Arifureta - Chapter 273
Arifureta After II In the Point Between Life and Death
Just how long he had been fighting already?
He had no sensation of time. The sun had sunk really deeply ahead. The radiance of 【divine Severance】 was illuminating the surrounding of Arquette, but deep inside the grassland where light didn't reach was completely dark.
*rustle rustle* Great number of presences could be felt from the surrounding. In addition, the consumption speed of 【divine Severance】 was decreasing quite much. It seemed that it went as he expected, rather than attacking the barrier, the <Dark Beings>were more eager to remove the culprit that was deploying and maintaining that barrier.
While thinking about things like whether this raised the survival rate of Arquette even by a little, Kouki tried to recall the expression showed at the end by Koone and others who might be rushing toward the capital with their all even now──
『Just die alreadyyy-!!』
The angry yell that sounded like curse made Kouki returned to his senses right away. It seemed his concentration was cut off for a moment.
In front of his eyes was a bull headed <Dark Being>that boasted super large build of two meter. Above its head there were two horns that looked like could kill human using just them, the Dark Being's blood colored eyes were shining glaringly, while its hand was holding a large sword that looked like thick Chinese cleaver.
That weapon was swung down along with a violent wind.
The holy sword that was raised without delay produced *ZUGAN-* sound that was impossible to be produced from the sword attack between fellow normal humans.
Although Kouki let go of the impact through his arm and knee, he held his breath 「guh」 reflexively, however, at the next moment he sent a kick at the knee of the bull head species, snapping the knee into '<' shape and broke his balance.
The created opening was fatal.
When the bull head species resisted from screaming and tried to retake his balance, the holy sword was already drawing an arc and got sucked into his neck.
Without even minding the neck that flew away like a joke, skeleton soldiers that were of eccentric species──the so called Skeleton──leaped out from the left and right of the bull head species.
The Skeletons' weapon was their very body that was formed from bones. Both of their hands were abnormally long, and their fingers were sharp like claw. The bone starting from their arm until their pinky grew thin and became a splendid sword hand when it was swung.
Kouki had never even imagined that a day would come when he got cursed at by Skeletons as a ’’monster’’.
Kouki pulled back his body slightly while knocking down altogether the sword hands that were thrust at him from both sides. The other hand of the Skeletons sprang up as though they had predicted that.
They unleashed simultaneous attack with matched breathing as though they were mirror reflection of each other, however, Kouki whose reflexes was superior smoothly dodged and unleashed two consecutive attacks as counter.
The heads of the Skeletons danced in the air.
A strong spear was thrust through the gap between the bones of the collapsing skeleton. It came from a scaled dragon species behind the skeleton. The sharp thrust that although didn't match Ragar but it was by no means inferior, was stopped by the grip of Kouki's hand.
Ignoring the voice of shock, when Kouki pulled the spear strongly toward himself, the scaled dragon species instinctively tried to hold his ground. However, Kouki's physical strength didn't allow that. The Dark Being was unable to stand firm and stumbled forward, and the holy sword was thrust into his throat.
Along with a vivid sensation, a hard to describe groan 『Gube!?』 prickled Kouki's ears. At the same time, the overflowing blood splattered dirtily on Kouki's shoulder stickily.
Although, it was meaningless to pay attention to that. After all Kouki's whole body was already dirtied by blood spurt from enemies. His state looked tragic.
The number he had defeated wasn't just several hundred. The <Dark Beings>he had defeated might already reach a thousand. The defeated <Dark Beings>were thrown away to the back by the hands of other <Dark Beings>themselves as though to say that they were in the way.
It seemed that <Dark Beings>almost held no sympathy to other species except to their own underling, so there were also several scenes of falling out between Dark Beings because the other treated their underling's corpse rudely but......
Currently, it seemed that their head was filled to the brim of who would be the one to defeat the abnormal warrior that couldn't be defeated at all no matter how long the battle was continuing.
Both Ragal and Niebla put importance at achieving meritorious deed.
At the era after <Dark Being>ruled over the world, meritorious deed was necessary in order to make the status of their own faction a firm one. For them who were carrying out the principle of supremacy of strength and the survival of the fittest for real, the meritorious deed of defeating the warrior with strength that could protect Arquette continuously by his lonesome must be exactly the same like ’’pillaging great treasure’’.
