The Black Demon King
Chapter 23: Holy Maiden of Helvetia
Episode 441: An Encroaching Nightmare (2)
“I’d like to open a road ahead.”
“I can do something about that right away.”
When I asked to try something, I got a quick OK from him.
The first move to break through this wall of Armor Knights needed to be quick enough to not allow a counterattack. I knew I could manage to do that to an extent, but I also knew that it would certainly be easier with Rudra’s help.
“That’ll do, thanks.”
“Leave it to me.”
I didn’t know what Rudra would do, and Rudra had no way to predict how I’d go about defeating that priest, who was heavily protected by that barrier of Holy Water.
Still, he and I had seriously placed our lives on the line. It seemed that we had absolute confidence in each other’s abilities, which was why I asked him without hesitation and Rudra gave me an immediate reply in return. Just with this short exchange we had, I could feel a strange sense of trust between us.
“Let’s go– Crimson Slash.”
A scarlet blade instantly stretched from his hand, with a natural movement that flowed out without doing any sound. It seemed to be a sword art with the same principle as my “Akanagi”, where a cursed weapon would turn the blood it had absorbed into a blade.
That technique was the one Rudra used against me during our match, but now it seemed to be faster and sharper than that time.
I could see that the cursed sword in his hand that should have been red as blood, now it had changed into a jet-black sword. It must have evolved since the last time I saw it. The terrible vibes I got from that blade made me think that it wasn’t just its color that had changed.
“Mmm, what a big girl he’s got with him, Master! Not as big as myself, though!”
What’s this reaction, treating swords as girls? Are you jealous of that sword? Comparing yourself to it is pointless, I think.
While I was having this pointless inner conversation with Hitsugi, Rudra seemed to have finished his part already.
There was only one Armor Knight lying in front of me.
“Gwooooohhh!!! My leeeeg!!”
He was screaming and rolling on the ground, but I couldn’t laugh at his unsightliness. His left ankle had been cut cleanly through his armor, flesh, and bones alike, leaving only bits of skin and metal behind.
No matter how strong a man was, he wouldn’t be able to stand after being slashed to that extent. Apparently, Rudra had used his “Crimson Blade” with the idea of leaving these knights incapacitated on the ground instead of delivering a deadly blow from the start.
Avoiding a sweeping slash from his bloody sword would have been a near-impossible task.
Regardless of that, Rudra had done a great job fulfilling his part. Now there was no one standing between me and the priest.
In the next moment, the remaining Armor Knights would use their well-trained teamwork to quickly fill in the holes and strike back at us. But this small chance Rudra had created was enough for me.
“Sword Arts – Blast Blade!”
The halberds dropped by the Armor Knights I slashed through in order to get here had already been picked by Hitsugi and had the red-hot blackening applied to them.
Hitsugi’s tentacles audaciously held the halberds aloft, and then threw them all forward at the same time with a seemingly dispossessed movement. A straight shot directed the priest, who quickly developed the Holy Water flowing in front of him into a dome in an effort to fortify his defenses.
Along Hitsugi’s enthusiastic battle cry, a large black and red explosion erupted just like before. It had struck true, and all of the firepower stored in the halberds was released instantly in the explosion.
“Hmph, it’s useless. An attack of this magnitude cannot break through my Holy Crystal Geyser.”
A calm and collected voice could be heard from the other side of the thick black smoke that had enshrouded him. The face of that handsome bespectacled priest came to mind.
Well, even without that watery barrier around, the Armor Knights would have been able to withstand that explosion. Even if the infantry were to scatter about, it wouldn’t have been able to clear the way of those shield-bearing knights unless it had been a direct hit.
So the plan with this “Blast Blade” was simply to dampen the effects of that barrier from the start.
That had just been the entrance. Now was the time for the main course.
I threw the Haunted Grave on my right hand as high as I could. It cut through the air as it spun at a high speed like a rotary saw.
While leaving an eerie black afterimage, it created a cursed melody that not only echoed high in the sky, but also made everyone’s hair stand on end. A desperate dissonance, like a woman’s screams being heard repeatedly, passed through the ears, echoing inside the brain, and shaking the very soul.
Among this sensation, a certain tremor was transmitted from “Kubidan” in my left hand. That proved that “Grudge Resonance” could be activated properly if I could make it sing, even if attacked by throwing Haunted Grave.
However, it wouldn’t be the leading actor for this part of the play.
What I called forth from the Shadow Gate was the “Gluttonous Fang Sword – Evil Eater” which had undergone a splendid evolution after my battle against Lust Rose. Even though it had evolved, its handle hadn’t changed, and I grasped it firmly with my free right hand– No, both Hitsugi and I grasped it together.
“Take a bite– Hungry Wolf’s Sprint.”
“Come on, you heinous doggy! Let’s go!!”
Holding the “Evil Eater” in a backhand grip, we threw it straight forward like a javelin.
The blade started to split from its tip towards its middle section like a giant pair of scissors, opening up into something resembling the jaws of a hungry wolf as it dashed through the air. The speed it was picking up was not just a result of the strength we threw it with.
