Arifureta - Chapter 168
The World of Holy Precincts
’’Just how many spaces there are here.’’
’’Hmmm. It's fortunate that they enemies art not a big deal but...Goshujin-sama. How much further will it be until we reach Yue?’’
When Shia who stayed still in a posture where she had just blown away an attacking monster to the beyond with Vire Doryukken murmured that, Tio who also similarly just blew away a monster to the beyond even with her magic power restrained using compressed and spiral movement to increase her breath attack's power turned to Hajime while asking that.
’’Comparing it to the starting point at the first space...we have gone through around four-fifths of the distance. I guess it might be the next space or the space after that.’’
’’So you say that it will be soon then!’’
When Hajime answered that while activating the compass, a monster came attacking in that timing from behind. With a fierce step Shia stepped between the monster and Hajime and while sending the monster flying with a full swing, she made a happy expression. For the moment if a comparison was made, then the monster here was at the same level with the middle level of Orcus Great Labyrinth's abyss, but for Shia, they were not enough at all as an opponent. Hajime was also in a state where he wasn't bothered at all.
At the night before storming this place, Shia and also Tio continued to train inside the space where the time was stretched using Hour Crystal until the sky turned bright, so their strength had been raised from obtaining new power like utilizing the metamorphosis magic and so on. Although it also felt like a hasty preparation, they were in possession of enough cards that could become a trump card.
Although, that too was also thanks to Hajime's cheatmate, the outrageous food that was overflowing with fishiness, this item had quite a strong influence but...they could only pray that their stomach wouldn't get hurt. In here there was no toilet, so it would become something dreadful for the female camp if such thing came to pass.
Currently, Hajime and others were smack dab in a middle of the ocean. As far as the eye could see there was not a single island, it was a space of sea. Sometimes, sea monster leaped out from the sea and bird monster flew from the sky, but they were dealt with without any particular problem.
Although, it was a place without any landmark or anything, so if they didn't have the compass, just how much they would need to wander here...just imagining of being in that situation where they didn't have any time to waste made them shuddered.
Just as could be understood from Shia's words, Hajime and others had passed through several words until this point. After they parted from Shizuku and others and passed through the clock tower of the ruined city, they had traveled through a space where the ground and sky were reversed, a space where countless white blocks were floating, a space where there were only large mountains like God Mountain towering over, and a space that was like a giant library where countless bookshelves were cluttered together.
They were able to discover the exits to the next space at all those spaces without getting lost thanks to the compass, so not much time had passed since they parted with Shizuku and others. Even so, when they thought about Yue, they got impatient no matter what, so there was nothing more aggravating than all these countless spaces for Hajime and others.
They did nothing but advanced straight ahead for a few minutes in this space of large ocean with really good visibility that showed them nothing but water, to the degree they wanted to doubt whether there really was an exit in this place. Thanks to their skyboard, Hajime and others covered a considerable distance in a short time, but they suddenly lifted their face.
Hajime whispered so while narrowing his eyes. His words weren't really a figurative expression that pointed at the end of this journey. In actuality, the sky that was supposed to be clear was beginning to be covered by dark cloud rapidly like seeing a video that was fast forwarded. Furthermore, even the calm sea was beginning to be stormy due to the strong wind. It appeared that a large storm was suddenly generating.
The obviously strange situation made Hajime quietly narrowed his eyes, his gaze was turning below.
’’...Looks like there is something big there.’’
’’Uwaa, this is also...this is the largest size we have seen from all the monsters we have encountered until now isn't it desuu.’’
’’Yes, I can feel a strength that is in a different league with all the monsters we hath encountered until now.’’
The expression of Shia and Tio who followed Hajime in looking below distorted unpleasantly.
Ahead of their gaze, a giant whirlpool began to form on the sea. It was obviously not something natural. The phenomenon wasn't created by sea current. It was a whirlpool created by the side effect of a living thing's movement.
Before they realized undulation was coiling to the degree that covered the whole sea below――there was a giant snake there.