Kouki thought. He thought that it was something he was thankful of. Because the more they focused on himself like this, the more the burden to the barrier decreased and as long as Kouki's magic power was holding, then the protection toward Arquette was a sure thing, he thought.
Intense pain ran through his ankle sharply.
『I, caught you-』
One of the skeletons before this moved his hand even after losing his head and his claw was digging into Kouki's ankle. Looking at the thick miasma flowing from his head and coiled around his body, most likely he was moving his body remotely even now when his head was sent flying.
Seeing how the red light was almost vanishing from the skeleton's eye sockets, perhaps this was his very last act that he unleashed with all his strength.
Right after that, Kouki's field of vision was blanketed by barrage of miasma swords.
He swung the holy sword and deflected, deflected deflected deflected deflected!
「tsu, kuh, aAAAAAAAAAAH」
The tremendous amount caused Kouki to raise a roar when he noticed. He swung the holy sword with all his strength and slipped through the barrage of death. The last act of the Skeleton was certainly effective. His wound dulled his footwork, and Kouki was forced to focus his undivided attention into defense using his sword skill by necessity.
The miasma sword that he couldn't handle, or he purposefully neglected in order to avoid lethal wound created countless small wounds all over Kouki's body. Small sharp pains stimulated Kouki's consciousness from throughout his body, as though his body was giving alert messages.
The barrage that he thought might be continuing for eternity stopped still.
He shook off the claw that was still grasping his foot and then he tried to chant recovery magic, but <Dark Beings>pushed and shoved each other and charged toward him.
『He is wounded see-, now-』
『Kill-, Kill-, Kill-!!』
Even while swearing out, Kouki desperately slashed his holy sword and cut down the enemies.
What entered his ears were only words that wished for his death, or vilification, or voice of resentment that even resembled curse.
That was natural. Just how many <Dark Being>he had killed already. Right now he was a sworn enemy for them, a bitter enemy that had to be killed no matter what.
Even though he understood that, even though he understood that he had not the slightest qualification to think about such thing, but his heart was growing cold. It felt like his heart was getting decapitated from his body as much as he killed, as much as he almost got killed.
The sensation of cutting flesh, the feedback of bone severed, the blood spurt showering him, the more he got used to them, it felt like he was getting farther from being human──becoming a ’’monster’’ just like what they screamed at him.
A loud scream of fighting spirit burst. Right at the next moment after that, he felt heat on his flank.
Although he barely dodged instinctually, his side was lightly gouged. If he was late in evading just by a moment more, it would be a fatal wound. Cold sweat trickled while he pierced the enemy's heart with a returning slash.
The sensation of the shadow of death steadily creeping near was invading Kouki's heart.
From before this there was moment when his concentration cut off and his thought was diverted. It was the proof of exhaustion. Mental exhaustion was accelerating the physical exhaustion.
Honestly speaking, the time was already past late at night. It was enough to call his stamina as unworldly.
But, even so, the time limit was approaching him.
Kouki scolded himself, that it was too early. He wasn't holding out for even half a day yet. If he spouted out big talk like ’’protecting’’, then it was still too early for him to collapse.
『Become the offering of our species-!!』
He tried to chant recovery magic, however, he was obstructed by <Dark Beings>whose fighting spirit wasn't withering even for a bit no matter how many hundreds he was defeating.
'This is bad', his unease grew violent. If he shed blood, then his stamina would decrease quickly by that much.
He recalled his experience of chasing after monsters of Holy Precincts by continuously wandering for three days at【Northern Mountain Range Area】 without taking rest or meal. With the body of hero, such recklessness was possible if he at least made water to drink using magic.
But, nothing could be done if he shed too much blood. Recovery magic couldn't go as far as recovering the lost blood too, his thought would dull and his body would get exhausted easily the more blood he lost.
And, at that opening when he recalled his reckless adventure at Tortus like that, this time it was his shoulder that was lightly sliced.
Seeing his thought getting diverted again, Kouki gritted his teeth while continuing to kill one, and then one more enemy.
