Arc 02: Guild and Competition for the cursed sword
Chapter 21: Cutting the battery supply of Gargoyles and demolishing them
“You’ve kept me waiting for— say, why do you look so worn-out?!”
Yeah, I knew she would ask that.
Once we finished with the “Ability Reconstruction”, we experimented on the newly acquired skills in the room next to the hidden chamber beneath the magician’s house. Later we returned and took a nap until morning.
Afterwards, we hurried to meet up with Leticia. We also left with her our luggage from the inn before going to the magician’s house. Apparently, she took it to a safe place alongside Aine-san.
“Still, what about your weapon?”
“… I forgot it”
My sword was broken in two parts so I threw it away. After all, I expected it to be rendered useless in the encounter with a steel opponent and made sure to buy a second one in advance.
Leticia also replaced her usual rapier for a sturdy-looking longsword, to use against the Steel Gargoyles. It looks like we both were properly considering the countermeasures.
“Are you really alright?”
“Yeah. We’ve properly concluded all the experiments”
“I think we will be able to pull through”
We wouldn’t do the impossible. Our policy was “Maximum results for finishing what’s possible with minimum effort”.
“Well then, Let’s get the job done, Cecyl, Rita”
And so, we set forth to recover Aine-san’s memories.
The lookout tower was located in a couple hours of walking distance from the Metekal city. It was built before this country was unified, and now it’s mostly used by the guards going on patrol once a week.
We finally arrived just a little before evening. Having approached the tower while hiding among the trees, we managed to see an open fire near its entrance.
So they have guards, I should’ve expected that.
Next I heard the voice.
“Did you hear me? It looks like we could as well stay as the adventurers of the [Common Guild]… “
Five men were sitting around the open fire by the entrance. One of them shrugged and address the others.
“We could’ve exercised our weight in the Common Guild if we’d obtained it. And if we hadn’t, we could just join the Noble Guild. In the worst case, we could just run away, right?”
“Those guys readily surrendered to Tanaka Koga, didn’t they? I would say the one to blame for this is the apprentice of the guild master of the Common Guild”
“They were instigated by Aine-chan, weren’t they? How nice of her”
“They must be terribly haunted by all this ‘ the Common Guild will gain favor if we obtain the cursed sword’, aren’t they?”
“As expected, it must be embarrassing”
“After the deputy bishop Argis took away her memories, they looked openly relieved…”
I looked at Leticia’s face. Looks like it’s the first time she heard of this, she’s surprised as well.
“Oh well, it’s just a job for us, and we’re doing it properly, right?”
“Guess so. Once the servants of the Noble Guild lose their jobs, I wonder where would they go”
“In the first place, it was us who brought the gargoyles, but the one who activated them was the esteemed count”
“We were also paid in advance, so he would probably send Tanaka Koga the mad dog after us if we run away. I heard that he bought that fellow from the royal family”
“Well, we have no choice but to do it, don’t we?”
Alright, let’s attack them.
I gave the signal.
Making no sound, Rita jumped out from the shade of a tree. Her roundhouse kick, lacking any shred of hesitation, landed on two men. Leticia’s longsword went through the shoulders of the other two. The remaining man tried to stand up and pick up his weapon only to receive a “Flame Arrow” directly in his face from Cecyl. Then he was hit by Rita in the stomach and fainted in agony.
With the rope, I tied the collapsed men and blindfolded them while I was at it.
Alright, that’s done.
Ignoring the fumbling men, we seized the tower with our eyes. The tower itself was five stories tall with the top level room being used as barracks for the garrison, or so I was told. If there was a place to hide Aine-san’s memories, this was the place.
“Now then, let’s quickly do the job”
The substance of the Common Guild might be different from what we initially thought, after all.
However, it didn’t matter. If we could receive a proper and proportionally equal reward for the job with no lies in terms of the employment contract, then we would do the required work.
“Rita and Leticia will be the vanguards. Cecyl and I will be the rearguards” — I said.
