|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2702 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1320 words|
At the front, Karin and Luvias kept switching places as they cut down the monsters, while we stood behind to make sure no monster attacked us from behind. When Ciel had to concentrate to unleash her magic, I would shoot arrows at the monsters getting closer or cast spiritual magic. Any time one tried to lunge at us, I would shoot an arrow to their forehead and they would fall to the ground and stop moving.
A moment before Ciel cast her magic, she gave Karin and Luvias a warning, so they jumped to the right and left, opening a path for Ciel’s magic, and Luvias also cast her own magic on top of that, which slaughtered many monsters. We had only been a team for a few days, but we had quite a lot of synergy already. With that last attack, all the monsters around us were dead, so we sighed in relief.
Usually, we would have sat down on the ground to catch a breath, but Lapis had been really insistent on not lowering our guard, so we did not let go of our weapons. As far as Lapis went, she just stood a distance away and watched us with crossed arms, not intervening in the least. But we did not complain about that, she always acted that way when teaching us, and we knew she would rush in if she noticed we were in danger.
“You all did really well. Your movements are well coordinated as well, you’ve gotten strong.”
“I was nervous at first, but if we’re careful this isn’t too hard.”
“So you say Karin, but wasn’t it you who recklessly charged in first?”
“Luvias is right. You always act out of instinct and forget what Lapis tells you, if Diaria wasn’t here you might not have been so lucky.”
“I just kinda shot a few monsters, it wasn’t really planned.”
Karin and the rest had managed to change my original opinion of adventurers. They were all well behaved, cheerful, and never acted rudely. On top of that, they were all more powerful than the average adventurer, so that was quite impressive in itself. I could understand why someone like Luvias could be so disciplined, being a princess and all, but Karin and Ciel were not too different. Was it because of Lapis’ teachings? But from what I had seen, that could not be the case. Lapis was probably the most ferocious of the bunch.
She had a really beautiful face that not even elves could compete with, and if she sat down in silence she looked so innocent and pure she would never kill a fly, but when she was at the training school she was a ruthless beast. I almost felt like she could learn a thing or two from me when it came to etiquette.
“Diaria, is something wrong?”
“It’s nothing, don’t worry.”
That was a close one. Lapis is really perceptive, so just a slight change on my face can make a lot of things obvious. That’s one thing I still had to learn.
“Good job everyone. I think it’s safe to assume that everyone has gained a lot of experience after spending a week here. Of course, it’s still not to the level where we can go fight the Demon King, but you should be fine even fighting against a strong demon.”
I had heard how strong demons are. My father and grandfather had actual experience fighting them, and from what they said a common demon without any special training could easily beat a seasoned soldier. What if they actually trained then? Or even worse, maybe there was a beastly instructor like Lapis in the Haunted Lands as well. Would we be able to beat a powerful demon like that if we ran into one? I felt really unsafe thinking about it. But Lapis did not seem concerned with that as she continued speaking.
“Now to test how far your current training gets you, let’s see how you fare against the demons surrounding us right now.”
I looked around alarmed and noticed the silhouette of monsters and people amongst the trees. When had they… Thinking about it, I realized they had surrounded us while we were focused on killing the monsters, and they were really close to us already! Even though Lapis constantly told us to not be careless, I had been more naive than I had thought.
“Ohh, so one of you actually noticed us. That’s quite commendable, surprising even.”
A rather well-toned man walked out from the trees saying that with a twisted smile. He was strong…just looking at him told me that much. He was in a different league than those adventurers that bully new members in the guild pretending to be stronger. Having him stand so close put a lot of mental strain on me already.
“I don’t get it though. If you noticed we were here, why didn’t you run? You might have been able to survive that way. Staying here will only turn you into monster fodder once we’re done. Or were you so scared you couldn’t move?”
Other demons and monsters appeared from the forest. Running away from this was no longer an option. What was Lapis even thinking?! I was about to cry when I turned to look at Lapis, but she looked unfazed, or even completely relaxed.
“You were so close so you should have heard me. I want these girls to test their abilities against you. You look like the perfect training dummy after all.”
“…Now now missy, are you looking down on me?”
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The air surrounding him changed, the murderous aura he had been suppressing beginning to leak. I felt all the hairs on my body stand upright, my instincts telling me to run away. All the monsters we had fought against before were like insects compared to this man. Was Lapis seriously thinking of letting us fight against someone like him? That was a death sentence! My body was stiffening up and becoming tense, but Lapis calmly retorted to the demon.
“Looking down? I wouldn’t really say that. I’m pretty confident in my skill to judge someone’s power. From what I can see, Karin and the rest can easily take you on, as long as they don’t let their guard down.”
“Hoh, but what will happen with everyone else? Are you implying you can take on all my underlings and monsters alone while I fight against these girls?”
“Of course I’ll take care of that, just fight against them without reserve. Everyone, you heard me, don’t worry about your surroundings and focus on him alone. I’m sure you can win.”
Impossible! That will never happen! I can’t picture a future where we win! I wanted to shout that as loudly as I could, but Karin and the others silently gripped their swords and staff. No way! They’re actually thinking about doing it. If they were in that mood as well, then I really had no way of escaping this. I could only resign myself to fighting him.
“If Lapis says so, I guess we should try.”
“Yeah, it might be a hard fight, but I believe we’ll win.”
“For as long as she’s been my master she never lied to me! We can definitely win!”
“…Aahhh! Don’t blame me if this doesn’t work!”
The man’s eyes seemed about to pop out seeing us get ready to fight him. He truly was not expecting this.
“…This is the first time someone has insulted me this much. But alright, I’ll take you on! If you want to hate and resent someone for not telling you to run, blame her! You will die at the blade of Ditoner, the trusted retainer of the Demon King Trianf! Regret your lack of power on the other side!”
With those words, our match began.