Arifureta - Chapter 155
Is it Lie, or Truth (End)
’’Move out of the way. I'll make that guy into mincemeat.’’
From Hajime's voice anyone could understand that he was extremely displeased. But, at the same time, the gun trigger was pulled again, and a bursting roar echoed. Four streaks of crimson flash took flight, shooting through the four limbs of the collapsed Denreed. Denreed's body twitched a few times.
Hajime took out a Bola from the 'Treasure Warehouse' and threw it at Denreed while at the same time he took out Orkan and pulled the trigger toward the collapsed apostles.
*pshu pshu pshu*, consecutive shooting sounds reverberated and several streaks of something left fire trail through the air.
After a beat, grand explosions and shockwaves were created. The swarm of missiles that displayed such tremendous might blew away the apostles. Here and there the apostles burst open like broken dolls. Hajime stored Orkan inside the 'Treasure Warehouse' and further aimed the muzzles of Donner and Schlag at Freed and Eri who collapsed in a false death.
There, the surrounding finally returned to their senses.
The first one who raised a strange voice that resembled a scream was Suzu. ’’UWAaAAH!!’’ While raising such a desperate or panicked scream, she leapt at Hajime's arm and dangled there. If she didn't do that, she thought that Eri would be turned into small pieces. Her teary eyes that were looking up at Hajime were desperately pleading ’’Remember your promiseee~!!’’
Next, Shia yelled ’’Stop desuuuu!’’ while leaping at the opposite arm that Suzu held.
’’Ha ha ha ha ha ha, Hajime-san!? What are you doing-! That's Yue-san's uncle you know!?’’
’’Tha, that's right! The logic is just too nonexistent here! Aa, his head was completely shottt. Qu, quickly use regeneration magic...’’
’’Ka, Kaoriii, hurryyy! Super hurryyyy! No matter how I see it this is at instant death level but, if it's you then perhaps he can make it somehow!’’
’’Na, Nagumo. I already thought since a while ago that someday you are really gonna commit a crime like this...’’
Starting from Shia, Kaori and Shizuku also started making an uproar, Ryuutaro was getting cold sweats while saying something rude. Tio at first was making a dumbfounded expression before she put her hand on her chin looking as though she was pondering something. Usually, at this kind of time, it would be Kouki who butt in at the very front, but that Kouki was standing in front of Eri. It seemed that he cut in there the moment Hajime aimed his gun.
And then, Yue whose uncle was shot to death by her lover right in front of her eyes,
’’... Haji, me?’’
Her eyes opened wide while she looked up at Hajime beside her in a daze.
Hajime glanced at such a Yue and then he separated Shia and Suzu who were clinging on his arms, he then stopped Kaori who was about to rush at Denreed's position to revive and heal him.
And then with really frightful naturalness, to the degree that there was no time for anyone to stop him, quickly, without even looking he shot Freed using Donner and threw a bola at Eri. Looking at Freed whose head had a hole put on it and Eri whose body was wrapped all over, Suzu raised ’’hih’’ a short shriek and Ryuutaro leaked out ’’Uwaa’’ in a cramped voice.
As expected, without even giving a glance at those two, the expression of Hajime's eyes warped with an irritated look. Even so, without any carelessness he kept the aim of his guns at Denreed and the apostles who were still collapsed as he opened his mouth.
’’I thought that I would keep quiet until Yue put an end to it by herself, but no matter what Yue is just too shaken and it looked like she was going to accept that bullshit. So, I forcefully ended it myself.’’
’’... Bullshit? What do you mean?’’
Yue's eyes were wandering in perplexity by the shocking fact that her important relative might be shot to death by her beloved lover. Looking at such a Yue, Hajime was slightly regretting that he wasted no time to kill the guy, since in the end she got this shaken and he had to explain.
’’No, no matter how you look at it, wasn't it just an explanation that is full of holes. Even Yue, if you are just slightly calmer then surely you will notice, but... well, someone with the same appearance with your relative suddenly made an entrance so perhaps it couldn't be helped, huh.’’