Looking from the shadow projected on the water surface of the stormy sea, they could see that the whole length of it might be more than three hundred meters. The diameter of its body was so thick that it couldn't be so easily measured by sight. The whole body was covered by metallic scales, on its back there were also fins attached that possessed hard shine, they glinted just like a blade.
And, at that time,
A terrific roar thundered, space was rattling. That roar which was accompanied by physical impact struck Hajime and others violently, in addition, an unknown wave was transmitted to their mind. Probably this roar was accompanied with an effect that awakened terror in the listener's mind.
Normally the one who heard this roar would have their body along with their mind blown away into darkness due to the shockwave, and even if they barely maintained their consciousness, their brain would be in disarray and their body cowering in fear, they would be turned into prey and could only tremble while waiting to be eaten.
However, amidst all the people that were here, not even a single one of them was someone cute like that.
’’So noisy. Anyway eat this.’’
Hajime took out Agni-Orkan with a gloomy expression and began an all out shooting. Furthermore, he casually took out from his 'Treasure Warehouse II' metallic spheres the size of a basketball――huge explosive and dropped them all into the sea.
A beat later. For an instant light flashed below the sea surface, then along with muted explosive sound countless water pillars burst up toward the sky.
The monster of sea raised a shriek. It wasn't a scream. It was a roar of pure fury. It was enraged from the impertinence of the puny being's attitude.
As though to display that fury, reddish black light surged from inside the water. That light which made anyone felt severe killing intent was a glint of eyes. While the roar of fury was still shaking the air, the sea surface swelled up like a mountain, and that figure appeared.
A head that looked like dragon leaped out from the sea surface with a long neck that was longer than fifty meters. As for the size, if one was told that each one of its scales was as large as a human child then its hugeness surely could be felt. There, there was a pair of eyes emitting reddish black light and the two layers of sharp fangs that lined up smoothly, and also something like fin at both sides. The fins were similar like the torso, they possessed metallic shine and sharpness of blade, it felt like just by touching it would cause the one touching to be bisected right into two.
An absurd pressure. Just by existing there, the sky was enveloped with a dark cloud, the sea was raging as though the end of the world was coming. The large snake, no, the sea dragon was coated in countless scales that looked harder than even steel, its appearance was just like the leviathan that was told in the legend of earth.
’’If we hath to classify this then this must be a 'divine Beast' doth it not.’’
’’Certainly, from here I can feel a pressure above that of the 'Evil Eater' we fought in Meljine Undersea Ruins. If this one is above even an ancient monster, then that's a valid expression desu.’’
Shia agreed with Tio's opinion about this monster. But, even after calling the monster a 'divine Beast', their expression was comparatively composed. There was also no color of tension that could really be heard from their voice. By the point of time they could converse calmly about the naming of the divine beast, it had shown how the pressure of this divine beast leviathan wasn't something that worried them.
Perhaps such composure was transmitted to the divine beast, because the divine beast then roared once more. As though to say that it was impossible for his might to not affect these puny existences, the roar was even more powerful than the first one.
But, that roar made it a little too defenseless.
’’I told you, you're noisy.’’
Hajime took out his improvised Shuragen.
No, what Hajime took out, whether in the aspect of form or spec, both aspects were already far excelling the territory of an 'anti-material rifle'. The barrel that stretched straight for four meters long had extensive caliber more than the previous version, no matter how one looked at it this size should be called as gun turret instead. In total the whole weapon had become more than two sizes larger.
――Electromagnetic Acceleration Large Caliber Sniping Cannon(Rail Cannon) Shuragen AA(Acht Acht)
Are you looking for a lovely weapon of man's romance? Very well, then it's the 88mm! This rail cannon was something that resided in Hajime's soul.
Hajime who fixed his aim by holding it under his arm made it so crimson spark was running through the rail cannon. Right after that, the large muzzle turned at the divine beast and the trigger was pulled without any hesitation. With acceleration incomparable with anything until now, the charged cannon that was specialized for piercing let out a fierce thunderous sound and blast while bullet flew out, the bullet had a trail of red flash behind and flew into the divine beast's mouth.
