Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (WN)

 
 

Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou (WN) Chapter 265


Arifureta After II   Why, Are You a Hero?

AN: The story ain't progressing even after I wrote twelve thousand words……


He didn't understand.

Was he an enemy? Was there really no middle ground to talk with each other?

He didn't understand.

Were Moana's words the truth? Was justice really on her side?

He didn't understand.

Was it the correct thing to do, to cut down an existence with its own will while he was still not really understanding anything like this?

He didn't understand.

They were the enemy seeing how they came attacking. Enemy should be defeated. That decision should be correct. ……Was it really?

He didn't understand.

He should believe Moana and her people. ……Should he really?

He didn't understand.

Was his judgment really righteous? Was what he believed in correct? Was there something that he failed to notice? Was he averting his eyes from what he should see? Was there anything that he misread? Was he really not thinking conveniently?

He didn't understand. He didn't understand. He didn't understand.

『Hah, just a coward-』

Those thoughts rushed inside Kouki head for a moment in circles. A sneering voice that seemed to see through that caused Kouki to return to his senses in surprise.

When he noticed, brutal claws were approaching before his eyes.

「-!」

『Nuh』

Even when he was taken by surprise, the piled up experience and the greatest specs moved his body by itself. The holy sword that sprang up with a terrific speed shifted Niebla's claws upward.

Seeing his attack averted so easily caused Niebla to leak out a voice of shock. He could never imagine that a trembling young man with pale expression and ragged breathing from fear would be able to show a reaction this agile even in his wildest dream.

Although, Niebla's agitation only lasted a moment. The instant he passed Kouki by, he swung the miasma claws. He used his own body as camouflage to make the miasma claws attacked from Kouki's blind spot.

But, what resounded wasn't a scream of death agony or the graphic sound of flesh getting torn apart.

*shaaan* A single clear sound of scraping metals that didn't suit the battlefield. It was the sound of the miasma claws that were launched from the blind spot getting parried by Kouki's holy sword. He matched the motion of the miasma claws and averted only their trajectory.

『What-』

Niebla's agitation was clear to see this time. An impact ran through his stomach at that time.

『Gofuh!?』

An impact that made him thought whether his internal organs were being stirred blew away his consciousness for an instant. He crashed on the ground without even any awareness of up and down. When Niebla recovered his consciousness, his gaze ran toward Kouki.

He saw Kouki's figure raising one foot there and he finally understood that he got kicked flying.

It was a terrifying technique. While his reflex toward the first attack was also amazing, but even more than that was his sensing ability toward attack from a blind spot, technique that beautifully parried every attack instead of blocking, and then the perfect counterattack.

But, however,

(What's with that!? That man, just what's in the world is the deal with him!?)

Niebla felt more confused then scared. While this young man he was staring at possessed amazing technique like a veteran warrior, but he was still directing scared gaze toward Niebla even now.

Just a single kick pierced through Niebla's defense as though tearing through paper scrap and reduced him to a state where he still couldn't stand up right away. Just what in the world a man who could that was feeling scared at?

Or perhaps, he was merely acting? Niebla guessed, but seeing Kouki's state that was desperately stifling something inside himself, it didn't look like that at all.

That was why he didn't understand. Here was a warrior that might even surpassed Spenser, the royal guard of his sworn enemy the queen, and yet his attitude was too mismatched for someone like that, which made him unable to understand.

(Kuh, my underlings also cannot hold on for longer. Then, what I should prioritize is-)

Rather than focusing on a newcomer that he couldn't understand, he should prioritize attacking the enemy that would definitely caused collapse in the enemy side if that enemy was defeated, or even if he just wounded that enemy the enemy side would still be shaken. In that case, he would also be able to escape.

Niebla's eye glint moved away from Kouki and turned toward Moana.

『UOOOOOOOOOOOOON-!!』

It was a howl so loud that felt like the eardrum would get blown away from that. Right away, miasma with abnormal thickness and amount gushed out from Niebla's body.

