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Black Demon King 513

Reunion with my Best Friend

“Do your best to hold your ground! If we let them pass, it’ll be the end of us!”

Like the epitome of a heavy-armored knight, Ryan powerfully swung his halberd and took down the swarm of octopuses.

Beyond the main gate of the Alsatian Fortress castle, inside the vast entrance hall, a fierce close-combat battle between humans and octopuses unfolded.

Only about fifteen minutes ago, the sturdy steel castle gate was melted by Acid Breath, and not long after, small and medium-sized octopuses began to flood the castle.

In that short amount of time, a force consisting of both crusaders and vigilantes solidified their defense line, resulting in a mountain of green corpses. At the moment, three breakthroughs had been reported. As a result, the vigilantes—the supposed reservist—had to be sent to the front line.

The vigilantes, burning with a sense of mission to reclaim their village, had much higher morale than the unskilled infantry, and put up a braver fight than expected.

Ryan, the vigilante leader of the 202nd Colony, became the leader.

“Hey, you there—! The support has weakened—! What are you doing—!? Fire—!

“Hey, Ryan, I’m the commander, so stop skipping orders as you please—Slash!”

“Shut up, four-eyed bean sprouts. Because you and your subordinates are pathetic, we have to take charge—Break!”

The powerful martial arts of the two heavy-armored knights obliterated the approaching mass of octopuses.

Ryan—the vigilante commander—wielded a halberd, while Cliff, the commander of the squadron, wielded a Zweihander.

The front-line defense was led by the two, who had oil and water relationships.

The octopuses, who crawled along the wall and to the ceiling, were fought by the two. Due to their fearless display of might, they were able to put up a decent fight despite their not so perfect formation.

—And a strong vanguard that fend off the enemy received better support from the safe rearguard.

In fact, the octopuses that rushed after the two were immediately met by a salvo of Ignis Sagitta from the mage unit behind them.

Despite the fact that many of the octopuses were reduced to ashes by the rain of fire, the mage unit wasn’t the deadliest one there.

“Disperse—Full Burst!”

The small murmur reached even Ryan and Cliff, who were in the front line.

Yes, it originated from where the octopuses had invaded, looking for a place to go.

Amidst the horde of monsters, stood a single white figure.

From the soft contour alone, it could be seen that it was a woman. Her long, wavy, black hair swayed in the breeze. However, despite her beautiful back, everyone was aware that she was anything but a human.

—For it was none other than a translucent, humanoid-shaped entity purely made by fog.

With a height that far exceeded two meters, the group of octopuses crawling on the floor made her look even taller.

Ursula, the spellcaster, named that entity the White Yaksha Princess Anastasia.

After throwing herself into the whirlpool of enemies, she continued to slay countless monsters.

“The herd has thinned out! The injured should retreat now!”

Every time Ursula unleashed a mighty blow, a large number of octopuses would disappear in an instant. The tremendous, yet instantaneous firepower created a temporary gap in the seemingly endless wave of enemies.

Ursula’s lone struggle was the biggest reason why they were able to hold out in the face of the rampage.

As soon as the signal of battle arrived, Ursula rushed in on her own. Of course, Ryan tried to stop her. However, Ursula was fast. After slipping past Ryan, she separated herself from the vanguard.

Once she was in the middle of the crowd of enemies, it was physically impossible to retrieve her. As a result, Ryan was forced to let Ursula behave as she pleased. Despite her unreasonableness, she still provided an excellent line of defenses. However, that was extremely painful for both Ryan and Cliff to admit, because they were supposed to be the adults in charge.

“—The enemy has weakened! Raise your spirit! Knock them all the way out to the outside of the castle!”

As soon as he saw the opportunity, Ryan signaled everyone to charge.

“Like I said, don’t give orders without permission!”

With Ryan and Cliff at the forefront, the mixed forces switched to counterattack.

In order to support those who boldly charged forward, the rearguard also rained down flaming arrows at precise timing. The moment a crimson shower flashed at the entrance, Ryan and the others quickly rushed to the position where Ursula fought by her lonesome.

“Hey, Ursula! This foolish girl! Doing whatever she pleases!”

“…I’m sorry.”

