The Black Demon King
Chapter 24: The Battle of Holy Night
Episode 450 Taurus Rush
Thirteen Fulltune Taurus were lined up beyond the snowfield. The main boosters on their backs were already lit with pale light, and it appeared that their engines had finished warming up. Even from here, a kilometer away, we could feel the enormous magical power swirling, which was necessary for exerting the tremendous propulsive force to allow their huge bodies to fly.
Even if they used to be nothing but simple heavy machinery in ancient times, they were still siege machinery to be afraid of, since it had the ability to actually smash through the castle walls.
“Feels like they’re armed to the teeth…”
Not to mention that they seemed to have equipped them with more weapons than before.
Those drills, which had been able to pierce through the castle walls, were now greedily set on both arms of some of the Taurus.
However, what seemed to be even more troublesome were the ones that held a gigantic shield as huge as the Taurus on one hand, and another one that had an enormous hammer and two bull-like horns sprouting from its head, which seemed to be the captain’s own Taurus.
Though it might be destroyed with a full-powered shot, there was a chance that its shield could partially or totally block anything we threw at it. Worst-case scenario, not even the Pharos would be able to put a dent in it.
It was clear to everyone that its hammer was truly intimidating, not only because of its size, but because it was the captain’s weapon. If such a thing were to be swung around, the castle walls could be easily turned into a pile of rubble.
Given that the drills were a one-time, disposable armament that exploded after being used, the fact that the hammer could be used over and over as long as the Taurus was operational was also a huge threat. I’d want to get rid of that thing first of all… But the shield bearers would probably not allow it.
“You didn’t tell me they had such weaponry, Lily.”
“Uhh… Sorry, I didn’t know either…”
Lily didn’t have enough juice to return to her adult consciousness. As a kid, she couldn’t give a proper counterargument or even an explanation, and all she could do was to apologize meekly.
“The enemy may be able to use the system to a point where they can completely block Lily’s access. Her information gathering abilities may be limited.”
“That’s right. It seems that it was just a coincidence that she was able to access it in the first place. So you don’t have to worry about it, Lily. I didn’t think you’d be able to do it in the first place.”
Lily clung to my leg in tears in response to Fiona’s heartless remark.
“There, there, you did a great job, Lily. That’s enough for me.”
“We need to do our best from now on. They’re going to make their move any time now–”
The light that erupted from their boosters was finally shining brightly, and roaring metallic screeches echoed from the Taurus’ bodies. The thirteen units seemed to have just entered their countdown stage before starting running all at once.
“All hands, prepare for attack!”
The tension of the Spada army reached to its limits as that command was issued in various sections of the walls.
Finally, the curtain of the third decisive battle was about to be dropped.
“The new features of these Taurus are beyond our expectations, but let’s move according to plan anyway.”
With only that as a final confirmation, all we had to do was sit tight and wait until the beginning of the battle.
Only the growl of the boosters echoed in the mountains. The two armies totaling tens of thousands –no, more than a hundred thousand in total– were clashing together, but there was a strange silence in which people’s voices and breathing could not be heard at all.
But that would last only a moment. The future that everyone expected would surely come, just like a promised destiny. Precisely at this time.
“–Here they come.”
Those words I murmured were quickly swallowed by a thunderous, furious roar.
The thirteen Taurus turned into a steel avalanche, running all at once over the snowy field. Just as before, I thought that their formation was a horizontal row, but the captain’s two-horned Taurus located in the center preceded them, forming a wedge-shaped formation that looked like an arrowhead when seen from above.
There is one shield bearer on each side of the captain’s Taurus, and both the standard and double-drill Taurus lined up on both sides.
“Is he trying to use that hammer to get through the main gate in one swing?”
Captain Taurus, who spearheaded the advance, pushed straight ahead without turning or slowing down. What lay ahead was the huge double-door main gate, which had been repurposed since its time as part of the ancient ruins the fortress had originally been.
It would take them no more than 30 seconds to reach the gates. Regardless, the Spada army didn’t move.
At that moment, I felt a rush in my chest, asking me if it was time for it yet. And at that very moment, everyone felt it was the right time after leading the enemy in.
As the first move of the Spada army, the Pharos Cannon, opened fire.
A crimson flash was fired from the defensive tower with a unique high-pitched sound. The ray of heat surged like a drill that pierced through the chilly air of the midwinter snowy mountains.
