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Chapter 154. Former Hero – Looking Cool
【Previously on Former Hero】
Elcure wet herself after I rescued her from the clutches of the giant slime.
[Can you stand up?]
Elcure replied to me in what sounded like a refreshed tone and got up.
Her face seemed refreshed and satisfied at the same time.
How long did you hold it in anyways?
Nnー….now what? Well, whatever.
[Don’t force yourself if you haven’t fully recovered.]
I told Elcure as I checked on Leon’s condition.
When I looked back at her, Elcure seemed fine to me.
Albeit a bit breathless.
Elcure gave me a short […un] as an answer before turning her face away from me.
What a lovely gesture.
N-not bad if I had to say so myself.
What kind of man will not be overwhelmed by cuteness when seeing her do that?
Right now, my spring of youth is energetic!
No, it can’t be the spring of youth. What is the spring of youth anyways?
In any case, I couldn’t just stand here enjoying Elcure’s cutesy act.
Let’s move on to the next course of action.
[Celes. I’m sorry, but could you take care of Elcure?]
Taking Elcure to where Celes is, I entrusted the latter to keep guard on the former for now.
Then without waiting for Celes’ answer, I immediately leapt to rescue the other captive, Tanya.
[Oi, Tanya. Are you okay?]
I tried to speak to Tanya, but she didn’t respond to me. She actually responded as if I was being too noisy in her sleep, but that’s just her habit.
Does this girl actually have any fear in her mind?
Shouldn’t you be scared if something all of a sudden dragged you down into a dark, black hole?
If I wasn’t around, she might’ve already wet herself up just like Elcure did.
…was that the case with Elcure?
Like how I released Elcure, I held Tanya in my left hand while burning the tentacles off with magic from my right.
I burned those tentacles, especially the ones sticking around Tanya’s body.
I actually felt good doing this; I thought inwardly as I religiously and carefully burned away the tentacles.
Even though it has no will of its own, how dare it touches my wife’s body!
Uーn, I guess I overdid it a bit there.
Well, anyways, I felt better.
I headed back to where I left Elcure, this time with Tanya in my hands.
[Tanya… looks fine.]
Depositing the still unconscious Tanya in the safe zone alongside Elcure, I saw Elcure try to stand up with her wobbly legs, only to sit back on the magic water again.
Although she had a refreshed look on her face earlier, that same face is now blushing shyly.
[Hey you, what actually happened? Something’s wrong?]
I’ve been worried about it, so I asked.
But Elcure’s reply remained the same.
I asked because she didn’t look good at all in the first place.
Even so, it’s not the time and place to ask that in more detail.
Since she said that she’s okay, let’s just leave it at that.
Okay my ass, you still leaked yourself on my left leg.
[I’ll leave Tanya here… I’m not asking you to protect her; just keep her from falling forward and submerging her head on the water.]
Hearing Elcure’s answer, I left Tanya leaning against a nearby rock.
I had to let Tanya’s lower body immersed in water. It can’t be helped since there is no proper place to sit on without getting wet.
[Sorry for the wait.]
I rushed back to the battle and greeted Celis.
[Onii-san, are those two alright?]
[Yeah. Just a little distraught and we…never mind. It’s a bit weird, but they aren’t injured.]
[Is that so? Thank goodness then.]
Thank you Elcure.
I’ll keep that sight of you leaking yourself deep in my heart as well as the warmth that still lingered on my leg.
Thank you very much.
No no no, why am I being grateful there?
[The movement isn’t so fast and the pattern is monotonous too.]
Leon regrouped with us.
[They’re safe. They’re currently waiting behind us.]
Saying they’re safe might be a bit of a misnomer.
There was that thing with Elcure. She was… ah, well, forget it.
Guess the impact was too high on me, that it kept returning back to my mind.
But, let’s clean up the problem before us first.
Apparently, physical attack doesn’t work all that well, but magic does.
In other words, if we keep pelting it with long range magic… while I was thinking our next course of action, the giant slime’s entire body started trembling.
Perhaps because Leon was no longer there to distract it, the slime finally noticed that Elcure and Tanya had gone missing.
Of course slimes had no face, but I could imagine it in my head.
It retracted the tentacles it used to restrain the two girls, finding them in a serious mess.
And it simply grew slightly bigger than before.
The giant slime warily observed us.
Well no, it has no eyes, of course.
Faster than I can give instructions to others, the slime grew innumerable tentacles from its body, attacking us with it.
It’s already disgusting in the first place though.
It moved slightly faster, but nothing more.
Needless to say, Leon and Celes are already on the level where they could evade those attacks with ease.
[Celes, retreat back a little! Guard the two behind us. Leon, to the front with me.]
I gave out instructions whilst avoiding the slime’s attack.
Giving instructions in battle like this reminded me of the grueling fights I had during my Hero days. How nostalgic.
It’s the best time for me to shine!
The only downside right now is that I have a guy fighting on my side.