Saying that, what Hajime pointed out was that even though there was a necessity to hide Yue's existence, if Denreed was alive all this time then he should have been able to come to meet Yue. If she was his beloved niece, then there was no way he would abandonden Yue alone for three hundred years in the darkness.
Also, the sealing method performed on Yue, no matter how one thought about it, it was obviously done by taking into consideration the aftermath of the caster's death. So, that even if the caster wasn't there anymore, Yue's presence wouldn't be detected by any means. Also with the caster's death, the secret would never be revealed. Such intention was transparently obvious in the method of Yue's imprisonment. If it was actually a method taken by a person who was still alive, at the very least there was no affection at all that could be felt from that.
Also, if Denreed made an excuse that he was gathering battle strength, then it was unnatural that the story of the liberators was not out in the open. Even if Aruv himself didn't know, at the very least Denreed should have a very thorough knowledge about the Ice and Snow Cavern and the Orkus Great Labyrinth. If the story of the liberators was actually known then it was unnatural that there was no other user of age of god magic other than Freed.
In other words, no matter how they looked at it, there was really no sign of Denreed gathering battle strength for when the time came.
There were parts from the fragments of Yue's memory and Denreed's old story that were consistent with each other so in a glance, indeed, it looked like this person was Denreed himself. However, Hajime and company had thoroughly confronted existences that looked like them possessing their memory before coming here, therefore just having the memory wasn't a proof that he was the real person.
However, even though this devil king wasn't Denreed himself, it appeared that he had already inherited his memory/ Yet for these three hundred years, he didn't come to the abyss to apprehend Yue who was an existence with a strength that attracted the notice of god, that was something questionable.
Because of that, Hajime didn't make any intrusion waiting until Yue came to the understanding herself. Instead, he considered other objectives like whether the words of the devil king was the truth, or whether this person was really Denreed that was Yue's uncle. He was focusing all his attentions to search for definitive proof.
The way Hajime looked for proof was to use his magic eye stone to confirm whether Denreed's soul really resided inside that flesh. Using sublimation magic he was able to infuse even more ability into the eye, and making use of the soul magic Hajime inserted into the magic stone eye the addition of an ability that could look at the opponent's soul.
The result, Hajime's magic eye could see nothing except one dirty soul. It was like the soul was a spider that had laid out its web-invading through the flesh. Normally a soul should be in a harmonious state as though it was blending in, shining brilliantly at the center of the body.
For that reason, Hajime was convinced that putting aside the body, there was no way the inside was Denreed himself. Aiming for the moment when the impostor got out of the range of the powerful barrier artifact in the altar, he commenced a preemptive strike at the unknown who had pretended to be Yue's important uncle.
Also, more than that, this person's inside was fake, the impostor's story about sealing the apostles lacked credibility, so he also prepared a preemptive attack at the apostles.
Of course, this was a story where god was involved, so the chance that Denreed's soul was sealed somewhere wasn't zero. But, even in that case, Hajime could just search the memory of this person who assumed the name of Denreed and ascertain the existence of that possibility. Even flesh damage could be easily dealt with using regeneration magic. In other words, he could just further search for the truth from what this person said after beating him up.
Hearing Hajime explaining the above matters in a shortened summary made all the members there flabbergasted. Their head didn't work that far from the development that was like a raging wave, but now that Hajime said all that, contradictions and unnatural points other than what Hajime pointed came out in droves.
It was as though, by bulldozing through using facts that were too powerful in impact like the matter about Yue's relative, devil king, the rebel against god, this person only focused on temporarily winning over Yue and nothing else mattered...
Hajime was talking about his conclusion to all the members who were beginning to make comprehending faces while watching the surrounding alertly.
’’And so, there is no reason to believe this bastard's words, not even a speck of it. And most of all...’’
And then, Hajime cut off his words for a moment before he continued with words (real intention) that had unsettled irritation oozing out.
’’What the hell with that 'My cute Aleytia' huuh, asshole! This girl is 'my cute Yue'! Besides, Aleytia, Aleytia, how dare you keep calling her like that, you f*kers. Saying 'let's go together' trying to hug her in the confusion, just who give you that permission? Haaa? You think I'm gonna let you take her as you pleased. I'm gonna tear off all your limbs and sink you in a cesspool, shitheadd!!’’
