|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3615 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1685 words|
After parting ways with Luvias I headed to the room where the demon was lurking. It was already night, so most of the people working in the palace had gone home or were in their respective rooms already, but there were still some people loitering in the hallways. Whenever I saw anyone, I either knocked them unconscious and rushed by, or I hid and waited until they were gone.
“I have no option. It’s not like I can fight head on like Luvias…”
I mainly fought with a bow or with spiritual power, essentially I was part of the backline, so I was really out of my element. In reality I had wanted to do this together with Luvias, but the situation did not allow that. All I could do was talk to myself and complain about everything. If I stopped talking, I would only feel more lonely. But luckily enough, my target was pretty far away from the king’s chambers, so there were almost no guards here. I was feeling confident as I got close, thinking this would be easier than expected, but then I noticed someone coming towards me at full speed.
I muttered to myself, but I quickly realized I was wrong. It was a demon, not even trying to conceal her demonic aura.
“Dammit! She’s already running here?”
There was no mistaking it, she was a demon. She was close enough that I could see her features under the moonlight, and her figure had clear differences compared to regular humans. The holy spell covering the city had destroyed whatever she used to conceal it. I quickly loaded my bow from my back and shot an arrow. At first it looked like it would hit her dead on, but at the last moment she deflected it with her blade.
It always took time to reload a bow after shooting, and practice did shorten that time, but not even a life-long archer could make it instantaneous. Feeling slightly nervous I got the next arrow ready and shot it. But it suffered the same fate as the first one, only having the effect of making her run faster towards me.
I jumped back to evade her attack. I threw away my bow to distract her while I unsheathed my dagger, confronting her. Her first reaction was to strike my discarded bow with her blade, trying to destroy it, but she only succeeded in throwing it further away in the hallway. That was no cheap bow, it was a special weapon I had received directly from Bordaule’s king, so it would not break so easily. But thanks to that, I had gained an opening to attack her from behind.
“An archer trying to fight with a blade? What a joke!”
“Shut up! It’s not like I wanted to do it this way!”
I mostly trained my archer and spirit skills, so I thought I would be at a disadvantage, but after our blades clashed I felt like we were equally matched. For a while, the empty hallway was only filled with the clang of our blades. At first I was hopeful someone would hear all this racket and a guard or knight would come help me, but no one came.
They had probably all gone after Luvias, or were helping out in the city, so I was left alone. But staying in a stalemate was only a worry for the demon. If I bought enough time, eventually reinforcements would arrive, but the demon would never be able to leave alive. The demon was aware of that as well, so she began chanting while weaving in attacks with her blade.
I somehow managed to twist my body enough to evade that spell that was cast so close to me. But since that destroyed my stance, her physical attacks became more violent. I could see the tip of her blade almost grazing my eyelashes, filling my body with fear. Forcing my stiffening body to move, I jumped back with pure muscle memory from all my training, now I had more room to move, so I counterattacked and managed to score a hit on her.
She clicked her tongue annoyed and took a step back. I noticed her lips were moving afterwards too, she was chanting again. I hated everything! Even if I dodged her spell again, I doubted I would be able to keep repeating that. I was starting to get desperate for a solution when I heard a voice in my head.
(Diaria, it seems you’re struggling there.)
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That was the most powerful earth element spirit, Behemoth, one of the Four Great Spirits, who I had formed a pact with before. His true name was Sol, and I struggled to even summon him for an instant. What did he want at such a troublesome time? I felt like lashing out all my anger on him, but he just laughed dryly.
(What, I just thought I’d lend you a hand.)
(Lend me a hand? I thought we both knew I can’t summon you at all!)
I had tried summoning him time and time again, and even though I constantly trained to strengthen my magic power, it was nowhere enough to summon such a powerful spirit. The last time I tried I got light headed and almost passed out, and he was here for such a short time that he could do nothing meaningful, be it fight or do some other task. Our pact was wasted on me, and yet here he was talking to me. I thought we both knew there was nothing he could do to fight alongside me.
(Now, don’t be like that. I didn’t say you should summon all of me. I can always lend you a fraction of my power. I’m sure that would be enough to get you out of this situation.)
Mentioning the rewards while hiding the risks was a common manipulative tactic. His words reeked of scam, but I could not afford to complain right now, the demon had just finished chanting and was about to unleash her spell.
(Argh okay! I have on clue what you’re going on about, but if you can help then do it already!)
(Good. I’ll grant you a fraction of my power then, use it however you wish!)
I heard a loud heartbeat in my chest. Chills ran through my body while powerful spiritual magic unlike anything I had felt before coursed through my veins. The presence of spirits of wind and water I usually felt around me turned dimmer, while that of earth spirits grew stronger. At the same time, my body was covered in brown armor. It looked sturdy like that a knight would wear, while also being light like the chainmail of goodwilled priests. All of it had been formed by many low ranking earth spirits that gathered around me.
The demon stared dumbfounded at the sudden change. She quickly recovered and finally launched the flaming spear she summoned. It flew straight at me, but then it dispersed like it was just a breeze.
“W-what happened? You took a direct hit but it didn’t even leave a scratch?!”
It was a demon I was fighting, her spells were far more powerful than those a common adventurer used. But there had been little to no effect, the spirit armor had blocked it entirely and I was unharmed. I had not even felt the heat from the flames.
(Yes, it’s the spirit armor only a few magicians can use. It’ll fully protect you from attacks, both physical and magical, unless they are extremely powerful, and it strengthens your own physical abilities. Though the more you use it the more mana it drains.)
As Sol explained that, I could feel the armor sucking away mana from my body. I had no time to waste celebrating my new power. I quickly readjusted my grip on my dagger and faced the demon again.
“I think we’ve played around long enough, it’s time to settle this!”
“Don’t get cocky now! I’ll make you eat your words!”
She figured no magic attacks would harm me, so she raised her sword high and rushed towards me trying to split my head in two. Because my physical abilities were enhanced by the armor, her movements seemed much slower than before. I didn’t even have to dodge, instead I simply swung my left arm and knocked the blade away.
She looked discouraged seeing her desperate attack be deflected. I did not let that opening go to waste, swinging my right hand next, which drew a long arc with my blade.
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My blade easily went through her left arm, then dug into her torso and eventually severed her body in two. Still trying to comprehend what happened, the demon fell lifelessly on the ground.
“Ah…that was a close call. Huh, wait..?”
I barely started celebrating my victory when my legs gave out and I fell on my knees. The spirit armor vanished in the blink of an eye and I could barely move my body.
I started freaking out trying to comprehend what was happening to my body, but then Sol’s carefree voice rang in my head.
(Using a powerful force will drain you of energy. I guess that’s as long as you can use that armor for now.)
I felt like shouting, why did no one tell me first! But I did not have enough strength left. My head felt drowsy, my eyes struggling to stay open as everything went dark.
(Well, you’ve slain your foe, so rest now. I’m sure your friends will clean up the rest.)
(You really don’t seem to worry about anything…but I guess you have a point…)
I had accomplished my part of the mission, and like Sol said, Lapis and the rest would definitely get rid of the remaining demons. While I felt it was irresponsible to do so, I gave in to my sleepiness and decided to rest.