The Black Demon King 468
Chapter 24: The Battle of Holy Night
Element Masters VS Sariel (3)
“…Looks like we’re back.”
As I opened my eyes, I realized that I was no longer surrounded by Purgatory’s red landscape of scorching mountains, but had instead returned to the snowy scenery of the Galahad Mountains where the wind blew so cold that it was as if being pierced by a thousand knives. Of course, the magnificence of nature and its silvery scenic beauty had been clouded by the intense angry yells, the clashing of swords, and explosions that littered the battlefield.
But I couldn’t afford to pay attention to anything else, no matter how fierce the battle that was taking place around me was.
After all, my own battle was probably far from over.
Everything had been going as planned so far.
Right after Lily and I unleashed the immense destructive power of our “Supernova”, Fiona’s “Inferno Fall” was lifted.
However, Sariel having taken a direct hit from our “Supernova”, which had been our ultimate attack, would have been nothing short of a miracle.
I certainly saw a huge dark sphere flashing in an ominous red light, like some kind of calamitous black star, falling over Sariel’s head. At the moment of impact, I could also see that one of the wings of her “Ala Lux Aigis” had completely crystallized.
Immediately after that, a big explosion of dazzling light completely blinded me before sending us both back here.
“Are you okay, Lily?”
“Yeah… I’m fine~”
Lily, who was now wearing her dress that had been torn across her chest, didn’t seem to be fine at all, since she was languidly leaning against my leg as if trying to cling to it.
Since “Exelion” had been activated by Lily herself, it used her magical power to do so, and now that she was this exhausted, she would naturally not be able to maintain the transformation.
However, I myself was so tired and my body felt so heavy that I could almost not feel my own feet. Of course, we were able to use “Supernova” thanks to a series of blessings only possible during our fusion, and even without it, we would have exhausted our magical power just trying to keep up with Sariel.
Even though Lily and I had combined into a single being, it had the downside of having poor magical power management, which barely allowed us to put up a fight.
“And you, Kurono?”
“I’m not as tired as you, but I’m still pretty beat.”
Of course, we had already separated and our gear had been properly returned to their respective owners. This confirmed that once Lich was subdued, the fusion would be cancelled.
But I was a little worried. I had wondered if something could go wrong and Lily wouldn’t return to her own body. Then I would be stuck in a female body for who knows how long.
“Still, it seems it was worth it…”
My body felt like it was made out of lead, so my breath came out a little heavier than usual. When I finally returned to the real world, I stared at the center of the explosion, which was still enshrouded in black smoke.
The smoke was quite thick, hiding Sariel’s figure behind. Or perhaps I just wanted to think that she has disappeared–
“Tsk, of course you’re still alive.”
A faint white glow drifted in the whirlpool of black smoke.
Rather than mixing into gray, the black and white swirled as if they were water and oil, resulting in a white aura entwining itself around the swaying smoke.
The white girl emerged, giving off a presence like that of a monster revived out of a volcanic crater.
“Though that doesn’t mean that you came out of it unharmed.”
The reappeared Sariel reminded me of myself, back when I had been nearly torn to shreds during my duel with the Eight Apostle Ai on the highway.
The aura of white magical power that emanated from its body was as strong as ever, but it was clear that her body was having a hard time keeping up.
Sariel was out of breath.
Although it was a slight change, her red eyes were now slightly covered by heavy eyelids, and her expressionless mask had finally collapsed, revealing the color of fatigue.
However, the clearest indications of change and damage were on her body.
Sariel was wearing nothing but plain white underwear. In other words, the pure white robe that fluttered beautifully in that wind had completely disappeared. Just like I once lost “Baphomet’s Embrace”.
Almost as if to prove that she was a living being and not a doll, her stained -yet still white- slender naked body looked terribly miserable, which could probably draw more sympathy from the people.
However, there was no one here who would be deceived by such an appearance.
Sariel’s hand was still holding that white-bladed sparkling cross spear. She still had the power and will to fight.
“Come on, let’s begin the second round, Sariel.”
I took my remaining “Absolute Grudge Broadsword – Kubidan” and heavily started walking forward.
I had split from my “Evil Eater” when I released it to break away from Sariel. It would probably still be lying around somewhere, but I couldn’t afford to look for it.
“Don’t, Lily, you’re tired. Stay back. Take good care of her.”
