Arc 03: Betrothal, and a manuscript of olden gods.
Chapter 39: Dealing with the claim, and a witness of legend
When I looked away, I saw the light from many bonfires. Those were most likely the torches carried by adventurers employed by the Iris’ house.
“Rita, use [Detection]”
“… those footsteps, and the buzzing… I got it”
Rita opened her eyes and looked at me.
“It’s [Living Armor] from the afternoon, my master. There are around ten of them, as well as lots of flying monsters, which I assume to be bats by their buzzing. They are heading from the town’s main street towards ultra-high-class mansion area where Iris-chan lives.”
There was a little bit of distance from here. Even with Rita’s [Detection] skill, that was about as much as she could find out.
“… it’s demonkins” — Said the bearded soldier with trembling voice. “It’s as everyone has been rumoring. That [Living Armor] was being controlled by demonkins! It’s also said that their survivors were trying to destroy Irgafar and sever the supply line used for the anti-demon-king campaign!”
What the hell is this guy spouting?
I looked at Cecyl. Her eyes were widely opened. She was trembling, and clearly frightened.
“That beardy, I would like him to just dry up” – I thought to myself.
“There are some who actually saw the demonkins! They are said to have a pair of twisted horns on their heads, and bat-like wings on their backs. As their name of [kin of a demon] implies, they proclaim complete destruction of the world of man!”
But the beardy still continued to speak.
“Who did you hear that from?” — Upon my question, the bearded soldier raised a shriek of fear. He was frightened. It didn’t look like that he was lying.
“I don’t know where the rumor came from! But, everyone tells it so it must be true!”
I can’t believe it. Demonkins were destroyed and left Cecyl all alone. Their residual thought, Astarte, said as much, and Cecyl herself had testified as one of demonkins. Her status also displayed [Demonkin], and that same Cecyl confirmed that she didn’t detest humans when I asked her that through the [Order].
“They have distorted horns and bat-like wings? Just which middle school syndrome fantasy that demonkin came from?!”
Hey, don’t go frightening Cecyl with your uninspiring rumors.
“Demonkins are tiny and brave, their bodies are clean, squishy, and smell nice; their voices are cute! All your stories are utter nonsense!”
“Wha-what the hell are you even talking about?!”
“I come from a distant island country to the East. There we have portraits of demonkins and detailed records left behind”
That’s a lie though.
“Also, I am a demonkin researcher. That’s why I also both how they look and their weaknesses”
That’s a truth.
Cecyl made a puzzled face.
Making sure to not let the beardy notice, I quickly pointed at my collarbone, armpits, and behind the ears. Though rather than being the weakness of demonkins in general, they were more of Cecyl’s personal weak points, which I confirmed some time ago.
Cecyl probably understood the meaning, she crouched down with a red face. How cute.
“Got it, you truant regular? This world has no other human who is close to demonkins as I am. Don’t you dare speak of half-assed rumors to me, the demonkin master”
“…. E-even if that’s true, the evidence of the enemy not being demonkins is…”
“I will go get it after we are done here! You just lie down!”
At my signal, Aine appeared from behind me and lunged at the soldiers with the mop in her hands. All of them soon fainted and collapsed into a puddle of water due to the stun effect of [Memory Wipe LV1] once their faces were brushed.
“Rita, any signs of the enemy coming this way?”
“None. [Living Armors] and the bats are engaged in battle at the river upfront. We are considerably far away from them. Moreover, their goal is Iris-chan, isn’t it?”
“So they have no reason to attack us, huh?”
“Rita, what do you think? Will the regular soldiers and hired adventurers be able to defeat those fellows?”
“I speak from my experience, but battles that involve the joint work of contractors and subcontractors usually go smoothly if they can come to recognize each others’ skill without discrimination based on status or position. Moreover, they must know each of them can and cannot do, as well as share the relevant information and properly converse with each other”
“So you say it’s hopeless, right?”
“It probably is”
To make matters worse, a part of Iris’ forces were lying beneath my feet right now. It didn’t matter if she managed to repel the enemy or not at this point, it wouldn’t change the fact that they were idling during a critical situation. Their lives were over either way, which means we could put them to use.
Iris called us her [friends], and this same girl was now in peril.
The rumor of [fake demonkins]. Our peaceful livelihood. I would have those guys be utilized if it meant to settle all of these problems.
“Now then, shall we go and present our claim to Iris?” — I said.