Naturally, its target was the captain’s Taurus, which rushed proudly in the middle of the enemy formation. Its hammer sure looked like a powerful weapon, but there was little it could do in terms of defense. No matter how much he could maneuver with his boosters, there would be no way for him to reproduce defensive techniques such as hammer guards or parry like a skilled warrior.
It had already been proved in the previous battle that the Pharos Cannon had enough firepower to destroy a Taurus with one shot. So there would be little hope for the captain’s Taurus if its powerful beam were to strike it directly.
However, the enemy seemed to have prepared for that as well, naturally.
“Damn it, their defense is good!”
The shield bearers, who had been keeping a little behind the captain’s vessel, made their move.
It was so coordinated that it looked like something they had practiced many times over and over –no, like something a veteran party already knew how to do by heart.
The two shield bearers make their boosters gush out even more conspicuously. As their pale-blue light had doubled its size, it was clear that they had increased their engine’s output.
At the same time, the captain’s vessel reduced its booster’s output.
The result of their opposing actions of acceleration and deceleration resulted in the positions of the three Taurus to be instantly reversed.
The captain’s vessel had receded, and at the same time, the two defense-oriented Taurus came to the front, already holding their heavy shields with both hands.
The beam fired from Battle Tower Pharos came immediately after their well-coordinated castling move.
Perhaps they had realized that the Pharos Cannon was about to open fire by sensing the disturbance of magical power. It was unclear if they had a sensor function that detected magical power, or if they had a sorcerer on board.
At any rate, had the powerful Pharos Cannon really shot through the captain’s vessel…?
We couldn’t answer that question right away. Along with a thunderous roar, the impact caused a rush of black smoke which blocked our field of view.
Then, the next instant, each of the remaining three towers followed up with a beam with enormous magical power of their own. One shot to the right and two shots to the left. Were they aiming for the double-drill Taurus?
The explosive trio echoed loudly, and the black smoke curtain spread even further. Beyond their dark eruption, we could hear the roar of boosters and the creaking of steel.
In that way, the Taurus unit disappeared beyond the smoke for a brief moment. Those who would be able to keep moving forward at a tremendous speed would soon break through the smoke and show themselves.
The first to break through the black smoke was the two-horned Taurus.
“Tsk, it would’ve been too good…”
The captain’s Taurus was still going strong. It was completely unharmed. Its steel frame hadn’t even been scratched.
To make things worse, the shield bearers had also survived after having blocked the Pharos’ beam.
Only one of the two seemed to have been hit by the Pharos Cannon. Not only it didn’t have its shield anymore, it no longer had either of its arms as well. But that was it.
It had only lost its shield and arms, and although its frame seemed to have received some damage, it still continued to dash forward. And of course, the other shield bearer was still intact.
Apparently, the Pharos Cannon had only managed to destroy a shield and two arms from one of the shield bearers. That shield proved to be even stronger than it looked.
“But it seems that three of them had been destroyed.”
The total number of Taurus that emerged from the other side of the black smoke was ten. Certainly, they had lost three vessels.
It was hard to tell at first glance, since they had already lined up to fill the gaps left by the units that had already fallen. It seemed that not only the captain and his shield bearers had been trained well.
“Their pilots seem to be very skilled this time around.”
“I think this also matches the data collected from earlier.”
“Yeah, they’re stronger than before–”
Was this the result of having used our previous battle as a test? What sneaky devils.
“Still, there’s nothing left to do if we can’t destroy them somehow.”
The Pharos Cannon had shot exactly four times. From this point on, it was our turn.
“Should we let them draw a bit nearer?”
“Yeah, it has to be at the last moment.”
Though seeing the Taurus madly rush towards us was not for the faint of heart.
Were they about 100 meters away from our position already? Before, we were already opening fire at this point.
Now, the opponents were not only not just walking slowly, but their movement speed had tripled with the help of their magic boosters, and their reaction speed had also increased. Worst-case scenario, there was a chance they could dodge our attacks this time.
However, we couldn’t just sit tight and wait forever. If those drills hit the walls, it would be all over.
In other words, the time for us to shoot was right now.
“Take this! The five shining lights of Spada! Five Blade Shot!!”
A shining, five-colored ball of light flew leaving behind a glittering tail like a meteor. Its target was the Taurus that had been stripped of its arms, the one that had been damaged by the Pharos Cannon.
