The Black Demon King
Chapter 24: The Battle of Holy Night
Episode 467 Element Masters VS Sariel (2)
In the deserted land of Purgatory, black and white blades continued to clash against one another.
The tip of her spear, which surged like a flash of light, was pointed at my defenseless body. Although the constantly active “Oracle Field” caught the stab for a moment, Sariel’s Martial Art, which hit almost critically, pierced through my defense of light.
Sariel’s [Thrust], which bestowed a strong penetrating force on her shining blade, exploded violently and directly onto my captivating and well defined female body’s abdominal area.
However, the dark grey aura that I unleashed stopped the thrust of light. My second blessing had managed to block the Apostle’s Martial Art.
That successful block made it possible for me to immediately counterattack with my strongest Martial Art. With that in mind, I took a deliberately defenseless stance, holding my sword above my head.
I then brought down my [Absolute Grudge Broadsword – Kubidan] with both hands as a roaring dark aura was emanating from it.
As usual, Sariel didn’t change her facial expression at all, even before the cursed blade that was approaching her, probably perhaps she was still in the middle of the momentaneous stiffening cause after using a Martial Art.
That was her only reaction. She dodged my attack by simply taking a step back. After all, her speed was out of this world.
When I noticed, she had already gotten out of the way of my blade, and the entirety of my “Dark Calm” ended up wasted as it hit the discolored ground of Purgatory, even though I had gone through the trouble to use “Over-Gear” and risk a full force frontal counterattack…
And then, I was left in a position where my blade was sunk into the ground with all my strength, leaving me with an unintentionally deadly opening. Missing a counterattack had only left me at an even worse disadvantage.
However, though I would have otherwise expected to hear Sariel say [Thrust], that was not what happened.
“–Hungry Wolf Dash!”
A wolf in chains appeared out of the ground with a powerful leap that was reminiscent of that of a flying fish. The [Evil Eater]’s fangs were heading straight for Sariel’s back.
Back when I was preparing my counterattack, Lily was getting the same combo technique that I had used to bring Linfelt down, by using [See-Through Ground] to hide [Gluttony Fang Sword – Evil Eater].
Despite the attack’s almost perfect timing, Sariel reacted to it as if it was no big deal.
With a twist of her tiny body, Sariel kicked the [Evil Eater] away as it opened itself up like a hungry wolf’s maw. The heel of her white boots slammed into the belly of the blade as if she had kicked the tip of a wolf’s nose.
The kicked [Evil Eater] fell tragically on the ground, lifting up a cloud of dust. Before I could bring it back to my hand using my Bind Arts, the faster Sariel was already on me once again.
“I won’t let you– Lux Fortis Sagitta!”
It was risky to meet Sariel head-on like that, but either way Lily caused a huge pillar of light to drop in front of me. If she had gotten any closer without hesitation, Sariel would have been swallowed whole by the raging torrent of the beam.
Of course, that didn’t happen because Sariel suddenly stopped her assault by completely killing the momentum she had generated during her dash.
I took that opportunity to open some distance between me and Sariel. As [Evil Eater] returned to my hand, I could almost swear I heard it lament itself.
“Damn it, we’re getting nowhere fast.”
A mere three minutes had passed, and we had just finished a single round. And I had already played most of the cards in my hand.
Though I could hardly say there was any other way I could seriously stand up to an Apostle.
The effect of “Exelion” was to combine Lily and I into a single being while having access to all of our combined powers, that is, to concentrate our abilities into a single point. The power that resided in this body wasn’t just about sharing access to each others’ spells, but also helping with skill activation, and having each of our own already huge magical powers added to each other.
That’s why it would be okay to keep using Demon King Blessings over and over without hesitation. Of course, I was already used to doing that to some extent. But with this body, their activation time was reduced to the absolute minimum, and they cost less magical power to activate.
However, by using them over and over, we were risking exposing their secrets to Sariel. Though at this point she probably already had a pretty good idea about how Demon King Blessings worked.
The strength to oppose an Apostle’s power head-on, the defensive power to defend even against Martial Arts, and the reflexes to see through any dangerous attacks. And all of them shared the flaw that they absolutely could not be activated at the same time by any means.
There was a chance she might be able to read my next move. Still, I had no choice but to use it. With it, I would be finally able to compete with Sariel’s physical ability on an equal footing.
“Let’s settle this right here and right now.”
That’s what Lily whispered into my ear as her ethereal body vaguely appeared next to me.
“Guess we don’t have much of a choice, do we?”
“We’ll be fine. Sariel should be exhausted as well.”
“That’d be nice.”
