Story 4-10 『The Cost of Being Weak』
Terias recited a shortened chant and a series of rocks with sharp points appeared to enclose him in. However, seeing that it was induced by himself, I assume it’s to defend.
“Leave it to me! Break Through!”
“My turn! Line Drive!”
While the two’s attacks bashed against the defensive magic, I launched a fireball into the sky. Like a firework, an animal triumphantly appeared high above when it burst.
Get here soon, Lily.
“Yo, Terias! It’s been a while huh!?”
“What, were you eavesdropping, Lily Shuraham?”
“Shut up! Red Knuckles!”
Her fists clad in flames, she swung downwards at Terias. However, he nonchalantly stopped the blow.
Lowering his stance, he put the jostling pure power into his body weight at his feet. Unable to hold the pressure from his feet, the ground greatly caved in.
“Vigorous as ever I see. Your bestial instincts are showing.”
“Is that so bad? I like it when I fight humans.”
Towards Lily baring her fangs in a warlike manner, Terias gave a challenging smile towards the worthy opponent.
“Even so, are that okay? Talking so leisurely that is.”
“Right back at you. You’re in my range you know?”
As Terias put strength into his grip to the extent that he grimaced, Lily leaned her chest backwards and inhaled.
“Take this! Flamethrower!”
“Oops. I’ll refrain from that.”
“I won’t let you get away! Triple Earth Layer!”
I set up walls of earth in his path needed dodge, blocking his way of retreat. Shuri fired off magic in pursuit.
The wind blade and flame were direct hits. His clothes burned and torn, blood gushed out.
Without paying attentions to the wounds that covered his body, Terias immediately reacted.
“Emperor of Flame, use thou purging flame. In repentance for their crimes, please give them the purifying flame.”
Instantly, I felt an enormous magic in the ground.
To the degree that its size was a circle that all of us were just barely in range of. Of course, that included Selen who was being treated and the powerless Fuuko.
“Yuina! Use ice magic!”
“Eh-, ah-, got it! Frozen Earth!”
The ground changed to red. The heat was transmitted to the soles of my feet. Barely one beat before the ground exploded, ice spread across the ground to prevent it.
Cooling rapidly, we used the chance the invoked magic gave us to escape from the Killing Range.
“Eeh, so you even have a child that can use ice-type huh… Troublesome…”
Terias stopped using magic and opened the distance between us. However, when he opened the distance, he became unhurt by means of Sajima’s restoration.
… If we leave things how they are this will loop eternally. While we don’t have any means to recover our magic, they can use Sajima to recover both magic and stamina.
If this becomes a prolonged fight, our overwhelming disadvantage is obvious.
If that’s what happens, then our strategy has naturally been decided.
“Everyone… finish this with a single blow!”
“… Understood, Katsuragi-kun.”
“It’s vexing, but it seems we don’t have a choice… alright.”
Shuri and Lily began chanting and and accumulating magic for Emperor-class magics, their strongest attacks.
“Emperor of Wind. Thou, hew down the one who obstructs this one’s noble path. Blow, Storm King of Military Rule, establish here. Turn all to dust, return all to–” (Shuri)
“Emperor of Flame. Thou, burn those that hinder this one’s noble path. Scream, evil and inferior species. Become food for the blackened–” (Lily)
“Emperor of Flame. Thou, judge this criminal who committed an evil unto the throne. Eminent excellency, burn tremendously, Six Flame Pillars. Extreme flames, burn them as wicks. Leave not one proof of their existence–” (Daichi)
“You think I’ll give you the chance?”
“Yeah… Since that’s what I’m for!”
Leadred fired off a Line Drive, slightly slowing Terias’ movements. During that time there was support from the rear. As soon as we could hear the voice many daggers passed overhead.
“Don’t forget me either!”
Yuina’s knives, that Arianne’s group had entrusted to Selen, cut through Terias’s surroundings and got stuck here and there.
Threads of ice ran along the trajectories of the knives, transforming into a veil that stopping his movements.
He tried to tear it apart, but since it changed into threads of ice whenever be broke it, it was practically meaningless.