The sword itself was certainly full of an intention to eat its prey. Having been unleashed from my hands, it must have felt like it had returned to the wilderness.
However, even though I had let go of the sword, it was still firmly attached to my wrist by a chain.
The “Evil Eater” plunged into the curtain of smoke that had erupted right in front of that barrier of Holy Water.
“Now! Eat up!!”
A voice imitating that of a small girl playing with her dog in the park echoed pleasantly inside my brain…
But what filled my ears the next moment were the heartbreaking screams of that unsightly man.
Apparently, “Evil Eater” had successfully broken through the barrier of Holy Water after having its magic-eating abilities enhanced by the “Grudge Resonance”. After all, “Evil Eater” was the way to go when it came to breaking through defensive magic.
That instruction had not only been for Hitsugi, but also for the Haunted Grave I had thrown high up into the sky a few moments ago.
With a precise timing, the naginata trapped in the yoke of gravity fell straight down.
It returned to the shadow at my feet created by Dimension Magic, beautifully retracing its own trajectory and momentum as if its throwing had been played in reverse. Retrieval complete.
“Yes! Come on, doggy, let’s come back!”
And Hitsugi, who had successfully caught the priest, started to return as well.
Contrary to her soft words, the Bind Arts’ black chains coiled around Evil Eater’s handle were pulled back with tremendous momentum. The metallic sound of the chains rubbing against each other resonated violently as if it were the rattling of an iron snake.
Then, breaking through the curtain of black smoke that still remained, the priest was pulled right before my feet, his body pitifully caught into the blade after having become prey to the hungry wolf.
His torso had been sandwiched between Evil Eater’s scissor-like jaw. Its jagged edges, which were as big and sharp as the fangs of a giant beast, dug into his flesh so deeply that no matter how much he struggled, he wouldn’t escape from its grasp so easily. Rather, it was more likely that struggling would result in his body being torn in half.
The overflowing fresh blood not only polluted his white robe, but also spattered vigorously and scattered in the air. The once-elegant looking priest was now but a miserable shade of his past self.
Without a single thought of sympathy or compassion, I placed my hand over the priest’s body. After leaving Evil Eater under Hitsugi’s care, I grabbed the priest by the collar with my right hand.
“Ah, i-it hurts… G-God… Gaah…”
Having fallen victim of the wicked jaws of the cursed blade, the priest prayed to God with a fierce anguish in his face, almost stripped of his consciousness.
At this point, it was clear that he no longer had the energy or means to fight back. He had already let go of his spellbook, and his unarmed hands just hung down powerlessly.
“Would you be able to recover some of your strength if you sucked this guy’s blood?”
He was close to death, but still alive nonetheless. It occurred to me that a vampire could recover by sipping the blood of someone who was still alive, so I asked Rudra before finishing him off. It would work as a substitute for my High Potions, since the usual restorative medicine wouldn’t work on the undead.
Rudra looked a little surprised, and then immediately laughed and replied.
“Sorry, I have a reason for staying away from blood.”
He seemed to be so weakened, though… I had heard that vampires didn’t need to consume human blood every day in order to survive, but… Could they survive while refusing to consume blood altogether?
“Instead, let’s offer the blood of a saint to my princess.”
At that moment, a jet-black blade pierced the priest’s chest.
Rudra’s cursed black sword in his hand stabbed the priest’s body from the back. It was clear that he had gone through his heart due to the tip of his blade protruding from the left side of the priest’s chest.
The sword pulsated as if to drown out even the priest’s painful moaning. Perhaps it had literally started sucking blood from him, because the jet-black blade gradually became reddish as if it had been heated, and lastly it began to emit a crimson glow.
And the next moment, the priest’s body… Withered.
It was as if he had become fifty years older in a matter of three seconds. As he wandered in the border between life and death, his barely reddish face instantly faded into deep wrinkles and a creepy earthen color. His young and nice-looking facial features, which hinted that had been in twenties or even in his late teens, had withered into those of an old man who died after suffering from an intractable disease.
Anyone who knew him would probably not be able to recognize him by looking at this corpse.
“A Life Drain, huh…”
“Umm, something like that.”
Rudra pulled out his sword from the dead priest’s near-mummified corpse, replying like it was nothing special, and with a flowing movement, put it back in its scabbard without cleaning off the blood from its blade.
After he was done sucking his blood, I released the priest’s obsolete body. Just in case, I cut off his head and kicked it away, just like I had done with the red-haired man. He would not come back to life even if a miracle of God happened.
“Gardan is fighting over there, do you think you could help him?”
Taking a quick look at his appearance, this man named Gardan seemed one of the Fahren bandits who were hired as mercenaries like Rudra and that skinhead adventurer —Zack, was it?
The fact that those three people have gathered here must have been a direct effect of the Black God’s guidance.
“I was planning to do that from the start.”
I had decided to help as many people as I could.
Let’s rescue that guy quickly so I can return to taking care of that barrier girl.