It’s back! This is the countdown to the end of the series – including this chapter, there’s just three to go.
Combat shifts back to Shun’s perspective.
Final Battle ㉒
Wakaba-san’s body was smashed into pieces.
Immediately after Reise-san was revived by my Kindness ability, he jumped at Wakaba-san while having no lower body, then bit her. He might have been resurrected by my Kindness ability, but there was no way he could survive long in such a state. Immediately on being thrown off by Wakaba-san, Reise-san breathed his last a second time. Naturally, there was no way that I would pass up the opportunity granted during the brief moment when I had Reise-san’s assistance. It’s not like I had some sort of specific plan. More like, I instinctively knew that it’s now or never and charged in with my sword raised. The magic that Wakaba-san fired to intercept me was blocked by Katia’s barrier. Most likely, it’s thanks to a large amount of luck and a pile of coincidences that my blade was able to reach Wakaba-san.
『Stop fooling around! Brat! Open the door quickly! Rush towards the System nexus!』
Guen-san’s furious voice was transmitted to me via Telepathy. That’s right! This is not the time to be spacing out! Now that Wakaba-san is defeated, the route to the door has been opened.
「You’re not going anywhere!」
No, there’s still that person. The Demon King had gotten up from her chair and was now standing in our way. However, given how ill she looks, it’s obvious that she’s straining herself. I can only sense a frail power within her. I’m sure that this person was originally far stronger than us. However, for some reason she’s weakened considerably. In which case, maybe even we could beat her.
「I’ll force my way past!」
「No, you won’t!」
The Demon King yells as if mustering all her power. The next moment, the frail power within her suddenly swelled. The sense of intimidation from her far exceeded that of a Queen Taratekt! Oh… shit…! She still… has such strength remaining…!?
However, immediately after that, the Demon King collapsed to the ground. The incredible strength that had suddenly swollen up within her also dispersed.
The Demon King was trying to force herself up with her arms, but convulsions were shaking her body so much that she couldn’t even do that. Apparently, after mustering the last of her power, she’s broken down to the extent that she can’t even stand up.
「W, we! Aren’t! Going to lose!」
Perhaps it was hard for her even to talk, as even her words were whispered. However, her tenacity surely was huge. Too huge. This is what drove the Demon King to keep battling for so long, even turning the entire world against her. I noticed that Katia has been intimidated by this tenacity.
I tapped Katia on the shoulder, and ran around the Demon King.
「Wa… ait! Waaaiit!」
While hearing the Demon King’s heartbroken cry from behind, even so, I carried on running. Just like how the Demon King was prepared to die in this battle, I couldn’t stop here either.
Katia and I arrived in front of the door. Upon touching the door, it shone with light, opening automatically. Beyond the door, a completely different scene spread out before us. Unlike the caves from earlier, the floor, walls and the ceiling were all covered in magic circles.
Katia seemed to let out that word unconsciously. As Katia had said, this room was beautiful in how there were magic circles covering every surface. However, upon seeing the person in the centre of the room, that impression changed.
『Proficiency requirements met』
The same voice echoes without pause. That’s the same voice that I’ve gotten familiar with since coming to this world – the Voice of Heaven. The owner of that voice, is surly that of the woman in the centre of the room who is suspended in the air as if being crucified. The lower half of that woman… no longer existed. Despite that, this woman was kept alive and forced to continue speaking as the Voice of Heaven. This woman, no, this lady, is the Goddess Sariel-sama herself.
Such a thing… has been inflicted… upon the Goddess…? The Goddess… has been… here… all this time… all alone… while her body is whittled away… she has been supporting this world? This room that moments before I had thought was beautiful, now looks like a hideous prison.
……What’s even more hideous, are those who would forsake the Goddess, in order that they themselves could survive huh. Us, humanity. I now know the reason why the Demon King was so desperate to try to free the Goddess. Seeing is believing. No matter how much I had heard that humanity was treating the Goddess with ingratitude, without seeing the reality of it in front of me, I hadn’t understood how wretched it was. That was now before my very eyes.
「Even so, please forgive me. I have to do this.」
I purposefully opened my mouth, to express my determination. This is also for the sake of those who have sacrificed themselves on this journey. I haven’t come all this way just to sit on the fence.
I want to prevent the collapse of the System right now, but how do I do that? I’ve come here but I don’t even know what to do. If the pope was here he might know what to do, but he’s most likely in no state to move. Using the Harmony skill with a huge backlash, he was able to protect me from Wakaba-san’s attack. It is a skill where using it just once was enough to leave his body covered in blood, but he still used it two more times. In the worst case, he might even be dead…
This is not just about the pope either. Most recently, there was Guen-san who appealed to me, despite having taken many of Wakaba-san’s attacks and was lying on the ground. Hyuvan-san, Nier-san and Sue are still fighting with mythical class monsters called Queen Taratekts. It wouldn’t be strange that some of them die while I’m dawdling here.
At any rate, I’ll just try whatever I can. For now, let’s start with the Goddess right in front of me. If I touch the Goddess’s body, I might be able to understand something. What’s referred to as the System’s nexus might very well be the Goddess herself in practice.
I took a step forward while thinking that, when it happened. Something fell down from the ceiling. It was a white spider. About a metre in length. In terms of size, it was about the same as a Small Taratekt, the infant form of the Taratekt species. That white spider swung the sickle on its foreleg.
I had used my sword to guard against it, but as if that was nothing, an incredible physical blow sent me flying backwards along with Katia… Then, all too suddenly, I lost consciousness.
The dialogue between Ariel and Shun is more or less a parody of cliche dialogue between a Demon King fighting a Hero… except reversed.