Being an area that hinders the White God’s Blessings, this “Inferno Fall” would be putting a greater burden on Sariel than usual.
An Apostle could draw out magical power infinitely, but the human body had its limitations. By continuing to use too much magical power, their bodies would eventually begin to wear out. That’s why a strategy where 10,000 soldiers would be sent out to tire out a single Apostle actually existed.
Therefore, I could guess that Sariel was exerting an aura of white magical power in order to maintain her usual ability in this Purgatory.
Looking at her expressionless face that looked more like a mask that wouldn’t reveal even a single drop of sweat on it made me wonder if that aura really worked.
However, there was nothing I could do about it this late into the game. We had combined our powers and set up the best strategy we could muster. All the preparations for that were complete. All we had to do was run along the path to victory we had paved without hesitation.
I had to trust in my… no, our strength.
“Let’s go, Kurono!”
Sariel made her move one beat before I had taken a single step forward with my [Kubidan] and [Evil Eater] in each hand.
“–[Lux Force Blast]”
A pillar of light twice as thick as Lily’s was unleashed from Sariel’s small palm. It seemed that she even surpassed us in terms of long-ranged spells.
As that huge torrent of white light approached, I took off with my wings out of my own volition, without letting Lily know first. Being united, flying came as naturally to me as walking. I was sure that this feeling of being able to fly freely in the sky would be completely lost once our transformation ended.
It was easy for me to fly out of its way, but this was the second time I was showing Sariel I could fly. And because she had predicted I would do that, she quickly raised her hand, effortlessly redirecting her attack even though it was still being fired at full force. The beam of white light dazzled as it cut through the burning crimson sky of Purgatory.
“–That was close!”
I barely managed to dodge her scorching anti-air attack. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the incredible mobility granted by these fairy wings. The tip of one of my wings got a little charred, but I just pretended it didn’t count.
It was at this time that I had the chance to turn my body towards the ground and prepare for a dive bombing attack.
I was already right above Sariel. But before I even finished processing what she had just said, Sariel had already started running in midair.
I was certain that even absolute masters of the [Sonic Walker] skill could only manage to take one or two steps into the air.
I had been taught that it would be normally used to take big leaps in mid-air with the limited numbers of extra steps it granted, much like a double or triple jump ability… But Sariel was, by all means, running upwards as if going up an invisible wall.
Her speed wasn’t anything I could match with offensive magic. I had to use my two swords and take her on in close quarters.
“Double Black Calm!”
“Star Sword – Antares!”
Red, white, and black blades clashed against each other fifty meters above the ground.
Sariel’s cross-shaped spear, sprinting from directly below, skillfully repelled my double-strike, parrying it completely.
Immediately afterwards, she simply took a side step as if kicking that same invisible wall to avoid Lily’s force edge, which had been swung to mow down across Sariel’s torso.
With another step, she managed to get above me. It was as if she was laughing at the fact that I was proud about my newfound ability to fly.
The moment I noticed the slight sigh coming out of Sariel’s mouth, I gave up on my counterattack and devoted myself to defense. However, all I could do was cross both of my swords in front of my chest.
Immediately after that came a powerful slam. Although her spear looked thin and brittle, it roared through the sky and swung down on me, which reminded me of the Fulltune Taurus hammer attack we took that same morning.
After taking the full brunt of Sariel’s frontal slam, I came crashing down into the scorching grounds of Purgatory as I had been some kind of sinner being sentenced to spend all of eternity there to atone for my crimes.
My consciousness vanished for a split second.
The next thing I saw was the infinite red sky. It appeared that my body had already fallen to the ground.
My body was a bit sunk into the ground. There were some big cracks around the area where I fell, and some rugged red stones were scattered around.
However, the reason I felt almost no damage to my body itself wasn’t because I had been rendered paralyzed by a severe injury, but because Lily eased my descent, protecting me from harm.
Though it was still early to thank her.
After hearing Lily’s strained shout, I felt a white shiver for the third time.
My black and green eyes clearly caught Sariel, who was trapped in the yoke of gravity and had started her descent lightly, pointing the tip of her spear straight down, fifty meters above the ground.
The most terrifying thing was that even from that distance, I could feel the enormous magical power that was rapidly being focused on the tip of her blade as it started to shine in silver, as if preparing itself to slay a demon.
Sariel was falling completely upside down, in such a way that it had no consideration about making a safe landing. But right before the end, she kicked off the air and repositioned herself into an upright vertical stance.
Her falling speed, which resulted from the added momentum of her kicking into the air and the gravitational acceleration, was far too much for me to try to get up and dodge her.