Everyone’s eyes focused on me.
“A subordinate’s mistake is a higher-ups’ responsibility, right? These fellows are the esteemed soldiers who are permanently employed by the feudal lord of Irgafar, and we were just about to be killed by them. I mean, we do have some right to voice our complaints about it, don’t we?”
“Wait a minute, Nagi. Aren’t you talking about going to save Iris-chan?”
“Wrong, I just want to pass my claim to Iris. In order to do that, we will have to get rid of all enemies who might hinder us”
“Once we take Iris away and bring her to a safe place where we may be able to talk, I will convey to her my complaints. I will describe to her about these soldiers have done, ask for her apology as the person in charge, and demand a little compensation. Those standing in our away will be beaten up. That’s the only goal here”
“… Nagi, just why can’t you be honest? That’s pretty much the same thing like us going to save her”
Well, that might be a coincidental outcome. After all, it would be troubling to ask Iris for something if she wasn’t safe.
For me, who barely just arrived in this world, having a friend from the family of a feudal lord of Irgafar was an amazing opportunity. The materials and information, like the book about [Engagement] that I borrowed this time, were a precious commodity on the level of obtaining new skills.
Also, I absolutely had to tell Iris about us being attacked by the beardy soldiers immediately. If possible, I would like for her to officially recognize that “Our group was attacked by the regular soldiers”, so that they couldn’t mess with us afterward.
Next, we would be able to live on the grounds belonging to Iris. Since the whole story turned into the one something along the lines of “Demonkins try to kidnap Iris-sama”, she wouldn’t be able to calm down and live her life. I wanted to ascertain the true form of her enemies. If those really were “Fake demonkins” then — I would make sure they could never again try that sort of mimicry ever again…
“… and that’s why our goal will break through the enemy formation and proceed to Iris’ location. All to file a complaint and demand a ‘compensation’. We should also aim to acquire the information on ‘fake demonkins’ if possible. You okay with that?” — I finished explaining my plan to everyone.
Rita received a spare skill crystal, for the worst-case scenario.
As soon as I grabbed the magic sword Laydi;
“Nicely said, my esteemed ‘tsundere’ lord” — the voice appeared in my head. “Oh, shut up!” — I replied. Where did she heard this word— wait, was it me who taught her? The word that didn’t exist in this world ended up being translated at mere sounds, right?…
Oh well, that didn’t matter right now. Just you wait, Iris Hoffmeier. Although you weren’t at fault, I would nonetheless have you hear my complaint as the employer.
Also… if you do exist — you wait as well, “fake demonkins”. I will have you fully compensate for the crime of using the appearance of Cecyl’s relatives.
“Just why did everything turn out this way… I don’t want to die…” — The elven woman murmured silently while drawing her bow.
She was one of the adventurers hired by the feudal lord family of Irgafar. Her weapons were the bow and low-level attack magic. Moreover, this was her first job. She was nervous. And now, in front of her, she saw her allies being annihilated.
“… I didn’t hear anything about this”
Why? This wasn’t supposed to happen.
The relationship this woman had with her foster parents was bad, so she jumped out of her village. And when she finally thought that she would enter an adventurers’ party, she was put to work as an apprentice… that same party — with whom she took her first quest — was annihilated.
Most of the other adventurers who participated jointly in this quest were now lying on the ground as well. The commission that they accepted from the feudal lord family of Irgafar only stated that “monsters are aiming for Iris Hoffmeier. We want you to protect her.” That’s it. She couldn’t ever foresee that the enemies would consist of [Living Armors], which she never heard of, and lots of Vampire Bats.
[Vampire Bat — an upper version of a large bat. Both its body and wings have a red color. They tear enemies apart with their claws, bite and suck their blood. Both their fangs and claws have a “stun” effect].
One by one, the adventurers were being defeated by this “stun” ability. First went down the healers, followed by magicians. Thus the number of adventures capable of fighting was reduced by five.
The defensive formation was laid out in front of the bridge. On the other side lied the villa of the feudal lord family of Irgafar. The job was not to let the enemy cross the river.
Opposing the defenders were dozens of Living Armors. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they were also constantly attacked from above by the flying bats.
“Aah, don’t come here anymore! I am just a novice, leave me alone!” — the woman shot her arrow at the Vampire Bats dancing in the sky only for it to be nimbly evaded. “… I am done already, I want to return back home”
It was nighttime, and the surroundings were covered in darkness.
