The Forsaken Hero — Chapter 10

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The War of Death’s Beginnings

『死戦開始』

Part 4

 

We were in front of that door once again.

The chains that had been holding it closed were gone, but the door was closed, similar to the fifty-first floor’s Monster House, telling me for certain that this was an important room.

As I expected.

Mist still wafted out from the gaps around the door, as though time had rewound for this room.

The current me, however, had Enslaved Hero Hamakaze and High Wulves One and Two.

“High Wulf One and Two, leap into the room as soon as the door opens. Hamakaze, protect me with your life.”

I gave instructions to my slaves using Absolute Command.

It’s essential that we do something about that mist so that I can launch an attack. However, whatever’s in there won’t give me the chance to do that.

According to what Hamakaze said, it didn’t chase after us when she ran. I believe that it wasn’t that it didn’t so much as it couldn’t.

The parts of me that were severed were all what had entered into the room.

It wasn’t that my lower half didn’t get sliced up since I was dead. It was that whatever it was couldn’t exert any of its strength it since it was outside of the room.

Assuming that to be the case, so long as I attack from outside of the room, I should be able to do it in perfect safety.

I explained my hypothesis to Hamakaze while we were getting these High Wulves, of course.

She agreed with me, even going so far as pleading to stay by my side just in case.

And here we are.

“… Daichi.”

“This time, I’ll kill it with Berserk Tempest. You need to concentrate fully on protecting me.”

“… Alright.”

Hamakaze readied her daggers and immediately readied herself to cast Wind while I stood by with a Berserk Tempest.

“Now, Hamakaze! Open the door!”

“Understood!”

Hamakaze opened the heavy door.

That was the signal to start the deathmatch.

“One! Go!”

Guoooh!!

The howling silver wolf leapt into the death room.

GUOOOOW!!

A savage cry drowned out the High Wulf’s howl. I didn’t see it, but man did I remember that sound.

The huge shadow it cast was more than enough to tell me it was there.

GUOOOH!!

The High Wulf was cut down by a brutal sword swing I couldn’t even see.

High Wulf Two ran in at that moment.

I fired off my magic at the same time.

Berserk Tempest!

A raging gale burst forth from my hand. The mist cleared as it poured out from the room and around us.

Wind!

Hamakaze, not wanting our vision to be blocked by the mist, then split it to our left and right.

I hadn’t stopped looking into the room during the meanwhile.

There was a metallic clang.

The High Wulf’s body was sliced clean through.

The mist clearing, I could see more and more of what was inside of the room.

Once the mist was entirely gone—my eyes opened wide at what it was.

The huge shadow was just an illusion.

It was a woman wearing a black robe.

Her hood flapping in the wind, I came to see her blood-red eyes and hair.

Hamakaze’s guess was a slight miss.

It wasn’t a human, it was a humanoid.

“… You’ve got to be kidding me, seriously.”

“… No way…”

It was a legendary existence even in our original world.

The incarnation of fear and dread. A bloodied sword. Red skin. Fiery-red eyes. Two horns sprouting from its head.

Yeah, it was that.

A Devil.

“This is the second time we’ve met, ain’t it, Hero?”

Her hostile smile showed off her sharp canines.

My instincts told me she was dangerous.

She gave off the same feeling of bloodlust as that woman.

Someone specialized in taking the lives of everyone they laid eyes on.

And right now, she was staring straight at us.

“Hey… how about we start with the killing?”

Slashing through the air, the curtains to the true deathmatch dropped.

The sword slash that the Devil fired off soared toward us. It crossed the boundary that she shouldn’t have been able to attack beyond and—

“What!?”

My presumption proved wrong, I grew confused. Either way, I had to dodge it. Despite that, Hamakaze stood as still as a statue.

Did the bloodlust cause her to freeze up…!?

“JUMP RIGHT!!”

Seeing her unable to move after being seized by the bloodlust, I shouted as loud as I could. Forced to move due to Absolute Command, Hamakaze’s body jumped to the right toward me as I commanded.

The sword slash hit the dungeon wall, bursting apart. The wall was left uninjured, but it still sounded like an explosion.

“Kuh!!”