“Yes, My Lord.”
The voice that replied to that was that of an inorganic man.
I was already aware that some of Lily’s carefully made “Living Dead” were behind me.
We had already anticipated that, after “Exelion” wore off, Lily would be so exhausted that she would not be able to keep on fighting. Therefore, they were created so that Lily could safely leave this battlefield.
Just for this safety measure, I had refrained from having them fight in this battle to make sure we wouldn’t lose even a single one of them.
Thanks to Sariel’s struggle, a part of the Crusaders had assembled in the rear and begun to fight boldly in the surrounding area. Even here, the fight was still quite intense, and I could also feel a sign of high-density magical power in which powerful people who were clearly more than ordinary soldiers were fighting. In any case, it made sense to leave these “Living Dead” as guards on this still fierce battlefield.
“Uhh… Kurono, promise me you’ll be careful… Don’t do anything rash…”
I glanced back at Lily as she was taken away by those iron-masked servants with robust smiles, and saw her off.
I didn’t say anything back to her.
I couldn’t promise her that. We had cornered Sariel. If I had to do something rash to finish her off, I would.
When I looked back at Sariel, she had started walking with a slightly heavy gait, just like me.
I started running, ignoring the screams of both of my feet that were desperate for some rest, and pushing out all of the strength remaining in my legs.
Sariel, also started running, with a white aura emanating violently from her body. Rather than being surprised that she could still move, I felt that it was natural for her to be able to do so.
A preemptive attack before we could get too close to each other. Thanks to the fact that I had cut down many enemy soldiers in the Galahad War alone, the blade of blood had an abundant stockpile of resources to keep it going.
My solid and sharp crystallized blood blade approached Sariel with a huge amount of force as if the blade itself was spewing blood.
However, she was still an Apostle, and it was no wonder that she would still have the strength to brilliantly fight off my attack –and then some.
For a brief moment, I lost sight of her.
The next thing I knew, her spear’s glaring tip was being thrust literally at my eyes.
Sariel’s cross blade kept moving forward in a world that would otherwise have seemed to have come to a complete stop. Without the third blessing, I would have been pierced right through my face.
The most astonishing fact was that not only was she running, she still proved to be able to get really close to me. Right after Sariel started to run, the snow she lifted with each step began to flutter in slow motion as if dancing in mid-air.
“Charge” is a spear martial art that was considered to be one of the first techniques a spear beginner learned, which consisted of running straight forward to pierce the enemy. It would be often used as the first blow when fighting… But how many people can get so close so quickly with a simple “Charge”? It was like one of those western movies where they would quickdraw into an instant shot during a duel.
Terrified, I turned my head to the side so quickly and so violently that I feared I could hurt my neck.
I barely managed to dodge the thrust. The spear actually slashed through my left ear, but even then, it wasn’t a fatal wound.
I immediately counterattacked. My broadsword had already lost its bloody edge, but I still brandished it as I aimed for Sariel with all my strength.
My second swing was, of course, repelled by the handle of the spear that Sariel had already pulled back. The blade was caught at a weird angle, deflecting its trajectory and causing it to slide over the handle.
It ended up aiming at nothing. The swing was lost in the air.
And she wouldn’t be so soft to let me attempt a third strike.
Sariel chose to use a spear hand strike. Since it was almost in close contact with me, it was actually faster to reach out with her bare hand than to take a stab with her spear.
Her left hand, which had already let go of the spear’s handle before I even realized, was thrusted forward with her fingertips stretched out and neatly aligned, almost looking like a white knife. Its destination was my heart.
I had activated my second blessing, which provided the ultimate defense. However, it had its limits.
An aura of steel so thin that it looked like it could be easily blown away by a breeze floated in front of my chest. Still, the Demon King’s guard managed to prevent the Apostle’s terrifyingly threatening hand from piercing my heart.
Her blade-like fingertips stopped right before they could hit my chest. They were so close that they could have pierced through my “Diabolos Embrace” if she were to push just another centimeter ahead.
I hadn’t been stabbed. I hadn’t been pierced. However, the shock that surged from the attack shook deep inside my chest so hard that it made my heart skip a beat. And for a moment, I thought my heart would stop.
Then, while it had managed to completely block Sariel’s “Stinger”, the effects of my “Over-Gear” had also vanished. I had no magical power left to sustain the blessing’s effects.