The intense ejection of miasma that looked as though they would paint over the space itself like black ink was also a dangerous act for Niebla himself. Because it was an act that was equivalent with ejecting out his own life force.

But, in this battlefield where irregularity existed, the best choice was to escape with certainty. As though to show that, Niebla's ejected miasma transformed into several hundred tough claws.

「Your majesty-!」

「I pray-, this――」

「Kuh」

Anneal immediately leaped forward to protect Moana, Lilin was trying to use blessing art of protection while showing anxiety, and Moana resolved herself to intercept while sweating coldly, it was at that moment the miasma claws in the number that was absurd to even be counted attacked like a barrage.

「That's the only thing I won't let you do! ――<Heaven Severance>!」

Kouki cut in front of the tsunami of black and claws with a step-in that could be mistaken with a teleportation.

Moana called his name 「Kouki-」 with a voice that sounded concerned for him.

Were Moana words the truth? When he heard her voice, he couldn't imagine that she was deceiving him. This person who was worried for him when he was in danger even though they only met just now and she still hadn't ascertained his background, how could he think that she was using him or anything?

But,

(That's not it, that's not it at all. What I cannot believe is――)

His heart felt like it was being whipped and messed up inside a mixer. Even so, the feeling that he had to protect moved Kouki.

Among the skill that he could invoke swiftly, this light element defensive magic could protect at the widest range――<Heaven Severance>. This magic that could deploy several layers of shining defensive wall simultaneously blocked all the rapidly approaching miasma claws.

Inside the miasma so thick it gave hallucination that the darkness of night was descending, countless layer of radiance defensive wall flew around like the torch of hope. Such scene even looked fantastical.

The miasma was blocked with certainty, and then Kouki's holy sword swept it aside.

That figure that perfectly handled Niebla's fierce attack that caused veteran soldiers like Spenser and others to gulp caused them to comprehend it, indeed, this person was certainly an existence that was invited by a great being. He was a magnificent warrior.

Everyone was thinking so during the dispersal of the miasma. Everyone other than Moana who was currently at Kouki's side, seeing his face that was desperately defending against the attack with an expression that looked like he was going to collapse anytime now.

『You bastard-, how far you are going to be a hindrance-!! -Tsk, next time I'll definitely bring you do――』

「There won't be any next time.」

Niebla finally recovered from the impact of Kouki's attack and he tried to slip into the miasma to retreat, but it was at that timing that Spenser broke through that miasma and rushed near.

Niebla wasted no time to swing his claws, but Spenser moved with flowing movement like water and his sword finally caught up to Niebla's torso.

『Gugah!?』

「This is the end-」

Scream of fighting spirit surged out. Spenser's sword was enveloped in wing that possessed faint green radiance.

While Niebla's blood danced in the air, Spenser dodged the jaw attack that Niebla carried out in desperation and his beheading slash was sucked into Niebla's neck.

*zan-* Spenser's sword cut through. Niebla's huge body fell down. And then, Niebla's head rolled on the ground.

『The likes, of……livestock is-』

Niebla fighting spirit didn' vanish even with his head removed, however, because of the limit of his body, he fell silent after spitting out words of resentment at the end. The miasma dispersed and light vanished from Niebla's eyes.

Spenser huffed and he sheathed his sword, and then he raised a tense voice 「Situation report!」. Right away, the royal guards who in the end didn't lose even a single person reported one after another that they were all safe, that Niebla's underlings were annihilated, and that Dario wasn't seriously injured although the bone of his arm broke.

It seemed there were many small wounds, but by using blessing art to heighten their self-recovery strength, wounds until simple broken bone could be healed within a few minutes.

「Hero-dono! Thank you very much for protecting her majesty. I say, that was really as expected from the chosen warrior of Foltina-sama. Truly, that was a splendid skill.」

Spenser was facing Kouki with an expression that was filled with praise and gratitude without even a speck of malice in it. The other soldiers were also the same. Lilin and Neisan were showing him respect even while gazing at him full of curiosity. It couldn't be helped that they became curious with Kouki's magic.

