unable to detect the presence of Yue and others, the whole surface of his sight became pure white, Hajime murmured to himself inside such space. They had decided by themselves to challenge the great labyrinth. It wouldn't do for them to completely rely on other people. They had to do something by themselves against something of only this level. After all, he had followed up somewhat for them until they arrived here already.
And at that time, several streaks of laser cut through the veil of the snow spray and approached narrowly. It seemed that the laser didn't damp down even inside this snow spray. He couldn't see them coming until just before it hit, so the troublesomeness of the attack increased further.
However, Hajime's foot took a step back, his head tilted, and his body shifted slightly. He dodged everything just like that. For Hajime who was in a state where 'Light Speed' was activated, even if it was the bullet of his own railgun he could easily evade it with leisure if he caught sight of it within thirty centimeters from his body. To say nothing of the likes of the ultra-hot laser. It was easy to sense using 'Heat Source Detection' so there was no problem at all.
Right after Hajime evaded the laser,
*GOU!!* Such strong wind came along with an ice halberd that was nearly transparent which swung down at him. That too was easily evaded by lowering one of his legs which made only half his body visible. The attacker was of course a frost golem.
The frost golem struck at Hajime and the halberd which split the ground was swept horizontally using brute force in pursuit. The strong wind howled once more. The ice surface was smashed up explosively, ice fragments scattered toward the direction where the halberd was swung.
But, the figure of Hajime wasn't there anymore. The frost golem also stiffened for a moment after losing sight of Hajime's figure.
’’You're a slow guy, just like you appear.’’ That voice colder than the surrounding's temperature resounded from diagonally behind the frost golem.
Ahead of the gaze of the frost golem that turned back in shock――at the tip of the halberd, he swung, Hajime's figure was there. Unnoticed, Hajime got on the head of the halberd with Schlagen readied, its muzzle aimed steadily at the golem's heart. The bursting sparks illuminated the colorless transparent frost golem crimson.
The frost golem wasted no time to swing around the halberd trying to drop Hajime, but he was already checkmated.
Along with such a sound, the magic stone along with the frost golem's upper body were blown away and became splinters.
Hajime jumped back from the destroyed Frost golem. There, the snow spray was blown away as a shining slash flew at him. Following after that a shockwave also came flying from another direction.
’’Whoops. As expected, I can be aimed at even inside this snow spray.’’
Hajime was evading laser while smiling wryly because the situation went as expected. The snow spray before his eyes began to whirl. Hajime narrowed his eyes at what was happening this time.
That whirl became a spiral that looked like a tornado and stretched in a straight line. Like an eye of a typhoon, there was not a single ice fragment inside the center of the spiral. It seemed that the laser was also not passing through there. And then, ahead of the spiral became the door that was their goal.
’’... So there is a golem for each person. Mind incitement and laser storm. So this place is telling us to slip through those and defeat the golem, huh. Now then, I wonder if Amanogawa and the rest can clear this?’’
Hajime who easily cleared the trial sent a glance at the direction from where the slash and shockwave came, then he shrugged and began to walk calmly toward the goal through the tunnel of snow spray.
Without even any time to be conscious of the swearing that leaked out reflexively, Shizuku desperately dodged the approaching colorless and transparent halberd along with the strong wind.
She let fly a slash to the direction beyond. Because her posture crumbled and her opening was prodded, she was unable to dodge satisfactorily. A cutting sound could be heard, several strands of front hair were torn off while cold flecks of condensation coming out from the passing brutal blade.
Shizuku collapsed from her back while making use of that momentum to somehow stand back up. She then grandly heaved out a breath she had been holding this whole time. It was as though that breathing was read. This time, countless heat rays were approaching from all directions to bisect her.
If she was touched it would be an instant death. She leaped backward to evade the heat ray while feeling a high temperature on her back and over her head.
Shizuku got through the line of death in a hairbreadth with acrobatic movements. This time, a wall was approaching while not giving her time to catch her breath. That was the tower shield of the frost golem that charged ahead without caring for the lasers that were running in all directions at the surroundings. The transparent ice shield with a thickness that reached thirty centimeters looked like a wall from this close.
The body blow using the shield that came almost at the same time with her landing was already impossible to dodge. And then, the might of the attack was tremendous with the mass of the frost golem.
Wasting no time, Shizuku somehow softened the momentary impact of the charge by leaping behind, but as expected, the impact assaulting her whole body caused her to leak out an anguished voice unintentionally.
Even so, she obstinately drew out her black katana even while being blown away from fear of whether she was going to be pursued or not.
’’Cut apart, 'Soaring Claw'!’’
However, the flying out invisible blade veered off greatly to the right, contrary to Shizuku's intention. That was only natural. That was because her body moved subconsciously and her arm swing aimed at the beyond. Surely there was someone who was supposed to be ahead of that slash.
Shizuku who struck the ground while gritting her teeth wondering whether she had attacked her ally once again stood up desperately even while her breathing got caught up. And then she determined herself that in this battle, long range technique shouldn't be used as expected.
Hajime said to them to fight without reservation, but even before that the opening after her technique veered off was too large. Misusing techniques in a battlefield where life and death was decided in milliseconds was fatal.
Besides, indeed if it was Hajime and others then they would surely deal with the attack coming at them easily, but the fact that she was attacking her ally would return damage mentally to herself.
There was also the matter that her misfire was a bother to others, and most of all, just what did her attack suggest...
――Actually I'm jealous
She couldn't help but be conscious of that.
’’Gofuh, shu-shut up-!’’