Given that tremendous magical power, I definitely didn’t want to take that hit. I didn’t want to take it, but… I had no choice but to try to block it as much as I could.
“Oracle Field – Full Power!”
Both Lily and I braced ourselves for impact with the strongest defensive abilities we had.
I felt as if I had only managed to hear the name of her Martial Art after everything had happened.
The Apostle’s blade had pierced through my chest.
The tip of Sariel’s spear had crushed the shining Oracle Field, broke past my dark gray defensive aura, and pierced through the blade of [Kubidan] –which I had set up as a last defense, before digging into my flesh.
With the momentum rising from the back of my throat, blood fiercely spewed out from my mouth like a geyser. As my own blood droplets clouded my vision, I was convinced. I had endured it. It wasn’t a deadly wound.
And I was even more convinced that if I was still alive, I could still fight. And there was no better time to strike than the present.
The moment I called out the name of that noisy girl in my mind signaled time where I had played the ace up my sleeve.
“Yes! Leave it to me, Masteeeeeeeer!!”
Even though her voice was still only in my head, it echoed like a shrill as she manifested herself.
Yes, even after we fell into this Purgatory, and even after “Exelion” proved to be a success, Hitsugi had been hiding and waiting. All so that she could use a certain magic spell.
“Underworld Secret Binding Technique! [Hydra Bind]!”
Shaking the scorching earth, giant black snakes began to emerge from the ground as if crawling out of a bottomless swamp.
They were about 30 meters long, close enough to be comparable to Greed Gore in length alone. Each of them were also thick enough to gulp down a whole person and possessed an eerily shining black, smooth body surface made up of countless fibers tied together that closely resembled hair, rather than scales.
Their swaying, raised heads had no eyes or nose, and their only feature was a huge gaping hole for a mouth, which resembled a bottomless pit, and a pitch black swirling tongue coming out of it.
There were a total of nine of such repulsive giant snakes.
Both the Hydra of Greek mythology and the Hydra that existed in this world as a Rank 5 monster had nine heads. The fact that the “Hydra” conjured up by Hitsugi consisted of just as many snakes wasn’t because I wanted to match those other Hydras, but instead was simply derived from a trade-off between number and body size.
These nine snakes were born from Origin Magic that specialized in restraint, a result created by mixing [Bind Arts] with the magic enhancing ability of [Exelion]. That was [Hydra Bind].
Even Sariel’s first instinct upon seeing all those giant tentacle-snakes eager to catch her come out of nowhere would have been to try to get out of their way.
“I won’t let you escape –Stop her, [Evil Eater]!”
With a sharp metallic sound, the hungry wolf bit into the spear that had been stuck into my chest.
The [Evil Eater], which had been laid over my [Kubidan] that I had used as a shield, closed its jaws tightly around Sariel’s cross spear, right in the intersection of the speartip and the base of the handle.
Sariel’s power could be overtaken with all of my strength, but I would only be able to match hers for a brief moment.
The crimson aura that embodied my first blessing swelled up inside my body, affecting not only my arms but the jaw strength of my [Evil Eater], which groaned as it held its grip on its hated prey after having finally locked its jaw around its neck. The scissors-shaped blade spouted a red aura vigorously, as if it were on fire.
A slight instant passed until Sariel realized that she couldn’t pull it out and had to let go of her spear. That momentary gap was enough for Hitsugi to fully unleash her “Hydra Bind”.
As if to catch a frog sitting on a stone, one of the snakes snatched Sariel from above my body at an incredibly high speed.
It seemed that the snake’s mouth had managed to swallow Sariel whole, but shortly afterwards, a blade of light sprang up from the tightly closed jaws. She must have used her [Kris Sagitta] to set herself free.
However, it didn’t seem enough to completely cut through the highly concentrated magical power that made up the snake’s body, and the speed at which her shining blade advanced was rather slow. It seemed to have taken her a lot of effort to deal with just one of them. How long would it take her to deal with the remaining eight ones?
Twisting and turning, the unpleasantly wriggling eight giants rushed with mouths gaping open towards Sariel, who was still busy with the first snake. Their momentum seemed to show that more than trying to eat her alive, they were trying to simply crush her under their weight in order to restrain her.
“Let’s go, Lily! This is it, let’s put everything we’ve got into it!”
I forcibly pulled out Sariel’s spear, which had been pierced quite deeply into my chest, along my [Evil Eater].
Fortunately, using [Physical Compensation] to instantly close the wound was enough to keep me going.
However, the Ancient Velvet dress wouldn’t immediately return to its original state since the fabric had been heavily torn at the spot where I got stabbed. The shock of me standing up, turning around quickly and starting to run finally made it lose its ability to cover these huge breasts.