(Shit-, damn it-. What the hell me-, am I just this much-. You are a hero aren't you! You should be able to still go on! Don't think about unnecessary thing-. Just concentrate! You said that you are going to protect right!)
Slash. Slash. Slash. Slash. Slashed.
Slash. Slash. Slash. Slash. Gouged.
Slash. Slash. Slash. Slash. Punched.
With his wounds still unhealed, his wounds were gradually increasing.
Seeing such Kouki, the expression of the <Dark Beings>who were attacking while stepping on their compatriots was showing slight ecstasy that said「We will overcome him at this rate」......
At the same time with such call, Kouki's body was enveloped in faint light.
When he looked back across his shoulder after sending flying one enemy in front of his eyes, Ivana and several vigilance corps members' figures were on the defensive wall of eastern gate looking like they were going to cry.
One of them was offering a prayer wholeheartedly. He must be using blessing art of healing.
Pain was receding gradually from his body. The little wounds other than his ankle, side, and shoulder were healing in visible progress even if slowly.
「Two third of the citizens had been sheltered-. In order to evacuate the rest, we are expanding the space right now-」
It seemed that more than half of the citizens could be evacuated into the underground space. If he could buy more time like this, then perhaps all the citizens could be evacuated into the tough shelter.
Kouki made a small smile.
「Please retreat for the moment! With the exception of the vigilance corps members that are essential for the evacuation, we will hold that place with all our force! At this rate-, you will-」
Ivana pleaded at him to take a rest.
But, he couldn't do what she said. Because the vigilance corps' strength was insufficient to be entrusted with this battlefield. If such thing was possible, then from the beginning he would have told them the strategy of taking turn.
The vigilance corps members weren't soldier. Even if they had the will for it, but their talent didn't permit them to fight. Just like that Anneal. They themselves should understand that.
At present, this blessing art of healing too, if this was performed by the art user of the capital, then his ankle, side, and shoulder's wound should have recovered completely already. The face of the vigilance corpse member who was using the art was distorted in frustration seeing how slow Kouki's wound was healing.
And so, that being the case, they must be trying to buy time for Kouki to rest exactly with the resolve of being annihilated to the last man.
That was why, he couldn't entrust it. He couldn't entrust this battlefield to them.
「Here is my battlefield! I won't entrust it to you all!」
Ivana's expression warped in grief.
While signing the enemies to oblivion, however, the feeling of Ivana and others who tried to be his strength somehow saved Kouki's heart.
『This guy-, still!?』
An attack with all his strength blown away two enemies altogether.
Using that opening, Kouki filled his voice with dominating aura and sent out his words.
「I can still fight! That's why──please back me up. Even if just healing me continuously help me a lot! When I give the signal, arrow or blessing art or anything is fine so attack the front line at that time!」
If he could make an opening even if just a little, he could heal large wound at that time. He could also create water ball using magic and replenish his rehydration. With the blessing art's healing, he would be able to not get bothered from small wounds.
Although Ivana and others were stunned for a moment from Kouki's words, they immediately made a determined expression. Even they had something they could do, they could be useful for the protector who was standing alone in the battlefield. Those facts encouraged their heart.
「Leave it to us-」
The voice of the trembling Ivana resounded.
Kouki roared while staring at the endless attacks.
「I won't withdraw no matter what-」
He wondered how much time had passed since the vigilance corps were starting to back him up.
Kouki who was continuing to fight determinedly didn't notice that the backup had stopped abruptly before he knew it.
He already had no composure to look back, his consciousness was half hazy. Therefore, he couldn't even confirm that Ivana and others were already spending their strength from using art until their life was at risk.
Also, the matter when Rothko and others tried to make Kouki retreat to the shelter which he then refused was also already far beyond at the corner of his memory.
Rothko and others persuaded Kouki that if they bought time using the defensive wall and the underground warehouse, then Kouki would also be able to rest enough, but Kouki judged that doing that was impossible.
The defensive wall could be climbed over by the <Dark Beings>physical capabilities and by using each other as stepping stone as had been proved at the beginning. If someone was overcame by the creeping up <Dark Being>then they wouldn't be able to buy enough time.
And above all else, if he went into rest right now......