’’So it's merely jealousy huh (desu-)!’’ X3
In short, that was how it was. Ninety percent of this was jealousy. While flashing his gun with vein pulsing on his forehead, Hajime's speech and attitude that glared while spouting abuse at the body was perfectly a hoodlum.
If this was a meeting with Yue's true uncle, even Hajime would surely straighten up his clothes and posture before seriously greeting with ’’Nice to meet you, I am his lover Hajime. I come today to receive your daughter. Any objection won't be recognized.’’ (TN: Hajime even use polite language here using desu or masu.)
But even though he was obviously an impostor, he thoroughly shook up Yue. Furthermore, he called her with an old name while acting so familiarly, and in the end, he tried to embrace her. For Yue to be embraced by another man, putting aside that the inside was a stranger (probably), right in front of his eyes... that was something that was worth a ten thousand death, in Hajime's mind.
Looking at such a Hajime who was drafting off that much dangerous love in a certain meaning, Yue's heart that kept getting shaken since they entered the audience hall settled with a snap. As though to show that her wandering eyes also snapped in place, she was staring wholeheartedly as though she could see nothing except Hajime right now. Her cheeks were gradually colored with a dreamy rose color, her eyes that were dry like the desert began to moisten damply.
’’... Hajime is jealous. Jealous for me... nn. I'm happy.’’
Inside her woman heart, Yue was flattered by Hajime's condition who was fully exposing his jealousy. Even so, she was also scolding herself.
Although there were so many shocking things happening, she still had exposed such unsightliness. To say nothing of how she was accepting someone while unclear whether it was really her uncle or not. She believed the unnatural story she was told without a doubt. Not only that, she was also going to accept the invitation to fight a god, even though that was a preposterous decision that forgot her promise with Hajime.
Indeed, her memory of Denreed was hard to forget, that memory of betrayal was traumatic for her. But right now, there were a lot of happy memories filling her chest that far surpassed all of those memories. It was only a short period of a few months, but the density of those memories easily exceeded the months and years she spent in her motherland. It was to the degree that even if this person was really her uncle, it was impossible for her to take his hand.
While she was talking with this imposter who wears the skin of Denreed, the warmth of Hajime's hand that was put on her shoulder to support her, she should have been more aware of that.
Yue silently rubbed her forehead on Hajime's arm while talking with a sweetly damp voice.
’’... Hajime, I showed you my ugly side. I'm sorry. I'm fine already now.’’
’’There is no need to apologize. After all, I know really well just how deep what happened before Yue was imprisoned in the abyss took root inside you.’’
’’... Hajime. I love you. I love you so much.’’
Just like their promise to protect each other, at this time where the greatest demon for Yue was standing in her way, Hajime supported her like a large tree. Toward such a Hajime, Yue spilled her feeling along with a sigh of feverish breath.
But, at that timing, *clap clap* applause sounds resounded.
’’Oh man, really, I thought that even if there is some unnaturalness, but if it's someone with the same appearance as the father of the lover you are doting on, you are going to falter a little. Who would ever think you were going to attack suddenly because of that kind of reason... It seems I misread how diminutive a human is.’’
Different from just now not only there was no warmth that could be felt at all, rather contempt and scorn filled the voice that was saying such things. While saying that, Denreed, despite the fact his head and four limbs were drilled by bullets and wrapped in bola that bound him in many layers, was standing up.
The clothes of the devil king wrapping that body had no disarray to them, to the degree that it made anyone doubtful whether he really was shot. If there was no wreckage of the bola under his feet, then everyone would doubt that they were daydreaming.
’’Even though I almost managed to cause her mind to lean on this side after much work. Now we have to move on to the plan B... like this I cannot save my face toward that honored person.’’
’’... You are not Oji-sama.’’
’’Hmph, I really am that Oji-sama of yours. However, perhaps I should say that it is this flesh that is your uncle.’’
’’... Are you saying that you usurped that body?’’
