Arifureta - Volume 8 - Chapter 1
Versus Demon race I
The red-haired woman of the Demon race who appeared before Kouki's party revealed a cold smile as she looked at Kouki's party who had widened eyes with surprise.
Similar to her hair, the color of her eyes were also red, and she wore a dull-black rider suit-like clothing. Its design was fitting to her body, so her splendid curves could be seen well even in the dim dungeon. Moreover, there was the opening on the chest area, where the splendid twin hills seemed like it was going to spill out at any time. Furthermore, her flowing hair behind her, and her characteristically slightly pointed ears was truly captivating. Most of the male students were blushing even though they know it wasn't the right time.
’’You are the hero, right? Yes, you, the one wearing a stupidly sparkling armor.’’
’’St-Stupid... sh-shut up! I won't accept being called stupid by someone from Demon race! Besides, why would a person from the Demon race be in a place like this!?’’
Kouki spoke without thinking, and used his slight anger to recover from his surprise, questioning the purpose of the woman of the Demon race.
However, the Demon race woman thought of Kouki's question as annoying and ignored it. Then, she very reluctantly continued saying.
’’Haa~ Even though this is absolutely unneeded... Well, this is an order after all... You, I mean the overly sparkling one. Won't you come to our side?’’
’’Wh-What did you say? Come to your... what do you mean!?’’
’’Looks like your comprehensive ability is rather low. The meaning is exactly as I said. An invitation for Mr. Hero. I want you to come to our side. There are various preferential treatments, too, you know?’’
Time was needed for Kouki's party to completely understand the unexpected words. Then, the classmates looked at Kouki, who glared at the woman from Demon race with strained and disgusted expression. It was then when they understood what she meant.
’’I refuse! How dare you... asking me to betray... Human race... my comrades and the people of this Kingdom! It's exactly as I heard;the Demon race is an evil existence! You purposely came her to invite me, but for you to come alone is too foolish! We have the numbers. So, surrender now!’’
Kouki's words made the other classmates felt at ease. They thought Kouki would definitely refuse it, but they could not deny that they were slightly worried about it. However, his childhood friends, Ryuutarou and Shizuku, didn't even worry about it.
On the other side, the woman of the Demon race didn't even pay any attention to the immediate refusal, and she muttered, ’’I see.’’ In fact, when Kouki's shouted his reply, it annoyed her.
’’Well, my superior also said it was okay for your comrades to come with you, you know? So how about it?’’
’’My answer is still the same! No matter what you say, I absolutely won't betray Human race!’’
Without discussing with his comrades, the representative, Kouki, immediately answered as such. And as though implying the invitation was something unpleasant, Kouki activated the Holy Sword, which then became cladded in light. There's no more need for discussion, and I will use force if you don't surrender!
Behind him, Nagayama and Shizuku clicked their tongues in secret as they took maximum precaution to their surroundings over the Demon race woman. Considering their situation, the two contemplated to change the location even if they must lie to the Demon race woman. However, Kouki had already answered in anger before they could bring up their idea. Since it could not be helped now, they prepared for anything unexpected to happen.
But if they thought about it, normally, no matter how adept the Demon race were in using magic, they would not come to such a place alone. It was even more unbelievable that she flawlessly manage to annihilate the demonic beasts in the current floor, in addition to not leaving a single trace. If the Demon race was so strong, and she was able to achieve all that, then they would have already trampled the Human race by now.
Besides, the Demon race woman didn't even break a sweat when she reached this floor ahead of the 15 humans. Thinking of how she concealed the signs of combat, it made one fear thinking something laid in wait since they step into the floor, and one would think she had the geographical advantage. It would not be strange if something happen.
The crisis the two had sensed was immediately proven to be correct.
’’I see. Then, I won't ask any more. Also let me say this... to invite you is not my main priority, so don't even think of something naive like I won't kill you. Lutos, Havell, Enki. It's time to eat!’’
The Demon race woman called out three names and, CRAAASH! Sound of something crushed echoed along with Shizuku and Nagayama's anguished voices when they were blown away at the same time.
It was not known what blew the two away. With the order of the woman of the Demon race, they sensed the left and right spaces of Kouki's party suddenly blurred. There were ’’existences’’ approaching them with speed comparable to ’’Ground Shrinker,’’ and attacked the unprepared classmates who were watching the conversation between Kouki and the woman of the Demon race.
Even with Shizuku and Nagayama's maximum precaution from the very beginning, they were barely able to notice the surprise attack, and they stood to protect the students who were suddenly the aim of their invisible enemy.