He’ll be nothing but prey for our explosive firepower!
“Suicide of Ashes and Dust!”
Making sure Terias was surrounded, Shuri, Lily, and I each fired off our Emperor-class magic.
The wind blades cut off the upper part of his body, the scorching maelstrom burned his body from the front, and the world-destroying columns of flame burst him into flames from below.
Without a chance to do anything, Terias received the powerful abilities from three directions with his body.
Though Sajima tried to use light magic to heal him, Yuina and Yuuma were already en route to cancel her chant.
“… Sorry, Nanamin.”
“It’ll be troublesome if we let you run loose. You’ll be observing the rest from here.”
She sat down feebly and glared at the two in hatred, though they weren’t concerned.
At any rate, the two’s Nice Assist stopped Sajima’s healing. Now just a little more and–.
The word leaked out unintentionally.
Terias appeared from within the cloud of dust without any of the wounds that he should have had.
How? Sajima wasn’t even able to use her special ability. How was he healed?
Three emperor-class magics should have hit him simultaneously.
There’s no way he could be safe from that.
Despite that, why is this guy like that, wearing a smile of triumph?
“… Yeah, it seems I’m finally getting familiar with this body.”
Terias repeatedly opened and closed his fists.
I felt a sense of hopelessness from his words.
Getting used to the body? Just now we even used superhuman combat skills, and could see the overwhelming difference in power. Though we were only able to attack with this amount of people, wasn’t that enough power for one person?
“What’s the matter? That surprised face. How could the legendary hero fall by emperor-class magic?”
He brushed dirt off of himself as though nothing happened.
It appears that our attack amounted to nothing for this guy.
… Is such a thing possible?
“What happened? You aren’t coming…? If that’s so, should I put an end to this?”
He lightly snapped his finger.
I recognize that pose. It’s the one Fantra had when he frequently used his brutal skill in the 【Labyrinth of Dreams】.
A moment after, Yuuma gave a grievous cry.
Terias’ arm pierced Yuuma’s chest. When he pulled it out, red liquid overflowed from the hole like a fountain that lost its plug.
Yuuma collapsed limply. Terias mercilessly stepped on his neck and broke it. He let out a weak breath. His eyes were lifeless, unmoving.
“Now, that’s the first person.”
Licking the sticky blood on his hand, the glint of a cold-hearted killer seized us. The fear that I’d forgotten for a long time caused a chill to run through my body.
Yuina was struck by a hand to her neck while she was still blocking Sajima as before, collapsing.
“Hey, that’s the second.”
His gaze was provoking us. After that, he got rid of Yuuma that had become a corpse by kicking him toward us. At last, the brute roared.
“Terias… You BASTAAAAAAAARD!!”
Enraged, Lily raised her fists and leapt towards him.
Going in by yourself like a suicide attack was a poor move. Understanding that, Leadread that had been keeping relatively calm went around to support her.
“Hero-sama! While we gain time, everyone–!”
“… I’ll come back immediately!”
Help? Or escape? Immediately judging which was more probable to lead to survival, I ran over to Arianne.
“Arianne! Miare! Fuuko! You guys take refuge quickly! Do not object!”
Guys like them would instantly die if they got involved in a fight with monsters(irregulars) like us.
However, Arianne and Fuuko looked like humans, and Miare could disguise herself. Their chance at surviving would go up even a little by seeking refuge in a densely populated city.
“B-but, then Katsuragi-kun–“
“I said no objections, Fuuko.”
“I-I don’t want to! I’ll fight too–!?”
Arianne made Fuuko, who was continuing with her objection, faint with the same way that Terias used. Her ability to adapt was high, despite her normally being a pervert. She made the best judgement for right now.
“… Thanks, Arianne.”
“… No, this is all I can do… I pray for safety.”
Giving the appearance of being strained, she spoke those words with difficulty and picked up Selen. Miare also wore an expression of mental agony, following what I said.
“Shuri, you are everyone’s guard.”
“Alright… I understand.”
Shuri nodded reassuringly.