Yue floated an azure flame on her right hand while questioning the imposter. With that figure, Denreed's mouth split open widely in a grin.
’’You really have bad hearing. I want you to call it an effective recycling. This retainer god of Ehito-sama, Aruv, used this body even after the owner's death. This person has chosen you to know? Just how honored and deeply moved this body is, don't you think? Good grief, even this man too, before he died he erased the memory of when he hid you and also the memory of the age of god magic so that I can only use his flesh, what a useless man. If I knew that you were still alive, then I would have dragged it out of this man, by all means necessary.’’
’’... You killed Oji-sama?’’
’’Fufu, I wonder about that?’’
Killing intent surged out from Yue. Her crimson eyes shined fierily, the azure flame on her hand increased in radiance. That blue flame was the 'Flame of divine Punishment'. It was something brutal that could even burn to nothing only the selected soul. That threat should be noticed by the very soul of the target itself.
But, the opponent Denreed――no, the evil god wearing his skin, he was only showing an arrogant smile as though he wasn't feeling threatened at all.
’’Hou, is that really fine? Perhaps my words just now lay, and actually, Denreed is still alive you know? What if he is hidden at the deepest bottom of this body?’’
Yue's breath unintentionally hitched. Surely even while glaring she was about to launch the flame questioning whether she was just being deceived. But, the next words stopped her hand completely.
’’Kukuh, you are making a nice face. In deference to that funny expression, let me teach you one thing. ... It's the words of Denreed just before he died. His last words that were addressed to you.’’
Hajime aimed his gun muzzle at Aruv as a threat so that he wouldn't get carried away saying words to torment Yue continuously, but just like how Yue stopped her hand, Hajime's movement also completely stopped.
However, later on, Hajime regretted this choice. He was only thinking about Yue that his reaction toward the enemy dulled. Even if it didn't match Yue's wish, he should have decided that there was no need to hear whatever the enemy was saying.
Aruv showed a disgusting smile while putting on airs grandeously, then he opened his mouth.
’’You see, Denreed whispered your name while saying this.’’
――It's better if you die painfully.
The arrow of words pierced Yue's chest. Even without any magic or anything that disordered the mind, she couldn't help but feel a sharp pain.
At that moment, everything happened at the same time.
――Behind Hajime and others who confronted Aruv, Kouki who was beside Eri roared while slashing at Hajime(・・・).
――Silver light poured down from above. The Beautiful square light that penetrated the ceiling fell straight toward Yue(・・) from overhead.
―― From the other direction of the body of the collapsed Eri, Eri's(・・) dark magic was fired toward Yue who was attacked by that light. Looking at that direction, from a space where there was nothing, an unharmed Eri that looked completely the same like the collapsed Eri came out as though oozing from the air. And then, a flickering darkness ball appeared advancing right before Yue's eyes.
――Similar to Eri, Freed appeared as expected from a ripped space that was in a different spot from his pulverized body, he had already finished his chanting and fired space blasting magic toward Myuu and Remia.
’’This is payback. Irregular.’’
――At the same time with Aruv's finger snap, a gigantic magic bullet flew at Hajime.
――An empty air where there was nothing undulated, and several dozen apostles seeped out from there, they went to attack Hajime and others all at once.
It was a perfect simultaneous surprise attack where they all must have been waiting for this timing. The remain of Freed that had its head drilled and Eri whose body was bound crumbled with rustling sound into atoms as though to say that their role was over.
It appeared that at that instant when their field of vision was blinded by the light, both Eri and Freed were replaced with some kind of artifact. It was something abnormal to be able to deceive even Hajime's magic eye.
Even though Hajime made a bitter expression from getting done in like this, he immediately activated 'Light Speed' and stretched an instant into several dozen seconds. Inside the gray world where the flow of time slowed, the great number of attacks slowly approached.
He could hear the roaring holy sword behind him. Light pillar was falling from above Yue and in front of her flickering black sphere was coming with eerie pulsing. From the front gray magic bullets were approaching while tracing a spiral. Invisible shockwave was running toward Myuu and Remia, and the apostles were assaulting Aiko and others with their large sword raised.