「Ah, no, it's nothing really big……」

「Hahah, to be able to say that "it's nothing big" after enduring the fierce attack of a <Black Person> of that level when he was sacrificing his life force! How very reliable! Hero-dono, once more, please take care of us from here on too.」

Spenser looked for a handshake with a friendly smile. It seemed he was harboring impression of a likeable young man who was an outstanding warrior while also possessing humility toward Kouki.

But, even though Kouki was responding with the handshake request of such Spenser and also the soldiers who were gathering around him with similar expression like Spenser, his expression looked somewhat troubled throughout all that.

「Say, can I ask you all to call me by my name if possible? Don't call me hero. I don't mind if you call me Kouki.」

「Oo, what a happy thing to ask. Then I'll call you Kouki-dono. Only if you call me Spenser in return.」

The gaze of Spenser who perceived Kouki's words as another expression of friendliness was increasingly getting friendlier. The positivity level of the aging soldier was rising up steadily. And it seemed it was also the same with Lilin and others.

Kouki's expression was getting increasingly looked as though he was stuffing his cheeks with bitter food. However his expression was turning into one where it looked like he was desperately holding it so it wouldn't come out on his face.

「Kouki, let me also give you my words of thanks. That preeminent skill is really worthy of respect. I wish to express my gratitude with something but……in any case, we also cannot really be carefree after receiving the attack just now. I want to depart immediately though……」

「Ah, yes. I have no objection. It seems that the information of Moana-sama and others coming here was leaked out. Indeed, it's better for us to hurry.」

Moana entered between his conversation with Spenser and others looking somewhat as though she was putting a damper on things. Kouki let the tension bled out of his shoulders toward that interruption as though in relieve.

They once more advanced quickly as a party toward the edge of the forest with Spenser in the lead.

Before long they could see the border of the forest. Kouki saw multiple large silhouettes taking position in front of the border and his hand reached out toward his sheathed holy sword.

「Kouki, it's okay. Those are our mount animals.」

「……Your mount, is it? They look like large lizard though.」

「Right. They are called Arous. Their trait is their flat torso and long neck. Their running ability is high with little shaking. They are mainly eating fruit even though they look like that. They are really taking kindly to human you know?」

From the point of view of Kouki whose common sense when speaking about a transportation method using animal would think of horse, he felt a bit bewildered of mounting a lizard more than two meter long with atrocious face.

When he got nearer, he could see something like collar and U-shaped fetter and something like a stool to sit down attached on the animal's back. He guessed that the rider could stay standing or sitting by lying heavily on the stomach on the saddle.

From a glance, their atmosphere felt like 「Hyahhaa―! There is human! The food! I'm gonna eat them alive yeah!」 looking as though they were going to attack, but seeing the equipment attached on them then indeed, they certainly looked like a transportation method of this world.

(I see, they are like the monster that the devil race used as mount huh……. But, hm~m……

For the moment Kouki accepted that they weren't dangerous existence, but this time he became bothered by something else.

There were ten Arous in total, but the Arous with the best physique and style among those ten had a large ribbon tied on top of its head. A pink ribbon. The ribbon was really pink.

Brutal looking face, eyes that shined with fierce glint, the leaked out growling voice *guruu*, the imposing air……but, on its head was a pink ribbon.

What surrealism. Was this the fashion sense of this world's people? Or else, was that an indispensable equipment? No, other than this one Arous that looked like leader, the other Arous weren't wearing ribbon or anything……

Kouki was confused.

Moana followed Kouki's gaze and she guessed what he was staring at. And then looking a bit boastful she approached the Arous with ribbon.

「Fufu, what do you think? It's cute right? This child is my personal mount. His name is Haumu. The~re there, Haumu~, your master has returned back here~. Were you lonely?」

Moana caressed Haumu's head *rub rub, pat pat*. 'I see' Kouki realized, it looked like this Arous wasn't just a mount. Moana seemed to harbor a definite fondness to it. He guessed that this Arous was in a position of pet, or perhaps partner of Moana.