However, her eyes were shaking uneasily. I understood from a glance that she was straining herself.
When I put my hand on her head, I stroked it as gently as possible. I did so to give her peace of mind.
“… It’s alright. I won’t die, and I’ll also bring Yuina and the rest back home alive.”
“… That’s right. Katsuragi-kun revives.”
“Yeah, I can’t die. I’ll kill that guy. No matter what, I’m going to kill him. Then, I’ll come back.”
“… Then, promise me?”
Shuri took my hand and entwined her pinky around mine, humming.
“It’s a pinky swear. Lies are… deeeeefinitely not allowed.”
Saying that, she took back her hand and turned around.
“… I’ll be waiting.”
Exchanging those short words, we headed opposite ways from each other.
I won’t look back anymore. Breathing in all at once, I exhaled.
I shifted my focus.
I analyzed the situation.
Leadred and Lily were one way or another pushed into a defensive fight. Yuuma and Yuina had collapsed, with Sajima standing nearby watching. It seems that there’s no sign that she considered harming Yuina herself to use her as leverage.
In that case, I can only concentrate on beating that guy.
“… Berserk Tempest.”
I fired off magic as a replacement for greeting him. Terias stopped attacking Leadred and jumped into the air.
“I won’t let you get awaaay!”
“You finally appeared!”
If magic won’t work, I can’t do anything but depend on the laws of nature. In that case, commence hand to hand combat!
I aimed to hit his face with a straight right when he landed. While Terias stopped the attack with his palm, he gave a heavy kick with the opening.
“You don’t know how do use your body. You’re full of openings.”
“Same with you!”
Leadred charged into Terias’ sermon with a slashing attack. Lily’s face was twisted in anger as she charged in.
“Raging Flame of Iron Decapitation!”
The sword and fist clad in flames came from the left and right.
However, the attacks were swallowed by the torrent of ice, and the two were hammered against the trees. They both hit their heads, losing consciousness. Their arms hung down loosely.
However, when I noticed his attention was caught by the two I accelerated the top of my boot towards his chin.
Terias fell backwards in an arc. I hurriedly reverted my stance back to my right half.
Though he’d only given a single blow, the two were unable to fight.
“… Fufu, it seems I took you a bit too lightly.”
Terias got up calmly. He wasn’t even scratched.
Compared to that, our whole bodies are wounded.
Everyone who I could call an ally had fallen.
I can’t expect any more support.
I have no choice but to do something by myself. I’ll cut my way through this.
I got rid of my negative thoughts.
I have to win. I schemed how to win. I looked for a possibility.
“Now then, what will you do, Demon King-kun? How will you turn this situation around?”
“Can’t I just beat you up?”
“Such a boring response. That’s not even something you can do. It’s like you’re sleep-talking.”
Terias smiled, devoid of emotion as he judged me.
“Besides, I said one thing… since I don’t like dragging it out you know?”
Though unfortunate, my means of survival were on the brink of being cut off as that pronouncement reached my ears.
… It’s no good. I’m cornered.
He mercilessly tore up my card.
If I don’t run away immediately, I’ll definitely be killed.
Dirty feelings mixed with weakness were replaced by a clear resolution to die. I’ll continue as many times as I can.
A chance would arrive somewhere. Slapping my cheeks with both hands, I injected my fighting spirit and prepared myself.
“… I got this.”
Terias kicked out his feet out behind him many times, heading forward.
“How about some infighting!” [TN: Err… fighting closer than arm’s reach.]
“A man talks with his fists!”
I was thrown into the sky by his idiotic strength. Terias attempted to draw closer to me after becoming defenseless.
“How many can you avoid?”
“All of them…!”
The barrage carried out at a point-blank range. Predicting his attacks would be aimed at my vitals, I avoided the lunge and kick that moved at a speed unable to be seen by the eye.
My foot hit Terias’ kick with all my strength to forcibly gain some distance.
The impact of the landing shook my body and covered in hits.
The amount of bruising greatly increased.
Bones completely cracked. Every part of me was screaming.
“It’s painful isn’t it, Demon King-kun?”
“… Shut the f*ck up.”