Kouki had no confidence at all that he could stand back up again before the underground warehouse was destroyed. With his extreme exhaustion, once his tension and fighting spirit were loosened up, they wouldn't come back to normal easily. He wasn't able to deny the possibility that he wouldn't be able to move satisfactorily or that his consciousness would keep sleeping.
He feared that above all else.
That was why, in order to not let them come toward him in order to take him back, he cut off his own path of retreat.
If they came until here, then even if Kouki created barrier behind him, the <Dark Beings>wouldn't care.
They would only kill Kouki.
They would bring certain death to this sworn enemy that was a threat that couldn't be finished off with an army even now. Right now, rather than bringing down Arquette, removing this abnormality standing in their way was far more important.
Kouki mostly didn't even reply, he was merely showing his will using his action. Rothko and others were shedding tears while continuing to pray earnestly while lamenting that it was the only thing that they could do.
One time the【divine Severance】 almost vanished and he drank his last magic power recovery medicine, but Kouki had no remembrance at all of doing that. He used the medicine from his subconscious sense of danger.
The backup stopped, he was already at a point where taking rest would lead to death, he had also used up his recovery method. He was merely swinging his sword toward the threat before his eyes.
Before he noticed, Kouki was inside a mysterious sensation.
The resenting voice and angry yell of the enemies became unclear and muffled as though time was slowing down, every single movement of them were also slow as though they were moving underwater.
However, that didn't mean that Kouki was speeding up.
Kouki himself was also feeling heaviness coiling around his whole body as though he was underwater. Just like how the opponents were slow, he was also slow.
Inside the world where everything was slow, however, it was only his thought that was strangely getting clearer.
Everything that happened until now was passing through his mind naturally.
If there was a third person, they might say that it was a revolving lantern phenomenon, but Kouki didn't realize that and he abandoned his thought into the emerging memories.
What emerged first, was the first person he encountered in this world.
──Kouki, is really kind huh
He yelled back angrily when he was told that. When he thought back now, it felt like he had vented his anger at that beautiful and strong queen a lot.
For some reason he easily exposed the deep part of his heart that he normally repressed to her. For some reason every single word of hers resounded in his heart and he became unable to keep up his façade.
──At the very least, that feeling of yours that think about other is ’’right’’. I will assert that
Even though he only came in contact with her for a short time, she was always giving affirmation to Kouki. Even though he actually had waekness and complex, the words that she gave to Kouki at the end were always kind.
(The feeling of wanting to save, wanting to protect──is right. If you assert that, then is it okay for me to think that the fight I'm doing right now is ’’right’’?)
He pierced the heart of the bull head species in front of him, then using the holy sword that he pulled out while turning around, he lopped off the head of the scaled dragon species beside him. While bathed in blood spurt, the next memory that emerged was the little sister princess with strong peculiarity.
──Rather than the many that Koone loved, Koone treasure my only dear family
Just like ’’that guy’’, rather than the many people with unknown face, she would pick the person that was important to her. While condemning herself that she had no qualification to introduce herself as a royalty, even so she yelled that she wouldn't yield.
Even though she was in a position that was far more significant than himself, but that way of living that spoke of such thought without hesitation, he harbored much envy toward it.
(Surely, as a royalty......that is ’’mistaken’’. Picking a choice of not making use of me is a ’’mistake’’.)
Then, was that girl ’’evil’’?
Kouki didn't think so. Because, that child, wasn't she resolved to die?, he thought. In exchange of making her big sister as priority, wasn't she resolved to receive everything by herself?, he thought.
Then, in the first place, just what was a ’’mistaken choice’’ then.
As though to pierce the emerging question, a conspicuously large Skeleton lunged with a sharp hand sword and lightly gouged Kouki's cheek. Without even minding that, Kouki grapsed tight the Skeleton's head in an eagle grasp and smashed it into the ground, he then pulverized the head further with a step of his foot while diagonally slashing a second bull head species.
In the interval of blood splash, the people of the capital were floating like illusion.
──There were husband and wife who fought in order to let anyone ate kukuri.
──There was a young man of the weapon shop who spoke of his dream that the weapon he made would help the soldiers.
──There was a ferryman who would rush around the battlefield transporting soldier in emergency.
Everyone wasn't thinking things like ’’no matter what we do, it's already impossible anyway’’ in the slightest.