Shizuku was a speedfighter, so her defense is low. Therefore, she drew her swords into a cross towards the blurring space, and tried to jump back to dull the force when she received the impact. However, the enemy's attack power was far greater than she had imagined, so her defense was broken, and she was thrown to the ground, sucking all the air in her lungs. There was even shallow cut on her abdomen.
Nagayama was a ’’Great Martial Artist,’’ which owned special aptitude towards defense even among hand-to-hand fighter class. He had acquired the skill derived from ’’Body Strengthening’’ called ’’Body Hardening,’’ which was similar to ’’Vajra,’’ and both skills had great credibility as they were far stronger than a steel shield. Coupled by his huge figure, his hard to break through defend made him suitable to be called a human fortress.
However, even Nagayama had his defense broken through by that ’’existence,’’ and was blown away while splattering blood from his deeply wounded arms. He barely escaped the additional damage of crashing into the ground by chance, and landed on Hiyama's gang who was in the rear.
The glass cracking-like crushed sounds came from the barrier magic Suzu had chanted beforehand;similar to how Shizuku took maximum caution. It was something she did immediately when she instinctively sensed the crisis. The location was at the rear side of the party. She didn't feel the ’’existences’’ there, but she somehow used the barrier to not only envelop Shizuku and Nagayama, but also everyone on the rear. It was something she did instinctively which could also be said that it was due to her experience. Her action was extremely correct. Without Suzu's barrier, the third blurred space would mercilessly cut up Nagayama and other party members.
However, Suzu was immediately blown backward as compensation of splendidly protecting her allies because she directly received the impact from the crushed barrier. Fortunately, Eri was right behind her and she successfully caught Suzu, but the crisis had not ended yet, when the third blurring space immediately began to move in pursuit just like the other two blurring spaces, wounding Shizuku and Nagayama.
Because of the suddenness, those classmates who could not react towards the three approaching blurred spaces... at that moment,
’’Give the grace and divine protection of light to us! ’’Heavenly Time,’’ ’’Heavenly Perimeter,’’ ’’Heaven Interruption!’’.’’
Kaori activated three light magic at the same time with almost no chanting;she was able to omit some of her chants.
The first magic spell was a mid-rank recovery magic, which immediately healed Shizuku and Nagayama, who were wounded, blown away, and landed on the ground. It was a magic spell capable of healing more than two people remotely away from her. Faint white lights poured on the two people who somehow managed to stand up while groaning because of the pain;their wound recovery rate was abnormal.
The second spell was used to allow Suzu and the others to be unnoticable by the three blurred spaces. Similar faint white light poured into them. The light buoyantly expanded, and an area of light appeared at where they were at.
’’Heavenly Perimeter’’ was a mid-ranked recovery magic, and it was the so called auto-regen. Although the duration was long, the amount recovered was little at a time. It had the feature of wrapping the surrounding with light made of magic power while the magic was activated. Kaori was using that feature, and the recovered amount was set to the lowest to indirectly reveal the appearances of the unknown enemies.
What appeared inside the white light were strange demonic beasts with lion head, dragon-like limbs, sharp claws, snake as the tails, and eagle-like wings on their backs the so called Chimera. They must have peculiar magic for camouflaging. It was a quite troublesome ability, since not only were their appearances camouflaged, their presences as well. However, the fact that they could not exhibit their full power in that state, and thus the blurred spaces, was a blessing in the midst of misfortunes.
After all, even Shizuku and Nagayama who held the best combat prowess among the classmates were incapacitated with only a blow. They were enemies to be feared. Their powers were completely far above the demonic beasts the students had met on the previous floors, and obviously even stronger than the demonic beasts in this floor.
The three Chimeras readied their claws and fangs in pursuit as though they knew the location even inside the light. Their targets were Shizuku, Nagayama, and Suzu, these three. However, their fangs and claws could not reach the three, since three shields of light appeared before each of them and the attacks were averted in a hair's breadth, and the angle slightly moved while the shields were crushed by the Chimeras' attacks.
They were the mid-ranked defense spell, ’’Heaven's Interruption.’’ It was the higher ranking version of the beginner-ranked light defensive magic, ’’Light's Interruption,’’ where more than two shields produced at the same time. Even the ’’Barrier-user,’’ Suzu was using this magic, and by replenishing the destroyed edges of the shield in high-speed, it was possible to stall time though it'd soon to be destroyed when weakened. In this respect, Kaori could not reached Suzu whose specialty was barrier, since she could not use it like such as even when her aptitude towards light element is high. At best, she could only do minute adjustments to the shield.
However, the shields were helpful. At the moment Suzu's strong barrier was destroyed in a blow, Kaori realized her barrier would be useless, so she chose a method to avert the attack. To begin with, she didn't expect the incoming attacks would be the same as before, so it was more like a sink or swim situation. She was lucky it went well.
