111 Part 2

The specialty of the Centipede species such as Esta wasn’t defense.

It was Armor Break.

When its carapace took damage…

Esta would tell Haruki “It’s okay. Trust me.”

So, Haruki believed in Esta.

He trusted that he would be able to destroy the knight’s weapon.

And Esta’s efforts had come to fruition.

The knight’s attack had been completely disrupted after its greatsword broke.

This caused the knight to leave its biggest opening so far in this battle.

Haruki didn’t miss this chance.

Haruki swung down with his energized Magic Sword with all his strength.

Right before Haruki’s Magic Sword could come into contact with the knight’s armor…

“–!?”

The knight struggled.

It extended its open hand to try to catch Haruki’s short sword.

If he were to stop his attack with that, it would mean Haruki would have to go back to the drawing board.

However, Haruki didn’t lose any momentum at all.

That’s because…

*Ratatatat!!*

Whenever the clutches of evil would try to reach Haruki…

Rhea would drive them away.

Rhea pulverized the knight’s hand.

The knight had literally nothing else to stop the blow with.

“It’s checkmate!”

At the same time, Haruki’s Magic Sword touched the knight’s chest.

At that very moment…

Weakness Exploit’s light flickered intensely.

Haruki’s attack cut through the knight’s chest, reaching the back of the armor on the other side.

And that wasn’t all.

The remaining energy ended up splitting the knight’s armor in half.

The shock sent the knight’s torn armor flying back.

Haruki’s attack passed through the knight’s armor and again created a crack in a straight line on Kamui Rock.

On the other side of Haruki’s field of vision…

A smile appeared on Chep’s face, who until that point had remained expressionless, as if she had died.

She was a spirit.

Like an event-exclusive NPC inside the dungeon.

-So when this subjugation event is over, then…

As if to affirm Haruki’s expectation, Chep’s body silently began to fade until it disappeared.

The only thing she had left behind were the tears that had spilled from her eyes…

Haruki cautiously got back up as soon as the shockwave had subsided.

He looked around and confirmed the silence of the shattered knight.

Haruki looked around and gazed at the landscape.

The river of Kamuikotan had regained its beautiful flow.

The landscape looked so natural and enormous.

Even if he were to reach out to it, there was no way he could touch it, but he would get the illusion that he was about to reach it.

Haruki’s heart was filled with even stronger emotions than when he unexpectedly arrived there for the first time.

The overflowing colors of life were more beautiful than any landscape photograph taken by a professional photographer he saw at his former job.

More than something he could have seen in a photograph, it felt like a landscape he had obtained with his own strength.

— Did we win?

There weren’t any hostile entities within Haruki’s Detection range.

Taking a short breath of relief…

Haruki collapsed onto the floor like a marionette whose strings had been cut loose.

Before his consciousness vanished, the sky reflected in Haruki’s eyes seemed to be so close that he felt as if he could reach it.

* * * * * * * * *

Immediately after defeating the black knight, Haruki and the others lost consciousness due to level-up sickness almost at the same time.

It was something usual for Haruki, but not so much for Karen, Rhea, or Esta. None of them had been knocked unconscious by it before.

“You always faint due to level-up sickness like it’s no big deal, Karaboshi… I thought I was going to die…”

It seemed to be the first time she had felt a pain so sharp that had caused her to faint.

Karen said that with a serious and pale face.

“But it’s more comfortable than dying, don’t you think?”

“Huh? So this feeling isn’t strange for you, Karaboshi?”

— I mean, have you ever died before?

— You wouldn’t be here if you had.

Haruki and the others checked on themselves while telling such jokes.

First, they tended to their wounds.

Karen’s biggest injury was the one she sustained on her forehead, which seemed to have started to heal after they applied some ointment to it.

Many blood vessels are gathered on the head. As a result, a large amount of blood flowed out.

The wound disappeared completely, and Haruki let out a sigh of relief.

Rhea had a lot of damaged leaves. Some of her thinner stems had also been broken.

This was because when Haruki was blown away by his attack, and later fainted he had fallen on his back.

So it had been mostly because of Haruki.

Rare’s wounds got better by putting some of the recovery medicine purchased at the tool shop in her planter’s soil.

It was made from materials collected in the dungeon that could heal even the wounds of plants.

Next, it was Esta’s turn to get his broken carapace treated, but…

“Come on…”

Haruki applied the ointment to his carapace many times, but the cracks wouldn’t heal.

Then he tried with the recovery medicine, but to no avail.

Moreover, the cracks in Esta’s carapace seemed to be growing larger.

“Hey, Esta, are you okay!?”

“Ah, don’t move!”

Esta began to squirm away, almost as if he was feeling no pain despite his wounds.

After seeing that, Haruki and Karen tried to restrain him.

But it was too late.

Esta’s carapace made a loud noise as it split into two.

“N… No way…!”

“Esta…”

Both of their faces went extremely pale.

Then…

Slowly and steadily, Esta comes out of his broken carapace.

“Huh?”
“Eh?”

Neither Haruki nor Karen could understand what was happening in front of them.

It was as if another Esta had come out from inside, leaving the broken Esta’s body behind.

There was no way they could have understood what had happened at first.

The newly born Esta had turned into an even deeper shade of crimson than before.

And the broken carapace that he had left behind looked like some kind of cicada shell.

“Don’t tell me… he was shedding his skin?”

“I got scared for a minute there…”

After realizing what had really happened, the two seemed relieved to see Esta squirming around looking for earthworms like usual.

Haruki stored Esta’s broken shell as it would surely be useful for something.

Then he collected the shattered pieces of the black knight’s armor.

After they were done collecting the shards, Karen looked at the center of Kamui Rock with a troubled expression.

“Did Chep summon that monster here?”

“I don’t think that’s what Chep wanted to do. All Chep did was set the event in motion.”

Chep’s body had already disappeared.

Her body was gone shortly after the event had finished.

The “Spirit” skill that appeared on the Skill Board indicated she was the one who would play such a role during the event.

The reason why her abilities were displayed on the Skill Board wasn’t because Haruki had tamed her.

It was because Haruki’s own spirit was directly related to the “Spirit” that would set the event in motion.

That’s the only thing that could explain the fact that Chep had seen Haruki in the hot springs, despite him not wearing his mask at the time, and Chep not having any Detection skills.

Still, Haruki couldn’t understand what was the purpose of her “Princess” skill.

— How could someone like her be a princess anyway?

Haruki’s heart felt a little heavy as that thought crossed his mind.

Haruki looked at the sunset-colored sky.

The sky, which had seemed to be so close before, now seemed to be very far away.

“It feels a bit lonely around here, don’t you think?”

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