That wasn't optimism, but a determination to accomplish the resolve of opposition. If the path that they picked rolled to a bad direction, wouldn't that decision make their important people unhappy......such unease, it didn't look like they were harboring such feeling in the slightest.
At the very least, they weren't people who would stop walking because of that.
(When I asked if they feel scared, everyone said the same thing──that they are scared. And yet, everyone smiled when saying that. Because that's something that they decide themselves they said.)
A huge spear made from miasma was flying near clad in wind of miasma like a tornado. When he tried to knock it down forcefully, Kouki's foot slipped. He couldn't raise his blade, and even though he knocked down the spear, it caused pain on his wrist.
He became unable to stand his ground. The hand that swung his sword was starting to shake from a reason other than fear──exhaustion. He felt something that chilled his heart from death that was approaching him one step closer.
──Because, I was born for the sake of fighting
A younger girl who declared the meaning of her birth with pride in her heart.
Her way of living that believed there was no mistake in her path, he felt much envy toward that.
──For me my grandfather, was a hero
Becoming like the idolized hero, having things went ideally......was impossible, such fact was thrust before her, however, she said 「Even so life is continuing」 with a smile. She found what she could do, and built up herself to be more than top-notch.
(Aa, come to think of it, I thought of Jii-chan for the first time in a while huh)
Finally, the holy sword was deflected. Until now, Kouki's attack that finished off most of the enemy in one swing finally defeated the enemy after two, three slashes.
Enemies that were observing Kouki's movement at the rear must also be starting to get used to Kouki's movement. But, more than that, his pure strength and speed were decreasing.
The dragon scaled species that he sent flying raised a warbled cry and stood back up. Beside it, this time the illusion of his grandfather──Amanogawa Kanji appeared.
──Kouki can become anything, you can do anything
That was Kanji's answer toward young Kouki who was asking him 'Can I perhaps become like Jii-chan?'.
'Really?' When Kouki asked that,
──Really, I told you. That's why you are named Kouki (TN: Kouki means brightness or splendor)
Name is the representation of body. That's why,
(The path that Kouki decide and advance through by yourself, will surely shine bright....... I have forgotten that all this time huh. Jii-chan's words) (TN: The word shine bright here use the exact same kanji like Kouki's name)
*GON*, graphic sound of bone breaking resounded from Kouki's body. The tail of a scaled dragon species sunk into his side. Without even being conscious of it, Kouki breathed out *kahah* while letting out a thrust at the nape of the scaled dragon species.
At last he received a damage that was hard to be overlooked. Even Kouki whose natural recovery rate was high couldn't immediately heal broken bone without magic.
Perhaps seeing the limit of strength of Kouki whose body was staggering, the <Dark Beings>showed expression of wild joy.
But, in contrast to the fierceness in the outside world, Kouki's inside was really calm. Quietly, but surely, something was connecting inside Kouki.
The many encounters, his experiences until now, the many worries, all of them were connecting in the middle of this extreme situation.
The girl childhood friend who brought him back even by hitting him yelled at the back of his mind.
──It shouldn't be like this? Something like that is obvious! There is no such thing like a life that will go as you want! Everyone, they gritted their teeth and endured, they held their head in worry, but they will say ’’even so’’ and then keep at it!
That's right huh, exactly like that. Even the people of this world, everyone is the same.
──If your path is mistaken, then punching and stopping you is the role of best friend right?
Aah, that's right. Just what is it I'm scared about? If I'm mistaken, you will punch and stop me, and yet
Aa, Eri. It's exactly like you said. I'm a liar.
At that day, at that time, at that place, I indeed told you ’’I'll protect Eri’’, and yet.
I believed that by making the choice of ’’protecting’’, it was over just with that.
I believed that I had saved you just by stopping you from jumping down.
Even though there is no such thing like a life that will go as one wanted.
Even though life will continue even then.
Even though you were still going mad, and kept asking for help the whole time.
I was always, finishing with just ’’choosing’’.
Even though what is truly important, is the ’’after choosing’’.
That's all there is to it.
Whether that choice is right, or mistaken, there is no way to understand because we cannot see the future.
