Chapter 125 – The Death Flag Unfurled To Its Maximum

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Author: Firehead Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Hands of Vecna English Source: Hands of Vecna
Editor(s): TpstT, Keii

Behind the scenes of this glamorous tournament.

Sei and his companions were stealthily investigating the waiting rooms for the participants, which had been prepared by the Speth family. If Alfie’s words were to be believed, Debris had kidnapped several participants. However, if they were to directly accuse him, it would just be a one-sided accusation and they would become criminals.

Furthermore, the other party was a noble who governed the Domain of the Spear, so they couldn’t just recklessly accuse him. Although Sei was the hero chosen by the king, reckless behavior on his part could lead to a loss of trust in the king. If that were to happen, the ambitious Debris would surely take advantage of the mistake to make the kingdom owe him one.

If there were no such restrictions and he was a monster like Ruphas who could annihilate all of the humanoids, not merely the nobles, he could just forcefully take action without leaving any room for negotiation. However, this was impossible for Sei and his group.

Therefore, they needed to find the evidence first, then act in the name of righteousness. By now, Sei did not doubt that the Speth family was involved in some sort of wrongdoing. After all, he had personally seen Alfie being hunted down. He had also seen Debris’ cruel mistreatment of the hired thugs when they turned out to be useless.

Emotional evaluations aside, from an objective third-person perspective, this wasn’t enough to make the Speth family anything more than a suspect. That was why they had to find evidence first, but…

“Did you find anything?”

“No, there’s nothing here.”

Sei shook his head in response to Gants’ question. They had checked the waiting rooms used by the participants who were suspected of being kidnapped, but they found no evidence. It seemed that the scene had been carefully cleaned up. It would have been good to at least find some evidence of the poisoned food and drinks, but things weren’t going so well.

“By the way…Alfie, how did you know that the participants were poisoned? I’m not doubting you, but if the poison could be visually identified…”

“…I actually drank it myself.”

“Eh?”

“I said I drank it too.”

Alfie looked away and answered Sei’s question.

“Before the match, Rail…that’s my friend’s name. She called me to the waiting room. And I took some of the black tea that was prepared for her. As I mentioned before, the poison just makes you a bit drowsy and unable to exert your strength. After ten minutes or so, you’d be able to move normally again. But by then, Rail had lost the match. I rushed to look for her and found him trying to take her somewhere. And so I was hunted down for the sake of being silenced.”

“I—I see.”

Apparently, Alfie had a rather careless personality. No, would anyone even question if a drink offered by a friend had been poisoned? In fact, even the friend who offered the drink didn’t think it was poisoned, so it would have been hard to find it suspicious in this situation.

“Hey, Kaineko-san. Can you find any clues with your sense of smell?”

“Don’t be absurd. That’s the specialty of a dog beastkin. I’m a cat. It’s impossible.”

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“Oh, it’s impossible, huh?”

After searching another waiting room, Jean and Kaineko couldn’t find any clues, so they regrouped with Sei and the others. If Kaineko was a dog beastkin, he might have been able to find some clues, but since he was a cat, he couldn’t.

There weren’t any clues…Everyone was discouraged at the results. While they were thinking about what to do next, something moved. It was the stupid dog that always stayed close to Sei’s feet. It suddenly started running as if it noticed something and went to the back of the hallway.

“Hey, where’re you going!?”

Sei quickly chased after it and eventually found the dog barking loudly at a wall after turning around a corner.

Why is this dog barking at the wall?

When Sei touched the wall, there didn’t seem to be any changes. It was just an ordinary wall. Gants and the others came soon after. Jean was the first to notice something.

“I see. Move aside, Sei. This is probably that sort of thing.”

After saying that, Jean knocked repeatedly on various parts of the wall and listened to the differences in sound. As an adventurer, he had experience exploring ruins, so he could notice subtle differences in sound. There were often hidden doors in ruins, so being able to find them was an indispensable talent for first-rate adventurers.