Its aim was true. The deadly union magic “Five Blade Shot” that flew in a straight line collided with the Taurus, which was also rushing in a straight line. The five primary colors of magical power explode at the chest where the cockpit was located. Red, blue, yellow, green, and pink sparked violently, pushing, scraping, and crushing its thick chest plating.
The dazzling explosion of five-colored light lasted only a brief moment. After that, the Taurus still remained, albeit its chest plating had been severely damaged. However, the booster carrying the giant was still working at full throttle.
It had failed to destroy it, but it had fulfilled the purpose of getting rid of its thick chest armor plating, whose durability matched that of the fortress’ walls.
“ثلاثاء اللهب الرمح يخترق―― Ignis Fortis Sagitta.”
After finishing their chanting, Spada’s elite magicians fired their advanced attack spell all at once, aiming at one point where Taurus’ chest armor had been destroyed.
Without anything to envy a Salamander’s Fire Breath, several huge fire arrows rushed to the giant’s exposed spot. Then, a series of explosive sounds. A red flame and dark smoke gushed out from the hole in the Taurus’ chest as if it had spouted fresh blood.
Its booster’s phosphorescence flickered, and then vanished completely. At the same time, the giant Taurus crashed onto the snow, letting out a metallic scream.
After spending so much firepower, all it had managed to do was to shut down one of the shield bearers.
The Spada knights in the center of the castle walls had no choice but to take that fact with a bitter face. After all, the enemy still had an intact shield bearer in front of them.
However, neither of them had a hint of despair on their faces.
“Come out, Crimson Spada!”
At that moment, Spada’s treasured sword was pulled out once again from the golden bracelet-like sheath that kept it safe. Of course, the one who pulled the sword was none other than the proud Sword King Leonhart of Spada.
The rugged, huge Gladius allowed only those who possessed an incredible physical strength to hold it. And only those who had an extraordinary talent with the sword could properly wield it.
Leonhart’s stance as he slowly brought up the crimson sword was truly a sight to behold. His appearance alone could make anyone watching him know for a fact that he was the true master of that sword.
Leonhart had taken one step ahead of the heavy infantry of the first unit, “Brave Heart”, the most elite of the Spada army. The mighty king, and the strongest man in Spada. Looking at them from behind, there was an endless trustworthy aura emanating from them. Even before an army of steel giants, King Leonhart’s presence was truly overwhelming.
“Your Majesty, please don’t do anything reckless…”
However, Sir Galblaze, who was leading the soldiers as a lieutenant of the king, was the only one who had a slight anxiety about Leonhart’s safety.
“Hmph, it’s a bit too late to be giving me that kind of advice, don’t you think, Guy?”
Leonhard glanced back and looked at the face of that big man with a dwarf-like beard on his bald head, with a faint smile on his own face.
Guy Est Galblaze. How long had he been this worried about his friend, who had walked alongside him since they were both children? I had only considered him to be just a man who was only thinking about wielding a sword on the battlefield, but thinking back upon it, he was the right choice as a commanding officer.
It was for this very reason that he was put in charge of so many soldiers.
It’s not that I’m not getting old, I simply never grew up. Such self-deprecation was brought to my mind through Leonhart’s words.
“Look at me, waiting until this critical moment…”
After a single nod, King Leonhart once again faced the battlefield.
Galblaze’s worries didn’t come from vague anxiety. Rather, he was well aware of just how dangerous Leonhart could get.
To be more precise, it was the sword he was holding in his hand that was dangerous.
“Secret King’s Sword Technique– Dragonscale Splitter Crimson!”
An immensely thick magical aura kneaded by Leonhart spouted from the Crimson Spada, making it look as if the blade had grown longer.
From the top of the wall, a red blade over 100 meters was brought down onto the remaining shield-bearing Taurus, which took a defensive stance and hid behind its gigantic shield. It looked like something that could cut through the scales of a dragon, which were much tougher than those of a salamander. It was Leonhart’s secret technique, which had been devised for his decisive battle against the Dragon King Garvinal.
True to its name, the slash began to tear through the gigantic shield, whose hardness was comparable to that of the Dragon King’s scales.
I wondered if the red light that flickered violently from the contact was just sparks, or if it was a result of the attack’s magical power.