I was frightened against such trivial thing, said thing like ’’I cannot believe myself’’, and in the end, I hesitated in even choosing......
*GOU* The atmosphere roared.
Kouki went 'hah' and his consciousness returned from the mysterious world of thought back to reality, and he became aware of the huge bull approaching before his eyes. The combat bull created from muddy black miasma was so big it filled the whole path with its body.
If it was Kouki who still had spare strength, he would be able to thrust his holy sword and destroy it.
But, his flesh that already welcomed the limit had insufficient strength to meet that charge.
Although he barely evaded just the combat bull's horn, his torso got hit by the headbutt and he was sent flying. The impact that made his body felt like it would come apart shook his consciousness. Air was forcefully expelled from his lung and he couldn't breath.
He wrung out his willpower, thrust down the holy sword and defeated the combat bull, but he couldn't stop from falling on his knee.
Thinking that this time was the end for sure, the <Dark Beings>rushed forward like a flood in order to raise distinguished service.
The eyes of Kouki who raised his face weren't focused as though his mind was hazy. His blurry sight could see the approaching <Dark Beings>raising war cry in slow motion.
(Is it the end......in this kind of place......)
Even though, I found the answer......
He finally understood.
In feeling, wish, prayer, there was no such thing like mistake.
If one was serious, then everything was the real deal, what was important was sincerity.
After choosing, one must not run away from that feeling. One must not avert their eyes from the wish. One must not give up praying. That was the true battle.
Even though he finally understood.
(Will it end, without me unable to protect?)
'I'll protect everyone', he said. Toward the young boy, toward the feudal lord who thought about his people, toward everyone of the vigilance corps.
(Will I, lie again?)
Because, I have done my best? Because I risked my life? That's why, it's fine even if I give up already right?
(Don't-, screw around-!!)
『tsu!? You bastard-!?』
The large sword that was swung down by a bull head species was deflected back by the holy sword of Kouki who was screaming as though his throat was going to burst.
'Just where in the hell such strength is coming from', the expression of the bull head species was cramping with such meaning that could easily be understand despite his grotesque feature.
(Fight-, fight-, fight!! You want to protect even if you have to kill them aren't you! You chose that right! Then fight-)
He scolded himself.
Something snapped inside Kouki. It was a feeling that he had tasted several times, however, Kouki had no leeway to pay that any mind.
But, if he could see his status plate, then he would surely notice that there was one addition of derivative skill there.
──Limit Break's special derivation War Demon
Originally, Limit Break raised up the whole specs by several times along with the increase of magic power, but this <War Demon>didn't have magic power increase. His specs also didn't increase. However, no matter how broken up the body was, the magic power inside the body would be used to reinforce the body as though it was replacement for plaster cast, and the user would only continue to fight intently with this special derivative skill.
Because it was almost like a self-destructing technique, almost nobody was awakened to this skill.
This was the crystallization of feeling that bloomed exactly because Kouki's heart shouted in this extreme situation.
That scream was,
──Fight! Fight! To the end of that choice, following your wish, fight until this body become trash!
『Thi, this monster-』
For the first time since the beginning until now, the <Dark Beings>were backing away. The loud pressuring scream and fighting spirit that could only be described as ghastly almost swallowed them up.
(My body, is moving-. I can still, fight-)
He didn't understand why his body was moving.
But, such thing didn't matter.
(Step in, more. Look at the whole. As long as they aren't a beast, the movement of human body is mostly decided!)
More efficiently. To the necessary place, at the necessary time, using the necessary strength, accurately.
'That was what you were taught right', he told himself.
(......Aa, so I forgot even this kind of thing)
His memories of until now that flowed in like revolving lantern. The things that he forgot, that he lost sight of were resurrected.
He learned the sword style of knight because he was the hero of the kingdom. However, there was the sword that he learned side by side with his childhood friend farther in the past. Caught by his position as hero and his mistaken impression, or perhaps because of his guilt of betrayal, he buried it at the bottom of his heart all this time.
A bull head species swung down a large sword.
If it was the him so far until now, he would use his specs as hero and deflected back the attack. But, he already didn't have the spare strength for that so......
The moment he received the opponent's sword, he averted the sword attack using the shift of his wrist, and at the same time he changed the hand holding the sword to his other hand and cut up.