Both sides held trust at each other――

「Guryah」

「Ouch!?」

Haumu's headbutt was launched. Moana's head was thrown back hard. Kouki became flustered 「As I thought it's ferocious!?」, but whether Anneal or Spenser or the others, none of them paid that any attention and they kept preparing their own mount for their departure from here.

「Fufu, what, as I thought you were lonely alone? When we got home I'll give you a lot of care okay, so~――ouch!?」

'This cute cheeky guy!' When Moana tried to hug Haumu once more with that kind of feel, a jaw drop that was like a heel drop kick burst on the crown of Moana's head.

「……Excuse me, are you okay?」

「Ahaha, there is no problem at all here, Kouki. Haumu is a spoiled child since a long time ago you see. He would frolic at me right away when I approached him.」

「Guryuu」

「No, that, no matter how I look at it……」

When Moana turned her head toward Kouki, Haumu's mouth closed *snap* on her whole head. Moana was struggling and squirming. No matter how he looked at it, he could only think that she was being preyed on.

「Sto, stop it Haumu! Right now isn't the time for playing around! That's why, ah, it hurts! Haumu, it's a bit, no, it's really hurt here! Come on, you are a good child so let me――AA」

Moana tapped repeatedly *peshi peshi* at Haumu's head to say give up. Haumu was chewing on Moana as though to appeal of something, or perhaps as though to clear up a grudge of many years.

Kouki who couldn't bear to see that looked at Anneal asking for help. Anneal let out a sigh while pointing at Haumu's head with her finger motion.

Kouki fearfully approached Haumu.

「Err, Haumu?」

「Guruu」

When Kouki turned his gaze at Haumu's head, Haumu nodded as though to say 「Please」. His teeth dug into Moana. Those were the teeth of a herbivore, so the teeth didn't pierce through, but it must be still hurt. A small scream 「Au!?」 came from Moana.

Kouki slowly reached out his hand and took the ribbon from Haumu's hand.

Haumu conveyed his gratitude at Kouki with his gaze, and then he did 「Peh」 at Moana as though he was spitting out his spit.

「Uu, ge, geez Haumu. You're really a pampered child.」

Moana crumbled down on the ground as though she had been assaulted by hoodlum, and she wiped up her face that was slathered with saliva. Her way of talking was changing must be because she was a little shaken. She was averting her face shyly from Kouki who was looking down at her with a really complicated expression.

「The, then Kouki. You can sit behind me――cough, I wonder if it's agreeable for you to ride behind me?」

「Ah, yes.」

Moana was still slathered with saliva, however, in order to recover the dignity of queen, Moana changed her way of talking back. Following her, Kouki climbed on Haumu's back. As expected, it seemed the standard was to ride by standing. When Moana climbed up, it felt like 「Chih」 sound could be heard from Haumu but……that must be an imagination, there was no way he could clicked his tongue.

「Hm? Eh? The ribbon is……」

It seemed Moana noticed when he got on Haumu's back. Moana was looking around restlessly in a state seemed to say 'Where has the ribbon gone?'. The ribbon was in Kouki's hand.

Haumu turned his long neck and stared at Kouki. An earnest feeling that could be seen just from a glance was residing in those eyes. That was a feeling of, 「Do something about this woman!」.

「……Looks like it flew off somewhere just now. Moana-sama, there is also the matter about the attack, isn't it better if we depart soon rather than later?」

「I, I guess. Right, I'm sorry Kouki. That ribbon was Haumu's favorite but……this is not the time for saying anything like that isn't it.」

It felt like killing intent was residing in Haumu's gaze. Kouki understood. Haumu's gaze was declaring 「Who are you saying is pleased with that thing huh, idiottt! I'm gonna let you die someday, just you wait!」.

Kouki who somehow guessed the relationship between the queen and her personal mount was――slowly entering the ribbon into his pocket. In the world, there was also things that was better to be treated as not existing.