“Cecyl, Rita, do as we planned. We’re going to proceed the same way we did when we defeated “Angel Guardian”
“Please wait a minute. You defeated an “Angel Guardian”?! The highest rank from all the Gargoyles? Who the hell are you?”
“““Here we go!”””
We stormed into the tower that was hiding the memories of Aine-san.
“Huh, so this is the Steel Gargoyle”
Amazing. So huge.
It’s about three meters tall. It had wings the likes of which a bat would have. Both of its arms had giant claws. Something like leather armor would probably be unable to withstand the damage applied by them.
Apparently, it was no lie that such models were used to defend certain locations as they started creeping towards us the moment we entered the tower. What’s more, the door behind us closed right after we entered, thus completing the image of a trap usually attributed to games.
The number of “Steel Gargoyles” was four. Although their movements weren’t that agile, the intimidation carried by them was terrific.
The need to have ten levels to handle something like this seemed appropriate. Just by looking at them, one could only get the feeling of how tough they were.
“Now then, Rita. I am leaving them to you!”
“Roger! I will show them the skill that I’ve received from Master!”
While running towards the Steel Gargoyles, Rita activated the skill that was “reconstructed” only recently.
Breathing in heavily, she started singing in beautiful voice.
“Unrivalled Singing LV1” — an Ultra Rare Skill : Rita /Cecyl — a skill “to raise” the “reaction speed” by means of a “song”
“— I will be singing a song. A song full of the feelings I cannot contain. Of the clumsy yet wholehearted love, to my beloved — As it becomes a power of mine, the whole of me shall —”
Her voice was permeating our very essence. The song fused with the divine power made our bodies hot.
“Faster than anyone, Stronger than anyone — the speed that can sense the intent — of everyone!”
The moment Rita sang with all power, our five senses reacted, and our bodies became light.
The Steel Gargoyles spread their wings and flew towards us. It’s okay — I can see it. It’s like everything happened in slow motion.
I dodged the claws of a Steel Gargoyle while gripping tightly my shortsword. All of us had our reflexes strengthened. Otherwise, I would’ve been cut in half already. Rita’s “Unrivalled Singing” raised the reaction speed of all her allies.
The flow of the sequence of what one could “feel”, “analyze” and “act upon” with five senses had increased in speed almost twofold. In game terms, the effects were similar to “Bless” or “Haste” spells.
However, Rita’s skill even increased the “speed of judgement making” as well. It was like we alone were moving in a different time axis.
“Wha~, what’s this power!”
Ah, I forgot to explain it to Leticia.
“I can see it! Too slow! It feels good yet unpleasant!”
*Swift Slicing* — Leticia cut off a Steel Gargoyle’s claw with her longsword.
So even if the physical damage is reduced, some of it still goes through, huh?
“Do not dare to approach — my Master!”
Rita landed a roundhouse kick on a Steel Gargoyle. One hit of a heel strengthened with “Divine Power Grasp” made her opponent stagger. Like a sword, her hand then bisected the gargoyle’s horn.
The opponent’s movement stopped. NOW!
“Myself shall consume thou wondrous flow” — “Force Arrow!!”
Jet-black arrow flew from Cecyl’s fingertips, and Rita retreated from the line of fire. The black arrow then bursted upon contact with a Steel Gargoyle.
The damage was probably invalidated.
However, the gargoyle’s movements became awkward when it tried to flap its wings and rise up. Or rather, it’s already a bit too late for that.
“Force Arrow LV1” — Ultra Rare Skill : Cecyl / Rita — a skill “to snatch” the “magical power” by means of “magic”.
Cecyl’s new magic produced a jet-black arrow. Once it hit the opponent, it would dispossess them of their magical power. This didn’t mean that we would receive it, the magical power would just dissipate. That alone was plenty. This magic was the most powerful against opponents from the “Gargoyle” group.
As for “Steel Gargoyles”, they moved with magical power. Flame magic was ineffective against them, and physical damage was reduced.