And then, *DOPAN!* such sound came out while the scale on the back of the divine beast's head was smashed and sent flying from inside, in addition, the bullet didn't stop, it also blew away the cloudy sky above and vanished at the beyond of this another world.
The roar that was raised once more was obviously a scream. The beast's head was thrown back from the impact and its mouth stayed opened with blood scattering everywhere.
While snorting at that, Hajime made something ran in the shadow. Its speed was too fast and because of the dark cloud the surrounding became dim and it was hard to see, the divine beast also just received damage and got agitated, so it missed that shadow and allowed the thing to infiltrated inside its mouth.
In order to vomit that out, and then also to vent its violent rage toward the one who granted it damage, the divine beast spewed out a terrific heat from its jaw.
Hajime kept silent and took out crossbit. Right after that, the four point barrier that the crossbit created was hit by the blaze, its surface was licked all over by the white hot flame. But, as long as it wasn't the disintegration attack from an apostle, the barrier wouldn't be broken that easily, the face of Hajime inside the barrier was unruffled.
The divine beast gazed in wonderment for a moment seeing its flame got stopped, although as though to show its pride as a divine beast it increased the force of the heat further, attempting to roast Hajime to death. Perhaps it should be said as expected from a divine beast, the heat of the blaze was absurd, the flame was something that one mustn't touch at all cost and the sea surface began to evaporate and smoked up. There was also the effect of the blaze, but the dark cloud that was once blown away was rapidly beginning to come back.
But, right after that,
’’Even though we have to hurry on ahead, read the mood already desuu!!’’
A mass of faint blue pierced through the sea of black cloud and fell down like a meteor. Rabbit ears were flapping violently from the wind and got unruly. It was Shia.
Right after Hajime defended against the flame, Shia stored her skyboard into 'Treasure Warehouse II' and leaped in one go to the sky, she broke through even the dark cloud, danced in the clear blue sky, and turned around after that. Using 'Air Force' to continuously stepped on the air, she fell like a meteor aiming at the target.
A wall of air appeared with Shia as the center. Shia instantly shook free from that and plunged into the world of the speed of sound, her momentum didn't decrease even for a bit and Vire Doryukken which had its weight increased until twenty tons using gravity stone were readied in overhead stance.
And then, the head of the divine beast that got absorbed in spewing out blaze from its large mouth was struck with a gruesome attack without even a drop of mercy or reservation.
A thunderous roar. The sound of pulverization. And then a shriek.
The divine beast whose mouth was forcefully closed had blaze spurting out in trickles from the gap of its mouth while its muffled shriek was also leaking out similarly from the gaps. The head that was covered by those metallic scales was pulverized like broken glass, reddish black meat became visible from there.
Shia's attack was considerably effective. The divine beast showed a staggering motion that didn't fit its status. Perhaps it even got a concussion.
But, there was no way these people would loosen their hand just from seeing that,
’’I think it's better using Goshujin-sama's transmutation though.’’
While whispering that kind of thing, Tio was hovering in the sky while flapping her wings, both her hands were joined into a shape like a jaw and black magic power was focused there. And then, she released that in one go. Dragon's breath that was compressed in this way became a piercing attack.
The attack that was fired advanced in spiraling motion like a thin lance, it impacted the place Shia pulverized accurately and pierced the head of the divine beast.
The black spear went through the head and entered inside the mouth, without stopping it pierced to outside from inside the throat and the attack continued to pierce the sea.
A fatal wound. Everyone who saw that would surely think so, but it seemed that was still insufficient to kill a divine beast that was superior even compared to the ancient monster.
The divine beast didn't die instantly, it raised a sound that was a little high-pitched and sea water crawled up its body. And then, when the place that was destroyed was covered by water, the water was swallowed into the wound. Right after that, the wound bulged and recovered like a rewound video.