The three Chimeras whose attacks were averted, became irritated and moved to attack again. The time she gained was only a moment. It was as though the Chimeras didn't find it troublesome. However, there was no change that the most expensive thing to buy was time, even if it was just a moment. Kouki and the others didn't miss that moment.
’’Get away from Shizukuuuu!!’’
So, is it okay to attack Nagayama?, No one said just a sentence. Perhaps because of anger, Kouki roared and used ’’Ground Shrinker’’ to immediately reached the Chimera near Shizuku. Kouki's movement speed was so fast that he left after images. He swung his Holy Sword towards the Chimera's neck, and the sword became shinier.
At the same time, Ryuutarou took on the Chimera that went to attack Nagayama with his thrusted fist in a karate stance. Rather than a direct attack, he thought it'd be faster to attack using the gauntlet-type artifact's ability, shock wave. A war cry came from Ryuutarou and magic power was supplied to the gauntlet.
Furthermore, Eri, who caught the blown away Suzu, thrusted her hand out, began to chant when she felt the same crisis as Suzu, and powerful fire magic was activated. It was a mid-ranked magic called ’’Sea of Flame,’’ and just like the name, it was a ranged magic that manipulated tidal waves of flame. Even agile enemy would not be able to easily avoid it.
With sublime power and speed, Kouki swung the Holy Sword down from an upper stance. While Ryuutarou's thrusted fist drew out a form that couldn't even be more splendid and resulted in a violent shock wave that went forward just like a cannonball. Eri's deathbringer, crimson tidal wave surged to swallow its target, turning it into ashes and dusts.
Unbeknownst to them, some things had hidden themselves. Three shadows roared and attacked Kouki's party right before their attacks would directly hit their targets.
The suddenness of this situation made Kouki and Ryuutarou felt chills running down their spines. Two of the shadow rushed towards Kouki and Ryuutarou with tremendous power, and the metal maces in their hands were swung with great speed.
Kouki immediately used the sword's centrifugal force to twist his body while Ryuutarou raised his left hand towards the incoming mace instead of his thrusted out right hand. With his balance broken, Kouki rolled on the ground, and Ryuutarou was blown away by the enemy's second attack, a punch, after he defended against the mace.
What attacked Kouki and Ryuutarou were demonic beasts with appearances similar to Brutal, with a height of 2.5 meters. However, even though they were similar to monsters in RPGs such as Orc and Ogre, the Brutals were like pigs while these demonic beasts were considerably smart. Furthermore, their Brutal-like bodies were strengthened to their limits. In fact, the strength and speed from the previous surprise attack could not be compared to Brutals.
On the other side, even though Eri didn't receive any direct attack, the psychological impact she received was greater than Kouki and Ryuutarou's. Reason being, the shadow that suddenly appeared opened its mouth and begun to inhale the surging tidal waves at once. WoOOOoosh! The expansive flame gathered at a single point and disappeared. The shadow inhaled all of the flame in only tens of seconds.
What appeared in the space where the flame and heat disappeared was turtle-like demonic beast with six feet. The shell on its back was dyed in crimson, just like the rampaging flame that earlier changed its target to ashes.
In the next moment, the turtle with six feet finished absorbing the flame and once again opened its mouth wide. At the same time, the shell on its back shined intensely and red light appeared inside its opened mouth. It was just like how energy was collected before a laser beam was fired.
Seeing that, an impatient expression appeared on Eri's face;she had no room to spare since she had just fired her magic. However, her impatient was blown off by the usual cheerful voice of her best friend in her arms.
’’Don't underestimate me! Come in succession o' light of protection and be revived as long as I have the will, ’’Heaven's Interruption’’!’’
In a moment, ten light shields appeared in succession before Suzu and Eri. All of the shields were set up diagonally at 45 degree angle. The super-high temperature beam was fired by the six-legged turtle at the same time the shields appeared, and parried upward through where the shields were crushed.
Even so, the power of the beam was greatly above the attack from the previous demonic beasts, since it only needed a moment to pulverize a shield. Suzu was gritting her teeth and chanted in succession to construct new shields one after another. It could be said it was as expected of a ’’Barrier-user,’’ the shield's construction speed rivaled the speed of the shield's destruction and succeeded in parrying the six-legged turtle's beam, barely.
The parried beam hit the dungeon's ceiling accompanied with great tremor, pulverizing its surroundings, and the scattered scorching minerals fell down like a rain.
’’Damn it! What's just happened!?’’
’’Just what are those demonic beasts!?’’
’’Shit, let's defeat them now!’’