Comrades who couldn’t work together. The regulars only gave indications while remaining in the residence’ garden. There was also a lack of information. Everything was working against the adventurers.
Living Armors were lined up in a row and advanced through the main street.
Behind the elven woman was the river, and a wide stone bridge. Once it’s crossed over, the residence of the feudal lord family of Irgafar would be immediately within a walking distance.
“Why aren’t the regulars coming for u-u-u-u-u-u-u-us?!”
The warriors who fought as vanguards were knocked down by Living Armors. Although they managed to just barely defend against the onslaught, the difference in physical strength was apparent. The warriors’ were thrown into the air right to the feet of the elven woman.
[We must safeguard the delivery]
[So that we can grant the wish of our Lord]
[This is the devilish reinstatement. Make those who are ignorant of their place remember it]
Living Armors cried out as they advanced in a single row. Nothing could stand in their way.
The march was accompanied by the sound of meat being torn. The vampire bats were devouring the excessive flesh that was pouring from inside Living Armors. It would be accurate to say that they had a symbiotic relationship. It was something unseen before. If there really was someone who commanded those fellows, it was natural to assume that they were genuine demonkins.
[We are the allies of devils. Our desire is the blood of the sea dragon’s descendants. We are going to take it and change the world] — Living Armors were shouting. Soon they would be here.
The elven woman trembled while holding her bow.
“No. I don’t want to die. I don’t want that —- someone, someone help!”
“Yeah-yeah, I hear ya. My master and his allies will be coming through here so please, clear the road!”
Suddenly, someone appeared from the darkness and launched a kick at the head of a Living Armor.
It was impossible to grasp their movements, it was way too fast. The only thing that the elven woman’s eyes managed to catch was the beast-like golden hair.
Having dealt a blow against the Living Armor, the beast did a backflip in the air and landed. She then grabbed the adventurers lying on the ground by their necks and tossed and kicked them away like it was nothing. What power! For a single moment, the beast’s limbs glowed with a pale light, and the bodies just flew away from the combat zone.
“That radiance — is it [Holy Power]?!”
[I will awaken the origins that existed long before this world did, for it was guidance and a source of all life]
[Those are the intangible walls. At the beginning of this world, there was the initial flame that burned the sky]
I heard the chant. It must be coming from somewhere.
“Those who can move, please evacuate the wounded adventurers! We will take the [Living Armors] from here!” — a blue-haired girl appeared after the golden beast. She was dressed in armor. It was dark so I couldn’t see her clearly, but didn’t I meet her in the Commoners’ Guild in Metekal? I can’t remember.
While the golden beast was holding back the Living Armors, the blue-haired girl gave instructions to adventurers. She ordered them to go rescue their defeated comrades. Being put under pressure like that, the still fighting adventurers began to do as they were told.
[A wave that raises everything, untouched by anyone. Speak to the dawn of the downpour coming from what surrounds the sky. Rain down from the many stars and fill heaven. Fill it to the brim. Fill the very lives themselves]
[No one can bear to climb it over. No one can trespass the intangible walls. It cannot collapse for it has no shape. It cannot crumble for it has no form. That the original barrier of mystery]
The chant continued. The voice was childish yet very beautiful.
The Vampire Bats drew a formation in the sky. They were flying straight ahead, aiming at the golden beast and the blue-haired girl.
The elven woman drew her bow. She had to protect them. Even if she didn’t know their circumstances, she was sure that those two were her allies.
[In this exact moment I am summoning here the source of the sun itself! Light!]
A giant ball of light appeared in the sky and bleached the woman’s field of vision. It swallowed the formations of both Living Armors and Vampire Bats. Next was —
[I summon the final barrier of blood-stained hell! Flame Wall!]
Between the evacuating adventurers and the Living Armors appeared a burning wall of fire. It was a gigantic [Flame Barrier] made of crimson flames.
“— Amazing. What is this?” — the elf woman murmured.
Magic like that was impossible. The usual [Flame Barrier] was at best around the height of an average person. Could there even be a [Flame Barrier] that was higher than castle walls? Its depth — it couldn’t even be imagined. It felt like there was nothing that could penetrate it.
Covering their eyes, the Vampire Bats flew right into the flame wall one by one. Their burned, dried husks then just fell into the river.
Living Armors were the same. They rushed forward just to be swallowed by the fire barrier.