The battle between the blade and the shield went through a brief moment of struggle, after which the blade was declared the victor. The Taurus’ shield was split in half, exposing the red-hot cross section.
The single red robotic eye on the other side of the shield opened, and its gaze was met with Leonhart’s golden bloodcurdling eyes.
Leonhard, who stood in a stance as if ready to deliver a follow-up attack with his great sword, adjusted his breathing in an instant as a line of sweat ran down his cheek, and at the same time, prepared for the decisive strike. A thick red magical power filled the Crimson Spada as if blood circulated through it.
The first slash was to cut through its shield. The Taurus itself was left intact. It would take a second slash to destroy it.
He had been prepared to do two consecutive attacks. That had been precisely what had been worrying Galblaze.
The worries of a man who was not only a loyal servant, but also one of his closest friends, manifested in their purest form.
Whenever the magical power of Leonhart –which had the same color as the crimson blade– surged, it would be mixed with thin strands of black. It was a dark, jet-black shade, but it was by no means just a color. Something chaotic was swirling within.
It was an indescribably evil shade of black. People referred to it as a “curse”.
“Dragonscale Splitter Crimson!!”
The cursed black mixed together with the deep crimson secret technique as it was sent forth to deliver the final blow.
After a second burst of crimson flames, the Taurus that had lost its shield was cut from the abdomen diagonally upwards.
Although the blade had been mixed with those black strains, its power was not inferior, and it seemed to be even sharper as it cut through the Taurus as if it had been made out of butter. Its abdomen had been torn, slashing through the chest area where the pilot would be sitting, and splitting the vessel’s single red eye exactly in half.
Thus, the second shield bearer had been defeated.
That would have been the end of Leonhart’s role. But the enemy formation wouldn’t allow it.
The captain’s two-horned, hammer-wielding Taurus was right behind the shield bearer. From the time they had blocked the Pharos Cannon’s shot, both shield bearers had been in a position to devote themselves entirely to the defense of the captain’s vessel.
The simple arrangement of the shield in front and the attacker directly behind was straightforward, and wouldn’t leave any gaps for their attackers to take advantage of.
The moment they saw this, both Leonhard and Galblaze must have prepared themselves. There was no other choice but to destroy the shield holder with two strikes, and then defeat the captain’s vessel with a third strike. Breaking through such a simple formation was only a matter of simply applying more force to it.
“Your Majesty! If you push yourself any harder–”
His servant and friend’s plea reached the King’s ears, but he couldn’t hear it.
“Guh… Huh… Haah…”
He managed to adjust his breathing, which was more disturbed than before. For a moment, the grip on the handle he had been holding with both hands began to loosen, but he immediately tightened his grip once more.
Leonhart glared at the enemies of Spada with his shining golden eyes, with a large amount of sweat running on his forehead, but feeling little pain.
It was the practice of generating magical power through focused breathing. It could only be made with the skill of a master and the ability of a superhuman, and it instantly built up the magical power necessary to activate the Sword King’s technique for the third time.
However, the vortex of magical power that manifested itself as an aura had been corrupted by more of those cursed black strains than before.
Even more strains, wider and even darker, were mixed in with Leonhart’s crimson magical aura. About one-third of his aura had been dyed pitch-black.
The hands that held the sword started to shiver.
Leonhart suppressed it by using his own mental power alone. Focus. Concentration. Being restrained through the power of Leonhart’s mind generated a certain reaction in his aura.
Kill. Slice. Destroy. It was as if a voice was whispering those words over and over.
“I regret not being powerful enough… But I can still wield a sword.”
Muttering as if to shake off the dark voice he could hear from his sword, Leonhard pushed beyond his limits and evoked his secret technique for the third time.
What was unleashed wasn’t a diagonal or horizontal slash, but a stab.
“ULTIMATE SECRET KING’S SWORD TECHNIQUE– DRAGONSCALE DESTROYER TWILIGHT!”
The king had unleashed the ultimate form of his most powerful secret technique. But Leonhart himself wouldn’t be able to see how magnificent it was.
All he could feel was a certain response in his body that the technique had been successfully unleashed.
Shortly after that, Leonhart’s consciousness fell into darkness.
The only thought that crossed his mind right before that was that of his own lack of ability.
In the end, King Leonhart had not been suitable to bear the power of the dark depths of the abyss, which ruled over the cursed weapon “King Sword – Crimson Spada”.