Jean examined the wall for a while and then noticed a small hole at the base of the wall…It was a small hole that wouldn’t normally be noticed unless someone was looking intently for it.

“Bingo.”

He took a wire-like object out of his pocket and inserted it into the hole. After messing around with it for tens of seconds, there was a clicking sound and Jean returned the wire into his pocket. He then put his hands on the wall and moved it sideways…and the wall slowly slid to expose a hidden passage.

“Impressive.”

“I’m a former well-known adventurer, you know? I could finish something like that before breakfast.”

Jean took the lead, followed by Sei and the others. Gants followed in the rear. The victims were probably just ahead and Debris’ subordinates should be waiting there as well. After going down the stairs, Jean stopped at the corner. He used his hand to signal Sei and the others to be quiet while he carefully looked around the corner.

As expected, there were some armed guards waiting there. Naturally, it was possible to break through forcefully. However, it would be a problem if they had difficulty defeating even one of them and the guards ended up calling for reinforcements. The situation would become unpleasant.

The members of Sei’s party were not weak. Since the party included Gants, the strongest mercenary, and Sarjes, the executive of the demihumans, they actually had considerable combat power.

However, if the number of enemies reached one hundred or two hundred, they might be overwhelmed by numbers alone. Moreover, this was the enemy’s territory. They didn’t know what kind of traps had been installed.

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“Leave it to me.”

Sarjes spoke confidently and quickly jumped out of the shadows to run across the wall. All of this happened in an instant, so even the soldiers didn’t notice him. Sarjes moved along the ceiling and by the time they thought he had jumped down, several soldiers had already fallen.

“Wh—What!?”

“An enemy attack!?”

The soldiers quickly became alert, but Sarjes was nowhere to be seen. In the next moment, Sarjes jumped again, took out another soldier, landed on the wall, and left. His movements were those of a hunter.

The enemies didn’t even know what was happening. Their numbers were reduced one by one. Within ten seconds or so, there wasn’t a single soldier left who was still conscious. Having finished hunting, Sarjes returned to Sei and the others.

“Okay, let’s go.”

“Ah, yeah.”

“…That’s not half-bad, spider uncle.”

Sei and Jean were impressed and surprised by the ability of Sarjes who went ahead. It was scary when he was an enemy, but he seemed so reliable now that he was an ally. It was a little late to say this, but it was a wonder how they managed to win against him. Honestly speaking though, it was doubtful whether their victory was really the result of their own efforts.

“What’s this? Since a while ago…there’s the smell of blood?”

“…I have a bad feeling about this. Let’s proceed carefully.”

After progressing for a while, Sei frowned at an unpleasant smell. Kaineko was also wary of the smell and the group slowly advanced. And then, what they saw was a nauseating scene.

—Women. Everywhere, there were women who had been broken and thrown away.

There was a groaning woman hanging from the ceiling. Another woman was stuck to the wall and her body was impaled by darts. One woman, who was hanging off of the bed, murmured an unintelligible whisper. Another woman had collapsed in the back and her face had been burned beyond recognition.

Virgo covered her mouth upon seeing the scene. The others expressed disgust.

“How terrible…”

“What…is this…?”

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“Tsk…So this is how the noble-sama plays around? To think that he actually claims to be an outstanding noble.”

Sei desperately held back his nausea, while Jean threw up without hiding his disgust. Gants didn’t say anything, but his face was seething with rage. Kaineko’s fists were shaking.

“Rail! Rail, where are you!?”

Alfie lost her cool at the sight and shouted as she searched for her friend. However, she didn’t seem to be within sight.

…No. Alfie just didn’t realize that she was within sight.

“…That voice…is that Alfie?”

“…Rail!?”

The voice belonged to the woman who had collapsed in the back. Alfie ran over to hug the woman whose face was burned beyond recognition.

Oh, how did this happen?

Her once beautiful face was dyed black and red. Her hair was almost completely burned away. Tears poured forth from Alfie’s eyes as she embraced her friend who had changed.