Haumu's eyes brightened. It seemed that his positivity level toward Kouki was steadily increasing. 「Guruu♪」 Perhaps it was just his imagination, but Haumu was raising a growl that sounded like he was in good mood.

「Fufu, are you happy being able to run together with me? This cute cheeky guy! But, we have guest today here. So run carefully out there okay.」

「Gurya!!」

Was that a simple reply, or was that a yell of denial 「Ain't no way I'm happy about, that, you idiottt!」, in any case with the powerful roar of Haumu as the signal, the party left the forest.

Right after they left the forest, what leaped into Kouki's sight was a sand colored world. There was the color of sand continuing until the horizon as far as his eyes could see. Moana's words that the forest behind them was something rare was certainly a fact.

「Compared with Guryuen……this is different huh.」

That was the impression of Kouki who saw this vast desert.

A great desert existed in Tortus. It was a world of brown color. A world that was filled with the same heat and sand like this place.

But, Kouki understood. The great desert of Guryuen and this desert were decisively different. He was unable to find any words that could express what was the difference accurately but, if he had to say it――

「It's dead.」

「……Right. It's just as you say. This is a dead world.」

Moana affirmed Kouki's words. Haumu was advancing through the sand with surprisingly little shaking and surprising speed. Above him, Moana who was holding on the U-shaped fetters while looking back across her shoulder at Kouki had eyes that were filled with grief.

「This is not just a desert. This is the result from blessing power, the power for the sake of living getting thoroughly stolen. Once, before the large scale war that occurred about a hundred years ago, it seemed that this area was also a verdant forest.」

「War……」

About a hundred years ago, a war, no, a decisive battle of the Nth time that occurred between mankind and the <Black People>.

The one who stood at the front as the leader was the king of Synclea kingdom at the time. At the end of the fierce battle, while great damage resulted for both humans and also nature, even so that king succeeded in bringing down the king of the <Black People> of that time.

「The honorable ancestor drove away the army of <Black People>. The compensation for that was nature was lost from 80% of the kingdom but……even so nature is still left behind at the surrounding of the unaltered capital. I believe that was an amazing war result.」

「The capital wasn't relocated after that?」

He understood from seeing this desert that could only be expressed as "dying". This was a place that human couldn't possibly live at. Eighty percent of the country territory died. He believed it was a matter of course for the capital to be relocated for the country's revival attempt.

Moana looked at faraway while opened her mouth in respond to Kouki's question.

「The king of <Black People>――because he looked completely black from the abnormal thickness of his miasma, we called him the <Black King>, but it is said that guy lived for long as the strongest existence among the <Black People> who were saving strength.」

「Black King……」

「Do you get it? We are not talking about lineage. He is not an existence that will end after being defeated once. The <Black King> exist in every era. Although there is variety in his strength each time though.」

Moana's gaze that was staring at far away ran through the vast desert. Kouki guessed what Moana wanted to say and he whispered.

「This place is still a battlefield isn't it? This is also the best place for it.」

「Yes. Because there is no blessing power that can be stolen from here. In this desert, those fellows can only use the miasma that they stored inside their body. The point where no blessing power cannot be obtained from the surrounding also apply to us, but even so, it's ideal that those fellow won't be able to get strengthened and destroy nature for more than now.」

That was why they didn't relocate the capital. Because the ruined territory was exactly the best battlefield there was. The soldiers of Synclea were remaining in this barren land for the sake of continuing battle. No matter how many months and years passed, Synclea kingdom was the front line battlefield.

「Of course, we are moving our people to place that still have nature remaining. We entrust the feudal lord of every area with autonomy. We are leaving the production of the main food and everything else to them.」

「What is the prospect of the enemy circling around this desert and aim at every other territory?」

Moana shook her head to answer Kouki's question.