’’Uhee, by any chance, it can recover as long as it has sea water, something like that?’’
’’In that case, it will take time to kill it completely. It will be best if we art able to destroy its magic stone but...Goshujin-sama, how doth it goes regarding that?’’
Tio landed beside Hajime while asking.
Hajime was looking at the divine beast with a strange glint in his eyes while shaking his head.
’’No, I cannot find its magic stone. There is a chance I overlook it with how large its body is but...magic stone will grow large in the proportion of the monster's size, with how much I'm looking but still cannot find it I guess it doesn't have it from the start. Its whole body is dyed reddish black just like the Evil Eater.’’
’’Muu, how troublesome. I don't feel we art going to lose at all, but I want to avoid wasting time...’’
’’What to do, Hajime-san?’’
Ancient monster seemed to be the ancestor of monsters. Shia and Tio frowned from hearing that this monster was the same type with that ancient monster that they once fought.
But, in contrast Hajime only shrugged lightly.
’’Facing a giant sea monster like this, the theory is to enter its body and attack from the inside right?’’
’’Ah, the thing just now...’’
Shia raised her voice as though she was noticing something.
Right at that moment, the divine beast whose head was in the middle of recovering raised a scream as though to drown Shia's voice.
It was unmistakably a shriek. Its whole body was writhing as though being in an intense agony.
Looking at that state, Tio also nodded in understanding while asking Hajime.
’’By the way o Goshujin-sama. What art the meal course?’’
’’Broiled eel roasted by tar from the inside. The garnish dishes are explosive and deadly poison.’’
’’Oou...hearing that, I feel a little sympathy for it.’’
Hajime's quick answer made Tio sent a pitying gaze to the divine beast as though she was looking at a poor thing.
As for the divine beast in question, it was shrieking while writhing around fiercely without stopping.
That couldn't be helped. After all, the crossbit that was sent inside its body opened a gate and poured down a large amount of tar and explosive inside, in addition it also scattered around the strongest poison that was the product of the abyss, where in the end, all of those were lit on fire all at once. Like that even its hard scales were irrelevant.
The divine beast began to drink sea water. Surely it was trying to fill its body with sea water in the attempt to heal. But, that was a bad move.
As though to proof that, right after the divine beast drunk sea water, a part of its torso burst up along with a grand explosion sound. Flame blast also jetted out from its mouth. A scream filled with bewilderment rose from the divine beast.
’’Giving a lot of water to flame above three thousand Celsius...obviously a vapor explosion is going to happen. Ah, a beast won't know anything like that huh.’’
’’That is, someone who had ever set flame inside the body of something like that must be only Hajime-san. This is absolutely its first experience with that desu.’’
’’How unpleasant, this first experience is. ...No, rather is it not a lovely first experience instead?’’
’’Don't get deeper and deeper into your fetish. It's scary when I wonder if you are going to demand something that is incorrigible even for me in the future.’’
Hajime's expression became unpleasant from hearing Tio's nonsense. And then, ignoring Tio who was going 'ehe ehe' shyly for some reason, his gaze returned at the divine beast.
The divine beast who somehow felt like it was giving off an air of despair from experiencing how the damage in his body got increased instead when it tried to recover. Even so, perhaps because of its dignity as a powerful monster, even while spouting out a lot of blood it was glaring at Hajime with eye glint boiling with killing intent.
Hajime who received that gaze...licked his lips for some reason.
The divine beast twitched.
Hajime murmured to himself while floating a fierce smile to that divine beast.
’’I want to eat...’’
’’ ’’Eh?’’ ’’
Even though it was a small whisper, regardless of the stormy wind and the raging sea, for some reason those words resounded clearly, it caused Shia and Tio to whip their head quickly at Hajime.
The divine beast too, even though it was supposed to writhe in agony, its movement stopped still and its gaze was fixed at Hajime.
Hajime was directing his eyes that were strangely sparkling since some time ago at the divine beast, while whispering further.
’’Its flesh is nicely filled to the brim with strength. If it's this beast, than it surely can become even my nourishment.’’