Finally arriving beside Ursula, Ryan could only show a bitter expression when he heard her apologize. Had it been one of his subordinates, he’d punch them on spot. However, because he was aware of how she felt, he couldn’t outright get angry at her.

“C’mon, give me a break. If something happens to you, the priest will surely kill me.”

“I’m sorry.”

Ursula apologized once again—

—this time, it felt more sincere.

“Don’t fight in the front anymore. But please lend us your support.”

“Understood.”

Then, the battle resumed once more.

However, thanks to the support of both the mages and Ursula, it didn’t take long to overturn the situation. Even more so when not a single reinforcement came from the enemy. As such, it didn’t take long to destroy the invading octopuses.

“Is that… all of them? Are they seriously gone?”

“Yes, it appears to be so.”

Ryan and Cliff stepped over the mass of green flesh that spread all over the floor and looked at the other side of the main gate. More than half of the gate itself had melted down and transformed into a mere hole.

Ursula seemed to be concerned about the sudden shift in the situation, and secretly stood right behind them, quietly staring at what was beyond the white fog.

“Did we win?”

“No, according to what the priest told us, if the enemy suddenly pulls back—”

—At that time, the silence ceased.

—Dooon!

Ryan’s words were interrupted by a loud thump.

At the same time, a gust of wind blew through with a tremendous force.

“What!? What is it all of the sudden!?”

Half-surprised and half-cursing, Ryan reflexively lowered his tower shield and looked ahead.

Due to the powerful wind, some of the fog in the surrounding area had been dispersed, expanding the field of vision by several dozen meters.

Having said that, all they could see was a part of the plaza where the inorganic stone pavement went on to the inside of the fortress, while the enemy was nowhere to be seen.

“Wha—hey, what’s that!?”

While there were no enemies, they spotted the figure of an ally.

Until just before the gust of wind, the area was empty.

Everyone could see a small figure lying limply in front of the main gate.

“S-Sister Yuri!?”

Ursula exclaimed at the fallen figure.

It was none other than Sister Yuri in her familiar monk attire.

She laid motionless on the stone pavement.

Her large, wimple hood had been blown away, revealing her long, flaxen hair.

In her hand, only a silver and emerald rapier that was broken in two could be seen.

Her appearance gave the impression of a courageous yet noble nun who—though fragile, fought bravely against the enemy of God until the very end. Just by looking at the collapsed figure of Sister Yuri gave a tragic and moving impression. However, Ursula was purely concerned about her safety.

Ursula dug into the magical pouch Kuroe had bestowed upon her, looking for potions. But when Ursula approached Sister Yuri—

“—Don’t come any closer, Ursula.”

Contrary to her quiet voice, Sariel’s limbless body jumped on the spot as if a switch had been flipped.

With the impact of her landing, she discarded her broken sword and landed with only a left arm. As if trying to crush her, a squid with its tentacles spread landed at the spot where she once was.

Since Kuroe had cut off two of its tentacles, there were only four left. While the remaining tentacles were only around two meters long, they were tough and sharp.

Along with the gurgling sound of water, the sharp-tipped tentacles pierced the stone pavement. Sparks flew, along with a high-pitched sound.

Sariel, who had evaded by rolling on the ground, quietly pulled out her rapier and waited.

“…”

Sariel shifted her gaze to the side, and confirmed that Ursula hadn’t rushed out.

However, from the look on her face, it was apparent that she had seen what was contained within the squid—

—Reki’s corpse.

Ursula’s blue eyes went wide as her small mouth flapped—probably calling her best friend’s name—

—or was it a word of escape that denied reality?

Either way, even Sariel—who didn’t care about human emotions, could see that the apprentice sister, who was still young in both body and mind, couldn’t be allowed to deal with that enemy.

Above all, she had already told Kuroe—

—She had told Kuroe to leave Reki’s body to her.

Sariel couldn’t lie.

Therefore, she always did as she said.

She had to somehow defeat the opponent without causing any bodily harm to Reki. Considering that both her limbs and magic rapier were missing, that’d be too severe a restriction—even for Sariel.

However, it wasn’t impossible.

“…I’ll retrieve Reki’s body.”

After leaving those words to Ursula, Sariel completely focused on the battle.

“—Fuh.”

After a gasp, Sariel moved. Despite having no legs and no support from wind magic, her movement as she closed the gap was that of a first-class swordsman.