In that case, it would be much faster to empty their fuel tanks than to exhaust their stamina.
“Cecyl, give it a second go!”
“Force Arrow!” “Force Arrow!” “Force arro-o-o-o-w—— !!”
*Hit* *Hit* *Hit*! *Hit-hit-hit*! — Black arrows hit the gargoyles one by one. Their movements were gradually becoming more and more dull, as if the electric power in their machine batteries were being stolen bit by bit.
“Everyone, charge! Run to the top floor!”
There was no need to empty the tanks of the steel gargoyles. Our goal wasn’t to defeat them, but to retrieve Aine-san’s lost memories, after all.
I waved with my shortsword.
It was bought just recently, yet both the size and weight didn’t change. Such sword wouldn’t become a threat in hands of someone like me. Still, I continued to wave the sword that wouldn’t hit.
“Those gargoyles! Don’t go following us around! Go lie down!”
Rita striked a Steel Gargoyle what was on our way with her fist clad in “Divine Power”. Once it stopped, the gargoyle was hit with more “Force Arrows”. Even so, it blocked Rita’s fist and sent her flying.
“Not good! Nagi-i-i-i!”
Two steel gargoyles came at me all together.
The repelled Rita rolled on the floor, and avoided a hit from the claw of another gargoyle. As for Leticia, she was in the middle of fighting yet another gargoyle. The remaining two Steel Gargoyles were approaching me in slow motion. Cecyl was behind me.
Even I should be able to deal with them at such speeds.
“Cecyl, get away from me, it’s dangerous!”
“Y-yes! Please be careful!”
I memorized the way to use my new skill when we fought against the Angel Guardian. “Steel Gargoyle” should be weaker than it. I could even do without using “Transcendental Sense”.
I would die if I made a mistake though. Cecyl and Rita, they would follow after me in the afterlife.
Well then, let’s do it.
“Unleash! Delay Arts LV1 !!”
Catching the moment, I swung the shortsword that could now be seen turning enormous. It was about twenty to thirty times as large now. The blade etched into the Steel Gargoyles, bisecting them in twos. With their bodies cut, the gargoyles crumbled down. At the same time, my shortsword broke into pieces and I rolled backwards instinctively.
“I am alright!”
The one who stopped me rolling was Cecyl with her tiny body. Somehow, there was no feedback. That skill was extremely tiring, but it was something else.
“Delay Arts LV1” — a skill “to slow down” the “weapon” by means of “a technique”.
This world had the concept of “Delayed Magic”. By chanting the spell beforehand, one would be able to invoke the magic whenever they liked.
The magic right now was the swordsmanship edition of that.
No matter how many time I waved my sword, I never swung it at someone a single time. That allowed me to amass its power. I had been waving it ever since we entered the tower. Thanks to the effects of Rita’s “Unraveled Singing”, I did it somewhere from thirty to fifty times.
However, the sword wouldn’t land any damage to the opponent if hit during the invocation of “Delay Arts”. The damage would be literally zero, and my arm would just be unreasonably worn out.
During the “Unleashing”, the accumulated offensive power that was doing nothing but accumulating thus far would gather and explode.
I used that power to strike Steel Gargoyles — or so it would seem. I didn’t understand it well myself, but the gargoyles were cut in half, and my sword was in pieces now.
“Cecyl, finish them. Do it!”
“Fo-o-rce arro-o-w!” “Force Arro-o-w!” “Force arro-o-o-o-w!!”
*Hit* *Hit* *Explosion*
Seemingly without any power behind them, the black arrows striked the remaining two gargoyles.
*Explosion* *Explosion* *Explosion*
Finally, the gargoyles lowered on their knees to the floor, unable to fly.
“Let’s advance vigilantly while they’re like that!”
I pulled Cecyl by her hand and started to run.
“That might be not all of them. Don’t be negligent! Rita, Leticia, I will be leaving the guarding to you!”
“No, wait. Please wait! I have no idea to what just happened!”