According to her, the <Black People> were ruling the eastern land, the kingdom's territory was at the west with this great desert sandwiched in between. A sea was spreading at the north, and similar like a desert, in the sea there was nothing to block the sight, so if any Black People tried to come from there, the surveillance unit stationed at each territory would notice.

At the south there was mountain range area spreading, at the other side of the mountain area there was a large country that still remained and constructed their battlefield like Synclea, so if something happened then a notice would immediately reach them.

Therefore, it was impossible for the <Black People> to invade the western territory without Synclea kingdom noticing.

The desert and Synclea's capital were literally the last fortress and also the front line battlefield.

「……How admirable.」

「Thank you.」

Kouki put his hand on his chest and said that, toward all the soldiers, and then toward the young queen who led them. Moana smiled happily and nodded at such Kouki.

Silence continued for a while. Kouki pursed his lips into a straight line and turned his gaze downward, he was turning his thought toward the soldiers who he was told about.

Moana was glancing repeatedly across her shoulder to such Kouki. And then after she showed hesitation several times, she opened her mouth.

「Kouki. Can I ask you something?」

「? What is it?」

Kouki lifted his face. Moana's gaze wandered around, looking like she was choosing her words.

「That, is…….why, are you, a hero?」

「Eh?」

It felt like something cold was entering slowly into Kouki's chest. It felt like he was asked 'isn't it presumptuous for you to call yourself that?'. It felt like Kouki's weakness that was exposed at the fight against Niebla was seen through.

Seeing Kouki who was shaken and his face complexion worsened, Moana added more of her words in hurry.

「Ah, no, that's not what I meant. It's not that I'm ridiculing you. I'm only wondering that it's a curious way of calling you.」

「Curious, is it?」

Understanding that Moana's intention was different from what he thought, Kouki let out the tension from his stiffened face and tilted his head.

「Yes. I thought it's curious. When I heard from Foltina-sama that a hero is summoned, I don't really understand what kind of person would appear. Because, don't you think so too? Hero(yuusha)――if we take the literal meaning of that word, the meaning will be "a person with courage".」 (TN: The word yuusha is made from two kanji, the kanji of courage and person. Yuusha can mean hero, the brave, or man of valor in Japan.)

Moana threw a questioning gaze at Kouki to confirm that they were in the same page. Kouki nodded.

「If that's the case, then I can throw out my case and say with surety. That the soldiers of my country, are all "hero(yuusha)" without a single exception.」

「Ah……」

Kouki was taken aback and leaked out a small voice. Moana looked back and stared straight at Kouki.

「If by perchance, Kouki is a man who had accomplished some great exploits, and that was why you were chosen by Foltina-sama……then shouldn't such person be called as "hero(eiyuu)" instead?」 (TN: Eiyuu is made from kanji of 'Han' and man. In Japan it means hero, heroine, great person)

「That's……」

「Ah, no, it's not that I wish to trouble Kouki. I'm just wondering.」

Sensing Kouki's perplexity, Moana said 「Forgive me for asking something strange」 and she returned her gaze to the front.

But, Moana's words were clinging completely inside Kouki. Question was overflowing inside his mind.

Just what in the world a hero(yuusha) was.

(Thinking back now, just what is a hero? I called myself that because that's my vocation. But, still, hero――a person with courage……that's a person's nature, it cannot be called an "occupation" that showed a person's innate ability isn't it?)

He recalled. The vocation of his comrades.

Healer. Martial artist. Swordsman. Barrier user……

Yes, everyone had vocation that was connected to an actual occupation. It was only "hero(yuusha)" that was of a different disposition. Certainly, rather than a transcription of a work one had aptitude toward, it was a title that displayed one's character. So to speak, it was a transcription that wasn't any different with vocation of "pessimist", "optimist", or "good person" or "bad person".

If one wanted to describe a vocation that led the people and fought powerful enemy, then it should be better to call that vocation using "commander" or even "king" instead.