The sound was so loud that I thought my eardrums might burst, but I was more concerned by the girl who’d just collapsed next to me.

“Get a hold of yourself, Hamakaze!”

“Sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”

Hamakaze wasn’t able to get a grip, she was like a frightened child.

Dammit, did she break?

“As expected of our little Mister Hero here, you’re still sane after taking my Devilish Aura head on eh?”

She ridiculed me under the guise of praise from her room. The Devil was still staring at us from inside it.

“Hey, let the crybaby be and come play with me. The anticipation’s driving me nuts.”

“… You can’t leave though, right? That’d be like going out of my way to cross a falling bridge.”

“You know I know why you’re here, right? This place is pretty important for you two.”

… Come on. She knows why we’re here?

She’s even calling me Hero.

“Even so, there’s no reason for me to fight alone.”

“Not like she’s gonna fight anymore. She’ll be stuck like that, my Devilish Aura won’t stop unless you defeat me.”

“… You think I’m going to take you at your word?”

… What should I do?

At any rate, I need to know what’s going on with Hamakaze.

“Open.”

The status window appeared once I spoke the keyword. There was a new string of text on Hamakaze’s status.

Special Condition: Mana value is decreased by the difference in levels between the caster and the target x 100. Moreover, it will not recover until the caster either faints or dies.

Mana reduction… so it’s a mental attack? It doesn’t look like it’ll recover over time either, what a crazy ability…

“Get it? Looks like you didn’t go crazy, so you gotta be around as strong as me yeah? I’d love for us to have some pure one-on-one killing time.”

“Tch…”

My remaining mana was cut down to a thousand. I can’t use imperial rank magic.

So I have to fight her with soul or spirit rank magic?

Me. Alone.

“… Don’t be stupid. If I fight you, it’ll be with her as well.”

“With her? She’s pretty much useless, or maybe you have something up your sleeve?”

I kept talking to buy some time. I had to think up some way to deal with her.

… Something up my sleeve, huh. Right now, all that comes to mind if Revenge of the Grudgebearer.

… Should I die?

No, that won’t work. There wouldn’t be anyone to retrieve my body.

Maybe I could escape by ordering Hamakaze to with Absolute Command…?

No, there’s no way this Devil would ignore her.

If Hamakaze died, that’d be The End. I’d still be able to revive, but there’s too much of a gap in time between when I’m revived and when I come back to. The Devil would probably just keep on killing me forever.

In the end, there’s no choice but for me to fight her as-is.

I looked back toward the Devil and glared at her.

“Hoh, I take it you finally thought of something? I’ve been waiting here for a while now, so make sure to at least make this a little fun, got it?”

“You’re talking like you could kill me whenever?”

“Of course I am, I’m great at that. Can we start now?”

“… Yeah, let’s.”

Slapping my cheeks, I fired myself up.

I carried Hamakaze over to a spot where it didn’t look like any stray attacks would hit her at and stepped into the Devil’s room.

Immediately, her red body shot toward me.

“Kuh!”

I crossed my arms and blocked her punch, lowering my center of gravity so that I wouldn’t be shoved back.

“Ooh? How solid.”

“Thanks to you, I’m pretty strong too!”

Latching onto her fist, I twisted it and raised her into the air. Rotating with the rest of her body to follow the throw, she landed and went at me with the sword in her right hand.

“Tch!”

She was aiming for my legs. Forced to let go of her hand to dodge, I got tripped up, destroying my stance. She followed up by casting magic.

Devil Flame!

“So fast!?”

Omitting the incantation, she manifested a flaming orb immediately and launched it at me. With no way to defend myself against it, I took a direct hit and was blown back.

“Gah!!”

Banging against the wall, my entire body hurt.

I took damage from hitting the wall, sure, but the main problem was that I was lit on fire. It was much, much hotter than that Fireball from before. My entire body set ablaze, it felt like my throat was burnt as well.

“O’ water spirits, give me your blessing! Water Ball!

I used a water-type magic to douse the flames.

“Geh!?”

Still coughing and on all fours, I felt her kick me in the gut, launching me into the air. The impact was incomparable to anything Samejima could do.

My body continued flying upward.

Straight into the ceiling.