“Why…”

“Oh, I hope you don’t get the wrong idea. I didn’t do it. That stupid woman did it to herself.”

As if to answer Alfie’s question, a voice came from behind Sei and the others. When everyone turned their heads to look, there was a noble man with his subordinates. Debris Speth was standing there with a grin.

“Since she had a somewhat pretty face, I took great pains to play with her. But that fool burned her own face instead. Thanks to that, I have lost interest in her. She’s just a female knight, did she think that she was protecting her honor by doing that? I really don’t understand. Well, she can be thrown away now since she isn’t worth embracing anymore. But that won’t help with my displeasure. I don’t like to cry myself to sleep. If you cause me displeasure, you have to pay the price for it.”

“You *******…!”

Jean raised a wrathful voice at Debris’ selfishness and took the first step forward. As a man, he couldn’t forgive this guy. He would make him suffer as the woman did…No, he would make him suffer even more and crush his smug face.

But in the next moment, Jean felt a sharp pain in his abdomen and fell to his knees.

“Gah, ugh…!?”

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“Don’t approach me so casually, you mere adventurer. You and I have different worth. Know your place.”

What did he do? What just happened?

Never mind Jean who was attacked. Even Sei and the others who were watching couldn’t understand what had happened. The same was true even for Sarjes who had the highest status in the hero’s party. He couldn’t hide his surprise.

“Could it be that you think you can challenge me? Don’t be so conceited. I’m different from all of you. I’m the chosen one. You people can’t even touch me.”

As he said that, Debris raised his hand before his face to show off his ring.

“Stop messing around! I’ll never forgive you!”

Alfie suddenly stretched out her hand and shot a flaming missile. But the flame didn’t hit Debris. Instead, one of his subordinates behind him was struck and burned. Debris himself was already behind Alfie and raised his fist.

“Such a bad girl. Shooting magic at me…What would you do if you actually hit me?”

As he said this, he lashed out with his fist, but it was intercepted by Sarjes. The latter immediately moved to counterattack, but Debris had disappeared once more.

“………!”

No, he didn’t just disappear. The robe concealing Sarjes’ body was cut and he felt the pain of being struck with a blade. Sarjes’ resistant body didn’t suffer a serious wound, but that wasn’t the problem. Debris had slashed Sarjes before he could even register it. That was the problem.

“What is this hardness? The blade couldn’t penetrate.”

“…Such a strange technique. It’s not…just being fast. It felt like all of his actions were finished in an instant before I could register them.”

“Eh, you realize it?”

Debris laughed as if he was impressed by Sarjes. He then showed his ring.

“Congratulations. I’ll tell you since you can’t do anything about it anyway. I can stop the time of this world.”

“Stop time!? Stop lying! That’s impossible unless you’re the Goddess-sama!”

“That’s true. But what if the Goddess-sama gave me this power?”

Debris smiled and looked down on everyone. He then began to brag about it. Perhaps, he had wished to brag to someone since the beginning. A man with such strong pride and vanity usually had the urge to talk to someone about the special things he had.

“Behold the Ring of Time, a divine artifact given to the Sword King Alioth by the Goddess-sama in order to defeat the Black-Winged Overlord. Alioth left it with one of his friends and the latter’s descendants continued to inherit it.”

“Im—Impossible…Something like that…”

“Hmm. That’s a nice expression. Your expression shows that you now know the absolute difference between us. That’s the expression of someone who understands that he can’t win no matter how much he struggles. When it is dyed with anger and despair at the unreasonable situation, it is my favorite expression. It’s simply irresistible.”

Debris smiled and drew the sword from his waist.

On the other hand, Sei and the others went on full alert, but would it be meaningful at all? If the opponent stopped time and then moved to attack, there would be no point in defense or evasion.

Debris disappeared and blood spurted from Sei’s leg.

There was nothing they could do to counterattack when faced with a cheat like stopping time.

And so the one-sided battle began.



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