“A clean sweep of Vampire Bats and Living Armors? With just two magics?! No way…” — the elven woman stepped back instinctively. Her enemies were vastly overpowered. So much that she could feel her legs trembling. Their levels were too different. Something this powerful to exist in this world was —
Right now, she was watching something from the realm of legends.
The woman started running despite herself. There was nothing she could do except crossing the bridge and continue running.
“That’s fine. The embers from Living Armors will be processed by my comrades, after all”
Living Armors appeared from inside the barrier. They had jumped into the river without hesitation. Some of them didn’t even catch fire.
“A steam began to rise. So their plan was to extinguish the fire with the river water? Still, what is going on now? The river was swirling into a vortex in spite of it having only enough water to gently reach till lower back” — the woman thought. “Furthermore, why was the water high only in the area below the bridge? It’s strange”
“Invoking, [Sewage Increase LV1]”
The Living Armors collapsed. It was as if the moisture in their bodies was stolen… in a single moment…
Waves formed on the water’s surface. What remained of the armor was being swept downstream. The embers of Living Armors met the same fate. Slowly, gently. They have washed away.
“Wha-what has happened just…”
“Aah, as I feared. The more water this skill manipulates, the more it makes you tired. I suppose that’s given”
Blue-haired girl run down under the bridge. A short while later, she appeared again, carrying an exhausted woman dressed in maid clothes on her back. What was the maid even doing here?
“That’s as far as we go. We leave the rest to you, Nagi-san/Leader” — the pair whispered as they turned to the darkness.
What the elven woman saw in that darkness next was the golden beast… it was the beastwoman with golden hair and youth with black hair. She also noticed a tiny, happy-looking dark elf girl whose breasts were being touched from above the clothes by the youth. She couldn’t make out the girl’s face though.
Due to the aftereffect of the [Light] spell, the woman’s eyes were still prickling.
“You’ve done well. It must’ve been the first time you used the flame magic of level 2?”
“I was, after all, [united] with my master… I want to stay like this for more. E-he-he”
Once the boy moved his hand, the dark elf girl feverishly breathed out. Seeing this, the beastwoman bit her finger. Even now the flame wall was still burning in the background, giving this picture a mysterious feel.
What the heck…
Instinctively, the elven woman opened her mouth.
“Some time ago, I saw something like a large bat flying towards the residence! It might be the boss of Living Armors! Could it be that it was demonkin…”
“It wasn’t a demonkin”
The youth said with a tone that didn’t give away his thoughts.
“That wasn’t a demonkin. It was a monster from a [Chuunibyou] fantasy”
“Ah, okay. I am sorry” — the woman ended up lowering her head. “What is this [Chuunibyou]?” – she thought.
“Well then, we shall go. I am leaving the rest to you, okay?”
With only those words, the youth started running towards the Hoffmeier residence along with the golden beast and a dark elf girl.
The blue-haired girl grabbed the dumbfounded elf woman by the hand.
“We will now excuse ourselves. What you saw here was off the record. See you”
“Ah, okay. Thank you very much” — the elven woman bowed in return. When she raised her face, the one she talked with was no longer here.
Even if they said that it was off the record, her eyes still couldn’t see well so she couldn’t attest to anything.
Was it maybe a dream? The whole night? Everything was like a shadowy picture.
The woman decided to make sure not to say anything to anyone about what she saw tonight. Once this battle was over, she would leave her party. The elven woman wasn’t cut out to be an adventurer. She couldn’t become like them. Casting grand magics while being felt by her husband, as a slave would be….
Hmm? Why is my back shivering, I wonder? In any case, once this is over, I will go back to my hometown.
Now that I think of it, things right now aren’t good. I don’t know anything about those people. Becoming a slave, being commanded. Wielding an amazing power at my husband’s side…
*shudder* *shiver* *shiver*
“C’mon, I said it already, I am not swinging that way! Either way, I won’t meet those people a second time. I will forget about them. I will certainly return to my hometown if I go through Irgafar” — the elven woman looked behind her as she said those words to persuade herself. She thought that she might get to see the party from before even a little bit clearer.
[Ancient Magic Language: Flame Wall]
A wall of fire, reinforced by [Ancient Magic Language]. It is strengthened to the level of being like a castle wall, where it’s usually about the depth and size of a regular door. The temperature around it also raises, so the closer one gets, the more they get engulfed by the flames.