“Once we recover Aine-san’s memories and get some leeway, I will explain!”
“And if we don’t?!”
“We will have to leave it as us being ‘a mysterious party’”
“I, I hate it that I cannot not agree to that!”
Leticia shouted while running up as a vanguard.
“You know, I opposed the way how the Noble Guild did things since I couldn’t stand them. But, the thing I cannot stand the most right now are you guys. Just why’s it that your party is nameless despite you having this much power?!”
“This is… we came to be just… one, two… about five days ago or so, after all”
“And what about the name for your party?!”
“[Nine Apocalypses] — yeah, we can do without that”
(Note: the literal translation was something like: ‘Nine Outside Death Princess of Revelation”)
This’s the title of the game that I made in my former world. It’s origins were bad. Moreover, I noticed it only after I tried saying it, but it was embarrassing just how much I was exposed to the middle-school syndrome.
“For people like you, restraining the Noble Guild should be very much feasible. You’re the strongest party, you’ve defeated Tanaka Koga the mad dog, and rendered the Steel Gargoyles powerless! If it comes to light that there are such people around, even the count and his group would become more wary!”
“You will be able to leave behind stories and legends as the town’s strongest party. Do you realize that?”
“I don’t wanna!”
“Are you a child?!”
“Look, I’m fine with having the ability to deter the Noble Guild as a mysterious party, but I can do without leaving behind some legends. In general, I am good with just being able to live my life carefreely!”
“Then please think about those girls you have as slaves! Even if you’re are fine with it, they will just wither away, being unable to that great power into practical use!”
While running, Leticia turned to Rita and Cecyl.
“Won’t you two regret it later?! Do you not think about changing the world with your power?!”
“This is road which my family casted aside a long time ago”
“As for me, I decided to stop beating around the bush. What’s more important to me is my family rather than the world!”
It was unanimous.
“Isn’t that fine? We have our own priorities in mind”
“I don’t understand it! I cannot understa-a-and it!”
“You know, there are others who may want to become heroes or great people”
Like the king.
Like Tanaka Koga.
“I think that it’s okay once in a while to just be a cheat character who doesn’t think about any one by themselves”
We reached the end of the stairway while talking. The four gargoyles were done in. All the lowlives outside should’ve been down as well.
Behind the doors on the top floor… there it was. Casually left behind in the center of the room, the golden, sharp-looking crystalline object. So that was Aine-san’s memories, huh?
“Alright, we’ve recovered it! All members, withdraw!”
Quest was completed.
Having placed the crystal inside the bag, we left the room. All that’s left was to leave the tower, run through the forest, and just head to the hideout that Leticia had prepared.
The path of retreat, it was clear. All the thugs should’ve been still blindfolded and tied up.
We looked outside from the room on the fourth floor.
“Nagi, that guy is here!” — Said Rita in visible anger.
Standing in front of the tower was the deputy bishop Argis.
This guy was also involved with the attack on the Common Guild, while still being from the Iturna Cult. He was surrounded by the men with torchlights — they looked like adventurers and were probably employed by the Noble Guild — as they looked up at the tower. The staff in the bishop’s hands was probably the Purifying Cane that he used to extract Aine-san’s memories.
He’s surely making a disgusting face right now, like at that time when he spoke about making Rita his slave.
“Alright, let’s make a proper breakthrough”
“Eh? Ah, Yes”
We made our preparations as we run down the stairs.
The deputy bishop Argis was trembling with excitement at his own luck. He must’ve believed it to be a blessing from his goddess.
While the esteemed bishop was absent, he was given custody of the Purifying Cane and also given a chance to use by the count.
When he was on his periodic patrol, some intruders managed to enter the tower.
“… if the intruders are some youthful girls, I will be overjoyed”
Argis chuckled to himself. Purifying Cane was a treasure of the Iturna Cult that allowed to extract several years’ worth of memories from a person. He extracted Aine Crunette’s memories and hid them in the tower under the orders of the count. By being shown that she forgot about the Common Guild, others were taught the lesson of what would happen if they disobeyed.