The propulsion source was—as expected, her left arm—the only part she had left.

While holding her sword in her mouth, she fell on her front as if crawling on her stomach. Then, she extended her unoccupied hand, letting her fingers rest on the slight unevenness of the stone pavement.

After that, she pushed her arm with all her might and flew.

Although the principle itself seemed simple, what made it possible was Sariel’s superhuman strength and sense of balance.

Transforming into a white cannonball, Sariel charged towards the squid.

Meanwhile, the squid was still wriggling, as if to determine which one was the enemy.

The distance, which was more than 10 meters, became zero in less than a second.

In the meantime, the once bitten sword had moved to her hand.

A flash of white passed over the squid’s triangular head.

Losing another of its remaining tentacles, the squid writhed and shrieked. It tried to chase after its attacker, but Sariel had already moved away—

—However, her onslaught had only begun.

“…Blast.”

The small murmur was drowned out by the sound of an explosion.

The squid, who couldn’t feel pain, didn’t care if a short-bladed dagger had pierced one of its thick tentacles. However, when the dagger went aflame, the squid began to feel a sense of crisis.

After all, it was vulnerable to fire.

However, even if the opponent wasn’t the squid, it wasn’t unconceivable that it wouldn’t notice Sariel’s pursuit.

The follow-up throw of Ignited Dagger was simply too quick.

Immediately after receiving a slash, Sariel threw down her sword and thrusted her hand into her pouch, taking out the exploding knives. Then, she tucked the blades between her fingers, three in all.

After that, she performed a flip. When she was on the verge of landing on the ground, Sariel gave up even preparing a stance, and threw the Ignited Dagger.

Only Sariel, who had complete mastery over her own body, could throw a knife with precision control.

As for the result, the squid’s remaining three tentacles exploded.

At the moment Sariel decided to land her torso, she casually activated Guard to brace for the impact. After rolling vigorously for several meters, she finally lifted her head and caught the wriggling figure of the enemy within her sight.

In an instant, the squid lost all of its limbs, causing it to roar more and more in anguish.

However, with all of its tentacles cut off, there was only so much it could do.

As for Sariel, all that was left was to carefully dislodge the main body that was clinging to Reki’s back. If she threw daggers and scorched the main body little by little, she should be able to completely separate the two.

But when Sariel was about to throw the daggers, the enemy’s appearance changed.

The squid stood up.

To say that it was an act of utter desperation would be unwise, for the squid stood up not using its own “legs”, but the legs of a human being—

—In other words, “Reki” was standing up.

“—Reki!”

Ursula involuntarily raised her voice.

Nevertheless, her words didn’t reach her best friend, for her soul had long departed for the underworld. In this world, there was no longer any way to reach her.

Reki stood up with a giant squid on her back.

After losing all its tentacles, its length was greatly reduced, but the tip of its long, triangular head almost touched the ground.

The small, yellow, eyes of the squid that clung to Reki’s head caught Sariel, who was lying on the ground. In accordance with that, Reki’s neck moved along with her red, hollow, eyes.

The squid was aiming for its attacker.

Despite having understood that, Sariel could only intercept the barrage of attacks.

After all, “Reki” had charged towards her with the same agility she had back when she was still alive.

As such, if she were to throw the dagger as it was, Reki would be hit. While she could aim at the big head that could be seen over her small back, and shoot it through the armpit or between her legs, but that was only if the target didn’t move. Judging from the squid’s quick reaction, it might use Reki’s body as a shield.

As Sariel pondered her next move, Reki took a step forward towards her.

“…How fast—”

Sariel said that because it was such an unexpected maneuver.

Yes, Reki, who started running, carried a huge load on her back, yet approached with a tremendous speed. In the blink of an eye, she ran through a distance of more than 10 meters. Finally, with a strong step that cracked the stone pavement, she spun towards Sariel.

“Blast.”

A series of small explosions erupted from the squid that latched on Reki’s back.

With one arm, Sariel jumped over Reki and threw a dagger at her back.

After landing on her belly, Sariel saw that Reki had leaped out from the billowing black smoke, about to attack her.

After being hit by the Ignited Dagger, the main body should’ve taken some damage. However, Reki’s movement didn’t slow down at all.