She coughed violently and slightly spit out blood. It seemed that she had internal damage. She convinced herself that drawn out battle was dangerous while wiping the blood with her hand. Then in Shizuku's ears, the whispering voice resounded once more. She involuntarily raised an angry voice that exposed her irritation.
――Why is it only me?
’’I told you to shut up already!’’
The frost golem approached with a tremor through the ground. Even while buying distance with a back step, her billowing heart didn't settle down. For an instant, at the moment when her attention was divided, a laser ran through as though aiming for that timing. It shallowly tore Shizuku's shoulder.
At the corner of the gaze of Shizuku who came back to her senses from the pain, a heat ray from below that was scooping up was visibly approaching. Rather than an attack from the front with a pinpoint aim, this one was a sweeping horizontal attack. At this rate, Shizuku's torso would be bisected into two.
With the impact on her shoulder, her balance crumbled, and she was unable to dodge, Shizuku immediately put the black katana between the heat ray and her body. With the blade of her black katana, even if it was Shizuku's slender waist there was no possible way the blade could be a cover for her. 'I just need to prevent lethal wound!' Shizuku held such praying feeling, but at that point, it was as expected from Hajime's artifact.
Shizuku herself didn't intend for it by any means, but the blade of the black katana that was held with a subtle angle, regardless of its jet black color that seemed to suck in light, because it was polished to the extreme in pursuit of sharpness it somehow reflected the laser.
Shizuku who escaped her predicament with unexpected method reflexively leaked out such a stupid voice.
There the frost golem was brandishing its halberd while charging forward. Shizuku returned to her senses with a 'hah' while bracing herself back, she stepped into the blind spot that was the side of the tower shield to evade while releasing powerful slash while passing over the golem.
’’Sever apart, 'Flash Blossom'!!’’
The space severance that was launched at the two's crossing splendidly severed the shield of the frost golem together with the arm holding it.
Lasers were rushing once more at Shizuku who was in continued alertness after passing through. But, Shizuku wasn't flustered anymore.
’’Assemble, 'Drawn Sky'!’’
The blade of the black katana that was lifted right overhead twisted the trajectories of the lasers or pulled them closer to the middle, drawing an unnatural line. And then the moment those lasers touched the blade, they were splendidly reflected, rushing into the frost golem that was right behind Shizuku trying to regenerate its arm.
As expected, it appeared the golem couldn't ignore getting hit by the focused laser from the front, the Frost golem lifted its halberd in place of the tower shield it lost, trying to escape from the threat of the laser that became two sizes thicker.
But Shizuku didn't permit it to do something like that. Even while continuing to reflect the laser, she corrected her stance so that the black katana was horizontal, and it went right into the sheath. And then she faced the Frost golem that couldn't move from the focused laser and stepped forward with a breath.
’’Break, 'Scorch Wave'!!’’
The thrust of the sheath spread ripples of dark blue color while at the next instant, a fierce impact was created. The place hit slipped through the defense of the halberd and gouged the golem's chest.
'Bishiri-!' The transparent ice had a large crack in it.
’’Fly, 'Far Sky'! Demolish, 'Heavy Flash'!!’’
In a flash, Shizuku flicked off the converged laser and mowed below the golem with a streak of the black katana.
'Heavy Flash'――it was an ability that cut apart the lynchpin of gravity itself and for a few seconds created a state of weightlessness.
Just as she aimed, the large body of frost golem that still had the sheath stabbed in it lightly floated.
The limbs of the frost golem flapped around from experiencing a completely unexpected situation while raising a soundless scream. During that time, Shizuku raised a spirited yell while using her sheath as the fulcrum to lift the Frost golem and crash it into the ground on her opposite side in one motion.
The appearance of a slender girl swinging around a five-meter giant looked unreal. The gravity cut by 'Heavy Flash' affected only the slashed coordinate, so after the golem was lifted to the opposite side it recovered its weight and free fell.
Therefore the frost golem was struck on its back with quite an impact, in the end, the sheath that was still stabbing in its body slid in even further. It was to the degree that the tip of the sheath arrived at its magic stone.
’’This is the end, 'Scorch Wave'!!’’
Even while breathing hard, Shizuku proclaimed the checkmate, granting the last impact for the enemy.
'Barin', such a sound was raised and the magic stone broke. The frost golem's shape crumbled.
’’Haa haa... doing this myself is still just barely... isn't it?’’
While supporting her body using the sheath, Shizuku floated a self-depreciating smile. She was able to defeat a monster of the great labyrinth under strict requirements, so there was no need to be that self-depreciating but......
At the other side of the tunnel of snow spray created before her eyes, Hajime, Yue, Shia, Tio, and Kaori were already there... she couldn't say anything.
Shizuku compared herself with Kaori who was rushing toward her with a worried look and smiled wryly while sheathing her black katana. The pleasant sound 'clink' it made was like the sound of a clapped hand in prayer at the shrine. It cleared the dark cloud in her heart just for a bit.
’’... Doing this myself... that's also not quite true I guess?’’
Looking at the black katana grasped in her hand, Shizuku muttered to herself like that. She was able to escape her predicament undoubtedly thanks to the present from he who was recently making her heart astir excessively.
For some reason, really for so...me reason Shizuku kissed the black katana. Till the end it was the expression of her thanks for her partner. By no means was she imagining a certain someone at the other side of the black katana. By no means!
Even so, perhaps growing embarrassed at her own act, Shizuku's cheeks faintly reddened and with fast gait she began to walk inside the tunnel while praying so that her burning face wouldn't be exposed to her approaching best friend.