Only until the situation progressed this much did Hiyama's gang and Nagayama's party slipped out of their confusion and prepared to fight. The wounded Shizuku and Nagayama were also healed completely, and they began to respectively attack the Chimeras.
Shizuku entered the super-high-speed world, and not even her after image could be seen. Voom! Her figure disappeared with a sound of exploded air, appearing right behind the Chimera in the next moment, and she used the sword drawing technique to unsheathe her swords that had returned to their sheaths before anyone noticed.
’’No Beat,’’ it was a skill that enable movement without preliminary action. Rather than simply moving with speed without leaving any after images, one just could not catch up with her movement, which rapidly quicken and slowed. In addition, her sword drawing and slashing speed were further increased by the skills derived from Swordsmanship. The speed of the naked blades was even faster than what an ordinary living being would recognize as a swift flash.
To return the blow she received a while ago, she used one of the Yaegashi-style secret techniques, ’’Void Severing.’’ It cut even the space just like its name;at one moment one could see the silver-colored trajectory of the sword, and the Chimera's snake tail was severed into two in the next moment.
Raising roar of anger, the Chimera turned around and swung its sharp claws. However, its attack only cut through the air;Shizuku had already moved to the other side. She swung her two swords, and cut the Chimera's flank.
Shizuku used her speed to steadily damage the Chimera. However, Shizuku's expression didn't clear up, inadvertently leaking a sound as though she had been bitten a bitter bug. It was because her calculation had been wrong. In reality, Shizuku had wanted to cut the Chimera's body apart with the first strike, but she could not do that, and the snake tail entered her slashing range instead. Even the second slash that supposed to cut the Chimera's body in even halves were stopped when it quickly bent its body right before the slashes reached it.
The Chimera could not keep up with Shizuku's speed. However, it was not like it could not respond to her. It could not see her figure, so it was barely able to respond to Shizuku's extreme speed using its reflex speed;a truly troublesome opponent. It was something more than troublesome for Shizuku who wanted to finish the fight quickly and rescue the others.
Afterwards, she swung her swords for the third and fourth times, and though there were numerous wounds on the Chimera's body, they were too shallow to become a mortal wound. In addition, the Chimera began to become accustomed to Shizuku's speed. An impatient expression appeared on Shizuku's face.
The bad things continued for Shizuku, no for all of them.
When she heard a shriek suddenly resounding around the room, dark red light wrapped the severed tail and wings before her, and the Chimera's wounds immediately healed. Kaori's ’’Heavenly Perimeter’’'s effect had been significantly lowered, and thus, wounds were not supposed to be healed easily no matter how shallow they were. Shizuku opened her eyes wide and looked at the source of the shriek, while she kept caution towards the healed Chimera.
Thus, unbeknownst to her, the Demon race woman who was standing idly like an unconcerned spectator had a double-headed white crow riding on her shoulder, with one head turned towards Shizuku. More accurately, it was facing the Chimera before Shizuku.
’’There's even a healer!?’’
She thought she finally wounded the difficult enemy, but it was immediately healed. Even at the best of times, lots of time would have passed before she could attain the victory. However, now, there was an excellent healer in stand by for the Chimera. Such a situation made Shizuku screamed instinctively.
Not only Shizuku, her comrades at the other places similarly raised bitter screams.
Kouki, who fought the Brutal-look-alike while receiving support, had almost finished after he deeply cut the Brutal-like body from shoulder to the waist, but the crow's other head was looking at the wound, and when it shrieked, it was healed as though time had rewinded.
The same thing happened to Ryuutarou and Nagayama. The second Brutal-look-alike Ryuutarou was fighting had its abdomen hollowed out as though it had exploded, and one of its arm was broken. However, it was immediately healed when the head that was looking at the Chimera Shizuku was fighting against, turned towards it and shrieked. Even the Chimera Nagayama had battled against that had parts of its body caved in was immediately healed.
’’Looks like you have quite the hard time. What will you do? Will you come to our side now? If it is now, I will let you think for a while, you know?’’
Seeing Kouki's party having a hard fight, the woman of the Demon race clapped her hands with composed attitude and once again spoke to invite them. To begin with, she asked the question knowing what the answer will be, and her expression remained cold. Her expectation turned to be right.
’’Don't joke around! We won't yield to your threat! We won't be defeated! And I will give you the proof! Here I go, ’’Limit Break’’!’’
The words of the woman of the Demon race made Kouki raised an expression of indignation. He used the Holy Sword to counter the Brutal-look-alike's swung down mace, and used the chance to activate ’’Limit Break’’.
Cladded in divine light, Kouki shouted this would be the end, and charged towards the woman of the Demon race.