(Was it because in Tortus "hero(yuusha) is recognized as occupation? However, if it's the case of "a person that accomplished great exploits" just like Moana-sama mentioned, then it should be fine to use "hero(eiyuu)" instead. Why am I "a person with courage"? Just what am I……)

Why did he obtain the vocation of something like hero(yuusha)?

When he looked back at the events at Tortus, even himself was harboring doubt whether he even have possessed such nature in himself.

How many times he was unable to move in the crucial times? How many times he failed without even choosing anything? How many times he acted as he pleased and dragged his comrades into trouble?

Why was someone like him a "hero"?

――Why, are you, a hero?

「……I don't know. I really, don't know.」

That voice sounded wrung out from his throat, it sounded like it would vanish anytime.

Moana who understood that it was an answer toward her question just now looked back once more. And then, she peeked at Kouki who was looking down with a fixed stare.

「I see. ……It will be great if you understand it someday. Yep, surely the time will come when you understand the reason.」

「……Why, do you think so?」

In respond to Moana whose manly way of talking broke down, Kouki unconsciously also asked back with his plain way of talking.

Moana smiled. Her expression looked affectionate.

「Because, aren't you still struggling? Aren't you doing your best to find the answer? The world isn't so cold that it would trample down that kind of person.」

「……Is that so?」

「That's so.」

The world would surely smile at those who kept struggling without giving up. The one who said those words with conviction was a queen who was continuing to fight wholeheartedly in a world that was heading to ruin. For Kouki, those were words that were really heavy and really beautiful that caused him to be taken aback.

The two stared at each other. The eyes of Anneal and Lilin who were keeping pace beside them looked curious like cat. And then, the eyes of Spenser that were looking back from the front with a cold gaze.

「Nnh」

「Cough, ahem」

Moana and Kouki did something that looked like coughing or perhaps not while quietly taking distance from each other.

The lips of Anneal and Lilin crooked with the feel of 「Mufuu~」. Their maiden sensor might be reacting to the scene just now.

「Ho, how long until we reach the capital.」

「Ri, right. I believe we will arrive at the evening with our current pace.」

Kouki asked an information that he already heard before this to varnish over the matter, and Moana also answered in the same attempt.

They continued to advance while inside that really delicate atmosphere for a while. Slightly elevated hills were starting to get visible here and there.

But, at that time, like a rehash of the event inside the forest, Kouki suddenly reacted to something and looked up.

「Kouki?」

Moana asked Kouki while she raised her fist and commanded the unit to stop moving.

Right after that,

「-, something is falling here! Evacuate!」

「Advance! Rush ahe――」

Moana wasted no time responding at Kouki's warning, but multiple objects freefalling and crashing at their surrounding arrived faster than that.

*zudon-zudon-* What were crashing on the ground with that roaring sound that shook the ground were living things that looked like lizard, clad in thick miasma. They were wearing equipment that looked like protector, and from their bone structure it could be seen that they were mainly walking with two legs. From their appearance, they were what they called as Lizardman in RPG.

「-, scaled dragon species!? Just what in the world!?」

Moana's confused voice resounded. Her reaction was understandable. If this was an ambush, then she would just give instruction right away to form formation and prepare to intercept. In that case there wouldn't be any hesitation whatsoever and the royal guard would finish carrying out that order in a moment just like when facing Niebla and his underlings.

But, the lizardmen called scaled dragon species that fell from the sky――six of them were already dying. Naturally the cause of them dying was the impact from their fall. If it wasn't because of the thick protector they were wearing that wasn't suited for battle and also the impact reduction from their miasma, they might have died instantly.

These enemies launched a surprise attack yet they almost get annihilated at the same time with their entrance. Moana and her people could only look at the situation like that.

They weren't knowing that the objective of this surprise attack was exactly to take advantage of that confusion.

「「「GIIIIIAAAAAAAAAH」」」

「「「GUEEEEEEEEEEEEH」」」

Shrieks burst out. Those weren't screams from pain or suffering. They were the same scream like Niebla's scream. They were emitting miasma by staking their life. The six lizardmen were gushing out miasma that rivaled what Niebla did before.

