|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3685 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1822 words|
We already knew where the demons were. The one Diaria was taking care of was masquerading as a low ranking maid, so she should be staying together with the other maids. The one I was taking care of usually hung around the king. I ran towards the king’s place as fast as I could, and since I had not been summoned today, all the guards on my way there tried to stop me, seeing where I was headed. But I ignored them, speeding up instead of stopping. Three knights tried to stand in my way, so I had to knock them out harmlessly with my palm. They all collapsed silently at the same time, not even realizing what had happened. I was slightly surprised how easily that worked, but that was all thanks to Master’s teachings.
But there were more than just those three knights. There was the royal guard, who were multiple knights handpicked by the king himself, who would probably offer a lot of resistance. That was the same in all countries, whether it was a large one like Bordaule, or small like Strom. There was no guarantee that I would be able to go through them as easily as the three knights.
“Hold it! One step closer and we’ll attack even if you’re a hero!”
They knew I could blow them all away with magic if they stood in a clump, so the royal guard made sure they all kept a certain distance from each other. Seeing their fallen comrades behind me, they unsheathed their swords and poised themselves to stop me. At the same time, one of the knights blew a loud whistle to announce there was a situation.
Even though I had to keep moving forward, I could not kill them to get through. But I figured a few injuries would not be much of an issue, so I got my sword ready as well and charged towards the foremost knight.
My strike sent him flying back, hitting a few knights that stood behind him as well before landing. I knew they were trying to stop me by force, but as a hero I was many steps ahead of them in terms of strength, so opening a path ended up being easier than I expected.
“Follow her dammit!”
“I can’t get up, someone’s on top of me..!”
I heard a lot of shouts behind me, but I had no time to stay and listen, there was an even larger group of knights waiting for me. They seemed to have realized that verbal warnings would do nothing to stop me, so they waited silently while their magicians began chanting behind them. But I did not falter, without making any noise, I focused some magic power behind me and unleashed it.
“Kuh?! My eyes!”
“D-dammit! That’s not fair!”
A bright flash of light illuminated the narrow hallway. It was night outside, and the only light their eyes were accustomed to was that of candles and whatever moonlight entered through the windows, so they were all blinded by my light magic. They all struggled trying to regain their vision, while a few ran towards me trying to sense my position, but they only ended up restraining their own teammates.
“I’ve got you now!”
“Now you won’t go anywhere!”
“You moron! It’s me!”
“I’m your ally though!”
I jumped over the large confusion happening, casually stepping on their heads and shoulders and using them as footholds. I could see the doors leading to the king’s room now, and if I was an assassin I would just kick them open and stab him in the heart, but that was not my goal. I ran past the door, going to a smaller room next to it with a shabby-looking door and kicked it with all my might. Inside I found my target, a demon wearing a maid uniform. Thanks to the spell covering the entire city, I could instantly tell she was a demon, while her clothes were that of a maid, there was a large horn growing from her head, and there was an aura of malice surrounding her. It would be impossible for her to keep pretending to be human now. She looked in terror at me after breaking in, but she quickly realized what had happened and contorted her face in anger.
“…Hero Luvias! So this is what you were planning all along!”
Realizing there was no need to keep hiding anymore, the demon glared at me full of bloodlust. That was enough to tell me she was no ordinary foe, and the old me would have easily fallen at her hand. I took a deep breath, I had trained a lot since then, and defeated other strong foes, so my strength had increased exponentially. Even her death stares barely affected me now, so without hesitation I charged at her with my blade ready to slice her apart, my eyes filled with bloodlust as well.
“You can’t hide no longer, demon. Your wicked plan ends here, and I’ll make sure there’s no trace of you left.”
“Hah, keep on dreaming! Do you think such weak holy magic will give you the upper hand?! Foolish human! Feel the true power of demons and die like a dog!”
She charged at me with explosive momentum. I didn’t even try parrying, instead I jumped back and went out of the room. She began throwing magic spells after me, which I kept dodging, while slowly leading her closer to the king’s room. Obviously that caused me to regroup with the knights who were pursuing me.
“Huh? A demon?!”
“Lady Luvias! What’s the meaning of this?!”
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The knights struggled to comprehend the situation and just got more confused. Then I finally stopped the demon’s dagger with my sword, and quickly kicked at her feet. The steel plates covering my toes were sturdy enough that a direct hit could easily break someone’s bones, so she decided it was best to jump away while cursing loudly. I responded by slashing at her with my sword before she got too far, but it only grazed her shoulder.
The way Master taught me to win battles was by pretty much rebuilding my way of seeing things from the ground up. The way knights fought and trained with each other might look graceful and honorable, but it was rather inefficient when fighting to the death. The reason for that was simple, their forms and movements were rigid and predetermined, so it was almost impossible to defend from any unexpected attack. That was one of the biggest differences between soldiers and adventurers. The latter would do anything to survive, if they fell down, they would pick up the stones on the ground and throw them at their enemies. There were no rules or methods, they simply moved the way they saw fit. They would never survive for long if they just tried being flashy all the time.
Back when I was living in the castle I was unaware of that difference, and that old me would have perished at the hands of this demon almost instantly. But I was different now, I would use any method I could think of, focusing only on my goal of defeating the demon. That was why I decided to change our battlefield, from an empty room, to a narrow and confined hallway where the knights would see her and fight alongside me.
“This demon and many others infiltrated the city targeting the royal family! There’s another demon in the castle, and the city is overrun with them as well, but my friends are taking care of them! Send whoever you can as reinforcements!”
They seemed confused for a moment, considering how I had treated them moments before, but soon they all reached the same conclusion and ran to inform others.
“Send the troops to the city! The rest of us will stay here and aid Lady Luvias to protect the king!”
“We’ll go look for the other demon! Good luck!”
They quickly proved their worth as the royal guard, quickly rearranging themselves into three groups. There was a possibility some might think I was in cahoots with the demons after what I did to them earlier, but luckily they were smarter than that. The demon soon realized she was at a disadvantage too, so she turned around and ran off to the nearest window as fast as she could, breaking it open with her blade.
“I’ll take my leave now, but this won’t be the end of this! Next time I’ll take your head!”
“I’m sorry, but there won’t be a next time for you.”
Before she could react, only her face looking shocked, my blade sliced her body in half. Soon after she had kicked off the ground, I dashed up to her faster than she could see and struck her before she could think of anything to do. That was the latest power I had acquired in my training, blinking through terrain. If I strengthened my body to its limits with magic, I could traverse long distances in the blink of an eye. Master could do that normally without using magic on her body, but I had finally learned to do it relying on magic. Though from what I heard the most powerful sorcerers like Sorciere could teleport anywhere in a similar fashion.
For a moment I felt afraid, suddenly finding myself in the air outside the third floor of the palace, but I quickly regained my composure and adjusted my body to land safely. A moment later I heard two other things landing, they were the upper and lower half of the dead demon. I saw the dumbfounded faces of knights looking at me from the broken window, still trying to comprehend what had happened, but they quickly ran back inside the palace. Probably to come down here and collect the body, or to help the other groups. Meanwhile…
“Oh man, I’m so glad that worked out. I only succeeded less than a third of the time during practice.”
Blinking like that required minute control of magic power, and every time I failed I felt like needles grew inside all my muscles. It was a pain worse than sore muscles, so I did not want to use that ability if possible, but I had no other option this time.
If I let the demon get away, the mission would have failed. If she regrouped with other demons they could have set up an ambush and attacked indiscriminately, so I could not let a single one escape.
But I had accomplished my part of the mission, so now I had to hope all my friends would succeed as well. I let out a relieved sigh when I saw a group of knights rushing towards me.