As for what to do after that, deputy bishop Argis had a plan.
The girl had no relatives. He intended to take care and protect her. If not for the hindrance of that blue haired noble girl, he would’ve managed to trick and make Aine his slave by now.
“… I won’t be returning this cane just yet”
The intruder was probably that same blue haired girls.
I will have my revenge. I will drag her out after she gets worn-out in the battle with Steel Gargoyles, and take away her memories. And after that I will —-
“Now then, everyone, I will leave it to you”
Urged by the deputy bishop Argis, the surrounding men prepped up huge shields.
Those Great Shields were used to defend against the attacks of the Steel Gargoyles. They should be able to advance to the first floor — maybe to the second one, but just barely. The deputy bishop didn’t believe that the intruders would reach the higher floors. If they were dead, that would be fine too.
“I will double the reward if you can bring me the intruders. The count is a gentleman who knows how to use his money, after all. C’mon, please do your job quickly and swiftly”
The moment these men began executing the command given to them by the deputy bishop Argis, it happened —
Their vision went pure white.
They couldn’t see a thing.
It took several seconds for them to notice that they were being wrapped in a giant ball of light.
As for Argis, he casted “Divine Power Barrier” on reflex. The sphere enclosed him on all 360 degrees. It was an excellent barrier, said to be able to defend against about three or so attacks of a steel gargoyle. As far as it wasn’t a much greater attack or equally strong divine power, it wouldn’t be torn down—
There were screams, and signs of the men who were holding greatshields collapsing here and there.
A shield was a good item to defend against an attack that came from a predetermined direction. Unless one knew where the attack might come from, a shield was nothing more than just a heavy baggage —
“Listen to me, thugs of the Noble Guild!”
That’s… this was the voice of the blue-haired girl. As I thought, she was the intruder. However, I don’t get it. Based on her voice, she seems to be neither wounded nor fatigued. Don’t tell me, did she manage to defeat the Steel Gargoyles?
“All the Steel Gargoyles had been completely exterminated by a mysterious party “Nine Apocalypses”!”
I don’t understand. What’s hell does it mean? And whose scream was that just now? I heard it before. Whose is it— ?
“…You really do have a bad taste, I’m sure of it”
Something was coming, it had been moving like a wild animal for some time already. Argis’ eyes could still see nothing. However, the voice that I heard with my ears was —
Then came the sound of something striking against “Divine Power Barrier”.
He didn’t notice.
Rita concentrated her holy power into one point with “Divine Power Grasp” and hit the spherical barrier distributed very thinly around the deputy bishop.
The barrier cracked, and broke down. The cane in the deputy bishop’s hands broke too. The fist then landed into Argis’ stomach. His body was then sent flying backwards while his consciousness half disappeared at the same time.
Whether the voice her heard earlier really belonged to Rita Melpeus or it was just his obsession with her that drove him, he no longer could tell for sure.
“That’s why I said we could could do without such a name for our party!”
“It’s cryptic either way, so isn’t it fine?”
Having heard that in his final moment, the deputy bishop lost consciousness.
When he came to, Argis found himself beneath a tree, the cane that should’ve been in his hands was broken into many pieces, his priest clothes that were washed every day were smeared with dirt and vomit.
Half of the lowlives that he had with him were lying down while others had their eyes closed and still rolled on the ground.
In hot haste he stormed into the tower only to come back out with pale face. With this, the deputy bishop Argis finally understood what had happened.
“…They’ve taken Aine Crunette’s memories?”
This was the end.
The strength left the deputy bishop Argis.
His life was over.
I should’ve returned the Purifying Cane to the esteemed bishop earlier.
“… I am not a bad person”
It was an accident — that’s right, an accident. He was just done in by the passing monsters.
“I am not in the wrong. I am not a bad perso-o-o-o-o-o-o-n!”
Argis’ scream resounded through the forest.