Next time, I want to have Sharon or Laurier fighting next to me.
That way, I can make them swoon at how cool I am. Ahahaha.
Well, that aside, our battle with the giant slime went on for a while.
The tentacles attack couldn’t hit us, but at the same time, none of our long range magics could reach the main body due to being blocked by the tentacles.
It’ll turn into a battle of attrition if this goes on.
Those tentacles were destroyed when they were used to block our magic and the number was steadily going down. But then I recalled something from the back of my mind.
Since it’s deep inside the dungeon, it probably still has one little hidden trick as a last resort…
It may collapse the ceiling to bury us alive.
As that thought crossed my mind, the slime also changed its pattern.
Up until now, the tentacles were moving under the intention to 『capture』 us. But now, it had reverted into trying to 『kill』 us.
Specifically, the tip of the tentacle had become spiky in the attempt to deal damage to us.
[Whoopsie. That’s a wrong move, mister slime.]
I saw an opening once the slime changed its attack pattern.
Up until this point, the tentacles were difficult to deal with physical attacks because of its springiness. But now, the spiky tips are particularly hard.
In its previous state, its squishiness will only allow it to capture us. Thus it has no choice but to harden parts of its tentacle to deal any damage.
Well, it could’ve used its tentacle in whip-like manner, but I guess such wisdom is beyond the slime.
Anyways, I could cut the tentacle now for sure.
I didn’t try to avoid the incoming tentacle attack, opting to intercept it with my sword instead.
Swish! I managed to cut down the outstretched tentacle this time.
Yosh! Let’s keep going.
Following my example, Leon also intercepted the tentacle with his holy sword.
Seeing this, the slime seemingly grew angry judging from how it trembled. But instead of reverting back to soft tentacles, it kept attacking as is.
[That’s it for the slime. Leon! Let’s break through!]
Leon moved forward in response to my instructions.
We then gradually cut our way forward through the onslaught of the tentacles.
Celes would deftly deal with any tentacles that we missed.
This is quite easy.
This combination is not bad either.
Except for the fact that there is another guy other than me.
I prefer not to have any male party member if I could afford it.
That’s why the full party of uncles that I was stuck in during my hero days hurt me so.
And I ended up not getting along with them well.
Anyways, Leon and I slowly but surely cut our way in to the slime’s main body.
Seeing us getting closer, the slime chose to defend itself by hardening its body.
Its density might be harder than its tentacle now, but against the sword forged by Kagura-san and a holy sword, the slime’s defense only amounts as much as tofu.
Along with our overlapping shouts, our swords buried itself deep into the slime’s main body, then we proceeded to cut it apart into several pieces.
Comparing it to tofu was a bit too much.
It’s actually harder than I thought.
I guess I tend to talk bullshit when the tension is high.
Anyways, as the slime lost its shape after being cut apart, its fragments melted and mixed together with the magic water.
What was left in the end, is the object that became the slime’s core itself; two pieces of a very large magic stone.
[Fu… That was a good workout… right? Eh, what’s that?]
Two magic stones?
I clearly remembered there was 1 magic stone inside the giant slime.
Why are there 2 now?
Each of the two magic stones had a smooth surface as if it’s been cut cleanly by something.
Simply put, the last blow I landed on the giant slime actually cut the huge magic stone in two.
Because its source of power was cut, the slime also couldn’t keep its shape anymore. That’s how it is.
No no no, wait wait.
The last blow should’ve been my and Leon’s simultaneous attack.
A cross cut.
Was it me? Or was it Leon?
I wonder? I think my sword was slightly faster.
Not sure of that, but I just convinced myself so.
Uwaa, what a waste!
It’s like back then when I accidentally broke the window of the orphanage. In the midst of my worry, Celies suddenly called out.
[Ce-Celes… this… what do I do?]
I pointed at the now cut in half magic stone.
[Eh? What’s wrong with it?]
Even though the huge magic stone had now been cut in two, Celes’ beautiful face didn’t show any sign of worry.
[That… well, what to do with that…]
[Ah, well… the magic stone was that slime’s source of power. If you didn’t destroy it as you did, I’m afraid it would’ve simply restore itself… In fact, cutting it cleanly like that is much better than shattering it… isn’t that your goal in the first place?]
Before I could try to make some excuses to explain myself, Celes had already explained to me her point of view.
What did you say again?
If the magic stone is not destroyed, it will restore itself?
Hee. So there’s something like that.
I see, that certainly made sense.
Really now, it was actually the correct course of action?
I was worried for nothing.
…no, I knew it beforehand.
In fact, that’s my aim.
Hahaha. Not bad, me.
[Right? Well… I wonder if I should’ve split it like, vertically instead. Wahahaha]
It somehow turned into bombastic boast.
This is a prime example of a shameless lie.
[Un… I guess so.]
Celes’ gaze and voice turned cold.
I’m entitled to look cool. I’m a former Hero after all.