It was a very troublesome situation.

For some reason, moving through Reki’s body resulted in a much more powerful and speedy movement. As far as Sariel was concerned, Gluttony Octo didn’t possess any parasitic ability. Therefore, for it to be able to move so nimbly, she had to acknowledge it—or something like that.

However, even if that squid had a parasitic ability, even if it somehow could perform necromancy, the fact remained that Sariel now had to deal with the undead Reki.

Therefore, she had no choice but to concentrate.

Reki rushed forward just like before, but her running speed had increased even further—

“—!”

Similarly, Sariel, who had no other way to move, escaped by jumping with her left arm, but the moment she flew into the air, she was overtaken.

The last step that Reki took led to even more rapid acceleration, and she finally managed to catch up to the fleeing Sariel.

Reki extended her hand and tightly grasped the hem of her long monastic robe.

However, when she was about to slam Sariel to the ground with all her might, along with a terrific wind noise, she ended up only swinging her arm in vain.

Reki’s hollow red eyes moved, and the image of Sariel with a sword in her hand was reflected. The moment she was grabbed, she drew a spare rapier from her pocket and tore her hem to escape.

Severing a large chunk of her hem revealed her amputated legs. Her missing limbs were tightly bandaged, while the glistening white skin of her upper thigh seemed both painful and strangely captivating.

“…”

She was being driven into a corner.

Despite this, Sariel wasn’t in a panic.

She simply understood her own disadvantage.

Earlier, she managed to escape, but she doubted there’d be a next time.

Just like when she defeated the Armored Bear, she should be able to cut the enemy in half by countering it. However, Reki’s body wouldn’t be unscathed. Instead, she’d turn into an unrecognizable lump of flesh.

On the other hand, it was no longer possible to dodge Reki’s dash, which grew faster with each step. Not only that, the mobility she could obtain with only her left arm was limited.

If she were to be careful, it might be possible to incapacitate Reki without hurting her. She could sever the squid from Reki by plunging the blade directly into her back. If she could do that, then Reki’s body would definitely be released.

However, in exchange for that, she wondered how much damage she’d suffer during that instance. Even if it was only for a moment, the fact remained that she’d be in close contact with the enemy. As it was, Reki could definitely finish her, who had lost her divine protection.

Sariel was troubled.

Should I give up on Reki’s body?

Back when she was still an apostle, she could easily sacrifice others to accomplish her mission. She would neither hesitate nor regret it. Due to that, she managed to defeat the Demon King Garvinal.

But Sariel had understood—

—she no longer had any duties to perform, or any god to serve.

“Listen, from now on, your life is yours alone. There’s no reason for you to obey anyone else—”

…That was right.

She still had something to do.

“…I’m sorry, Reki.”

The girl before her eyes had already turned into a monster. With bloodshot eyes, she flailed her arms and pounced like a wild beast.

Sariel didn’t move from where she was, and only lifted her sword quietly.

Then, she imbued said blade with a one-hit kill martial arts.

“—White Breath.”

In an instant, Sariel’s vision was dyed white. The whiteness spread, swallowing even Reki.

A white tornado that surged like a raging wave.

Sariel already knew that it was a powerful life-absorbing drain.

“…Why did you shoot her, Ursula?”

Before asking that, Sariel lowered the sword she never managed to swing. She asked Ursula why she’d unleash her strongest technique—White Breath—on her own best friend.

“It’s alright, Sister Yuri. I believe that this is my obligation.”

Sariel couldn’t quite understand what Ursula meant.

Why should Ursula take the blame?

Instead, shouldn’t she be wishing that she could push all those things on Sariel, who was neither a puppet of God or a human?

“I, I’ll… Reki…”

…If it was so excruciating to the point that she’d be brimming with tears, why didn’t she entrust it to Sariel?

“Ursula, you are—”

Sariel didn’t know what to say to Ursula.

However, that wasn’t the reason why she didn’t manage to finish her sentence—

BooooOOooo

A gigantic heavy bass resounded with a volume that shook the ground.

At that time, Sariel, Ursula, and everyone gathered in the Alsatian Fortress looked up at the sky.

At that moment, they saw it—

—right above the fortress, the gargantuan Gluttony Octo was floating with its mouth open, as if introducing the abyss.

 

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