I can’t lose my bravado. I have to bluff.
“That so…? Then, let’s give it a bit more strength.”
Only that much time past since that, the time being almost nothing.
He seized my neck, lifting me up. In order to give pain, but not with enough strength to kill me. Yet I was unable to breath.
“… What, you’re not going to kill me?”
“You will revive if I kill you. You’d become uninjured.”
Terias quietly grasped my wrist.
I realized the nature of what he was going to do. Since I’m certain that if I were in his position I would do the same thing.
“… So, I’m going to torment you to the point just before death.”
Then, with a grin and a laugh, he crushed it.
“… … Aaah!”
“Does it hurt?”
The torture began. Next, he touched my left ankle. With a cracking sound, my bone broke through the skin.
“Does it hurt?”
I gradually lost feeling. But I still understood that he was pinching my ribs. Crack, crack, crack, one after one they were broken.
“Uu… fuu…! Fuu…!”
“Do you want to die?”
Tossed aside, I rolled across the ground. I felt a dull pain every time a part of me touched the ground.
I couldn’t even let out a cry. I covered my abdomen and huddled up.
“However, you aren’t going to escape from this hell(loop). This is your fate. Though, be relieved. Because I will release you from it.”
Terias approached step by step while slowly humming to himself.
“Goddess of Light. For this one who has fallen in love with thou, use thou power to judge all. Use thou divinity to exterminate evil. Please summon into this world. –Heavenly Divine Decapitation.”
A large sword of light manifested. Other than the handle, it was insubstantial. A sword that could kill the god of death formed out of sparkling divine particles. The tip of the sword was pointed towards me.
“Get it? I am the person who receives the Goddess Claria’s affection–the Hero. So to speak, I am an agent of God. In this world, I am the only one that can execute the true power bestowed by God. What God can do, us humans can not. They can freely control souls. Yes… reviving them, as well as destroy them… Saying that… do you understand?”
I know. I understand.
This guy means that he has the means to kill me for real.
This is bad. I have to escape.
“Though I don’t know what kind of plan you have… If I destroy your soul, how could you struggle when you can’t revive?”
“… That’s a bad joke.”
“I’m not joking.”
He swung his blade horizontally. The slashing wave didn’t stop even after cutting down many trees.
However, the parts cut off turned into particles of light.
“… You’re joking?”
The parts cut off 『Vanished』. A phenomenon like that is impossible. It was as though it was purified.
In other words, it was a thing like that.
“Well… will you accept death?”
Inexperienced, sharp, powerful killing intent.
Death? Am I going to die here?
I can’t revive? I won’t be able to return to this world anymore?
If that happens, I won’t be able to meet Shuri, Yuina, Fuuko, nor everyone anymore.
No, no, no, no!
Fear of dying welled up from the pit of my stomach. I filled with negative feelings.
I kept shooting magic recklessly. All of it was mercilessly cut down, failing. It was destroyed without damaging that guy’s body even once.
Hit! Hit! Hit damn it!?
My view shook up and down. My sight wouldn’t stay straight ahead.
My consciousness dimmed. My teeth were chattering miserably and my legs shook constantly. My face spasmed, my body stiff like stone.
“… Seems like you’re already at your limit.”
My executioner was before my eyes. He looked down on me as though he was looking at trash. The only sword that could kill me in his hand.
Displaying that lethal weapon, he swung it. My thoughts stopped. I couldn’t even speak correctly.
“It appears that you’re already unable to do anything… how truly dull.”
He rose his right arm up high. I can’t avoid it. I’m definitely going to die this time.
“Then–die will you?”
The godsword swung down. However, it suddenly stopped just at the tip of my nose and wide open eyes.
What happened? Looking, Terias turned his head behind him. Following his gaze, there was Yuina getting up with her hands on her knees. Her slender right arm pointed this way, her fingers imitating the form of a gun.
“What happened to Nanami?”
“I restrained her. Though, I had to get a bit rough.”
Nanami’s figure was nailed to the tree next to her, knives in her sleeves.
“Release Nanami. This fight is already over. There’s no point in resisting.”