「Impossible-, are they planning to suicide!?」

「Your majesty, please escape! Lilin, your wind!」

Moana leaked out voice of shock while Spenser roared angrily.

The six lizardmen were obviously of lower status than Niebla. Yet regardless of that they were scattering miasma that rivaled Niebla was because they were literally exchanging their life for it.

It was truly a suicide attack. An ambush of suicide bombing from the sky was something outside expectation.

The miasma that exploded and dyed the surrounding area black instantly didn't grant any time for escape, for Lilin to activate her wind, or even for Kouki to respond.

Everything was swallowed by blackness and vanished.

If it was seen from slight distance away, it looked like a tornado of black flame was generated. Moana and others were inside that tornado.

At that timing, a pterosaur descended down from the sky. At its back was a scaled dragon species that was conspicuously larger than normal. He was equipped with metallic protector and his hand was holding a large spear.

『Looks like it was worth it instigating Niebla. Although the miasma stone the queen is carrying is special, but it won't be able to endure that guy's miasma and the miasma of six underlings using up all their life.』

'Ge-ge-ge-' The scaled dragon species raised a weird laugh.

It seemed that the leaking out of the information that Moana and her people left the capital with few number and Niebla getting hold of that information were all the scheming of this scaled dragon species.

Everything was for the sake of reducing the capacity limit of the miasma stone that was the lifeline for Moana and her people. And then, he would deal the finishing blow easily when Moana and others became unable to move.

『With his my king's――』

The scaled dragon species was standing calmly while staring in pleasure at the miasma completely ruining Moana and her people, but the voice and phenomenon that suddenly occurred caused him to swallow back his own words.

「Turn this place into sanctuary, let none of god's enemy passed――<Sacred Severance>!!」

*GOU-* Pure white light burst up. The storm of miasma that could be mistaken as black flame ruptured from inside, and a dazzling light swelled up in half-sphere state.

Not the slightest bit of miasma existed at the inside of that light, the miasma that was blown away along with the light melted into the air and dispersed.

『Wha, what?』

At the end of the gaze of the scaled dragon species who couldn't hide his agitation, were the royal guards and Arous who collapsed at the other side of the shining barrier, and also the queen.

But, there was just one person, a man that looked unaffected at all even inside that much miasma was holding the limp Moana in his arms.

『You-, what the hell are you! How are you that calm even after getting bathed in that much miasma!?』

The scaled dragon species that somehow pulled himself back together from his confusion readied his large spear while yelling angrily.

Kouki softly put Moana to recline on Haumu and he whispered something while ignoring the scaled dragon species's angry yell. And then, something that looked like light particles showered down on everybody including Moana and enveloped them in a gentle light.

Seeing that――Kouki unsheathed his holy sword while turning his gaze t the scaled dragon species.

Kouki showed the same reaction at the scaled dragon species just like with Niebla.

Face that turned pale. Shaking body. Ragged breathing.

But, there already wasn't anyone else here that would finish the enemy while he was holding it in.

If he ran away, Moana and others would die.

Even if he prolonged it, as expected they would still die.

If he didn't choose, they would die.

The time for choosing, had came.


AN: Thank you very much for reading this every time.

Thank you very much too for the thoughts, opinions, and reports about misspelling and omitted words.

I'm sorry that the gloomy story is continuing.

Next chapter the fundamental problem that Kouki is holding will become clear.

If possible, I hope I can make consecutive posting next week.

Even Shirakome also want to progress the story in one go until where the tale move in a big way. After that as expected it will be like musou game isn't it. (TN: Like playing in Dynasty Warrior or Samurai Warrior game)

Although, there are important parts more than just Kouki's growth, so I'll endeavor to not cut corners.

There are opinions 'Kouki arc is just, you know~' here and there, so I thought that the number of people reading will decrease by a lot, but the number of the PV or the review after reading isn't dropping. It feels like Shirakome will melt from the kindness of Narou people.

Thank you~