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Chapter 53: Behemoth appears [2]

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Author: Kobayashi Homare Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 2576 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1194 words
Editor(s): Deximus_Maximus

–––Bandit’s viewpoint
Lapis, who stood in front of all of us, said that while scattering light magic to all directions, making the surroundings bright as if there was daylight down here. I was relieved seeing that, as it helped dispel my fear so I could move properly again.

As we stepped into the large cave, it seemed completely empty. Apart from the stairs we had used to come down here, nothing else was man-made. The ceiling of the cave probably reached almost to the palace above, so it could not be seen in the distance, and even with Lapis’ powerful light magic the other end of the cave was still shrouded in darkness. It felt like this entire place was built specifically to let a colossal entity run amok.

“Where’s Behemoth?”
“He’s already here.”

Answering my question, Diaria pointed towards a certain direction. At the same time, all the magic power around us seemed to compress into a point a distance in front of her. The solid rock ground began shaking and waving like the surface of the sea, while I felt multiple vibrations in the air.

All of our brows were dripping with cold sweat. Even Lapis had a serious look, meaning Behemoth was something she could not take lightly. With time, the magic began taking shape, forming a beastly figure like a giant lion. Two long sharp fangs extended from its mouth, while the ground where it stood cracked under its feet. Its red skin showed powerful muscles below that seemed able to deflect any attack, while the mane around its neck and back was of a golden color like ripe barley.

“That’s…Behemoth…”

Someone muttered in a daze. That was the beast we would have to fight soon. At the risk of giving up my right to call myself a hero, I didn’t feel like we could win against that. Fighting the Demon King one on one sounded like a better idea.

“…Do you…feel like fulfilling your promise now?”
“”!””

From its beastly mouth, a very low-pitched and calm voice came out. It could speak! That should’ve been obvious for all Four Great Spirits, but it was still very unexpected. Queen Titis seemed a bit unsure of how to reply to that, but eventually, she took a step forward. As dangerous as that was, I couldn’t bring myself to stop her. Her face was drained of color, but she still stood upright and proud. She was truly a monarch.

“Behemoth, please listen to me. I know my ancestor made a promise to you. But as you can see, I’m the only family member that remains. Giving you my life would mean exterminating the royal family.”
“…”

Almost as if he hadn’t heard her, Behemoth stood still and in silence.

“As the person running this country, I still have way too many things left to do. That’s why I can’t give you my life. But I’m not selfish enough to ask you to forget that promise. If there’s anything you desire that isn’t a human life, no matter how complicated, I’ll do my best to arrange for it. If you need mana, I’ll gather as many magicians from across the world and tell them to give you their power. If you want an altar dedicated to you built in the city, I will make one. As long as people visit it, mana should slowly pour in for you. Can any of those satisfy you?”
“They do not.”

He shot the desperate plea down with the shortest response possible. Queen Titis’ face clouded.

“Queen of the people, you seem to misunderstand me. That promise we made back then is not such a trifle, it was a vow made in the presence of a god. Once a pact is sealed with me, it’s engraved onto my body. Or are you telling me to pretend to forgo a limb and ignore my body? Even if I were to pardon you here, come morning I would lose sentience and snap your neck.”
“…”

What a horrifying fate. The pact our Founding King made was more powerful than I expected. To think a god was involved and Behemoth can’t act of his own free will…

“There’s but one way to stop that from happening. Fight and stop me. If you can prove to me I’m incapable of accomplishing it, then the divine pact will be torn.”

So in the end, we had no choice but to fight him. I had expected as much, but being told there’s no other option still hurt… I got my weapon ready and steeled my nerves, but then something strange happened with Behemoth. He had been calmly talking with us so far, but his eyes suddenly changed color, as if he had turned into a mindless beast. His breath became ragged and he seemed pained as he tried to speak.

“Ghahh…I’m…at my limit. Humans, I’m sorry but I can’t hold back the pact any longer. If you wish to stay alive, fight and defeat me.”
“H-hey..?”

I tried to call out, but there was no reply, Behemoth lowering his body while drool dripped from his jaws. He looked like a beast about to pounce on its prey. By the time I realized that, it was too late. His sharp and enormous claws were already swung against Queen Titis and about to tear her apart.

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That was bad! I had not lowered my guard, or been careless. I was ready to fight the entire time, but Behemoth was simply much faster than me. My eyes saw the claws moving, but my body was too slow to react. Queen Titis was frozen in fear, the claws just in front of her. There was nothing I could do anymore, and she had no way of defending herself either. The claws would cut and mince her flesh…everyone thought that, but the only one who moved was none other than Lapis.

“Watch out!”

She flung herself towards the queen frozen in fear, pushing her out of harm’s way. Even for Lapis, it took everything she had to move as fast as Behemoth. Queen Titis was sent flying towards my direction, so I tried to catch her, though I was unable to stop her momentum and both of us landed next to the stairs.

What was happening with Behemoth then? Since Lapis had moved the queen out of the way, she was standing in the claws’ strike zone now. The claws finished their swing, which Lapis tried to defend herself from, but failed and took the blow full on. She was sent flying at an unimaginable speed even further back than me, towards the stairs…and the only solid wall around here.

“”…””

For a while, no one knew how to react. The wall had a human-sized gap that Lapis had opened, her body still inside. Some cracks spread out from it, which caused the surrounding wall to crumble and cover everything in stone.

“L-Lapis!”
“Master!”
“Lapis!”
“…that can’t be…”

All of her companions were shocked in horror as they called for her. But there was no response from beyond the rocks.



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