“Like hell I’m gonna wait!”

She launched another sword slash at me.

I can’t dodge it!

“O’ wind spirits, slice through the air! Wind Slice!”

I at least managed to reduce its strength by making it have to go through the wind blade first.

“Gaaah!!”

It squished me against the wall. Feeling my body being sliced through and the burns across my body rip open from the pressure, I bit down on my lips to endure the pain.

What I saw upon looking down with my ever-blurring vision was my enemy, once more preparing to slash at me.

No way, I can’t take another one of those!

“Diiiiiie!!”

“I refuse!”

Pushing my body to its limit, I forced it to move.

The tip of her attack grazing my cheek, blood flew through the air.

It missed!

Seeing my chance, I used gravity to fall down, accelerating me as I drop-kicked her.

“Raaaah!”

“Not bad! But you’re still too weak!”

However, she was able to easily stop my attack with a single one of her slender hands.

“No way!?”

“Take this!!”

My foot let out a worrying sound. Grabbing on to my foot, the Devil threw me down against the ground.

“Kah….!?”

My chest hurt, I couldn’t breathe that well. My right leg was broken and bent in a strange direction, my bone sticking through the skin.

The pain crashed against me like a raging current.

“Ahhhhh!!”

“Are you a rock or some—thing!!”

She thrust her sword at me. Rolling, I dodged it and stood up—but ended up falling back down right away.

Right onto the Devil.

If… If I’m going to have to feel this much pain, just… just…!

“KILL!!”

Suddenly hearing me beg for my own death, the Devil wrinkled her brow.

“Shut up!”

She tried pulling me off her, but I made the best use I could out of my incredibly high strength stat and clung to her.

“Go for the kill! Hurry up! Do it!”

“Yeah, I will but get the f*ck off me!!”

“Your weapon! Your magic! Just do it already!!”

“You little bitch!”

She pushed my face away with her hand and launched a Devil Flame at me.

I don’t even care about how hot it is, I just want her to go for it.

Quick, before I… faint…

I couldn’t see the Devil at that point. All I saw was the new ability I’d gained in the dungeon.

Seizing her robe one last time before I fainted, I clung to her.

You bitch, this isn’t over!

“Please, do it…!”

Along with a mouthful of blood, I spat that out like a curse.

“Yeah, with pleasure!”

In response to her voice, the death god before me raised her weapon overhead.

Seeing that, I grinned.

“… … I win.”

The Devil’s sword stopped mid-motion.

She was assailed by a sense of discomfort. Little wonder, that.

She had a dagger sprouting from her chest.

“H… How…!?”

Wind!

An incantation being completed as though to drown out her words, a large hole opened up in her chest.

The Devil spat a huge mouthful of blood out, barely supporting herself with her sword.

What I saw appear from behind the staggering Devil was this fight’s key player.

“I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry!”

The black-haired, maddened slave with a bloodied dagger in her hand. Someone simply following the orders she was given, Hamakaze Shuri.

“I said it… didn’t I? That I’d… fight, with her…”

I’d definitely said it. I had no intention of fighting solo in this fight.

I’d been planning on fighting together with Hamakaze this entire time.

“… I thought… this was one on one…”

The Devil grimaced in pain. The attack looked like it was proving to be a fatal one after all.

“Like I, care. So long… as I win…”

“You… shit…”

Unable to finish, she collapsed powerlessly to the ground.

Of course, that included me as well, as I was using her as support.

“… I shall bestow you with a new life. A second… life. Make a pact with me and… become my servant… Binding Resurrection…!”

I used the last of my strength to turn the Devil into a slave. With that, I escaped the worst case scenario.

… Ah, dammit. I can’t move. Everything hurts. I’ve lost so much blood that I can barely keep my eyes open. It’s cold.

Death’s coming for me… so I’m going to die again… huh.

…. Well, at least this time… I’m thankful for it… maybe.

I won against someone stronger than me. I snatched the win by giving it all I had, thinking carefully, and using everything I could.

I might be dying right now… but I still feel pride welling up in my chest.

… Let’s praise Hamakaze when I revive.

Feeling pride in myself for the first time in my life, I died.

 

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