My unnecessarily disturbing big breasts spilled out from my torn dress. The whiteness and smoothness of the skin, and above all, their lascivious motion as they softly bounced, completely captivated my eyes… Not.
“Ugh… Time’s almost up, huh?”
After I finished sprinting, I felt clear signs of fatigue in my body. As Lily said, since it was meant to focus all of our magical powers into one point, this was proof that the magical power in this form was starting to run dry.
I ran only for a few seconds, covering a distance of about 100 meters.
“We should be good at this distance. Besides, we don’t have much time left.”
“Yeah, we’ll settle things here.”
Although my big breasts were completely exposed, I was not ashamed to let them float free while throwing my hands up to the sky.
I had to focus. As Lily began to charge up a magical technique into this body, I also began to build up magical power.
I had to feel it. A technique to draw an artistically beautiful pattern drawn by Lily. The flow of magical power. Black, white, red, green, orange, and purple, colorfully shining lines ran toward one point in a systematic, yet intricately intertwined pattern.
And beyond that was the darkness, which was directly contrary to the colorful beauty drawn by the technique. It was a huge black mass swirling with chaos.
“Wait just three more seconds!”
Only three seconds, but a full three seconds nonetheless. They couldn’t come any sooner, or any slower for that matter.
Would the spell be finished first? Or would Sariel set herself free from the snakes that restrained her?
When I looked in her direction, I noticed a dazzling white light was leaking from the seams of the “Hydra Bind,” which was still bunched up together trapping Sariel underneath.
Its brilliance increased at an accelerating rate. It seemed as if a huge clam was about to open up, revealing a brilliantly beautiful Venus.
“–[Ala Lux – Aegis]”
Then, the wicked Hydra jaws were extinguished by the wings of white light.
An angel. I didn’t want to believe it, but I couldn’t help but to be reminded of an angel by this Apostle’s wings. Sariel had large, shining wings on her back, more than twice as large as Nell’s white wings.
The wings spreaded widely, crumbling the otherwise tough heads of the Hydras as if acid had been poured over them.
Sariel jhad finally released herself from her restraints using the wings of an angel. It was at this very last moment, just before Lily and I could unleash the magic spell that we had been preparing, where Sariel would use those wings to fly to the heavens and escape.
…Or maybe not. Those wings of light were simply defensive magic. Lily had once witnessed this when she rescued me after losing to Sariel back in Daedalus. That memory had vividly arrived in my mind as if it had been my own.
Whether using them to avoid or block our attack, as long as the absolute defense of those wings surpassed the level of our advanced Model Magic, there was a high chance that she would be able to endure the powerful shot Lily and I had been preparing with all of our might.
But we wouldn’t let that happen.
“Now’s the time to shine! [Amethyst Gaze]!!”
A faint purple light was unleashed from one of the crumbling Hydras.
An evil-looking bright purple eye emerged from the head that had lost its lower jaw, but not on its right or left eye, but right between its eyebrows.
I had used them up to defeat Greed Gore, but I obtained two more eyes during the “Curse Carnival”. I have only one more of those Hydra’s evil eyes, [Amethyst Gaze].
I had entrusted the cursed evil eye, which was difficult for me to handle, to Hitsugi, just in case something went wrong with the plan to restrain Sariel.
How would the angel-like Sariel look when reflected on the eyes of Saeed, who died after being deceived by a woman?
I had no way to understand how he felt, but I was sure he was staring straight and intently with that terrifying evil eye of his.
The poisonous purple radiance engulfed Sariel in a single flash.
Sariel was still expressionless, but groaned a little.
She was being completely swallowed up by the cursed crystallizing beams of light. I knew for myself just how painful that was.
Sariel folded her shining wings so as to cover her entire body, but… It would be useless resistance. The curse erosion magic started taking effect immediately.
The white light was gradually transformed into amethyst starting from the most irradiated parts. No matter what kind of magic had created those wings, the cursed purple light would unmistakably force a materialization on them.
So, wings made of wax would melt from the intense heat of the sun’s rays, but how far would those amethyst wings allow her to fly?
“But she can’t fly, Kurono.”
“No, she can’t… Okay, Seventh Apostle Sariel… Time to die.”
The promised three seconds had already passed.
This body was on the verge of collapse, and even then I felt so exhausted that it made me feel that the fusion with Lily would end even before that, but the ultimate attack magic that we had been working on was finally completed.
It was time. Time for Sariel to take that which Lily and I had created to kill her.
A black star began to fall from the sky. Its name was…