And then, he licked his lips one more time.
With that finally even the divine beast noticed.
The enemy before its eyes, the fiercely glaring gaze this enemy directed at itself wasn't something easy to understand like hostility or killing intent...it was an appetite for food.
With a shudder, a chill that the beast had never felt since it was born ran through its whole body. Unaware, the divine beast was 'drawing away' unbecomingly. The gaze that was by no means had never been directed to it who was an existence that stood at the top of food chain――that gaze from the predator caused an indescribable terror to invade its body.
This person wouldn't be able to do it――the monster didn't think of anything like that. At present, the one who was cornered like this was itself. The divine beast was convinced. If it kept fighting on, itself would be definitely...eaten.
The moment it understood that, the divine beast turned aside adroitly with an agility that surprised even itself. The heat inside its body that was burning it up, or the pain of the invading poison, or the impact of the explosion when sea water touched the burning in its body, it ignored all of those and poured all its strength just to escape earnestly.
The divine beast that attempted to escape with a resoluteness that should be nonexistent for the strongest level of monster made even Hajime to get taken aback for a moment. That was just how splendid the escape was. As though *pyu~* such sound effect was accompanying its escape.
’’-, bastaard. Wait, meaat! How can you run away despite being a divine beast huh!’’
When Hajime used the crossbit inside the divine beast in panic to try to stop it in its track, the divine beast raised a roar that sounded a little pathetic, that long body deflated just for a moment, and then it vomited a large amount of sea water that made one wanted to ask just from where it took all of that from.
Naturally, explosions occurred grandly, parts of here and there of its body were blown up, yet it somehow managed to vomit out the crossbit. And then, it manipulated the sea water to make several tornados on the sea, it directed them to Hajime while diving into the bottom of the sea at full speed.
’’Let, me, eat, the, meat, of you, bastaaard~’’
While blowing away the tornados that were approaching from all directions using impact conversion of magic power, Hajime demanded for the divine beast's meat with a voice that resembled a deeply held grudge.
The divine beast that looked back just for an instant from under the sea surface met the bloodshot gaze of the tiny being demanding its meat, while harboring a tremendous terror to that, it averted its gaze in panic as though to say ’’I've seen what must not be seen’’.
While a crying voice that had surpassed being pathetic and instead invited pity was resounding in the air, its figure vanished into the darkness of the deep sea. It felt like they could hear something that somehow sounded like ’’I won't come out from home anymoreee~’’, but surely it was just their feeling though.
’’Son of a bitch! It should be impossible for a monster of that level to immediately decide to escape! Even though it's a chance to power up at this last minute!’’
Perhaps because the divine beast had disappeared, the dark cloud was dispersing and the stormy sea was recovering its calm once more, amidst all that Hajime stamped his feet in frustration.
There, Shia and Tio were approaching with an exasperated gaze.
’’For Goshujin-sama, even a divine beast is already nothing but predation target.’’
’’Until now surely it had never been looked at with that kind of gaze, that's why it has no endurance isn't it. Its last cry, it sounded a little pitiful. Perhaps this will even become a trauma for it that turns it into a shut-in after this.’’
’’Chih, that snake got no guts.’’
There was no doubt that surely not even in a dream that a divine beast of all things could have its bravery to be questioned.
Hajime stored the returning crossbit in a bad mood and took out his compass once more to decide the route.
Then, right at that timing, ahead of Hajime and others' gaze, the space a few kilometers separated from them began to shake like jelly. And then, after a few moments the space melted and disappeared and a large island appeared from the space gap.
’’...It seemed, there is an entrance to the next space at the center of that island.’’
’’Does it appear because the divine beast withdrew?’’
’’That possibility art high. No one would even imagine that it would withdraw in that way though.’’
Shia and Tio sent a gaze of pity at the spot where the traumatized divine beast vanished, and then they followed Hajime's lead and departed from that spot.