“… It’s not over yet, conceited man.”
“I don’t plan on killing you–“
An ice bullet hit Terias squarely on the face.
Barely able to stand, Yuina hurled abuse towards him in order to get his attention, resisting him. Surely, Terias lost interest in me who he could kill at any moment, focusing on her.
However, that doesn’t mean anything. His target just changed from me to Yuina.
“… I’ll tolerate it this time. However, you will be my opponent if you shoot aga–“
His words stopped there.
Since a small ice bullet fired from her fingertip hit Terias in the face.
Silence came. Stillness.
“… You wouldn’t have died if you just behaved yourself.”
He held up his sword and grasped this handle in both hands.
“Stop, Terias… If you want to kill, kill–“
“–Heavenly Divine Decapitation.”
He mercilessly fired the slash.
Not good, not good, not good…!
I used wind jet–however, my broken ankle couldn’t endure it and I crashed into the ground. My face sunk into the ground. I reached out my hand towards Yuina, but only gripped soil.
Dazzling light soared nearby.
Then, the holy light that pierces evil handed down judgement on the innocent girl and carried out justice.
“A-… a, ah-….”
My mind clouded. My emotions didn’t catch up to comprehend was happened.
I moved only on instinct.
With unsteady steps, I walked towards her as she looked this way and smiled.
Her feet were already disappearing into particles of light.
“Ahaha… that shameful face.”
While amazed, she criticized my current self.
No. Why are you laughing.
“… What’s wrong?”
“… Why did you do something like that!?”
I shook Yuina’s shoulders. However, I realized it was unreasonable for me to say that and stopped. But, but…!
I couldn’t suppress these impulses, I couldn’t stop my runaway emotions.
“Why… why did you do that!!”
“Well, I am Daichi’s Shield. Besides… is it bad to want to protect the one you love?”
She gripped my hand and separated it from her body. She placed a hand on my cheek. It felt like the coldness of just before death, it felt wrong.
It should be warm.
Even a little more would be fine. I want her to feel cheerful.
I fear losing her. I’d lose something important.
My body and mind, mixed together in pain, were gnawed by something.
Tears streamed down from my eyes. They flowed.
“Ah-, wa-… …”
I embraced her strongly. I won’t separate. I won’t let her go.
Strong enough so that she would stay, I embraced her.
“… Come to think of it, this is the first time I’ve seen Daichi’s tear-stained face.”
In the middle of her own life fading, she said something as inconsequential as that.
“Daichi… didn’t cry no matter what we did. Even your complaints were transient, and you didn’t stop coming to school… I’m truly sorry for that time you know?”
“Something like that, it’s already fine! More than that, we have to do…!”
I thought of things I could possible do one after another… but, everything just came to the conclusion that nothing would work.
Damnit… damnit, damnit-!!
“But you know, Daichi. I’ll apologize forever. But please… forgive me.”
The promise from a long time ago. She would be next to me forever until I forgive her.
She was trying to bring it to a close. To break it.
The particlification advanced, reaching her waist. The lower part of her body ceased to exist.
The concept known as Tamaki Yuina was being erased.
“–Don’t f*ck around! You still have things to do! If I don’t return with you, Shuri will get mad!”
“That’s right, Shuri-chan will be mad huh… But, even if I’m not here, Daichi will be okay. Because, you are strong here.”
Using that last of her strength, Yuina poked my chest.
The feeling stopped. She was becoming ethereal.
“Daichi has the strength to crawl up out of hell. Katsuragi Daichi is the man I know that will never lose his heart.”
“Don’t go! Please don’t go!? I forgive you–!?”
Our lips touched, then, tenderly, the faintly warm temperature disappeared. It was gone.
“Eh, ah-, eh-…?”
I gathered the remains of the light with my arms. However, it went into the air–.
As though my soul left, I lost strength, collapsing to my knees.
It’s a lie right? Isn’t this a lie? It’s a lie, a lie, a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie a lie.
My arms recklessly scratched through the air.
With a frighteningly loud sound, her ring fell to the ground.