──Yaegashi-style sword art Otoha Nagashi (TN: Sound Blade Flow)
The name was because the moment the sword attack was averted, two swords scraping against each other produced a clear tone.
The bull head species didn't feel any recoil from his sword, and when he noticed himself was already cut with his life ended, his eyes opened still.
A scaled dragon species unleashed a mowing down attack using a huge spear.
If it was before, he would knock down the attack or dodge.
Now he kept the point of his sword pointed straight while shifting his upper body, however, he didn't retreat but stepped forward and thrust the sword.
──Yaegashi-style sword art Kasumiugachi (TN: Haze Pierce)
By shifting the distance perception using the upper body's back and forth movement and shoulder's motion, the huge spear's horizontal mow ended up striking empty air. The scaled dragon species whose eyes were opened wide lost his life with his last sight being an attack that looked like three thrust unleashed at the same time.
A Skeleton came lunging using his sword hand.
If it was before Kouki would meet the attack using his holy sword.
He grasped the sword hand with one hand and made the skeleton floated in the air using a twisting throw and body movement.
──Yaegashi style martial art Kyourai (TN: Mirror Lightning)
This technique threw the opponent using Aikido move and then attacked while the opponent was midair. But, this time it was used to hold back a second Skeleton, and the moment the two Skeletons collided, he mowed down the two altogether using his holy sword.
The kingdom's knight sword art wasn't bad by any means. Rather, a transcendent ability and the knight sword art──especially the strong sword style of Meld Logins had good compatibility.
But, for his current self whose specs were degrading......the ancient martial arts of Yaegashi-style that he learned for a long time, a style for the sake of ’’the weak overthrowing the strong’’ was the most optimum.
Not relying on physical strength to the utmost of his ability, not burdening his body, while getting the better of the enemy using technique.
Because of the strange movement that was different from before, the <Dark Beings>could be seen clearly that they were perplexed.
(Although, it's hard doing it with western sword. How long I can fight while being conscious? Can my consciousness last──)
Kouki was concerned with the feeling of discrepancy that came from using Yaegashi-style with a weapon that wasn't katana, but......
At that moment, the holy sword was enveloped in faint light.
The <Dark Beings>were on guard wondering what Kouki was planning, but Kouki's feeling of amazement was more than what they were feeling.
Kouki reflexively closed his eyes toward the holy sword that was enveloped in light despite him not doing anything. He couldn't even see the sword blade because of the light.
If the time was counted it was only several seconds.
Before long the light settled down. And there,
Yes, the holy sword changed shape. Although there wasn't wave pattern on the sword blade, but what was there was certainly a katana with single edge and curving shape. Looking closely, when he noticed even the sheath had changed shape.
A smile emerged on his mouth unconsciously. The figure that was bathed in blood spurt and yet looked smiling looked gruesome that even the <Dark Beings>looked backing away.
But, Kouki didn't even pay attention to that.
(Come to think of it, no matter what happen you keep lending me your strength huh)
Even if he let go of it, it would come flying if he raised his hand. Even when he tried to return it, it flew to him by its own will. Even when he got carried away, even when he was a betrayer, even when he was lost, it never forsook him and continued to choose him as its wielder.
And then, now it even changed shape to respond to Kouki's wish.
'Aah', he thought.
His consciousness was still hazy, and everywhere in his body was screaming, however......
「There is a holy sword(partner) in my hand. Then, there is no way, I'll lose」
If he was defeated, his holy sword(partner) might fall into enemy's hand. Only that he wouldn't allow.
He found one more reason to fight.
He suddenly noticed. Without him knowing, there was a sun ray alighting down from the sky. From the gap of the cloudy sky, the sunlight looked like a stair that was continuing to heaven──it was likely that the morning sun was shining in.
The night, had ended.
Seeing that, Kouki's smile deepened further and,
「If you choose the path of survival then I won't pursue. But, if you choose to fight──」
Slowly he put the holy sword into the sheath, and he lowered his waist. His hand, was still touching the handle loosely.
「I won't ask for forgiveness. I will......kill you all until I perish.」
A tranquil fighting spirit, and grand words of resolve, spread through the battlefield.