It appeared that the island had quite the size. The island was covered with really tall trees that could reach a few dozen meters in the whole, other than the shoreline they couldn't see the ground at all. The entrance to the next space seemed to be at the center of that forest.
And then, Shia's rabbit ears sensed that powerful monsters were running rampant in large number there, especially at the center part.
The monsters weren't at the level of the divine beast, but every single one of them was a powerful monster. They wouldn't lose against the monsters, but the monsters' number was a lot so it felt like it would take quiet the time to fight the monsters just like against the divine beast.
Shia asked Hajime ’’What to do?’’ with her gaze.
Hajime took out 'Shuragen AA' from 'Treasure Warehouse II' once again and took a kneeling posture on his skyboard and entered a sniping stance. Using heat detection, the scope penetrated the trees and projected only the image of living things.
’’Aa, don't tell me Hajime-san is...’’
’’Wait a bit. I'll take care of this right away. This is a lightning speed accurate bombardment from outside their detection. Surely they won't be able to react. I'll blow away the head of things that looks troublesome.’’
Shia took the confirmation from Hajime with a cramped face, and then crimson flash rushed through the sky instantly.
That streak of flash wasn't noticed at all by a giant gorilla that looked like a giant kong walking heavily deep inside the forest, its head got blown away instantly, and its brain matter was scattered everywhere. Next the bullet impacted the ground and a large crater was created with the trees on the area got blown away.
Furthermore, thunderous sounds reverberated in succession. From a far distance of more than ten kilometers, the lights of death that flew at a speed that was impossible to detect dispersed one after another the heads of the giant monsters loitering around the area that seemed to be the space entrance. The thick forest was instantly turned into a battlefield site that was littered with holes.
’’Surely, after defeating the divine beast, next powerful monsters would go ROAR! in a great swarm and the intruder would go Kyaa, what a disaster! Originally this must be for something like that isn't it.’’
’’Well, this art not a labyrinth so this art not even a trial...though there art no doubt that this art intended to be obstacles perchance.’’
While half laughing Shia and Tio remembered the time until now, where Hajime easily removed the obstacles using methods other than frontal attack, that was why the two of them hadn't made any significant contributions yet.
Both of them exchanged gazes filled to the brim with sympathy to each other from how their expectation of rampaging with their all in order to take back Yue was betrayed.
But, that ardor would be demonstrated just before they reached Yue's location.
After massacring the island's monsters one-sidedly, Hajime and others transferred to the next space from the stone statue at the center of the forest and leaped out into a world of sky where several gigantic islands were floating.
There were islands with a diameter of only a few dozen meters, but there were also islands with a scale of a few kilometers. River water was continuing to flow down from the edge of the floating islands without end with some kind of mysterious logic. Because of the height, the water became mist after some distance of falling as waterfall, the scenery of white mist drifting at the surrounding was very fantastical.
Above all the floating islands were overflowing with greenery, there were plains and also forests. There was not a single floating island that was merely a floating rock.
Sea of clouds was spreading below. The clouds lingered at the height of their gaze, drifting on the sky like cotton candy. Even now it felt like the clouds were giving off a sweet aroma.
Even though there was no sun, but brilliant light was pouring down, light pillar weaved through the gaps of the clouds――several of what was commonly called as 'ladder of angel' could be seen.
There were white clouds overflowing with great numbers of floating islands, and then there were also beams of light pouring down.
It was truly a solemnly mystical scenery. If someone who didn't know anything was told that this place was heaven then they would unconditionally believe it.
After their gazes were stolen just for a little while by that scene, Hajime and others shook their head and advanced forward. Their objective was the floating island that looked conspicuously large even among all the many floating islands. The compass was pointing at there.
They flew their skyboard and closed the distance in the blink of eye. At the same time, they caught strong presence at that floating island.
Before Hajime and others who narrowed their eyes in vigilance, that guy appeared.
’’As expected you came. Nagumo Hajime. The fool who defy god.’’
With silver wings and hair that looked like an apostle rustling from the wind, the monster user devil race――Freed Bagua was there.