As I had lost my absolute defense, there was nothing that could stop the Apostle’s hand, which was already on me again.
Rather than stabbing my chest, Sariel slashed away with her hand across it. It was as if she had replaced her hand with a short sword at the wrist.
With such an absurd attack, my “Diabolos Embrace” was torn apart.
Straight down from my chest, and past my hips. The demon leather, which boasted strong physical and magical resistance, was ripped up like cheap fabric.
After allowing my gear to be destroyed to that extent, the chance for my third slash finally arrived. I brought my broadsword down onto Sariel’s white-haired head, which had been pushed forward with her attack’s momentum.
This time, her spear was in no position to block my attack in time. However, Sariel slipped through my swing as if she had decided that there was no need to get in its way. She quickly corrected her stance and dodged my blade, making it seem as if it had slid over her side.
It’s certainly neither special martial arts nor magic. She had simply seen through my attack perfectly.
It was just like when I first came to this world. I could feel there was a huge difference in ability with the Apostle.
Sariel displayed her abilities even more, even though she was gasping for air and dressed only in her underwear. Her movement hadn’t been just an evasion, it had actually led to her next attack.
Sariel’s left hand had stretched towards me once again, grabbing me from the collar of my coat.
Before I could ask myself what was going on, I was already floating in the air.
I only realized I was being thrown when I noticed I was in the middle of going over Sariel’s head.
While it was a tremendous motion that involved grabbing me by the collar and throwing me over her head, there was also no stagnation like when a judo master would use an one-armed circle throw on a non-resisting opponent. It was a powerful and beautiful technique.
The moment I were to hit the ground with this momentum, I would be completely exposed to a deadly attack. It was impossible to immediately try to dodge or block while taking the impact of falling to the ground from over her head. Sariel would aim straight for my heart or my head and pierce either of them with her beloved cross spear, and there would be nothing I could do to stop it.
That’s why I had to escape. Right while I was in mid-air, in the middle of being thrown. This was my only chance.
I took off my “Diabolos Embrace” as if I was shedding my skin. All I had to do to accomplish that was to let go of my broadsword and pull both arms out of my sleeves.
Even so, I managed to escape so splendidly that I didn’t know how I did it myself. It was as clean as a ninja’s evasive technique. Or I could also think that the “Diabolos Embrace” itself shoved me away from harm.
With that, I was able to dodge Sariel’s throw by rolling forward on the floor.
However, simply dodging this attack didn’t mean I was no longer at risk. I had lost my most reliable armor. If I kept on fighting like this, I would undoubtedly be cornered by Sariel like this again.
If I was going to use that, this was the time to do so.
As soon as I landed, I made another turn on the ground and reached for my left side at the waist. Past the medicine bag that had my “Fairy Remedy” and my “Nana Blast Amulet” hanging on the side of the belt, I reached out for that thing behind my waist.
It was the double-muzzled “Dual Eagle”.
It was loaded not with grenades nor with normal rounds, but with special bullets specifically made to kill Sariel.
I pointed my unholstered gun at Sariel’s head.
Her spear, on the other hand, was pointed directly at my throat.
Each of our deadliest weapons were aimed at their respective targets at the same time. Both Sariel and I stopped moving as if we were just showing them off to each other. Then, awkward silence.
“…Won’t you stab me? The fight isn’t over yet, you know?”
“No, it is over.”
Had she lost her will to fight? Or perhaps she was confident that she could dodge my bullets at this point-blank range?
She could also have thought that she could pierce my throat before I could pull the trigger.
“Your power is as dangerous as I thought. I will kill you and all of your companions.”
“Tsk, you stupid robot… You haven’t realized yet, have you?”
Then I pulled the trigger. I didn’t fail to notice Sariel’s red eyes moving.
Her crimson gaze had turned away from me at that very moment.
Her cross spear had dug deep into my left shoulder. However, that had been a far better outcome than what it would have if it had hit its original target.
On the other hand, the bullets I fired… had missed their mark. There wasn’t even a scratch on Sariel’s face. All she had to do was lean slightly and bend her neck considerably for her to easily escape their trajectory.
The two bullets fired from my “Dual Eagle” vanished off into the winter sky.
And yet, a bullet hit Sariel’s head.
A direct hit on her temporal region.
“I knew it, these bullets are great.”
At the best possible time, Simon’s sniping violently exploded.