If he left them alone, the only future waiting was the word tragedy.
However, with Hajime alone, there wasn't enough hands. Hajime reflexively gritted his teeth, but suddenly a gaze stabbed him from the side... when he looked by moving only his eyes, the figure of Yue staring at him strongly was there. Just from that, Hajime realized Yue's thought. Namely, the will that told him 'protect Myuu and Remia'.
That pillar of light, the most abnormal phenomenon in this current situation was aiming at Yue, on top of that even that acting of Aruv, and just as he said, even this simultaneous surprise attacks that he said as the plan B made Hajime sensed that all of these were some kind of plan toward Yue, causing him to feel a slight mental resistance toward leaving Yue's side.
But, even so, the gaze she directed at him was the proof of her trust to her beloved lover. Then, there was no way he could betray that. Therefore, he decided.
In this moment, less than a second.
*GOGAN-!!* Terrific shockwave sound resounded while Hajime fired a shotgun from the elbow of his artificial arm. Kouki who approached from behind was counterattacked by countless pebbles and shockwave and his breath got blown away.
Without stopping, Hajime used the momentum from the shot recoil and pulverized the ground with his step, his figure blurred. He rushed with speed that didn't even leave afterimage while avoiding the approaching magic bullet, his figure then appeared in front of Myuu and Remia. Perhaps from Myuu and Remia's point of view, Hajime looked like he had teleported instantly.
The shockwave of the space blasting that had approached until less than a meter was blocked by the large shield that Hajime took out while he was moving. The improved large shield reacted at the shockwave by releasing its own shockwave like an explosive reactive armor. With that, although cracks entered the surface of the shield, it managed to perfectly defended against the shockwave of the 'Quake Sky'.
As the compensation of Hajime prioritizing Myuu and Remia, the magic bullet Aruv fired attacked Shia and the others who were at Hajime's surrounding. Furthermore, just before the bullet hit, as though it was avoiding Yue, the bullet ruptured and scattered to the surrounding to make everyone lose all places to escape.
The reaction speed of the speed fighter Shizuku forcefully changed the target of the magic bullet to herself just before it could hit all her other comrades. As the result, Shizuku's body that received the whole magic bullet of the devil king, although it wasn't a direct attack because she drew the bullet using her black katana, but she received an outrageous impact and got blown far away.
’’I won't let you!’’
Ignoring all of those, Shia used bombing mode Doryukken to aim between the apostles and Aiko and the others, she pulled the trigger instantly. The fired bursting slug pierced the ground in front of Aiko and others, scattering shockwave along with the light blue ripple.
Shia's aim was to buy time. She didn't think that she could stop several apostles at the same time, so she blew away Aiko's group and the apostles to try to put distance between both sides for the time being. Her intention succeeded, Aiko and others were barely able to escape the large swords of the apostles even while they were shaken by the impact.
Shia and Kaori who had come back to their senses were about to head toward the apostles who gathered themselves. At the same time, Tio pushed out both her hands as though to say that she wouldn't let them do as they pleased more than this. She was about to release her breath attack. Her target was the devil king and the totally unharmed Freed who appeared from the distorted space just like the apostles.
But, the only one who actually managed to act was Shia.
Kouki who was supposedly blown away by Hajime had come back unnoticed and slashed at Kaori.
And Tio was dazed for a slight moment at the same time with Eri's chanting.
Toward Tio who exposed a glaring opening even for just a few moments, a flying kick that was unthinkable from Eri's amateur burst caused Tio to be blown far away like Shizuku. As for Kaori, she blocked the holy sword's attack with her large sword while locking sword with an unbelieving expression.
All of this happening until now happened within only a moment.
Like that, Hajime aimed the muzzles of Donner &Schlag at Aruv and Freed and he was about to pull the triggers. Shia confronted the apostles with her back covering Aiko and the others. Tio and Shizuku were standing up while enduring the pain. Kaori was opening her mouth to look for explanation from Kouki. Ryuutaro and Suzu finally returned to their senses, and at that time...
A small whisper echoed, Yue's figure was swallowed by the pillar of light.